GoldenEar Technology Triton One Speaker


Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $5,000/pair

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Three forward-firing active woofers with four side-firing passive radiators and a 1,600-watt amp
Remarkably open, balanced sound quality
Extremely dynamic
Minus
They’re really, really heavy

THE VERDICT
GoldenEar Technology’s Triton One is Sandy Gross’ magnum opus and provides an astounding performance-versus-price ratio.

It’s not an overstatement to say that Sandy Gross is a legend—a double legend, as a matter of fact, since he’s in two entirely different industries’ Halls of Fame. In high school, Gross was an award-winning racecar designer. With his best friend, Howie Ursaner, the Gold Dust Twins (as they were called) were a professional racing team that competed around the country. (At one point, Ursaner won a Corvette. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to legally drive it—because he was only 14 years old.) That was during the late 1960s and early ’70s, a time generally considered to be the Golden Age of Racing—slot car racing, that is.

If you know much about Sandy Gross’ career after racing, you’ll understand why, in addition to being in the Slot Car Hall of Fame, he’s in the Audio Hall of Fame. If you’re unfamiliar with his second life designing loudspeakers, here’s a quick rundown: In 1972, Gross helped start Polk Audio, and in 1990, he co-founded Definitive Technology. After he retired from Def Tech, he wasn’t willing to simply sit on his legacy and admire his growing collection of fine art. It was then that Gross convinced his Def Tech co-founder, Don Givogue (Canadian, engineer par excellence, and international man of mystery, eh?), to start yet another speaker company—GoldenEar Technology—in 2010. (At this rate, we can expect to see Gross’ next speaker company sometime around 2030.)

The Man with the GoldenEar
It’s interesting to me that a former Gold Dust Twin who competed during the Golden Age of Slot Car Racing is now the driving force behind GoldenEar Technology, a speaker company that’s just beginning to hit the straightaway during the Golden Age of the Loudspeaker. What? The Golden Age of the Loudspeaker? Yep, and this is why I believe it to be so. First of all, as with slot car racing, speakers are no longer a hot hobby. Nor is the traditional five-channel dedicated speaker setup the must-have (even for non-hobbyists) that it used to be, now that it has been usurped by the simpler, all-in-one soundbar. Furthermore, the speaker industry as a whole has reached an impressive level of maturity in design and manufacturing, which means there are a lot of excellent, affordable models on the market. Not surprisingly, Polk Audio and Definitive Technology (both during and after Gross’ tenures there) deserve significant credit for innovations and advancements in the art and science of loudspeaker design that have brought us to this point.

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Four years ago (after he got a T-shirt that said, “I spent 38 years designing affordable, great-sounding loudspeakers, and all I got were two awesome speaker companies”), Gross decided he wanted to take everything he’d learned about speaker design and go after a particular type that has remained stubbornly—some would say obscenely—expensive: the true high-end, audiophile loudspeaker. The goal, as Gross told me, was “to create a speaker that genuinely could be compared with the very expensive super speakers.” Coming from almost anyone else, that statement would’ve sounded like either over-exuberant marketing hype or highly refined, weapons-grade bullshit. But you really had to take Gross seriously, because he had the experience, the resources, and the gumption to pull it off.

So far, the GoldenEar team has indeed pulled it off, releasing the Triton Two ($1,500/each), the Triton Three ($1,000/each), and then the Triton Seven ($700/each) towers—along with several monitor speakers and a trio of subwoofers—with each successive model getting rave reviews for providing sonic performance well beyond what you’d rightfully expect from the sticker price. Now GoldenEar has a new tower, the Triton One ($2,500/each), with a model number indicative of its top-of-the-line status. But is it the One—the achievement that Gross had in mind when GoldenEar Technology didn’t even have a name yet?

All the Little Details…
Talking about the Triton One, Gross told me, “I think part of the magic is that we approach it in the same way as the designers of those very expensive products and really focus on all the little details, as though our speaker were going to sell for $50,000 or whatever. A lot of these details don’t cost more money to get it right; you just have to have the expertise, take the time and care.”

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Sure enough, in spite of its high-end aspirations, the Triton One doesn’t include any super-exotic materials to ooh and ahhh over. That’s OK because ultimately it doesn’t matter if a loudspeaker isn’t much more than matchsticks held together with rubber cement, or if it uses different sizes of Trojan “intimate massagers” as transducers, as long as you feel like the heavens have opened up every time you listen to it. (As far as I know, no matchsticks, rubber cement, or massagers are used in the Triton One. As to whether or not any of those items were used during the design process, I’d rather not speculate.)

