GoldenEar Technology Triton One.R loudspeaker

The GoldenEar Triton One.R is the successor to the original Triton One (footnote 1), improving on that model in both appearance and function, with features that first appeared in the Triton Reference.

Externally, the Triton One.R is a 54" tall by 8" wide by 16.65" deep tower that appears even slimmer than those dimensions suggest. In lieu of the sock-like fabric covering used on GoldenEar's less expensive speakers, the One.R, like the Reference, is finished in a high-gloss black, with large rectangular grille-cloth panels on the lower portions of each side and a curved, full-height front grille whose edges blend smoothly into the side panels. The front grille is not removable, and the cloth covers a very rigid form; that prevents the user from being able to see the drivers within, even when shining a bright light at them—but on the other hand, those drivers seem well-protected from damage via poking fingers.

Without being able to see the inner workings, I have to rely on GoldenEar's documentation as to what's going on under the skin. At the top of the front, there's a small folded-ribbon tweeter descended from Oskar Heil's original design of same. The tweeter crosses over at about 3.5kHz to a pair of 5.25" polypropylene-cone mid/bass drivers placed above and below it in a D'Appolito configuration. The benefit of this arrangement is to minimize any lobing or "Venetian blind" variations in the horizontal dispersion of the combined drivers. The concomitant of this desirable result is that such variations do occur in the vertical dispersion—but since we tend to listen with our head at a fixed height, one need only take care to aim the tweeter at the ear level of the listener. Since the One.R's tweeter is about 40" off the floor, lifting the back end of the base about an inch did the trick.

Physically—not to mention spectrally—below the mid/ bass and treble drivers are three 5" by 9" "sub-bass" drivers, the cones of which are made from a glass fiber–Nomex composite. These are actively driven by an internal 1600W class-D amplifier and loaded with four 7" by 10" flat-diaphragm passive radiators: two on each side of the cabinet, for inertial balance. The nominal crossover between the One.R's active low-frequency section and its 5.25" mid/bass drivers is at 100Hz, but GoldenEar's co-founder, Sandy Gross, told me via email that "the speaker is not a satellite on top of a powered subwoofer. It is, rather, a full-range speaker with a powered bass section that goes deep into the sub-bass. The crossover to the powered bass section is very complex—not just X dB per octave at Y Hertz, but rather something where the slope and phase are constantly changing through the crossover area in order to properly blend and integrate everything."

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Eventually, I confirmed the first part of his statement by pulling the plug on the amplifier to silence the "sub-bass" drivers. The resulting sound was not what one would expect from a normal small speaker with two 5.25" drivers, as it was clearly being rolled off to match up with the (now missing) bass section. As for the second part, I can only attest to the success of the design by saying that the integration of drivers was seamless.

In addition to a pair of multiway speaker inputs, the One.R's rear panel includes an IEC power receptacle and a level control for the internal subwoofer amplifier. Also included is a Low Frequency Effects input jack (RCA), for connection to the user's surround-sound processor; the signal fed to that input is combined with the sub-100Hz content from the speaker inputs.

Setup and listening
I had the benefit of having Sandy Gross, a Manhattan neighbor, set up the review samples. Before he arrived, I put the One.Rs where I usually place new arrivals before listening and repositioning. (Each column sits quite stably on a large black base, fitted with a choice of height-adjustable rubber feet or spikes.) Sandy immediately asked if he could move them closer to the listener, and then he moved them progressively closer and closer until he settled on having them less than 10' from the main listening position—more than 2' closer than the starting point. He angled them in so that the listening position was nearly on-axis with both. Tilting them down a bit (vide supra) snapped everything into place. The only remaining variable was the level control for the woofers, which Sandy left at its midpoint.

And then Sandy left.

My immediate impressions endure. The One.Rs throw a wide and stable soundstage and are capable of impressive dynamic range. The frequency range, too, seemed excellent, with particularly well-defined and extended bass. Treble did not lack for sparkle and detail. This is an auspicious beginning, completely consistent with my more casual auditions at shows. The Tritons seemed to be comfortable in the room (or I with them), although it did take a little personal adaptation to adjust to their proximity to me. Attempts to push them back only served to confirm that Sandy got it right.

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They were also significantly more sensitive than my regular speakers; in response to that, I had to raise the volume levels of my center, surround, and sub channels by 3–4dB to restore balance. (Yeah, I did resort to a mongrel speaker mix for multichannel, on occasion.)

