Canton Chrono 502 Loudspeaker

Canton Chrono 502
Canton Chrono 502 Loudspeaker

Let’s face it, only a miniscule number of us are going to own hyper-expensive audio components. Sure, we can hear them at audio shows and in dealer’s showrooms, or read about them here, but that’s not the same as living with a system. My mandate from TAS is to find and review moderately priced gear that delivers high-end musical satisfaction without totally depleting your bank account.

When I first started writing about audio for TAS in 1980 this task would have been impossible; the gap between entry-level components and state-of-the-art gear was somewhat akin to the distance between the Earth and the Crab Nebula. But in the past five years this disparity has diminished to the point where the best “affordable” audio gear delivers more than merely a taste of high-end Nirvana—it can deliver your neighborhood grill’s filet mignon, but perhaps not Peter Lugar’s Kyoto aged steak. But too much beef isn’t good for you anyway…

Monday’s Blue-Plate Special

My search for inexpensive near-perfection led me to the Canton Chrono 502 speakers. Canton has been around since 1973 and fields an extensive range of stylish speakers aimed at both the high-performance and the lifestyle audio markets. I’ve never lived with or reviewed any Canton products in the past, so I had no previously formed opinions.

The Chrono 502’s basic design won’t grab your attention from a hundred yards away, or even ten yards away. It’s simply another smallish two-way bass-reflex box speaker—a design that’s been around since the early 1960s. What makes the 502 special is Canton’s choice of materials and execution. Based on the technology Canton developed for its high-end Ergo line, the Chrono speakers share much of the same know-how but cost 30% less due to more cost-efficient cabinet-design-and-manufacturing methods. The Chrono speakers use the same flared front plate as the Ergo, allowing the speakers to deliver excellent high-frequency dispersion and off-axis linearity.

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