The Triton One is a 54-inch-tall monolith, yet it’s not as domineering in the room as you’d think. That’s because the tower’s ninja-black rounded front grille and the cabinet’s stealthily sloping left and right sides give the illusion that the speaker is narrower than it really is. The slenderizing design is common throughout the Triton lineup, as is the use of GoldenEar’s excellent High Velocity Folded Ribbon (HVFR) tweeter. Two 5.25-inch midrange drivers straddle the tweeter (one above and one below), and the enclosure for the mid drivers is “designed to, in effect, be part of the crossover and provides an overdamped rolloff, resulting in better transient response.”

For additional observations about the Triton One, see Darryl Wilkinson’s comments here.

COMPANY INFO
GoldenEar Technology
(410) 998-9134
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COMMENTS
Winefix's picture

I have a pair on pre-order and originally was going to purchase the Magnepan 3.7i which many people and reviewers consider to be the best value in speakers under 10k, until now ...
Thanks for the review and please advise what amps / preamps you used for the review and perhaps your thoughts on power requirements.
Also- FYI, I have heard from Goldenear that the first shipment is delayed again. August is the latest update for initial deliveries to dealers in the USA.

Luay's picture

It is strange you haven't described your test system.

Since value is still a factor even in a $5,000 speaker, what would also be considered a worthy value Amp/Preamp?

Would hooking it to just an AV Receiver lose it some of its fidelity compared to hooking it up with an amp/preamp?

What about the Music? Should it just be Vinyl, SACD or CDs as a minimum quality of storage or are MP3s acceptable?

Would I be misusing these speakers if I play electronic music (House, Techno, Dub)?

Luay's picture

Found your test system. Sorry!

DefTechFan's picture

I am in my early 30's and could only wish to own these speakers (though I will be able to afford the Triton Seven Towers - thank you Sandy Gross/GoldenEar) anytime soon. Great audio makes me happy and it is satisfying to read the passion and excitement that cannot be held back by the reviewer when writing about these speakers.

Those looking for more information than what was given should look at the reviews for the earlier models.

Looking forward to Darryl's review of Definitive Technology's flagship speakers as well.

Darryl Wilkinson's picture
I've already turned in my review of the Definitive Technology ST-L speakers. It'll be up on the site and in print very soon.
Arnold_Layne's picture

So nothing new just more cowbell, er, subwoofer built-in

Darryl Wilkinson's picture
The important part is not that there's more subwoofer - it's how well the subwoofer is integrated into the whole speaker. I elaborated a bit more on the issue in my latest blog post. And I don't think that GoldenEar uses any parts from cows in their speakers. But I don't know that for a fact...
ejlif's picture

I looked and didn't see any link to or mention of the gear used to review these speakers. It would be nice to know what other speakers these compare to? Revel Salon 2, B&W 800, Wilson Sasha etc...

ejlif's picture

And it was no contest the Revel is a much much better speaker. I think these speakers are a great value and to me the tweeter is basically perfect but to say they are as good as anything out there at any price I don't agree at all.

Arnold_Layne's picture

Don't those tweeters have a narrow vertical dispersion ?

roguemodel's picture

The review noted is of the Triton 1, and I did an A-B comparison on the Triton 1 against the Revel F208 and I can tell you. The Triton blew the F208s out of the water. In fact, I believe the II's are as good if not better the than the Revel's. The new crossover's in the Triton's integrate the drivers to near perfection, causing a much enhanced imaging and seamless transition within the projected music. Didn't know the Tritons sported an upgraded crossover...? There ya go.

goodfellas27's picture

I felt that this was a peace about Sandy more than the speakers. It could had gone into details on the gear, room, file resolution etc. Also, how would the fair with other more expensive speakers? Can you provide examples in cases the Triton One would be better? since you suggest it would sound better for less.

DefTechFan's picture

I agree with other readers that a direct comparison vs other speakers in the same price range would make for an interesting read. I realize this is not a format Sound & Vision or Home Theater mag utilized in the past but maybe should be considered. The aesthetics of the Triton series may not be on par with the speakers they compete with regarding value - but to hear how they stack up sonically vs speakers two or three times the price would be cool.

BobHD1's picture

Since you are in the process of reviewing the ST-L, it would also be very interesting if you included some comparisons to the Triton 1 since they are priced at the same level.