I began my listening with recordings on my "go to" list. The delineation of the voice and piano on Finzi's "Come Away, Come Away, Death," sung by Marianne Beate Kielland (SACD, 2L Records 2L-064-SACD), was excellent: The piano had body and ping. Kielland's voice was clear, and the balance between the voice and piano was ideal. When I moved on to "Tin Tin Deo," from Oscar Peterson Meets Roy Hargrove and Ralph Moore (CD, Telarc CD- 83399), piano and plucked bass had satisfying weight, and Hargrove's trumpet was appropriately bright and cutting. All the instruments were clearly voiced and well-spaced across the stage, between and just slightly beyond the plane of the pair of One.Rs.

The breadth of the One.Rs' soundstage so impressed me that I pulled out an oldie just to take advantage of it. Andreas Vollenweider's White Winds (CD, Columbia MK-39963) was simply spectacular. Sure, it's all synthetic and there's really no there there; the effects were spread so widely around that they approached a nearly hemispheric soundstage. Bass was full, rich, and solid, and the total effect was quite amazing: Everything just popped. A more subtle demonstration was the opening track "Call Me the Breeze" on The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale (CD, Polydor 3786308). It begins with some claustrophobic mumbling and a damped and dry syncopating beat, but within a few bars, the space expands quickly to encompass the entire band, with Eric Clapton's voice front and center. Other small ensembles, like string and wind chamber groups, also benefitted from the One.R's soundstaging—a performance characteristic that spread images from speaker to speaker but, except for room ambience, not beyond. Overall, a quite realistic depiction.


Footnote 1: As of late September 2019, GoldenEar noted on their website that the Triton One was "still a current product."
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(410) 998-9134
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COMMENTS
Bogolu Haranath's picture

Speakers to beat for $7k :-) .........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

My be a better value for the money compared to many passive bookshelf/stand-mount speakers and some floor-standers selling between $5k and $10k :-) ........

JRT's picture

The price difference could offset some of the cost of a better performing separate low frequency subsystem.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Agreed ......... Several bookshelf/stand-mount speakers and some floor-standers, augmented by powered subwoofer(s), under $5k, could be a better value :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Heaven forbid ...... KEF LS-50s, augmented by a couple of powered subwoofers, under $5k, could be a better value :-) ........

JRT's picture

The KEF LS-50 small satellite monitor is just a tweeter and coaxial midrange which runs out of breath in the upper bass (in lower midrange at higher SPL), and would be better behaved with the addition of a couple of well behaved midwoofers (eg. pairs of Peerless HDS P830869 eight inch Nomex, $59.44/each in quantities of four or more at Parts-Express) underneath for better performance in low triple digit and high double digit frequencies, above the crossover to the separate low frequency subsystem.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

KEF LS-50s with just a couple of powered subwoofers with a crossover point set at 150 Hz, may work just fine, in a small to mid-size listening room ........ See Stereophile measurements, including JA1's in-room frequency response measurements taken from listening position :-) ........

dc_bruce's picture
Bogolu Haranath's picture

dc_bruce, could you repost your comments about using LS-50s with subwoofer? ...... I got your reply, but that reply somehow didn't show-up in this comments section ...... Your comments could be useful for answering some of the questions JRT (see below) and others may have, about using LS-50s with subwoofers ...... Thanks in advance :-) .....

JRT's picture

There are some exceptions, but most subs are not well behaved at higher frequencies, so must be rolled off more steeply if the low pass corner is pushed a little higher. That increases rate of change of phase with respect to frequency, and so too group delay (group delay is defined as being the negative derivative of phase with respect to frequency, the negative slope of the curve, the negative rate of change of phase with respect to frequency).

Using a pair of medium size woofers better behaved in their passband and in nearby stop band allows a somewhat higher crossover frequency to the smaller midwoofer, with more shallow slopes in the blend region, allowing the woofers to contribute more of the volume-velocity in the low side of the baffle step, improving blend and reducing interference from floor reflection in that range.

For a driver operating on infinite baffle, in pistonic range, at constant SPL with respect to frequency (flat frequency response), there is an inverse square relationship between swept volume and frequency, 100 times the excursion at 1/10 frequency. Crossing to a pair of woofers that quadruple the radiating area of the pistonic diaphragms reduces excursion requirement similarly for the needed swept volume, for the needed volume-velocity, for the needed SPL.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

dc_bruce (see above) is using REL subwoofers with the LS-50s ....... He says, he is happy with the results ....... I got his reply but, somehow his reply didn't show up in this comments section ...... I asked him to repost his comments ........ His comments may answer some of the questions you may have :-) .......

dc_bruce's picture
Bogolu Haranath's picture

Regarding group delay ......... See, 'Precedence effect' (Haas effect) in Wikipedia :-) ........

JRT's picture

Precedence effect is largely about signal doublets, with leading half of the doublet taking precedence in perception, depending much on time interval spacing between doublets. An example of a doublet would be direct radiation in combination with a delayed arrival reflection.

