Drivers: One 1" Tweeter, Two
4" Midrange, Two 4"
● MFR: 27 Hz - 30 kHz
Crossover: 400 Hz, 3.3 kHz
ICE Amplifier Module: 200
Dimensions: 47.2" H x 4.9" W x
Weight: 28 Pounds/Each
MSRP: $3,200/Pair USA
While most consumers are probably into surround sound, the reality is that a fair percentage
still listen to two-channel stereo. The shift to flat-panel video displays
and "thin-is-in" look of home theater has perhaps increased the interest in
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.
Canton, the German manufacturer of top-notch speakers such as the Vento and
Karat lines, recently introduced its "CD" series of speakers, incorporating
the slender profile and aluminum cabinets to match today's flat panels.
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's share the same cabinet and driver arrangement as the passive CD
300 speakers, a 2 ½-way design consisting of a 1" aluminum/manganese
tweeter bracketed by four 4-inch aluminum cone mids and woofers in a
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).
The Canton's are unusually tall speakers (47 inches), although the
woofer-tweeter-woofer configuration places the tweeter at ear level when
you are seated. The 3200's follow the sleek design typical of speakers intended to
be mated with flat screens: very narrow across the front, and tapering off
even further towards the rear of the cabinet.
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 3200's are active speakers, the merits of which are discussed in the
Secrets feature article, "The Benefits of An Active Speaker Lifestyle".
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.
Because the 3200's are active, the back panel bears a closer resemblance to
a powered subwoofer than passive speakers. The primary connection method is
through line-level single-ended RCA jacks, either from a receiver/pre-pro, or
directly from the source component such as a television, CD or DVD player's
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
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.
I configured the 3200's as if I were a targeted consumer, in a two-channel
active system. During my time with the Canton's, I ran them through the
pre-outs of my THX-Select certified Integra DTR 7.6 receiver, as well as
directly from the analog audio outputs of my Comcast-branded Motorola 6412
(Ph. III) digital cable box.
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
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.
The second immediate impression (which I should have expected, but it was still
surprising), was the clarity of the 3200's tweeter. Since my daughter is an
aspiring ballerina, The Nutcracker (Mercury SACD, London Symphony Orchestra)
is a staple of our playlist. The fast transients of bows against strings,
breaths into woodwinds, ringing triangles, all came through without a hint
of harshness or sizzle. The lower end provided a satisfactory amount of
energy, of course limited by the physics involved in 4" drivers.
Personally, I preferred the addition of a powered subwoofer to fill out the
lower octaves. However, I don't know if the typical CD 3200 customer will
bother to pair them with a subwoofer, since the K.I.S.S. approach would be
to connect them directly from the video source (cable/satellite/OTA tuner).
Indeed, once my wife realized that operating the system involved simply
turning on the cable box and using the Canton's two-button volume remote
control, the Spousal Acceptance Factor went through the roof.
These speakers are sufficiently revealing that they will truly
shine when fed high-quality source material. PBS's Keeping Score series
features Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, and I
happened upon an episode featuring the music of Stravinsky. Excerpts from
The Rite of Spring and The Firebird Suite were presented in Dolby Digital,
with the cable box making the digital-to-analog conversion. However,
replaying the same content recorded from my PVR, this time through the
Integra receiver's higher-quality DAC's, there was a noticeable improvement
in sound quality. Then, in perhaps an unfair comparison, I played The
Firebird from the Telarc SACD (Paavo Jarvi-Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra)
through the Integra/Canton combination. Point made: it may be convenient to
run the Canton's directly from a source, but you are keeping the Porsche in
first gear by doing so.
Go to Part II.
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