|Canton Ergo 5.0 Speaker System|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Brian Kahn|
|Monday, 01 March 2004|
Page 2 of 3
Music and Movies
From the depths of my music collection, I pulled one that I had not heard for a while, Michael Penn’s March (RCA Records). The track “This and That” is an intimate recording with great imaging. The track’s simple guitar and drums provided pinpoint imaging of the instruments. Although not a surprise to me, any time a speaker nails a soundstage image, it’s exciting. The great imaging continued with the track “No Myth.” This track features a larger recording space and the Cantons portrayed this venue with an abundance of detail and impact. Again, as with the track “This and That,” the vocals, percussion and guitar were realistically portrayed as though I was listening to Penn in a small nightclub.
I then stepped up the dynamics with Paula Cole’s This Fire (Warner Brothers). The song “Tiger” begins fairly mellow but has a very dynamic bass line that begins about 40 seconds into the track. The Cantons were able to handle this load with great aplomb. I listened to this track at a level slightly above moderate and had no problems at all with dynamic compression. The difficult low end was as deep and detailed as I have ever heard in my room. The definition and texture brought the bass line to life. The soundstage, as with the Michael Penn recording, was both deep and detailed. Female vocals were clearly portrayed without any artifacts of chestiness or annoying edge. The RC-As provided a very musical and engaging listening experience.
Now that I knew the Cantons could handle themselves with relatively simple vocals tracks, I next listened to Pink Floyd’s much more complex Dark Side of the Moon on CD (Harvest Records/Mobile Fidelity). The recording opens with the heartbeat in “Speak to Me” and then breaks into “Breathe.” Listening through the Cantons, I could hear clocks ticking well outside the outer edges of the speakers as the beat of Mason’s drums grew progressively stronger, becoming palpable before breaking into lush voices and instrumentals that formed a solid sonic wall, extending slightly beyond the outer edges of the speakers.
I did note that the cash register and coin sound effects on “Money” were slightly harsh at high volume. However, this harshness never came through the aggressive instrumentals at anything approaching normal listening levels. AudioRevolution.com publisher Jerry Del Colliano suggested this is not the case on the James Guthrie remixed hybrid SACD on either the CD layer or the SACD multi-channel mix. Back on the Dark Side CD, the opening guitar riff was solid, powerful and well placed in the soundstage. The bass guitar is also well defined, with a good sense of weight and detail. Dick Parry’s saxophone work was clearly portrayed and imaged incredibly without any harshness at normal volumes. I cranked the stereo up until I thought the neighbors were sure to come running over and I am pleased to say the Cantons shone like crazy diamonds.
During the course of my review, I picked up a copy of Norah Jones’ Come Away With Me (Blue Note SACD). Jones’ voice was dynamically palpable in the opening track “Don’t Know Why.” The Cantons portrayed a soundstage that put Jones and her band in the room with me. The images were three-dimensional and solidly situated on the soundstage. The next track, “Seven Years,” featured some very clean percussion that the Cantons reproduced with detail, depth and good natural decay.
An old favorite, Lyle Lovett’s Joshua Judges Ruth (DTS), served up a challenge for the Cantons with a demanding bass track,. The opening bass line on “I’ve Been to Memphis” was not as deep as I heard with a dedicated subwoofer, but the Cantons sounded incredibly detailed in the bass. I heard more detail in the bass region with the Cantons than on most other systems, no doubt due in part to leaner and more detailed voicing. The vocals were accurate, with Lovett’s voice as clear and distinct as ever. On the track “Church,” my listening impressions were further confirmed. The extensive bass lines were reproduced with great detail and dimensionality, but with slightly less weight than normal. “Church” features a wonderfully layered choir section that is reproduced in both the main and surround channels. Listening carefully to the choir in the Ergo 302s, I was easily able to pick out individual voices that matched their portrayal in the RC-As. The voicing was consistent between the Ergo 302s and RC-As making for smooth pans. The Ergo 302s are substantial speakers in their own right and would be well-suited as main channel speakers in a smaller room.
I then listened to Insane Clown Posse’s The Wraith: Shangri-La (DVD-Audio, DTS, Riviera Entertainment). The track “Ain’t Yo Bidness” featured bass that was both outrageously deep and powerful on the one hand and taught and detailed on the other. I found all of the vocals to be resolute, sounding like they were emanating from a physical presence. This track also made good use of the surround channels, which were consistent in their sonic portrayal.
Watching “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (Warner Home Video), I saw that Chapter 19’s Quidditch match further tested the Ergo system as a whole, with the characters flying all around the 360-degree soundstage. I had no problems following the individuals from channel to channel as they flew about and their sonic signatures remained intact as they traveled.
I then listened to some scenes in “Finding Nemo” (Disney) that I used in a recent subwoofer review. In Chapter 8, when Dory and Marlin meet Bruce the shark, I noticed that the bass from the Canton system at least equaled the MartinLogan Descent in detail, but did not match its weight when the LFE channel output was calibrated to the same level as the Descent. The Cantons were still able to provide a visceral impact, as the minefield explosion proved later in the scene. As before, the bass was extremely tight and detailed, but it did not shake the room to the same degree as I have heard from a quality off-board sub.