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Canton Movie 150 QX review: Canton Movie 150 QX

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We used The Dark Knight Blu-ray Disc's Dolby TrueHD soundtrack to see how the Movie 150 QX would sound when pushed to its limit. In the first scene, we were shocked by the sound of one of the Joker's henchmen shooting out a nearby skyscraper's window. The intensity of the blast was amazing, but nothing compared with what came later when the Joker delivers a bigger bang into the side of a police SWAT team van. Dialog was crisp and clear, and Batman's guttural voice was impressively deep. The Movie 150 QX handled most of the mayhem in stride, but when a huge tractor trailer flips end-over-end, the subwoofer's sound grew a tad muddy.

Still, the Movie 150 QX handled high-impact home theater assaults better than anything near its size and price class that we can remember. Also, we were listening at a pretty loud volume and, besides the subwoofer losing its grip when the action heated up, the Movie 150 QX sounded well above average.

Part of this performance could be attributed to the excellent satellite/subwoofer blend. The sub's deepest bass extension was superior to what you would expect to hear from a $1,200 combo system. The Definitive Technology ProCinema 800 would be in the ballpark, although we didn't have the system on hand to do a direct comparison.

That said, we did have another Canton package to compare the Movie 150 QX with, the smaller Movie 120 MX ($900 list price). That system shared the Movie 150's sound signature (both are extremely detailed) and lively dynamic sound, which we consider essential for home theater. While listening to the Dolby TrueHD soundtrack on the Across the Universe Blu-ray, the smaller Canton system sounded brighter and less well-endowed than the Movie 150 QX. The bigger sub's bass went deeper, though we don't think it's the best-defined subwoofer of the two. Again, the Definitive Technology ProCinema 800's sub is ahead on that score. The larger Canton system plays louder, sounds warmer, and performs more naturally with music than the Movie 120 MX does. We do like the looks of the smaller Canton, however. Its high-gloss black satellites have a more upscale appearance.

We finished up our testing with a few CDs and the Movie 150 QX did not disappoint. Lucinda William's latest, Little Honey, has some of her fiercest-rocking songs in ages. The opener, "Real Love," wears its Rolling Stones influences proudly, so we cranked up the volume and the Movie 150 QX didn't turn nasty the way most ultra compact systems do. Sure, there are limits to just how loud the Canton satellites can go, and if cranking music and home theater way up is a priority for you, we'd recommend picking up a larger system. The orchestral score to the film Birth on CD was also quite impressive. The strings had just the right balance of warmth and detail.

In sum, the Movie 150 QX is an excellent performer, easily defying our expectations of just how good a 5.1 channel package with downright tiny satellite speakers can sound. Additionally, we'd have to recommend this system over the Movie 120 MX, because of its superior performance with various genres of music, which was something the 120 MX had a lot of trouble with.

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