This system has a remarkable ability to reproduce sound in a way that can be fairly involving. Tonally, it's quite neutral, with just a bit of emphasis in the upper bass and low treble while retaining a lively midband with plenty of detail. On a simple but well-crafted two-channel recording such as Krushevo by Vlatko Stefanovski and Miroslav Tadic on the MA Recordings label, the sense of depth created by the acoustic space was truly palpable. At the other extreme, the newly remastered edition of the seminal Stooges classic Fun House sounded fabulously punchy and fat, with the speakers extracting tremendous energy and authority from its stripped-down sound. Although some other speakers are able to squeeze a tad more beauty and elegance from a recording, none that I can think of manage to combine that with the Vento's power and slam. Each speaker uses very similar drivers, so timbral matching is another strength of this system, allowing for seamless surround sound effects from multichannel music, such as Sacred Feast by Gaudeamus on a dmp SACD.
Based on what I'd heard with music playback, it seemed clear that this system possessed all the right qualities for excellent movie sound. Dialogue reproduction was particularly impressive, thanks to the center-channel speaker's ability to project sound very cleanly. On the DVD of Pixar's Cars, for example, the distinctive character of each actor's voice was extremely vivid and clear. This movie uses a lot of sonic panning, with both voices and sound effects following the onscreen action, and rarely have I heard transitions both across the front stage and from front to back delivered with the smoothness heard through the Vento system.
To test wall-crushing bass and dynamics, I went back to an old favorite, the DTS version of The Haunting, and heard just how cleanly the aluminum-cone woofers could deliver this movie's massive bass transients. Since I was asking the main speakers to handle so much of the bass, I did run into a couple of places where the ports would start chuffing a bit, but this was only at very loud levels with real torture-test material. Under normal conditions, the dynamic and power-handling abilities of the system remained truly superb.
It's quite a trick to deliver a really big sound with impressive impact and excitement while avoiding a look that might seem more at home in the local Cineplex. Yet the Canton Vento home theater speaker system manages to make it all seem easy. This system has a truly uncanny ability to project the power and dynamics of a big horn setup, yet it combines that with the bass extension and refinement of a more traditional, direct-radiating design. It requires no excuses, and it can extract the best from just about anything you might care to throw at it. As if that weren't enough, the system stays true to its German heritage by being built like a Mercedes and looking as good as Heidi Klum. Okay, so maybe I went off the deep end there . . . but you get the idea.
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