GoldenEar Triton Five loudspeaker Measurements

Sidebar 3: Measurements

I used DRA Labs' MLSSA system and a calibrated DPA 4006 microphone to measure the GoldenEar Triton Five's frequency response in the farfield; and, for the nearfield responses, an Earthworks QTC-40, which has a ¼" capsule.

The Triton Five's voltage sensitivity is specified as 90dB/2.83V/m, which is high; my estimate was slightly higher, at 90.8dB(B)/2.83V/m. This is a speaker that will play loudly on just the few watts provided by the tube amplifiers Herb Reichert prefers. The GoldenEar's impedance is specified as being "compatible with 8 ohms." Fig.1 shows my measurement of the Triton Five's impedance magnitude (solid trace) and electrical phase angle (dotted). The magnitude remains at or below 6 ohms for much of the midrange and from the mid-treble upward, with minimum values of 3.86 ohms at 195Hz and 3.5 ohms at 3.9kHz. With the speaker's high sensitivity, the impedance should not be a problem for low-powered amplifiers. However, as there is a combination of 5 ohms and a –51° electrical phase angle at 3.15kHz, a frequency where music can have high energy, a tube amplifier will probably work best with the Triton Five when the speaker is driven from the amp's 4 ohm output-transformer tap.

Fig.1 GoldenEar Triton Five, electrical impedance (solid) and phase (dashed) (2 ohms/vertical div.).

As the Triton Five is covered with a black cloth "sock," which gives my accelerometer no firm surface to which to be attached, I rolled the sock down to examine how lively the enclosure was. There were a couple of high-Q resonances on the cabinet, these highest in level on the rear panel (fig.2). However, because these are high in frequency and will be damped by the sock, they shouldn't affect the GoldenEar's sound quality.

Fig.2 GoldenEar Triton Five, cumulative spectral-decay plot calculated from output of accelerometer fastened to center of rear panel behind tweeter (MLS driving voltage to speaker, 7.55V; measurement bandwidth, 2kHz).

The red trace in fig.3 is the summed output of the four passive radiators on the Triton Five's sides; the blue trace is that of the woofers; all six units were measured in the nearfield and their outputs were scaled in the ratio of the square roots of the total radiating areas. The slight notch at 35Hz in the woofers' response suggests that the passive radiators are tuned to that frequency, though their output actually covers a wider bandpass than the norm for a reflex design. The black trace below 300Hz is the complex sum of the outputs of the woofers and radiators; as expected, it is down by 6dB at the radiator tuning frequency.

Fig.3 GoldenEar Triton Five, anechoic response on tweeter axis at 50", averaged across 30° horizontal window and corrected for microphone response, with: nearfield responses of woofers (blue), passive radiators (red), and their complex sum (black), respectively plotted below 300Hz, 800Hz, and 300Hz.

The black trace above 300Hz in fig.3 shows the Triton Five's farfield frequency response on the tweeter axis, averaged across a 30° horizontal window. Though some small peaks and dips can be seen, the response is impressively flat from the lower midrange through to the beginning of the top octave. The broad peak between 1 and 2kHz might make the speaker sound a touch forward, but I note that HR actually found the speaker's overall balance neutral. The excess of energy in the top octave actually compensates for the folded-ribbon tweeter's lack of output off axis in this region, as can be seen in fig.4. Other than a slight flare at the bottom of the tweeter's passband—the corresponding slight lack of energy at the top of the woofers' passband might correlate with HR commenting that some singers sounded "ghostly, and (strangely) more generalized" than the DeVore O/93—this graph reveals that, below the top octave, the Triton Five has wide, even dispersion.

Fig.4 GoldenEar Triton Five, lateral response family at 50", normalized to response on tweeter axis, from back to front: differences in response 90–5° off axis, reference response, differences in response 5–90° off axis.

In the vertical plane (fig.5), the GoldenEar's output suffers from a broad suckout in the crossover region more than 10° above the tweeter axis, which is 36" above the floor. (A survey performed in the 1990s by Stereophile contributor Thomas J. Norton found that 36" is the height of the ears of the average listener sitting in an average chair—not a so-called director's chair, whose seats tend to be significantly higher.)

Fig.5 GoldenEar Triton Five, vertical response family at 50", normalized to response on tweeter axis, from back to front: differences in response 15–5° above axis, reference response, differences in response 5–10° below axis.

