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CANTON GLE 496 speakers - inside pics, subjective review

trl

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#1
Hello,

I recently purchased a pair of CANTON GLE 496 speakers from a local dealer; seems that manufacturer is selling these only inside EU (hope I'm not wrong). They look like brand new, but dealer told me that speakers were kept them inside their show room for few months. However, not much music was playing, so they advised me to do some burn-in anyway. I paid around 575 USD for the speakers and around 75 USD more for gold-plated bananas and OFC 4mm2 cables, so quite a bargain for German Made speakers from head to tail.

1.png

Manufacturer specifications:
- 3-way bass reflex
- 22 mm thick baffle
- Nom. / Music power handling: 150/320 watts
- SPL (1 watt / 1m): 90.5 dB
- Frequency response: 20...30,000 Hz
- Crossover frequency: 300/3,200 Hz
- Woofers: 2 x 200 mm (8"), aluminum (Wave surround) [191/179/164/130 mm, 7.52"/7"/6.45"/5.12"]
- Midrange: 1 x 180 mm (7"), aluminum (Wave surround) [173/162/148/117 mm, 6.81"/6.38"/5.83"/4.6"]
- Tweeter: 1 x 25 mm (1"), Fabric [100/88/30/27 mm, 3.9"/3.5"/1.18"/1.06"]
- Nominal Impedance: 4...8 ohms (depending on the frequencies)
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 21 x 106 x 31 cm (8.3" x 41.7" x 12.2")
- Weight: 19.6 kg

3.jpg

One of the two woofers inside


2.jpg

The midrange driver

4.jpg

The soft-dome 1" tweeter


16.jpg

Bass port from back and banana-type input plugs


20.jpg

The 3-way filter close-up (picture rotated 90 degrees to the left for a better view)

The filter includes high quality Metallized polyester film capacitors (MKT), most likely done with polyester as dielectric.

Personal measurements of drivers/transducer's diameter.
Gasket/Gasket mounting spacing/Rubber surround (suspension)/Aluminum cone (diaphragm)]:
- Woofers: 191/179/164/130 mm, 7.52"/7"/6.45"/5.12"
- Midrange: 173/162/148/117 mm, 6.81"/6.38"/5.83"/4.6"
- Tweeter: 100/88/30/27 mm, 3.9"/3.5"/1.18"/1.06"

Seems that woofers are more like 7" instead of 8" and midrange is 6.5" at most, but big enough for a complete listening experience. However, manufacturer was contacted to update their specs & datasheet accordingly. Also, in http://lydogbillede.dk/test/hojttalere/8-gulvhoejttalere/canton-gle-496/ review they found the same 7" size of the woofers (I needed to pay for an account to see that). A similar thing happened with much more expensive speakers, so it's all about marketing after all: https://www.tonmeister.ca/wordpress/2015/10/08/how-big-is-my-woofer/ BeoLab 90 speakers were advertised as having 13" subwoofers and 10" woofers, which was not correct and manufacturer updated their datasheet according to real measurements.

Speakers are built very well, with good materials inside and outside, even the grills are carefully done and the backside spikes to hang the grills are interesting, though difficult to unplug them without big enough...nails on your fingers. :)

Woofers and midrange baskets are made of polycarbonate and their membranes/cones are made of Aluminum. Both woofers are sharing the same cabinet along with the tweeter. Midrange has another cabinet, on the top side, separated by thick MDF and lot of dampening.

Subjective review

Some random songs I found quickly:
- Pimp Daddy Nash - To Trap A Spay > very clear and well defined cymbals, without any harshness.
- Duran Duran - Notorious > voices are very clear, the cymbals and orchestra are well presented inside a very good soundstage.
- Samantha Fox - Touch Me Now (I Want Your Body) > Very clear voice, breath is felt like when using headphones, very good perception of depth.
- R.E.M. - The One I Love > Extreme clarity, although nothing is really overemphasizing...voices are not louder than instruments, nor vice-versa, but these speakers are having about the same clarity as my Mackie active studio monitors.


CLASSICS:
- Johann Pachelbel - Canon & Gigue Chamber Works
R-6265910-1415139122-1736.jpeg.jpg

Open sounding, great soundstage and instrument positioning. Stage acoustics is like a dream where all instruments are around you, beautiful feeling and total relaxation. I'm a bit sensitive to 4 to 6 KHz I’m carefully listening to violin and I find it not sounding harsh, actually it nicely blends into the orchestra.

- Wienner Philarmonic & Ricardo Muti - Wiener Philharmoniker - New Year's Concert 2018
71aF3St7alL._SY355_.jpg

It’s like being live in a concert in first seats, entire orchestra is getting into my ears, it's like listening to very good open headphones. Every instrument is correctly placed into the scene and soundstage is very good and large. Immersion into the music is maximum, part of it is caused by the producer and the philarmonica’s acoustics, but part of it is done by the speakers themselves.

