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Secrets Benchmark Product Review
 

Canton Vento AS 850 SC Subwoofer

Part I

September, 2006

Ed Mullen

 

Specifications:

Type: Bass Reflex

● Driver: 12" Aluminum Cone

Power: 200 Watt Switching Amplifier

Dimensions: 20.5" H x 15" W x 19.9" D

Weight: 72 Pounds

Finish Options: Maple, Cherry, Silver Lacquer

MSRP: $2,500 USA

 

Canton Loudspeakers

www.cantonusa.com

Introduction

Canton Electronics Corporation is the largest manufacturer and best-selling brand of loudspeakers in Germany.  It was founded in 1973 by a group of audio enthusiasts who defined their mission simply "to always develop the finest loudspeakers in their class." Since the late 1970s, Canton products have been available in the U.S., where they are popular with quality-focused specialty retailers and custom installers. 

Canton has debuted their new Vento AS 850 SC (850 SC) subwoofer for its recently introduced Vento line of loudspeakers. 

General Design Parameters

The packaging solution was well-engineered and protective of the subwoofer.  Additional items in the shipping container included a set of screw-in metal, blunt-spike feet, and optional rubber adhesive feet, a detachable power cord, and the Owner's Manual with serial number label. 

The Owner's Manual was presented in four languages, well-written, comprehensive, and detailed, with excellent photographs and diagrams explaining proper control usage and all aspects of operation. 

This is a bass reflex subwoofer with a 12" front-firing driver, a single 3" down-firing vent with flared end caps, a rear-mounted plate amp, and a base plate.  The overall visual impression is one of moderate size, with the cabinet measuring about 20" x 15" x 20".  The subwoofer weighs 72 pounds.

The 850 SC features a gracefully curved monocoque structure cabinet design that is the hallmark of Canton's Vento loudspeaker line. The enclosure is assembled from six layers of specialized fiberboard, which is pressure-laminated in a process similar to those used in crafting musical instruments.  Each layer of the cabinet is carefully formed, and then laminated to the next, creating an extremely stiff, yet acoustically inert housing that is both sturdy and highly resistant to resonance.

Because the shape of the enclosure minimizes parallel internal surfaces, Canton claims the formation of internal standing waves is almost completely eliminated.  The base plate features integrated shock absorbers that decouple the speaker from the floor, minimizing the mechanical transfer of vibration.

The 850 SC is available in three finishes: maple veneer, cheery veneer, or painted silver lacquer.  The review model came finished in painted silver lacquer.  I was immediately impressed with the design cues of this subwoofer; it is quite modern and handsome, with subtle art deco influences.  The base plate is painted black, and the supporting shock absorbers are metallic finish, which provides a striking contrast.  Fit and finish on the review model are excellent, with no surface flaws. 

The thick MDF grille is painted black and covered in a tightly stretched acoustic fabric, with no loose threads, and has neat adhesive work.  The grille is attached to the cabinet with a standard pin and socket arrangement, and there are six small felt feet on the inner surface of the grille to help prevent buzzing and vibration against the cabinet face.  Both the grille and the cabinet feature a metal "Canton" nameplate, which is a thoughtful feature if the owner wants to operate the subwoofer without the grille and the woofer exposed.     

The Driver 

The 850 SC uses Canton's newly developed AW-310 driver, the largest aluminum woofer the company has ever designed. This 12" cone is capable of much higher output levels at lower distortion than the composite cones the company has previously used, thanks to its superior break-up resistance, improved stiffness, and light weight.

The AW-310 employs Canton's sinusoidal rubber surround and newly engineered spider assembly that allow for substantially increased excursion, and improved lateral displacement control.  All of these improvements result in less distortion throughout the operating range, and according to Canton, provides a 6-9 dB increase in deep bass output compared to their previous subwoofers.

The Amplifier

The 850 SC utilizes an ICEpower Switching amplifier, designed by Dr. Karsten Nielsen and marketed by Bang & Olufsen.  This amplifier design offers up to a 140 dB S/N ratio, patented technologies for correcting errors introduced in the audio amplification chain, an ultra compact chassis, cool operating temperatures, stable and reliable operation under adverse operation conditions and power fluctuations, and excellent electrical efficiency.

Also included is Canton's "SC Technology".  This active electronic filter circuit was individually tailored to the 850 SC, and integrated in the amplification module to compensate for acoustic characteristics of the driver to maximize linearity and performance.  This circuit also effectively blocks unwanted infrasonic signals, which can cause excessive driver excursion.

Finally, the 850 SC also features Canton's new Room Compensation control, which essentially alters the low frequency extension point, the F6 bandwidth, and also the slope of the roll-off.  The user can select which setting best matches the acoustic transfer function of the room and provides the most optimal in-room frequency response.

Features:

Digital ICEpower (200 watts continuous)

Clipping, Thermal, and Overload Protection

Canton SC circuitry

Detachable Power Cord

 

User Controls:

Power switch (rocker)

On/Auto (2-way toggle)

Gain/Volume Control

Phase Control (0-180 continuously variable)

Room Size Compensation Circuit (3-way toggle)

Low Pass Filter (45-200 Hz, 4th order)

 

Inputs:

Low Level L/R RCA inputs

High Level L/R inputs

 

Outputs:

Low Level L/R RCA outputs (unfiltered)

Low Level L/R RCA outputs (80 Hz high pass)

High Level L/R outputs (unfiltered)

Click Here to Go to Part II.

Copyright 2006 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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