New GoldenEar T66 coming to Saint Louis

The Speaker and Stereo Store will soon be demonstrating the new Triton T66. I am eager to have my clients have a chanced compare this to my the GoldenEar REFERENCE

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GoldenEar Technology News

    The Bad news      GoldenEar Technology will increase all its prices an average of 10% September 30.  Reviewers have commented since the original Triton Two that GoldenEar speakers outperformed others that cost far more money.  Part of this is due to excellent design and part is due to GoldenEar’s decision to set low prices, thus working on slim profits.  
     The Good News    I am lowering my prices below the original prices.  Unlike “real” businesses I have incredibly low expenses so I will not starve of go out of business by charging less.  So instead of being discouraged by the price increase be encouraged that you have a GoldenEar dealer who is not as bright as he should be.  Go ahead, take advantage of him.
Triton Seven gets perfect 10 review from CNET   

Note from Wylie – The Seven is the smallest GoldenEar tower, with 2 bass/mids, a folded ribbon tweeter, a subwoofer, and two passive radiators.  
“The GoldenEar Technology Triton Seven is, as we audiophiles like to say, “transparent” — it sounds like an open window to the sound of music. ..the Sevens were fully capable of transporting me back to the sessions. With the lights off in my listening room, the believability of the sound was astonishing. No comparably priced towers can touch the Triton Seven’s clarity, and with that clarity comes a remarkable sound stage; the speakers disappear as sound sources….the Triton Sevens’ stereo home theater chops were fully in order. Massive dynamic range assaults were taken in stride, and the Triton Seven’s dialogue was as natural as can be. The two speakers projected such a wide and deep sound stage, the surround channels were never missed.
       Awfully good for less than $699 each, and I take trades. See the review here >.>
      If this sounds like what you need, let’s arrange a demo. My demo is the most real-world realistic in St Louis. Only the pair under consideration is in the room.   You can select 100% of the demo material from from sources you bring-  CD, SACD, thumb drive, or LP. Or find music on TIDAL .       

 I was going to say that my Seven demo is better than the other dealer in town, The Sound Room, but they may not even have a pair of the Seven on demo.  People tell me that their favorite speaker is the Paradigm, with B&W being their second choice, and GoldenEar is not much in evidence.         Nothing against Paradigm or B&W, because they are fine speakers, but I read most of the audio reviews and find that professional reviewers like certain models of their products, but like all the GoldenEars.  

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The no-demo speaker demo

  For a customer demonstration I moved my GoldenEar REFERENCE out of my demo room and hooked up Triton Sevens .  The traditional hi-fi store demo is for the salesman to play selected tracks to show the abilities of the speaker, describing each quality being demonstrated.  This time I decided not to play demo songs for him or to say anything – instead I handed him my iPad and remote and let him search for and select his own music from TIDAL and choose his own listening volume.   (I think I am alone in this but since I don’t go to other St. Louis stereo stores, I’m not sure.)  He found his music and his loudness and had a good time.  Apparently the sound agreed with him as he ordered pair of Seven speakers. 
    For $1499 the Sevens are hard to beat.   They sounded so very nice I decided to spend a few days listening to them instead of bringing back the One.R or REFERENCE to the demo room.  GoldenEar speakers have the same excellent sound personality, so switching models is not jarring.  Of course the Sevens aren’t able to go as loud as the bigger GoldenEars, or play as deep, or sound as detailed, but they still have the GoldenEar sound and are way less money.   

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Sandy Gross confounds me

In my last blog/newsletter I was very bah-humbug about the proliferation of surround sound channels and processes. The next day I got an announcement from Sandy Gross of GoldenEar Technology raving about a new “Dolby Surround” surround format that is part of Dolby Atmos. You may have guessed that I don’t give a flip about having sound high, low, and all swirly around me so I think of Atmos as just more excessive tech. But now Sandy says a sub-program of Atmos makes for “extraordinary” two-channel listening.

