A few issues ago (Issue 180), we looked at the new high-value two-way floorstander from Triangle, the Borea BR03. Now it’s the turn of its bigger brother, the Borea BR08. If the BR03 represented great value at £799, a three-way, four driver tower loudspeaker for £999 pushes the sweary buttons. In a good way.
Inspired by the long-lived Antal Ez loudspeaker, this is effectively the benchmark point for the Borea brand: there is an even larger 1.1m tall BR09 range ‘flagship’ related to the Australe Ez – still a steal at £1,199 – but that sub-£1,000 price point has a big impact in and of itself, and I suspect this will be the model by which the entire range will be judged.
It would be easy to dismiss the BR08 as simply a stripped-back Antal Ez. They ostensibly share the same driver configuration and broad cabinet shape. But first appearances can be deceptive. That said, the midrange driver from the Esprit Ez range; that untreated cellulose paper cone midrange unit was designed for the more up-scale range and redeployed here. In addition, the fibreglass mid/bass units seen here are very similar in design to those seen in the Esprit Ez.
The big change between the two ranges however is that tweeter. All of the Borea models feature what Triangle calls its Efficient Flow System 25mm silk dome tweeter. This next-generation dome is placed inside a partial horn loaded surround, to reduce reflections, but also a distinctive phase plug (which looks more like two points joining together across the tweeter) that is said to reduce directivity and make for a more homogenous sound. This transducer is powered by a neodymium motor and is coupled to a mechanical cooling system, to ensure better power handling.
Under the veneer, there are big changes to the internal damping and bracing of the loudspeaker. Triangle claims that “Significant research has been carried out to reduce the internal vibrations in the cabinet.” This means Triangle uses perforated internal MDF stiffening panels that also use EVA foam gaskets between drive unit and cabinet, thus stiffening the transducer/cabinet combination. Triangle has dubbed this DVAS (Driver Vibration Absorption System), as it aims to reduce vibration of the suspension system of the drive unit interacting with the cabinet itself. We’ve had drive units bolted to the rear of the cabinet before, we’ve even had the driver bolted to a bar that connects to the rear cabinet, but to the best of my knowledge, a system that uses a foam gasket in this manner is a first.
The problem a good, but inexpensive, pair of floorstanders faces is that of equipment compatibility. They need to be good enough to be hung on the end of some really decent equipment (while the ‘source first’ ideology promoted by Linn Products in the 1980s is all but a distant memory for many, there are still a few enthusiasts who might think a £1,000 loudspeaker should be used with a £5,000 amp and £20,000 worth of front ends), but also forgiving enough to be used with more modest audio components, and even that the BR08’s are by far the most expensive part in a system. That requires a lot of flexibility in compatibility. Fortunately, that has long been a staple of Triangle’s output, and these loudspeakers are relatively easy to drive. They are of above average efficiency and although there is a bit of an impedance dip, it’s nothing that would trouble any good amplifier launched in the last 50 or so years.