Sound Cylinder™ by Definitive Technology – Review
Definitive Technology, founded in 1990 is the best-selling brand of audiophile grade loudspeakers in the USA. It has won numerous awards, and is known both for the sound quality of it’s products and for their stylish good looks. The Sound Cylinder™ is their first foray into the mobile Bluetooth speaker market. The Sound Cylinder™ is a Bluetooth speaker and iPad/ tablet/ smartphone stand in one.
The Sound Cylinder™ is a very stylish looking accessory. It has perforated aluminum grilles and the “kickstand” and clamp mechanism are injection-molded magnesium alloy. It houses separate left and right speakers and a side-firing subwoofer. The speaker outputs are optimized by a Digital Signal Processor, creating a full, rich, stereo sound that extends beyond the dimensions of the cylinder. The Sound Cylinder™ can be used free- standing, attached to a laptop or holding a tablet or smart phone. It connects wirelessly via Bluetooth and can also connected via a 3.5mm audio cable (included).
I originally saw the Sound Cylinder™ at Macworld and thought it looked beautiful, but with all the noise of the exhibition there was no way to really tell what the sound quality would be like. The first time I connected it to my iPad I was blown away – I just couldn’t believe that something so small could perform so well!
To use the Sound Cylinder™ as an iPad stand you slide open the rubber-coated magnesium alloy jaws using a button on the base, when you let go it clamps securely on your device. The magnesium alloy kickstand folds out and holds the iPad securely in place. This works well as a stand with a “bare” iPad and will also work with some cases. As the iPad Mini is so much slimmer it works very well in a case, with the full-sized iPad it works well with a slim case, less well with a bulkier one. A full-sized iPad 2 in a Trident Kraken case will work but it is just about the maximum thickness than can fit. If using it with an iPad Mini in landscape mode the clamp does obscure some of the base of the screen as the picture goes so close to the edge in the Mini, this is not an issue in portrait mode.
I have used the Sound Cylinder™ with several iPads, an iPad Mini, iPod Touch and MacBooks and it has been very quick and easy to pair over Bluetooth. I have used it to play a wide variety of music and it has performed beautifully. I tested it out with my own favorite music (which leans heavily towards rock) with artists such as U2, Midnight Oil, Sheryl Crow, Billy Bragg and Bruce Springsteen. As my husband’s musical tastes are rather different than my own I had him test it too – with Classical, Folk and Jazz and we were both impressed by the quality of sound across a wide variety of genres.
I have also used the Sound Cylinder™ when watching movies on my iPad and computer and it gives a really impressive surround sound effect. I re-watched The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore (a favorite short movie of mine) and was amazed that I heard details I’d never heard before. A small caveat is that if you are watching a live action movie (as opposed to an animated one) you may notice that the bluetooth does give a very slight lag to the audio so that the actors lip movements are off sync with the sound track, so for live action movies I would recommend connecting via the (included) 3.5mm audio cable rather than by Bluetooth.
The on/off and volume controls are located on one end of the cylinder (you can also control the volumes by adjusting it on your device), and the other end houses the Sub-Woofer. The stand is not an iPad dock – it holds it but does not charge it, and is compatible with a large range of Apple and Android devices.
Overall, this is a great product. it is elegant and well made with high quality materials. The sound quality and volume are really impressive, especially coming from such a small, lightweight, portable speaker system. The speaker is loud enough to fill a room and sounds crisp and clear, even at high volumes. It sounds great across a variety of musical genres and gives a very balanced sound, less bass heavy than the Big Jambox that we have previously reviewed. The Sound Cylinder™ comes packed with a carrying bag, a charging cable that allows it to charge via a USB or via the included charger, a 3.5mm audio cable and a carrying bag. It’s rechargeable battery lasts for 10 hours. Highly recommended, a 5 star product !
Sound Cylinder is available in consumer electronics specialty storefront and on-line retailers, as well as Definitive’s on-line store. Suggested retail price is $199.
Size: 190mmx 68mm x 48mm
Drivers: 2x 25mm drivers, 1x 43mm bass driver
frequency response 60Hz- 20kHz
Output 85dBA @ 1m
Bluetooth range 10m (33 ft)
Power 2Wx 2, 4W x1