Golden Ear Triton Three+
At 3200 euros, the Golden Ear Triton Three+ is the cheapest in this test. Importer Audioquest has told us that the Three+ can participate. However, the Two+ is more in line with this price range. We think it’s kind of cool and brave.
And this bravery is not unfounded: the Golden Ear is without a doubt a potent speaker. The stereo image is large, the midrange and high range is nicely open and the bass… powerful. And very tight.
That’s not surprising, because each speaker has 800 watts of power … only for the bass. Right: this is a hybrid with passive mid/high and active bass. That’s smart, because it’s actually possible to drive a large, potent speaker even with a triode single ended tube amp. Another advantage is that you can adjust the active bass: you can simply turn the volume knob to output more or less bass; handy!
The Golden Ear has left a good sound impression. It is perhaps not the most refined sound; it is nice. It’s an experience to sit down and listen to music for an evening. However, we would like to let the brand know that in terms of finishing in this class, the competitors have an edge. Take a look at an Elac, Piega or Xavian for example. There the finish is a class higher.
Elac send us the FS407 – FS = Floorstanding Speaker – to take part in the test. The FS407 is a wonderfully compact floor standing model. And with exactly 4000 euros per pair, it is spot on.
The Elac FS407 is a slim model with a 2.5-way system. This means that the two woofers under the JET tweeter each have a slightly different bandwidth, but overlap within the working area. It is a kind of compromise between two-way and three-way. The bass reflex port is at the bottom, above the base and the terminals.
So the tweeter is the famous Elac JET. The 5th generation by now. That promises something!
Immediately after connecting them, we hear that this is a surprising loudspeaker. For example, it picks up much deeper than you would expect. This speaker can also be placed quite easily. A little like a ‘slap and play’ model… very nice!
The tonal balance is very pleasant: very romantic, but not exaggerated. However, it is quite clear that the Golden Ear, for example, has a tighter bass. However, the middle and high range of the Elac is a bit more refined. It seems to colour less there than the Golden Ear.
Importer Dimex sends us the very British Spendor A7. Also a speaker of exactly 4000 euros per pair. This is a traditional two-way column. By the way, this is our first acquaintance with Spendor. So we are just as curious as you are.
The A7 doesn’t seem to be a difficult load on paper. With 88dB efficiency and a range of 32 Hz – 25 kHz and fairly traditional units, this shouldn’t be a problem for an amplifier. And it isn’t. Immediately after pressing the play button we hear a very ‘live reproduction’ of the music. Quiet, very loose and very open. This is a speaker that seems to add or omit very little.
Could it be the two-way configuration? Your editor seems to have a penchant for two-way speakers… Partly because of its purity. And that shines through here. The height of the Spendor A7 is a bit fresher and brings more air than the Elac. You wouldn’t say that at first, but it really does.
Also on the Yamaha the Spendor matches very well, which of course is nice considering the price difference between the NAIM and Yamaha. Of course the NAIM has more overall grip…
Definitive Technology Demand D15
The last one in this round. The American Definitive Technology It is not yet really well known in the Netherlands. And we don’t think that’s fair. You get the Demand D15 for 3500 euros per pair. Then you get – in our opinion – the best finished speaker in this round. What a beauty this is! It is a slim column that is very robust. The aluminum front looks tight and provides extra stiffness.
Now some readers will immediately say: oww… an aluminum dome tweeter; that’s sharp. No: this one is not. In fact: the Definitive Technology plays very soft. Laid back, as we sometimes call it. We hear no sharpness at all. And a very tight bass. Also this D15 has – at the bottom – two passive, side firing woofers. So beware of placing this, because too much towards the wall can result in a woolly bass.
Voices sound very good on these floorstanders. We are unanimous on that. The bass is also very punchy and tight. Except on the Yamaha, which shows that this speaker really needs power. The NAIM drives it with ease, while the Yamaha and NAIM on paper have almost the same power… as you can see, specs say little. The Demand D15 is really a speaker for those who like laid back playback. And a chic looking floorstander with a deep and tight bass.