Review: GoldenEar Triton Two + speakers – GoldenEar has built a strong reputation with music lovers in a short time. The loudspeaker builder has recently become part of AudioQuest, which means that their Triton line is now more widely available with us. Time to test the Triton Two +, an affordable model from this family of special speakers with built-in active subwoofer.
GoldenEar Triton Two + speakers
New speaker brands emerge regularly, but few companies manage to become a household name in the audio world in a short time. There are already many speaker builders, including a number of very large ones. Little room is left for new challengers. Nevertheless, GoldenEar has already become an established value in the hi-fi world in more than ten years. That has to do with the founders – Sandy Grossman and Don Givogue – who have been in the industry for decades. Grossman has been one of the driving forces behind Polk Audio and Definitive Technology, among others.
But the brand’s rapid rise also has to do with its innovative products. Grossman created GoldenEar to design speakers that employ the latest technologies to get the best possible sound. You will also notice this with the Triton speakers that we look at here. They look a bit different to start with, but especially on a technical level, they offer something different from an average passive speaker. Take that word ‘passive’, which indicates that you have to connect a speaker to an amplifier to get music out of it. It is a term that only partly fits the Tritons. After all, they are passive speakers with a built-in active subwoofer. That mixture of active and passive is very intriguing,
Normally we receive test products in our own test room, but due to the corona limitations we deviated for this review of the Triton 2+ to the (corona-proof) listening room of AudioExpert in Den Bosch. A plus: this also allowed us to get started with the mighty Reference of 11,000 euros per pair. Due to its size and weight, that speaker is too burly for our own listening room. The Triton Two + is a bit more the size of a modal living room and is also more accessible with a price of 4,499 euros per pair.
|What||Passive loudspeaker with active subwoofer built-in|
|Frequency response||16 – 35,000 Hz|
|Dimensions||19 x 38 x 122 cm, 27 kg (per speaker)|
|price||4,499 euros / pair|
The Triton Two + has its own look, just like the other GoldenEar speakers. It depends a bit on the environment and your interior, but in certain settings they seem to blend into the background. Is that because of the speaker cloth that covers a large part of the housing? Perhaps, because it makes the Triton Two + an inconspicuous black column that will disappear in many interiors. The curved design, the rounded base and the black finish have created a slim speaker that does not try hard to attract your attention. On the contrary, it is relatively subtle. If you’re looking for a striking design splash, you’ve come to the right place.
On the other hand, the Triton Two + offers something different in terms of design than a traditional speaker, but without completely dominating your living room. Smartly seen. They also fit well in a home theater. As soon as you dim the lighting in your own cinema, they disappear even more from view.
The Triton speakers are only available in a (partly) glossy black, which additional color options would be nice. A white version would look even better in a modern Scandi interior, for example. Under consideration, we were told by the company. Incidentally, the large Reference has a slightly different appearance visually, because that top model has been worked with a sumptuous high-gloss black gloss lacquer.
With active subwoofer
The built-in active subwoofer these speakers also make something special on a technical level with all Triton models. There are other manufacturers with similar designs, such as Definitive Technology, but GoldenEar does it its way. If you look at the Triton Two +, it is not immediately apparent that an active sub of 1,200 watts is combined with a passive D’Appolito driver section consisting of two 4.5-inch bass midrange drivers with an AMT tweeter in between. The active bass part has been carefully thought out. In the Two + it combines two oval woofers (5 x 9 inch) that are actively controlled with two sturdy oval (7 x 10 inch) infrasonic passive radiators on the sides.
There are several reasons why a passive speaker with an active subwoofer is interesting. To start with, you get a speaker that can dive deeper in terms of bass, and that thanks to the DSP at any volume in balance. Your hi-fi amplifier is also relieved of the most challenging part of the workload, because the built-in subwoofer takes care of that. This also translates into a high efficiency of 92 dB, which makes it easy to control. Finally, a built-in subwoofer per speaker provides better integration than if you combine two passive speakers with a separate subwoofer in a different position. In short, there is something to be said for this approach. Provided that the design is well put together, of course. Fortunately, GoldenEar’s technical credentials look fine.
