Following up on my previous post, here is a more comprehensive "dossier" on Triangle Loudspeakers and their new distribution in Australia with the big launch at Len Wallis Audio.
You will certainly find information about Triangle scattered through this site, but I have never taken the time to do a proper history and review of this iconic French brand of speakers, up there with the Cabasse and the Focal of this world. So, here it is!
Quite an interesting photo, to be compared with the one above... Renaud de Vergnette certainly didn't sell his business to a stranger! These two have been friends and in a client/supplier relationship for a while and their love of music and red wine was certainly the original cement between these two...
I encourage you to read an interview of Renaud on 6moons (link below) where Renaud compares a good speaker to a raw milk camembert and a hifi speaker to a pasteurised one!
I am with him all the way! If there is no emotion, then there is no music and no need to spend a fortune on better cables and other fancy audiophile stuff! Another good comparison here would be Wilson Audio vs Kyron Audio...I let you guess who is using raw milk in their design...
Another thing to be noted from these photos is the obvious influence of Elipson on all of us in France at the time. The CX2 on the left, Renaud second design, is an obvious take on the first Elipson "boule" in an easier to manufacturer cubic enclosure and using the same TW8 tweeter from Addax. (The midrange is also a 21cm from SIARE) and his first model, the 1180 a pint size version of the 4060 with separate subwoofer and time aligned tweeter!
Renaud de Vergnette has always privileged the quality and extension of the midrange driver in order to achieve best timbre reproduction by the way of linear phase. Until proven otherwise, I still consider this design choice as your first step towards reproducing music, rather than aiming for the best possible frequency response on the spectrum analyser. A good extended midrange driver is your raw milk in the process of producing a speaker for your long term enjoyment!
Then add a baguette and a glass of red wine to complement both sides of the spectrum...
Two drivers were designed for this speaker, a 17cm midrange and a 21cm woofer. Let's spend some time talking about the midrange: a 95dB/1w/1m design with a pleated suspension and a slightly exponential cone, this driver has an Fs of 70 Hz and reaches 13KHz thanks to a second cone as a dust cap. Reminiscent of a Supravox design, although with a far less exponential cone, it is the engine room of the speaker covering 400z to 11KHz once filtered! Quite an achievement and a guarantee of proper timbre reproduction, high speed transient response and a surprising low distortion kept under 2%. Pour un coup d'essai, ce fut un coup de maitre! . The tweeter from Audax - TW50 takes over from 11KHz, and the 21cm in a bass reflex separate chamber takes care of the signal below 400Hz with a gentle 6dB/oct crossover.
The second generation ANTAL uses the new horn tweeter designed in house. The first generation was designed by Thierry Comte, who left Triangle in 2000 to start Atohm, which is now a formidable competitor in the French marketplace, as well as the drivers supplier to Waterfall Audio. This second generation is the blueprint of current designs with multiple drivers (too many???) and the first appearance of the now famous Triangle horn tweeter. Apart from its 98dB efficiency, this new tweeter provides by construction a good time alignment with the midrange.
And yes, there is another taller more expensive speaker in the Magellan range, the Grand Concert, which we didn't get a chance to listen to! Mind you at 55K$, the Magellan Concertos will not be for everyone budget and the Cellos might do the trick at roughly half the price and half the size with still very good specs. The Concertos have a total of 7 drivers, 2 being a second midrange and tweeter at the back to create a more omnidirectional speaker. Effortless comes to mind to describe these speakers, although at times, a trace of sibilance could be heard in the crossover region between the midrange and the horn tweeter. My guess is that the horn tweeter is used too closed to its resonant frequency, but obviously I didn't get a chance to do further tests to confirm my theory. Don't get me wrong though, these are formidable speakers with great imaging and dynamic range, not to mention their very wide bandwidth and transient response, a trademark of Triangle speakers, largely due to their efficiency and the wideband midrange paper cone.
One thing to be noted is the really high standard of the cabinetry, certainly up there with Focal.
The data sheet reveals the crossover frequencies at 300Hz and 2.8KHz, a great departure from the original Zenith. Also, the crossover slopes are at 24dB/oct between the tweeter and midrange, not ideal to keep the phase linear and 12dB in the bass section.
