The Mythos ST-L Super Tower is a major redesign of the Mythos ST, first introduced in 2007 to rave reviews from the audio industry. This newest generation of the Mythos Super tower still features a built in powered subwoofer and sleek extruded aluminum end
14.2 x 12.7 x 51.5 inches ; 70 pounds
Granted that these are the most recent addition to the Def Tech Mythos lineup, still there should have been more press, reviews and YouTube videos of this product. I am surprised that a brilliant product like this has so little coverage. So I decided to write this review. I will dispense with technical details for now - I will add those later when I have broken them in a bit more. I just got my speakers a few days ago.
I started to search for new speakers that were in the $5000 - $7500 range. I wanted a 2.0 system with no frills and pure musical sound. I researched for many months and visited at least ten hi-fi equipment stores in DC, NY and Chicago (Fortunately I travel a lot on work - no I did not do it just for the speakers). I listened to Martin Logans and found them fatiguing - they are highly accurate but their brightness can be tiring. I gave the 800 series of Bowers and Wilkins a good listen - excellent midrange for vocals but I would have had to spend at least $10,000 for the 803 to get what I like. Anything below that was lacking in bass although soundstage and image were excellent. I listened to the gorgeous Sonus Faber Olympica III but again, it would have set me back by $13,000. I listened to the Wharfedale Jade series but they are massive speakers with sound not that different than the B&Ws. I even heard the highly acclaimed KEF LS50s considered to be the most accurate speakers produced recently - and they were good but highly directional and good just for a small room.
After all this I realized that accuracy was not what I was looking for - it was richness and musicality. I wanted to enjoy the wine and not dissect every detail of its aroma, texture and color. I was under the influence of pretentious audiophile reviews and consequently looked for only the things that they looked for. Fortunately I snapped out of it and realized that all that mattered was what sounded best to me. How does it matter if it sounds good to some audiophile sitting in his mom's basement testing speakers all day, every day? The only speakers I would listen to are the ones I buy. It is a very personal decision.
And then I listened to the Definitive Technology STL Towers. I had heard that Def Tech had released these speakers recently so I decided to go to a local Magnolia store and give it a listen. It was love at first note. I took my own CDs - Dark Side of the Moon, Joni Mitchell's Turbulent Indigo, Sting's Nothing Like the Sun and Etta James' Greatest Hits. The more I heard the more I was amazed and impressed. I switched between B&Ws and Martin Logan and the STLs and the STLs outperformed by a big margin. The soundstage was vast, I could almost picture the different instruments in different parts of the room. The bass was rich, not overwhelming, and very well integrated - unlike a subwoofer that plays a bit aloof from the main speakers. I sat there and listened for two hours. These were albums I have been listening to for the last twenty years since high school but they seemed new and fresh - I was thrilled. When I played How Do You Stop by Joni Mitchell, even the chatty sales guy stopped talking and heard the entire song staring at the speakers all the time. At the end of the song he looked at me and said - Wow!! - and it was, like a private audience with Joni Mitchell.
These are great lookers too. I got the graphite version and they look gorgeous. They are tall and slender but very substantial in weight - you will need help. I have them hooked to Peachtree Nova Preamp and 220 watt power amp. My main input is the Oppo 105D blu ray player that has a Saber DAC, which is brilliant. Your input and amp will matter. My entire setup cost me roughly $10K. Definitely get good cables - I can't stress that enough. I am using the STLs as home theater speakers as well, with an Epson 5030 UB projector. I don't miss a center channel. The STLs are phenomenal and cover the entire range and have two inbuilt 1200 watt subs that give you the rumble in the movies when you need it. And when you want them to play music, they oblige willingly like a personal DJ.
These are great all round speakers that balance accuracy, musicality, warmth, depth and looks. They fill my 13 x 20 room with wonderful sound that brings a smile to my face every time. I love these speakers. Good job, Def Tech. You deserve a lot more press coverage and five star reviews.
UPDATE: November 2015
I posted a separate update review under the Black version of the speakers (I don't know why they have them categorized separately). My last review was about my buying process and how I chose the ST-L towers. This is a follow up after owing these speakers for one and a half years.
I had bought these towers a few days after they had just been released. I had gone to my local Magnolia AV and compared them to other leading speakers, mainly Martin Logans and B&W 803s. I recently went back to browse and listen to the 803s again. They sounded boxy compared to the ST-Ls. Now that might offend B&W faithfuls but I personally feel that the 803s sound hollow and you can tell that the sound is coming from two speakers. Comparatively, ST-Ls are invisible. The sound seems to come from the wall behind them and there is no hollowness or boxiness that would indicate that the sound is being produced by a couple of speakers. As I have mentioned in my other review, Martin Logans sound too bright to me so they are not for me.
Now that I have broken in my ST-Ls I find them very pleasing, warm and transparent. There are no artifacts and midrange is especially realistic. A lot has been written about the bass these speakers can produce but it is important to know that the bass is deep and natural, not big and boomy. So if you're looking for window shakers, then you're missing the point. These speakers are very flexible, will rumble for those explosions in movies, and will sing when it comes to music, all while sounding understated and refined. You end up paying attention to the sound than to the speakers, although they are great lookers.
It will take a bit longer than other speakers to break them in as they are sealed in metal bodies and sound tight when new. You also need more power to drive them so bigger amps will release their potential. I use a 220W per channel Peachtree. They top out at 350W but you could use amps more powerful. It is the lack of power that is likely to damage your speaker than more power.
I am very happy that I bought these speakers and continue to be amazed with their performance. Just like a museum's architecture shouldn't compete with the exhibits, these speakers don't compete with the sound for attention. That is being invisible. I have not felt the need to add a subwoofer in a 15x20 room. Def Tech is not as big as B&W who have a marketing machine behind them so Def Tech doesn't get as much publicity as it should. I have not heard the other Def Tech speakers but the ST-Ls outshine speakers twice their price.
In the end, it is a personal decision. Go listen to them and take your time. Take your own CDs or records that you love and see how they sound. Don't let reviews guide you too much. You have to live with them and they have to sound good to you.