GoldenEar Technology TritonCinema Two
Price: $3,495 at a glance: Folded diaphragm tweeters • Built-in 1,200-watt subwoofers with DSP • Super-slim center and surround speakers
Squeeze Me. Please Me.
Laurels can be an extremely comfortable and cushy thing to rest on. (They’re good for the environment, and they’re hypoallergenic.) Companies and individuals often rely on past successes to carry them along like giant helium-filled balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Just because you were the first to do or invent something doesn’t necessarily mean your next project or idea will be any better than a picture painted by a monkey throwing his poo at the zoo. As the investment caveat goes, “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.” That being said, though, how can you not be pee-in-your-pants excited when a true giant in the speaker industry says he’s going to start a new speaker company?
After the initial euphoria wears off, the first thing you might be thinking is, “Um, you know, we really need a new line of speakers about as much as we need a new line of iPod docks. Couldn’t you just sit back, relax, and enjoy the juicy fruits of your labor?”
Evidently not. Sandy Gross is one of the founders of Polk Audio and founder (with engineering partner Don Givogue) of Definitive Technology. Gross has a passion for audio and a mind that is always brimming over with ideas. You’d think after helping to give birth to two of the most popular not-acheap-piece-of-crap speaker companies and be-coming legendary in the industry, Gross would fill his days with wine, women, and live music. Instead, he’s been consumed with the idea of creating a speaker with high-end, audiophile performance at a very affordable price.
As you probably know, audiophile-oriented speakers can be ridiculously expensive. At the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, I sat in more than one demo room in which the presenter casually said the speakers cost $25,000 (or more), as if there were nothing take-the-oxygen-out-of-the-room dizzying about that kind of cash changing hands for a pair of speakers. I’m not implying that these high-end speakers are a rip-off. Most of them sound damn good. If I had that kind of scratch lying around, I wouldn’t hesitate to drop it for a pair—but, as I said, if I had the money. For that 0.1 percent of the population who can afford to enjoy such things, I say, “Go for it.” For the other 99.9 percent of us, Gross’ goal of bringing high-end sound out of the monetary stratosphere down to mortal price levels is tremendously exciting. If he can pull it off, it’d be a true game-changer. It would put both the high-end guys and the more affordable mid-priced folks on notice—and make a lot of not-super-rich consumers happy.
Was It a Mistake?
Like a kid with an unlimited American Express card in a Willy Wonka–style candy store, I couldn’t wait to get the GoldenEar boxes off the delivery truck. In fact, the dust hadn’t settled in the driveway before I started opening them. (It’s a long driveway, but still.) It didn’t take much time before I realized that GoldenEar Technology, Gross and Givogue’s new company, must have made a mistake. Although I was supposed to be reviewing a 5.1-channel TritonCinema Two system, the one they sent didn’t include a subwoofer. What GoldenEar Technology did send was a pair of the company’s flagship tower speaker, the Triton Two, along with a SuperSat 50C center channel and a pair of SuperSat 3 satellite speakers for the surrounds. Figuring the sub would arrive soon, I went ahead and set up the rest of the system.
Visually, the Triton Two tower is stunning. It’s 48 inches tall and wrapped in a black grille cloth with a high-gloss black top cap and base. The cap only covers about four-fifths of the top of the speaker, so the grille cloth extends up and over the top in the front. (It’s a bit tricky to get the grille cloth to lie flat when you put the cap on, but—as with many other things in life—a little massaging gets the job done.) The top cap isn’t flat. Instead, it has a slight upward curve that softens the look of the tower and will keep friends from setting their beer on it. The front is dramatically rounded thanks to a curved metal grille that holds the cloth up and off the drivers. The narrow front flares outward toward the rear of the speaker, so the front is slimmer (5.25 inches) than the back (7.5 inches). In addition to making the speaker appear thinner, this design keeps the front baffle narrow, which can enhance the imaging. The bottom base roughly matches the shape of the speaker, and the GoldenEar Technology logo is recessed underneath the gloss finish leaving the base totally smooth. All in all, the impression is one of elegance and power. Think King Arthur in all his finery during his best days at the Round Table (before that Guinevere and Lancelot thing).