Stereophile Reviews Canton Reference 7K

Stereophile Canton Reference 7K reviewI found the album, J.S. Bach: Solo Works for Marimba, on Tidal (16/44.1 FLAC, Linn Classical CKD 585) and listened to the entire suite. The Reference 7Ks faithfully reproduced the delightful balance between the direct sound of the instrument and the ambience behind it. The Cantons’ transparency allowed me to hear clearly how the attack on each note lit up the reverberation in St. John’s Church in Estonia. No specific notes seemed emphasized, though the instrument’s lower registers did sound very rich.
I cued up ‘This Town’ (24/352.8 MQA FLAC, unfolded to 24/88.2 by Roon) and took a listen. The highs on the Cantons seemed in good balance with the lower frequencies, neither the hi-hat cymbals nor the sibilance on Barber’s voice sounding exaggerated. Her piano was reproduced without coloration and, as with my Fender bass on Editor’s Choice, Peter Herbert’s bass on the Santa Fe album, and Ray Brown’s bass on Live at the Loa, the sound of the double bass on ‘This Town’ had an excellent combination of leading-edge definition and weight.
The last Canton loudspeaker I reviewed was the Karat Reference 2 DC in 2003. Though I felt that the balance of that loudspeaker, which was then Canton’s flagship, was somewhat forward in the treble, I concluded that it had ‘powerful-sounding low frequencies, clean and grain-free highs, coloration-free midrange, high sensitivity and dynamic range, and stable, precise stereo imaging.’ With the exception of the forward treble balance, I can say much the same things about the Canton Reference 7K. And at $6995/pair, it is significantly less expensive than the Reference 2 DC, which cost $10,000/pair in 2003, equivalent to $14,630 in today’s money. Indeed, it seems $7000/pair is becoming a sweet spot for the balance between a loudspeaker’s sound quality and cost.
The Canton Reference 7K’s excellent measured performance belies its relatively affordable price. Canton’s Reference 7K is a great loudspeaker at an affordable price—check it out.
John Atkinson, Stereophile, October 2021
Class A Recommended Product

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