Canton Smart A45 & Smart Connect speakers tested

Speaker price: 3,600 euros (pair) • Speaker dimensions: 22.5 × 107 × 40 cm • Speaker weight: 39 kg • Construction: active 3-way box, bass reflex • Power: 600 watts • Bluetooth aptX • Smart Connect price: 499 Euro • Smart Connect dimensions: 24.5 × 5.2 × 14 cm • Smart Connect weight: 1.23 kg • compatible with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision • Chromecast, Google Home, Smart Streaming

The Smart A 45 are part of Canton’s online exclusive range: you will not find this speaker in specialist shops, but only in the corresponding online shop. However, the bolides are certainly not among the products that the postman simply takes up the stairs.

The 600 watt Class D power amplifier of our Smart A45 test sample is extremely powerful and drives the 3.5-way bass reflex construction (bass reflex opening facing downwards) with the distinctive ceramic-tungsten drivers more than potent. These in-house developments combine the lightness of tungsten with the stability and rigidity of ceramics. So that the whole thing also holds, it is baked together under great heat. By the way, the drivers of the loudspeaker are not manufactured in Niederlauken / Weilrod. For this, Canton has set up its own production in the Czech Republic, for which there is an in-house shuttle company. When the components arrive in the Taunus, they are not processed directly, but first come into a lock for 48 hours to acclimatize so that nothing warps in the event of a temperature jump or changing humidity.

The electronics, cables, drivers, feet and the housing then come together on conveyor belts, are lovingly screwed and assembled by hand and individually measured. No product at Canton leaves the company without a test certificate. The typical thoroughness of “Made in Germany” goes so far that even the lifestyle products, such as the small smart sound boxes, which are developed in Germany but are built overseas, all have to go through the quality check again before they can be tested Customers land. So even if you buy a cheap product from Canton, for example at Amazon, which is not “Made” but “Engineered in Germany”, you can be sure that it has been thoroughly tested and checked again, at least in Germany. The software is also always updated before delivery, regardless of whether it is a Smart Soundbar or a Smart A45. Because here too, as in many other active products from Canton, the latest DSP technology is installed.

The tweeters of the Smart A 45 play up to 30 kilohertz and form an important antipole to the potent performance of the loudspeaker for the other drivers

The smart principle

Behind Canton’s new Smart series is a really sophisticated network technology, which makes it possible to create the most complex multichannel configurations in a jiffy, but of course also simpler stereo setups. Each product in the Smart series, including the Smart A 45 and the AV pre-stage Smart Connect 5.1, which we will discuss in more detail below, conceals both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radio chips, which are developed using a specially developed , proprietary protocol to build an InRoom WiFi. That means: All smart products can be operated wirelessly, except for the power supply. And they can talk to each other. The speakers know which other Canton products from the Smart series are still in the room and exchange information. You simply place the speakers where you want them, switch them on in the order you want and the configuration is done. The whole thing goes from stereo wireless, i.e. in the variant without additional pre-stage with two Smart A 45s, to fully developed Atmos setups.

Canton’s smart technology can transmit a total of 8 channels via radio in HiRes. And all without an app. One is being worked on, but in principle it would not be necessary. Operation is self-explanatory via the on-screen menu of the Smart Connect box or the display on the front of the devices. It is controlled by a simple but effective remote control. If you have a current TV from LG and are now wondering whether Canton’s system is compatible with the general WiSA transmission standard, we have to disappoint you here: You need Canton’s own Smart Connect Box, for example, HDMI sources to combine with the speakers.

Analog RCA: 1 × • Digital coaxial: 1 × • Digital optical: 1 × • USB: 1 × • XLR: 1 ×

Smart Connect 5.1

You can address the actual speakers in the classic way using XLR, cinch, optical or coaxial digital signals, Bluetooth or USB. When using the Smart Connect AV preamplifier, you can also enjoy HDMI. This combination gives you the best of both worlds: the outstanding fidelity of a stereo set, possibly with a turntable, in combination with modern radio technologies such as Google Chromecast to Dolby Atmos surround streaming. If you connect several of the smart speakers wirelessly, you can also use different playback modes and, for example, address all speakers at the same time. The name of the AV preamplifier is a little misleading, because 5.1 is far from over. Please see the connectivity as a combination of the 8-channel InRoom WiFi of the smart technology in combination with a regular 6-channel pre-amplifier with pre-outs. In total, the Smart Connect 5.1 can use 14 channels. More than enough for really enormous cinema solutions. You can send up to 8 channels to Canton’s smart speakers wirelessly, for example the rear or height speakers in the form of smart sound boxes or other compatible devices. And for the front you remain very classic with wired solutions including a subwoofer. But maybe you also have permanently installed InWall speakers in the ceiling that you want to address with a wired connection and for that you make the rest of the room wireless. No problem. Rarely before have we found such a versatile yet simple way to make multi-channel audio user-friendly. And even if you want to use passive speakers in combination with the Smart A45, Canton has the right solution in the portfolio with the Smart Amp 5.1.

In addition to the display of the Smart Connect control center, an on-screen display is available. You can also transmit Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision sources to the TV via the HDMI interfaces. The included remote control is spartan, alternatively you can use the touch surface on the top

Sound Plus

In terms of sound, the Smart A45 are extremely oversized. It should be difficult to exhaust them. They are massive in the stomach and make walls quake easily. And still remain beautifully transparent and plastic. We perceive a slight tendency to presence in the 2-4 kilohertz range as typical of Canton’s tweeters, but they also need this as a counterweight to the pure power in the lower half. However, this should not be confused with a loudness curve. The speakers are linear and transparent. Many are probably just no longer used to linear hearing, because most loudspeakers these days tend to “musically” round off the highs. Canton doesn’t do that. The Smart A45 are muscular on the one hand, but also delicate and relaxed on the other. If you are looking for tube heat, you may be out of place here, which is difficult to achieve with Class D technology. But if you want the full potential of a signal and maximum flexibility and transparency in the display, this is the place for you. We also kept a few highlights from them: The Canton system processes surround signals, offers the option of lip-sync tuning so that picture and sound are in harmony, and Dolby Vision HDMI signals were also tested in the test TV forwarded.

HDMI: 3 × In, 1 × Out • ARC: yes • CEC: yes • ALLM: yes • VRR: defective in the test • Pre-Out: 1 × 5.1 • Digital optical: 1 × • Digital coaxial: 1 × • Analog Cinch : 1x • Network: 1 ×

The combination with an Xbox One X and Games initially showed optimal interaction (4K 60 FPS HDR) including ALLM support, but as soon as we established a VRR connection to the TV, the connection broke when the game started. Therefore, deactivate VRR when you connect the Xbox One X to Cantons Smart Connect or simply connect the source directly to the matching TV and use the ARC return channel to the Canton receiver. DTS TruSurround is available to simulate surround sound with just two speakers. The Virtualizer works so well that we looked around the room several times during the film and audio samples to make sure that we weren’t being duped here. Yes, it depends on the listening position in the room and is not enough for a real surround or even a large Atmos setup, but the result is really good for two front speakers. The Canton Smart A45 are therefore an absolute bargain in terms of sound and equipment. The matching switchgear Canton Smart Connect 5.1 is just the thing for everyone who wants to expand existing Canton Smart speakers with HDMI sources or flirt with the construction of a Dolby Atmos system.

Image source:

  • _MG_4238: © Auerbach Verlag
  • _MG_4245: © Auerbach Verlag
  • _MG_4199: © Auerbach Verlag
  • _MG_4194: © Auerbach Verlag
  • canton_MG_4189: © Auerbach Verlag

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