“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

Definitive Technology Mythos XTR-SSA5 Surround Bar Preview

Def Tech XTR-SSA5 Soundbar

Def Tech XTR-SSA5 Soundbar


  • Product Name: XTR-SSA5 Soundbar
  • Manufacturer: Definitive Technology
  • Review Date: September 21, 2011 05:00
  • MSRP: $999 ($799 XTR-SSA3)
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool




Driver complement

10 ea. 3.5″ aluminum dome XTDD drivers, 3 ea. 1″ aluminum dome tweeters

6ea. 3.5″ aluminum dome XTDD drivers, 3 ea. 1″ aluminum dome tweeters










MSRP (ea)



If you don't think sound bars and surround bars are here to stay... well... we don't know where you are living. With displays distinguishing themselves by how thin they can get (regardless how negatively it affects their performance), people are looking for on-wall speaker solutions to match. Often, display manufactures will offer an optional speaker package but, too often, they are overpriced and under-performing. Consumers are generally better off paying for an aftermarket solution (of which there are no shortage of options).

"Bar" options come in two flavors - Sound and Surround. A sound bar is simply a replacement (and upgrade) for your display's speakers. You're, at most, looking at three channels that are giving you a stereo image. A surround bar looks to recreate the experience of a full surround sound setup with only a single enclosure. Def Tech has release new Mythos XTR on-wall bars that hit each of these different types of bars. The XTR-SSA5 is their surround bar option and the XTR-SSA3 is the sound bar. 


The XTR-SSA3 Sound Bar has six 3.5" aluminum dome XTDD drivers, and three 1″ aluminum dome tweeters. This basically gives you three MTM channels. The left and right channels are "treated" with Def Tech's Spatial Array DSP to widen the soundstage past the boundaries of the speaker. The XTR-SSA5 is Def Tech's surround bar option (pictured at the top of the article) and has a total of ten 3.5" aluminum dome XTDD drivers paired with three 1" aluminum dome tweeters. Using a different version of Def Tech's Spatial Array DSP, the XTR-SSA5 recreates the effect of having a full surround sound setup. They do this by adjusting the phase of the different drivers to trick your ear into thinking that the sound is originating from somewhere other than the speaker.

Both of the speakers are 5.25" tall and only 1-5/8" thick, but the XTR-SSA5 is two inches wider at 45" than the XTR-SSA3. The enclosures are constructed out of aircraft-grade extruded aluminum and both come with a wall mount as well as adjustable supports for shelf mounting. The real secret behind the incredibly thin profile is Def Tech's patent-pending XTDD technology driver. They used state of the art computer modeling to eliminate every bit of wasted space and optimized everything else to create an extremely shallow driver with a maximized moving surface area. We're seeing more and more of these innovative, shallow drivers and they are starting to gain in popularity.


The upside of a surround bar that uses a DSP to adjust phase is that it is less room-dependent than other solutions. The downside is that they don't always sound all that convincing. The proof, as they say, is in the pudd... uh, listening. At $999 for the Def Tech Mythos XTR-SSA5 Surround Bar and $799 for the Mythos XTR-SSA3 Sound Bar, these aren't inexpensive solutions. But they very well may be the right one for your installation - especially if you are looking for a speaker that won't sit 2" off the wall (something that isn't easy to find). With that sort of profile plus aircraft-grade aluminum enclosure and included wall and adjustable shelf mounts, it's hard to see how these new Mythos XTR bars WON'T sell.

For more information, please visit www.definitivetech.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
author portrait

As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

View full profile