GoldenEar Technology TritonCinema Two Page 2

The SuperSat 50C center and SuperSat 3 satellite are both shelf- or wall-mountable, and you can use the SuperSat 50 version vertically (with the tweeter rotated 90 degrees) as a main on-wall speaker. The SuperSat 50C is thin (only 2.5 inches deep) and narrow (27 inches long by 4.75 inches wide), so it’s a natural complement to almost any wall-mounted HDTV. It also has rounded edges and is wrapped in cloth to match the Triton Twos. The small SuperSat 3 satellite is the same width as the SuperSat 50C but less than half as long (12 inches) and a little deeper (2.7 inches). In most respects, it looks like a baby SuperSat 50C. Taken together, the system has a striking family look that I think would work well in most any décor, except maybe my son’s college one-room apartment. (I’m not sure you can even use the word décor in that particular case.)

Something Old, Something New
One of the most fascinating parts of the GoldenEar speakers is the company’s High-Velocity Folded Ribbon (HVFR) tweeter. This driver isn’t a ribbon, strictly speaking, as its diaphragm isn’t electrically conductive in and of itself. Nevertheless, the HVFR isn’t another variant of the standard, off-the-shelf dome tweeter. Such tweeters move a dome, often made from materials as diverse as silk or beryllium, rapidly back and forth—like a piston in an engine—to compress and rarefy air in the room. Nor is the HVFR like the less common conventional ribbon and planar magnetic tweeters that rapidly move a thin, flat diaphragm back and forth (again, like a piston) within a magnetic field. Instead, the HVFR uses a thin, high-temperature-tolerant plastic film that’s folded multiple times so it looks like the sides of an accordion with the pleats facing forward. When modulated by the audio signal, the pleats squeeze the air between them, creating sound. So what’s the big deal about squeezing? Very simply, squeezing is much more efficient at compressing air than pistonic action. In fact, in a folded-diaphragm tweeter, the velocity of the air relative to the speed of the moving diaphragm is approximately four times more than what you get with a dome tweeter. All those folds also mean that the acoustically effective surface area of a folded ribbon tweeter is around two-and-a-half times that of an equivalently sized dome tweeter assembly.

GoldenEar says this provides for better impedance matching with the air and allows for greater control of the diaphragm. Aside from being cool to talk about at parties (although, remember, don’t put your beer on top of the speakers), the claimed benefits are extended frequency response and greater dynamic capability. The design is a descendant of the Heil Air Motion Transformer tweeter from the 1970s. It wasn’t widely used in the past partly due to the fact that the materials capable of withstanding the high temperatures and stresses created by the squeezing action weren’t readily available. Plus, the bipolar nature of the original design was difficult to implement in a speaker with a conventional woofer and cabinet. In other words, it was slightly ahead of its time. The design of GoldenEar’s new tweeter is meant to address those issues, and the company uses a similar HVFR tweeter in the Triton Two, the SuperSat 50C, and the little SuperSat 3. That can be a plus when it comes to creating a coherent and seamless surround soundfield.

Oh-so-cool accordion-style tweeters aren’t the only interesting thing behind the grilles. In the Triton Two, there are two cast-basket, upper bass/midrange polypropylene drivers arranged in a D’Appolito array above and below the tweeter. Engineered properly, the D’Appolito array affects the interaction between the drivers, which helps control dispersion. GoldenEar says these mid/bass drivers can achieve a smooth linear response over a large range, although they’re crossed over at 3.5 kilohertz. Using such a small sliver of their sonic capabilities helps to ensure optimal performance.

Then There’s the Woofer
Remember the mistake I thought GoldenEar made when it didn’t send a sub with the system? Well, it was no mistake, as I soon found out after I fired up the system. The Triton Twos not only don’t need a subwoofer, they’ll send most standalone subs running home to mommy with their power cord between their legs. On the front of each Triton Two is a pair of 5-by-9-inch oblong or racetrack-shaped front-mounted woofers. They’re coupled by the air in the box to a pair of side-mounted (one on each side) 7-by-10-inch rectangular passive radiators. All of that wooferage is powered by a claimed 1,200-watt switching amplifier with builtin DSP, which Gross says provides extremely linear and low-distortion response. In addition, the DSP circuitry dynamically controls the operating parameters of the subwoofer system (soft clipping, DC offset control, and discrete multi-band limiting) to continually optimize the performance. Although there is an LFE input on the back of each Triton Two, GoldenEar recommends that you hook up the speakers using speaker level and run them as full range in your bass-management parameters. If you do decide to hook up the system this way (and I did), you won’t have to run a separate cable to each speaker from the surround processor sub-out. So what you essentially get is a pair of 1,200-watt subwoofers with a total of four active and four passive drivers—and no separate boxes to find a space in your room for.

Don’t Be Coy, Roy
I could be coy and make you read a little further before I gave you my overall opinion, but what’s the point? Let me just say it at the outset. The TritonCinema Two system is spectacularly spectacular. That HVFR tweeter is a thing of audible beauty. It sounds truly dynamic and smooth throughout its frequency range and so delicate and light that it’s reminiscent of the sound you get with a good (but much larger) electrostatic speaker. For example, “The Ballad of Bill Hubbard,” the first track on Roger Waters’ Amused to Death (featuring Jeff Beck on guitar) begins with an extremely quiet voice far to the left. With the Triton Twos, it’s very far to the left, farther than you’d think possible. The soundstage is extremely wide. Despite the low volume level, the voice is quite intelligible. Not long into the piece, a dog begins barking in the distance. With the Triton Twos, the dog bark was so realistic and so well placed behind the speakers that at first I thought it was one of my own dogs barking outside the house. It was so uncannily good that the second time I played it, the effect still caught me off guard.

GoldenEar Technology
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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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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 I look forward to giving these a shot!

rhett's picture

Any one around $1000

addman27's picture

After all the glowing reviews I called Golden Ear with some questions and spoke with Mr. Gross himself. After specifying I wanted a speaker for two channel music he recommended I listen to the Triton 5's and 2's. My local dealer had both to sample so I decided to head over.

When first listening to the 5's I was wowed. The 5's seemingly had everything going for them and the clarity from the ribbon tweeters was amazing. Unfortunately the salesman failed to realize at first that he had a powered a sub on and then turned it off. Immediately all the bass disappeared and I was shocked at how hollow and lean the five sounded. There was virtually no bottom end. I then tried the Triton 2's and the bass and soundstage was full and impressive, but two things were deal breakers for me. First, the vocals sounded a bit recessed and weren't as forward as I would of liked them to be. Second, the highs on the 2's seemed a bit recessed when compared to the sweeter sounding 5 model. I even called back Mr. Gross who verified that the 2 and 5 were 'voiced differently.'

While I found Golden Ear to make some really good speakers that do some things exceptionally well, I personally didn't find them amazing or comparable to other more expensive speakers that many give a better overall presentation.