Triangle Magellan Concerto loudspeaker Page 2

Most unusual of all is the tweeter, which adds considerable and substantial horn loading to a 1" titanium dome. Though it's not a view I share, horns have long been regarded with deep suspicion by large sections of the hi-fi fraternity, so I asked Triangle why they'd opted for this unconventional solution. Their surprising explanation is not a little controversial: Because the horn mouth is much closer to the size of the midrange cone than the usual tweeter dome, this creates (Triangle claims) smoother energy transfer through the crossover transition. It's an interesting concept that may well have some validity. The depth of the horn also serves to time-align the mid and treble voice-coils. (My in-room measurements showed a very smooth and flat treble response below 14kHz, followed by a quite sharp rise to a +5dB peak at 17kHz—inaudible to me, though younger people might detect it.)

The two pairs of very classy-looking terminals permit biwiring or biamping—but the Concerto is a three-way, so shouldn't it have three sets of terminals? Furthermore, although these very chunky terminals, made in-house, look purposeful and attractive and are very effective with spade or bare-wire connection, their shape proved problematic with 4mm plugs whose shafts are wider than their pins—such as the Furutechs I generally use. Triangle is planning a modification to avoid this minor inconvenience. Due to a production error, one of my pair's bass and treble terminals were reversed, which caused momentary confusion but no harm.

The Concerto's acoustically complex, fourth-order, Regulated Phase Crossover (RPC) network is designed to minimize phase discrepancies at the crossover points. It uses top-quality components; Triangle has developed their own Silver Ghost internal wiring, a combination of strands of high-purity solid and silver-plated copper.

The whole speaker sits on a damped steel plinth that increases the stability of the tripod support. The latter consists of two wide-spaced studs at the back and a large brass "grounding" cone immediately under the middle of the front panel. Although otherwise effective, the lock-nut arrangements seemed a little weak, though this had already been improved with an additional collar in a Triangle Antal ES that came my way more recently.

The Magellan Concerto's combination of elevated mid and treble drivers and omnidirectional sound distribution delivered a tremendous sense of scale and spaciousness that did not seem to disrupt—or even significantly dilute—its precise imaging. In fact, this scale and generosity were among the Concerto's most attractive characteristics, and were particularly obvious when I listened to large-scale orchestral and choral works.

One of the better reasons for living in Britain are the many opportunities to hear live radio broadcasts of classical music. This peaks in late summer, with the BBC's two-month-long season of Promenade Concerts, a period that happily overlapped with the Magellan Concertos' stay chez moi.

The Concerto's superior communication skills meant that I found myself listening to and enjoying a number of contemporary classical works well outside my normal musical diet. Samuel Barber's large-scale Toccata Festiva, performed by organist Simon Preston, conductor Leonard Slatkin, and the BBC Symphony, was delivered at realistic levels with magnificent scale and a total freedom from strain. More extreme examples, such as Martin's La Revue de Cuisine, and Messiaen's Eclairs sur l'Au-dela, proved similarly engrossing, emphasizing the Concerto's ability to make unfamiliar and "difficult" material sound interesting. Sacred music was also beautifully presented, the spaciousness and lack of overhang helping to create a very convincing church acoustic around a performance of Choral Vespers.

The bass proved just a bit dry in my room, but I'd much rather that than bass that's too full, with its tendency to overpower the midrange. The Concerto's lack of boom, thickening, or undue heaviness was a real plus; the sound was qualitatively clean, agile, and even, and went satisfyingly deep.

Though the Concerto was not entirely neutral, its cabinet colorations were clearly very well controlled; there was little evidence of midband "boxiness." However, the midband as a whole, and the upper mids in particular, were a little forward and projected, which tended to highlight detail somewhat at the expense of the total perspective.

The midrange is one of the consistent strengths of Triangle speakers, and is an important part of the company's identity and individuality. Though not the smoothest or the least colored speaker in this regard, the Concerto's taut, tight timing resulted in a convincingly realistic dynamic vividness and excitement. (This probably had much to do with that "old-fashioned" fabric surround used for the midrange units.)

The Concerto's top end sounded impressively clean and coherent, with an impressively seamless crossover transition, and went some way toward vindicating Triangle's use of horn tweeters. Arguably, the best tweeter is the one that does its job without being noticed, a description that fit this surprisingly discreet horn-loaded version. One thing's for sure: This tweeter will always have loads of headroom in reserve; its "natural" (horn-loaded) sensitivity is claimed to be a high 98dB.

Scale and spaciousness are among the Triangle Magellan Concerto's positive key ingredients, but I would have welcomed a bit more innate sweetness. The speaker had a certain matter-of-fact quality that was always informative but somehow also a bit short of romance, and the subtlest tonal colors were a shade washed-out. There wasn't quite the delicate low-level transparency here that I've come to associate with speakers that use alnico magnets, for example.

But it would be churlish to suggest that any of this seriously affected my enjoyment of this thoroughly delightful loudspeaker. The Magellan Concerto was always exciting and informative, with fine communication skills with familiar and unfamiliar music alike, and in my medium-size room was actually a slightly better overall performer than its full-size big brother. The Concerto was not without some character of its own, but even that seemed nearly all positive. I regretted the day the carriers came to take them away, leaving me to make do with something more prosaic and mundane.

US distributor: VMAX Services
P.O. Box 570
Chazy, NY 12921
(800) 771-8279
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