Sandy Gross is a fine gentleman, and one of the few “old-school” manufacturers that is still out there innovating after 40 years. He was one of the Founding Fathers of Polk Audio, and when they sold that company, started Definitive Technology. A brief detour through Hollywood brought him back to the designer’s table a few years back with the launch of his latest, GoldenEar.
GoldenEar seems predicated on the notion that great big sound doesn’t have to have a great big price tag. I like that — and to all reports, most of you do, too. Part of that sonic signature has to do with the new air-motion tweeters that Sandy is using in his GoldenEar speakers. Part of that signature has to do with the graceful, thin columns and their incredibly narrow baffles. Part of that has to do with the integrated subwoofers, which create a full-range package in a deceptively compact form factor. Whatever the magic most at play here, I find the whole to be extremely convincing.
I found Sandy at CES, wiggling his eyebrows and pointing surreptitiously at the guest he was entertaining, front-row and center. Yes, that’s John Atkinson’s absurdly full head of hair there, and I can attest that his head was bobbing and his foot tapping for the entire time I was in the room. He was so rapt, I’m not sure he even knew the rest of us were in the room with him.
GoldenEar was launching/debuting a few things in their two rooms at CES. One was a new soundbar (the SuperCinema 3D array, I think), another a new subwoofer. I’ll offer that the sub, the SuperSubXXL ($1999), was a stunner. I kinda mean that more literally than figuratively — it has two 12″ drivers and two matching passive radiators. I saw this thing, and feared for the structural integrity of the hotel. It’s massive. I kinda want three of them. Does that make me a bad person?
But the product that most caught my ear was a new tower speaker, the Triton Five ($1,999/pair). Unlike the stunning Triton One, the Five does not have a powered sub module. Essentially a larger version of the Seven, the Five combines one AMT tweeter with two 6″ mid/bass drivers and four 8″ bass radiators for a rated frequency response of 26Hz- 35kHz. The sound flowing out of these speakers, courtesy of a pair of Pass Labs monos, was among the very best at the show.