Next, the Triton Sevens offered remarkably good imaging and three-dimensionality thanks, in large part, to their ability to retrieve very low-level textural and transient details and thus to capture subtle spatial cues in the music. To hear these qualities in action, try Jamey Haddad, Lenny White, and Mark Sherman’s Explorations in Time and Space [Chesky], which was recorded without compression or equalization in the Hirsch Center for the Performing Arts (formerly St. Elias’ Catholic Church) in Brooklyn, NY. The album features a series of highly inventive interchanges between three master percussionists, who perform on an impressive array of instruments. On Explorations, the GoldenEars generated exceptionally wide, deep, and precise soundstages, revealing the exact locations of each of the percussionists (and their various instruments) on stage. Even sounds emanating from the far rear corners of the soundstage remained beautifully focused, stable in their positions, and dynamically alive.
Finally, the Triton Sevens proved to be remarkably dynamically expressive—much more so than their size or configuration would lead you to expect. A good example would be the Gerard Schwarz/Royal Liverpool Philharmonic performance of Alan Hovhaness’s Mount St. Helens Symphony [Alan Hovhaness, Mysterious Mountains, Telarc, SACD]—a piece that paints a vivid symphonic picture of the events leading up to the violent eruption of the Mount St. Helens volcano. When heard under ideal circumstances, this recording offers up moments of delicate beauty juxtaposed with majestic but at times quite explosive mood swings. Frankly, many speakers turn the composition into a compressed dynamic muddle, but the Triton Sevens did not. Instead, they effortlessly captured the depth and breadth of the orchestral sections arrayed upon the stage, rendering quieter passages with deft dynamic shadings. Yet when the eruption passage came along, the Sevens shifted dynamic gears instantly, reproducing the full, fierce, percussion and brass blasts that represent the sheer power of the volcano’s eruption. If I hadn’t experienced this with my own two ears, I would never have thought speakers fitted with just two 5.25" mid/bass drivers and a Heil-type tweeter could ever convey so much weight and grandeur. Maybe less really is more.
Are there downsides here? Well, for those who want speakers that can serve double-duty in music and home-theatre systems, or that can play rock or other forms of “power” music at high volume levels, GoldenEar’s larger Triton Two and Three towers might be better choices than the Sevens—largely because they feature built-in powered subwoofers that extend bass depth and clout while making the speakers easier to drive. I would also say that for those who prize uncanny top-to-bottom coherency and realistic image height and scale, the Magnepan 1.7s (or the new Magnepan Super MMG system) might be a better choice. But on the whole, the Triton Sevens can easily go toe-to-toe with any like-priced competitors and can also handily outperform any number of higher-priced speakers. One last thought I will offer is that a “downside” of the Triton Seven is that it will make you want to acquire the best associated electronics and source components you can afford (but then, that’s always been the way of things with truly great loudspeakers).
Here’s the bottom line: If you want to find out just how much high-end goodness $1399 can buy in a pair of loudspeakers, then you absolutely must audition the Triton Sevens. I consider this speaker a masterpiece of value-oriented audio engineering—one that sets a performance standard that will not easily be matched or surpassed.
SPECS & PRICING
Type: Two-way, three-driver floorstanding speaker with passive radiators
Driver complement: One Heil-type HVFR (high velocity folded ribbon) tweeter, two 5.25" cast-basket mid/ bass drivers, two 8" passive radiators
Frequency response: 29Hz–35kHz
Dimensions: 7.25" x 39.75" x 11"
Weight: 42 lbs. (shipping), 32 lbs. (unpacked)
P.O. Box 141
Stevenson, MD 21153 USA
Analog Sources: Nottingham Analogue Systems Space 294 turntable/Ace-Space 294 tonearm; Benz Micro ACE L moving coil cartridge, Fosgate Signature phonostage Digital Sources: Rega Isis CD player/DAC; Oppo BDP-105 universal/Blu-ray player/ DAC; AURALiC VEG A digital processor (DAC/preamp) Media Server: Lenovo ThinkPad PC with Intel i5 processor, 8GB DDR, 128 GB SSD , and outboard 2TB Western Digital music library drive; dBPoweramp ripping/ format conversion software, jRiver Media Center 19 media management software, JPLAY digital audio output software Amplifier: Rega Osiris integrated amplifier Speakers: Magnepan 1.7 Cables: Furutech Flux-series Evolution-series interconnects, speaker, and power cables; Kimber B Bus Ag USB cable Power Conditioning: Furutech Daytona 303, PS Audio Soloist in-wall line conditioner Racks and Isolation: Solid Tech Reference Racks of Silence with associated isolation accessories Room Treatments: Auralex StudioFoam panels, RPG Binary Abfuser Diffsorber (BAD) panels