Definitive Technology Mythos XTR-50 Loudspeakers
All prices in US dollars.

We’re impressed when designers find clever ways to overcome the challenges increasingly presented to them in speaker design. The latest challenge for the Definitive Technology team was to create an on-wall speaker to complement the super-thin on-wall video displays now on the market, while still sounding good. The result is the Mythos XTR-50 ($799/each), which is just 1.5" thick without its wall-mounting bracket, or 1.56" thick with it.

This side view shows that the Mythos XTR-50 sticks out less from the wall than the Samsung display it’s being used with. When we asked the Def Tech reps if the Mythos is the shallowest on-wall speaker using dynamic drivers that’s being made by anyone today, they said that while they weren’t certain enough of it to make that claim, they also hadn’t seen any other on-wall speaker as shallow. Neither have we.

The Mythos XTR-50’s slick-looking gloss-black cabinet is made from aircraft-grade aluminum. The front baffle is rounded to aid with dispersion, and Def Tech says that the drivers couple to the cabinet in a way that makes the entire enclosure act as a heatsink.

One of the ways the Definitive Technology engineers save space is by having the drivers’ magnets extend through the Mythos XTR-50’s rear panel so that they, like the panel itself, are flush with the wall. When thin is what’s in, every 1/4" counts!

The tweeter is the same one Definitive Technology uses in their Mythos ST and STS SuperTower speakers, but the midbass driver is not. The XTR-50 has two newly developed XTDD dynamic drivers, which have convex cones and low-profile surrounds. The drivers measure 3.5" across. By themselves, these drivers couldn’t generate the kind of bass needed to make the XTR-50 sound big and full, so each dynamic driver is aided by two passive radiators that look identical to it but lack motor assemblies -- the four radiators’ sole purpose is to work with the XTDD drivers to augment the bass.

We’ve reviewed a number of Definitive Technology speakers and have come away impressed with how the speakers look and sound. To get that balance right, you have to make deliberate and often clever design decisions, and the Mythos XTR-50’s innovative design elements seem like steps further along that path. We look forward to the Mythos XTR-50’s debut in the first quarter of 2010.