For nearly 20 years, I’ve been immersed in audio as an editor, yet I’ve never had the chance to evaluate a Canton loudspeaker—a surprising gap in my experience. Canton, a renowned manufacturer with a rich history spanning 50 years, offers a diverse range of loudspeakers. Fate smiled upon me when I had an extended test period with the compact Canton Townus 30 due to an unfortunate ankle injury. In this review, we’ll focus primarily on the Canton Townus 30, briefly mentioning the Canton Power Sub 10 subwoofer that accompanied it.
A Glimpse into the Townus Family
Canton’s Townus series comprises eight speakers, including active and passive models. In addition to the Townus 30, the passive lineup includes the Townus 90 floor-standing model, the Townus 10 wall speaker, and the Townus 50 center speaker. On the active side, you’ll find the Townus Sub 12 subwoofer, the compact Smart Townus 2, and the larger Smart Townus 8. Although not labeled with “Townus,” the Atmos AR5 with Dolby Atmos speakers shares the same aesthetic. This series caters to both stereo and home theater setups.
Canton Townus 30
- Concept: passive two-way compact loudspeaker with bass reflex system
- Price: 1,098 euros
- Nominal impedance: 4-8 ohms
- Efficiency: 91 dB/W/m
- Dimensions & Weight: 21 x 36 x 28 cm (WxHxD), 8.1 kg/piece
- Colors: high gloss black, silk man white, walnut
- Warranty: 5 years
Craftsmanship and Build Quality
Upon unboxing the Canton Townus 30, the initial impression is the remarkable craftsmanship and build quality, which exceed expectations given its price point. The cabinet boasts impeccable construction with elegantly rounded edges. The magnetically attached front grille is well-made, and the baffle is tidy and high-quality, with no visible screws to disrupt the aesthetics. The rear features a precisely designed bass reflex port and a robust single-wiring terminal, offering a firm grip for banana plugs. The Townus 30’s build quality is a standout feature, especially considering it is assembled in Europe, mitigating concerns about supply chain disruptions from Asia.
Team Townus – Design and Drivers The Canton Townus 30 features a 174 mm bass-midrange driver with a titanium membrane and a 25 mm tweeter dome with an aluminum oxide ceramic membrane and a waveguide for optimal sound dispersion. The crossover point is set at 3 kHz, allowing the midrange and low-midrange drivers to act as broadband piston oscillators. The crossover employs a Linkwitz-Riley filter with a steep 24 dB per octave slope in both directions, taking advantage of the natural roll-offs of the drivers. The result is seamless integration and clean transitions between the drivers.
The craftsmanship and build quality of the Canton Townus 30 are truly noteworthy, especially when considering its price point. Let’s delve into the details of what sets these compact speakers apart regarding construction and aesthetics.
- Impeccable Cabinet Design: The Canton Townus 30 features a meticulously designed cabinet that immediately catches the eye. The cabinet’s construction is a testament to precision and attention to detail. Its elegant appearance is accentuated by gracefully rounded edges, giving it a modern and sophisticated look. This design choice enhances aesthetics, minimizes diffraction, and improves sound dispersion.
- Magnetically Attached Front Grille: The front grille of the Townus 30 is not just a functional cover; it’s a well-made, magnetically attached piece that adds to the overall refinement of the speaker. The magnetic attachment ensures a secure fit while maintaining a clean and uncluttered front baffle when the grille is removed.
- Aesthetic Attention: One of the standout features is the absence of visible screws on the baffle. This attention to aesthetics contributes to the speaker’s sleek and unblemished appearance. The absence of unsightly screws ensures that the speaker’s visual appeal is not marred.
- Solid and Well-Designed Rear Panel: Moving to the rear of the Townus 30, you’ll find a rear panel that mirrors the front in terms of quality and design. The bass reflex tunnel is precisely designed, optimizing airflow for efficient bass response. The single-wiring terminal is robustly constructed, providing a secure connection for speaker cables. This terminal design allows for easy and secure connection with banana plugs, ensuring a hassle-free setup process.
