As for nuance, the Reference is again better than the already very good Triton One. I get a lot of pleasure from cello music and one of my favorite pieces is J.S. Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G major [BMV 1007]. I already own seven recordings, and now have access to a long additional list from Tidal. If you want to judge a speaker’s ability to deliver detail, work your way through the opening passages of the first movement from a Casals recording in the 1930s to one of today’s best performances, and see just how many subtleties—even from a solo instrument—a really good transducer like the Triton Reference can reveal.
The Reference was equally revealing of the nuances in female voice. Brass and woodwinds were very clean and natural, and the Reference handled difficult-to-record instruments such as the recorder and harpsichord as well as my recordings permit. As for strings, it did a superb job of reproducing the subtleties in the performance and the character of the Stradivarius instruments used in a L’Archibudelli, Smithsonian Chamber Players recording of Mendelssohn and Gade’s Octet for Strings [Vivarte 1992].
Unlike many speakers, the Triton Reference did not have some particular listening level that seemed to bring out its best characteristics. The best listening level was always the one that best suited the music, rather than the one that best suited the speaker. No loudspeaker can alter the changing frequency sensitivity of the human ear to bass and treble as the sound level rises, but the Reference did not introduce any clear coloration at low or high levels.
Thanks in part to its integrated subwoofer, which is powered via an 1800-watt, DSP-controlled switching amp, when it comes to its more saurian sound character, the “T Ref” proved to be one of the few speakers that can actually reproduce very-low-frequency organ, bass guitar, and synthesizer bass down to subwoofer levels—provided that it is properly set up and placed, and that the room allows deep bass reproduction.
The Triton Reference did an excellent job with the demanding bass in the Reference Recordings version of Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man performed by Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra. It had very clean bass drum transients as well as sustained musical power.
The Reference outperformed some very expensive competition in handling the extraordinary deep bass notes and dynamics on bands 2, 13, and 14 of Jean Guillou’s performance of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. It also did as much as possible to reproduce the complex mix of deep lower frequencies, massive orchestral power, and soundstage imaging in my recording of the last movement of Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3. Like Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand,” there are some pieces of music that are simply too massive to accurately reproduce in the home.
In short, the Triton Reference is one of the few loudspeakers I’ve encountered that can actually produce truly low musical bass and warble test tones down to the lowest subwoofer depths and do so in ways that are properly integrated into the overall response of the speaker. It really does bring out the deepest notes a recording allows with tight detail and without exaggeration. It is not room-placement-proof. Care is needed to keep the subwoofer level restrained to natural music levels, and proper spiking can help, but only a few far more expensive speakers—normally with digital room compensation—have performed better in my system.
And just to be clear, I’d add the same praise for its ability to handle rock ’n’ roll such as the Stones, and jazz such as the MJQ, which is just about as contemporary as I want to get.
Highly recommended. Well worth auditioning and fully competitive with some substantially more expensive speakers.
Specs & Pricing
Frequency response: 12Hz–35kHz
Nominal impedance: 8 ohms
Recommended amplifier power: 20–750 watts
Drivers: Three 6" x 10" long-throw quadratic sub-bass drivers, coupled to four inertially balanced 10 ¼" x 9 ½" planar infrasonic radiators; two 6" high-definition cast-basket MVPP mid/bass drivers; one neodymium High Velocity Folded Ribbon (HFVR) tweeter
Integral woofer amplifier: 1800-watt Force-Field DSP-controlled switching amplifier
Dimensions: 6 ¾" (front) x 9 ¼" (rear) x 58" x 18 ¾"
Weight: 108 lbs.
PO Box 141
Stevenson, MD 21153