Canton Ergo 609 DC 
Home Theater Loudspeakers Floorstanding Loudspeakers
Written by Robert Mead   
Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Germany is world-renowned for their contribution to the world when it comes to immaculate automobile design (BMW & Porsche), but Germany also contains an exceptional audio manufacturer that consistently hits the top ten with most audio critics when it comes to designing floor standing speakers, center channel speakers and their Digital Movie Series of loudspeakers which are specifically designed for home theater use. Even before the company was founded in 1972, the main four men who created Canton were working in the field of audio design for many years and each founding member was a huge enthusiast when it came to audio. The Canton name roughly translates to mean “To sing music” in English, so you can see how much passion for the musical element of audio design these founders were bringing to the world even in the nascent beginnings of Canton.

Audiophiles who regard top quality low-end as the main driving component of their entire audio system have grown to hugely respect Canton for bringing out the first satellite subwoofer system in 1979 that pretty much set the standard for subwoofer design even thirty years later. To ensure that their engineers could thoroughly calibrate the exact measurements needed to further push audio design to new heights, the owners of Canton built their own anechoic chamber in the late 1980’s. Not a company to rest on its laurels, their next step was to design its own PC software that would lead to the development of DC technology which actually improved substantially the impact and overload tolerance of the bass reproduction found in every speaker in the Canton product line.

It was at the beginning of the 1980’s that saw the first floor standing speaker from the Ergo product line being manufactured for mass consumption, and Canton’s engineers developed their own version of a hybrid-amplifier to drive each speaker chassis installed into the Ergo loudspeaker line. The Ergo 609 DC contains a wood-veneer cabinet that is designed to deliver clear and precise audio for the price of $3,200 a pair. I visited my favorite home theater store in Las Vegas, Premiere Home Entertainment, to check out the Ergo 609 DC.

Overview

These speakers stand over 40 inches high and are 12” in total width while weighing in at 50 pounds each.  They were a nice shade of burgundy that brought out the wood cabinetry design of the 609’s. The 609’s come with the color option of various shades of wood veneer, including burgundy, cherry and ash. This speaker is rated at 170 watts of nominal RMS output power and maxes out at a total RMS output power of 320 total watts, plenty of wattage needed to handle a large audio system.  The connectors in this loudspeaker are all gold-plated, while bi-amplification and bi-wiring are an integral design element added to the Ergo product line of floor standing speakers. The crossover frequency is measured at 3500Hz, 300Hz and the SPL output level is rated at 88.3 db while the nominal impedance of these speakers clocked in at 4-8 ohms.

The see-through black metal mesh grille covering each speaker barely hides the speaker’s two 8-inch woofers with the 1-inch tweeter and 7-inch midrange cone contained inside the wood cabinets. The tweeter’s cone material consists of an aluminum-magnesium hybrid that contains a silk surrounding.  This allows the tweeter to absorb sound distortion emanating out of the cone before it escapes the speaker’s cabinet. This tweeter is outfitted with a connected piece that contains the cone and the voice coil, thus eliminating high heat dissipation, which of course results in much better handling of the sound flowing through the Ergo speakers.

Upon closer examination of the 609’s, the mid-bass and main woofers used in the speakers contain dark anodized aluminum cones that have concave dust caps made out of the same material. All four drivers that are a part of this speaker series are magnetically shielded, so the consumer won’t have to worry about causing damage to their old CRT TV set if they have not yet upgraded to a LCD or plasma HDTV.

The Ergo product line contains wave-geometry woofer surrounds that increase the speaker’s ability to reproduce low-end bass elements to the overall audio soundstage.  The shape of the speaker baffles design were helped along with their layout by incorporating sophisticated computer processes which prevent acoustic rebound reflections coming from the edge of the speaker’s cabinets.  

Set Up

The room in which I handled the 609’s was the smallest showroom at Premiere Home Entertainment, with the total length of the room measuring in at 14 feet long and 10 feet in total width. In smaller rooms such as this, I find it is easier to discern tonal quality from high-end speakers. The speakers were attached to the Marantz AV8003 AV pre-amp/receiver with music being sourced from a Rotel RDV-1093 CD player.

For an isolated demonstration of the 609’s, I made sure that the two subwoofers in the room were off. I wanted to hear exactly how well the Canton speakers performed without the added benefit of a subwoofer and determine if the two wave-geometry woofers installed in both speakers could deliver powerful bass.  The two 609 speakers were situated at a 70-degree angle at either side of the room and I was sitting 6 feet away from them against the wall. The break-in time of these speakers is very low, approximately two weeks. The Rotel RDV-1093 DVD/CD player has the capability to play DVD-audio, DVD-RW, and CD-R/RW formats, but I made sure the Marantz AV8003 a/v receiver dispersed only true 2-channel stereo signals.

The AV8003 has the capability to output 192 Khz/24 bit audio D/A conversion, so I knew that this a/v receiver could really show the true power of the Canton speakers. The receiver was set up in the room using the Audyssey MultEQ auto calibration tool in the AV8003 receiver, and the room was very well insulated from any outside noise.   

Music

The first audio CD that was used for this demonstration was from Pink Floyd’s 1992 release, “The Final Cut”. This recording was made during the last days of the original Pink Floyd line-up as guitarist David Gilmour and bass player/vocalist Roger Waters were not getting along together at all, and the mostly sullen songs on this CD reflects that type of in-fighting mood. The first track I heard on this CD was “Your Possible Pasts”. The song starts out with sound effects very reminiscent of Floyd’s best material in the 1980’s, and the Canton 609’s were extremely capable of delivering the various sound effects in the build-up of this song such as the pool hall sounds, quiet footsteps and barely intelligible whispers with no problem at all. I could clearly hear a door closing right before the guitar cuts into the song and really kicks the tune into a much higher gear.

