Everybody’s a Critic
If you listen to any instrument with a horn on it through the Australe EZs you will be taken into a world far beyond the Triangle’s $4500 price point. I mentioned the Dave Douglas album near the beginning of this review, but equally spectacular was Joe Henderson’s saxophone performing “All the Things You Are” on the Charlie Haden album The Montreal Tapes—A Tribute to Joe Henderson. It’s the way that the Triangles project these instruments that surprises. There’s no holding back. Life-affirming to hear horns sound like horns. I’m going to hijack a popular social activist term here, and suggest that the Australe EZs are “woke,” but here I simply mean alive, awake, raw.
There are a couple of technical downsides to all this “wokeness,” of course. One of them is a certain blending of instruments on the stage. Listening through the Triangles is not about precise, hyper-real image location. There isn’t the spatial realism that signifies reference-level gear such as the Esoteric E-02 phonostage I recently reviewed. In some ways, the presentation is more like real life than the privileged sonic viewpoint we are afforded through recorded music. You’re not thinking about instrumental separation. The EZ just doesn’t engage your senses on that “good mini-monitor” level. The presence is about energy and feel, not about sharply defined spatial boundaries.
The other aspect worth noting is an effect most apparent on piano. Bill Evans’ piano on his Trio’s Sunday at the Village Vanguard was a little more vibrant than I am accustomed to. A bit tonally “blown up” I’d say. It’s the price of a less damped, more free and energetic presentation. You can’t have it all at any price, let alone $4500 for a near-full-range loudspeaker.
Quick System Thoughts
I used an old Eclipse TD A502 integrated amplifier, a VAC Sigma 160i tube integrated amplifier, and both Devialet 200 and Norma Revo IPA-140 solid-state integrateds for the review. Though the Triangle is a rather easy load with its high sensitivity and nominal 8-ohm load (minimum at just over 3 ohms), I do think the Australes deserve some attention to amplification because it will pay you back. I also threw some less expensive tube amplification at the Triangles, and the result wasn’t the dream you might think it would be. You can end up with “midrangey” if you’re just using your theoretical “warm tubes with fast, sensitive speaker” assumptions. Try stuff out, because it is worth the effort.
Strangely, I found the amplifiers with a high damping factor to work best for me. The Devialet in particular was a great match, and I can imagine a wonderful system of the Australe EZ driven by the Devialet Expert 140 Pro. While priced higher than the Triangles at about $6500, the 140 Pro includes a DAC and other features that make for very simple system setup. (Yes, I know they’re both French.)
Put a Bow on It
The loudspeaker that has the most significance for me in my audio journey is the Mirage SM-1, the loudspeaker that Kevin Voecks designed to launch the Mirage brand at the beginning of the 1980s. It’s significant to me because it symbolizes the joy of listening to music with friends and family for many years with no complaints. The perfect musical partner. But if I were asked to review the SM-1 today for “old time’s sake,” I wouldn’t do it. It was perfect for that time and place, and current words of analysis would completely miss the point. And I had a similar feeling in listening to music through the Triangle Australe EZs for this review. You throw some music out for them to fetch, and they run to go and get it, bringing it home. Shedding a dose of joie de vivre that everyone can enjoy.
I started this review with some quick thoughts on the amazing Zakir Hussain, and it makes perfect sense (to me at least) to finish on that note as well. I’ll put a little twist on it though and write this conclusion listening to the only track off Remember Shakti’s eponymous first album that doesn’t include Zakir Hussain as an artist, yet is titled “Zakir.” Here, John McLaughlin on guitar and Hariprasad Chaurasia on bansuri (Indian flute) pay tribute to Zakir on what might be described as a gently flowing river. So beautiful. Calming. The power of music. A little light shining through.
Specs & Pricing
Type: Three-way bass-reflex loudspeaker
Driver complement: 3x 6.5" woofers, 6.5" mid/woofer 165mm tweeter, 2x 1" titanium-dome tweeters
Frequency range: 35Hz–22kHz (+/-3dB)
Sensitivity: 92.5dB 1W/m)
Nominal impedance: 8 ohms
Minimum impedance: 3.3 ohms
Continuous power handling: 150W
Repetitive peak power: 300W
Dimensions: 7.87" x 44.48" x 14.56"
Net weight: 85.53 lbs.
Price: $4500/pr. ($4000/pr. walnut vinyl)