MOVIE QUALITY All of this translated to movie sound quite consistently. The CD 250 proved an excellent center speaker: Off-axis response was surprisingly smooth and consistent for a horizontal center, even to fairly wide angles off center. (Surprising, that is, until I remembered that this is a "two-and-a-half-way" design: only one of its horizontal cones works in the midrange, so off-axis midrange variations are much reduced.) Clarity and intelligibility were first-class as well. A talky film such as The Interpreter can become a bit fatiguing if the center speaker makes the ear work too hard, but I felt no hint of this from the Canton.
Front-stage integration was excellent, with a solid image from which no single speaker ever jumped out at me. This wasn't quite as true to the rear, where the CD 220 surrounds would occasionally "localize" somewhat and call attention to themselves. For example, in The Interpreter's opening shot, in which a Land Rover drives front-left to rear-right, the sound "sucked" into the right-rear CD 220 quite audibly. But this is true of many small two-way surrounds - it's why dipole surrounds were invented.
Bass extension was good. The Canton sub had enough bottom-octaves power to render big-boffo film sound (War of the Worlds is my current benchmark) with some authority and entertaining deep-bass impact, at least up to moderately cinema-like master-volume settings. (And its lean blend meant there was none of the one-note-boom from which inferior small home theater systems often suffer.) The sub lacks the output in the 20-40 Hz octave to make the really deep stuff fully visceral at moderately high volume settings. And the CD 250s' need for a high crossover point means the sub sounds a bit "looser" in the upper bass than you might hear with a standard 80-Hz setting, though this would be true of any woofer. It also means the sub can be localized a bit more easily: Behind-the-sofa subbers take note. But these are relatively subtle effects, and I don't want to overstate the case: This is a competent compact sub.
BOTTOM LINE The Canton CD 200 Series home theater speaker system is a surprisingly able layout. Its tonal abilities and transparency place it in the top echelon of what I think of as "plasma-style" speakers, with superb visual appeal and finish quality. These are small speakers, though, and as such may not be the best choice for a big-space, high-powered home theater. And a bigger subwoofer (Canton makes several) might be in order for ultimate deep-bass accuracy. Oh, and they're not cheap. But neither is a Mercedes SLK, and I don't believe most people who bought one of those ever felt cheated.
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