- European Assembly and In-House Driver Production: It’s worth noting that these speakers are assembled in Europe, with production taking place partially in Germany and the Czech Republic. Furthermore, Canton manufactures its drivers in-house at its Czech Republic facility. This approach guarantees consistent quality control and mitigates potential supply chain disruptions associated with sourcing components from distant locations.
The Canton Townus 30 impresses with its impeccable craftsmanship and build quality. From the elegantly rounded edges to the magnetic front grille and the absence of visible screws, every aspect of its design has been carefully considered. The rear panel, with its well-designed bass reflex tunnel and sturdy wiring terminal, further enhances the speaker’s overall quality. The fact that these speakers are assembled in Europe, and feature drivers made in Canton’s own facility speaks to the company’s commitment to delivering a high-quality product. These elements combine to make the Townus 30 an aesthetically pleasing and well-constructed speaker that stands out in its price range.
Sound Quality and Comparisons
The Canton Townus 30 impresses with its well-grounded and realistic bass, given its compact size and volume constraints. While it may not be a deep bass monster, it maintains its composure even at higher volumes in my 15-square-meter listening room. The midrange is clear and objective, excelling in speech intelligibility and neutrality. In the treble range, the Townus 30 remains neutral and balanced.
Comparative Analysis of the Canton Townus 30 with Other Loudspeakers
In evaluating the Canton Townus 30, it’s essential to contextualize its performance and characteristics by comparing it to other loudspeakers within the same price range or of similar size and application. Here, we’ll explore how the Townus 30 stacks up against a few notable alternatives:
- Buchardt Audio S400 MKII (Approx. 2,000 Euros):
- Tonality: The Canton Townus 30 shares a tonal profile with the Buchardt S400 MKII, which is a compliment given the substantial price difference. Both speakers exhibit neutrality and objectivity in their sound, making them versatile for various music genres.
- Dynamics: The Townus 30 competes well with the S400 MKII regarding dynamics and resolution, offering emotional engagement through its talents in microdynamics and detail retrieval.
- B&W 606 S2 Anniversary Edition (Approx. 749 Euros):
- Bass Stability: The Townus 30 outperforms the B&W 606 S2 in bass stability and depth. While the Canton maintains its low-frequency composure even at higher volumes, the B&W counterpart tends to lose control and fade out earlier in the bass range.
- Treble Clarity: The B&W 606 S2 has a slightly airier treble and better fine resolution, giving it an edge in reproducing high-frequency details.
- ProAc Response DB3 (Approx. 2,600 Euros):
- Sound Character: The Canton Townus 30 and the ProAc Response DB3 differ in their sound character. The ProAc leans towards a warmer and more colorful sound, with a small emphasis on the upper bass. In contrast, the Townus 30 remains neutral and objective, favoring a more monitor-like presentation.
- Price Factor: While the ProAc Response DB3 offers a richer sound, it’s important to consider the significant price difference, with the Canton Townus 30 providing remarkable performance for its price point.
- Inklang Ayers Two (Approx. 1,660 Euros):
- Bass Impact: The Inklang Ayers Two is known for its impressive low-frequency impact and depth. It offers a more powerful bass performance than the Townus 30, making it a strong choice for those who crave a more robust bass presence.
- Tonal Neutrality: Despite its powerful bass, the Inklang Ayers Two maintains tonal neutrality but leans slightly towards a warmer and more colorful sound compared to the Canton’s neutrality.
- Horn Acoustic Ferria (Significantly More Expensive):
- Price and Concept: The Horn Acoustic Ferria is in a different league in terms of price and concept. It costs almost ten times as much as the Canton Townus 30 and features a unique two-way floor-standing design with a huge treble horn. This high-end speaker offers unparalleled performance but caters to a different audience.
- Joachim Gerhard Collection Nano (Approx. 4,600 Euros):
- Price and Impulsiveness: The Joachim Gerhard Collection Nano is significantly more expensive than the Canton Townus 30 but does not deliver significantly greater impulse response or brutality. Its price places it in the realm of audiophile luxury, catering to those who prioritize exclusivity and premium quality.
