When Richard Kohlruss of VMAX Services, the North American distributor for
Triangle informed me of a revision to the
previously reviewed Triangle Titus
XS, I was curious. I absolutely loved the original version, and wondered
what changes could they have wanted to do to such a wonderful piece of gear.
Partly, I was worried that someone tried to fix what wasn�t broke, and may
have messed up that beauty. The revision has also created a bit of a buzz on
audio newsgroups, and those were reasons enough for me to do a follow-up
The main technical changes from the original model involve the tweeter.
According to Richard , the tweeter is now built with tighter tolerances than
before. Also, the old glued-on plastic phase plug has been replaced with a
bullet shaped plug made of solid brass and seems to be more steadfastly
attached (click the photo at the left for larger version to see the tweeter
phase plug). The rear, with its speaker binding posts, is unchanged from the
Richard mentioned that if the angle on the old phase plug was altered even a
touch, it could change the HF response and directivity. This makes a lot of
sense. Occasionally, I would get letters from readers, or see posts on
newsgroups of some owners of the XS model who tried hundreds of hours of
burn-in and still did not like the sound or found the higher frequencies too
hot. On the other hand you had the vast majority of readers/owners who were
very pleased with their purchase and swore by it. Perhaps, those with the
poor experience had a sample whose phase plug somehow was slightly mis-directed
or a tweeter that was manufactured with a large variation from the mean
I would guess that Renaud de Vergnette, the owner and designer pays
attention to feedback, and seems to have quickly targeted and corrected the
most common if not the only criticism of this outstanding product.
Somewhere between the old and the new model, Triangle decided to upgrade the
internal cabling to the same as their own speaker cable. While some of the
XS models may have been produced with that upgrade, all of the Titus 202
models are sure to have it.
The woofer, cabinet and crossover (or lack thereof) remain the same between
the two models. WHEW, that is what I was most afraid may have changed, and
thankfully it was left alone. The one thing that really attracted me to the
concept of these speakers is that the woofer has no components in the signal
path, and the tweeter only has a capacitor. Sometimes it is the simplest of
approaches with excruciating attention to detail that results in an
extraordinary product. If you do not believe me, try any ice cream made only
with cream, milk, sugar, eggs and vanilla bean. It will make you wonder what
you were thinking when you bought that tub of "ChocoMochaRaspberryNutLudicracy�.
The final change is the finish. The standard model is now available in a
vinyl cherry with a charcoal front. There is also an upgraded real Anigre
wood veneer available for an extra $100. Amazingly enough, even at this
price point, they insist on doing it properly, and they actually veneer the
inside as well as the outside. This may seem frivolous, and most
manufacturers do not bother to take that trouble even at prices that are
multiples of the Titus. However, if you ask any serious cabinet maker who
builds pieces intended to last a very long time they will confirm this
practice. If both sides are treated the same then you do not risk warpage of
the cabinet over time.
Renaud de Vergnette of Triangle seems to have a lot in common with Vince
Bruzzese of Totem Acoustics. Both are the owner/designer of an acclaimed
speaker brand, both believe in cabinets veneered on both sides, both make
their cabinets with a minimal combination of bracing and absorptive material, both
have in some way used bullet shaped metal cones to help with taming higher
frequencies, and both have bucked the trend within their own contexts. They
both believe that the cabinet should not be completely deadened, to prevent
the speaker from sounding slow and lifeless, inferring that the
backwaves should be used and not made to completely disappear. Make of it
what you may.
I had the original XS version on hand to do a direct and level-matched
comparison. I could not discern any significant change in sound between the
two models. �Happy-Go-Lucky local� (The Oscar Peterson Trio, "Night Train",
Verve, 314 521 440-2) is a track I often use to judge the HF resolution and
hotness of a component. The recording of the cymbals and top hat is
inherently harsh sounding. On some iterations, I felt that the 202 version
sounded a little less harsh, but the difference was too close to call
To my relief, what stayed unchanged was the beauty of the midrange. I think
I might have wept if they had messed with that aspect of Titus. This speaker
has a certain combination of speed, naturalness and resolution (especially
at low levels) that make you forget about its few weaknesses, namely the
lack of bass extension below 60 Hz or ability to play insanely loud levels
(if that really is a weakness).
I wish I had some great revelation to impart here, but I do not (refinement
is a minor thing, yet important). These are phenomenal speakers, especially
for the price. On the plus side, they have perhaps the most delicious
midrange I have ever heard, need very little power, image beautifully and
have exceptional resolution, especially at low levels.
On the negative side they just do not extend below 60 Hz, and that is
noticeable with several musical instruments. A fast, clean subwoofer would
be the only real solution, if that is an issue for you. Other than that,
this is all I would want in a mini-monitor speaker.
Arvind Kohli -
Speakers: Dynaudio Contour 1.3
Mk II; Triangle Titus XS
Amplifiers: Bryston 4B; NAD 317 (Integrated), Musical Fidelity 3.2
Preamps: PS Audio IV
Digital Source: Sony DVPNS755V
Power Conditioner: PS Audio P300
Connectors: Self designed.
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