It’s easy to get lost and lose your perspective when wandering the halls of The Venetian high-end audio suites during International CES. I mean, behind every door is another stratospherically priced, mid-six-figure audio system where just the cabling alone costs more than most people’s entire AV systems. You hear talk of all of these rarefied driver and cabinet materials, audiophile micro-attention to detail, and ultra-resolution and micro-dynamics, and after a few demos, you start losing your touch on reality.
That’s why I took two visits to GoldenEar Technology’s demo suite. The first was to experience the new Triton One loudspeakers on my first day of the show before I had listened to any other demos, and the second was on my last day of the show, after I had listened to dozens.
Something GoldenEar’s founder and industry legend, Sandy Gross, said during my first listening session really resonated with me and I wanted to put it to the test. Sandy said that the Triton Ones were designed to stand next to the $50,000 super speakers found at the show.
On my first listen, I was certainly impressed with the Triton One’s sound quality. My listening notes have the phrases, “Deep, tight bass,” “musicians just float in space, perfectly positioned in their locations on stage,” “even at less than reference volume audio is rich and detailed and holding balance and depth,” and “effortless, airy, open, easy.”
Impressive for sure, but, come on, Sandy. You don’t really expect a $5,000 pair of speakers to compete on the same level as models costing 10-times as much, right? That’s why I returned to GoldenEar’s suite after hearing multiple speaker systems in that 10-times (and more) multiple to give the Tritons a second listen.
After spending some more time listening, I have to agree that Sandy has created a speaker that defies its price point and certainly stands alongside those super speakers. The Ones create just a huge wall of sound that is immense and impressive, but also detailed and accurate and easy and non-fatiguing to listen to. Each note is identifiable and precise, and localizable in the acoustic space.
The high-velocity folded ribbon (HVFR) tweeter produces sound that just floats weightless in space, with an effortless, breathy quality that is so easy to listen to. There was one track with a maraca shaking, and I felt like I could not only hear the individual beads rattling but also could hear them singularly settling within the shaker. Female vocals are especially delightful, as they just breathe into the room.
While the bass might not have had the same low-end wallop as some of the other audiophile, “mega speakers,” there is certainly plenty of it. The large bass notes from “Fanfare for the Common Man” had that infrasonic depth and pressure the movement demands, while still maintaining tightness and detail that a high-end speaker must deliver. Any possible loss of overall volume is more than made up for the lack of bloat.
The Triton One features a huge array of drivers, including three 5x9-inch long-throw quadratic sub-bass drivers coupled to four 7x10-inch planar infrasonic radiators, two 5.25-inch cask-basket mid/bass drivers and one HFVR tweeter.
While one could split hairs as to whether the Triton One’s sound as good as a $20,000, $40,000, or even $60,000 pair of loudspeakers, they could also just go and buy them for under $5,000 and be very happy indeed. The speakers sound so good, I asked Sandy if maybe these were to be his swan song and he laughed and said, “Oh no. Definitely not.” I’m not sure how he could possibly outdo himself with these, but I definitely look forward to hearing whatever comes next.
John Sciacca is principal of Custom Theater and Audio in Myrtle Beach, SC.