GoldenEar Triton Seven tower speaker Page 2

Setup

As soon as the FedEx man left the pair of GoldenEar boxes shipped direct from Arnprior on my front sidewalk, I wanted to get right to it. Once they were inside, I carefully unpacked each well-cocooned Seven, marveling at the inherent beauty. Slanted tops: check. Non-parallel side cabinet walls: check. Black mesh grille cloth: check. Piano gloss black bases: check again. Classy and sleek, just the way I like my speakers.

You have the option of using either four supplied threaded rubber feet or four supplied spikes on each speaker. Since this reviewer knew the spikes would likely be frowned upon in the household, I went with the rubber feet. I carefully laid each Triton on its side on top of the flat, smooth, elevated, and covered wooden board I often use for SSD (Speaker Setup Duty), screwed in each foot, and stood the speaker back up, making sure it was stable and level. I then moved each Triton into its respective left/right front position in my listening room, ultimately settling on a distance of 2 feet, 2 inches out from the back wall.

GoldenEar suggested the speakers be toed-in — angled where the X axes cross just behind the listening position’s ear height — which was okay by me since that’s how I tend to set up my front speakers. Initially, I had the Tritons 7.5 feet apart, but I settled on just under 9 feet, which expanded the soundstage without compromising the center image.

I connected the Tritons to my Pioneer 7.1-channel receiver and my source, Oppo’s impeccable BDP-105 Blu-ray player. After the appropriate break-in period of a few days, I settled into my late-1950s Eames Lounge Chair — the same one my late audiophile grandfather used — and got on with some serious listening.

Performance

I went right to my top speaker torture tunes. The jaunty character of Fleetwood Mac’s “Never Going Back Again,” Lindsey Buckingham’s subversive acoustic showcase from Rumours, can sometimes come across dull and even deadened on average speakers, but the guitarist’s unique flickin’ fingerpicking style sounded clear, vibrant, and resonant with the Triton Sevens. And when I went back a track to “Dreams,” I perked up when I heard Stevie Nicks’s subtle four-note humming in the song’s first 7 seconds. Each “mmm” had a singularity and a shift in tone that I’d never heard so distinct before — and I’ve listened to this track hundreds of times on many different systems. Not a rumor but a fact: The Sevens were already reaping great aural rewards.

“Drivin’ Down to Georgia,” from the four-disc box set The Live Anthology by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, is a platform for onstage dynamics and interplay. With the Sevens, I could discern both the fretboard buzz and the flipping of the toggle switch by Mike Campbell after his first breakneck guitar solo.

One of my all-time benchmarks is Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms, which is especially revelatory via the 20th Anniversary Edition as heard on the DVD-Audio side of the DualDisc version. The constant cicada-like buzzing on the second half of “Ride Across the River” was chirpy-crisp — and a bit too creepy/familiar, considering how much I’d lived with the perpetual singsong of the risen-from-their-17-year-nap insects permeating my neighborhood for weeks on end and well into this testing period. Thanks to the accuracy of the Sevens, it was as if a swarm of them had joined me in my listening room. Any concerns about bass impact were instantly washed away when John Illsley’s recurring three-note bass line commenced 30 seconds into “River.” Because of the sheer oomph I was feeling, I had to double-check to be certain I had my subwoofer unplugged; sure enough, the Sevens were ably carrying the low-end load all on their own.

My other Brothers litmus test is the extended intro to “Money for Nothing.” Alan Clark and Guy Fletcher’s discordant keyboard and synth lines and Terry Williams’s left/right drum slaps all build in volume until Mark Knopfler’s payoff guitar riff cuts through the cacophony without accompaniment, right down the middle from 1:37 to 1:49. Time after time, I admired the Sevens’ precision in replicating Knopfler’s biting tone.

The one true audiophile-grade artist for my ears is, of course, Steven Wilson. “Luminol,” the 12-minute opener to The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories), has quickly become my favorite torture track. The Sevens handled each of the song’s successive movements in 2-channel mode with aplomb, from the propulsive, thundering bass attack of Nick Beggs to the stacked, choirlike vocal break to Wilson’s own Mellotron noodlings. Let me reiterate this point: Beggs’s bass sounded downright beefy.

What about movie soundtracks? I zeroed in on Chapter 27 of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Blu-ray — i.e., the Indiana Jones-inspired battle between Thorin’s band of ramshackle but merry dwarves and the vengeful underground residents of Goblin Town. With my surrounds off and the Tritons handling things on their own, clanging swords, creaking boards, and a rolling, squishing boulder all resonated rich and true, and the unrelenting swooshing arrow attacks came from all sides. (I reflexively hunched my shoulders the first time through the sequence.) The carnage carried on in full all around me until the oversized and paunch-bellied Great Goblin rose up from beneath a tattered plank and bellowed, dead-center, “You thought you could escape me?” Chills.

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