First Listen: The New Triton One Tower Speaker from GoldenEar Technology
Awful speakers are easy to write about. And that may seem like a funny thing to say, but it’s true. A speaker with uneven frequency response (where either the midrange, bass, or treble is out of balance with the rest), or inferior dynamic range or definition, kind of stands out. The speaker draws attention to itself. You’re constantly reminded of its unique voice. A good speaker, by contrast, is harder to objectively describe, because the characteristics of the physical device itself don’t tug at your consciousness. The peculiarities of the recording you’re listening to become the dominating aural focal point. You have to listen much more closely to really dig deep into what makes this particular good speaker different from another, similarly good speaker. And last night that point was really driven home for me when I visited Sandy Gross’ suite at the Venetian to listen to GoldenEar’s new Triton One speaker before it’s unveiled to the masses at CES today.
The Triton One, as its name implies, is the new flagship of the GoldenEar Triton lineup, joining the existing Triton Two, Triton Three, and Triton Seven towers – the latter of which I’ve been spending a lot of time with recently at home. At its heart, the Triton One is built on the same foundation as all of the company’s speakers: the High-Velocity Folded Ribbon Tweeters that I wrote about extensively in my review of the SuperCinema 3D Array and my impressions of the company’s in-ceiling speaker demo at last year’s CEDIA EXPO.
Like the Triton Two, the Triton One is designed to deliver a full-range, impactful, dynamic sound experience without the need for a subwoofer – just more so in the case of the One, obviously. To accomplish that, the 54-inch tower relies on a pair of 5¼-inch midrange drivers, three 5” x 9” quadratic sub-bass drivers driven by a 1600-watt version of the DSP-controlled Class D amplifier used in GoldenEar’s subwoofers, and two pairs of 7” x 10” planar sub-bass radiators built into each side of the speaker… I could go on, and as an audio junky it’s normally the sort of information I absolutely geek out over. But as Sandy was explaining all of the technical marvels built into the Triton One, I said, “I don’t mean to be rude, but right now the last thing I’m thinking about is drivers and crossovers and wiring and amps. I just want to listen.”
And that’s mostly because the drivers just don’t call attention to themselves in any way. Sure, the speaker is capable of cranking out the sort of bass you’d expect from the most powerful and dynamic of standalone subwoofers, but taken as a whole, the Triton One simply sounds like a unified source of sound – one that positively reaches out into the room, and creates visceral, tangible waves of pure audio bliss that seem to emanate from the room with no real consideration for where the speakers are actually placed.
And I’ll give you one specific example of this. After listening to a good bit of jazz and choral music, I asked Sandy to cue up something a little more to my taste – some good old rock and roll. His cut of choice was from The Doors (right up my alley), and what shocked me the most is that, with my analytical cap on, I can tell you for a fact that the loping keyboard bass lines cranked out by Ray Manzarek were constantly crossing the dividing line between midrange and bass drivers, but there was absolutely nothing in the presentation of the music to give that away. The handoff between individual drivers was completely and utterly seamless. The cabinet didn’t emphasize any particular frequency range over any other. Ray was in complete control of which notes were delivered with more prominence than the rest. It simply wasn’t about the speaker: it was about the music.
And I’m not going to tell you that I’ve never heard The Doors sound this good. I have. But that was when I was listening to speakers that cost literally tens of thousands of dollars. “And that’s what we were aiming for in terms of performance,” Sandy said to me: “The $50,000 Wilsons and things of that nature.” Sandy’s goal with GoldenEar is to bring that sort of cohesive, dynamic, brilliantly imaged sound to the masses. And by deliver that sort of upper-echelon performance at a mere $2,499.99 – the sort of performance that normally only comes from speakers whose price tags rival a good luxury automobile – I think he’s one giant leap closer to that goal.
Quite frankly, I seriously doubt I’ll hear a better speaker the rest of this week at CES, cost be damned.
Triton One Specifications:
Dimensions: Speaker: 5-3/4″ W (front) x 8″ W (rear) x 16-1/2″ D x 54″ H (with base)
Base: 12-1/4″ W x 19-3/4″ D.
Frequency Response: 14 Hz – 35 kHz.
Efficiency: 92 dB.
Nominal Impedance: Compatible with 8 ohms.
Built-In Subwoofer Power Amplifier: 1600-Watt ForceField digital/DSP amplifier
Rec. Amp: 20 – 650 Watt/channel.
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