Reggie's picture

Can't wait to hear them - and this is the first speaker I have ever ordered without hearing them first

gregsgoatfarm's picture

I have some Infinity Overture 3s and Interlude IL60 that I bought sound unheard. Both acquisitions turned out much better than expected and are still in daily use.

gregsgoatfarm's picture

Nobody in the reviewing trade does ABX comparisons. It would put their advertisers at risk.

Arnold_Layne's picture

Honestly, this type of gushing review is a bit sickening- but not unusual- Goldenear is the most hyped product line in memory. I auditioned them last week [2,3 and 7]. Despite the klutziness of the salesman and the shortcomings of the demo, they all sounded good and I enjoy a bit of each track of DSOTM. After I left, I decided it wasn't revelatory or any of the other hyperbolic descriptions in this review. In fact, the salesman warned me the Triton tweeter had a narrow vertical dispersion, which is bad for my setup. I then ordered a pair of much more attractive and what I believe will be great- sounding speakers - Aperion Grand Verus Towers, which were on sale for $799 each. I have some earlier book shelf speakers of theirs and have been very happy with them

roguemodel's picture

You wrote that YOU auditioned the 2,3, and 7. Yet, you ask about the dispersion of the Heil tweeter? Didn't you hear? So the salesman told you the Heil had limited dispersion...didn't you HEAR? You then "ordered pair of much more attractive and what I believe will be great sounding speakers." WHAT, YOU BELIEVE? You didn't listen to them? What kind of tripe is this? Since when did "attractiveness" have ANYTHING to do with sound? This type of amateurish comment on a speaker you HAVE NEVER HEARD is pathetic. I have heard the One's at a charter dealer, and I can tell you...they swayed me away from the Revel F208's and the Sonus Faber's. The Hype is real...I had to go to the Rockport Atria's to rival the One's. A loudspeaker costing 4 times as much. Even then, the dynamics were in favor of the One's. Sorry, but don't post on something you nothing about.

Arnold_Layne's picture

My comment about the review stands. It and others are gushing, finding no fault at all with these speakers. I guess that could be true and therefore anyone who buys anything else is a fool. I did audition the Goldenears, and as I noted the audition was not well done. I did not specifically listen for a vertical dispersion issue as he did not mention it until we were through. I wouldn't normally lie on the floor and stand on a chair during the audition. But in my HT the screen and speaker are raised 25", therefore it may matter. Attractiveness is important in many venues, just look at high end speakers- they aren't gorgeous for no reason- it's because in your living space you may want your speaker to look good in addition to sounding good. In my case, even though I mentioned to appearance of another speaker I ordered, it was not a critical factor, and since they were on several month backorder, I actually cancelled those and have since received the SVS Ultra Towers. One cannot hear internet direct- marketed speakers until one receives them. But since I had a previous Aperion model, I did have some confidence I would like their sound. I don't think that is too ridiculous. So my expectations were set too high on the GE speakers. This review only adds to that sense. Instead of intimating they are the equals of $30,000 speakers, it would be more useful to have a head to head comparison or at least, again, unless they are perfect transducers, to give some criticism along with the praise, more than 'they are really heavy'. Of course my SVS towers are 75lbs each without a built-in amplifier, just slightly less than the Ones' 80lbs.

roguemodel's picture

That';s fine, I find it hard to fathom comments made on a speaker you have never heard. You can buy what you wish, You already changed your mind in buying the Aperion and have gone with the SVS. But commenting on a loudspeaker and having an uneducated opinion is just that. You take a chance on the SVS, that's why the have a liberal return policy. Already you have wavered on your first choice. Do us a favor, go listen to the One's when they come out. Then you can offer your opinion on a loudspeaker you have never heard. And while the review noted "gushes" over the One's, I suspect that further reviews by the Absolute Sound and Stereophile will do the same. I listened to the "Twos" for half a day on a myriad of of music, and found it lacking nothing. Your budget is obviously below the $2000 mark. If you can't afford the Two's it is fine.So, stay there, nothing wrong with that. There will always be people who must throw mud...

