Vento 809 DC
Vento 805 CM
Size inches (W x H x D)
LS 800 stands are $200 each
Upon reviewing the press material for the new Canton Vento line
of speakers, I came across a phrase “appearance follows function” quoting
chief designer Frank Gobl, in referring to Canton’s speaker design philosophy.
This widely used axiom was originally coined by noted American architect Louis
Sullivan when describing the skin on his new scheme for a high rise building.
His design was unlike the popular Beaux Art architecture of the day where the
skin of the building and the structure were one and the same.
defended ornamenting his steel framed building with a veneer, claiming just
like the skin on your hand reveals the bones within, the veneer of his
building reveals the function of the structure. Mr. Gobl’s reference, although
a derivative of the original, is actually quite interesting when speaking about
the design of this new speaker series.
Vento, Italian for “wind” is the latest loudspeaker design from the 32 year
old German speaker manufacturer. Canton’s philosophy from the early years
still ring true today: speakers belong in the living room, and of course their
“furniture” speakers must, beyond their task of high fidelity, contribute to
the aesthetic of the space. Vento is a perfect realization of that position.
Vento is a close relative to Canton’s Karat Reference line. In fact, if you’re
familiar with Karat, it shares much of the same technology. The company
continues its philosophy that speaker design is an “evolution, not a
revolution”. Hence the design goals at Canton were to give its engineers
freedom to design a line from the ground up, learning from the early
achievements in the Karat design.
For this review, Canton sent me two Vento 809 DC floor-standing speakers, a
pair of 802 bookshelf units, a pair of LS 800 stands for the 802s, and the 805
CM center channel. At this time, no subwoofer is available, however I’m told
that a 250 watt Vento sub, named the AS 800 DC should be out in the fall of
is available in cherry veneer or silver lacquer, but there is no comparison in my
book. The cherry veneer is stunning. Perfectly executed, the finish is
impeccable, with a conservative sheen rather than a high gloss. My immediate
impression was they reminded me of a musical instrument, in finish and shape.
This is of course no accident. Canton likens the speaker design to a fine
quality instrument such as a violin. To further expound on the beauty and
simplicity of design, the speakers have no modular panels, no caps, or end
pieces. The veneer is 100% from edge to edge, front, back, and on top. I can
only describe the build quality as having a very high level of craftsmanship.
The departure for Canton in Vento is the tapered side walls. With a
gentle curve from front to back, the tapered shape adds a distinct
elegance to an otherwise simple enclosure design. The more time I spent with
the speakers, I thought about the shape of an acoustic guitar or violin, and
the very complex nature of sound emanating
Six layers of wood, individually formed and laminated layer to layer,
comprise the construction of the curved sides thereby creating a stiff
The triangular footprint
is inherently much stiffer than a rectangular section, and the significant
internal bracing prevents distortion from the enclosure itself and therefore
creating a “sonically neutral enclosure”. Monocoque describes the process by
which the skin absorbs the stress of the internal structure. Secondly, with
the two side walls not in parallel, Canton hopes to achieve a reduction in
The 809 DC
The 809 DC is a three-way design with an impressive pair of 8” (200 mm) woofer
drivers. At 7” (180 mm), the AM-180 aluminum cone midrange/woofer driver is
found on all the Vento speakers. Canton’s ADT-25 dome tweeter, a 1” (25mm)
aluminum and magnesium cone, is also found throughout the line. With a
sensitivity of 88 dB, and impedance from 4-8 Ohms, the 809 delivers
frequencies from 20 Hz - 40,000 Hz.
The 809 is front ported and weighs 63 pounds. On the rear, nicely placed near the base, are
gold-plated bi-amp/bi-wire screw clamp speaker posts. Although I found the
posts firm and solid, my banana clips interestingly enough did not fit snugly,
but rather loosely, forcing me to use bare wire. I never got around to using
spade connections, but those would have worked fine.
The 809 loudspeaker sits firmly on a 2” base in which Canton places silicon
shock absorbers, providing further isolation it from the floor. I very much like
the hearty blunted steel spikes. They were not sharp, and this is a great advantage when
positioning the speaker on carpeting.
The 802 Bookshelf Speaker
The Vento 802 is a two-way shelf or stand (which I have) speaker. Once again,
sporting the same AM-180 midrange and ADT-25 tweeter, the 802 is rear ported.
