Consider this system if: You have always wanted a serious, high-end, high-performance home theater speaker system, but couldn’t afford the cost of entry (often up in the high four-figure to five-figure range). This system will take you where you want to go on a performance level, but at a far more manageable price than you might have thought possible. In particular, consider the TritonCinema Two system if, at heart, you are both a home theater enthusiast and a dyed-in-the-wool, music-minded audiophile. Either way, the GoldenEar system has your needs well covered. Finally, note that this system is relatively easy to drive, meaning you won’t have to drop a bundle on associated electronics (unless you wish to do so).
Look further if: You like listening to vigorous action film soundtracks at ear-bleed volume levels; the Triton Two system has plenty of dynamic clout for most applications, but when pushed really hard the Triton Two subwoofers will exhibit audible signs of compression. Also note that the Triton Two system does not offer quite the same levels of “see-through” sonic transparency that some planar magnetic and electrostatic systems do. But having said that let me add that nothing I’ve heard at or near the TritonCinema Two system’s price can touch its performance.
Ratings (relative to comparably-priced surround speaker systems)
Transparency and Focus: 10
Imaging and Soundstaging: 10 (imaging so good it makes us wish our 10-point rating scale went up to “11”—or possibly beyond)
Tonal Balance: 9
Bass Extension: 10
Bass Pitch Definition: 9.5
Bass Dynamics: 9.5
Value: 10 (the phrase “off the charts” comes to mind)
Triton Two: The Triton Two is a 3-way, five-driver, dual passive radiator-equipped, floorstanding loudspeaker with a built-in powered subwoofer. Among audiophiles, the Triton Two has already begun to earn a reputation as a radical overachiever that delivers shocking performance for the money. Happily, some of the same qualities that endear the Triton Two to music lovers also make it a great platform upon which to base a home theater system. Design highlights include:
• An HVFR High-Velocity Folded Ribbon tweeter whose design is patterned after the pioneering work done by Dr. Oskar Heil on what he called the “Heil Air Motion Transformer.” GoldenEar says, “The HVFR tweeter propagates sound waves and moves the air by squeezing it with its accordion-like pleated diaphragm, rather than pushing it as conventional drivers do.” The result is a high-frequency driver with exceptional frequency extension and transient speed, but with essentially no (obviously unwanted) “ringing” distortions as with metal dome tweeters. The tweeter is also capable of high output levels with very low distortion.
• The Triton Two incorporates dual, cast-basket, MVPP Multi-Vaned Phase Plug-equipped 4 ½-inch mid-bass drivers with “a computer optimized cone design.” These mid-bass drivers are arranged as a D’Appolito-type array, with the MVPP mid-bass drivers flanking the HVFR tweeter mentioned above. Significantly, the MVPP mid-bass drivers are said to “achieve smooth linear frequency response extending above 20kHz” (a frequency far above the driver’s actual operating range as used in the Triton Two). The upshot of this extended-range response is that the mid-bass driver is said to offer sufficient transient speed to keep up with the lightning-fast HVFR tweeter.
• The lower, “subwoofer” section of the Triton Two’s enclosure houses dual “quadratic” 5-inch x 9-inch “subwoofers” that couple with dual 7-inch x 10-inch planar passive radiators (GoldenEar calls these “infrasonic radiators”). The oblong shape of the drivers and passive radiators is said to help break up or forestall certain types of diaphragm resonances that can occur with traditional circular woofers. Together, the subwoofers and passive radiators give the Triton Two bass that extends down to a claimed lower limit of 16 Hz.
• A 1200-watt, DSP-controlled digital amplifier powers the subwoofer section of the Triton Two. GoldenEar says, “the amp has a Programmable Logic Device (PLD) based state machine with a nearly instantaneous 278nS update time to perfectly manage a myriad of functions including soft-clipping, DC offset control, output-stage anti-saturation protection and discrete multi-band limiting.”