AT A GLANCE
Impressive bass output
Plays loudly without stress
Matching center, surround, and Atmos speakers available
No wood finish option
Needs to be pulled out into the room for best sound
Canton’s Chrono 70 tower speaker delivers powerful sound with ease and represents a great value at its $2K price.
Canton may be a speaker brand that’s relatively unknown in North America—no doubt due to the company’s products not being available in these parts for the past decade—but the German outfit has been doing business for almost 50 years. Headquartered about 25 miles north of Frankfurt, Canton is one of Germany’s largest loudspeaker manufacturers, offering a truly breathtaking spread of models across several product ranges.
If you wanted to pluck a representative speaker out from the middle of Canton’s lineup, you’d most likely select the Chrono 70. The whole Chrono series resides somewhere in the middle of the company’s range, occupying a comfortable sweet spot between affordability and performance. One key advantage to this positioning is that the Chrono series leverages trickle-down technology from Canton’s more expensive lines—the Vento series’ Wave Surround rubber woofer suspension, for example, which permits greater driver excursion with less distortion.
The 70 is the smallest of three floorstanding towers within the Chrono series, with a couple of bookshelf models coming in just below it to complete the lineup. There’s also a Chrono center channel, subwoofer, on-wall, and an Atmos elevation model in case your plans include a full surround rig. But for this review we focused just on the Chrono 70, used alone as a stereo pair.
Many companies selling affordable speakers moved their production lines to Asia long ago, but Canton has resisted this temptation. Instead, it has chosen to consolidate operations within the EU, with flagship models manufactured in Germany and lower-cost lines like the Chrono produced across the border in the Czech Republic. This strategy allows Canton to hold costs down while keeping everything reasonably close to home.
We Americans tend to appreciate the warmth of a real wood veneer finish, but it seems European design these days is all about purity and austerity. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that the Chrono 70 is only available in black or white. Its front baffle has a high gloss painted finish, while the cabinet’s sides, top, and back are covered with a matching textured vinyl wrap. Magnetically attached black fabric grilles can be used to cover up the drivers, although I found the Chrono 70 to be quite attractive with its drivers left naked. The tweeter has a mesh protective cover, which will prevent curious children with prodding fingers from poking it.
On the back of the Chrono 70’s cabinet is a fairly large bass port with two pairs of gold-plated speaker cable binding posts below it. A pair of jumper straps connect the top binding posts to the lower ones for a normal single-wire connection, while removing them allows for bi-wiring or bi-amping. A pedestal at the speaker’s base extends its foot- print a couple of inches out in each direction for added stability, while a set of not especially sharp spikes can be attached for installation on carpeting, with a rubber foot option for hard floors.
Canton’s literature describes the Chrono 70 as a three-way speaker, but after seeing that it uses what appears to be two identical- looking low-frequency drivers in addition to the tweeter, I was a bit unsure about that description. It became clear after running tests that this could be more accurately described as a 21⁄2-way speaker, with both six-inch aluminum woofers covering the full bass range, but only the upper one also handling midrange frequencies. (The Chrono 70’s bottom woofer starts to roll off at around 300Hz, while the upper crosses over to the tweeter at around 3kHz.) A 21⁄2-way speaker can offer real advantages over a more traditional three-way; specifically, it has greater bass output capability than a single- woofer design can muster, while still maintaining the smooth dispersion and coherency of a separate midrange driver.