Dave’s Faves – GoldenEar Triton Reference

GoldenEar Triton Reference Speakers, $8500 per pair
58h, 9 1/4w, 18 3/4d, 108lbs

GoldenEar’s Triton line has been tremendously successful. In going up market from the already iconic Triton One ($5k per pair), I wondered what Sandy would do? There are so many UBER priced speakers on the market that $20k per pair is not even the mid level of what Stereophile & TAS review these days! Would GoldenEar go THERE? I thought they just might. We wouldn’t sell many in Milwaukee, but perhaps world wide, it would be tempting to try to shoot the moon.

Thankfully for Audio Emporium and those of us in the biz that deal with people that work for a living, the Triton Reference ended up being much less than CRAZY money. I’ll grant you $8500 per pair is a good buck, but it’s a far cry from $20-50-100k that we’ve seen from the likes of many competitors.

I can’t help but analyze what I get for what I pay. Are the nuts and bolts in synch with the price, or are you paying for “holy water” being sprinkled on top? GoldenEar is the king of giving you an enormous amount of HARDWARE=VALUE for your money.

Let’s compare with some other esteemed speakers. The Kef Blade runs about $30k per pair. What do you get? You get a 5” Uni-Q mid/tweet in coax configuration- not unlike what Elac offers in the UB-5 for $500 per pair. You also get four 9” side firing woofers- in a nicely sculptured cabinet. It’s quite attractive and comes in designer colors no less. Buttt, for 30k, you get… how much beef? The Wilson Alexia 2 is a huge monolith for a mere $58k per pair. You get two woofs, an 8 & a 10, a 7” midrange, and a 1” silk dome tweeter. It’s built in a ginormous, 260 pound box, finished in fancy metallic finish.

Now let’s look at the Triton Reference. Each cabinet has two 6” Mids with a ribbon tweeter
centered between them- D’Appolito config. This array of drivers is housed within its own, controlled diffraction chamber in the tower. You get THREE powered subwoofers, each 6×10”. The triumvirate is powered by an 1800w, 56bit DSP power amp. Note, YOUR amp only drives the upper chamber. Hence you can enjoy MIGHTY performance from the Triton Refs without the need for Hercules in a power amp! The cabinet (heavy, 108lbs) is internally braced and sits on a steel plate for utmost rigidity.

Four side firing Quadratic radiators (each 10 1/4x 9 ½) tune the speaker more precisely than traditional ports. I wanted to take a moment to point out these nuts and bolts to make the point, you’re getting a LOT for your investment! It’s also the reason the speakers sound as they do. How’s that?

The first thing I noticed in playing the T-Refs is THE SIZE of the sound. Holy realistic imaging Batman! As nice as many hi-fi systems sound, we have to acknowledge that what we hear at home is ultimately a “scaled down version” of the real event. While no speaker can be as realistic as 90 pieces of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, T-Ref will get you closer to it than anything I’ve heard.
What a treat to just drink in the SIZE of the musical event while listening at home!

As a piano fan first and foremost, I was quite bowled over by the lower register of Rachmaninoff’s
second piano sonata by Evelina Vorontsova. After reading a nice review of this performance, I brought it up on Tidal and played the CD quality version (not available on MQA just yet) and WOW! That’s 16bit streaming?! The beauty and coherence of the presentation was what we would expect from GoldenEar. The SIZE, WEIGHT & DYNAMICS went well beyond.

In switching over to MQA, the speakers had much more to offer! If you haven’t heard the MQA versions of the music we grew up with, please make the effort to do so. There’s more there than we ever knew. In short, the T-Ref provides more of what our hobby tries to attain- a realistic representation of the live event- than competitors that run over five times more money!