French Saint Emilion wine and British inspired food were served generously throughout the evening , the wine being provided by Marc le Bihan who has a financial interest in that vineyard (and others, I am told...). The main owner, Olivier Decelle, also owns Mas Amiel, a vineyard who once belonged to a cousin of my maternal grandfather, Paul Amiel...I will have to find out more!
A notch down the Magellan series and you get the interesting Signature series which sports Greek Alphabet names. Here the Delta and the Theta. To be noted the double port to the two woofers in separate chambers and another version of the horn tweeter. A good starting point.
These new floor standers in the entry level price of the range have in my opinion the potential to be very good. In that particular occasion, they were paired with a tube amplifier which was obviously not up to the task, and clients wanted to play "Telegraph Road" from Dire Straits at a level that was not suitable to that combination. A shame, as the 2.5 way configuration should result in a great sounding speaker. I shall return and listen again on a different amplifier. This product is not even on the Triangle website, so technical details are scarce at time of printing...
The Plaisir range is an entry level home theatre package, based on the Color range but with a cheaper finish - and, my guess, cabinets made in China - but they are a real "pleaser" to listen to, here with Leonard Cohen. His voice was perfectly reproduced and although these speakers are supposed to cut off at 45Hz at -3dB, his voice had the perfect foundation and timbre.
For less than 3000$ for five speakers - 2 floor standers, a central channel and two surrounds, it is certainly worth checking. Full technical details on Len Wallis Audio website, who I shall congratulate for putting together a great evening with Audio Marketing. Check them out!
I have known Renaud de Vergnette, the original founder of Triangle for many decades and although we were competitors at one point, we always had a lot of respect for each other. I have lost track of the new Triangle and their new owner, a former client of Renaud and a wine enthusiast as much if not more than Renaud (and myself....). The fact that Audio Marketing has been appointed as their new Australian distributor as result of Focal deserting them to join the NAIM distributor, and that my long time friend Len Wallis is deeply involved in this venture, we will certainly put together more articles about this long lasting French brand, whose legacy can compare to the Elipson and Cabasse of our Hifi World. Besides, Len is organising a big launch party next Tuesday to which I was duly invited, so you will certainly get a review of this event very soon indeed...And it will feel quite organic then to follow up with a proper monogram on the brand history and product ranges, past and present. In the meantime you can search this blog where you will find scattered information about Triangle. Good reading!
Santa Claus included in His shipment of goodies this lovely, simple and inexpensive new toy - and I gather my friend Len Wallis had a hand in this this...
But between my own travels, visitors from overseas and...work, I have not had a chance to try this wonderful addition to my hifi kingdom.
We are experiencing a very strong storm here in Sydney, really the tail of a cyclone hitting the Coast 6 hours drive north, so it is a good time to set it up (a breeze...sic) and clean a few records and take the time to listen to the results.
First cab off the rank is "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" by Simon and Garfunkel, a 1969 CBS record pressed in Holland and purchased in Paris for 49.00 francs, which was quite a sum at the time) which has seen many needles and turntables over the years (Dual 1219, Clement for a few nights, ERA 455, Rega Planar 3 since 194, and more recently Rega P1 branded NAD. BTW, as my daughter is in Paris for six months, I have pinched the glass platter of her (my old...) Planar 3 and installed it in the P1 which brings a significant improvement to the overall sound.
Back to cleaning, after three spins clockwise and three counterclockwise and a good dry with the special doth provided, it has to be said that most of the surface noise is gone, and it brings clarity to the whole affair. For sure, there is still audible noise in the groove in between songs, indicating that the brushes are not doing a great job in the depth of the groove, but gently clean the upper part of it satisfactorily to bring back the music to a very low level of noise free enjoyment.
Next I tried my original 1968 US pressing of the "White Album" from the Beatles bought in Mexico City at the time. This record has been abused at parties, on portable plasticky japanese player a la Teppaz, then on the same turntables as mentioned before. It is so damaged that I bought the 30th anniversary pressing which is still in pristine condition. However the 1968 pressing is still quite not there after the cleaning, as the needle collects a nice little fluff of dirt after the second side of the record finished playing. I think I will have to try a second clean another day and maybe keep it as a collector item, rather than a playable pleasure...I will let you know.
(That's 25 years ago, mon Dieu...)
