Test Report: GoldenEar Technology Triton Two Tower Speakers Page 3

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PERFORMANCE
Hearing the Triton Two in my home was actually the sec- ond time I had encountered the speaker. The first was at the 2010 CEDIA Expo in Atlanta, where I was deeply impressed by its ability to convey the brass-instrument crescendos in "Shiny Stockings," a track from the now out-of-print Reference Recordings CD Big Band Basie. Hearing that same track in my home, I remained equally in awe: The speaker's uncannily airy top end enabled the horns to swell to loud levels without losing detail or sounding hard. Of course, what I was hearing was the HVFR tweeter at work; no matter what I played, the Triton Two's treble retained that same compelling sense of ease and clarity.

Reaching for another audiophile nugget, I grabbed a JVC XRCD release of Holst's The Planets as performed by Zubin Mehta and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. During the fifth movement, "Saturn," the Triton Two managed to impart a sense of drama to the entrance of the bass violins. The speaker's performance here was full and rich, with details like the texture of bows sliding across the bass violin strings coming through clearly. At the same time, there was a bottomless quality; instead of rounding off at some distinct point, the low-end extension seemed to be without limits. The Triton Two's bass was without question the deepest, cleanest, and most nuanced I've yet heard in my room.

GoldenEar's promotional material makes much of the Triton Two's imaging. I'm happy to report that this isn't just hot air; the Triton Two's ability to cast an expansive, spatially precise image is so good it's almost scary. Listening to the track "Barfly" from Ray LaMontagne?s CD Till The Sun Turns Black was a revelation: The vocals seemed to emanate from some place not just between the speak- ers but also well above them, while the song"s guitars and gauzy keyboards appeared to push out past the room's walls. What was most striking here was a sense of being inside the music, an almost surround sound-like effect. Also, I could slide over to one side of my couch and the speaker's sound remained consistent.

Seeing how well the Triton Two managed to extract spaciousness from the LaMontagne track (actually one of the more stripped-down ones on that album), I was eager to try it on Kingdom of Rust, a recording by the unapologetically dramatic/cinematic English band Doves. The presentation of the CD's title track was both wide and deep - a perfect fit for the song's spaghetti-Western sound- track tone. I immediately noted the Triton Two's ability to render the drum kit in a realistic, dynamic manner, with crisp, shimmering cymbals and a powerful-sounding kick. And when the slightly distorted guitar made its entrance for a solo, the sound was surprisingly easy on the ears. (When I've listened to this track on other speakers, my current setup included, that part usually comes across as aggressive and edgy.) But what was most interesting was how well everything held together when I pushed the volume - it seemed that the louder I played music on the Triton Two, the better the detail and clarity I heard from it.

Toy Story 3 arrived during my evaluation, so I gave that Blu-ray a spin. Watching the opening "dream" sequence, the exploding bridges, runaway trains, and dinosaur stomps were presented dynam- ically, with powerful low-bass effects. And given its performance with music, I wasn't surprised by the surround-like sense of immersion that I experienced with just the two towers alone conveying the soundtrack. Still, I imagine that a Triton Two-based 5.1 system would be a nice thing indeed.

BOTTOM LINE
Over the past decade, there's been a great deal of consolidation and shrinkage in the speaker business. Given those forbidding conditions, it's thrilling to watch somebody make the bold move of launching a major new speaker brand. But here, that "somebody" isn't just anybody. The founders of GoldenEar Technology bring decades of experience to the game, and that seasoning is very much in evidence in the Triton Two tower.

GoldenEar's sleek speaker offers a rich, balanced sound and its imaging abilities are nothing short of uncanny. Also, its built-in sub provides enough bass to satisfy even a demanding bass-hound. I'm not only amazed that GoldenEar was able to deliver a speaker that sounds this good for $2,500 per pair; I'm amazed that speakers can sound this good, period.

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