GoldenEar Technology TritonCinema Two


Performance
Build Quality
Value
Price: $3,495 at a glance: Folded diaphragm tweeters • Built-in 1,200-watt subwoofers with DSP • Super-slim center and surround speakers

Squeeze Me. Please Me.

Laurels can be an extremely comfortable and cushy thing to rest on. (They’re good for the environment, and they’re hypoallergenic.) Companies and individuals often rely on past successes to carry them along like giant helium-filled balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Just because you were the first to do or invent something doesn’t necessarily mean your next project or idea will be any better than a picture painted by a monkey throwing his poo at the zoo. As the investment caveat goes, “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.” That being said, though, how can you not be pee-in-your-pants excited when a true giant in the speaker industry says he’s going to start a new speaker company?

After the initial euphoria wears off, the first thing you might be thinking is, “Um, you know, we really need a new line of speakers about as much as we need a new line of iPod docks. Couldn’t you just sit back, relax, and enjoy the juicy fruits of your labor?”

Evidently not. Sandy Gross is one of the founders of Polk Audio and founder (with engineering partner Don Givogue) of Definitive Technology. Gross has a passion for audio and a mind that is always brimming over with ideas. You’d think after helping to give birth to two of the most popular not-acheap-piece-of-crap speaker companies and be-coming legendary in the industry, Gross would fill his days with wine, women, and live music. Instead, he’s been consumed with the idea of creating a speaker with high-end, audiophile performance at a very affordable price.

As you probably know, audiophile-oriented speakers can be ridiculously expensive. At the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, I sat in more than one demo room in which the presenter casually said the speakers cost $25,000 (or more), as if there were nothing take-the-oxygen-out-of-the-room dizzying about that kind of cash changing hands for a pair of speakers. I’m not implying that these high-end speakers are a rip-off. Most of them sound damn good. If I had that kind of scratch lying around, I wouldn’t hesitate to drop it for a pair—but, as I said, if I had the money. For that 0.1 percent of the population who can afford to enjoy such things, I say, “Go for it.” For the other 99.9 percent of us, Gross’ goal of bringing high-end sound out of the monetary stratosphere down to mortal price levels is tremendously exciting. If he can pull it off, it’d be a true game-changer. It would put both the high-end guys and the more affordable mid-priced folks on notice—and make a lot of not-super-rich consumers happy.

Was It a Mistake?
Like a kid with an unlimited American Express card in a Willy Wonka–style candy store, I couldn’t wait to get the GoldenEar boxes off the delivery truck. In fact, the dust hadn’t settled in the driveway before I started opening them. (It’s a long driveway, but still.) It didn’t take much time before I realized that GoldenEar Technology, Gross and Givogue’s new company, must have made a mistake. Although I was supposed to be reviewing a 5.1-channel TritonCinema Two system, the one they sent didn’t include a subwoofer. What GoldenEar Technology did send was a pair of the company’s flagship tower speaker, the Triton Two, along with a SuperSat 50C center channel and a pair of SuperSat 3 satellite speakers for the surrounds. Figuring the sub would arrive soon, I went ahead and set up the rest of the system.

Visually, the Triton Two tower is stunning. It’s 48 inches tall and wrapped in a black grille cloth with a high-gloss black top cap and base. The cap only covers about four-fifths of the top of the speaker, so the grille cloth extends up and over the top in the front. (It’s a bit tricky to get the grille cloth to lie flat when you put the cap on, but—as with many other things in life—a little massaging gets the job done.) The top cap isn’t flat. Instead, it has a slight upward curve that softens the look of the tower and will keep friends from setting their beer on it. The front is dramatically rounded thanks to a curved metal grille that holds the cloth up and off the drivers. The narrow front flares outward toward the rear of the speaker, so the front is slimmer (5.25 inches) than the back (7.5 inches). In addition to making the speaker appear thinner, this design keeps the front baffle narrow, which can enhance the imaging. The bottom base roughly matches the shape of the speaker, and the GoldenEar Technology logo is recessed underneath the gloss finish leaving the base totally smooth. All in all, the impression is one of elegance and power. Think King Arthur in all his finery during his best days at the Round Table (before that Guinevere and Lancelot thing).