Similar to the 809 it has a sensitivity of 87 dB and is also capable of 4-8
Ohms impedance with a frequency response from 27 Hz - 40 kHz. The 802 is 14.2”
high and 12.2” deep. On the stand provided, it sits about 40” high. My
curiosity about the capability of this unit led me to audition them
independently for two-channel music. More on those results later.
The black LS 800 stand is sturdy and mimics the shape of Vento gracefully.
With a solid wide base, it also has the steel carpet spikes.
805 CM Center Channel Speaker
The center channel 805 CM is rather large at almost 21” across and 9” high. In
the horizontal D’Appolito arrangement of 7” drivers flanking the 1” tweeter,
the 805’s shape is perfectly functional in that you can rotate it horizontally
on the provided black stand plate to aim it at the sitting position. With an
efficiency of 87.9 dB and a frequency response between 26 Hz - 40 kHz, the nominal
impedance is similarly 4-8 Ohms. It has dual rear ports, one behind each
Canton uses computers for a number of aspects in the design of the
speakers; simulation and measuring are used for not only the cabinet enclosure but
also the drivers. Canton states that hundreds of technical details all contribute
to the sound quality of the Vento line. Mindful of quality control, Canton
designs and builds all of its own drivers, crossovers, as well as the
Common to all units, the ADT-25 is a 1” one-piece aluminum-manganese dome
tweeter that is newly designed to boost efficiency, and the flared front plane aids
in improving sound dispersion.
The 7” midrange driver, although large enough to move bass frequencies as well,
is also common throughout the Vento line. Again through computer simulation,
the aluminum cone and surround form a powerful magnetic system, original to
the predecessor Karat Reference line.
The large 809 DC (DC stands for Distortion Control) is a proprietary
circuitry designed to aid in bass response and extension. Sporting large dual
aluminum 8” woofers, the technology helps eliminate “infrasonic oscillations,
reduces harmonic distortion, and boosts low-end response”.
The 805 CM center channel is a 2 1/2 –way speaker and shares with all four
models a bass-reflex design. Because of the inherent irregularities from
horizontal driver layouts, Canton argues the sophisticated crossover design
sends both drivers anything below 350 Hz, while midrange frequencies between
350 Hz to 3 kHz are routed to only one of them.
Canton recommends that no toe-in is necessary. Remember that it’s the higher
frequencies that are directional, unlike lower bass frequencies. Recall my
description of the 1” ADT-25 tweeter, the new mounting baffle design is
“transmission” styled, which gives greater heat dispersion.
So, I did not toe them in, and found the claim to be
true. Given that they are front ported, I wasn’t
worried about keeping them too far from the back and side walls, like I
actually have much choice in my smallish listening room anyway.
I don't think enough effort is spent on the proper placement of speakers in a
listening environment. Perhaps lately not only have we accepted room EQ as
the answer, but it has become a crutch, or an easy fix. After all speaker
manufacturers like Canton, spend countless hours and enormous amounts of
engineering to produce full-range speakers. To artificially alter some aspect
of the frequency chain certainly can affect the performance.
It is completely understood that most of us hardly have a choice for
placement, but for my evaluation, I made a tremendous effort to neutralize the
equipment feeding the speakers, allowing them to perform to their maximum
potential. Moving the speakers around, especially the fronts, either the 809s
or the 802s (as mains), I found the best location about 3 feet from the rear
wall and about 2 feet from the side walls. My room is about 12 feet wide, and
I sat about 8 feet back.
I think it’s important to mention a variety of sources were used on these
speakers and in many modes, both two-channel and surround. I was fortunate to
have the Denon AVR-5805 receiver on hand while reviewing the Cantons. This
allowed me to take advantage of the bi-amping capability that both the Vento 809
and the receiver offered. I also used my own Denon AVR-3805 and the Onix Melody SP3
two-channel tube amplifier from AV123 (review forthcoming). For
interconnects and speaker wires I used Ethereal Elite cables.
Canton is as interested in music reproduction as they are in cinema. The Vento
line is meant to be attractive to the discerning audiophile for music and also
bridge the gap to theater.
The promise I was most interested in was that the 809 DC loudspeaker can
deliver full deep bass. Although I imagine Canton may introduce a subwoofer
for this line, as of this writing it doesn’t exist. With the 809 sporting dual
8” woofer drivers, Canton is making a statement.
Listening to the 809 first with two-channel music - the Denon 5805 pushing 170 WPC
I played a variety of CDs.
