OK, I admit it. I am attracted to tall, slim and beautiful...loudspeakers. No surprise, then, that the new Canton Chrono SL 580 DC floorstanding loudspeaker recently caught my eye. (Actually, I've also gotten attached to petite and plus-size models--of loudspeakers, I mean!) The SL 580 DC is a 3-way floorstanding loudspeaker that is available in striking high-gloss white or high-gloss black finishes, and incorporates drivers and technologies unique to Canton.
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Made in Germany (Canton is the country's largest speaker manufacturer) the Chrono SL 580 DC, at $3,000 a pair, is the epitome of minimalist design, with a cleanly chiseled rectangular enclosure free of frills and adornments save for a subtle curve on the bottom of its removable black grille. Measuring 39 inches high by nearly seven inches wide by 11 inches deep and weighing about 38 pounds, the SL 580 DC's narrow front baffle and small footprint make it easier to integrate into a home entertainment system than many other floorstanding loudspeakers.
The speaker features two six-inch aluminum-cone woofers that utilize Canton's high-excursion Wave Surround, or sinusoidal surround, design. The surround employs a double-curved shape rather than the half-round surround used in conventional drivers, a configuration that according to Canton provides a much larger surround surface area compared to a standard driver of the same size, enabling 60 to 100 percent greater excursion (cone travel) with less structural deformation at longer cone excursions for reduced distortion.
A six-inch Wave Surround aluminum-cone midrange driver and a one-inch aluminum-manganese-alloy tweeter complement the woofers. The tweeter incorporates a number of unique engineering attributes, including a combination dome and voice-coil former made from a single piece of aluminum/manganese alloy for reduced overall mass and other benefits; a voice coil with double-wound copper wire that provides improved efficiency; and a tweeter baffle designed to provide optimum on-and-off axis dispersion. Canton chose aluminum for all the drivers in the SL 580 DC for its strength, lighter weight and ability to resist deformation (and resulting distortion) even at high power and excursion levels. According to the company, recent advances in driver suspensions, motor (voice coil/magnet) systems and diaphragm geometry have resulted in improved power handling, greater bass extension and a 6 to 9dB increase in low-bass output compared to previous loudspeaker designs.
The SL 580 DC has a stated frequency response of 25Hz to 40,000kHz, with 87.5 dB sensitivity and a nominal impedance that ranges from 4 to 8 ohms. The crossover points are at 300Hz and 3,000Hz. The "DC" in the model name stands for "Displacement Control," a technology that prevents the woofers from trying to reproduce signals below 20Hz that would create unwanted distortion. The bass-reflex enclosure, though straightforward looking on the outside, was designed using computer-aided modeling to optimize its construction materials, bracing and damping as well as its form factor. The SL 580 DC comes with an isolation base that decouples it from the floor for improved bass response, imaging and other sonic benefits. The speaker has two sets of gold-plated binding post speaker terminals that allow for bi-amping or bi-wiring.
I found the sound of the SL 580 DC to be precise, fast and agile, with high resolution and excellent extension at the frequency extremes. It's the antithesis of sluggish, muted, soft or euphonically colored. While some listeners may prefer a speaker with a more forgiving sonic character, others will appreciate the Chrono's more detailed and specific presentation. Although the SL 580 DC is not going to give you the magnanimous real-life sonic panorama you're going to get out of a larger, taller loudspeaker such as a Wilson MAXX Series 3 or Martin-Logan CLX, its 39-inch-high enclosure enables it to deliver a generous sense of space and scale to instruments and vocals, with a firm low-frequency foundation since it's a full-range speaker with frequency response to 25Hz.