Unpacking a Canton speaker, such as the GLE 90, always brings a sense of nostalgia and familiarity, much like meeting an old friend who hasn’t changed much over the years. Canton’s design philosophy seems to prioritize consistency over experimentation, and the GLE series, which has been around for over two decades, exemplifies this approach.
The GLE 90, standing at about one meter in height, effortlessly blends into various living spaces thanks to its unobtrusive design. It’s available in three color options: white, Macassar, and subtle black. Canton includes a magnetically attachable fabric cover in black, regardless of the speaker’s color, maintaining their commitment to high-quality craftsmanship.
Surprisingly, the GLE 90 weighs less than 20 kilograms per speaker, making setup a breeze, even for those handling it solo. Unlike many speakers of similar size, it doesn’t require additional assistance during setup.
Underneath the fabric cover, you’ll find four silvery drivers, a signature feature of Canton’s speakers. However, the GLE 90 benefits from an update – it now boasts titanium woofers and midrange drivers, which are lighter and more precise than their aluminum counterparts, leading to improved control and reduced distortion.
The GLE 90 features two 19-centimeter bass drivers and a 17-inch midrange driver, all with triple-fold surrounds to maintain precise membrane control. The high frequencies are handled by a 25-millimeter aluminum-manganese dome with optimized sound radiation. Canton specifies an upper frequency limit of 40 kilohertz, well beyond human hearing. The crossover frequencies for this three-way speaker are set at 300 and 3200 Hertz.
Canton has wisely moved away from the trend of bi-wiring terminals, opting for robust, gold-plated single screw terminals instead.
To anchor the GLE 90 to the floor, Canton has added aluminum feet covered in velvet on the underside, though they are not height adjustable, and no spikes are included. However, this shouldn’t be an issue for most setups.
1. Cabinet Construction:
- The Canton GLE 90 features a well-constructed cabinet made from Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF). MDF is known for its durability and ability to reduce resonance, ensuring a solid foundation for the speaker’s components.
2. Weight and Handling:
- One notable aspect of the GLE 90 is its surprisingly lightweight design, each box weighing less than 20 kilograms. This is lighter than expected for floor-standing speakers of its size, making the unpacking and setup process more manageable, even for a single person.
3. Driver Materials:
- Canton has upgraded the GLE series with titanium woofers and midrange drivers, departing from the previously used aluminum drivers. Titanium is known for being both lightweight and strong, which can result in improved driver control, precision, and lower distortion values.
4. Surround Technology:
- The drivers on the GLE 90 feature triple-fold surrounds, which help keep the driver membranes “on track.” This technology is crucial for maintaining driver stability and ensuring accurate sound reproduction.
5. Tweeter and Waveguide:
- The speaker incorporates a 25-millimeter aluminum-manganese dome tweeter with a waveguide. The waveguide design is intended to optimize sound radiation, enhancing the dispersion of high-frequency sounds.
6. Terminal Configuration:
- The GLE 90 simplifies the connection process by using robust and gold-plated “single screw terminals.” This is a departure from the previously popular “bi-wiring terminal craze,” offering a more straightforward and reliable connection.
7. Feet and Stability:
- To connect the GLE 90 to the floor, the speaker is equipped with puck-like aluminum feet, which are covered in velvet on the underside. While these feet are not height-adjustable and do not come with spikes as an alternative, they provide stable support on various surfaces.
8. Overall Craftsmanship:
- The review emphasizes the high-quality and routine craftsmanship of the Canton GLE 90. The MDF cabinet is described as cleanly processed and flawlessly wrapped, which speaks to the attention to detail and precision in its construction.
In summary, the Canton GLE 90 boasts a well-constructed cabinet with MDF construction, offering durability and reduced resonance. The use of titanium drivers, triple-fold surrounds, and a waveguide-equipped tweeter highlights the focus on driver technology and sound quality. The speaker’s terminal configuration simplifies connectivity, and the addition of velvet-covered aluminum feet provides stability. Overall, the GLE 90 is praised for its high-quality craftsmanship and attention to detail, enhancing its appeal as a reliable and well-built floor-standing speaker.