Having said that, this Spin-Clean costs less than one hundred dollar and will restore most of your precious "galettes" to a listenable condition. To get something more efficient would cost about ten times more with a Clearaudio machine that would probably be my next choice up. But frankly, I rather spend the price difference on more records! Let me have your own cleaning stories...
Over the last couple of years, I have been lucky enough to listen to some of the best and most expensive speakers available in Australia, namely the Steinway Lingdorff at Audioconnexion and the Focal Grand Utopia EM at Len Wallis Audio, both worth around a quarter of a million dollars.
Four Grand Utopias have been sold in Australia alone so far!
This time around, Len invited me to listen to his newest arrival: the huge Acapella Sphaeron Excalibur, this one worth a tad under half a million dollars, and you really need a barn around them to do them justice...
So, even though Len and his team (Charles in particular...) have taken great care in setting these monsters up and pairing them with the best equipment, the room is certainly not large enough to develop their full potential.
Having said that, I spent a few hours with my favourite music both on vinyl and on CD and prepared myself to be amazed, and amazed I was!
Can I start by listing the equipment driving these very unusual speakers:
Michell Orbe turntable, Rega arm modified by Michell with Dynavector cartridge
Meridian CD player used as transport only, and Electrocompaniet D/A converter
Musical Fidelity PRIMO pure Class A tube preamp (Primo, zero feedback, pure Class A, triode, fully balanced preamp. Superlative sounding, beautifully built, beautifully designed, extremely reliable. - quote from MF website....)
Krell Evolution 400 mono amp (The Evolution 400e amplifier is the smallest monaural amplifier in the Evolution Series. With a robust 400 watt output into 8 Ohms, this baby brother delivers plenty of punch - quote from Krell website...)
Now, what about the speakers themselves?
Well, for starters, although they are not a full range (as in one driver) system, they are very efficient at 100db/w/m, and thanks to four 15" (38 cms) drivers and a plasma tweeter, they are indeed very wide band, probably from 40 Hz to 50kHz in a "normal" size room, and certainly capable of going lower in frequency if you add the barn around them. The manufacturer recommends a room size of 40m2 (400sft) as a minimum.
interestingly enough, although there is enormous potential for bass, these speakers never seem to over do it - instead the respone is very tight and well contolled.
At the other end of the spectrum, the plasma tweeter is extremely accurate and extends way beyond anything I have listened to, and still is mellifluous.
It is supposed to work from 5khz to 50kHz.
My guess is that if you are a professional drummer, you should be able to recognise the brand of drums used in any given good recording.
Now, what about the two horns? well they are spherical in shape (as the sails of the Sydney Opera House, btw...) and Acapella are claiming credit for their invention back in the late 70s...
Although, the manufacturer does not share much about their frequency range, one can assume they use the same as in their Triolon speaker which only difference is in the size of the subwoofer.
The frequencies below 170Hz are handled by four 15-inch drivers in each woofer tower. Each pair of woofers is in a separate sealed enclosure. Each woofer tower is composed of two of these enclosures. The enclosures are extremely rigid, heavy and well damped with felt, bitumen and lead. The bass towers are finished in a piano black high gloss. The sound from 170Hz up to 50,000Hz emanates as a spherical wave front. Frequencies from 170Hz to 700Hz are handled by the 30.5-inch horn which loads a 12-inch driver; those from 700Hz to 5000Hz, the 18.5-inch horn, and frequencies above 5000Hz is handled by
the plasma tweeter.
How does it sounds?
The first impression is of life, and of being enveloped by music, immersed in the performance. Quite a feast!
However, after listening to various types of music, both on vinyl and CD, there are some resonances in the horns that can muddle the sound, specially on voices.
Also, at times, the instruments seem to "travel" from one driver to the next depending on the range in which they are played, and that can be quite annoying at time.
But what they never fail to achieve is to involve you into the performance, particularly on live recordings like Bill Evans trio recorded in Paris in the 70s or my reference record, Alchemy live from Dire Straits.
You find yourself tapping your feet or wanting to clap your hands!
This in itself is what I crave for in any speakers, and these ones certainly qualify.
Do you need to spend that sort of money on a pair of speakers to get there, not to mention the ancilary equipment? Well, I am not sure.
I was certainly impressed, but probably not sold...Your own impressions are welcome!
So, if you are in Sydney, go and visit Len wallis Audio in Lane Cove: it is certainly worth your while!
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.