In fact, most of the homes I've been to with flat-panel
displays in them were hooked up to a two-channel stereo system. Speaker
manufacturers have taken notice, and many companies have dedicated lines
designed to match the sleek, narrow look of the new video displays.
newest entry to the CD line is the CD 3200, a fully-active speaker with
an integrated digital amplifier for those who prefer their music, like their
martinis, stirred rather than shaken.
The 3200 uses Canton's ADT-25 tweeter, the same speaker used in its higher-end Vento, Karat, and Ergo series. The woofers are the same ones used in the CD 300's, but the drivers have been re-engineered with an enhanced motor structure, improved spider assembly, and "Wave" surrounds with sinusoidal cross-sections to increase excursion capabilities, which are said to improve the power handling and deep bass response.
The 2 ½-way crossover (400 Hz, 3.3 kHz)
operates so that the lower pair of woofers produce only low frequency bass,
while the upper two woofers reproduce both bass and midrange frequencies
(because the two sets of woofers cover different frequency ranges, they are
not considered a D'Appolito design).
Fit'n-finish is excellent.
The enclosures are brushed aluminum, with permanently mounted grilles. The
bottoms of the Cantons have threaded holes for spikes, but also include
heavy-cast aluminum circular base plates for use on hardwood floors.
The Cantons use B & O's
"IcePower" switching (Class D) amplifier, which has the
efficiency of Class D amplifiers without the distortion commonly associated
with Class D designs. As a result, the 3200 - which is less than five inches
wide and barely six inches deep - sports an internal amplifier capable of
producing 200 watts into 4 ohms.
Speaker level inputs are also provided which are attenuated to line-level. Lastly, there is an RCA output jack for connection to a subwoofer if desired.
Like a subwoofer, the Canton's can be powered on full-time, or automatically triggered by an input signal. There are two volume push-buttons on the back of each speaker (one each for up and down), but the Canton comes supplied with its own remote control to adjust volume.
A telephone cable connected between the speakers ensures that any volume adjustments made from the remote control are applied to both speakers. The rear panel also includes a balance control knob, should you place the 3200's at uneven distances.
Finally, the back panel includes a
button that automatically cuts 50 dB if you use a fixed-level source input
such as a CD player or fixed-speaker output from a TV. Canton obviously
placed a lot of thought into the various intended uses and connection
possibilities of consumers.
While running the 3200's through the Integra, I mostly operated the speakers full-range, but also experimented by sending the low frequencies (below 80 Hz) to Hsu Research and Crystal Acoustics subwoofers. The 3200's were placed eight feet apart at the sides of my decidedly non-flat panel CRT-based RPTV, with just a hint of toe-in towards the prime listening position. When running directly through the cable box, I used Canton's remote control to adjust volume.
So, how was this
surround-sound junkie going to adjust to a steady diet of two-channel?
Two characteristics became apparent immediately when listening to the Cantons. First, they threw off a very wide soundstage. I wasn't particularly surprised, since the combination of narrow front baffle and woofer-tweeter-woofer arrayed speakers typically result in a wide soundstage presentation, but it was still an impressive amount of sound coming from two slim speakers.
NFL football coverage, decoded into two-channel DD by the
Integra's processor, almost had a pseudo surround-sound atmosphere.
Play-by-play was locked solidly in the phantom center, with crowd noise
wafting around the edges of the soundstage. The usual trade-off of having
such a wide soundstage, i.e., reduced detail, was barely noticeable.