The question of whether or not you can successfully make and sell a full-range, room-friendly, loudspeaker for under $10k has been answered. The answer is “yes, you can.” And you, Mr Consumer, can have your pair for $5k.
The Triton One is the flagship of the GoldenEar line. Announced at CES this past year, this loudspeaker is extraordinarily competent. Like many of Sandy’s designs, the One includes a DSP-controlled subwoofer in each cabinet — well, actually, there’s three 5″ x 9″ front-mounted “quadratic subwoofer bass drivers”, which are also coupled to four side-mounted 7″ x 10″ “quadratic planar infrasonic bass radiators”. The other drivers include a pair of 5 ¼” mid/woofers in a D’Appolito array around a “High-Velocity Folded Ribbon (HVFR™) tweeter”.
Driven here by electronics from Marantz‘ Reference Line, including the PM-11-S3 integrated ($5k) and the SA-11S3 SACD player ($4k), Sandy told John Darko and me that he was worried that the setup was too “mainstream” and not “audiophile enough”. I must have given him the quizzical look, because he barely missed a beat when he added, “You know, the tweak-y stuff.”
I suppose the Stillpoints ESS rack ($$$, depends on configuration) and Ultra 5 footers probably qualifies, but in addition to whatever acoustic benefits it brought, it certainly lent a bit of bling to the whole arrangement. The Audioquest cabling (used throughout) probably added more than a bit of flair, color, and pizzaz as well.
But Sandy needn’t have worried, in any case. From what I could tell, this was a very popular room. I’m sure some of that was us fans lining up to shake his hand, but the sound was what kept them there.
This was extraordinarily good stuff.
The AMT-style tweeter brought an extremely refined top-end to an extraordinarily powerful low, and the result was a seamless loudspeaker that completely stepped out of the way. Effortless slam and breathtaking dynamics, combined with out-of-the-room sound staging, marks this speaker as the high water mark. You want to build a speaker, this is what you have to beat. And at $2,500 each, that’s gonna be frighteningly difficult.
I did ask Sandy if he had any plans to make an even larger speaker. For what it’s worth, the One is bigger than it looks, but I figured he could probably add another foot or two to the top and still have room to slip it into an average-sized listening room. He shrugged, said something about it not necessarily adding anything useful except cost. Given what I know of Sandy, that’s not on the table.
I think the only complaint you can lodge here is that the Triton Series, as a whole, is rather understated cosmetically. I think this is understood and invisibility was chosen over aesthetic indulgence deliberately — again, probably due to cost. The look, in person, will not leap out at you, but the height of the One specifically is enough to give the listener fair warning. Big speaker, giant sound.
I don’t think I’d be able to clear these past my wife, or they’d already be in my living room. A winner, in my book, and the Best Value at the show by a clear mile.
If I remember correctly, Sandy said the first run of the One is fully underway, and the backlog (!) should clear out by November.