Product Review

Triad InRoom Gold PowerSub Subwoofer for Custom Installation

Part I

August, 2005

Ed Mullen



● Driver: 15", Cast Basket, 3" Voice Coil

● Amplifier: 250 Watts RMS into 4 Ohms

● MFR: 20 Hz - 180 Hz ± 3 dB

● Dimensions: 18.1" H x 17.25" W x
    16.6" D

● Weight: 70 Pounds

● MSRP: $1,500 Black Paint; For Wood
    Veneer Finishes add $300

Triad Speakers, Inc.


Founded in 1981, Triad manufactures and markets high-end custom speaker solutions primarily for the CEDIA dealer network (CEDIA is an organization for custom installers). Nearly all Triad products are designed and manufactured in their 33,000 ft2 facility in Portland, Oregon.

Triad offers a very broad range of high-end custom speaker solutions, with over fifty speaker products, and many more accessories and options. Finish options include twenty stock veneers, and custom veneer or paint matching available with a supplied sample.

Adopting a “lean manufacturing” concept; orders for Triad products are typically built and shipped within three days (two weeks for custom veneer or custom paint). Lean manufacturing also allows for easy matriculation of custom orders or enclosure sizes.

Triad products are sold mostly through CEDIA dealers who are experts in all aspects of custom audio/video installation. Triad products are not available through Internet sales, or at mass merchant retail locations. Shipping is done via FedEx 3-day air, to ensure fast arrival and minimal shipping damage.

Triad's Customer Service department is staffed with employees who understand the product and are familiar with installations and set-up. And Triad products are protected with a 10-year limited warranty (3 years for electronics), backed up by prompt repair turnaround.

General Product Description

Triad offers 10”, 12”, 15”, and 18” conventional subwoofer models, as well as several variations of in-wall subwoofers. On-board amplifiers are standard, with an optional outboard rack-mounted amplifier. The subject of this review is the Triad InRoom Gold PowerSub (hereafter referred to as the Gold PowerSub) with the standard black paint finish and the on-board amplifier.

Considering it houses a 15” woofer, the Gold PowerSub is actually quite modest in size, measuring about 17” inches along each dimension. The cabinet geometry is conventional, with all corners rounded and all edges smoothed. The plate amp is flush mounted and nicely fitted, with an exposed heat sink. Fit and finish on the review unit were very good, but I discovered the wrinkle finish enamel paint can be scratched, so be careful not to bump the Gold PowerSub against sharp edges when moving it into position.

There are four plastic self-leveling (spring loaded) feet on the bottom of the cabinet. This floor interface solution will work well for any kind of mounting surface, and the Gold PowerSub never vibrated or wandered on my hard laminate flooring.

The woofer is deeply inset into the cabinet, allowing for a very thin grille. The press-fit grille is constructed of a lightweight composite fiberboard, with black knit fabric tightly stretched over the frame. Trim work was excellent, with neat adhesive work and no loose threads. There is no nameplate on the grille.

The interior of the cabinet is extraordinarily well braced, with two vertical and three horizontal interlaced braces that also extend along the entire depth of the cabinet. High quality open cell foam is used to line the interior of the cabinet between the braces.

The Design

The Gold PowerSub is an acoustic suspension design, with a front-firing 15” woofer. This woofer features a die-cast aluminum basket, a 7.5 pound magnet structure, a 3” voice coil, and a coated paper cone with a rubber surround.

According to Triad representative Paul Scarpelli, Triad deliberately avoided using a long throw, high-output woofer. The woofer selected for the Gold PowerSub exhibited the most desirable cone control and transient characteristics in their tests, albeit at the expense of high output capability.

The enclosure is deliberately undersized for a 15” driver, and this increases the natural resonant frequency of the subwoofer to about 60 Hz. This means that without any equalization, the Gold PowerSub would roll-off at 12 dB/octave below 60 Hz. Custom equalization (see details in Amplifier Description section) is therefore applied to achieve the desired extension characteristics.

Amplifier Description

- Class AB 250 watts continuous into 4 ohms
- Off/On (two-way rocker, red/green indicator light, no auto-on)
- Low Level L/R RCA Inputs (20 Hz extension)
- Low Level Mono RCA Input (35 Hz extension, fixed maximum gain)
- Parallel Low Pass Filters (low level inputs, 35 Hz - 250 Hz, continuously variable, 2nd order)
- Low Level L/R RCA Outputs (fixed 100 Hz high pass filter, 2nd order)
- Gain/Volume (affects 20 Hz inputs only)
- Phase Control (0-180 degrees continuously variable)
- Soft Clipping, Thermal, and Electrical Short Protection
- Attached Power Cord (2 prong)

The amplifier control layout is a vertical array, and all rotary controls have labels explaining the function. The rotary controls are small in diameter, but are ridged to provide decent grip, and there is also a screwdriver slot at the tip for more precise adjustment. The rotary knobs move smoothly and have a quality feel.

While many enthusiasts these days are opting for digital bass management, Triad does offer a hook-up option for pre/pros that lack this feature. The speaker outputs on the Gold PowerSub amp have a fixed 100 Hz 2nd order high pass filter. These outputs prevent deep bass from being sent to the loudspeakers, an especially useful feature for smaller two-way bookshelf monitors. When operating the Gold PowerSub in this manner, a 100 Hz setting on the low pass filters would be appropriate.

The 35 Hz limit input is suitable for applications where maximum output is needed in the 35 Hz - 80 Hz region. This input filters extremely deep bass from the signal, thus lessening the woofer excursion requirements and increasing dynamic headroom.

The 20 Hz extension inputs are suitable for applications where maximum deep extension is needed. These inputs do not filter any deep bass from the signal, and also use additional equalization to flatten and extend the response. This increases woofer excursion requirements, but reduces available headroom. Triad indicates its customers overwhelmingly prefer deeper extension over maximum output, so the 20 Hz inputs were used for the objective testing and subjective evaluation.

Click HERE to go to Part II.

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