At first glance, the Triton Reference seems conceptually similar to GoldenEar’s Triton One (as reviewed in Hi-Fi+ issue 118), but the fact is that the two speakers share virtually no parts in common. Given its extremely ambitious design brief, the Triton Reference features all-new active woofers and passive low-frequency radiators, wide-bandwidth midrange drivers, and new Heil-type high velocity folded ribbon tweeters. The speaker’s cabinet, too, is reshaped, restyled, increased in size, and represents a clean-sheet-of-paper design, as does the balanced crossover network. The Triton Reference’s 1800-watt woofer amplifier and its associated 56-bit DSP control unit is, says GoldenEar, “an evolution of those used in the Triton One and our SuperSubs”, but that is about it for elements in common.
The Triton Reference’s slender, gloss black-lacquered enclosure stands a little over 1.47m tall, with the lion’s share of the cabinet’s volume used to house the speaker’s crossover network, hybrid active/passive bass driver array, and the aforementioned 1800-watt/DSP-controlled woofer amplifier. The bass driver array consists of three racetrack-shaped (150 × 254mm) long-throw active woofers plus four oblong (241 × 267mm) passive “planar infrasonic radiators”. The active woofers are mounted above one another on the face of the speaker while the passive radiators are side-mounted (two radiators per side) in what GoldenEar terms an “inertially balanced” configuration. The active woofers have 40% more surface area than the woofers in the Triton One, while the passive radiators, though similar to those used in the firm’s flagship SuperSub X subwoofer, have been “retooled to allow for even greater excursion.” The enclosure is loaded with a proprietary mix of Dacron and traditional long-fibre wool damping materials, while the plinth of the speaker is reinforced with a 2.4mm steel plate that improved rigidity and effectively reduces the noise floor of the speaker, making low-level sonic details easier to discern.
Toward the upper end of the enclosure is an internally isolated, sealed chamber that houses the Triton Reference’s midrange-tweeter-midrange array. The chamber has angled back walls to help prevent reflected back-waves from smearing the sound. The speaker incorporates two 150mm upper-bass/midrange drivers that feature low-mass voice coils and diaphragms plus a newly developed low-mass method for bonding the diaphragms to their butyl surrounds—all in the name of improved transient response. For the same reason the upper-bass/midrange drivers use so-called ‘Focused Field’ magnet structures to more tightly focus the magnetic flux field on the driver’s voice-coil gaps.
In turn, the Triton Reference’s Heil-type HVFR tweeters now incorporate fully 50% more rare-earth Neodymium material than previous GoldenEar HVFR tweeters—a change said to improve transient response and increase efficiency. Other changes include special internal wiring with a distinctive twist-pattern, plus film-type capacitors “bridged across the high-pass section of the upper-bass/midrange drivers”. Welcome detail touches include sets of stainless steel floor spikes and cups to help draw out the full measure of the speaker’s resolving powers.
In my listening tests I ran the Triton References in a system that included a Rega Reference-series Osiris integrated amplifier; a PS Audio DirectStream DAC and DirectStream Memory Player transport; an AURALiC ARIES wireless streaming bridge; a power distribution module plus power cables, interconnects, and speaker cables from Furutech; digital cables from AudioQuest; noise-isolating audio racks from Solid Tech; and room treatments from Auralex and RPG. The speaker was evaluated using a combination of standard and high-res CDs and SACDs, plus standard and high-res PCM and DSD files.