This speaker scores a perfect 10 with music and home theater

The GoldenEar Technology's Triton Seven sets a new standard for decorator-friendly tower speakers that appeal to the audiophile ear.

The GoldenEar Technology Triton Seven's inner workings revealed GoldenEar Technology

The GoldenEar Technology Triton Seven is, as we audiophiles like to say, "transparent" -- it sounds like an open window to the sound of music. That's always the goal for high-end speakers, but only the very best ones take you all the way there.

The Triton Seven's slender cabinet leaves no doubt: this is a thoroughly modern design. The swept-back, nonparallel-sided cabinets, and high-gloss black accents are distinctive; I'm sure the Triton Seven will never be mistaken for just another big-box tower.

The Triton Seven's front, sides, and rear are covered with a wrap-around black cloth grille; the cabinet's top cap and base are high-gloss piano black. The speakers have heavy-duty, all-metal speaker wire connectors. It's 39.75 inches tall and weighs 32 pounds, so it's no hassle to move around and set up. You can't easily remove the grille, but trust me, there are two 5.25-inch mid/bass drivers vertically flanking the Triton Seven's remarkable High Velocity Folded Ribbon tweeter. Similar to the tweeters in my favorite Emotiva and Adam Audio speakers, this tweeter's clarity surpasses what you get from dome tweeters in more-conventional speaker designs. The mid/bass drivers are designed in-house by the GoldenEar engineering team led by Bob Johnston. The Triton Seven's tweeter is used in all GoldenEar speakers, including the flagship Triton Two tower speakers. Oh, and each Triton Seven also has a pair of GoldenEar 8-inch passive radiators on the sides of the cabinet, near the base.

Don Cherry's "Codona" jazz CD is loaded with exotic instruments, and 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 High Velocity Folded Ribbon tweeter GoldenEar Technology

Nirvana's "Unplugged in New York" was stunning; talk about virtual reality! Los Lobos' "Kiko Live," another great concert recording, actually improves on the studio album in every way, and it really shined over the Triton Sevens. Blu-rays of "Black Hawk Down" and "King Kong" demonstrated that 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.

No speaker is perfect, and I felt the Zu Omen DWs ($999/pair) were more dynamically alive and rocked harder than the Triton Sevens, but the Omen DWs' bass doesn't go as deep, the treble isn't as clear, and the sound stage is nowhere as open. I love the Omen DWs, but the Triton Sevens are sound more refined.

The PSB T6 towers ($1,298/pair) make more bass than the Triton Sevens, but again, the treble detailing and overall refinement isn't in the same league. The T6s are bigger and bulkier than the Sevens, which I used in my stereo home theater without a subwoofer, and felt, literally, that the Triton Sevens did a great job. If you're looking for a more traditional multichannel home theater, add two SuperSat 3 surround speakers ($249 each), the SuperSat 50 center channel speaker ($499), and a ForceField 4 ($699) subwoofer. The Triton Seven sells for $699 (each).

Sandy Gross, the company's founder, has a long history of making affordable audiophile speakers, first with Polk Audio and later Definitive Technology. The Triton Seven reaps the benefits of Gross' experience. GoldenEar Technology products are sold through the company's U.S. and worldwide dealer network.

About the author

Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Home Theater, Inner Fidelity, Tone Audio, and Stereophile.

 

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