The Canton GLE 90 has several features and qualities that may make it stand out and potentially better than some other speakers in its class. However, it’s essential to note that the “better” speaker depends on individual preferences and specific use cases. Here are some aspects where the Canton GLE 90 excels:
- Sound Quality: The GLE 90 is known for its deep and balanced bass, lively dynamics, and expansive spatial imaging. It’s particularly appealing to rock and pop music enthusiasts due to its engaging sound signature. The speaker delivers a natural and slightly warm midrange, which can make vocals sound authentic and emotionally engaging.
- Build Quality: The speaker features a well-constructed cabinet made of Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF), which reduces resonance and provides a stable foundation for the drivers. The use of titanium drivers and triple-fold surrounds enhances driver control and precision.
- Ease of Setup: Despite its size, the GLE 90 is relatively lightweight, making it easier to handle during setup. It doesn’t require multiple helping hands for installation, which can be a convenience.
- Design and Aesthetics: The GLE 90 boasts a timeless and unobtrusive design available in various colors. It’s designed to blend seamlessly into different living environments without being overly bulky or visually distracting.
- Dynamic Performance: The speaker handles dynamic shifts in volume effectively, providing an engaging listening experience even at higher volumes. It can reproduce abrupt loud-soft-loud passages with ease.
- Adjustability: The GLE 90 offers flexibility in adjusting its high-frequency response by changing its angle, allowing users to tailor the treble to their preferences.
- Spatial Imaging: It creates a wide and airy soundstage, providing plenty of space for instruments and vocals. The spatial representation is a notable feature, adding to the immersive listening experience.
- Price-to-Performance Ratio: The GLE 90’s combination of sound quality, build quality, and design may offer a competitive price-to-performance ratio, making it an attractive option in its price range.
However, it’s important to remember that speaker preferences can vary significantly from person to person. Some listeners may prioritize different aspects such as extreme resolution in complex arrangements or a specific sound signature. Therefore, what makes the Canton GLE 90 “better” than other speakers ultimately depends on individual preferences and requirements for a specific listening environment and music genre. It’s advisable to audition speakers and consider your own listening priorities before making a purchase decision.
Listening Experience and Comparison
Canton’s entry-level series, including the GLE 90, has moved far beyond the old “Taunus sound” stereotype characterized by exaggerated bass and harsh highs. The GLE 90’s bass performance is impressive, thanks to its two 19-centimeter drivers. It delivers deep, powerful bass without becoming overwhelming or intrusive, making it well-suited for smaller to medium-sized rooms.
The GLE 90 excels in dynamic performance, handling sudden shifts in volume and intensity with ease. It brings music to life, especially in energetic, dynamic passages. While it may not match the sheer gross dynamics of some competitors, it remains a compelling option for long-term listening.
The speaker’s ability to convey the emotional depth of vocals is noteworthy. It offers a warm, natural vocal presentation, although it may not adhere strictly to neutrality. Despite this, the GLE 90 maintains striking dynamic clarity, allowing acoustic instruments to shine.
When it comes to resolving fine details in complex, orchestral compositions, the GLE 90 may fall slightly short compared to some competitors. However, it excels in presenting the overall orchestral performance in a cohesive manner.
Spatially, the GLE 90 creates a wide soundstage, providing ample room for instruments and an inviting, airy atmosphere. While it may lack some depth in its representation, it still offers an engaging listening experience.
1. Design and Build Quality:
- The Canton GLE 90 is praised for its timeless and unobtrusive design. It’s available in various colors and features a high-quality MDF cabinet construction. The overall build quality is excellent and routine.
2. Speaker Configuration:
- The Canton GLE 90 features a four-driver configuration: two 19-centimeter bass drivers, a 17-inch midrange driver, and a 25-millimeter aluminum-manganese dome tweeter with a waveguide.
3. Bass Performance:
- The bass performance of the GLE 90 is impressive, with the two 19-centimeter bass drivers delivering deep and powerful bass. Tracks like “Down” by The Intersphere showcase the speaker’s ability to reproduce a solid and earthy foundation without overwhelming the listener.