Connecting the Triton Two + is slightly different due to its hybrid design. Yes, you must provide speaker cable that runs from your music system to the speakers. But you also have to provide each speaker with power. There is also LFE input on each speaker. It can be used optionally. You can connect an LFE signal to this if your amplifier offers it, but it is not a must. If you only connect the speaker cables, the Triton speaker itself will send the low tones towards the active sub.
Mighty and great
In our opinion AudioExpert made a perfect choice in terms of amplifier: the EISA Award-winning NAD M33. Not only is the motor of this NAD topper a groundbreaking amplification section based on Purifi, it comes with enough sub-outputs and room correction from Dirac to optimally set the GoldenEars. We find Dirac worthwhile in many situations, with these speakers it is even more of an added value. In a smaller room, the software can really ensure that the bass does not dominate.
The rest of the set is also worthwhile. For the M33, AudioExpert has provided the great Grimm Audio MU-1 streamer as a high-quality source, all with cabling from Audioquest. Not surprisingly, given that they are the new owners of Golden Ear. It is also no coincidence that we ended up at AudioExpert in Den Bosch. The store was one of the first to enthusiastically embrace GoldenEar.
For our test, we actually first listened extensively to the large Reference model before switching to the Triton Two +. That can end badly, going from a top model to a smaller version. But it is not too bad. Although the Triton Two + is a bit smaller than the gigantic Reference, we do not suddenly experience a decline in experience (after the expert adjustment of Dirac by Peter from Audio Expert). The listening room is not huge, it probably has to do with that, but we find it remarkable that we do not get the typical ‘well, this is the smaller version’ feeling with the Triton Two +.
We can get started right away via Roon and the MU-1, we don’t need our SSD with its own test tracks. The Triton Two + is no stranger to refinement, we hear that immediately when we tap on Vincent Belanger’s ‘Amazing Grace’ in our test playlist. It is a remarkable rendition of a classic, here only performed on cello. We have already heard Belanger perform this song live a few times, which makes the comparison just a bit more interesting. There are not many sub-basses in this song, but the vibrations of the cello case go deeper than you think, which the GoldenEars convey very well.
The harmonic sounds are also well presented. ‘Running’ by Moderat is completely different. This Berlin techno leans towards pop, with the voice of Sascha Ring floating above a thumping deep beat on ‘Running’ that the dual subwoofers of the Triton Two + speakers send effortlessly into the room. The great thing about this design is that the amplifier is relieved of the most difficult task (controlling a woofer) so that the M33 can fully focus on the mid and high frequencies. That provides a more audiophile reproduction than you might have thought when you read ‘built-in subwoofer’ at the beginning of this article. For example, ‘Track A’ by Charles Mingus is presented here in a very insightful, live-feeling way.
The soundstage is nicely designed, with a sax playing somewhere on the right and then Mingus playing on the left. It is surprising how much clear detail there is in this story, the soft cymbal strokes are completely detached from the whole. At first hearing, Carla Bruni’s acoustic ‘Mon Raymond’ isn’t the kind of music that gets better for the active subs in the Triton Two + ‘s, but the first minute or so does let you focus on Bruni’s vocals and her guitar playing. Later that drum and trumpet are added, and the picture is complete. The beats we hear are beautiful, frisky and playful, indicating that the active part is sophisticated enough to support music correctly. This is not a bombastic subwoofer that GoldenEar just picked from a home theater product.
GoldenEar Triton Two + speakers – Conclusion
The Triton Two + isn’t visually a table jumper, which is why some people in the store are going to walk to other, more striking speakers. Unfairly, because the built-in subwoofer offers this floorstander something unique compared to most rivals at the same price point. The Triton Two + is a speaker that offers a lot for its price: a balanced reproduction at any volume level and a great bass extension that remains nuanced enough to support classical music while at the same time having the power to host a techno party at home.
Positives of GoldenEar Triton Two + speakers
- Advantages of 2.2 without the disadvantages
- Excellent integration possible
- Musical subwoofer part
- Immersive and engaging listening experience
- Value for money
Negatives of GoldenEar Triton Two + speakers
- Design may be too dark or subtle for some
- Power cord required per speaker