Goldenear Triton Seven
The Goldenear Triton Sevens are the smallest of the floor standing loudspeakers in the flagship Triton range. When I first heard about Audioquest’s acquisition of the Goldenear loudspeaker company in early January 2020 my reaction was a simple one. Why? Why would Bill Low, owner and CEO of one of the world’s most successful audio accessory brands, want to dilute his effort and attention to a product category that is already extremely well populated with well known brands? The answer of course is that Bill is a very shrewd businessman and knew that with his worldwide distribution and dealer network he had the opportunity to take Goldenear to a much bigger market, building on the strong brand acceptance already established in North America. Now look at the date of the announcement, January 2020. Very shortly thereafter the world found itself engulfed in a pandemic, worse than anything experienced since the influenza event of 1918/1919 – unfortunate timing.
The first impressions as they came out of the boxes and were slipped from the protective sleeves were very positive. Instead of the traditional wood veneer cabinetry the Tritons are wrapped in an acoustically transparent black cloth. The sloping top is finished in a high gloss black and the integrated plinth is similar. To my eye, and later that day, to the all-important eye of Mrs Kelly, these are rather handsome. They stand 101cm tall, with a front baffle width of 14.6 cm which widens out to 18.3cm at the rear. The sides are 27.9cm deep, so this is overall a compact loudspeaker. The unboxed weight of each unit is just 15kg, so they are very easy to manoeuvre into place and to adjust for position if required. I had the rear inner corners about 21cm from the rear wall and the loudspeakers were toed in modestly towards the primary listening position. They are very stable on their feet too, which is no small matter in many domestic settings.
Triton Seven 5.3inch mid/bass driver
Arrayed within the cabinet is some very sophisticated driver hardware. Towards the top of the baffle are mounted a pair of 5.3inch mid/bass drivers, which are separated by a ribbon tweeter. Towards the bottom of the cabinet, on the side panels, are located a pair of 8 inch passive bass drivers. Frequency response is quoted as 29Hz-35kHz, with a sensitivity of 89dB at 4 Ohms. The recommended amplifier power is a very wide 10-300 watts which indicates that these are not greedy for high power.
At the start of the review period I was using my Lyngdorf TDAI3400 integrated amplifier to drive the Triton Sevens, which I ran initially in its bypass mode, without Lyngdorf’s Room Perfect correction software running. I connected the loudspeakers using Audioquest’s own Robin Hood cable. Sources were my Linn Sondek LP12 with Dynavector XX2 MC cartridge, Gold Note PH10/PSU phono stage, Yamaha CD-S3000 SACD/CD player and last but not least an Auralic Aries Mini streamer. The phono stage and SACD player were connected to the analogue inputs on the TDAI3400, while the streamer was connected to the Lyngdorf’s DAC via coaxial cable, our TV used one of the optical inputs.
Listening to the Triton Sevens
As the loudspeakers had not been played for a while I gave them a couple of days of continuous playing from Qobuz playlists to let them warm up and settle into their new surroundings. Even in this initial phase they sounded more than acceptable, with plenty of punch to the sound but a pleasing airiness in the higher frequencies, which boded well for what was to follow.
For my first serious listening session I lined up some of my usual test music as well as some albums that seem to have really grabbed my attention recently. I started with Eleven Eleven by Dave Alvin (Yep Roc Records), a double album that was recently re-released to celebrate its 10th anniversary. It is a wonderful amalgam of blues, country and Americana, with Alvin’s gruff bass baritone vocals and excellent guitar playing featured throughout. The first track on side one is Harlan County Line, which featured in the magnificent FX channel television series Justified (highly recommended). The Triton 7s delivered not only all the right notes in the right order but also the whole brooding atmosphere of the recording. I was hooked from the first few bars, and ended up playing both records from start to finish.
