Sometimes it takes that certain special moment for friendship to develop. Seen in this way, the Canton B100 (1,498 euros) from Hessen’s online exclusive range can be seen as a friendship offer to interested hi-fi fans. A kind of getting to know each other that can become more or even a long-term “brand” friendship over time?
The story is somehow always the same, you start with an entry-level series from a manufacturer and “rise” to the next, higher product level over time and as your mood, mood and wallet allow. Unless you switch to other manufacturers. There are plenty of reasons to remain loyal to the traditional manufacturer Canton based in the Taunus. A company that has been family-run since the 1970s and has a development center in Germany is not that common. Nor is there such a sustainable development signature as that coined by Frank Göbl, Canton’s long-standing chief developer, with features such as the tungsten-ceramic membranes of the reference models or the multiple-folded surrounds of the chassis.
The Canton B 100 presented here leads the B series and thus the middle line of online exclusive loudspeakers and is flanked by a suitable compact box and a center so that both stereo and multi-channel setups can be implemented. Let’s take a closer look at the Canton B 100:
Canton B 100 Online Exclusive – Technology & Specs
From a purely visual point of view, the B 100 reminds me a lot of the large floorstanding Canton A 45 that I tested, also from the online exclusive series, which was on duty here in the listening room for a long time after the test. The high-gloss black or high-gloss white finish is similar, but other manufacturers in this price range often use inexpensive surface foils. Of course, the B 100 cannot compete with the multi-layer paint application of the Canton Reference series and does not have the same optical depth, but the paint finish is definitely of high quality and an eye-catcher in every living room or listening room. The straight lines of the Canton B 100 are also reminiscent of the A 45. A no-frills, modern design language – okay, if you like a softer, rounded case, that might be a pretty “clear edge”. At 105 centimetres, the B 100 is roughly the height of the A 45, but with 21 x 33 centimeters (W x H) makes a noticeably slimmer foot. This is not least a plus when it comes to positioning the loudspeakers: at 24 kilograms per box, the B 100 is clearly more portable than the 14 kilogram heavier A 45.
As is typical for Canton, the slightly set-back tweeter is positioned below the mid-range driver because it promises optimized runtime and phase behavior as well as more homogeneous dispersion . Due to the bundling tendency of the titanium mid-range speaker, which is unusually large with a diameter of almost 18 centimetres, the 25 mm tweeter is adapted by means of a small sound guide (wave guide) and a lens placed in front. The tweeter comes with an aluminum dome that has been anodized with a ceramic oxide surface. The classic target dilemma of lightness and material stiffness should be countered so effectively, what for minimized distortion and a better impulse response Take care, says Canton. The same applies to the titanium bass drivers with their shimmering look, which are otherwise used in the significantly more expensive Vento series. The two 20 cm woofers have a lower susceptibility to resonance than aluminum membranes and thus a reduced tendency to break up. The folded surround, known as the wave surround, is also one of the preferred solutions for the Canton developers.
Looking inside, you can see the solidity you are used to from Canton. Body stiffening elements are among the mechanical basics of both the Canton B 100 and A 45. Unlike the A 45, the high-quality, in-house CantoLink 400 cable is not used for the cabling. And even if it’s only minor, I remember that the A 45 was even more accurately finished in the area of the housing openings, which you can see when you remove the drivers.
You don’t need to look out for extravagant crossover configurations with the B 100, but clean construction and components that are common in the price class are still on the plus side, check it out. The switch receives its signals via a rear bi-wiring terminal. It can certainly be argued whether a single-wiring terminal would be more practical in this still down-to-earth price range, I myself am definitely a friend of bi-wiring.