- Wiener Philharmoniker & Gustavo Dudamel - New Year's Concert 2017 - Neujahrskonzert 2017
- New Year's Concert 2016 - Wiener Philharmoniker, Mariss Jansons

The big-enough and fast drivers inside GLE 496 speakers, along with their high sensitivity and the 3-way frequencies separation filters, are a very good match for Classic music reproduction. The soundstage is really big, instruments are easily finding their place inside the scene, impressing the audience. Bass notes, like contrabass, are sounding fast and powerful with a big impact on the listener's scene. Dynamic is impressive, orchestra is exploding like a bomb into a movie with the subwoofer powered ON...sound immersion of the listener into the orchestra is like being really on stage. I totally recommend these speakers for classics!

As an observation, Wiener Philarmoniker Orchestra is having very well mastered records, probably stage acoustics is helping a lot here. I strongly encourage you to purchase some of their discs and give them a listen; basically, the same songs we'll all familiar with, might sound better in every way than the older recordings: interpretation is more easier to understand and perceive (probably done this way so the "masses" to easier accommodate with Classical music), acoustics is better, imaging is much wider, soundstage is...just as being with an orchestra around you. I’m not speaking about orchestration itself, as I’m not a pro into this matter, but more speaking about how my ears and brain are perceiving the sound of recording itself.

VOICES:
- Passenger - Let Her Go > bass from the voice is perfectly defined and clear, like being on the scene with the singers.
- Tim McGraw - Southern Girls > natural voices, like real, with great decay on every note.
- James Arthur - Say You Won't Let Go > every voice, every breath, every guitar note could be perfeclty heard and felt.

DANCE:
- Deep System - Hey My Love
- Deep System - Tonight
- Ice Mc - Out Tonight
- Robin Thickle - Blurred Lines
- Mike Posner - I Took A Pill In Ibiza
- Matt Simons - Catch & Release (Deepend Remix)
- Alvaro Soler - Sofia
- Sam Feldt x Lucas & Steve feat. Wolf - Summer On You
- Frenna feat. Jonna Fraser & Emms - My Love
- Sia - The Greatest

With the above songs I found a deep & powerful bass kicking the room and this is a "living" proofs that GLE 496 are good speakers for dance/disco/pop music too. Bass is punchy and I can fell it in my chest, so for a 40 m2 living the "disco music" effect is ON immediately after breaching the barrier of 25 W RMS/channel. The dance & rhythm was there for sure and I felt no need for a subwoofer, like I felt with my Mackie MR6 monitors (6.5" woofers). I felt a great separation between voices and instruments, very good layering, speed and accuracy.

- Ariana Grande - Side To Side > that's a "boomy sound" melody, very good to test speakers placement and spikes created by inside a untreated room. GLE 496 were not "boomy" sounding, in fact bass was separated well by the sub-bass and upper mids and voices were clearly reproduced. There's plenty of sub-bass in this song, though not the best punch on the sub-bass region for the GLE 496, but it can be easily heard and felt in the chest and the couch I was sitting on (wife and kid left the room).

- Fifth Harmony feat. Ty Dolla Sign - Work From Home > lot of bass and sub-bass as well, both can be heard and felt just right. For more punch a sub might work here, but not sure about what sub will pair with these fast sounding speakers.

Trebles sound very articulate, not harsh at all, with a high level of details, smooth and with a good layering between the instruments. Perhaps the smoothness is the attribute of the the soft dome tweeters.

I recommend taking good care when placing the speakers inside the room, per manufacturer specs, 20-30 cm away from the walls (especially behind the speakers where the bass port is located). Also, tweeters diffusion spectrum is not huge, so rotating 5 to 15 degrees the speakers to the listener might help with trebles propagation, especially if distance between the speakers is big.

Given the clarity, neutrality and accuracy of sound reproduction I can definitely call them "reference-like" speakers. Also, for their price, they're really hard to beat.


21.jpg

Two crops joined with both speakers placed in the corners of the room


PROS:
- Neutral, accurate and natural sound.
- Very sensitive speakers, this makes them more easy to drive and compatible with more amplifiers.
- Excellent midrange and trebles quality, with an excellent level of details and great accuracy. I can hear the same level of details as my Mackie MR6 studio monitors (actually on mid-bass GLE 496 might be faster, more accurate and more detailed, hard to say because they're completely different speakers).
- While doing critical listening, the front speakers grilles can be positioned on the back of each speaker by using similar plastic holes/insertions like in the front (Rear-Fix cover holder ), so grilles will perfectly fit the plastic holes from the back.
- Soundstage is very big, probably because of the bigger 8" (20 cm) woofers and 7" (18 cm) midrange.
- Bass kicks fast and powerful, with great impact and transients.

