My 9-year-old son took a look at the back of one of the Australe EZ’s, and proclaimed, “Did you look back here? There’s a speaker. The speakers are supposed to be on the front!” He shook his head in disbelief as if to say, “Who could be so stupid as to make such an obvious mistake?” Indeed, there is a rear-firing tweeter on the Australe EZ (the only Esprit model to incorporate one), and it is the same horn-loaded titanium dome used in the front. Triangle calls this a Dynamic Pulse System (DPS). The tweeters are in phase (they have a bipolar, rather than dipolar, radiation pattern), and the rear tweeter is crossed over within 100Hz of the front (just below 4kHz). To put it as simply as possible, a horn-loaded tweeter has a narrow directivity. To avoid seriously limiting the listener sweet spot, the speaker’s rear tweeter helps to even out the high-frequency energy in the room. The result is a more balanced power response that opens the size of the listener’s window. As you’ll see, the DPS is remarkably well executed. You can’t turn it off (like some of the early Revel models), but provided you can get the back of the speaker about 1.5' away from the front wall, you won’t want to.
Triangle designs its own drivers. Though they’ve tested and listened to many different materials for midrange transducers, they continue to believe in the basic character of a properly shaped and damped paper cone. Such is the case here, where below about 300Hz the 6.5" midrange hands off to a trio of front-ported 6.5" woofers. These marry “wood pulp” with carbon-fiber and are said to extend to 29Hz. I had good, useful extension into the low 30s in my room, with power.
Sensitivity is a high (for a dynamic loudspeaker) 92.5dB/Watt/meter. Perhaps this contributes to an overall expressive character that seems to be a longstanding Triangle calling card. They’ve been at it since 1980 now (is that really 39 years?), and having spoken with the company’s CEO Hugo Decelle, I feel confident in saying that I would expect Triangle to be around for the foreseeable future. It’s a company that knows where it’s been, where it is, and where it’s going. In case you’re wondering, I wouldn’t call that observation common in the audio industry.
I’ve never been a dog owner, but I’m sure all of us have been at a park or beach and seen an owner playing fetch with his dog. A stick or ball is thrown, and the canine eagerly and instinctively races to retrieve it, always returning to insistently start the process all over again. It’s one of those happy, classic scenes where two beings enjoy the friendship and exercise of the outdoors. Fun to watch or participate in, whether you’re a kid or an adult.
The Triangle Australe EZs are music retrievers. You throw out a music selection, and they enthusiastically run out to get it and bring it back home. Tongue wagging, eyes open, and a big smile on their face (maybe a little slobber too), just waiting for the next track. And so, on a day with the whole family together, I could embark on the following little musical adventure: Michael Jackson “Thriller” video on YouTube; an 11-year-old Michael Jackson/The Jackson 5 singing “Who’s Loving You” on YouTube (now that’s talent!); Toni Braxton; Crash Test Dummies; gettin’ jiggy with Will Smith; going to Africa with Toto; finding out the world is a ghetto with War; live Tom Petty; a little Sir Duke with Mr. Wonder; Sublime; Styx; Sting…UB40; you should have gone to rehab Amy Winehouse…and in the middle of our little music party, I could exclaim, “These speakers are really good.” I knew then that the Triangles could be a part of your life, not apart from your life, as is the case with so many of the show-pony systems we assemble these days.
You can only blame yourself if you order a Triangle Esprit series loudspeaker and find disappointment, having expected something safe, laid-back, and musically “warm.” After all, Triangle chooses the name “Esprit” for a reason! Lively, vivacious, sprightly. They tell you right upfront, and it’s not marketing-speak. The Australe EZs have a proudly displayed character—one they don’t hide from.
Ever load an mc cartridge at 47k ohms for that undamped “fast” sound? Have you played around with the sustain or damper pedal on a piano? Listened to a single-driver speaker with no crossover or a good horn system? The Australe EZ has little hints of all that in its DNA, and the common theme would be speedy freedom with a light touch that can edge into brightly lit. The paper midrange in particular (which spans the 300Hz to just under 4kHz range) has this playful character that feels like the dampers have been taken off in the interest of verve. And while the tweeters will never be accused of being reticent, or even Dynaudio Esotar “smooth,” they, like the midrange, are impressively integrated into the whole design in such a way that they are more asset than distraction.
The rear-firing tweeter in particular is effectively invisible as a separately identifiable source. And if you doubt for one instant that I was…concerned when I saw there were not one but two horn-loaded titanium tweeters on these speakers, well, then you really don’t know me. As mentioned, the Triangles will not be mistaken for soft, but they don’t serve as ice picks either, and the lively character is present even far off-axis. It’s as if the room has been energized in a very good way. Think of it as the lights being on, but not shining directly in your eyes. There is a little extra presence directly on axis, but my guess is that this has more to do with midrange directivity (6.5" to 4kHz) than the horn-loaded tweeters.
There’s enough punch and substance in the low end to remind you why you bought a reasonably big speaker. “Pluck” off Marcus Miller’s album Free had plenty of chest cavity, upper-bass “oomph” to satisfy, without overwhelming the room and/or the rest of the recording. It’s not the kind of speaker where you have a light and fast midrange and then a heavy, fat bottom tacked on. They got the whole design working in the same direction—one of the key (if not the key) indicators of a competent design team.