GoldenEar Technology Triton One.R loudspeaker Page 2

So far, so good—really good—but let me get back to the regular process of analyzing individual performance elements. For example, I tested the low-frequency capabilities of the One.Rs with everything I had, and they did not disappoint. Organ pedals were tight, tonally defined, and extended. In fact my only criticism was that the lows were occasionally too good to be real and benefitted from turning down the bass level by 1–2 notches from the middle position. The facility to do this is very useful and, along with careful room placement and orientation, it helped the One.Rs get the bass right while maintaining good imaging.

As an aside here, I was so impressed with the bass/midrange integration, especially in view of the passively driven midranges on the one hand and the combination of actively driven woofers with undriven radiators on the other, that I didn't even try to take advantage of the speaker's Low Frequency Effects input. For home-theater use, however, one might take advantage of this input instead of adding a separate subwoofer. The One.R's bass might not sound quite as good as a real subwoofer or two (properly situated and equalized), but it is certainly an effective alternative for those with budget and/or space constraints.

The One.R's mid and treble ranges, judged from recordings of the human voice and solo instruments, were consistently clear, undistorted, and natural. If anything, there seemed to be a very slight reticence in some female voices, but that was elusive given how wide those voices range and how variably they are recorded and mixed. Recordings of female singers, from the above-referenced Marianne Beate Kielland, through Sara K. and Adele, and on to Birgit Nilsson, were all glorious. Even with Dame Emma Kirkby's recording of Mozart's "Exsultate, Jubilate" (CD, L'oiseau-Lyre 168055), the glare I heard with some amp/speaker combinations was not there even with the Benchmark AHB2 running the One.Rs. Alison Krauss's voice on Alison Krauss + Union Station Live (SACD, Rounder 11661-0515-6) was lovely and clear, as expected, but she appeared to be standing a foot or two back and her voice was more "breathy" than I had remembered. Male voices were excellent, and the low ones—like Leonard Cohen, Hans Theessink, and Gottlob Frick—benefitted from the One.R's seamless integration of bass and midrange drivers.


Given all that, it was not a surprise that the One.Rs were up to the task of reproducing orchestral and choral recordings with appropriate dynamics, weight, size, and clarity. It doesn't come much bigger than Busoni's Piano Concerto, a juggernaut that calls for a large symphony orchestra, a pianist with big chops, and a chorus, no less. It's almost too cumbersome for its own good, but it contains some spectacular music and is a test for all involved, performers and listeners alike. I've been having a good time with a new live recording by pianist Kirill Gerstein, conductor Sakari Oramo, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the men of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus (CD, Myrios MYR024). Gerstein is spectacular and his piano is recorded close up with a lot of floor bounce—which, over the One.Rs, makes you feel like you are in the front row. The orchestral contributions lurch between extremes and, when it ends after 71:29, you are ready. It's like a wild ride to nowhere, and the One.Rs let you feel all the bumps and turns as if you were in Symphony Hall in March 2017. (N.B.: I can't seem to get enough of Gerstein.)

If there is anything at all that concerned me about the One.Rs, it is something that turned up only occasionally. With the aforementioned Alison Krauss and with the Gerstein/Busoni, both recorded live before an audience, I felt that the One.Rs' amply broad soundstage was a little lacking in depth, and in detail within that depth. It was hard to find other recordings to confirm this, but I can offer two more examples. The elegant terracing of the voices of the Portland State Chamber Choir in Eriks Esenvalds' The Doors of Heaven, conducted by Ethan Sperry (Naxos 8.579008), was less distinct even though the voices themselves were clear and distinct. That is an analytical assessment that did not make the music any less enjoyable. On the other hand, that little loss had a greater effect on Hugh Masekela's "Stimela (The Coal Train)," from Hope (SACD, Analogue Productions APJ 82020). Most of the frisson I get from this cut comes from the contributions of the performance-space acoustics and the audience sounds—sounds that, even in stereo, make me feel like a participant. I missed it.


I tried four different power amps with the One.Rs—see "Associated Equipment sidebar—but there was little to choose among them. There was a definite electricity in the air with the Benchmark AHB-2, but any of the others might be preferred for a more relaxed balance. The Hegel C53, in particular, struck the right note with most program material by preserving the liveliness, tonally and spatially, but with a less forward presentation.

For me, speakers that retail for more than $2000/pair are not cheap and must do something special. Compared to other speakers I have reviewed recently, the GoldenEar One.Rs represent an excellent choice: They are striking in appearance, throw a big, wide soundstage, play at levels that exceed domestic needs, have good balance across the audible spectrum, and, frankly, are above reproach at low frequencies. The B&W 702 S2 ($4500/pair) are good speakers, but they cannot compete with the soundstaging and bass capabilities of the One.Rs. On the other hand, the Revel Performa F228Be ($10,000/pair) is capable of more resolution in the upper bass and midrange, while preserving soundstage depth and detail—but it cannot equal the One.R at the bottom end.

Prior to writing this review, I was familiar with GoldenEar's products from audio shows. Those demonstrations have always been impressive: When asked to guess their retail price, I usually greatly overestimated. But their use of multiple niche technologies, all assigned proprietary names and descriptions, is a bit offputting. Mind you, all those technologies—passive radiators, rectangular diaphragms, powered woofers, folded ribbon tweeters, etc.—are well proven and valid. Yet it has seemed to me that the GoldenEar speakers have too many widgets.

That being said, the quip "Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler," generally attributed to Einstein, is an appropriate caution: Does a product's performance justify whatever goes into it?

With the Triton One.R, the answer is Yes. It throws a wide and clean soundstage and is capable of conveying the dynamics of any music program. It presents a convincing image of the instruments and preserves their tones. It has prodigious bass capabilities in a slim profile, thanks to the use of multiple powered drivers and multiple passive radiators. The One.Rs may not equal what one can get from adding one or more good subwoofers in terms of ultimate extension and body feel, but in terms of reproducing music overall, these are among the best I have heard in my room, regardless of price.

The One.R does it all, and at a fair price. Hard to beat that.

GoldenEar Technology
PO 141
Stevenson, MD 21153
(410) 998-9134

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

I'm running a pair of LS-50s with a REL Q400e subwoofer. In a modest-sized room, this combination delivers good results with all kinds of music at satisfying, if not bone crushing loudness. The little KEF is quite strong to 50 hz., and the REL's have a gentle slope low-pass filter. I'm quite sure that the speaker under review will generate higher undistorted SPLs. The question is: do you need that capability in your room? I tuned my setup with a real time analyzer to get the smoothest transition and best bass. The room adds about a 3dB boost at around 40 Hz.

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:


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.

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 :-) .........