In summary, the Canton Townus 30 distinguishes itself as a versatile and neutral loudspeaker that offers an engaging listening experience across various musical genres. Its tonality, dynamics, and soundstage fall within a balanced middle ground in its price class, making it a reliable choice for audiophiles. While other speakers may excel in specific areas such as bass impact, treble clarity, or price-to-performance ratio, the Townus 30 holds its own and offers a compelling option for those seeking a refined and neutral sound signature without eccentricities or coloration. Ultimately, the choice among these speakers depends on individual preferences and priorities, be it tonal character, price, or specific sonic characteristics.
Decoupling for Optimal Sound Canton provides small self-adhesive “Nupsis” for decoupling the compact speakers from their stands, although these may not provide the best acoustic isolation. For a more premium option, I opted for ViaBlue UFO absorber feet, which offered great value at around 70 euros for a set of four.
The Townus 30’s tonal profile is versatile, making it suitable for various musical genres. Despite the significant price difference, it shares similarities with the Buchardt Audio S400 MKII. Compared to the B&W 606 S2 Anniversary Edition, the Townus 30 offers better bass stability and depth. The ProAc Response DB3, while pricier, provides a warmer and more colorful sound, primarily due to its small upper bass emphasis and slightly darker treble.
Resolution and Microdynamics The Canton Townus 30 may have a neutral tonal balance, but it shines in terms of resolution and fine dynamics. It brings out the subtleties in music, allowing listeners to appreciate details and textures. For instance, on Sigur Rós’ “Heysatan,” the Townus 30 conveyed the nuances of a live recording in a captivating way, capturing the authenticity of the performance. Even on tracks like Interpol’s “Passenger,” it highlights instrument details and textures.
Pressure and Dynamics In terms of dynamics and pressure, the Canton Townus 30 strikes a balanced middle ground in its size and price range. It handles sharp and dynamic passages well, as evident in tracks like The Clash’s “Guns of Brixton.” It also delivers orchestral pieces with finesse, although there are speakers in this price range that offer more in terms of low-frequency impact. For a more immersive experience, the Inklang Ayers Two is a compelling alternative.
Sound Quality and Sound Test of the Canton Townus 30
The sound quality of the Canton Townus 30 is a pivotal aspect of its performance. Let’s delve deeper into its sound characteristics and how it performs in various sound tests, including its strengths and notable qualities.
Tonal Layers – Quality and Quantity: Starting with the bass, it’s essential to acknowledge the laws of physics. Given its compact size and driver configuration, the Townus 30 cannot compete with larger speakers in deep bass extension. However, it impresses with a well-grounded and realistic bass foundation, even in smaller listening spaces. This bass potency is maintained even when pushing the volume, making it suitable for various music genres and listening scenarios.
For example, in Interpol’s “Passenger,” the bass and bass drum come across as realistic in depth and level under typical living room conditions. While it doesn’t match the low-end capabilities of full-sized floor-standing speakers or larger compacts, such as the XTZ Divine Delta, it holds its own. It provides a satisfying listening experience without an upper bass hump.
Midrange Performance: The Townus 30’s midrange is clean, clear, and objective. It excels in speech intelligibility, making vocals and dialogue clear and uncolored. Voices are portrayed faithfully without any noticeable coloration, giving a monitor-like presentation. This objectivity benefits those who prioritize accuracy and transparency in their audio playback.
Treble Neutrality: Moving to the treble range, the Townus 30 maintains neutrality without leaning excessively towards brightness or darkness. It strikes a balance, providing a treble response that is not too bright or subdued. This neutrality ensures that it reproduces high-frequency content faithfully without introducing unwanted tonal coloration.
Resolution and Microdynamics: One of the standout qualities of the Townus 30 is its prowess in resolution and microdynamics. Despite its neutral tonal balance, it delivers an engaging and emotional listening experience by revealing subtle details and nuances in music. This becomes evident in live recordings and acoustic performances, where delicate background noises and instrument textures contribute to an authentic and immersive soundstage.
For instance, on Sigur Rós’ “Heysatan” from the album “Heima,” the Townus 30 shines in capturing the intricate details of the recording, immersing listeners in the atmospheric soundscape created by the band. Such capabilities make it an excellent choice for audiophiles who appreciate high detail and transparency in their music.
