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Canton GLE 407

Diffusori 2,5 vie


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  2,5 vie  reflex


  720 euro anno 2008




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The GLE series is Cantonís update of their notable LE series. In the GLE models, aluminum drivers replace the LEsí polypropylene cones, and improved cast baskets increase power handling. Sensitivity is rated 89dB/W/m for the GLE 407 indicating only modest power is required. Theyíve also upgraded the seriesí 1" silk-dome tweeter, which now has a slightly flared mounting plate to increase its efficiency. The crossover networks have been redesigned to better match the drivers and the redesigned enclosures, to improve the speakersí linearity and frequency response both on and off axis.

Also part of the system reviewed was Cantonís AS 85 SC powered subwoofer ($549 USD), which has a port and a 9" aluminum driver, both firing from the front, and a 150W amplifier. The GLE 407 tower speaker ($999/pair) and GLE 402 surround speaker ($449/pair) are also bass-reflex models, the 407 with a front port, the 402 with a port on the rear; the GLE 405 CM center-channel speaker ($449) is a sealed design. The system reviewed costs $2446.

The three-driver GLE 407 is unique among the GLE models in being a "2.5-way" design: the crossover sends the midrange signal to the upper 7" driver, and the bass and midrange information to the lower 7" driver. This is claimed to improve the off-axis dispersion -- if my listening was any indication, the off-axis response, in both Dolby Pro Logic II and Dolby Digital 5.1, was impressive.

The GLE 405 CM center and GLE 407 both have W-T-W arrays: the tweeter between the woofers (6" woofers are used in the 405 CM). The tweeter in the GLE 402 surround model is placed above a single 6" woofer. The cabinets were rock-solid, knuckle raps eliciting little more than a dull thunk. The binding posts are interesting: their nonstandard spacing means that they canít accommodate dual banana plugs, and each post is really two halves separated by a rather large vertical notch. I suppose the notch is designed to accept the finger-thick pins with which some high-end speaker cables are terminated, but itís so big that the posts canít really accept any wire smaller than 12AWG without also using large spade lugs or banana plugs.

The seemingly acoustically transparent metal grilles are removable. I know that some audiophiles throw the grilles away, but Iíve grown to enjoy the protection they afford delicate instruments such as speaker cones, especially around small children and pets. Besides, you can still see the drivers in their glorious aluminosity, and the grilles are a critical part of the GLEsí considerable visual appeal.

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Listening: Music


Although this is a review of a home-theater speaker system, the GLE 407s are blessed with full-range attributes. With a claimed frequency response of 25Hz-30kHz, they should be able to function well as the speakers of a two-channel, music-only system. But add a subwoofer, center and surround speakers, and Dolby Pro Logic II, and you might have a system that, unlike too many home-theater arrays that rely on satellite front-channel speakers, can be musically as well as theatrically pleasing.

I set the AS 85 SCís crossover at 80Hz and let the Onkyo TSR-800ís bass-management system decide when there was sufficient low-frequency information to kick-start the sub. I put the GLE 407s -- with and without Dolby Pro Logic II -- through a series of CDs, each a stringent test of one or more of a loudspeakerís critical attributes: Acoustic Alchemyís Red Dust and Spanish Lace [MCA MCAD-5816], for soundstaging and HF response; Enyaís Watermark [Reprise 26774-2], especially the bridge to "Orinoco Flow," for deep bass; Marti Jonesís Any Kind of Lie [RCA 2040-2-R], for midrange and midbass accuracy; Jellyfishís Bellybutton [Charisma 2-91400], for midbass accuracy, soundstaging, and high-frequency response; Joe Jacksonís Live 1981-86 [A&M CD 6076 DX 3095], for soundstaging and treble response; and Dan Hicks and His Hot Licksí Striking It Rich! [MCA MCAD-31187], for midrange accuracy, depth of field, and transparency.

The GLE 407s initially responded with a slight uptilt in high-frequency reproduction, an artifact Iíve often observed in speakers tuned for home-theater applications. Then again, there are so many variables with listening to music in an A/V system that one is never quite sure what line is being crossed where. For instance, because the speakers sit to either side of a cabinet -- there is no practical option for placing them farther out into the room without seriously blocking traffic -- itís asking a lot for them to throw a deep soundstage with the sort of three-dimensionality that the best speakers can provide when properly positioned in an audio-only environment. That said, the 407sí soundstage was generously wide, and even wider with Dolby Pro Logic II. However, even after enough listening that anyone would assume would satisfy the so-called "break in" requirement, the 407 never lost that touch of HF prominence. (Iíve always questioned the "break-in" phenomenon -- it seems to me that a properly engineered speaker should be ready to play out of the box without the buyer having to blow too many hours of out-of-phase pink noise through them.) Mind you, the 407 was decidedly not brittle or shrill; it just had the barest hint of HF accentuation. There was no mistaking, however, the systemís bass response. The bridge to Enyaís "Orinoco Flow" contains subterranean bass that has defeated some fairly sophisticated audiophile speakers, which turned clearly pitched notes into a series of muffled chuffs. The Canton AS 85 SC hit every note with admirable clarity and punch.

The GLE systemís high-frequency response, especially in the climbing piano figure in the coda of Joe Jacksonís "Breaking Us in Two," was musical and accurate. There was no trace of the harsh brittleness that some lesser speakers have produced with this track. Similarly, the marvelous percussion bridge in Acoustic Alchemyís "Mr. Chow" pinged, whanged, and boinged -- thereís a bent saw in there somewhere -- across the top of the soundstage just like the petite xylophone in Jellyfishís "The Man I Used to Be," with only that slight emphasis of the highs. Midrange reproduction was no less solid. Willie Gillonís clarinet, in Marti Jonesís "Second Choice," had just the right touch of woody resonance.

In Dan Hicksís "Canned Music," the voices of Hicks, Naomi Ruth Eisenberg, and Maryanne Price were recorded in a real acoustic space -- as is the whole of Striking It Rich!, a rare treat in the pop canon. Each voice occupies a defined space in the soundstage. If a speaker mishandles the midrange, the voices can wander all over the place; through the 407s, they were rock-solid. Finally, the midbass -- for instance, Don Dixonís doubled piano and Fender bass in Marti Jonesís "Any Kind of Lie" -- was not only faithfully rendered, but the transition to deep bass, as with Jellyfishís "The Man I Used to Be," was flawless. Of course, in any system that includes a subwoofer, the transition from the midbass to the deep bass is as much a function of how you set up the subís crossover. That said, the handoff between the 407s and the AS 85 SC was as smoothly handled as I could wish.

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