Group delay is about one portion of frequency spectrum being delayed relative to another portion of spectrum, for example a low frequency fundamental and low order harmonics delayed relative to higher order harmonics/overtones.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Not exactly ........ Did you read the articles in Wikipedia? ........ Precedence effect also applies to multi-way loudspeakers, where the frequency is divided between multiple drivers ........ Also see JA1's time domain response measurements :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Precedence effect also helps to create a good, stable and phantom center image, with just two speakers, if both speakers are properly positioned :-) .......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Also see, 'group delay and phase delay' in Wikipedia :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

According to the Wikipedia article 'group delay and phase delay', ear is most sensitive to group delay from 1 kHz to 4 kHz :-) .........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

The notorious BBC dip is located from 1 kHz to 4 kHz :-) ........

jimtavegia's picture

The one speaker my wife says she loved and misses were the Polk Audio Model 10's and I do as well. They were the first passive radiator model we owned. It is amazing how many design differences there are in the speaker world and many of them work to provide excellent performance.

Ortofan's picture

... a speaker with a passive radiator.
The KEF Q550, Q750 and Q950 models use a pair of passive radiators.
Also, REL uses passive radiators in some of their subwoofers.

JoeinNC's picture

Oh, man. Thanks for reminding me of Polk 10's. I never owned a pair myself, but a friend of a friend did. I didn't like the dude at all, but even so, I had to give him credit for having a great sounding system and a pretty awesome record collection.

ednazarko's picture

I've enjoyed a couple of different speakers with passive radiators. I've got a pair of Aon 3 stand mounts (as my rear channels in my AV system, and another set as my printing/framing room system), and the thing that I really love is how radiating that bass energy makes the sound more enveloping. If you look at the history of Sandy's speaker life, he did a lot of speakers with passive radiators, along with a number of dipole speakers, which if placed correctly give the same effect.

I have another system I listen to a lot (in my photo studio and editing area) that achieves the same effect with a bit different design - Gradient Revolutions. The woofer is open air, which gets that wrap around feel, and with cardioid mid and tweeters. Less sensitive to placement (unless you aren't using a sub and really need the room reinforcement for better bass) than any other speakers I've ever owned.

I've had a number of other speakers come and go, and the more traditional designs all sounded flat to me. Less engaging, shallower sound field.Not sure what I'm going to do if my Gradients die...

Anton's picture

Does Herb like these?

helomech's picture

...every time I've auditioned these and the original Triton 1s, their peaky treble was incredibly fatiguing. The accolades for these models is somewhat baffling, no pun intended. I have to presume they're designed for the over 60 crowd.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Did you by any chance audition the new Revel Performa F226BE floor-standers? ........ They are about the same price, $7,000/pair ....... They are a totally passive design ......... They use Beryllium dome tweeters :-) ........

helomech's picture

and found them far better balanced than the GE Tritons. I'd take a pair of the old F208s over any of the Triton series. I imagine the new Be series is even better.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

May I ask, were they using tube or SS gear with the GE Triton speakers? ........ Just curious :-) ........

JRT's picture
Bogolu_Haranath wrote:

May I ask, were they using tube or SS gear with the GE Triton speakers?

Here is the link:
https://www.stereophile.com/content/goldenear-technology-triton-oner-loudspeaker-associated-equipment

Quote:

Digital sources:
Oppo Digital UDP-105 universal disc player, Baetis Prodigy-X PC-based music server running JRiver Media Center v25 and Roon, exaSound e38 Mark II D/A processor. QNAP TVS-873 NAS.

Preamplifiers:
Audio Research MP1, Parasound P7.

Power amplifiers:
Benchmark AHB2, Hegel C53, Classé Sigma Mono, Parasound Halo A 31.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

I know what KR used for this review ....... My question was for helomech ........ See above :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

JA1 also used SS amps with GE Triton reference speakers ........ Interestingly, JA1's in-room frequency response measurements of KEF Reference 5 rolls off above 3 Khz, while GE triton reference stays flat to 10 Khz :-) .......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Revel Ultima Salon2 speakers also use Beryllium dome tweeters ........ JA1 and LG in-room FR measurements show mild roll-off above 7 Khz :-) ..........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Revel Studio2s also use Beryllium dome tweeters ....... KR has reviewed them ........ KR also recently bought Studio2s for his surround sound system :-) ........

helomech's picture

I'm not sure which models but they were SS and the amp was most likely the 452.

ednazarko's picture

Used to have the original Triton Twos, in a terribly challenging listening space. 30 foot tall ceilings at one end, 20 at the other, open at one side, with a balcony/bridge across the back area. When I had the Twos I initially kept the subwoofer I'd had with my previous speakers. Then I dialed up the powered sub... and when alien spacecraft flew into a scene, the entire house vibrated.. just like you see on the screen. (I have a GoldenEar center, the SuperSat 60C, and for the rears, Aon 3.) For video, the setup was breathtaking.