COMPANY INFO
GoldenEar Technology
(410) 998-9134
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COMMENTS
EWL5's picture

I gave these speakers a listen in a high end store connected to high end equipment. I was not impressed at all by these speakers as the mid-bass to bass crossover was very pronounced. Mr. Gross has some work to do but I believe he will eventually get it right. I think most expert reviews so far have given in to the hype and are still riding the coattails of Mr. Gross' legacy.

zimm25's picture

I spent about 6 hours over the past two days trying to fall in love with these speakers after all the rave reviews. After the first 5 minutes, one of the repair techs in the showroom asked what I thought and I said, "loved it on the first piece, couldn't find the singer on the second."

I then spent another few hours listening that day and came back with different recordings the next. After all that time, I can say that for string music (guitar or orchestral strings), I LOVED the Towers. Percussion instruments in any genre are particularly exciting too. Cymbals and high-dynamic hits are present, but aren't pronounced like so many bright speakers.

So here's the problem. Vocals were muddy in choral music (relative to other speakers in the showroom costing less, the same, more and MUCH more), and solo vocals were poorly imaged. Great speakers can make you think you have a center channel where none exits. That makes solo piano a particular challenge for speakers that don't image well. These speakers created a massive soundstage and almost made the walls of the room disappear, but regardless of the source material (Chesky to local bands demo CDs), solo performers on any instrument that could be easily placed in the middle of the soundstage on 3 or 4 other speakers were just not centered on the Towers. Leaning left and right totally altered the sound of the system.

We towed them in more, less, moved them around the room, I moved myself around the room. . . I tried everything to hear what the reviewers call $2500 speakers that sound like $10k - $25k. Side by side with a $10-$25 B&W system in the room, I can attest to the fact that for my ears, they aren't anywhere near that price point.

I also think that people forget that they have 2 powered subs in them. To say that this is two channel music but a 2.1 system is blasphemy is true audiophile ridiculousness. Comparing these to any system without 8-10 inch woofers seems dumb to me. They can't compare in the low end at that point. Adding a high quality matching sub to a nice pair of main speakers will open the soundstage, it will give more depth to the tubas, cellos, string and electric basses, etc. All that said, if you don't have the money for a sub or don't already own one, then these might be a huge financial win for you.

For the right listener, they're probably worth $5k, but for people who don't have all year to work on placement or anyone with a widely diverse collection, I'd highly recommend a demo. Do not buy these without hearing them compared to other speakers in the same room. I would have been sold after the first song, but am thankful I listened to a second, third and fourth!

We all have different ears, so I just wanted to say that for my ears as a huge music enthusiast, but non-audiophile, they were great speakers, but only 50% of the time. Go and listen yourself.

eaverse's picture

I think the reviews accurately describe what these speakers are capable of. I don't think there are any speaker brands out there right now(that i know of) that can compete with the sound or build quality of the Tritons in the same price range. I purchased the Aon 3's a few weeks ago and am elated with how well they've handled every form of content I've thrown at them. Everything from classical music to Terminator 2 on Bluray. Wish I had the room for the Tritons. Mr.Gross did his homework as far as I'm concerned.

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DefTechFan's picture

Darryl, I really enjoyed reading your review. I don't understand the GoldenEar's logic on this system - you have some monster tower speakers paired with a center channel designed for wall mounting. You said the gripe was a small one but I completely agree with you in wanting a "beefier" center. Have you heard or read of any plans for the company to come out with a true match for the critically acclaimed Triton towers?

DefTechFan's picture

I ended up calling GoldenEar directly. It was explained to me that if the center is setup correctly, with the HPF set at 120 HZ and set to "small", then the SuperSat 50c will keep up with the towers just fine. Keeping the crossover at this point will create a "phantom" sub for the center channel which makes sense. I look forward to giving these a shot!

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Ricky Jackson's picture

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ponjenku's picture

Thanks. I ended up calling GoldenEar directly. It was explained to me that if the center is setup correctly, with the HPF set at 120 HZ and set to "small", then the SuperSat 50c will keep up with the towers just fine. Keeping the crossover at this point will create a "phantom" sub for the center channel which makes sense. Cari Uang Lewat Ekiosku.com I look forward to giving these a shot!

rhett's picture

Any one around $1000

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