GoldenEar Technology Triton Two+ Speaker System Review Page 2

The architectural speakers from GoldenEar aren’t new. The round Invisa HTR 7000 is the company’s flagship in-ceiling model, using a 7-inch bass driver (the same one that’s in GoldenEar’s Aon 3 monitor speaker) and a smaller version of the HVFR tweeter. The driver assembly is angled so the dispersion pattern can be aimed in the direction of the listener, which makes the HTR 7000 especially applicable for systems using in-ceiling speakers for the front LCR channels. The rectangular Invisa MPX is what GoldenEar calls a “MultiPolar” architectural speaker because it uses a design that attempts to mind-meld a direct-radiating speaker with a bipolar speaker. In addition to the forward-firing HVFR tweeter (the smaller one), there’s a pair of 4.5-inch bass drivers—one above and one below the tweeter—angled out sideways of the tweeter, in as much of an approximation of opposite directions as can be expected from a flush in-wall speaker.

Virtually Reality
Four years is a long time between evaluations—too long to establish a solid frame of reference between the old Triton Two and the new Triton Two+ short of having both in the same room. But I did revisit much of the same demo material I used to review the then brand-new Triton Two in 2011. I’ve heard these music selections countless times on other speakers, but after I listened to them on the Triton Two+ towers, my initial reaction was: “Holy crap!” The soundstage on Roger Waters’ “The Ballad of Bill Hubbard” was as broad as, if not broader than, what I’ve heard with any other speaker pair. What struck me was a slightly forward presentation of Jeff Beck’s guitar in this track. I really noticed this on two pieces I listened to that feature a solo vocal with an acoustic guitar: Lyle Lovett’s “Promises” and Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “Dead Man Walking (A Dream Like This),” both from the tie-in CD to the film Dead Man Walking. In each case, it wasn’t that the vocal was inappropriately shifted forward. Rather, it seemed a tad more defined and distinct in the midst of the music without being distractingly (and annoyingly) in your face. The vocal was fully present without being overly dominant. The new Triton Two+ definitely nudges closer to what I recall as the sound of the Triton One I reviewed last year.

The care in executing the new DSP and the updated bass tuning were just as evident. Listening to “Tribute” from Ross William Perry’s It’ll All Make Sense demonstrated the claimed “tighter, faster, and better-integrated bass.” The output of the bass and midrange drivers are so closely woven together that it’s hard to believe it’s all coming from a variety of separate drivers and passive radiators. The three-dimensional playback of Dirk Sengotta’s “Drum Solo” from the Henrik Frieschlader Band’s Live disc was so arresting that it bordered on disorienting, with clear placement of each piece in the drum kit and every tap on a cymbal. If you could make a hologram out of sound, this would be it. For music listening, the Triton Two+ proved itself a truly captivating, sublime, and thoroughly engaging speaker.

Zero to Ten
With the Triton Two+ speakers anchoring the Dolby Atmos 5.0.4 configuration, it was no surprise that the bass output of the full theater system was sensational. As you’d expect, Terminator Genisys isn’t a quiet movie. With the GoldenEar system, each time a time machine was activated (spoiler alert: there’s a time machine in this movie), it was time for a low-frequency thrill ride. Of course, never having been near an actual time machine, I can’t say for sure how detailed and accurate the GoldenEars were. But I’m pretty sure that if there really were a time machine—which there isn’t because if there were, I’d have gone back and deleted this sentence—it would sound like what I heard with this system. In one scene, a bunker full of explosives undergoes some serious renovation, and the resulting shock wave was so impressively stable and full that I’m not sure there’s another powered tower speaker (perhaps short of a Triton One) that could match it.

Mad Max: Fury Road isn’t a quiet movie, either. In this depiction of a nightmarish automotive future, the omnipresent rumble of particulate-spewing, flame-belching engines is an integral aspect of the story. A lesser system would no doubt leave you feeling cheated because your brain would be searching for what your ears weren’t hearing. But the Titan Two+ towers didn’t just rumble at lower and lower frequencies—the bass section was as detailed and nuanced as it was visceral and impactful.

Hearing Voices
If the rugged, intense bass were all these movies had going for them, well, then they’d still be popular. Fortunately for us, the Dolby Atmos soundtracks of both movies are spectacular 3D acoustic playgrounds that are remarkable examples of how good the new technology can be. I’m sure that the opening of Mad Max: Fury Road will soon become a de rigueur Atmos demo clip because the haunting voices from Max’s past come and go from all directions throughout the room. This scene was a great test of the close match between the SuperCenter XXL and the Triton Two+ towers—and especially of the beautifully smooth soundspace created by the Invisa HTR 7000s and Invisa MPXs.

Terminator Genisys has plenty of its own remarkable Atmos moments. In the opening scene, a young boy hides in a drainage tunnel because he’s afraid that something is coming his way; on the GoldenEar system, the sounds of a dog barking and the footsteps that echo off the curved enclosure were beautifully rendered. Here all the models sounded like one coherent unit instead of separate speakers that happened to have been thrown together.

Speaking of performing as one, I was thrilled to hear the way the SuperCenter XXL was able to match the outstanding performance of the Triton Two+ pair. There’s a scene in Terminator Genisys, for example, where Sarah and Kyle are undressing on opposite sides of a row of gym lockers. As the camera pans back and forth, their voices move across the front of the room accordingly. To say that it didn’t even seem as if the SuperCenter XXL was present in the system is a tremendous compliment. The speaker never drew attention to itself, either by overemphasizing or underperforming.

GoldenEar Technology has quoted many reviewers (including yours truly) commenting that GoldenEar speakers sound as good as or better than speakers costing three times (or whatever) as much—a comment that justifiably annoys some people, who ask, “Really? Which ones?” That’s a difficult question to answer because there are so many factors that go into the value of a speaker, more than just sound and price, including cosmetic design, cabinet finish, size, placement requirements, application, power requirements, subwoofer or no subwoofer, etc. That’s not a cop-out. It’s simply a fact. I think the problem is that (in my case, anyway) I’ve been lazy and have taken the easy way of trying to convey my feelings about the value of GoldenEar speakers. What I should have said then—and what I emphatically say now about the Triton Two+ speakers—is that the sound quality is so good that GoldenEar’s speakers would still be highly recommended even if they cost three times as much. The fact that they don’t is one more reason why they are so damn impressive.

GoldenEar Technology
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