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The Canton CT-120s are the best speakers I’ve ever heard and I’m kinda sad about it (completely subjective)

ttimer

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Hey Lattiboy, I had Canton Ergo 92DC as my main speakers for about 16 years! (A 3 way version with what looks like the same magnesium tweeter as yours)

Canton uses identical looking tweeters throughout most of their current range. Seems like they have been using this type of 25mm metal tweeter for at least 35 years, probably with continuously involving internals.
 

ElNino

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You have a wonderful way with words -- thanks for the write-up!

I've always had a soft spot for vintage speakers like this with huge paper or polypropylene cone woofers. It's like they were aiming for a wall of sound.
 

MarsianC#

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I’m sure there is some seventeen syllable German word for this feeling and somebody will message me with it a few hours after I post this.
He he, i'll think about a good one.
Nice setup and nice writing ;)
 
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Lattiboy

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I wonder, does anybody have a schematic for these or know where to get one? I’ve never recapped a speaker, but I may ask my friend (electrical engineer) to recap these. I guess I could email Canton, but I think the company has gone through ownership changes.
 

thewas

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I guess I could email Canton, but I think the company has gone through ownership changes.
Not really, the company still belongs to the family of one of its founders and they also have good support for older models.
But my experience is that recapping of German loudspeakers of that era is rarely necessary.
 
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Lattiboy

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Not really, the company still belongs to the family of one of its founders and they also have good support for older models.
But my experience is that recapping of German loudspeakers of that era is rarely necessary.

Ok, thanks. I’ve often thought recapping was a bit wasteful and people do it far too quickly, but because I’m really looking at keeping these long term I was inclined to do so.
 

RSC08

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Hopefully we get another shot at things because we inevitably fuck up huge swaths of our lives and waste even more. But sometimes cheap thrills aren’t cheap and some people need them.

@Lattiboy Thank you for this, it made my day.

On the other hand, due to your post, I looked into Canton speakers and now I don't know how I'm gonna live without the Vento 816.2 on my desk... #f..thishobby
 
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Lattiboy

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Quick update: I attached an Onkyo P-306RS preamp and level matched to the Denon 3600 output. Turned down treble by one notch and bass up one on the tone controls. The slight brightness/harshness I still was experiencing in certain tracks is now gone.

I’m going to hook back up the subs and cut them off really low (like 60Hz) just to see if the offloading of bass from the Cantons can decrease any distortion from the Cantons. We will see.

At this point I feel like I’m going to focus on preamp and source processing more than anything else. The P-306 is a pretty well regarded pre, but I’m sure there are some improvements I can make.

This will obviously go against the ethos of ASR, but does anybody have a recommendation for a particularly “warm” (aka less treble, more mid bass) preamp? I am well aware this isn’t a request for audio “purity”, but that has ever been my primary interest in listening.

I have thought about getting a tube buffer, but I cannot find one with auto shut off, which would be important to my setup as others use this space without me and I have no faith in their willingness to toggle a power switch. Also, sometimes I get really drunk and forget to turn things off...
 
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Lattiboy

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Thanks. Would appreciate the more detailed measurements. How are these ones taken? (I assume the raw response(s) are on the left?)

Well, I got out my calibrated UMIK-1 mic and ran a proper REW sweep from my listening position using a tripod. Here’s the results. The RED is the speakers with no DSP, the GREEN is Audyssey XT32 Reference mode limited to 200Hz and below:

348E26A2-BE59-48FD-B00C-21417E617A08.jpeg


I am going to try to work on placement and clear out some space to the sides of the speakers. Still have the subwoofers hooked up, but not plugged in. I think their current floor position next to the Cantons causing some blooming I would like to get rid of.
 
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andreasmaaan

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Well, I got out my calibrated UMIK-1 mic and ran a proper REW sweep from my listening position using a tripod. Here’s the results. The RED is the speakers with no DSP, the GREEN is Audyssey XT32 Reference mode limited to 200Hz and below:

View attachment 86827

I am going to try to work on placement and clear out some space to the sides of the speakers. Still have the subwoofers hooked up, but not plugged in. I think they’re causing some blooming I would like to get rid of.

Looks very nice :) Not surprised it sounds good. I was actually more interested in a quasianechoic measurement if you'd have the time to spare?
 
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Lattiboy

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Looks very nice :) Not surprised it sounds good. I was actually more interested in a quasianechoic measurement if you'd have the time to spare?

I’m not sure that is a logistic possibility. They weigh 110lbs each and I’m in Seattle where it will be raining pretty much non stop for the next 6 months. Is there something in-room I could do to get a better measurement?
 

garbulky

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So are you saying you like them or what? Quit beating around the bush! :p I would love to hear a pair of Cantons. I think their latest speakers look gorgeous
 

napilopez

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I’m not sure that is a logistic possibility. They weigh 110lbs each and I’m in Seattle where it will be raining pretty much non stop for the next 6 months. Is there something in-room I could do to get a better measurement?

Seems quite good! The only issue appears to be the peak at 1.3kHz, but we'd want to be sure that's from the speaker itself.

