GoldenEar Technology is the third loudspeaker company that Sandy Gross has helped to found (the first two were Polk Audio and Definitive Technology), and it is one that will surely enhance Mr. Gross’ well-deserved reputation for building speaker systems that offer astonishing level of performance at sane prices.
GoldenEar’s flagship product, and the technical centerpiece of its entire product line, is the new Triton Two floorstanding speaker ($2500/pair), which I’ll soon be reviewing—first in a 2-channel configuration for The Absolute Sound, and later on reviewing as part of a 5.1-channel system (known as the “Triton Cinema System”) for The Perfect Vision.
The impressions I’ll share with you in this blog are, then, based on hearing the Triton Twos as used in a very high-quality, audiophile-oriented stereo system—one in which, until quite recently, I had been evaluating the superb (but also quite costly) YG Acoustics Carmel loudspeakers.
You might think that it would be painful to step down from the $18,000/pair Carmels to the $2500/pair Triton Twos, but in truth I did not find it a terribly jarring transition at all. Granted, the Carmels are without a doubt the more accomplished and better-sounding speakers (as you would expect, given the enormous price disparity), but the fact is that the Triton Twos do so many things well (and I mean really well) for such a sensible price that I find myself smiling and shaking my head in disbelief every time I sit down to listen to them. When it comes to considerations of value for money, I think the Triton Two sets the bar as high if not higher than any other speaker I’ve yet heard. In fact, I think that in its own way the Triton Two represents as big a bargain as (or for some listeners, perhaps an even bigger bargain than) Magnepan’s crazy-good MG1.7 (which I also have on hand for comparison).
In short, Sandy Gross and his partner Don Givogue (who guided the technical development effort behind the Triton Two) have really outdone themselves with this speaker, as I’ll explain in more detail below. But first, let me provide some technical background for those of you who have not yet been introduced to the Triton Twos (for more information, visit: www.goldenear.com).
The Triton Two is a slim, 48”-tall tower type speaker that features five active and two passive drive units, and that includes what amounts to a full-on, built-in, self-powered (1200-watt) woofer/subwoofer system. Up top, the Triton Two sports a D’Appolito array comprising two 4.5-inch mid-bass drivers fitted with “multi-vaned phase plugs” plus a small, rectangular Heil-type “high velocity folded ribbon” tweeter. Down below, in a separate chamber, there are two oblong long-throw 5-inch x 8-inch “quadratic” woofers, a pair of also oblong 7-inch x 10-inch “planar” passive radiators, and a built-in 1200-watt subwoofer amplifier, which uses DSP circuitry to ensure optimal matching between the upper range of the woofer section and the lower range of the D’Appolito array.
On one level, it’s tempting to think of the Triton Two as offering an evolutionary step forward from the popular (and excellent) Definitive Technology Mythos ST and Mythos STS loudspeaker that Mr. Gross helped develop a few years back. And there are, to be sure, certain basic similarities between the Mythos towers and the Triton Twos.
But God, as they say, is in the details, and at the level where details matter most it turns out that the Triton Two is significantly different from any of the other speaker systems that Gross and Givogue have developed in the past.
Rather than try and provide a fully fleshed-out review, let me instead offer some “snapshot” impressions that will help to show what makes the Triton Two such a special loudspeaker.