Then I upgraded to the original T1 for the front. The power of the onboard powered subs was crazy, I had the settings way lower than expected. Then, we moved to a smaller place with low ceilings, and we've got the T1 sub amps set to about one third power. Alien spacecraft rattle the china, wine glasses, and windows.

But in two channel mode, that's the real test. These speakers create eerie presence on really well recorded music. When we have guests eating in the nearby dining room and are playing background music in the family room, it always happens... guests will startle, get up and walk into the family room like they're sneaking into a performance space. And then stand there, transfixed, but occasionally looking up, left and right. The comments are always "she/he materialized in the room... I was trying to figure out how that happened." There's definitely depth, but not symphony hall depth, more like recording studio depth.

As to the comment about the upper range being overdone. I can still hear the scanning in the CRT monitors used in some home stores. On a hearing test recently, the doctor congratulated me for taking good care of my ears. (I'm in my 60s, he was early 30s. I was an MC5, Cactus, Ted Nugent, Detroit Dogs etc fan. Lucky genes.) I don't find these to be peaky. I can tell what size studs are in a ride cymbal, which needs that top end to be true and right. And by comparison, I do find my LSX powered speakers to be a bit peaky (easy to adjust.)

What I love most about the GoldenEar speakers is that they create a sound field. A LOT of the auditory energy comes from those passive radiators. I performed in orchestras, jazz combos, rock bands. I crave a sound that if I get in close feels like I'm in the middle of the performance. The GoldenEar get me there. I often find myself standing very close in, between the speakers, and it feels like all those live performances.

helomech's picture

A 6db peak over the midband at ~12kHz. Sorry, but that's definitely the smoking gun and why I couldn't tolerate them for longer than five minutes. Like your doctor, I'm in my 30s and definitely can't hear as well as I did in my teens despite taking every precaution to protect my ears. It only takes one loud concert to cause permanent damage. The fact is we all lose hearing ability to some degree as we age, regardless of exposure.

After my third audition of the Tritons, I honestly began to wonder if there was something wrong with my ears. How could a speaker that's earned so much praise among the reviewers sound so intolerable? Well, at least my girlfriend felt the same way, so that was a big clue it wasn't just me. Subsequent conversations with local audiophiles, most of whom are aged somewhere between 30 and 50 confirmed my suspicion. Each and every one of those who had heard them shares my opinion. I later see JA's measurements and sure enough, there it is - a piercing treble response with a steep rise. I'd bet anyone who can still hear well (well being the key word) at >10kHz will be fatigued by these speakers when listening on-axis.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

You are right about the elevated high treble FR ....... That elevated treble starts at about 6 kHz and extends up to 20 kHz ....... There is about +6 db elevated FR at 20 kHz ........ Also, there is kinda 'saw-tooth' appearance to the FR in this region, which could be due to treble distortion ....... Hi-Fi News also reviewed the GE Triton Reference speakers with measurements ....... See their lab report and look at their graphs 1 and 2 :-) .......

Archguy's picture

People are saying these speakers are strident.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Stereophile could consider adding Grover Neville (Inner/Fidelity, AudioStream) to the reviewing team ...... He is a 'millennial' ......... Most likely he has his hearing well preserved .......... Just a thought :-) ........

helomech's picture

What's the average reviewer age for this publication? Must be at least 55 these days.

avanti1960's picture

away from the wall is 2-feet added to your typical starting point? An important consideration for people thinking about them.
I personally marvel at the technology of these speakers and wish more manufacturers would offer powered bass (or sub bass) drivers.
My one minor complaint during a few extended sessions is that they have a definite character of their own (in the midrange / upper midrange) that is often noticeable, especially with jazz horn sections. Gives the sound a somewhat muted flatness. Overall a grand achievement that sound noticeably than the "ones".

Kal Rubinson's picture

How far away from the wall is 2-feet added to your typical starting point?

The distance from the front wall to the front baffle, normally 6', was then 8' for the GEs.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

May be KR could also review the Boenicke Audio W13 speakers? ......... They have 'wood cone' bass-mid drivers and DSP controlled powered bass drivers ....... HR favorably reported about them in his 2018 Munich show report :-) ........

Kal Rubinson's picture

Interesting but not immediately appealing because there is little acoustical (as opposed to mechanical) attention at the website. OTOH, they say they have a NYC dealer, so I will try to take look/listen.

Ortofan's picture

... Tony K in FLA about these great speakers by Sandy G in NYC.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Correction ........ Great 'half-price' speakers :-) .........

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