Measuring towers quasi-anechoically is a pain, so a MMM measurement might be the most useful in this case. Are you familiar with the technique? This video has a good explanation, though long:


Basically:
  • play pink noise from the noise generator from a single speaker
  • open the RTA tool,
  • switch to RTA mode from the drop down menu,
  • select forever averaging,
  • press record,
  • move the microphone in circles a few feet around your LP for a few seconds, aimed roughly at the speaker if using the 0-degree calibration.
  • End recording, press Save 'both'
  • Repeat for the other speaker
I use these settings:
1602195223273.png


Though I later smooth the response to 1/6th.


No need to use a tripod, you can just handhold the mic. You can mess with the size of your "listening window," but I usually like to keep it within a smaller radius.
 

brettjv

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Nice review Lattiboy, I enjoyed that.

So ... I have 3 other Cantons from this era (Karat 920 DC for rears and Ergo CM 52 for center) and have been on the lookout for a good pair of fronts to match them, and a pair of these very speakers have popped up on CL in my area.

Mind if I ask you what you paid for your pair, and whether you're still as enamored as you were when you wrote this review now that you've (presumably) spent more months playing with them?

TIA!
 
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Lattiboy

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Nice review Lattiboy, I enjoyed that.

So ... I have 3 other Cantons from this era (Karat 920 DC for rears and Ergo CM 52 for center) and have been on the lookout for a good pair of fronts to match them, and a pair of these very speakers have popped up on CL in my area.

Mind if I ask you what you paid for your pair, and whether you're still as enamored as you were when you wrote this review now that you've (presumably) spent more months playing with them?

TIA!

I ended up paying $600, but the original asking was $1000. I got lucky because 2 people bailed and the seller wanted them gone. I would say anything under $800 is a total score. The CT-120s for sale in the US over the last decade can be counted on one hand as far as I've been able to find.

Again, it's all personal preference and I would for sure hear them before buying. They're enormous, niche, and basically un-shippable, so it isn't a money making proposition.
 

JoachimStrobel

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I ended up paying $600, but the original asking was $1000. I got lucky because 2 people bailed and the seller wanted them gone. I would say anything under $800 is a total score. The CT-120s for sale in the US over the last decade can be counted on one hand as far as I've been able to find.

Again, it's all personal preference and I would for sure hear them before buying. They're enormous, niche, and basically un-shippable, so it isn't a money making proposition.

While I read this post I listen to music from my 1976 Canton LE900 that were then bought to replace the LE600 from 1971 which I still have in another room. In my main listening room I have 6 Canton RCL bought between 1995 and 2006. I changed a tweeter and midrange driver that I can easily obtain through their excellent technical service. They are still family owned and offer to fix any of their speakers at their factory outlet.
Yes, as a German one has mixed feelings about Canton since they appeared 50 years ago. Early audiophiles snuffed at their “Taunus” sound. About the same time the Golf from VW surfaced. And for most audiophile Germans a Canton loudspeaker is like a Golf: Arguably great devices and through mass production and spread engineering costs probably best in class, but not the piece you would pride as outstanding technical achievement. But so it goes. Great to hear that they have a good fan base.
 

Chris M

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A brother-in-law of mine has owned the CT 100 from the same series for a long time and is very satisfied. I like them with him too and you wonder why you spend money on high-end stuff at all. (They are good, but I made a different choice). In his box (bought second-hand), the tweeters were exchanged for others and caused problems after a while. A phone call to Canton solved the problem and he received two new tweeters (for a fee, of course). This also reflects my experience with Canton, e.g. the Karat M90 DC currently in my possession, where the dust cover of a woofer was damaged by a cat. A statement about this was woofer costs 140 € roundabout, but an exchange would be necessary for optical reasons. The company keeps spare parts for a long time. At least here in Germany it is not a problem.

If there is no - visible or audible - error, I would open the box out of curiosity. But due to its age, there is a risk that the screws in the housing material will no longer grip securely afterwards. It used to be recommended to carefully retighten the screws after a while as they loosen over time.

If the box is open, you can of course take a look at the crossover and the damping used. If you then want to improve something, in my experience suitable measuring equipment is urgently recommended (at least REW, Arta, and the recommendations for microphones and interfaces mentioned there ... Boxsim, VituixCad and MCmachina can also be helpful). Then the path of do-it-yourself and try and error and many attempts begins. Nobody will do that 'just now'.

Of course you can exchange all kinds of things because things are old and 'high end recommendations', which you are guaranteed to hear but cannot measure, will be found in the many other forums that deal with it. Fortunately, it is fun when you start and you also have the feeling that you have done something good and everything will get better, you always only know afterwards if that is the case.

Even the replacement of all electrolytic capacitors - which is due to the aging process, which is stronger with these components than with other capacitors - I would initially strongly question. In my opinion, this does not involve a suitable component tester, which in turn means measurements. Boxing is certainly there to be heard, but with my experience today, I would not trust myself to make changes by ear.

https://www.hifi-wiki.de/index.php/Canton_CT_120

https://www.hifishark.com/model/canton-ct-120

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