Instrument Separation and Precision: In tracks like Interpol’s “Passenger,” the Townus 30 excels at instrument separation and precision. It allows listeners to discern individual instruments and their unique characteristics. The metallic distortion and reverberation of the guitar, along with the nuances of thirds and fourths in the distortion spectrum, are faithfully reproduced. This precision enhances the overall listening experience, making it possible to appreciate the subtleties of the music.
Treble Clarity: While the Townus 30’s treble performance is neutral and balanced, there are speakers in its price range that excel in treble clarity and fine resolution. For example, tracks with various percussion instruments, such as cymbals and shakers, may reveal slightly more air and detail in speakers like the B&W 606 S2 Anniversary Edition. However, the Townus 30 still provides a commendable treble presentation that will satisfy most listeners.
Pressure and Dynamics: In terms of gross dynamics, pressure, and the ability to handle load changes, the Townus 30 takes a balanced approach within its size and price class. It offers sharp and alert playback, especially in the low-midrange and above, making tracks like The Clash’s “Guns of Brixton” enjoyable and engaging. It can also handle orchestral passages with finesse, although there are speakers in the same price range that offer more impact in the low-frequency range, such as kettledrums and cellos.
Comparative Context: It’s important to note that while the Townus 30 holds its own and offers a well-balanced and engaging sound quality, there are speakers at different price points and design philosophies that may excel in specific areas. For example, the Inklang Ayers Two delivers a more powerful bass impact. At the same time, high-end speakers like the Horn Acoustic Ferria and Joachim Gerhard Collection Nano offer unparalleled performance at significantly higher prices.
Conclusion: The Canton Townus 30 impresses with its overall sound quality and versatile performance. Its strengths lie in its neutrality, clarity, resolution, and microdynamics, making it an excellent choice for audiophiles seeking a balanced and accurate sound signature. While it may not be the absolute best in every aspect, it excels as a well-rounded and reliable loudspeaker that delivers an engaging listening experience across various music genres and recording styles.
Setting up the Canton Townus 30 is remarkably straightforward, offering a generous sweet spot for a satisfying stage construction. It forgives minor asymmetries in placement and creates an enjoyable ensemble experience. While it may not provide the pinpoint precision of some speakers in complex choral works, it offers a cohesive and pleasant portrayal of music, making it suitable for a wide range of listening scenarios.
Pairing Possibilities The Canton Townus 30 pairs well with tube amplifiers, adding a touch of warmth and contour to its otherwise neutral sound signature. However, depending on personal preferences, it may come across as slightly cool when matched with extremely neutral amplifiers. The Townus 30’s versatility allows it to adapt well to different amplification choices.
Setting up the Canton Townus 30 is a straightforward and hassle-free process, ensuring you can enjoy its exceptional sound quality without any complications. Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up these compact speakers in your listening space:
1. Placement and Positioning: Begin by selecting the optimal location for your Canton Townus 30 speakers within your listening room. Place them on dedicated speaker stands or shelves that are sturdy and acoustically isolated to minimize vibrations. Ensure that the speakers are at ear level while in your primary listening position, creating an ideal listening triangle with the two speakers and your seating area. Keep them symmetrical and equidistant from the side walls for balanced sound distribution.
2. Connection and Wiring: Next, connect your Canton Townus 30 speakers to your audio source or amplifier. The speakers feature a single-wiring terminal on the rear panel, making it easy to connect your speaker cables. If your amplifier or receiver supports bi-wiring or bi-amping, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for this setup. Use high-quality speaker cables with banana plugs or spade connectors for secure and reliable connections. Double-check the polarity to ensure the positive and negative terminals are matched correctly.
3. Speaker Decoupling and Fine-Tuning: To optimize the sound quality further, consider decoupling the Canton Townus 30 speakers from their stands or shelves. While Canton provides small self-adhesive “Nupsis” for this purpose, you may choose to use dedicated speaker isolation feet like ViaBlue UFO absorbers. Experiment with different positions and angles for the speakers to fine-tune the soundstage and imaging. Additionally, adjust the toe-in angle slightly to enhance the focus and directionality of the sound. Take your time during this setup phase, as small adjustments can make a noticeable difference in the overall sound quality and listening experience.