My next selection was another regular contributor to my reviewing repetoire, the Paul Chambers Quartet’s Bass On Top, originally recorded on 14 July 1957 by Rudy Van Gelder at his studios in Hackensack, New Jersey. My copy is the 2020 re-release on the Blue Note Tone Poet Series ((BST81569). Although led by bassist Paul Chambers (on a day off from his duties playing with Miles Davis), this is a real team effort with Kenny Burrell on guitar, Hank Jones on piano and Art Taylor on drums. I say effort but in truth this sounds like effortless music-making by four very talented men whose pleasure in playing together shines through every one of the six songs. In the hands of Mr Chambers the double bass absolutely shines, whether being bowed or plucked, both in the many excellent solo passages and in the ensemble work. Through the Triton Sevens the listener is taken into the heart of the music, and listening is never less than an immersive experience.
After a few days I ran the Lyngdorf Room Perfect software through the Goldenears but for once its effect was best described as very subtle, which means that the Tritons were a really good match for our 16’x12’ lounge. I won’t bore you dear reader with an endless list of the records which I played but I will mention my SACD of the Dunedin Consort and Players, directed by John Butt on the Linn label. Their rendition of George Frideric (sic) Handel’s Messiah was presented magnificently through the Triton Sevens. It was December and this piece is often associated with Christmas, so I set aside a day to play it from start to finish. The recording was made in Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh in May 2006, produced and engineered by Philip Hobbs. Every nuance was captured and the sense of the recording venue was brilliant portrayed through the Triton Sevens, with the power of the full choruses having a real sense of scale.
Triton Seven passive planar bass unit
At the beginning of January my Primaluna EVO400 integrated amplifier returned from a time away having some TLC at the UK distributor’s engineering facility. The Lyngdorf was replaced on the rack by the 14 valves and three heavyweight transformers of the EVO400. The Audioquest Robin Hood cable was connected to the 4 Ohm output sockets and once again, I allowed a couple of days for everything to settle down.
Returning to Eleven Eleven I was quite unprepared for the sheer aural delight that followed. Through the Lyngdorf, the music had been highly engaging, with even the foot at the end of my formerly broken ankle tapping away. But with the EVO400 things moved to a whole new level. Foot-tapping gave way to full air-guitar madness. Thank heavens that what goes on in a listening session stays in the listening session.
The weather had turned chilly by now, so it was an ideal time to bring the Primaluna back into service; no need for the radiators to be on when those glass tubes are glowing. But the music just kept pouring into the room, no matter what genre I played the result was always the same: total immersion.
A word about the bass drivers or Planar Sub-Bass Radiators as Goldenear call them. Further up the Triton range Goldenear use active bass drivers instead of these passive units, and I am really looking forward to hearing what they can offer. However, in the Triton Sevens I never felt that the lower frequencies were not being very well portrayed. Maybe if I had musical tastes veering more towards bass-heavy genres I might feel that the Triton Sevens were just a tad light, but with everything I played, which included some heavy rock, the bass was sufficiently fast and tuneful for me.
Triton Seven conclusion
I try not to be influenced too much by the price of the equipment I am asked to review. This can be a very expensive hobby and I never cease to be amazed at the regular announcement of new products with five or even six figure price tags. However, when I discovered that the Triton Sevens sell for around the £2,000 mark here in the UK I was genuinely taken aback. Of course there is no shortage of competition at that price point but I am hard-pressed to think of any loudspeaker that can compete with the Triton Sevens for the money. They are great all-rounders and very easy to live with. Pair them with any of the terrific amplifiers available at around the same price and your source of choice and you will have a musical companion that you will probably never outgrow.
As I said at the beginning, Bill Low is a shrewd business man. In a crowded market he had the courage to believe that he could do full justice to the Goldenear brand and I now see exactly why. These are the entry level Tritons, and they offer a real taste of high end audio to the budget conscious customer. I can’t wait to see, and hear, where Mr. Low and his exceptionally talented team can take the Goldenear brand. Meanwhile, I think the Triton Sevens set a new benchmark for loudspeakers at this price point.