Canton AS50 Powered Subwoofer Reviewed

Published On: April 18, 2003
Last Updated on: October 31, 2020
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Canton AS50 Powered Subwoofer Reviewed

When our reviewer turned on the AS50 to watch movies, the bass "seemed very real and accurately represented...and presented clear and tight bass." With regard to music, "transients rolled well from each section of music and mid level bass was exceptional." In conclusion, your friends will "feel their chests tightening and feet tingling."

Canton AS50 Powered Subwoofer Reviewed

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My wife and I enjoy entertaining friends in our home from time to time. Since I've spent countless hours over the past year renovating my house, I really enjoy showing it off. When we have our friends over, it's almost comical how we all try to one up each other with tales of our newest cars or latest electronics. It's never mean spirited and I rarely come out on top because most of my friends are very successful well-off people with plenty of gadgets, but I had a secret weapon laying in wait at a recent barbecue. While everyone was riveted by my Mitsubishi WS-65611 65-inch HDTV as they watched Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, there was a monster in the corner that caught them off guard.

Additional Resources
• Read more Canton reviews here
• Read high end subwoofer reviews from Canton, PSB, Paradigm, B&W, Velodyne, Sunfire and many others here...

The creature lurking in the corner was a new Canton AS50 subwoofer that I had standing by to impress to my friends. With the flip of a power switch, the thing came to life and added a new dimension to my home theater. The demonstration during Harry Potter was a huge success and gave me a sense of pride in my home theater.

Unique Features
The AS50 is a new import to America from German loudspeaker company Canton. The speaker has been heralded in Europe and, after an upgrade, it was delivered stateside this past January. The sub enclosure is constructed of a one-inch thick medium density fiberboard for maximum suppression of cabinet vibrations and comes in either a subtle black matte finish or a more prominent beech wood and silver combination. The hefty little bass reflex box has a forward firing 12-inch subwoofer mounted above a port on the front panel with all connections and controls at home in the rear. Controls for volume level, phase adjustment and a variable crossover frequency are placed high on the cabinet's rear panel for straightforward access when fine-tuning is required. The AS50 also has a power button and toggle switch to choose between a constant powered on state or standby mode where the subwoofer awaits an audio signal before coming to life.

The AS in AS50 stands for Active Subwoofer and it comes packaged with a 100-watt amplifier and crossover system able to reach frequencies down to the threshold of human hearing, about 20 Hz. Canton included their exclusive SC Technology in the subwoofer, which uses computer aided analysis and an active electronic filter to optimize the transmission range. The SC circuitry adjusts the amplifier's response curve to compensate for the driver and its housing for optimum linearity. The result is an ideal response across the frequency range and limited over excursion. The efficiency of the design translates into a heavier load with increased clarity. In other words, it has more bass and less distortion.

Read Page 2 for The High Points, Low Points and Conclusion


Installation/Setup/Ease of Use
The cabinet is well made with a rugged design that can stand up to years of hard use. I especially like the metal grill that comes in black on the black matte finish cabinet or contrasting silver on the beech wood cabinet. Grill cloth, which is often used to cover speaker cones on subwoofers, does an excellent job of passing audio signals through uninterrupted, but doesn't fare well in less than tranquil environments. The metal grill on the Canton AS50 lets the driver sing all its bass notes and does a terrific job of keeping the cone safe. This is especially important to parents or enthusiasts who have a tendency to move from one place to another. With the grill off, the woofer looks menacing even without power running to it. Below the 12-inch driver sits a four-inch port that is protected by a plastic interlaced shield placed approximately 5-inches rearward. The shield does not interfere with the performance of the port, but adds additional protection against objects falling into the cabinet. It won't stop the peanut butter and jelly sandwich bandit that has been known to attack VCR slots, but it can stop other fatal intrusions just the same. The black matte finish my test model came in appears neat and simple. It's small enough to be out of the way in a corner or integrated in a wall unit. The AS50 also comes equipped with rubber feet and floor spikes to isolate vibrations for better performance.

This subwoofer is perfect for a novice to install. Line level inputs and outputs and speaker binding posts give two options of connectivity. I chose the former, and attached my NAD 1752 subwoofer left and right outputs to the AS50 inputs using RCA audio cabling. Once the amplifier was fed power from my filtered power conditioner, I turned on my audio system and the sub to find the optimal floor positioning.

Starting with an obvious choice, I placed the AS50 in the corner of my living room. I experimented with various test tones to determine the most advantageous position for the cabinet; one that would offer a blend of solid lows without harmonic distortion. Canton's thoughtful placement of the volume level, phase adjustment and crossover frequency controls gave me the capability to make changes quickly to enhance the sub's performance as media content changed. I found a good balance of phase between my Mirage Omnisat speakers and the Canton without rattles or buzzing when the cabinet was away from the walls approximately two feet. This put it closer to my television, but with the magnetic shielding I had no concerns.

Final Take
My test commenced with trial runs of some of my favorite reference DVD movies. Beginning with a favorite around my daycare, I mean household, was Toy Story 2 The opening scene, in which Buzz Lightyear rockets through space around meteors and lands on an inhospitable planet governed by the evil Zurg, is a great test of equipment. The incredible eruption of loud bass response from Buzz's rocket pack and assorted explosions seemed very real and accurately represented. When the room began to shake from the level of bass, I had to back the subwoofer volume down to better match my main speakers.

I've watched The Matrix more times than I care to remember. Not only is this film one of my top three all-time favorites, I think the sound effects come alive with superior speakers. During the Kung Fu fight sequence between Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne, there are many sub tones present. The music has synthesized bass and low drums that drop to the 20 Hz range. Kicks are forceful, and when Reeves falls to the floor the impact is felt. The AS50 did a first-rate job at reproducing the deep rumbling tones and presented clear and tight bass. The low frequency extension could have been more present as some effects fell fairly flat.

I continued my evaluation with stereo music. Since music reproduction is more important to audiophiles than home theater qualities, it's here where I drew my most critical conclusions. Listening to Sting's A Brand New Day CD, the Canton was able to reproduce the difficult intro of "A Thousand Years" with authority. Transients rolled well from each section of music and mid level bass was exceptional. At higher volumes the sub lost some definition, but continued to shake, rattle and roll. Other music genres allowed me to experience deafening bass and assertive performance. Boomy sounds were present in some bass-heavy material, but adjustments leveled the output.

The Canton AS50 works well at enhancing home theater and music alike. The bass was extremely deep and concise with a snappy midrange. At higher levels, some sharpness was lost, but not enough to shy away from hammering the subwoofer to absurd levels. An average size room can greatly benefit from the Canton, which sounds much larger than its physical appearance. But the AS50 can easily fit in smaller environments without sounding overwhelming. The moderate weight and size make the sub attractive because it can be moved and repositioned easily by an average person. Perhaps the greatest satisfaction you may find will be the expressions that come over your friends' faces as they feel their chests tightening and feet tingling.

Additional Resources
• Read more Canton reviews here
• Read high end subwoofer reviews from Canton, PSB, Paradigm, B&W, Velodyne, Sunfire and many others here...

Canton AS50 Powered Subwoofer
Forward Firing Bass Reflex Enclosure
12-inch cellulose/polyester driver
Finish: Black Matte or Beech Wood & Silver
Power: 350 watts
Crossover Frequency Range: 20-150 Hz
Line Level & Speaker Binding Post Connections
22" H x14.211 W x18.1" D
Weight: 59 lbs.
Warranty: 5 years
MSRP: $999

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