4. Midrange and Vocal Clarity:
- The midrange and vocals on the GLE 90 are described as natural and slightly warm. David Hodge’s performance in “Til you’re Home” demonstrates the speaker’s capacity to render vocals with authenticity and emotion.
5. Dynamic Behavior:
- The Canton GLE 90 excels in dynamic performance, handling sudden shifts in volume effortlessly. It effectively reproduces the dynamics in tracks like “Two Step” by the Dave Matthews Band, captivating the listener with its lively response.
6. Spatial Representation:
- The GLE 90 creates a wide and airy soundstage, providing ample space for instruments and vocals. The speaker’s expansive stage width is a notable characteristic and contributes to an engaging listening experience.
7. Resolution and Complex Arrangements:
- While the GLE 90 may not excel in meticulous resolution within complex orchestral arrangements, it offers a coherent overall picture. It might not reveal the finest details in dense soundscapes but excels at conveying the overall orchestral performance effectively.
8. High-Frequency Performance:
- The tweeter on the GLE 90 is capable of delivering a complete high-frequency spectrum with lots of details. However, it can be slightly cheeky with “S” sounds, but overall, it provides a pleasant listening experience.
- The speaker’s high-frequency response is sensitive to its angle, allowing for easy adjustment. Experimenting with the angle can help tailor the treble response to personal preferences.
10. Overall Sound Signature:
- The Canton GLE 90 is characterized by its deep and balanced foundation, lively dynamics, expansive spatial imaging, and natural vocal reproduction. It is particularly appealing to rock and pop enthusiasts.
In summary, the Canton GLE 90 is a versatile floor-standing speaker with several strengths, including its dynamic performance, spatial representation, and engaging sound signature. While it may not be the ultimate choice for those seeking extreme resolution in complex arrangements, it excels in providing an enjoyable and well-rounded listening experience, making it a suitable long-term companion for music enthusiasts.
The Canton GLE 90 embodies the qualities for which Canton is known – European craftsmanship, premium materials, and a timeless design. It’s a full-fledged floor-standing speaker that appeals to rock and pop enthusiasts, offering deep and balanced bass, dynamic performance, expansive spatial imaging, and natural vocal reproduction. Even with non-audiophile music, it provides a satisfying listening experience, making it a dependable everyday companion.
While it may not be the ultimate resolution champion in its price range, the GLE 90 excels in delivering a cohesive overall sound. Its consistent character, combined with its design and construction quality, ensures it will find a comfortable place in most living spaces.
Profile Canton GLE 90:
- In terms of bass, the GLE 90 reaches very deep for its size and provides a substantial foundation in medium-sized rooms without unpleasantly “pushing.”
- In the mids, the Canton is “charmingly natural”; vocals are presented a touch warmer than strictly neutral, which sounds pleasant. Overall, the midband also delights with its clarity.
- This is also the right keyword for the upper-frequency ranges, which (almost) never annoy you with their sharpness. “Almost” means: Depending on the angle of the speakers, the treble can sometimes become loud, but this can be delicately balanced.
- Spatially, the Hessin creates a wide panorama and, with a wink, provides a little more size (= width) in the display. It doesn’t go quite as deep. The ability to localize individual events on the virtual stage is great.
- The big Cantons are known across all price ranges for pushing party levels with many dynamics and power without causing stress. The rather medium-sized GLE 90 is no exception. Even at room volume, the sound does not collapse.
- In this price range, a balanced and coherent reproduction counts more than every little detail being meticulously attended to. In other words: “Fine resolution in complex sound events” was not at the top of the specifications. Overall, the GLE 90’s resolution meets expectations for its class.
- Model: Canton GLE 90
- Concept: floorstanding loudspeaker (three-way bass reflex)
- Price for a pair: 1,098 euros
- Dimensions & Weight: 210 x 1060 x 310 mm (WxHxD), 19.6 kg/piece
- Colors: Black, White, Macassar
- Impedance: 4 – 8 ohms
- Warranty: 5 years