Canton B100 Online Exclusive: Sound Test & Comparisons
As soon as the Canton B 100 is played in, a rather pointed and eloquent character is revealed, so that I fall back on a Pinot Brut from the Beurer winery in the Remstal. Here, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc unite to create an expressive, but not overly effect-laden, drinkable coherence. And the same goes for the B 100. But first things first…
Not a matter of course – the treble
Let’s first look at the high-frequency behavior – with the help of the piece “Divertissement” by the Japanese funk combo Osaka Monaurail , in which drummer Kimura Soki works on skins and brass for almost three minutes. Admittedly, listen to the album Amen, Brother is not an audiophile tour de force, but gives quite good information about how the metallic shimmer of the ride cymbal and hi-hat is expressed. Does it sound annoying or do details get lost? Here the Canton B 100 is definitely above average for its price range. Because, thanks to its very clean, low-distortion high-frequency reproduction, it offers a perfectly authentic representation: the “metal sound” shines clear, well focused (no “fraying”) and subtle, without tipping into the bright or peak. Even at higher levels, the Canton B 100 does not appear strained or snappy, but even more coherent and, above all, more fine-grained than, for example, my good old Isophon Indigo – and without the side effect of a noticeable emphasis on presence. All these qualities are, I think
This is not a matter of course and you can clearly see here that the B 100 benefits from the developments of the more expensive series. A cheaper Acoustic Energy AE 109 (800 euros) used for comparison shows a similar resolution, but does not deliver the high level of effortlessness and silkiness as the Canton, especially at higher levels. With a view to much higher price classes, the comparison with the Elac Vela FS 408 (5,600 euros) is interesting, which with its JET 5 AMT tweeter shines a little less freshly than the B 100, but still packs more fine information even silkier.
Ah yes, the voices…
I’m always particularly interested in women’s voices, which is why Maple Glider ‘s track “Swimming” (Album: To Enjoy Is The Only Thing) is on the playlist of both the Auralic Aries Mini and the Wattson, who is already warming up for the next test Emerson Digital lands. Ah yes, unfortunately I can’t describe it any other way and please don’t accuse me of being rude adulation, but what the Canton B 100 is really good at is an absolutely touching and authentic-looking voice quality. With a surprisingly high level of transparency. The color temperature does not tip into the warm – an overemphasis on the basic tone is not audible – but not too cool either, but is as authentically colored and balanced as I usually know from much more expensive loudspeakers.
A similar listening experience as with the saxophone occurs with male voices, such as with the info posts on my favorite radio station Deutschlandfunk (DLF). The Canton B 100 seems a bit brighter here than the sonorous Canton A45, while the Elac Debut Reference DFR 52 (1,198 euros) sounded similar in terms of voice reproduction and mids . In the treble, however, the Elac played a little less precisely and therefore more mildly.
With the next piece “View From This Side” I notice another special feature. With its fresh mid-band, the Canton B 100 is also able to capture fine spatial information, for example reverb tails when the voice fades away.
Yes, the B 100 also offers good transparency from a spatial point of view. Only the cave-like illumination of depth and breadth is not their declared goal, other loudspeakers such as a Canton A 45 or said Elac Vela FS 408 make it much more ambitious. They also trace the “layering” of musical levels in a more complex and vivid way.
But the all clear: In view of the price differences, it would be even nicer if the B 100 could keep up everywhere or just be differentwould interpret. Although, she actually does the latter: the base line of the box is projected forward rather offensively and thus achieves an intimate, equally thrilling effect; The Canton B 100 illuminates individual musical components more clearly and directly. Instead of sitting in the gallery, you tend to sit in the front rows, which not least has the advantage that you feel a stronger dynamic impulsiveness than on the aforementioned gallery. Incidentally, a fact that I was only able to convince myself of recently in the Stuttgart Liederhalle. On the gallery, the intensity of the dynamic charging and discharging, especially when the orchestra conducted by Teodor Currentzis suddenly changed during Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5, did not have the same impact as during the rehearsals when I was sitting directly in front of it.
I mentioned at the beginning that the Canton B 100 can handle a decent level, but I would like to say a few more words on the subject of “volume”. After all, volume isn’t just loud. Rather, I want to rejoice in the late hours in the quiet little listening room, rejoice and, as an imaginary conductor, lead to the exuberant crescendo in the spirit, while the Chardonnay R from the Haidle winery, which has matured on Stuben sandstone soil, is tackled with a corkscrew. Even at moderate levels at night, the Canton effortlessly catches fine dynamic interplay and conveys it to the listener in a highly intelligible manner.
