- Written by Piero Gabucci
- Published on 19 November 2009
The 5.2 is the middle of the pack in their floor standing Reference line, with the larger 3.2 DC and the smaller 7.2 DC while a stand-mounted 9.2 DC is also available. Whether you call it significant, the difference among the floor standing units is in cabinet and driver sizes. Otherwise looking at them you'd be hard pressed to tell them apart – the design is that consistent.
The full-sized loudspeakers share the same 3-way bass-reflex design. And they share the same compliment of drivers, the 5.2 has 2-8" aluminum cone woofers, a 7" midrange aluminum cone and a 1" aluminum oxide ceramic dome tweeter replacing the previous Reference aluminum-manganese dome - more on that later. It stands about 43" tall and weighs a hefty 66 pounds.
In terms of sheer visual design, the Reference is exceptional in its simplicity and quiet elegance. There are no straight lines, with all sides curved and edges radius. The classic piano black is liquid glossy. Rational and functional, there are no "gestures" in the design save for the obvious base or plinth.
Considered a shock absorber the podium reducing or eliminating external interference and essentially "floats" it off the floor. Reaching up underneath between the main body of the speaker and the base reveals the down-facing port which also helps prevent the wall or floor from contributing to the low frequency range.
The cabinet is very much Vento, the curved side walls are multiple layers of MDF forming a rigid monocoque enclosure almost an inch thick, or 21 mm. Internal bracing also adds rigidity by separating driver compartments into 2 chambers. The outer finish is second to none as the stunning piano black is a built-up of up to 12 coats of varnish applied while the preceding coat is still wet. The final luster is achieved polishing by hand over and over.
The "DC" in the line is Canton's Displacement Control design. Built into the circuitry it controls bass by limiting driver excursion via a high pass filter at unwanted or "infrasonic" frequencies.
The 5.2 DC can be bi-wired/bi-amped with gold-plated screw-type binding posts. This in the end was one of my minor gripes, although substantial in girth, the screw would not tighten to my satisfaction by skipping the threads, almost feeling stripped. Because the threads have a gap it allows the "nut" to squeeze the two sides together a bit too much.
Immediately noticeable about the mid-range and woofer drivers are their shinny aluminum cones - aluminum for its high strength and rigidity, and ultimately for its ability to create detail especially in the midrange.
Examined closely the drivers employ multiple diameters in the shape of the cone. Canton refers to this as TCC or triple curved cone technology. The obvious reason would suggest a more rigid driver produces less distortion. But more so, it's a complex formula that allows the driver to function at multiple frequencies accurately.
Because the dust cap is integral to the surface of the cone, Canton believes "multiple resonance paths" prevent the formation of standing waves across the driver, also reducing distortion. Lastly the larger radius increases the surface area with the double cone shape. This is said to provide less deformation especially at higher excursions, and once again, lowering distortion.
The gem however seems to be the new tweeter. The dome composition combines aluminum and oxide ceramic creating a rigid and lightweight structure. Even the shape of the new dome is greater in height and width, integrated with the baffle provides greater bandwidth especially at highest frequencies.
Known as the ADT-25 for the reference line, the tweeter flared baffle was also redesigned for greater off-axis dispersion. I can tell you that this was extremely obvious while walking side to side while listening. Canton claims a 3dB increase in efficiency, which is quite dramatic.
Crossover circuitry is given the same consideration as cabinet design or driver execution. Rubber mounts separate the circuit board from the cabinet. Mentioned already was DC technology or displacement control. Canton controls the bass drivers from infrasonic signals (which are described as those under 20 Hz), because as woofers try to reproduce frequencies below their capabilities, harmonic distortions are produced.