Every year, right around this time, I go to my bookshelf and pull down my all-time favorite book for yet another read. You'd be forgiven for assuming it is The Lord of the Rings or something related to Star Wars. But no, it's actually The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins and Yan Wong--a dense exploration of the tree of life, from twigs (all current life on earth) to roots (the ancestor of us all), with strong emphasis on the molecular evidence for how we're related to the rest of life and what sort of world our common ancestors probably lived in.
Of course, in the 12 years since its original publication, some of the book's observations have grown outdated. Incomplete evidence that pointed in one direction a decade ago has been superseded by firmer evidence that points in slightly different directions. So this year, instead of digging into my well-worn, autographed first edition, I'm reading the new revised and expanded edition for the first time. At its heart, it's still the same book I've cherished for years now; it simply benefits from more than 10 years of poking and prodding at the interwoven strands of nucleic acid that make you you, and me me...and chimps chimps, and bananas bananas.
I'm not here to review The Ancestor's Tale, of course. I'm here to review the revised and updated Triton Two+ speaker from GoldenEar Technology. But my mind keeps returning to the similarities between the two. After all, when it was released in 2010, the then-flagship Triton Two rocked the audio market with unparalleled transparency, detail, and dynamics in its price range. However, the company has, if you'll forgive the heavy-handed comparison, evolved quite a bit since then. All of the new research and development that led to the company's flagship Triton One hasn't rendered the original Triton Two obsolete by any measure, but to think that GoldenEar's half-decade-old tower speaker wouldn't benefit greatly from those advancements would just be silly.
As such, the Triton Two+ ($1,749 each) borrows heavily from its larger sibling in a number of ways. What's new this time around? The upper-bass/midrange drivers, for one thing, which feature a new cone, surround, spider, and voice coil. The Triton Two+ also benefits from a new crossover design and a completely reprogrammed DSP for the active low-frequency section, based on that of the Triton One, with fewer filter stages in the signal path. That's a pretty broad view of the physical changes, but it doesn't cover the hours upon hours spent listening and tweaking the new design. Those tiny little tweaks here and there add up to a significantly upgraded speaker.
If there's an applicable biological metaphor to be made here, I think horizontal gene transfer is the mechanism that fits best. By that I mean that the Triton Two+ isn't a wholly new organism; it's simply one that's more robust, thanks to a fresh injection of more advanced DNA. It's also better equipped to woo new listeners in an era in which the Triton One has changed the audio landscape to a significant degree.
While a lot has changed about the Triton Two+, one thing remains the same: its form factor. That includes its connectivity, which remains a bit too cramped for my taste. Connecting the speakers to my Peachetree Audio nova220SE Integrated Amplifer via a pair of Kimber Kable 12TC speaker cables proved to be a little cumbersome due to the tight spacing of the speaker's vertically stacked binding posts.
That aside, I found them even easier to position and dial in than the much larger Triton One. For one thing, the Triton Two+ weighs a good 20 pounds less than its larger sibling, and it stands six inches shorter, making it much easier to unbox and relocate. It's not just that, though; I also found them to be a little less particular in terms of placement, especially in terms of distance from boundaries.
They do, of course, still need a power mains connection for each speaker (for the 1,200-watt amplifier driving the pair of five- by nine-inch long-throw high-output quadratic bass drivers coupled to dual seven- by 10-inch quadratic planar infrasonic radiators in each speaker). And you'll need to spend some time finding the right setting for the Subwoofer Level knob. Since the sub and speaker are built into the same cabinet, you might find yourself with a bit of back-and-forth on your hands--tweaking the level, scootching the speaker just a little, tweaking the level, tinkering with toe-in. In the end, though, it only took me about 10 minutes or so to find the right balance, versus what I'm guessing was around a half hour or so for the Triton Ones (if memory serves).
As with all of GoldenEar's hybrid active/passive tower speakers, the Triton Two+ also features an LFE input in addition to its speaker-level inputs. Since the focus of my evaluation was entirely on two-channel performance, and my integrated amp doesn't do bass management, I didn't make use of the LFE inputs.
Click over to Page Two for Performance, The Downside, Comparison & Competition, and Conclusion...