Winefix's picture

Everyone has thier own taste in speakers, but I have heard many of the very best for under 15k and the Triton twos are worthy of the ridiculous gushing press, they are THAT good. The first time I heard the Triton twos, I was completely underwhelmed. I think the room and equipment was all wrong. It was a mid level receiver and a smaller room which did nothing for the sound. The same same exact pair borrowed from the dealer and auditioned in my space sounded exactly like all the reviews. I pre-ordered the Triton ones that day !!
(equipment used was Rogue Spynx, Peachtree nova/200 and Emotiva XPA2- all sounded great with these speakers)

Jonasandezekiel's picture

I was thinking the same exact thing regarding this review as some of the commenters on here: It is WAY TOO SHORT. Its never goes into any meaningful detail on these speakers, scrutinizing their sound quality, setup, its reads more like an advertisement. These are 5k speakers people, and I want a little more than silly, distasteful comparisons to condoms when describing the tweeter. In fact, I have the print magazine, and the length of the review is barely three pages, maybe less. In addition, the review of the M&K system is about TWO pages! All that for a system that costs seventeen thousand dollars!!! That is just not acceptable.

I've subscribed to Home Theater for almost 10 years now, and I can say that sadly, this magazine has been gradually but obviously dumbed down--for WHO I have no idea--, and I am NOT happy.

Rob Sabin's picture
So...the more pricey the speaker, the longer the review should be? A $17K system should get, I dunno, five pages, and a $1,000 budget system should get, what -- a half page?

For perspective: This was a review of a single speaker model intended for music listening in a stereo pair. We obviously have less editorial space than we did 10 years ago, but still continue to include our own quasi-anechoic measurements and go out of our way in most reviews to explain what the speaker designer has done that's deemed to be special, and to describe the speaker's sonic character. In this case, Darryl had the benefit of referencing our archived reviews of smaller versions of pretty much the same speaker design.

goodfellas27's picture

Rob, can you give an example on how you guys when out of your way with Triton One? It seems that you guys had direct contact with Sandy Gross during the review: shouldn't that made it easier? Can you provide an example were Triton One would "sound better" than speakers costing 2x more?

I would love to keep coming back. You guys have a great track record, but we are calling it like we see it.

Jonasandezekiel's picture

Rob,
Did I in any way advocate for LESS review space? Certainly not a half page as you say. But, giving the SAME space to a 17k system as you would to a 1k system is a little ridiculous. The space used for the M&K system and the Golden Ear speakers is more appropriate for cheaper speakers, and the overall body of the review should have been a little for substantial. Apparently I'm not the only one that thinks this. All I can say is, I'm disappointed with the direction things are going as of late.

goodfellas27's picture

You're not alone on this. I support your opinion on this.

DefTechFan's picture

I must be naïve in requesting a comparison if this has not been done in the past due to the fear of pissing off advertisers. This is essentially done regardless in the "Top Picks" sections as there are top picks and those that missed the cut. Then there are products that get marginal ratings so I don't think it is the fear mentioned earlier. I hope that it is because not every reviewer gets to listen to all products reviewed and a comparison is therefore out of the question...but it would still make for great reading! For example, I love reading the car publications when they compare this year's top five SUV's, sports cars, luxury sedans, etc.

goodfellas27's picture

I got a quote of GE customer forum site:

"I have read a number of comments from listeners/reviewers who found the dispersion of the High-Velocity Folded Ribbon (HVFR) to be quite limited. CNET observed " I did note some treble softening when I stood up; so it appears that the tweeter's vertical dispersion is limited." A reader observed in response "Unfortunately, the detail just wasn't there - unless the ribbon in the center of the speaker was pointed straight at your ear. I must have looked absolutely silly in the listening room because I was stooping to get my ears in line with the speaker's center but it was amazing how much more detail was contained in about a 6" area of the room."

But, another reader responded " I stood and sat in every part of the room; no noticeable difference in the quality of the sound or the tweeter dispersion. "

"I am concerned since I am planning a home theater with 3 tiers of seating with some 26 inches vertical distance between ear levels at the front and back rows. So, only one of those tiers could be well aligned with the LCR tweaters."

--Triton One have similar problems since the tweeter is the same as the Two? If so, how can it wasn't reviled in the "go out of our way" review?

davidrmoran's picture

It sure would be nice to see some horizontal radiation pattern measurements. Looks like good drivers, except for that rising hot top by the tweeter.

Gross admirers should know that he was reportedly the person responsible for those ubiquitous Polk ads through the 1980s with quotation marks about the headline --- "Greatest speaker ever made by far" and the like --- as though someone had actually said it. A uniquely, shockingly sleazy practice even by the standards of CE.

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