I guess I should have learned by now that it is wise not to judge a book by its cover, and when it comes to loudspeakers, I find it all to easy to be pre-judgemental about a product like the Coincident. Damn it, its far easier to get excited and write about a product that has some obviously innovative or radical aspect to its design, even though experience has told me on numerous occasions that the results can often be qualified to say the least, and in some cases very disappointing. Remember the Celestion SL600? I spent too much time some twentyfive years ago playing around with these loudspeakers trying to get a result that I was happy with. True, the Aerolam cabinet and refined drivers did deliver some of the lowest colouration sounds ever to come from a box, but the devilishly low sensitivity required an amp with lots of voltage swing together with some real spark and snap – something of a rare commodity in the mid eighties – to compensate for the rather un-dynamic tendencies of the speakers. I can’t exactly recall what I ended up using out of the many, many amplifiers I tried (it might have been the sadly forgotten Robertson 4010) but I do remember that most of the time the system sounded about as musically interesting as a departure lounge at Stanstead Airport.
Which brings me to my point. The Coincident Triumph has nothing in the way of cutting edge technology in its drive units or exotic materials in its cabinet, and there is no suggestion that it is going to redefine the performance currently available from moving-coil loudspeakers. But the specification hints at the fact that it doesn’t require amplification with arc welding capabilities to drive it. In fact, if anything the requirements would seem (on paper at least) to be quite modest. With a sensitivity of 94 dB, which is fairly unusual for a speaker of this size, and with a quoted ‘flat’ 8 Ohm impedance, it offers plenty of possibilities when it comes to interesting partnering equipment.
Based in Ontario, Coincident Speaker Technology has been established for fifteen years, and the Triumph is the smallest in a range of three models dubbed the Ultra High Sensitivity series. As the title might suggest, part of the design concept has been to produce speakers that do not require vast amounts of power to work effectively, and there is an obvious nod in the direction of triode amplification, hardly surprising as these are also manufactured by Coincident. Larger models have been reviewed enthusiastically by both JK and RG and while the Total Victory featured in Issue 44 is an elaborate multi-drivered beast, the Triumph is by contrast a straightforward design that seemingly doesn’t stray too far from the rather tired theme of a conventional two-way box. With a cabinet substantially constructed from 1” MDF and internally braced, the front and top edges have been chamfered at 45 degrees to provide a degree of visual styling, and finish is to a high standard with a decent quality veneer on all surfaces. High frequencies are handled by a Revelator unit from Scanspeak, a 1” silk dome unit that has achieved considerable respect for being one of the best soft dome units around, being used in a number of high-end designs over the last three or four years. The bass-mid unit comes from Vifa and uses a doped paper cone coupled with a reasonably sized magnet assembly to achieve good sensitivity together with decent power handling. The crossover uses 1st and 2nd order slopes for the HF and bass respectively, and is made up of good quality components that are hard wired and mounted on an MDF block that sits on the back panel, fed from a single pair of five-way, gold-plated copper binding posts. The cabinet is loaded by a rear firing cylindrical port.
Auditioned with a wide range of amplification, at one end of the spectrum the Triumphs lived up to their claim of being amplifier friendly by making the most of a number of low powered valve amplifiers, but also responded with considerable dignity when asked to accommodate something a little more shall we say, substantial. Sitting atop a pair of foundation stands and well away from the walls, the Triumph’s sounded lively and energetic, a little forward in character but not to the extent of being offensive or brash, as can sometimes happen in designs where sensitivity is a trade off against refinement. For once the timing of review equipment worked in my favour, as I had to hand the little Eastern Electric MiniMax integrated amplifier that produces all of eight Watts per channel, and while I cannot pretend that I was able to generate window rattling levels with seismic bass, there were substantial enough volume levels for the majority of listening. This is exactly where a loudspeaker such as the Coincident really scores, by allowing modest amplifiers to do their thing without the undue stress of always running at the limit of their power delivery. My usual amplifier of choice under these circumstances is the Leak Stereo Twenty, but it’s quite possible that the MiniMax actually betters the Leak in the area for which that amp is renowned, the wonderfully fluid midrange. The result with the Triumphs had exactly the kind of mid-band quality that would make a tube head weep, coupled with a real sense of intimacy and flow that worked brilliantly with vocals and acoustic guitar. The Coincidents also have the ability to project a strong and defined soundstage with plenty of dimensionality to it, and although there was not the holographic imaging that some systems manage, by bringing the speakers a little closer to the listening position I achieved a lovely sense of being cocooned in the same space with the performers where good recordings allowed.