When Sandy Gross, the president of GoldenEar Technology, visited me in 2015 to help set up his Triton Five loudspeakers, he later confessed to me in an email that it had been a somewhat hair-raising experience for him. His worries had centered upon an LP of Led Zeppelin II that I played at what might be deemed healthy levels through the Triton Five. He admitted that he had been concerned about the punishment that we might have been inflicting upon his precious drivers, yet they made it through with aplomb.
But when Gross showed up once again with his new Triton One.R, he clearly had no such worries. The One.R is a true full-range loudspeaker, loaded with heaps of drivers, that delivers a real wallop. And, incidentally, Gross’ new progeny come in at a truly more-than-reasonable price of $2999 each. Heck, I might as well avoid any preliminary throat-clearing: This is a superb loudspeaker that had me scratching my head in disbelief at how much sonic prowess it boasts. What’s more, the piano-black lacquer version that I demo’d looked quite nifty as well with its appearance slicing through the air like a blade. This latest addition to the Triton line also doesn’t occupy much space, which helps it to perform an even better sonic disappearing act.
If you’ve ever met Gross—he tends to pop up at audio shows, where you may find him poring over bins of LPs for sale—you’ll immediately discern that he’s committed to music and musical reproduction in a way that inspires a lot of confidence. (I’ve spent a goodly amount of time listening to several superb sampler discs that he burned and bestowed upon me.) He and his partners, Don Givogue and Bob Johnston, also manage to create loudspeakers at what amounts to bargain-basement prices. His speakers’ performance is high end, but their cost is not.
As expected, Gross packs a lot into the One.R. I was able to carry the loudspeaker into my basement listening room myself, though I had to move carefully. The speaker weighs almost 80 pounds and stands about 4' tall. It comes with a proprietary base and feet, though the Wisconsin company Stillpoints tells me that you can also upgrade with its custom feet, as you can do with a variety of loudspeakers. (Personally I have found their aftermarket products to be extremely efficacious.)
The most novel aspect of Gross’ new loudspeaker is the number of powered subwoofers that it contains—no fewer than three. The oval subwoofer cones are constructed out of a polymer-impregnated Nomex material. An internal switching amplifier controlled by a 56-bit DSP chip allows you to tune the bass via a dial in the rear of the loudspeaker—so you’ll need nearby wall sockets or, alternatively, long power cords to run the One.R. In addition, Golden- Ear always likes to use planar infrasonic radiators (Golden- Ear’s name for a flat passive radiator) to further extend the bass, and the One. R is no exception. When it comes to the treble, Gross employs a neodymium “High Velocity Folded Ribbon” tweeter. Two 5.25" midrange cones round out the driver complement. As this approach suggests, Gross, who owns a huge pair of Sound Lab electrostatic speakers at his home in Baltimore, is seeking to emulate the speed and coherence of an electrostat or a planar in a dynamic-driver design. To a remarkable extent, he has succeeded in his quest.