“Never mind the quality, feel the width”. Citing the title of a ‘60s UK sitcom is not the most zeitgeisty way to begin a review, I realise – but it’s nevertheless appropriate, for no other reason than Triangle’s brand-new Borea BR03 standmounting loudspeakers aren’t the most zeitgeisty product.
These days, a modestly priced pair of speakers like this tends to be designed as either a gateway drug into a life of hi-fi hedonism or as an accompaniment to a compact all-in-one system. And, first and foremost, they tend to be of manageable size. Look at the companies who have dominated the entry level during this century (Q Acoustics, Monitor Audio or DALI, for instance) – if their £300–£400 standmounters have anything in common (beyond excellent pound-for-pound performance), it’s that they’re usually small enough to remain discreet.
Well, Triangle doesn’t roll like that.
If there’s any such thing as a typical Triangle loudspeaker, it features a large cabinet and a large number of drivers. And while Borea BR03 is just a two-way design, its cabinet is (by prevailing standards) undeniably on the large side. There’s no replacement for displacement and significant internal volume never held a loudspeaker back before, so that the Borea BR03 are a shade larger than the typical ‘bookshelf’ design normally touted at the price should prove popular.
What is certain, though, is that Triangle hasn’t allowed the need to hit an extremely modest price point to compromise its engineering principles. Yes, that hefty cabinet is covered in the sort of vinyl wrap that’s much more the norm than the exception at this price. But after that, Triangle’s Borea BR03 are specified like more expensive speakers.
Inside the precisely-cornered cabinet, for example, Triangle has deployed its Driver Vibration Absorption System: perforated MDF panels and foam gaskets stiffen the enclosure, and both reject and absorb unwelcome vibration at the same time. At the back of the cabinet there are nice chunky gold-plated binding posts capable of accepting a 4mm banana plug.
And up front, the bottom of the baffle is dominated by a couple of forward-facing tubular reflex ports – these should offer a degree more flexibility when it comes to positioning the BR03s, if a little less opportunity for fine-tuning low frequency response, than the more usual rear-firing arrangement. Above them sits a 165mm mid/bass driver with a diaphragm built of natural cellulose paper, bulleted in the centre for the usual reasons. Triangle is 40 years old this year and has been designing and building its own drivers for the last 35 of them – this particular driver technology has trickled down from Triangle’s more expensive Esprit Ez range. Up top is a 25mm silk dome ‘Efficient Flow System’ tweeter – it’s sited behind a phase plug designed to make the highest frequencies less directional, and thus the speaker (once again) easier to position. The speaker grilles are attached magnetically, although the grille-off appearance of the BR03s is so fashionably retro that a quartet of grille-holes would look appropriate too.