Turning to the time domain, the Triton Five's step response on the tweeter axis (fig.6) suggests that the tweeter is connected in inverted polarity, the woofers in positive polarity. However, as the decay of the tweeter's step doesn't quite blend with the start of the woofers' step, this driver's acoustic center appears to be a little too forward compared with that of the woofers. Still, fig.3 indicates that the frequency response in the crossover region is well managed. Finally, although the GoldenEar's cumulative spectral-decay plot (fig.7) reveals the presence of some low-level delayed energy in the low and mid-treble, this graph demonstrates an impressively clean initial decay overall.

Fig.6 GoldenEar Triton Five, step response on tweeter axis at 50" (5ms time window, 30kHz bandwidth).

Fig.7 GoldenEar Triton Five, cumulative spectral-decay plot on tweeter axis at 50" (0.15ms risetime).

GoldenEar's Triton Five Tower appears to be another well-engineered loudspeaker from Messrs. Gross and Johnston, offering excellent measured performance at an affordable price.—John Atkinson

GoldenEar Technology
PO Box 141
Stevenson, MD 21153
(410) 998-9134

eriks's picture

From my own auditions of Golden Ear Tritons, and what I read on the web here and elsewhere, I wonder if these speakers are actually pretty finnicky for placing or amplifiers? For instance, the big rise in the tweeter indicates a speaker that should be listened to off-axis. I wonder how many know this? Often these little details of speaker alignment don't make it to dealers or listeners. Focal is another line that can be like this.

otaku's picture

I have a question about that 'sock". I own a pair of Infinity Primus 360 speakers, which JA found to have a very lively cabinet. Would their sound be improved by such a sock, or did Infinity take those resonances into account when tuning the speaker? Ignore the aesthetic issues, since the speakers are in my listening room.

John Atkinson's picture
otaku wrote:
I own a pair of Infinity Primus 360 speakers, which JA found to have a very lively cabinet. Would their sound be improved by such a sock, or did Infinity take those resonances into account when tuning the speaker?

Try it. But is there something about the sound of the Primus 360s that is bothering you?

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

otaku's picture

I gave it a try. My son (who has very good ears) agrees with me that it is better without the cover. In general I like the sound of the 360's very much. Voices are a little congested at high volumes, but that might be my room. I am always trying to improve the sound of my system, but I usually rely on your reviews (the Jitterbug, the polarity of the Bel Canto C7r)

TheAnalogkid's picture

I have the Triton Ones as mains and am getting the 5's for side and rears (I've listened to them a LOT). The Triton Ones are very sensitive to amps in the aspect that you can hear the differences of each amp and/or preamp. I have a lot more amp than really necessary for the Ones but it sounds amazing (an old Cinepro 1k2SE, 375wpc). I tried my McIntosh 75w and a Bryston 150w and the Cinepro sounded the most dynamic and musical. The 5's are sensitive to amps as well to a lesser degree (based on my listening). I thought it would be the opposite! As sides/rears the 5's will be getting my Cinepro 3k6SE (so sad that Eric Abraham died so many years ago and Cinepro kind of withered away). I'll use some GE Aeons for the Auro heights and GE's in ceiling for Voice of God above. I will need to get an amp for them; I'm not sure yet how much amp they'll need or how they are affected by different amps. But hey, it will be the last system I build for many, many years (processor/4k disc will change, of course).

bdaddy60's picture

HR is becoming a favourite with his writing style....I'm impressed that HR refused to blab on and on with superlatives and boring information about Sandy Gross...frankly I'm a bit weary of reading about this guy in every review of GE products in particular the Triton series. I own a pair of Triton 7's and appreciate Herb's hint that the Triton's can punch above their price level (last comments)but most importantly, the use of a synergistic amp...and most likely an amp that costs more than the Triton's do. I really don't think Sandy Gross was being forthright when he suggested on youtube that these speakers can be used with inexpensive receiver's and perform up to their potential...if there ever were speakers that benefit from top flight amplification these are them...........

rmeyer52's picture

I auditioned these speakers at my local audio store and was not impressed at all. I was expecting them to knock me off my chair given the review here but I found the sound to be lacking depth. Frankly it all depends on the listener, the room and the music