Need Advice using older Canton speakers - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 3 Old 09-05-11, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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Need Advice using older Canton speakers


I am setting up a new home theater from scratch. Room is 17x27. I already own what I believe is a really decent audio system, but it is about 15 years old. I know I need a new receiver, I'm planning on purchasing an Onkyo TX-NR709.

My current speakers are Canton's:

L/R Towers = Fonum 600
S/W = AS 30
Surround L/R and Center = Nestor 403

I got good bargain prices on these back in the day, two units were floor models, Fonums were on discontinued closeout, etc., and I still have well over $2000 invested in speakers. The Sub was a $900 unit by itself (I got it for $550) These speakers weren't bottom offering from Canton, but they weren't top end either. Good, solid, monitor-quality, but not over the top exotic.

Here is my question for all of you, and I welcome all feedback.....

I was only planning on upgrading the receiver for $500. I don't have an additional $2500 laying around to update all the speakers. The local audio store is advising me to go into a $1000 home theater in a box, because all my stuff is "obsolete", and he claims it will sound better than my old speaker setup.

So, my gut reaction is....this guy is an idiot right? Even though my speakers are old, they are really, really nice sounding speakers. The Cantons are studio-monitor-quality units. And although they are by no means the top end of what Canton made, they are still audiophile-realm units. When I bought them, I listened to them side by side with some of the best back then, ADS, B&W, etc. I thought the Cantons were very comparable with speakers costing twice as much. I really felt they were a bargain, considering the sound they made for the price, and listening to them today, I really feel that they still hold their own. I think they still sound awesome. However, I haven't been in a "real" audio store in about 10 years, but even the "nice" stuff that they have in listening rooms at Best Buy doesn't sound any better than my current systems. I obviously need to take a trip to the city to listen to new gear.

Am I really that out of touch that today's home theater's in a box can sound better than a full suite of monitor quality, 4 ohm speakers that are 13 years old? I obviously haven't driven the 1.5 hours to the city to listen to one of the new HTIB systems, so that is on the docket. But, I would like to hear other folks reaction to this guy's recommendation, especially if you have the years of experience to form your opinions on.

So, do I scrap the old Canton's, or do I get a new receiver and have a great system, even by today's standards?

Couple other follow on questions: I also thought about keeping the L/R towers, keep the sub, keep the center channel, but maybe doing a dipole on the back walls of the room. The 3 Nestor 403 speakers that I have are really big, and for aesthetics, I just don't know if I can stomach them being that large. I was thinking of Axiom QS 8's or similar. So, question 2 is would any of you mix brands and put non-Canton dipole's up for surround? Would that be a problem with timbre matching? If not, my other alternative, would be buying some Canton on-wall speakers, since Canton doesn't make dipoles. I may still have a timbre matching issue though, since Canton's new stuff may sound different, but Canton always tended to have pretty matched timbre up and down their product line, over many years, so there is hope!

Thanks in advance for any and all advice!
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post #2 of 3 Old 09-05-11, 06:41 PM
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Re: Need Advice using older Canton speakers

First off, welcome to the Shack.

I agree, the guy is nuts. , speakers do not become obsolete. Electronics? sure, but speakers... If they are still in good condition and you like the sound of 'em

Don't think there is a HTiB that would even come close to your Canton's. Keep the speakers and upgrade the receiver. As for your rears, you don't need bi-di-pole speakers. Personally I like 'em but most people don't, especially with the processing capabilities of current receivers. Smaller direct radiating speakers will do you just fine and typically cost less than bi-di. I suggest contacting Canton and see what they have to say about the sonic signature of their newer speakers and how well the timbre match with your older speakers. Personally I like all my speakers to be from the same manufacturer, and from the same line, utilizing the same drivers. Necessary? No. Many people have great systems with surrounds from different manufacturers. I think it's generally pretty hard to distinguish timbre match from your surrounds, unless you listen to a lot 5 channel stereo or 5.1 music.

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post #3 of 3 Old 09-05-11, 09:30 PM
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Re: Need Advice using older Canton speakers

Yes, welcome to the forum.
As has already been said... If your speakers are in good condition keep them (all of them) and just get the AVR you want.
The only thing that raises any flag to me is you said the speakers are 4 ohms, most 4 ohm speakers are not very efficient either so its a double whammy when it comes to the amplifier.
Put some time into researching the AVR to make sure it will be capable of driving those bad boys.
I am not normally an amplifier advocate, but in the case of 4 ohm speakers it might be worth checking out the price of a budget AVR and a separate amplifier.
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