- Written by Chris Heinonen
- Published on 24 April 2013
The Triad Gold Monitors and Silver Subwoofer In Use
Triad makes a big deal about how dynamic their speakers are, and I certainly was going to see how accurate they were about those claims. Throwing on Tigerlily from Natalie Merchant and skipping ahead to "Carnival", I had an immediate reaction to the bass that was there. I know I've listened to the track countless times in my life, but pushing the volume more and more there was a bass kick just kept demanding my attention, but it also didn't dominate the music. Natalie Merchant's voice is very clean and clear, as the powerful bass did not obscure it and the other instruments. The Silver subwoofer blended in with the Gold monitors effortlessly, bringing the lower octaves of that bass out without making its physical presence known. The seamless integration between the two components was well done, and the EQ on the subwoofer kept the bass tight and helped tame the bass modes in my listening room.
As effective as they are with bringing to life the power of a bass drum, they were equally at home with stringed instruments and more mellow tones. The guitar that Dylan picks away at during Shelter from the Storm comes to life on the best speakers, and it did so with the Triads. It is quite easy to distinguish him moving from the strings to the pick guard on his guitar, so the small gentle sigh into the microphone during the song. For better or worse, you can hear the irregularities of Dylan's voice and singing come across loud and true on the Gold monitors.
What the Triad's really bring to life is Hoppípolla from Sigur Ros. While listening to this the music continues to grow and swell, until everything in front of you is overwhelmed with sound. Like a wave that starts low and only grows as it picks up steam headed towards the shore, the Triad's add more instruments and singers to the music as it took over everything I could see in front of me. My Mythos STS floorstanders can't produce the same sense of scale in comparison to the Triads. I spent many years stuck with the mistaken idea that small speakers mean small images, but anyone with that thought will be proven wrong by the Triads.
I even moved the Triads onto a second system, using an Anthem Integrated 225 amplifier and no subwoofer for a bit. Sitting less than 6' away from them they continued to throw out a huge image. The only complaint I had is that the Triads often seemed to favor huge soundstages over perfectly precise ones. Listening to Let It Be, Paul McCartney and his piano seemed to be in a huge, arena sized space and not a small, intimate recording studio. Perhaps it is a mental trick, with my mind associating the dynamics of the Triad for a rock concert, much as our brain is tricked by the 24p cadence of film. Everything from the Triads was big and bold. It was also powerful, detailed, and incredibly crisp and clear, but with a bit of boldness thrown on top.
Used for films, the Triads filled in for the role very well. On my go-to impact scene, the mid-air plane crash in Fight Club, the Gold Monitors were able to go from quiet to a sudden impact with huge swings in SPL but no sign of compression or faltering. The subwoofer ably filled in the lower octaves of scene, helping to bring across the impact of two jets in mid-air. Another mid-air plane crash scene, this one from the opening of The Dark Knight Rises, again came across terrifyingly clear. The sound of the plane being ripped in half exploded into the room and could be felt in your body.
My favorite audio Blu-ray, Dave Matthews Live at Radio City, was remarkably clear. Using the 2.0 mix to be certain to only hear the Triad speakers, the intricate guitar work from Matthews and Tim Reynolds was remarkable. The timbre of the guitar strings was accurate, with that bit of metallic sheen but not a harsh, grating sound. The Triad's continued to throw that impressive soundstage, here capturing the feeling of Radio City Music Hall and the huge amount of air that the musicians have to fill. With films and concert videos the Triads shined the most, with their incredible dynamics making those feel more real than you can usually experience at home.