The soundstage was also surprisingly focused. On the Kleiber recording, bass drum whacks were clearly defined in the rear of the hall, with plenty of air surrounding flutes and the various other sections of the orchestra. Another example: The recent Anderson & Roe piano duo CD The Art of Bach, released by Steinway & Sons, features creative and innovative arrangements that delve into Bach’s compositions in new ways. Once again, soundstaging and imaging were spot-on. The two pianos were precisely delineated, making it easy not only to follow where they were positioned relative to one another, but also to distinguish their intricate counterpoint.
The Triton Fives boast an excellent jump factor—they’re quite fast. I’ve become increasingly aware that speed is crucial to dynamics. It isn’t just the sheer wattage of an amplifier, but also the overall transient response of the entire system that can add to or detract from verisimilitude. For instance, I was somewhat taken aback by the sheer propulsive energy and thwack of the Fives on the CD Count Basie Remembered [Nagel Heyer Records] by The New York Allstars, which was recorded live in Hamburg before an enthusiastic audience. The ensemble certainly sounded all-star. On the cut “Swingin’ the Blues,” the band simply exploded out of these transducers. Joe Acione’s drumming came through brilliantly as did a lusty trombone solo by Dan Barrett, both delivered through the Triton Fives with snap and precision.
What about the bass? It proved to be these Tritons’ weakest point. I’m not saying the low end was anemic, just that it’s not quite as good as the mids and highs, which are stellar. The Tritons go fairly deep but their bass response isn’t—to borrow a marvelous term recently used by my TAS colleague Neil Gader in reviewing Kharma loudspeakers—saturnine. But this really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Accurate, extrended bass costs the most money in any loudspeaker. And while the Tritons’ mids were creamy and full, and its treble region extremely accurate—you could hear performers talking or singing with great clarity—the deep bass was just a little bit murky by comparison.
Still, when you contemplate everything that this loudspeaker does do well—gorgeously prismatic tonal color, dynamic alacrity, and a beautifully lissome treble—then it becomes hard to quibble about the Fives. Ultimately, among its other attributes, the Fives’ ability to convey a direct emotional connection with the music is what makes it such an engaging product. On Christian McBride’s album Out Here, the Tritons conveyed the soulfulness of the song “I Have Dreamed” in a simply mesmerizing way. The cymbal seemed to float into the ether, while the piano swells rolled on and on.
With its knack for playing a wide gamut of music convincingly, the Fives offer a tremendous amount of performance for the dough. After my foray into Led Zep territory, Sandy Gross was worried that I might prematurely terminate my listening sessions by destroying his speakers—or sink into pure headbanging. Not a chance. I enjoyed hour after hour of satisfying listening. I know that these speakers will appeal to a lot of audiophiles, but I can’t help hoping that they will also entice anyone (like me all those years ago) who might be looking for a reasonably priced first speaker. In sum, Sandy Gross has hit another homerun. For anyone considering a loudspeaker under $10,000, the Triton Five isn’t just an option. It’s a must-audition.
SPECS & PRICING
Driver complement: Two 6" high-definition cast-basket mid/bass drivers, four 8" planar sub-bass radiators; one HVFR (high-velocity folded ribbon) tweeter
Frequency response: 26Hz–35kHz
Nominal impedance: 8 ohms
Dimensions: 8 1/8" (rear) x 12 3/8" x 44 1/4"
Weight: 40 lbs.
P.O. Box 141
Stevenson, MD 21153
dCS Vivaldi CD/SACD playback system, Continuum Caliburn turntable with two Cobra tonearms, Lyra Atlas and Miyajima mono Zero cartridges, Ypsilon VPS-100 phonostage, PST-100 Mk 2 preamplifier, and SET 100 monoblock amplifiers, Transparent Opus and Nordost Odin cabling, and Stillpoints Ultra 5 isolation footers