Surround Sound Speaker Systems
Canton GLE 490 Floor-standing Speakers, GLE 455 Center Channel, GLE 430 Bookshelf Speakers, and AS 105 SC Subwoofer
- Written by Andrew Yang
- Published on 21 May 2009
The GLE series is a broad family of speaker designs ranging from floor standing full range towers to low-profile wall mounted units. The test configuration was a traditional 7.1 setup, with 490 towers up front, 455 center and 430 bookshelf units as side and rear surrounds. The requested subwoofer was the AS 105 SC, a 10" bass reflex design which represents the largest subwoofer matched to the GLE line. I inquired about the absence of any dipole options in the lineup, given the rather broad array of offerings. Similar to many manufacturers, Canton's view of home theater speaker requirements has changed given the vast improvements in the source material since the early days of Dolby Pro-Logic. The high channel separation possible with discrete channels combined with the potential requirement for high fidelity output from the surrounds mean the surround speaker requirement is better served by direct radiators. This compares to dipoles whose primary purposes were to limit the ability of the listener to localize the surrounds and increase the surround soundstage size.
The common steps in setting up front speakers are to establish distances from rear and side walls, and to slightly toe-in the face to align with the primary listening position. While Canton provides recommended distances from the rear wall, they also recommend keeping the units perpendicular to the wall rather than toed-in toward the listener. Extensive work was done optimizing the dispersion patterns from the tweeters so the optimal position is straight ahead. The only stated exception would be in cases where the room is exceptionally well damped, which was not the case in my room.
Perhaps as a concession to the growing number of flat panel installations, the center channel was designed to either be placed directly against or away from the wall. The side and rear surrounds were placed slightly above head height in the typical locations.
The provided subwoofer took the spot of my existing subwoofer, which while not ideal in terms of maximizing the room loading, is a reasonable compromise. The rather irregular dimensions and extensions off the listening room do much to limit the creation or perpetuation of standing waves.