CONS:
- No bi-wiring/bi-amping possible.
- Tweeters are not very wide angle, though they are still pretty wide for soft fabric dome tweeters, so a bit of care is needed when positioning the subject and speakers. Off-center they sound best, so need to find the correct triangle" between the speakers and subject, depending on how far is the subject, then angling the speakers with 10-15 degrees more to the subject will improve how our ears will perceive the high frequencies.
- Despite a very accurate low frequencies reproduction with the two big Aluminum woofers of about 7" each, frequencies below 40 Hz are diminishing in volume. I was able to get low frequencies starting 25 Hz and, but only after 40 Hz I cold actually feel a decent impact, so with a bit of EQ/DSP things could be improved for sure. For movies one or two subwoofers might add some sub-bass there, but for music it's difficult, because this might damage the fast bass and accuracy reproduction of GLE 496 woofers.

NEUTRALS:
- Despite the of the bass reflex port from back, when high volume is involved, some port turbulences might be heard (especially when using test wave-files are used <40 Hz). I don't think on regular music this can be actually happening.
- The soft grilles covering the front of speakers, made of acoustically neutral fabric, might somehow be interfering with the trebles, by a very small margin, but I was able to feel it when I moved the grill in front then back, front an back for several times and only with some songs. Actually, this is why studio monitors are not using front grilles at all. However, when I was in the listener position and my wife was doing the change front/back of the grill I couldn't feel the change...so perhaps a subjective point. :)
 

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trl

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#2
Now, some inside pics:


Bottom woofer - thick cabling inside, thick dumping material too.



Bottom woofer, you can see the Made in Germany inscription on the right of pic.



Bass woofer part-number



Top woofer, identical with the bottom one



Lot of dampening material nearby the woofers



Lateral pic of the same woofer


12.jpg

Tweeter hole



13.jpg

Tweeter itself



14.jpg

Midrange hole



15.jpg

Midrange placement & the twitter



19.jpg

Front grill
 
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bigx5murf

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#3
Canton is strange, a lot of their models, especially older ones don't have much specs listed. When they do, they often list some crazy FR with no mention of being down how many db. IE: Canton Chrono 502 s with "Frequency response - 33...40.000 Hz"
 

trl

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#4
I'm sure they're right with their published specs, but they should add some graphs with measurements, because at 33 and 40.000 Hz I'm sure these speakers are having a roll-off pretty high, probably between 6...10dB.
 

thewas_

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#5
Canton is strange, a lot of their models, especially older ones don't have much specs listed. When they do, they often list some crazy FR with no mention of being down how many db. IE: Canton Chrono 502 s with "Frequency response - 33...40.000 Hz"
That's the -10dB point unfortunately. When the German Hifi DIN standards were established in the 1960s, it was assumed that the LS was closed baffle, bass reflex was not considered hi-fi capable at that time and in a living room you would still have something from -8 dB in the bass of a CB due to room gain. The DIN standards later were been incorporated into international EN/IEC standards, where -10 dB was defined.
 
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#6
There is one thing I noticed about the crossover which is that the inductors should be perpendicular to each other or else their magnetic fields interact with each other. I'm not sure if this is significant. I'm not an electrical engineer and there does appear to be some separation from each other.
 

trl

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#7
It's reasonable for Canton Chrono 502, as bookshelves, to have 6dB or maybe 10dB power loss at 33Hz, but strictly related to GLE 496 there's plenty of energy on the 33Hz to shake the room pretty well.

As a compare, the Mackie MR6mk3 have zero/nada/niet energy between 20...30Hz; same applies to their sub MR10Smk3, although to my ears all songs sound very well for by bedroom. There's probably a high-pass filter I couldn't spot designed to cut-off everything below 30Hz, which is kinda strange for me, but it's probably a good protection for the drivers.
 

maty

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#9
About eight years ago I recommended an earlier model, the GLE 490 (not the later GLE 490.2) and a Yamaha receiver (a regular RNE Radio Clásica, as me), maybe RX-V500 or RX-V700. Very happy with the purchase.

https://www.amazon.de/Canton-GLE-490-Standlautsprecher-schwarz/dp/B001F6H02Y/

https://www.amazon.de/Canton-3-way-Reflex-Stand-Lautsprechersystem/dp/B0098N8YH6/

https://www.amazon.de/Canton-GLE-496-2-WH-Standlautsprecher-Weiß/dp/B07CRXC1Q5/

https://www.connect.de/testbericht/test-standboxen-canton-gle-490-2-1146058.html


They were totally unknown in Spain. I think he bought them on Amazon.de, where they are much appreciated.

Crossover screams for better components. Caps and resistors, at least in the tweeter filter, I think. The two small coils would make them vertical, perpendicular to the big one!!!

Crossover assembly 101
https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=83325

GR-Research-crossover-assembly.jpg


Resized and optimized

Canton-GLE-496-crossover.jpg


And probably, I am not sure, mass+damping.
 
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