The German brand's DM 50 set the benchmark for soundbases - this bigger model follows suit
Canton’s DM 50, reviewed last year, is perhaps best used with TVs around the 48in mark; the step-up DM 75 on test here supports screens up to 60in (or up to 40kg in weight). Bigger screens need a bigger sound and the DM 75’s roomier cabinet should provide the extra oomph you’re looking for.
Its run-of-the-mill black box design is more functional than fancy, but it exudes a quiet elegance that’ll go down well in most living rooms. The DM 75’s real beauty lies in its build quality. The impenetrable HDF cabinet is rigid and robust, which will pay dividends in terms of sound quality. The black metal mesh and semi-gloss top panel are further examples of a classy construction.
Behind the mesh is a blue LED display showing selected inputs and volume levels. It’s bright but thankfully disappears when idle. The lack of buttons on the front preserves the unit’s minimalist look.
For such a pricey soundbase, the DM 75’s lack of HDMI sockets must count as a disappointment. There are optical and coaxial inputs, analogue input and a subwoofer output, but like the Yamaha SRT-1000 elsewhere in this roundup you can’t use it as an HDMI switcher – something a lot of people are looking for from a soundbase or 'bar.
The DM 75’s modest feature list includes Bluetooth with aptX, Dolby Digital decoding and DTS TruSurround processing. But the most eye-catching thing on the spec sheet is the driver array. Unlike most soundbases, which might throw in some full-range drivers and a couple of subs, the DM 75 offers a three-way design with two 0.75in fabric tweeters, two 2in midrange drivers and a quartet of 4in woofers. Driven by a 200W amplifier, the DM 75 looks like it’s primed for serious sonic devastation.
First though, you’ll need to tweak the sound settings. You can adjust bass and treble levels and choose between three EQ modes for different installation positions – free-standing, with a TV on top, or inside a rack. Making these adjustments is a doddle thanks to the top-drawer remote. Its nine chunky buttons cover all bases, while the silver styling will look good on your coffee table.
In terms of performance the DM 75 is in a different league to its rivals. It’s powerful, assertive and remarkably refined – all the ingredients for a hugely entertaining listen.
The four woofers easily fill the room, making Pacific Rim's bass-heavy sequences sound huge. You won’t feel the need to use that subwoofer output. But this isn’t just a shapeless, resonant rumble – bass is taut, full-bodied and detailed, responding to every beat with impressive agility. It keenly attacks explosions and stops without overhang.
Integration with the midrange driver array is seamless, resulting in a cohesive soundstage. It attacks effects with a snappy, but composed, tone. Yet perhaps the most impressive aspect of the DM 75’s performance is its ability to tease out fine high-frequencies. The three-way design comes up trumps here – the tweeters resolve treble beautifully, leading to a natural and textured sound. It picks out the fizzing top edge of crashing waves in Pacific Rim and small inflections in dialogue.
Flicking between the Stereo and Surround sound modes reveals a slight boost in soundstage width, but it’s not entirely convincing.
The DM 75 is a surprisingly good Bluetooth music player too, making the most of its three-way driver complement and aptX support. It digs out details that go missing on lesser soundbases and renders basslines with great agility.
Canton's soundbase is not the most attractive or feature-packed on the market right now. But thanks to its three-way speaker design, its sound reaches a level of sophistication you simply don’t expect from a soundbase – it’s detailed, powerful and exciting, but always easy on the ear. The only letdown is the lack of HDMI connectivity, which many will have expected at this price. And its £450 price tag is hardly pocket change, either.
Canton DM 75
Price: £450 Approx
Highs: Outstanding detail and bass punch; smooth, composed sound; superb build quality; informative front display panel
Lows: No HDMI connectivity; surround mode adds little; expensive compared to some rivals
Drive units: 2 x 2in midrange drivers; 2 x 0.75in fabric tweeters; 4 x 4in woofers
Connections: Optical digital input; coaxial digital input; analogue stereo input; subwoofer output
Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD MA: No/No
Separate sub: No
Remote control: Yes
725(w) x 69(h) x 320(d)mm
Features: Bass and treble control; Dolby Digital decoder; DTS TruSurround virtual processing; Lip Sync adjustment; 3 x EQ setup modes
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