By following these steps for setting up the Canton Townus 30 speakers, you can create an optimal listening environment that maximizes their sound quality and ensures an enjoyable auditory experience. Pay attention to room acoustics, cable quality, and speaker placement to fine-tune the system further and achieve the best possible sound reproduction in your space.
The Canton Townus 30, in my opinion, is the loudspeaker equivalent of a Volkswagen Golf—unassuming at first glance but a sophisticated and reliable piece of technology. It excels as an all-rounder, striking a balanced approach across various audiophile parameters. Its dynamics, tonality, and soundstage are all well-balanced without eccentricities or coloration. While some might find its neutrality unexciting, it offers an engaging listening experience. The Townus 30 is ideal for small to medium-sized listening rooms and is versatile across different musical genres. If you require deeper bass or have a larger space, the addition of the Power Sub 10 is recommended. Overall, the Canton Townus 30’s neutral tonality makes it adaptable to various audio setups, and it can easily be tailored to individual preferences, making it an excellent choice for audiophiles.
Reasons to Buy the Canton Townus 30:
- Neutral and Versatile Sound: The Canton Townus 30 offers a neutral and transparent sound signature, making it suitable for a wide range of musical genres and audio content. Its tonal balance ensures accurate reproduction without excessive coloration, making it a reliable choice for audiophiles who value faithful audio reproduction.
- High-Quality Craftsmanship: These compact speakers boast impeccable craftsmanship and build quality. From the elegantly rounded edges to the magnetically attached front grille and the absence of visible screws, the Townus 30 exudes a premium look and feel. Its European assembly and in-house driver production contribute to its overall quality and reliability.
- Detailed and Engaging Sound: Despite its neutrality, the Townus 30 excels in detail retrieval and microdynamics. It brings out subtle nuances in music and recordings, immersing listeners in the finer intricacies of their favorite tracks. This makes it an excellent choice for those who appreciate high detail and transparency in their audio playback.
- Easy Setup and Placement: Setting up the Townus 30 is straightforward, and it offers flexibility in placement. These speakers can be positioned for optimal sound quality on dedicated stands or shelves. Their forgiving nature in terms of positioning ensures that you can achieve an enjoyable listening experience without the need for precise speaker placement.
Reasons Not to Buy the Canton Townus 30:
- Limited Bass Extension: Due to their compact size and driver configuration, the Townus 30 speakers have limitations in deep bass extension. You may find these speakers lacking if you prioritize powerful and deep bass, especially for genres like electronic or hip-hop music. Consider adding a subwoofer for enhanced low-end performance.
- Treble Clarity: While the Townus 30 offers a balanced treble response, speakers at similar price points excel in treble clarity and fine resolution. If you seek an even airier and more detailed treble presentation, you might explore other options in the market.
- Sound Subjectivity: The Townus 30’s neutral and objective sound may not cater to those who prefer a more colored or euphonic audio experience. If you are looking for speakers that impart a specific character or warmth to your music, you might find these speakers too analytical for your taste.
- Price Consideration: While the Townus 30 provides excellent value for its performance, there are alternative speakers available in the market that may offer a different sonic character or specific features at a similar price point. Consider your personal listening preferences and priorities when making your decision.
The Canton Townus 30 is a solid choice for audiophiles seeking neutral and versatile speakers with exceptional craftsmanship. Its transparent sound quality and attention to detail make it an attractive option for those who prioritize accuracy in audio reproduction. However, its limitations in bass extension and a neutral tonal profile may not be suitable for everyone, so it’s essential to consider your preferences and listening habits before making a purchase decision.
Want to read more about speakers? Read our background articles. For instance, Know about Bookshelf speakers, Types of speakers and their positives/negatives, Bass reflex speakers, Two-way, 2 1/2-way and three-way speakers types, Buying speakers: which specifications are important, Understanding Loudspeaker efficiency: power, sound pressure (dB) and impedance, What is a Smart Speaker? The function of NFC in speakers, Position of speakers in a surround home cinema set, and Types of speakers available in the market.