Okay. If I were to write a two-sentence review of these speakers, I’d write the following:
“I really, subjectively like these speakers; and their stellar measurements notwithstanding, wouldn’t be bothered in the least bit even if they measured horribly. Put them in your Final Four if you’re looking for excellent speakers in the $6,000 to $8,000 range.”
However, I guess that’s not enough, so read on.
The Canton Vento Reference 7’s are 3-way, bass-reflex floorstanders employing two 7” aluminum woofers, one 7” aluminum midrange, and one 1” aluminum-manganese tweeter. They stand 41.3” high, 8.9” wide and 13.2” deep and weigh a tad over 65 pounds each. Nominal impedance ranges from 4 to 8 ohms. It’s not super efficient, but puts out a very respectable SPL of 88.5 (at 1 watt, at 1 meter).
The speaker cabinet itself is a 3-chamber, “sandwich” design and features what Canton describes as a multi-curved wave shape. The cabinet is made of layers of wood and said to be extremely rigid, and it sure feels like that. It incorporates what Canton calls “Displacement Control technology” (DC).
As I understand it, the Canton DC technology employs a proprietary high-pass filter to prevent infrasonic signals (those below the audible frequency range) from affecting the bass driver. Infrasonic signals can generate harmonic distortion in the audible lower bass range and cause a loss of bass articulation. Canton claims that DC technology allows the speakers to provide clear, linear bass reproduction at much lower frequencies than could otherwise be attained.
The speaker can be biamped or biwired by removing the gold jumpers from between the bass and midrange/tweeter terminals.
A Blind Date
I have never listened to Canton speakers before receiving the Reference 7’s and did not know what to expect. This is unusual for me because I examine a lot of audio reviews (yes – I read those other publications) and try to have an idea of the “house sound” of a product before I audition it. In the case of the Canton Vento Reference 7, I didn’t know if I was reviewing “accurate” or “analytical” speakers, “warm” or “euphonic” speakers, “fast” speakers, “detailed” speakers, “imaging” speakers or some other animal. I also had no idea of the retail cost. This meant that I went into my listening sessions without too many preconceptions.
My personal preferences in speakers are as follows: 1) fast and lively; 2) detailed without being unrealistic or “hyperdetail”; 3) full-range articulate bass extension, but with weight; and 4) wide soundstaging that is neutral or slightly laid back.
Now you say, “Doesn’t everyone want these characteristics in their speakers?” No, they don’t. For instance, many audiophiles will sacrifice bass weight for bass articulation. I cannot accept that. I go to a fair number of live performances, and a double bass will make you feel the notes, not just hear them. Others will hear an amp and speaker combination that produces what I would regard as “unrealistic hyperdetail”, but they promptly pull out their credit cards to buy them. Some of this depends on the music you like to listen to. Someone who listens primarily to small group acoustic music may want to hear every microdynamic detail of each performer of a trio of guitarists. However, a speaker/amp combo that produces such detail has a fair chance of sounding (to me) unnatural when playing headbanger rock at concert levels. This suggests that if you regularly listen to a very wide variety of musical genres, you may need to buy speakers that aren’t necessarily “the best” for every genre, but which come close in all genres.
I listened to the Canton Vento Reference 7 speakers in four different system setups. I started by breaking the speakers in for 7 days by adding them to my simple family room TV/Stereo setup, connecting them to a Nakamichi AV-10 receiver (110 Wpc) and playing music, TV programs and DVD movies through them via a Sony DSS receiver and Sony DVD player.
The room is relatively large, measuring 25.5’ by 16.5’ with only three full walls, since it flows into the dining room and kitchen on the fourth side. I was only doing this for break-in purposes, but I couldn’t help but notice the enjoyable sound coming out of these speakers. It was immediately obvious what the Vento Reference 7’s were not: they were definitely not thin, not slow, and not analytical. Though they were not yet set up for serious listening, I caught myself occasionally thinking “hey – that sounds really nice! “ In addition to a very likeable midrange, they immediately surprised me with their bass reproduction.
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