Test Report: GoldenEar Technology Triton Three Speakers Page 3

Bottom Line

Whenever I strongly recommend a product, I often worry that a Sound+Vision reader might buy it and not like it despite its strengths, but I have no such concerns with the Triton Three. It’s simply one of the best tower speakers I’ve reviewed at any price. The fact that it sounds this good at just below $2,000 per pair makes it a truly outstanding buy.

Test Bench

Frequency response
29 Hz to 20 Hz ±3.6 dB

Sensitivity (SPL at 1 meter/1 watt)
85.9 dB

Impedance (minimum/nominal)
3.4/6 ohms

Bass output (CEA-2010 standard)
• Ultra-low bass (20-31.5 Hz) average: 97.5 dB

20 Hz, 92.1 dB
25 Hz, 98.9 dB
31.5 Hz, 99.7 dB

• Low bass (40-63 Hz) average: 108.7 dB

40 Hz, 109.4 dB
50 Hz, 109.5 dB
63 Hz, 106.9 dB

I measured the GoldenEar Technology Triton Three’s frequency response above 220 Hz using a Clio FW analyzer in quasi-anechoic MLS mode, with the measurement mike at a distance of 2 meters and signal level of 2.83 volts (1 watt at 8 ohms). I placed the speaker directly atop my measurement turntable and used 2 feet of attic insulation to absorb reflected sound from the ground. The measurement you see here is an average of responses at 0°, ±10°, ±20°, and ±30°, smoothed to 1/12th octave. The response of the subwoofer section was measured using close-miking, with the results of the woofer and the two passive radiators summed. To get the approximate sum of the subwoofer section and the midrange driver, I ran a ground-plane measurement, with the mike on the ground at a distance of 2 meters, then experimented with the subwoofer level control to get the flattest possible response. The curve you see here represents a splice of those three separate measurements. The frequency response measurements of the Triton Three are very smooth. Even way out at ±60°, there are no significant changes in response up to about 15 kHz. Above 15 kHz, there’s a heavy treble roll-off at angles of ±45° and greater (about -30 dB at 20 kHz). But for that little (and probably inaudible) dip at 4.5 kHz, the response would be within ±3 dB.

Minimum impedance is 3.4 ohms at 128 Hz with a phase angle of -31°; and the impedance runs below 5 ohms between 220 and 930 Hz. Impedance rises rapidly below 100 Hz as the signal is handed off to the internal amplifier. Still, using at least a decent midpriced receiver or amplifier rated into 4 ohms would be a good idea. Sensitivity (average of quasi-anechoic measurement from 300 Hz to 10 kHz at 1 meter at 0° with a 2.83 volts RMS signal) is 85.9 dB.

CEA-2010 output measurements for the subwoofer section were taken at 2 meters then scaled up +6 dB per CEA-2010 requirements. Averages are performed in pascals as per upcoming revisions to CEA-2010 that had not yet been published by our deadline. I tried measuring from the LFE input and from the speaker input (driven by a Krell S-300i amplifier); I got about 3 dB more output from the speaker input so those are the numbers I include here.

The output of the Triton Three’s subwoofer section is a little unusual, limited at the top end by its small woofer but reinforced at the bottom by its relatively large cabinet and dual passive radiators. Thus, it doesn’t deliver a lot of energy in the low bass (40-63 Hz) octave, yet it does have usable response all the way down to 20 Hz. Here’s the pascal averages (the new method) and the dB averages (the old method): low bass 108.7 dB/108.6 dB, ultra-low bass (20-31.5 Hz) 97.5 dB/96.9 dB.

These subwoofer section output numbers are for one Triton Three only. Adding the second tower should increase overall bass output by an average of +6 dB, although because of room acoustics the boost provided by the additional tower will vary with frequency. — Brent Butterworth