Definitive Technology Bipolar BP9040 High Performance Tower Speaker Review

Last updated on: 11-13-18
Bottom Line: unique and innovative design that results in a very powerful omnidirectional home theater speaker that remains relatively compact and light. Looks real slick. rear and side facing drivers means they wont work best when snug against the wall, might be awkward to place. A built in subwoofer that’s powered is nice since it takes work away from the receiver. Probably overkill for near/mid-field listenings.

Important Specs Overview

Speaker type: passive (tweeter, woofer); powered (subwoofer)
Continuous power handling: 100 W*
Peak power handling: 300 W
Impedance: 8 ohms
Sensitivity: 92 dB/W/m
Frequency response range: 22 – 40k Hz
Unit weight: 36 lbs
Cabinet dimensions: 6 x 13 x 38.5 in (width x depth x height)
Warranty: 3 years (electronics); 5 years (non-electronics)

*When nominal/RMS power isn’t specified by manufacturer, we use an approximation of ~30% of the specified peak/dynamic power for comparison purposes.

Review And Discussion

Definitive Technology is known for making speakers with unique features and designs, and their Bipolar 9000 series is no exception: a floorstanding speaker with opposite facing front/back drivers and a perpendicular built in subwoofer that’s powered. Translation: very (potentially) loud and full sound in a room, without needing an ultra high end receiver to power them. The lineup consists of four speaker sets, including the BP9040 reviewed herein, with varying size, power, and design features.

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The BP9040 has a front facing tweeter and two woofers, with an additional back facing tweeter and woofer. At the bottom is where the perpendicular powered full sized 8 inch subwoofer resides along with two opposite facing additional passive 8 inch radiators. The result? True omnidirectional sound that fires towards all four axes on the horizontal plane. The speaker is also compatible with their (separately sold) A90 speaker, an upward firing unit that makes any of the Bipolar 9000 speakers Dolby Atmos compatible – a cutting edge audio format that recreates a surround sound movie theater experience.

The sealed cabinet with passive radiators is something that Definitive Technology likes to do, and we haven’t seen any other tower speaker like it. The design yields clever advantages that allows the cabinet to remain thin and slick looking, with a longer depth that can still accommodate a full sized subwoofer.

The result is a very powerful, nice looking speaker with a stellar response range with a 22 Hz floor. Definitive Technology doesn’t specify a variance nor does it publish test results, so there’s a chance that quoted spec may be optimistic.

The tweeters and woofers are aluminum, yet another material Definitive Technology likes to use with its drivers. The woofers are on the small side at 4.5 inches, but the sealed cabinet and metallic materials befit compactness.

Cabinet shape is another area where Definitive Technology distinguishes itself – the BP9000 lineup utilizes a rectangle with octagonal corners, intended to keep it as inert as possible. Cloth covers the entire perimiter, and the speakers come with a chrome stand that extends the bass, which we’d recommend utilizing, or otherwise securing them in place since they’re rather narrow.

Definitive Technology offers a 3 year warranty on the electronics (the subwoofer amplifier pretty much) and 5 year warranty on the rest of the non-electronic parts. Pretty solid coverage but not top of the line. Higher end external powered subwoofers will start to get 5+ years of coverage.

Our Overall Take, As Compared To The Competition

We always like speaker companies that innovate unique designs, to at least give consumers the additional option, and Definitive Technology is definitely a company that does that. They also make good speakers that are hard to go wrong with. If you’re looking for standalone tower speakers that can offer a truly immersive home theater experience without needing crazy ancillary equipment to power them, the BP9040 is a solid choice. They’re a bit expensive, but the value is definitely there, especially so with recent discounts to the original price that we’ve seen. Keep in mind that you might have to buy two separately for a complete pair.

That said these certainly aren’t for everyone. One limitation of the design is that they’ll need space in all 4 directions to really sound their best, which might make for awkward placement. We also wouldn’t recommend these for moderate near-field listening – sealed speakers with metal drivers have a real propensity to boom outward, great for watching explosive movies on the couch, but ambient music and close range not so much.

Also of course is the fact that so much power is probably overkill for many people. If you merely need speakers for moderate volume, there are other 3-way standalone tower speakers that are great and a fraction of the price. Check out the links at the end for some such recommendations.

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See our current picks for the best overall budget tower speakers