Kanto's new active speakers - with HDMI ARC - could be a nifty soundbar alternative

Kanto Ren
(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Kanto Audio is back with another pair of compact desktop speakers. The Canadian audio brand revealed its Kanto Ora speakers a few months ago, and has returned once again to unveil the Kanto Ren, a 100W pair of active bookshelf monitors available in the summer.

The new Kanto Ren are well-connected, featuring an HDMI input for hooking up to a TV as well as a USB-C input for playing files up to 24-bit/96kHz from a source player. An optical Toslink supports up to 24-bit/96kHz transmission, and there's a single RCA input alongside a 3.5mm jack. If you don't want to plug in directly, they're also kitted out with Bluetooth 5.3. Outputs, meanwhile, come courtesy of a single sub-out line and a single USB Charge. 

The Class D active speakers feature a 2.5cm silk dome tweeter working alongside a 13cm woofer, with the Canadian brand promising a pair of high-performance, powerful speakers that can do it all: "no matter the source, the Ren deliver clear highs, detailed midrange, and impressively powerful bass". Let's hope so.

Kanto Ren rear speaker view in white

(Image credit: Kanto)

The new units are supplied with a remote control and feature a choice of two extra sound modes – vocal boost and night mode. The latter does one of two things. if a subwoofer is connected, the sub-out signal will be switched off and the low-frequencies will only be emitted from the speaker itself. If no subwoofer is connected, the Ren's bass will be reduced, presumably so as not to disturb your lower-floor neighbours when they're trying to get some kip. There's also a quarter-inch hole at the base of the units for mounting.

If you're heading down to the Bristol Hi-Fi Show, Kanto Audio will be showcasing the Ren active speakers from Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th. The new units will be on sale from July, priced at £499 / €579 / $599 per pair, and are available in a choice of six colourways: black, cream, white, green, brown and orange. 


The Bristol Hi-Fi Show 2024 preview: what to expect from the big event

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.