Audio Test Reviews Canton Reference 1


After almost forty tests in 100 editions, you might think you know a manufacturer inside out. But Canton manages to knock our socks off once again with the Reference 1.
For now, let’s take it easy. We’ll stream a recording of Schubert’s Winterreise. We suspected it, but it still comes over us unexpectedly. Every single note begins to bubble out of the Reference 1 chassis in a holographic, almost tactile experience.
The delicate piano manifests itself clearly in outline at a distance of about two meters from our seating. Right in front of the piano is Fischer-Oieska and, that’s right, right in front of it. Depth soundstaging is in a class of its own. Our listening room is transformed into a chamber music hall with correspondingly subtle reverb detail. Incredibly similar in time, every detail, no matter how fine, of the complex overtone structures of the piano and voice comes into its own with such radiance that we really only know from live music.
We fast forward almost half a century and put The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady on the turntable. Here we also record the first bar of the title “Solo Dancer” on a good piece. Snare and hi-hat make the debut. Until, after four bars and a short double bass prelude, the brass section joins in and envelopes us in a feeling of well-being, almost like a prenatal comfort.
What a sound. Pure immersion. Melt into the sound, as if we were a leaf in the wind, we glide from event to event, becoming play ball of the waves. You can first translate it like this. The buttery, soft timbres caress us from all sides until we bounce around on the walking bass in the break of a rubber ball. The Soprano Sax solo cheekily tries to push us backwards. But the velvety bass catches us again and again. Especially when we set the mid-range level via the screw. If you lift something, you win transients of the bass in plasticity and the brass, so to speak, in air. What an almost extracorporeal [out of body] experience. What a trip.
What Canton has achieved in this monumental loudspeaker cannot be put into words without learning to appreciate one’s excellence.
Translated from German. AUDIO TEST 3/2024

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