It’s on the cover of TAS’s September issue, Inside is a review by Anthony Cordesman, TAS’s most prestigious reviewer. He is so high-end it’s ridiculous — Pass Labs Class A monoblock amps, etc. so he is used to owning and auditioning the best of the best, cost no object. Here are selected quotes from his four page review:
“…remarkable amount of transparency, life, and soundstage detail along with some of the best-integrated powered subwoofer performance I’ve heard at anything like the price.”
“…a truly excellent speaker for the money.”
“…one of the few speakers that can actually reproduce very-low-frequency organ, bass guitars, and synthesizer bass down to subwoofer levels. …brings out the deepest notes a recording allows with tight detail and without exaggeration.”
“…a pleasure to listen to over extended periods of time.” (as opposed to some speakers that impress with a gee-whiz sound that turns out to have added coloration that leads eventually to listening fatigue.)
Mr. Cordesman is a big fan of the Triton One, so he made some comparisons between the One and the Reference:
“…a major improvement over the Triton One…”
“.. smooth overall timbre through the frequency range, with deeper bass, smoother midrange with more detail in the upper midband , and a cleaner treble with a great deal of air. …has a remarkably coherent set of dispersion characteristics and a wider, more stable and exceptionally detailed soundstage.”
His “Summary Judgment”
“highly recommended. Well worth auditioning and fully competitive with some substantially more expensive speakers.”
My Summary and Impressions
Actually the first impression was the weight. I helped unload each 150 pound box and un-boxed a pair in my basement garage for the initial break-in. For me, wimp that I am, it was a chore unpacking them. When it was time to move up one floor I resorted to hired help The look like the other Tritons, but bigger and with a gloss black finish. All GoldenEar speakers share the same design concepts and voicing, each one sounding closer, as they move up the line, to the GoldenEar’s ideal. I have listened to all of them and enjoyed each one tremendously, enjoying what was improved at each step up, but the Reference was a revelation. The warmth and smoothness were the most striking at first, then I began to notice greater dynamics, and a combination of 3D solidity and coherence. Of course the gloss black finish is super, though in my dark living room its not shown to advantage. I am still experimenting with placement: so far they sound great everywhere. But naturally I hope to find that magic spot that will bring perfection.
About the Price
When you read reviews about any Triton speaker you’ll see many mentions along the lines of ” compares well to speakers or beats XX times the price.” Well, yeah, but $8500 a pair is the most expensive speaker I’ve ever had or sold. However in this world of ever-increasing high-end audio prices it is (oh, how can I even say this) a great value. Of course this is all relative each person’s mental version of “value”, but relative to other high end speakers of similar sound quality the Reference can be called that. As Mr. Cordesman says “…fully competitive with some substantially more expensive speakers.” I love to demonstrate, so feel free to call and set up an audition, just for fun. I am famous for not being a salesman, so don’t expect me to try any persuasion or pressure or closing tactics. That’s not my thing. I love audio and I like to share an audition, especially when people bring their own music.