The reverse example: If the better half doesn’t materialize at least once in the listening room and signal absolute incomprehension with the palm of her hand in front of her magical face (because you can’t hear anything anyway due to the level), then something is missing. Which you absolutely can’t say about the B 100, because basically it doesn’t seem to know any level limits, my ears get tired beforehand. My well-hung Isophon Indigo (formerly 3,000 euros), for example, sounds more brute in the bass, but overall it is a bit narrower, there is a comparative lack of airiness and temperament. Summary here: The B 100 should provide numerous secret air guitar players, that’s for sure.
Unobtrusively correct: the bass
Finally, let’s move on to the lower registers. The Canton B 100 sounds more neutral and more detailed in the lower registers than a more powerful and warmer tuned Acoustic Energy AE 109. It is a prime example of a bass that is not bone dry, but is nevertheless fast, agile, unobtrusive and still has sufficient depth. Of course, it doesn’t achieve the wall-tearing, sovereign authority and the formidable depth of a Canton A 45 that acted in the same place before it. An Elac Vela FS 408 also develops significantly more pressure and simply sounds like a larger box. But: The B 100 is less prone to annoying buzzing and does not excite the surrounding room excessively. It definitely recommends this for smaller rooms or a corresponding installation closer to the wall. It makes up for the lack of sheer bass power with quality. There is something like a character close to the Elac Debut Reference DFR52, the counterpart, on the other hand, would be a Raumfeld Stereo L, which is much thicker but appears less precise and uncontrolled. Well, the comparison may sound a little bit apple-pie, after all the Raumfeld is a (pseudo) active loudspeaker, but as an “earthshaking bass foundation” it is always worth a comparison.
First of all: high-quality workmanship, high-gloss finish and no-frills, timeless lines – the Canton B 100 looks a lot more expensive than the price tag printed with 1,500 euros suggests. It appears well-proportioned in the spacious living room (25 – 40 m²), but does not seem oversized in smaller listening environments – both visually and acoustically. In terms of sound, the B-100 benefits from the developments of higher-priced models: With its titanium membranes and ceramic tweeter, it produces an effortless, airy, modern sound pattern that is overall on the lighter side of neutral.
Last but not least, the high level of speech intelligibility, the transparency and the adult bass reproduction, which goes beyond the typical compact speaker level but is nevertheless unobtrusive and very uncritical in terms of room acoustics, are among the other strengths of the B 100. At least if “fat bass pressure” or “warm sound bath” are not quite are high on the priority list. On the amplifier side, the Canton B 100 is good-natured, working uncompromisingly with a NAD 316 BEE V2, while encouraging a Waversa WSlim Lite to perform at its best. Yes, the Canton B 100 offers plenty of turn-on factor in a very uncomplicated way.
The Canton B100…
- has a hardness-free, transparent and pronounced high tone, which promotes a direct and jumping characteristic.
- shows itself to be very talented in terms of both coarse and fine dynamics, even at low levels.
- on the other hand, is fairly stable.
- sounds slag-free and transparent in the mid-band. High speech intelligibility and slightly slim rather than lush base tone padding.
- is not a blood-curdling low-bass monster, but nevertheless offers sufficient depth for a floor-standing speaker and good room acoustic compatibility. Otherwise, the bass is neutral and quick to respond.
- virtualizes a stage design going forward from the box base line towards the listener. Depth and breadth are not overly pronounced, but the listener still feels nicely involved.
- looks chic – if you like clear lines.
- Model: Canton B 100
- Concept: 3-way floorstanding speaker with bass reflex system
- Price: 1,498 euros
- Finishes: High gloss finish in black or white
- Efficiency: 86dB/W/m
- Nominal Impedance: 4-8 ohms
- Dimensions & Weight: 105cm H x 21cm W x 33 D / 24kg each
- Guarantee: 5 years