|Canton Vento Series (809 DC, 802, 805 CM, AS 850 SC) Loudspeakers|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Ken Taraszka, MD|
|Tuesday, 01 August 2006|
Page 2 of 3
Music and Movies
Throughout the break-in period of these speakers, I was impressed by the clear and taut bass response they exhibited, so for my first critical listening choice, I opted for the Crystal Method’s Vegas (Outpost Records), which is full of bass-heavy techno that carries with it a consistent groove, being almost hypnotic in nature. The first track, “Trip Like I Do,” starts with a trancelike aura of sound that seemed to fill the room, then, as the song progressed, its fast, solid low end and expansive wall of sound was as accurate and tight as I’ve ever heard. When played through just the 809 DCs, I found a slight lack in the lowest registers of bass, so I opted to listen with the sub, at which point I truly fell in love. The sub mates perfectly with these speakers and filled in the lower end with rich, musical bass. The Cantons were able to clearly separate all the complexities of this song with ease and still keep the bass punchy. They reproduced an enveloping soundstage and were able to do so at the volume levels this album deserves, without losing any of the dynamics required of electronic music.
Flowing into the second song of the album, “Busy Child,” my favorite cut, the bass remained clear, never boomy. Sounds seemed to fling back and forth across the room. The Canton 809 DCs were easily capable of running in the 95 dB range without significant distortion. Moving on to the throbbing riffs of “High Roller,” the bass remained full, with highs that were easy to listen to and non-fatiguing, while the cymbals remained true in timbre and had plenty of air around them.
Ray Charles’ Genius Loves Company (Concord Records) is one of my favorite new CDs and, fortunately for me, Monster Cable just sent me some of their new Super Discs, including this one. These new Monster discs have both an audiophile-mastered CD, as well as high-definition Dolby Digital and DTS 24/96 surround mixes, along with high-definition stereo mixes and bonus tracks. They even include high-definition files compressed to both MP3 and Apple Lossless directly from the master tapes, with Dolby headphone surround. I started off listening to Ray Charles and Natalie Cole doing “Fever” in stereo. The mix was quite enticing; the Cantons reproduced the bass lines with palpable fullness. Both Charles and Cole’s voices were clear. Cole showed the bite and attack I expect of her, with only the slightest hint of sibilance. Imaging was precise and consistent. When I switched to the 24/96 DTS surround mix, I seemed to be drawn right into the midst of the band. The balance between all the speakers in this package was perfect.
The Canton system again seduced me with its sound on Charles’ duet with Norah Jones, “Here We Go Again,” pulling me into the emotion of the song from the first note. The xylophone is clearly represented, though very subtle in some parts of the song, and seems to flow across the soundstage as the notes ascend in pitch. Jones’ vocals are smooth with slight warmth to them that I found very enjoyable. Once again, I switched to the multi-channel surround mix and found myself right there within the music with the consistent placement of vocals and instruments I had come to expect from the Cantons.
For a foray into DVD-Audio, I loaded up The Doors L.A. Woman (Elektra). Starting with the title track, I was impressed by how vocals seemed to effortlessly fly around the room, while the band stayed in place. The Canton system managed a full feel, with tight and accurate bass now accentuated by the subwoofer, which blended in seamlessly. The introduction to “Riders on the Storm” was so realistic that it sounded as if it was raining here in Florida while I was doing this listening session. The richness of the bass line was intoxicating and Jim Morrison’s voice virtually consumed me as it came from everywhere in such a balanced manner that it seemed to come from inside my head.
Neil Young’s Harvest on DVD-Audio can be a tough disc to reproduce well, due the generally rough original recording, but the music is timeless. The title track was consuming, with warmth and fullness I am not used to on this recording, but that was very welcome, and truly the best I have heard. “A Man Needs a Maid” was amazing on this system. I felt as though I was inside the piano, with Neil Young singing just in front of me. I saw Young in 1985 at an acoustic set at the Garden State Arts Center in New Jersey, and I have never since felt so attached to his music until I heard this system reproduce it. When the strings come in halfway through the song, the dynamics were stunning and the ability to transition to the quiet subtle ending of the song was equally impressive. “The Needle and the Damage Done” has always been one of my favorite songs, and the Canton Vento system managed to do it justice, smoothly reproducing Young’s voice with just the slightest sibilance and recreating his acoustic guitar in a way that was alluring. The surround effects gave me the feeling that I was in a small club and Neil Young was playing just for me.
I started watching movies with a Superbit version of “XXX” (Columbia/Tristar Home Entertainment). In the opening scene, the first thing that impressed me was the positioning of the start and finish of the shot of the wire, beginning in the left rear and crossing to dead front center for the hit into the door, then the recoil back to the left rear. The sound of the assailant sliding down the line was so perfectly placed that I listened to it several times in awe of how well the Cantons depicted the transitions and how smoothly the sounds shifted from one side to the other, front to back. Yorgi blowing out his absinthe is not only a great ending to this opening scene, but was so true to life I could almost feel his breath on my neck. Later at Yorgi’s party, the placement of surround sound effects was dead-on perfect, the dynamics of the music sensational and, with the sub, the sounds of the helicopter flying in were inspiring.
I chose the classic “Beetlejuice” (Warner Home Video) to test the Cantons some more. The general surround effects were great from the start, and as the movie progressed, they got more dramatic and exciting. Voices were always clear and easily discernable with this system, which could reproduce the large dynamics needed to make you jump the first time the sandworms appear. The final scene with the entire crowd dancing in the air had the instruments well placed and filling the room with such liveliness that you might find yourself dancing along with them.