Sandy says:

At a recent CEDIA EXPO GoldenEar was demonstrating our first big Atmos enabled system and I tried listening to my two channel demo tracks using the Dolby Surround feature. I was absolutely blown away by the amazing results. The sound, which was excellent in stereo, became extraordinary, reminding me of my big over-the-top home reference system. As I sat there I remembered earlier iterations of Dolby’s pseudo-surround, which were none too exciting, but this was the real deal. 

Clearly this is the result of signal processing trickery by Dolby, which would make me immediately suspect it, but when Sandy Gross endorses it he makes it credible. Of course I would like to hear it but I don’t have Atmos. Maybe some of you have an Atmos system and could try it and report back.

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Get off the surround sound treadmill

An audiophile friend complained to me that the value of surround processors and receivers dropped hugely after a year, sometimes sooner, because of the fast pace of replacement models.  This is both true and total BS. It’s true for the resale price — depreciation is amazing.  But the value of the component is not the price you  can get for it in the used market, it’s the fun you get from using it. I will admit that I am a surround sound skeptic, because I see little value in any system over 5.1, which is now the flip-phone of home theater. Yes, I have heard the multi-channel demos at trade shows and was impressed, but I have been impressed by many stupid things I would never buy. Bigger, better, louder, more channels: all are wonderful for  some who crave that.  But there is no need to heed the call to go from 5.1 to 5.2 to 7.1 to to 7.2 to 7.2 to 9.2 to 11.2 because next year … who knows what will come out to make your system “obsolete”? How surrounded do you need to be? The Internet says that  15.2, 13.2, 17.1, and 22.2 are out there for the guy who, last week, thought he was up to date.  Is that the end of it?  Of course not.    To go with that surround fields keep popping up. Forget about ProLogic. Move on to Dolby Digital EX, THX Surround EX, DTS-ES, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD (lossless), DTS-HD™, DTS-HD Master Audio (lossless), and Dolby Atmos. The upside of this is that if you can persuade yourself to  be a little bit behind the times many “obsolete” “superceded”  home theater components can be astounding bargains.

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All Hail the Triton Five

A newsletter or two ago I reported that I had been surprised and pleased when I moved the Triton ONE-R from my demo room, replaced it with the Triton Five, and fell in love with the Five. I listen to the Five every morning when my timer turns on my 1996 Sony receiver to the classical station for a gentle awakening. Though groggy I usually enjoy the music but am not in the mood for evaluation of sound quality. Only when I put the Fives in the demo room did I pay attention to discover how fine they are. Now British magazine HiFI News and Record Review has reviewed them and raved. Here are a few excerpts:

Quite simply, these are speakers that just sound ‘right’ as soon as you listen, creating a soundstage picture completely free from those slim towers, unearthing startling detail in the midrange and the treble, and with bass to make some much larger – and much more expensive – loudspeakers sound just plain silly. If you’ve ever read one of those reviews in which the writer seems to suggest a process of toiling at the coalface to get under the skin of a product – get real, it’s only listening and writing – then you’ll enjoy the fact that the Triton Fives are not just ridiculously good for the money, but also remarkably easy to enjoy. I was already hooked by the wide-open sound, the weight and power of the bass and the way they seem completely invisible in acoustic terms, leaving the listener focused and well-extended, the percussion nicely delineated, and the piano naturally weighted. It’s an exciting sound, and presented with total ease by the Triton Fives … offering up the voice and brass in perfect balance with the orchestra in the resonant Snape Maltings acoustic for a brilliantly atmospheric sound. They also manage to be fast and crisp without ever sounding brash or over-bright. these speakers really can boogie, with fabulous snarl to the guitar, thundering bass and a heart-thudding drum figure just before the solo howls out. By any standards these are simply wonderfully well-balanced speakers, and a delight to review. Superb speakers for sensible money? Yes – and then some! The Triton Fives live up to their ethos by putting the engineering budget where it counts – into the sound. The open, focused soundstaging, powerful, punchy bass and remarkable handling of voices and acoustic instruments all contribute to the very special sound on offer, making these slender black columns remarkable value and a must-listen. Sound Quality: 87% of 100

Of course, I have picked the choice bits of the review, but there is more at this link.

