Review Price £449.00
The DM75 is the big brother of Canton’s DM50, which we regard as the best soundbase currently on the market thanks to its outstanding sound quality.
This pricier version caters for people with larger TVs and/or bigger rooms, but the idea is exactly the same. It’s a large, flat speaker unit that acts as a base for your TV, providing a powerful yet space-efficient upgrade for your set’s weedy speakers.
Pulling the DM75 out of the box won’t inspire ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ but it’s not really supposed to – soundbases are designed to be discreet and Canton pulls it off perfectly. This understated black box measures 69mm high by 320mm deep, with a black mesh covering the front-facing speaker drivers and a semi-gloss top panel. It’s attractive but not in a showy way, although the white and silver finishes are a little flashier.
But for soundbases build quality is more important than looks, and on that score the DM75 is a winner. Its high-density fibreboard bodywork is remarkably sturdy, allowing it to support TVs up to 40kg in weight. The DM50 was designed for TVs up to 40in, but the DM75 is suited to anything larger – provided it’s lighter than 40kg and its stand fits within the DM75’s top surface. Our 55-inch Samsung set sat snugly on top, even with its unusual four-pronged stand.
The front mesh plays host to a bright blue LED display that disappears when idle. There are no buttons on the unit itself – everything is controlled by a stylish silver remote.
If the DM50 had a flaw, it’s a lack of HDMI sockets for those who want to pass through pictures from a Blu-ray deck. The DM75 is similarly HDMI-free but does offer a choice of optical and coaxial digital inputs, analogue stereo input and a subwoofer output should you want to reinforce the unit’s bass performance.
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The DM75’s speaker arrangement is unusual for a soundbase. Much like full-size home cinema speakers, it uses a three-way bass reflex design with two 19mm fabric tweeters, two 50mm midrange drivers and four 100mm woofers. Power output is quoted as 200W and frequency response is 35Hz – 23kHz.
A key feature for music lovers is Bluetooth 4.0 with apt-X, which allows CD-quality streaming from mobile devices. You’ll also find on-board Dolby Digital decoding and DTS TruSurround, DTS’s processing technology for soundbars and TVs.
The DM75 bucks the trend for cheap, fiddly soundbase remotes with a high-quality handset. It’s heavy, attractive and logically laid out, with nine chunky buttons that include up and down keys for input selection and dedicated buttons for sound adjustments. If you want to continue using your TV’s remote then the DM75 also boasts an IR learning function.
The unit is easy to use and the LED display removes all the guesswork. Hit the Sound button and you can tweak the bass and treble levels ( /-6). Hold it down and you’ll access more options, including three EQ modes for different installation positions – free-standing, TV placed on top or in a rack – plus lip sync and external sub settings.
In action the DM75 is a class act, just like its little brother. After letting rip with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Blu-ray, what impresses most is the sheer scale and power of the Canton’s sound. Obviously it can’t match a full-size 5.1 system, but to get such a dynamic and potent sound from a box measuring just 69mm high is nothing short of a miracle.
Credit for this beefy sound should go to the quartet of downward-firing 100mm woofers inside the box. They add depth and punch to the effects that need them, such as the Trolls’ thumping footsteps and their booming voices. The rhythmic rumble of the kettle drums in Howard Shore’s excellent score also sounds huge, injecting the scene with urgency and gravitas. We doubt you’ll need an external sub.
But it’s not just the power of the DM75’s bass that impresses but also its seamless integration and agility, which means there’s no booming or overhang to pull you out of the moment. If something isn’t quite to your liking, it can easily be fixed using the bass, treble and EQ settings.
Further up the sonic spectrum, the DM75’s three-way speaker design with separate tweeters and midrange drivers pays dividends. Mids have a sprightly, attacking quality that rarely lapses into brashness, as evidenced by the dwarves’ raucous battle with the trolls – the blaring brass, clattering swords and shouty voices sound clean and composed.
Meanwhile the tweeters effortlessly dig out delicate noises like crackling fire and rustling leaves, making every scene feel open and layered. This level of refinement is one of the reasons why Canton’s soundbases are a cut above the competition. It’s also a dab hand with dialogue, nailing the nuances in each character’s voice and allowing them to cut through the chaos.
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But that sense of scale will keep you coming back for more – skip to the Stone Giants scene and you can almost feel the colossal creatures looming over you, while the deep rumble when boulders collide is visceral.
The sound modes are much of a muchness – there’s a faint sense of extra width when you switch from Stereo to Surround, but in both cases the effects still feel localised to the front of the room. This lack of surround presence is our only real truck with the DM75’s performance, but we’re yet to hear a soundbase that does it successfully.
Pair an iPod and you’ll be treated to an unusually assured music performance. The self-titled jazz-funk album by Resolution 88 sounds full-bodied and effortlessly groovy, with floating hi-hats, punchy snares and warm keys searing from the speakers. The woofers keep metronomic time with the kicks and basslines, while the sax and brass solos are smoothly handled. This is a soundbase music fans can definitely get on board with.
Once again Canton has shown the rest how it’s done with a soundbase that delivers an unusually powerful and refined performance. It’s every bit as impressive as the DM50, perhaps even more so, offering crisp sonic detail, dynamic midrange, excellent scale and commanding bass – the sort you simply don’t expect from such a slim box. The inclusion of Bluetooth apt-X is a huge bonus.
We have a couple of reservations though. There are no HDMI sockets, which limit your connectivity options, plus the £469 price tag is undeniably steep for a soundbase, even one as impressive as this. But if neither of these is an issue, then the DM75 is a must-buy.
Canton consolidates the success of the dazzling DM50 with a larger soundbase that delivers similarly polished and powerful sound quality – but you’ll need deep pockets to own one and there are no HDMIs.
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