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!
I will be in Paris next week-end to visit this Exhibition which is a staple on the calendar of French and some european HiFi freaks, and it has been going for over 25 years, still with the same organisers, SPAT and Jean-Marie Hubert, already at it when I was presenting our Microphase speakers in the mid-eighties!
Passion just doesn't go away that easily, and they say, you can't take the spots of a leopard!
If you happen to be there, I will love to meet with you and have a chat about the topics we discuss here and beyond.
I am also interested in buying back some Micrphase speakers, in particular the central subwoofer part of our Triton system (I will post on this product when in Paris, as I will have access to one at a friend's place...) and also, some of the active versions of the SATs, once very poular in Germany and Norway (The Norvegian Radio was a big fan!) and the quite rare black piano lacquer version.
I will be in Paris until the 22nd of October, so plenty of time to do a deal!
I will also use some of my time to visit some of the best dealers in Paris or nearby (Denis Beau, Le Studio Hifi in Versailles, will be one of them) with the intention to report on the evolution of the most enduring French Hifi manufacturers, like Triangle, Jean-Marie Raynaud, Cabasse, Elipson, Davis, Supravox and more...
Your suggestions are welcome and I will try to fit them in.
See you in Paris!
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.