Happy listening,

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Troubles at home

I have some sort of electrical problem, so a dozen or so outlets are dead till an electrician fixes the problem next week. Two of the outlets are the ones that feed my Triton Two+, ONE, ONE-R, and REFERENCE, so I can’t use their built-in subs. For replacements I put in a pair of the Triton 5 that normally reside in my bedroom and I have been super pleased. Yes, the clarity is a bit less, and if I were to crank up to concert loudness or put on drum solos I would notice the difference. But I haven’t had those urges lately so I am just enjoying. As a matter of fact I did the “reviewer thing” and did a long listening session that was a lot of fun. I think I should do a quick comparison before I bring back the big boys, but I can say right now that for a $2000 pair of speakers the Triton Five is a winner.

Home theater, again

We have a 12 x 17 bedroom that we use for our home theater, but for the past year we have listened in stereo because I sold the center channel speaker to a guy who just had to have it NOW. Actually stereo is usually just fine, but surround can be nicer. This week I finally put back a center channel.

I’m using GoldenEar SuperSat 60s on stands right and left and SuperSat 60C for the center. SuperSub XXL for the sub (which is serious overkill, but I have one for demo so why not.) For rears I am using Gallo Micros on the floor, pointing upward because anything else would be too close, as we have the TV on the long wall.

Most people bypass the SuperSat 60, probably because of the $999 price but to have a line of four woofers and two bass radiators in a D’Appolito array with the GoldenEar Heil tweeter lets me have top notch sound in a small room.

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NEW products from Music Hall

Music Hall is known and respected for solid, good sounding products that are serious value. Here are two new ones.

Music Hall mini plus

music hall mini plus

Hey, I hear ya, it’s hard to excited about another “new” cheap phono preamp, but this one is seriously different. It features a headphone out, capacitance loading, a rumble filter, and the feature that truly makes the mini plus standout, a trim/gain control. This incredibly useful feature is kind of like having a volume control for your phono stage.  Why would you want that?  Sometimes the turntable isn’t loud enough or the sound from vinyl is distorted and shrill. The trim/gain control allows you to really dial-in the output of your turntable/cartridge to each individual system and even each recording. As you know, the output of each record can vary quite dramatically which sometimes changes the optimal performance and that sweet honey spot of your system. The trim/gain pot allows you to perfectly control the output of your vinyl rig and maximize your system’s sound.  Only $150

See photos and full descriptions.

Music Hall Connect phono cable  Only $99

Two years in development with one of the world’s leading cable designers has resulted in the production of this magnificent wire. A cable specially designed for turntables. The CONNECT cable will have you pulling out and rediscovering your record collection.

See photos and description.

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GoldenEar ONE.R

The latest from GoldenEar is the Triton ONE.R, and the “R” stands for REFERENCE. Yes, the ONE has been upgraded in every way:

New tweeter, new smaller bass/midranges, new crossover, new wiring, more subwoofer amp power, more cabinet bracing, and piano black finish. All these changes are described more fully  in the first review, in Sound and Vision magazine. Here is a link. 

GoldenEar Triton One.R

The reviewer considers the ONE.R as a smaller version of the REFERENCE for less money ($6000 vs $9000) and my short time listening to date agrees with him.  It looks like the main difference will have to be in the maximum SPL . The smaller 5.25 in cone bass/midrange driver  in the ONE-R might top out a lower SPL. The REFERENCE is spec’d to 12 Hz, while the ONE-R is 13Hz output (clearly insignificant) but because the REFERENCE has one more bass driver, bigger passive radiators, larger cabinet, and a little more powerful subwoofer amp it will surely move a bit more air. Frankly the original Triton Two did as much bass as I ever want, but there is always merit to more bass SPL capability.

But do they sound the same? An audiophile friend who has heard the REFERENCE several times dropped by, and after a one minute listen said he preferred the ONE.R. My take is that he was just here when I was playing a good track: I need more comparison to decide. Right now I have a pair of the REFERENCE, the ONE, and the ONE.R in the room for comparison and will be swapping off. I know that many of you, my subscribers, have ears more golden than mine, so anyone who wants to help me decide the differences is invited to drop by and listen. I’m highly available; just email or call for a mutually convenient time.

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Triton Reference is a TAS GoldenEar Award winner

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.

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