I didn’t have some grand plan in mind when I chose Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly LP as the first thing to play through the Triton Threes; it just happened to be the first record in the stack. But The Nightfly turned out to be an ideal test of GoldenEar’s claim that its internal subwoofer integrates better with the midwoofer than a standalone subwoofer could. Bassist Anthony Jackson’s lines in “I.G.Y.” sail above and below the Triton Three’s crossover point, yet no matter what notes he hit, his playful timing subtleties came through perfectly.
As the record continued to play, I noticed that all the instruments in the lush production were reproduced with unusual specificity — i.e., they seemed to come from more precise positions than I’m used to hearing. In “I.G.Y.,” for example, the background vocals were spread from speaker to speaker but no further, while the synthesizer washes wrapped around and behind me. Fagen’s voice and the cheesy-sounding “synth blues harp” he plays on the track sounded as perfectly placed as they would have if I had gone into the studio, pushed engineer Elliot Scheiner out of his chair at the mixing board, and done all the panning of each voice and instrument myself.
I suspect the Triton Three’s broad soundstage will help it blend well with center and surround speakers in a 5.1 or 7.1 setup. In fact, when I streamed the racing documentary Senna from Netflix, I heard sound effects of racing cars coming from the sides of the room several feet behind me, even though only the Triton Threes were playing. I also noticed when streaming Flat Top, an old mono WWII flick, that the dialogue centered perfectly in the midst of my screen, even when the Threes were 9 feet apart.
Seems time to add some comments about voice reproduction, but even though my test CD is loaded with vocal tracks chosen because they reveal flaws in speakers, I found little on which I could fault the Triton Three. I did note that the speaker added a little emphasis to Brazilian singer Bebel Gilberto’s voice in the lower treble, around 3 kHz, and the same held true for Chancellor Palpatine’s voice in Chapter 4 of Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones. But by and large, the vocal reproduction is so good that you’ll probably never even notice this. And that’s the way it ought to be.
The bass delivered by the 5-by-9-inch woofer isn’t going to knock you out of your chair, but it’s deep and satisfying enough that I think most people would be happy without a sub. Home theater enthusiasts, though, will almost surely want to add a sub or two. As I stated above, the middle and upper bass registers were beautifully blended and flawlessly tuneful. However, the bottom octave-and-a-half wasn’t as smooth and even as I can get it in my room using standalone subwoofers. Such is the nature of tower speakers.
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