Canton CD 300 Home Theater Speaker System

Normally, speakers don't jazz me out of the box - I gotta hear them first. But Canton 's CD 300 speaker system, which combines technology from the company's high-end Karat series with the sleek design of its smaller CD 100 model, primed the adrenaline pump even before I connected the speakers to my receiver. Just lifting the slender, shiny enclosures from the cartons gave me a sensory thrill. The unusually smooth, flawless, brushed-aluminum finish pleased both my fingers and eyes, and the heft made it clear that these weren't just thin-skinned hollow cylinders.

The system borrows its name from the CD 300 front towers, which at almost 4 feet tall are twice as long as the three CD 360 F speakers used for the center and surround channels. The CD 360 Fs can be oriented either vertically or horizontally and, if wall-mounted, can even be used for all three front positions with a flat-panel TV. Deep-bass duties were covered by Canton 's top-of-the-line ASD 250 SC subwoofer.

SETUP While there is no absolute correlation between attention to detail and superior sonics, these German-made speakers spoke volumes about the care taken in their manufacture. The front towers arrive wrapped in fabric, which comes in handy to remove the inevitable smudges and fingerprints. The mating between each tower and its base - a large, heavy disc - is elegantly simple and secure, requiring only three screws. Once assembled, the base and speaker appear to be a single unit and will stand securely on any surface. The base has grooves for routing speaker wire, and all the speakers have gold-plated screw-clamp terminals.

Each CD 360 F speaker comes with wall-mounting hardware that fits integral brackets on its back panel, but for this review I placed the surrounds on a shelf above and slightly to the rear of the listening position. The center speaker rested horizontally on a stand immediately below the screen of my 42-inch Toshiba rear-projection TV, and the towers were initially placed about 8 inches to the left and right of the screen.

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