Off-axis differences are greatly reduced as a constant walk-around during
playback revealed a substantial soundstage. Even beyond the left and right, I
sense that the music extended beyond the narrow alley between the speakers.
I mentioned earlier, the 802 stand-mounted units are substantial enough to
merit a separate audition. Sporting a 7” aluminum cone woofer and 1” tweeter,
four of these could easily become the basis for a serious surround package. Other
than a slight loss in fullness, the 802 sounds very much like the larger 809 floor-standing speakers. Overall, they share a sound surprising similar, but not
quite as warm, to my reference Krix Symphonix speakers.
The very first serious audition came from watching Discovery HD Theater,
enjoying a BBC production of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo from Barcelona’s Gran Teatre
del Liccu. This stage production looked awesome in High Definition with rich
scenes, stage sets, and costumes, and the Vento perfectly blended the visual and
audio textures. Listening to this opera on the Cantons simply placed me
amongst the attendees of the stage performance.
I played a variety of CDs, what was becoming abundantly clear was my enjoyment
of any material with acoustic guitar, and any wood instrument for that matter,
because the Vento was most transparent in the midrange.
Mark Knopfler’s steel guitar sounded rich and soulful on the fourth track "Fade
to Black" from Dire Straits CD On Every Street. Airy and full sounding, the
track "You and Your Friend" revealed so much detail, that I almost wished they had turned down the reverb in Knopfler’s voice.
One of my first DVD-Audio purchases was The Doobie Brothers, The Captain and
Me. The rangy mix of Cajun and southern rock music never, ever sounded better.
The very short but sweet guitar rich "Busted Down Around" sounded like a gem. In
"South City Midnight Lady", the dual 8” drivers delivered a polished deep bass.
in multi-channel audio, the quintet Ventos came alive and despite no subwoofer
for the playback, they delivered seamless tight bass; in Roxy Music’s
title track "Avalon", the prominence of bass guitar is almost disturbingly
brought to the forefront along with Bryan Ferry’s voice. Don’t get me wrong,
this took some getting used to, but once I did, I realized that all the
instruments had more definition.
With the aid of my own subwoofer, Dr. Chesky’s 5.1 Surround Show is an
excellent test for surround sound. Delicate bells and the wonderful harmony of
voices from track 8, were simply splendid. Flute or sitar, percussions and bass
guitar, Vento is a very musical speaker. Track after track, the swing of
sounds from low to high was handled easily, and I sensed a limitless top end.
the Canton Vento speakers for several months, I was able to watch some old
favorite DVDs. Recently replacing my old version of Amadeus with the new
Director’s Cut, I intensely watched my favorite scene early in the movie where Salieri
speaks about the first time he hears Mozart’s music. Waving his finger in
the air, he passionately describes the transition from a single unwavering
flute note high, hanging slowly taken over by an obo. The Vento was there, I
glanced at the ceiling, the sound was exactly as he described, and as magical.
Mozart’s and Salieri’s music are superb, from the warm violins to the heavy
bass voices in the operas.
The DVD Independence Day is bass-intensive. The individual ships separating
from the main mother ship roar to life; the Vento 809 dual woofers
powerfully reproduced the disembarking ships. The 802 surround speakers were
remarkably detailed as the aircrafts whirled and whizzed around me.
center channel had its own high points, as dialogue from movies was warm,
natural, and well defined.
The gripe that I mentioned - my banana plugs not fitting - is minor.
These are not economical
speakers with the entire package running a cool MSRP $8,500 (without a
subwoofer mind you). Please notice I mentioned no complaints about what I
heard, so I reiterate these gripes are minor.
I wouldn’t be afraid to suggest four of the Vento 802s with the center 805 CM
for a surround package, sub issue aside. If two-channel music is your passion,
I’d highly recommend auditioning the tower 809 DC for your music room. They
more than deliver their promise for deep bass. I do hope Canton is developing
a subwoofer for this series, for I wouldn’t completely rely on the floor
speakers for bass exclusively for cinema. Besides, I’m sure a Vento sub would
probably be awesome considering its pedigree.
Vento is an elegant name. Canton has masterfully coordinated the name with a line
of speakers that lives up to that philosophy of evolution. What you see on the
outside is simply foreshadowing. If form follows function, the exterior beauty
of these speakers surely represents the substantial performance from within.
- Piero Gabucci -
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