Canton Movie 120 MX review: Canton Movie 120 MX

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The Good High-performance, six-piece satellite/subwoofer system; tiny, two-way satellites; full-size 100-watt, 8-inch powered subwoofer.

The Bad Subwoofer's bass definition goes south when played too loud; no five-way binding posts.

The Bottom Line The little Canton Movie 120 MX delivers home theater punch beyond its fighting weight, but it's sapped by an underperforming subwoofer.

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6.7 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 6

When you first look at pictures of the Canton Movie 120 MX satellite/subwoofer package, it's a little hard to wrap your head around the actual size of the satellite speakers and subwoofer. The sub looks huge, practically towering over the five satellite speakers. But it's basically an optical illusion. It's not that the sub is all that big; rather, the satellite speakers are tiny, standing a mere 4.5 inches high. That said, the subwoofer is 16.7 inches high, which is somewhat larger than average; we imagine most buyers will stash it away in a corner because it's the micro satellites that are the stars of the show. The combination of truly petite satellites and a sizable subwoofer doesn't always make the best match, and we felt the Movie 120 MX did not stray away from that generalization. While it's an attractive, ultracompact system and the satellites' sound was lively, dynamic, and "fast," the subwoofer's muddy sound drags things down. We'd strongly recommend spending a bit more money and upgrading to the slightly larger step-up model, the Canton Movie 150 QX.

Design and Features
First, a little backstory on the company: Canton was founded in 1972, when four German hi-fi enthusiasts joined together with the goal of manufacturing the best speakers in their class. Canton may not be the most high-profile brand in the U.S., but the company bills itself as Germany's largest and best-selling manufacturer of loudspeakers.

The Movie 120 MX is a six-piece system consisting of four satellite speakers, a center channel speaker, and a subwoofer. It's available in high-gloss silver and black finishes. Canton claims the Movie line (which includes eight other models) was designed using the same computer-aided modeling and testing facilities it uses for its high-end speaker lines.

We think the Movie 120 MX's gloss black satellites are more attractive than the more expensive ones that come with the Movie 150 QX. That said, both share the same curvy shape and feature nonremovable perforated metal grilles. The Movie 120 MX may supply some added luster, but both systems' satellites cabinets feel unsubstantial compared with the more common medium-density fiberboard cabinets we'd expect in the Movie 120 MX's price range.

The satellites and center speaker feature a 0.6-inch aluminum tweeter and 4-inch woofer. You can literally see them peeking out from behind the grilles. The center speaker features dual 4-inch aluminum woofers flanking the 0.6-inch aluminum tweeter.

The included L-shaped plastic wall-mount brackets allow the sats to swivel laterally, so you can aim them toward a desired listening position. The center channel speaker's bracket is a simpler affair as it bolts the speaker square against the wall. The satellite speakers and center speaker don't accept banana plugs; instead, the all-metal connectors work with bare wire ends, spades or wires fitted with pin type connectors. Canton includes wall brackets for the sats and center speaker or you can purchase the optional LS 80 floorstands for the sats.

The black vinyl-covered medium-density fiberboard sub has a black, perforated metal grille covering its front panel and front-mounted port. The sub's 8-inch cellulose/graphite driver and 100-watt amplifier are hidden inside the cabinet. It's a relatively large subwoofer for this type of system, especially compared with the tiny satellites. The sub's connectivity runs to stereo speaker and line level (RCA) inputs. Size-wise, the sub measures 16.7 inches high, 9.6 wide, and 16.5 deep.

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