As the first defined squeals came out of guitar player’s David Gilmour’s instrument, the subtle yet strong percussion broke into the song structure and then Roger Water’s well-defined low vocalization was highlighted front and center of the audio soundstage. The instrumental interludes of this song were warm and had a nice degree of tonal balance. The small showroom was filled with the rather large sound of propelling guitar, vocals and piano tinkling that perfectly meshed in a cohesive and non-contrived fashion during this part of the demonstration. The keyboards being played by the late Richard Wright sounded animated and completely vibrant without any kind of compression loss when the volume control of the entire audio system was raised to a higher level.

The Canton 609 speakers handled low-end extremely well, and the two 8-inch woofers that accompany both of these speakers seemed to make all the difference. I was able to discern that the 609’s were pushing out high levels of low-end, yet the sound displacement from the speakers made me get out of my chair and check yet again to make sure the subwoofers were indeed off. Much to my surprise, they were, yet the bass levels fully encapsulated the audio experience using just the Canton 609’s and nothing else. “Your Possible Pasts” continued along, encasing my ears in sweet sounds of guitar leads, light piano and the deep vocals of Roger Waters, and as the song faded into the next, I could not wait to hear what a different, more tonally ‘alive’ song in Pink Floyd’s repertoire would bring to the Canton 609’s.

The song I next listened to next was also from the “Final Cut” CD and was entitled “When the Tigers Broke Free”.  This song moved along at a much faster pace from the start, a type of tune that could show the range of the Canton speakers, along with the Marantz AV8003 a/v receiver’s capabilities to power such a hard-driving song. The track starts out with the drummer hitting his cue as the keyboard playing of Wright breaks through during this song’s early moments and then the fluid guitar licks bring the song to its highest level of mid-range tones. Roger Waters’ vocals sounded fluent with a wider vocal range than I’m accustomed to, having primarily only heard his vocal abilities by listening to the early Pink Floyd years of 1968-1980. The 8-inch woofers from the Canton speakers again delivered the low-end tones from Waters’ heavy bass guitar without any distortion whatsoever yet managed to emphasize the bass lines with a powerful impact.

As the keyboards were sent swirling around the soundstage, I was struck with my newfound awareness of the Canton speaker’s ability to bring out the dynamic range of this electrifying song without any coloration detected at all. I was also made very aware of the 609’s capacity of delivering the mid-range audio in a very clean and accurate way as the song continued to plow along as Gilmour unleashed a guitar solo that showed his true dexterity when it comes to structuring a fluid solo bereft of too much flash without any substance. As the song was slowly ending, I heard the softer bass parts disintegrating into the background of the tune with agility and grace.

We popped in a compilation CD of various types of music that would offer an example of the Canton 609’s delivery of different musical styles, specifically the blues.  Although the CD did not contain any liner notes stating who the exact band members were on this CD, the blues guitar work of the band was at the forefront of the first song. The acoustic bass was used as the intro of the song and the steady strumming of the strings on the bass were well-defined and fluent, allowing the 609’s to display its range of bass dynamics.

The 609’s were more than capable of delivering a strong cacophony of brass, bass, percussion and aggressive guitar tones that struck me with its strength, but was not so overpowering to me that I wanted to turn the volume down at any time. On the contrary, I was so impressed with the speaker system’s agility to compress the song’s treble tones to extremely pleasurable levels.  As the tune ended, I made sure that silence between that song and the next was completely devoid of any type of “pink noise” before the following song began. I could not detect any amount of noise whatsoever during this small time interval, so that was a really good sign that the Canton 609’s could handle the quietist moments of a CD with as much skill and aplomb as it could the loudest moments.

Downside


The Canton 609 series of loudspeakers will bring out every sound-engineered flaw and audio glitch that is heard in any CD you may have in your musical collection.  If your tastes in music tend to migrate towards listening to musicians that never use a decent sound engineer, these types of poorly-engineered CD’s will sound blatantly poor as the quality of the Canton speakers expose these audio flaws exponentially.  The brightness of these speakers will also tend to bring out an audio CD’s high range with much greater emphasis than you could be comfortable with.

The retail price of these speakers will run you a cool $3,200 for the pair. While that is a decent enough price point for a true audio connoisseur, the cost of this speaker system might be too overwhelming for someone who just wants a mild upgrade for a listening setup. As far as the speaker’s weight, having to lug around the 50 pounds of speaker bulk apiece might be too much to handle if you have to move frequently or want to install these speakers on a separate speaker mount for higher elevation in your listening space.

Conclusion

The Canton line of speakers is well-known for bringing a unique and scientific design element into every audio component they manufacture. After hearing the intricate highs and precise lows that these Canton speakers dished out, I was captivated by the overall quality of the 609’s. The Canton 809’s excelled, whether it was with the precise bass audio coming from the two woofers, or the excellent mid-range and treble audio signals emanating from the tweeter and mid-range cone.   As long as your musical tastes are more aligned with well-engineered CD’s that cover the full musical spectrum of jazz, classical, rock, electronica, techno and the like, you will be vastly satisfied with the natural-sounding and sophisticated audio purity of the Canton Ergo 609 series.

 

Special thanks goes to Premiere Home Entertainment, a Las Vegas based home entertainment company specializing in the design and installation of home theater, home automation, and home integration systems.  They are located at 2300 N. Rainbow Blvd., Suite 119 in Las Vegas. 

Manufacturer Canton
Model Ergo 609 DC





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