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Canton Vento Reference 7 Floorstanding Speaker Review

Ed Momkus recounts the level of technology and performance Canton has infused into its $7,000 speaker

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After those 7 days, I decided to move the Reference 7’s to my basement “teen room”.

This is a 21’ x 12’ room in my basement equipped with a Denon AVR 1705 receiver (75 Wpc), a Sony DSS and a Pioneer Elite DV 38A. These play through some inexpensive Polk floorstanders, which I picked up on a bargain-basement sale a few years ago. The room is hard on speakers because it has uncovered ceramic tile floors, a large stone fireplace and generally bare walls. It adjoins a workout room I have in the basement and I regularly move my stationary bike into the “teen room” to ride.

The instant I replaced the Polks with the Reference 7’s I was impressed. The music came to life. The bass went way lower, with a much more realistic weight, the midrange made vocals much more alluring and the treble was much cleaner, losing its graininess. After listening for an hour, I concluded that these speakers would sound even better in a real listening room with high-end components. However, like a really intriguing blind date, I thought I’d let things play out.

Cambridge 840C CD Player

I left the Reference 7’s in the basement for another week and really began to enjoy my (otherwise painful) aerobic workouts. The last thing I played before moving them was the Talking Heads Stop Making Sense DVD. I had invited an audiophile friend over for a listen, and within a few minutes we’re both tapping our toes and bobbing our heads. (If you haven’t heard/seen this DVD, go out and get it right now.) After a few tunes, my friend turned to me and said “These are really great speakers. How much do they cost?” I told him I had no idea

His question got me thinking: what if, instead of going right to the main listening room, I keep stepping up the head-to-head competition and see how these speakers do? I was just starting a review of the $38,000 YG Acoustics Kipod in the main room, so I asked my buddy if he would set the Reference 7 up in his listening room at home. It had become evident that the Canton Vento Reference 7’s were excellent at providing body and weight to the music without slowing it down or sounding mushy. I wanted to see how they would fare in a tubed system. My buddy runs his system with a Cary SLI 80 integrated (80 Wpc in ultralinear mode; 40 Wpc in triode mode), which he uses to offset his horn speakers. Would the Reference 7s sound euphonic, slow and sluggish, with too much weight?

I gave him the speakers and told him to play with them for a week or 2. After a few days, he called and said that his system had never sounded better and that the speakers made everything sound “gorgeous”. He also asked whether I knew that these speakers retail at $7,000. I told him that I didn’t know that, but that after listening to them, I wasn’t surprised. When I went over to his house to listen to the speakers in his system, I was again very impressed. Despite being run by a lower-powered tube amp, the speakers did not seem slow or create the feeling of being “heavy”. Instead, they sounded (as my friend said) “gorgeous”, but without the downsides.

So after another week of abstinence, I finally got the Canton Vento Reference 7’s back home. But instead of immediately hooking them up to my main system, I decided to take one more interim step. I took my Nautilus SCMS (essentially a differently shaped B&W Nautilus 805S), placed them on stands in my main listening room and drove them with my Proceed HPA 3 amp. The SCMS’s are $2400 speakers, and sounded pretty good in the “big room”, with surprising bass extension and very good dimensionality. I hooked up the Canton Vento Reference 7’s. Every aspect of the presentation was improved, with the possible exceptions of treble extension and speed. Bass extension, midrange smoothness, soundstage, dimensionality, body and weight all were superior through the Vento Reference 7. In particular, I noted that the additional power of the Proceed HPA 3 amp (250 Wpc) added snap and authority.

It was evident that I had not yet heard the Reference 7’s at their best.

4 Responses to Canton Vento Reference 7 Floorstanding Speaker Review

  1. Ronald Hickman says:

    loved the review. shopping Canton and KEF now, would love to hear or read your review on a comparison of the two. thanks…….Ron…..

  2. Ed Momkus says:

    Hi Ron,

    Sorry for the delay in responding to your post. I have not had the pleasure of hearing KEF speakers for several years. I owned KEFs a long time ago, but that would not be a fair comparison. I will make a point of listening to some KEFs in the near future and comment.

  3. Ofer Taran says:

    To fit in my room size I would choose the Reference 5 for my next pair of speakers. I currently own another legendary product of Canton – Ergo 90 since, yes, 1992 without missing a day of listening to this fantastic set of speakers. They are simply incredible, and people visiting my flat say that the sound does not come from speakers but rather from the room, which to me is a great compliment to the crisp, detailed, clear and warm sound of these speakers . ( coupled to my NAD Monitor power amplifier and NAD receiver.

  4. Ravi kumar says:

    i just got an used vento reference 7 dc.. i use a rotel power amp RB1582.. 200 watts at 8 ohms.. now whats the actual impedance of these speakers and the max wattage at 8 Ohms.. its confusing.. the specs say 4..8 Ohms.. 170 – 340 Watts..

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