Kanto's desktop speakers promise studio-grade performance without the premium price

Kanto ORA sideways on a gaming desktop
(Image credit: Future)

Canadian speaker manufacturer Kanto Audio isn't necessarily the biggest name in audio, but its new pair of compact desktop speakers might just grab your attention. The new Kanto ORA is an unobtrusive speaker pair, billed as being ideal for playing music, gaming and for use as studio monitors when you don't have a huge budget to play with.

They're certainly compact. The ORA stand just 17cm tall with a width of around 10cm and a depth of roughly 14cm, making them specifically designed for desktop use, flanking your laptop or monitor – ideal for when you don't have a huge amount of space. If you need them raised and angled upwards (or mounted on the wall), the ORA can be fitted on to three different types of stands that are sold separately.

These are powered speakers as well, with 50 watts of Class D amplification behind each units' 2cm silk dome tweeter with a waveguide and 7.5cm paper cone woofer. The brand claims the speakers deliver "clear highs, a detailed midrange and an impressively powerful bass". The speakers' acoustical shape, furthermore, provides a "balanced and immersive audio landscape".

Kanto ORA

The Kanto ORA placed alongside the Kanto Audio SUB8 (sold separately). (Image credit: Kanto)

You're also pretty well-furnished in terms of connectivity. The ORA speakers feature Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless listening, as well as an analogue RCA line level and a USB-C input for connecting sources such as MP3 players, the new iPhone 15, most Android devices, your PC and more. There's also a subwoofer output for booting your bass (a SUB8 unit is sold separately, as shown above). When using the USB-C input, ORA can accept hi-res audio, up to and including, 24-bit/96kHz files.

A nice addition is that the units' front LED switches colour depending on the source input in use, varying from Green for RCA analogue, Yellow for USB-C and Blue for, naturally, Bluetooth. There's a volume control on the front of the main speaker, and you can also orient them in portrait or landscape mode.

The Kanto Audio ORA desktop speaker system is available now for £299 / €299 / $349, and you'll receive a 60-day trial of hi-res music streaming service Qobuz when you buy. This pricing and compact form factor puts them in direct competition against the Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2, our favourite desktop speakers that have won yet another What Hi-Fi? Award this year. We love the Ruark's petite design and rich, musical sound quality – it's a powerful combination that hasn't been beaten yet, but we'd be interested to hear how these new Kanto ORA speakers perform in comparison.


Here are the best-sounding desktop speakers you can buy

Read our Award-winning Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2 review

Check out our pick of the best bookshelf speakers

Harry McKerrell
Staff writer

Harry McKerrell is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi?. He studied law and history at university before working as a freelance journalist covering TV and gaming for numerous platforms both online and in print. When not at work he can be found playing hockey, practising the piano or forcing himself to go long-distance running.