Mighty miniatures

Canton may be a company with a large reputation, but it understands small speakers, nonetheless. Ed Selley gets to grips with the dinky Movie CD 105

Canton has been making sub/sat packages for as long as the concept has been a recognised phenomenon. Its current Movie range features no fewer than 10 separate packages, of which the £500 CD 105 tested here is towards the lower end of the price structure – although there are less expensive models than this.

Arriving in a single box, the CD 105 is nothing if not compact. The package consists of four dinky satellites, each fitted with an 3in main driver and a 0.6in tweeter; a dedicated centre speaker with a pair of the 3in drivers to better handle the task of getting dialogue to the listener; and a 100W, 8in long-throw subwoofer. The sub is considerably larger than the satellites, but still relatively compact. The review sample came in black, but silver is also available.

The satellites are sturdy and well built, and the finish is smart and unobtrusive. A nice touch are the wall mounts for all five satellites and an easy-to-assemble and attractive floorstand.

After substituting the push-post style bare wires for plugs, setup was simple, and the satellites are completely unfussy about how or where they are placed. This has to be one of the simplest packages to integrate into the average lounge – apart from the even less demanding virtual surround designs. The best relationship between sub and satellites was achieved with the subwoofer on axis with the front speakers. A 90Hz crossover gave the best results between supporting the satellites without the low end becoming too obviously directional.

For a relatively small system, the CD 105 proves surprisingly potent in use. The heavyweight soundtrack of Unstoppable is handled with confidence and considerable reserves of energy. The satellites are able to keep dialogue clear and distinguishable from the train-related mayhem, and incidental details are easy to pick out without the greater sense of the soundtrack itself being lost. The sub is not the most agile of devices, but the impact of the train with the various objects in the way is reproduced with laudable slam and attack. Close your eyes while listening to the Cantons and they manage to sound much larger than they are, which is surely the trick that any sub/sat system is looking to pull off.

Room fillers

The Cantons can fill a 5 x 4m room with a 3m-high ceiling and, just as importantly, there is no sense of five distinct points of sound. The sats combine to provide a strong frontal soundstage with commendable handover between front and rear. Effects placement is assured and extends a considerable distance from the speakers. Quite how much larger a room the Cantons will fill is unclear, but an average lounge should not be beyond them. The satellites are not hugely sensitive, but their impedance response is good and the power handling of 100W means that they can be driven to impressive levels and remain smooth and fairly refined.

Music-wise, the Canton system is more convincing than many other sub/sat packages, but the weakness is still the amount of work the woofer is being asked to do. The same explosion-filling grunt it possesses is less effective when being asked to follow fast or complex bass lines. More relaxed music is better presented, but there is still a slightly lumpen sense to low notes. This is a shame because the satellites are extremely impressive with vocals and once again manage to produce a soundstage that is remarkable for a 13cm tall speaker.

So while not perfect with music, the Canton CD105’s ability with film soundtracks more than compensates. For those with small-size cinema rooms and meagre budgets, this system is worth auditioning.


HCC VERDICT

Canton CD 105
Price:
£500 Approx

Highs: Well built and potent sounding speaker package with very flexible placement
Lows: Performs better with films than music; not for large rooms

Performance: 4/5
Design: 4/5
Features: 4/5
Overall: 4/5


Specifications

Satellite
Drive Units: 1 x 3in aluminium cone bass driver; 1 x 0.6inmm aluminium tweeter
Enclosure: Sealed
Frequency Response: 80-25kHz
Sensitivity: 85dB
Power Handling: 100W
Dimensions: 90(w) x 135(h) x 100(d)mm
Weight: 1kg

Centre
Drive Units: 2 x 3in aluminium cone bass driver; 1 x 0.6in aluminium tweeter
Enclosure: Sealed
Frequency Response: 80-25kHz
Sensitivity: 87dB
Power Handling:100 W
Dimensions: 400(w) x 188(h) x 256(d)mm
Weight: 1.7kg

Subwoofer
Drive Unit: 8in long-throw, forward firing
Enclosure: Ported
Frequency Response: 33Hz-140Hz
On board power: 100W
Dimensions: 240(w) x 420(h) x 425(d)mm
Weight: 10.4kg