Don't call it a comeback because GoldenEar creator, Sandy Gross, never left - he just started anew...again. Sandy Gross is arguably the most prolific loudspeaker designer in history, having founded (or co-founded) some of the best, most successful, loudspeaker brands in history: brands such as Polk Audio, Definitive Technology and now GoldenEar Technology. GoldenEar Technology has been in the works for some time now, though its "official" unveiling came at the 2010 CEDIA show in Atlanta, Georgia. While GoldenEar may be a relative newcomer in the space, Gross is hardly wet behind the ears; he knows what dealers and customers want, evident in GoldenEar's initial product offering.
Out of the gate GoldenEar Technology offers two sizes of lifestyle-oriented LCR (left, center, right) on-walls, the SuperSat 50 and SuperSat 3, which can be combined with GoldenEar's new subwoofers to create a SuperCinema System. Speaking of subwoofers, GoldenEar is launching with two compact ForceField subwoofers, the 10-inch ForceField 4 and eight inch ForceField 3, both of which are powered by 1,000 plus Watt internal amplifiers and feature a shape and design unlike a lot of the competition. Of course the entire line is anchored by GoldenEar's $2,500 per pair flagship loudspeaker, the Triton Two, reviewed here.
The Triton Two is a truly full-range tower loudspeaker that bares a modest resemblance to some of Gross' previous work yet manages to be different enough not to be glossed over as a "me too." Sporting a shape reminiscent of the Flatiron building in New York City, with a curved front baffle and sloping top, the Triton Two measures seven and a half inches wide by 15-inches deep and 48-inches high, though it sits on a high-gloss, piano black base that increases its footprint to 11 and a half inches wide by 18-inches deep. No official weight was given nor specified in any of the Triton Two's literature; suffice to say they're heavy but easy enough to be moved by one person. The Triton Twos are clad in wrap-around black speaker cloth capped top and bottom with high-gloss, piano black end pieces.
Behind the Triton Two's sock rests two four and a half inch mid/bass drivers in a D'Appolito arrangement above and below a new High-Velocity Folded Ribbon Tweeter (HVFR). HVFR tweeters are becoming a little more common as of late; MartinLogan has begun using them in their new Motion line of loudspeakers, though MartinLogan calls theirs a FoldedMotion tweeter. The basic premise behind a HVFR tweeter is that instead of simply pushing the air towards the listener the way a traditional tweeter does, the HVFR tweeter squeezes/pressurizes the air through its use of high-temperature film, which is folded like an accordion, for a smooth dispersion of sound that shares traits with traditional ribbon tweeters but is compact enough to be utilized in small bookshelf loudspeakers like a traditional dome tweeter.
Below the D'Appolito mid/bass and tweeter array rests two, five by eight inch oval Quadratic Sub-Bass Drivers. The Triton Two also has two seven by 10-inch Planar Infrasonic Radiators that, coupled with its internal 1,200-Watt ForceField subwoofer, give the Triton Two a reported frequency response of 18Hz to 35kHz. The Triton Two has a stated efficiency of 91dB into a fairly benign eight-Ohm load making it an ideal loudspeaker for today's modern home theater receivers on up to cost no object amplifiers.
Around back you'll find the Triton Two's input plate that houses a single pair of robust, five-way binding posts, a LFE or subwoofer input, a detachable power cord (for the internal subwoofer amplifier) and a dial for subwoofer level.
The Triton Twos arrived at my home the day another fine affordable loudspeaker, the Aperion Audio Verus Grand Towers were set to depart. In fact the two passed each other on the way out my front door - the trucking company dropped off the Triton Twos as FedEx picked up the Verus Grand Towers. Got to love it when a plan comes together.
The Triton Twos come individually boxed in what I can only describe as loudspeaker coffins. I call them coffins because unlike conventional loudspeaker boxes that you lift overhead, the Triton Two's box mandates that you lay it flat on the ground and open the side, I mean top, much like a coffin lid. This makes unpacking easier for those flying solo or with lower rooflines, however it requires far more floor space than what is common. Once open, removing the Triton Twos from their heavy foam padding is relatively simple. Once removed (I recommend doing one at a time) you can begin attaching the pedestal base and top. Attaching the base is simple enough; I laid the Triton Two on its side across my ottoman with the bottom hanging off the edge, then positioned the base accordingly and using the supplied Allen wrench and bolts to fasten it to the Triton Two's undercarriage. The top piece is easier still: simply position it atop the Triton Two's gently sloping top and press down until the protruding plastic pieces snap into their respective mounting holes. The entire process of unboxing and assembly of the Triton Twos took me roughly 20 minutes start to finish.
Once assembled I maneuvered the Triton Twos into position, placing them where my reference Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series Diamonds once sat, though because of their smaller footprint this meant they sat further out from my front wall, which paid dividends in terms of their soundstage performance. Once in place and toed in, the Triton Twos sat eight feet apart and three feet from my front wall with nearly four feet between them and my side walls on either side. Over the course of the review I tweaked their placement an inch or two here and there but for the most part they were extremely happy occupying the same space as my 800 Series Diamonds.
I connected the Triton Twos to a variety of electronics ranging from a $500 Onkyo receiver on up to a full Classe stack consisting of their new Delta Series stereo amplifier and Omega two-chassis preamp. I even powered the Triton Twos with my Decware SE84ZS, which is a two-Watt single ended triode amplifier, which I'll talk about later. As for sources, I utilized my AppleTV/Cambridge Audio DACMagic combo as well as my Sony ES Blu-ray player. I used Transparent Reference cable throughout, except for my listening sessions with my Decware amplifier, opting instead for my Mapleshade Clearview Golden Helix Speaker Cable and Clearview Ultrathin Analog Ribbon Interconnects, which work better with the diminutive Decware amplifier.
A quick note on speaker cables as they pertain to the Triton Twos: due to the Triton Two's binding posts resting on a semi-recessed amplifier plate, fitting large spade lugs can be a bit cumbersome. The Triton Twos really do prefer banana terminated speaker cables or better still bare wire, as was the case with my Mapleshade Clearview Speaker Cables.
Once everything was connected it was time to dial in the Triton Two's internal subwoofers. GoldenEar recommends starting with the subwoofer level set to 12 o'clock and then dialing it in from there once the speakers have broken in. I found this to be an accurate statement, though the longer my pair of Triton Twos broke in the more I turned down the subwoofer level. After about 40 plus hours of playing time I ended up with the subwoofer levels resting at around eight o'clock, with six o'clock representing full off.
You can power the subwoofers in two ways: running the Triton Twos full-range via the binding posts or by treating the internal subwoofers as you would a conventional sub and connecting them to your receiver or processor's LFE or subwoofer out and setting your left and right main speaker settings to large or small depending on your receiver or processor's settings. GoldenEar recommends running the Triton Twos full-range; letting the speaker's internal crossover create the seamless integration between drivers and subwoofer. For the purpose of this review I took GoldenEar's advice and simply connected the Triton Twos to my amplifier or receiver via single runs of speaker cable.
I kicked things off with Matchbox 20's debut album Yourself or Someone Like You (Atlantic) and the track "Back to Good." I played this track via my Onkyo receiver to begin with and found the Triton Two's overall tonal quality to be a touch lean, with good extension in the upper midrange and treble with solid bass, especially when it came to the opening kick drum. Vocals had great presence and were well defined amidst a very spacious soundstage that was clearly defined both side-to-side and front to back.
Read more about the GoldenEar Triton Two Loudspeakers on Page 2.