Canton Vento Home Theater Speaker System

With all the talk these days of audio gear being imported from China, you'd be forgiven for thinking that a brand like Canton probably comes from the same place that brought us yummy Cantonese food like stir-fried vegetables and wonton noodles. In truth, however, you'd be far from the mark, as this Canton takes its name from the Latin word cantare (to sing) and the German word ton (tone) and is based in central Germany - a place better known for its bratwurst and beer.

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Residing at the top of Canton's extensive range, the Vento speaker series combines an all-metal driver lineup with cabinetry that rejects the typical slab-sided box look for elegantly tapered designs reminiscent of many classical string instruments. This beauty is more than skin deep, as the resulting lack of parallel sides helps the Ventos to avoid internal standing waves that might color the sound, while the impressively rigid construction helps to kill off cabinet resonances. Available in both maple and cherry veneers plus a couple of high-tech silver finishes, the Ventos can be used with their grilles installed for an elegant and sophisticated look or with their shiny metal drivers exposed if you'd rather pump up the tech factor.

Although tweeters that employ metal domes have been commonplace for decades, metal-cone woofers are a somewhat rarer breed. Weight becomes a significant factor, and a metal cone's higher inertia will typically lower the woofer's efficiency and upper-frequency limit. On the other hand, metal cones can be pushed much harder before breakup and distortion set in, enabling powerful bass output from a relatively small cone.

Canton uses a two-step solution to avoid problems in the floorstanding Vento 809 DC. First, it divides the woofing duties between two smaller, lighter drivers, which in turn hand over to the midrange driver at a relatively low 250 Hz. Then Canton employs something it has called Displacement Control (hence the DC in the name) to filter out infrasonic frequencies, greatly reducing the big, floppy cone movements you often see in ported speakers such as this. Still, the company claims that the 809 DC has useful response right down to 20 Hz, even with this ultra-low-bass filtering. Filling in the middle is a 7-inch aluminum midrange driver positioned above the tweeter, ensuring that the latter ends up close to ear height.