Full Review: GoldenEar Technology's Triton One.R Tower Speaker

Manufacturer & Model
GoldenEar Technology Triton One.R Loudspeaker
MSRP
$6,598 per pair
Link
https://www.goldenear.com
Highlights
Reference-grade build quality, built-in powered bass section, multiple connection configurations, large but manageable size, refined sound, superior bass, reference imaging capabilities.
Summary
The Triton One.R is GoldenEar's latest floor-standing speaker entry, proudly positioned as the company's second reference grade speaker. Loaded with technologies found on the larger Triton Reference, One.R carries tremendous bass capabilities matched by mid- and high-frequency performance characteristics designed to please discerning ears. The speaker throws a large, detailed soundstage that bubbles with dimensionality and definition.
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**Editor’s Note: Several months ago, Sandy Gross announced his retirement from GoldenEar Technology. This marks the end of a 50-year run punctuated by co-founding Polk Audio, Definitive Technology, and GoldenEar – three giant names in the speaker business. Like many, many others in the industry, I’m glad to call Sandy a friend. He remains of the most interesting and genuine personalities I’ve met during my years of covering home theater. Always generous and kind, and he certainly pours his pride into his work.

This probably isn’t a huge secret to most, but Sandy has a passion for cars – yes, the sporty kind – which led me to take some liberties with how I approached this review. While it remains to be seen what “retirement” actually means to Sandy, I wanted to tip my cap and weave two of his loves together.

Speaking for audio fans around the world: Thanks, Sandy, for creating such amazing speakers for us to enjoy!**




Pro Tip: When someone hands you the keys to a Ferrari, your first destination shouldn't be the nearest parking garage. Instead, plot the most direct path to an open road and immediately apply copious amounts of pressure to the accelerator.

That is unless you're me.

GoldenEar Technology, you see, generously offered me the keys to its version of a luxury sports car, and I promptly engaged the parking brake. At the time, I had no idea I'd soon be pulling a dust cover over the company's seductive audio machines, committing them to months of sedentary exile. And while that gap of time left the speakers uncomfortably idle, my overwhelmingly positive impressions of GoldenEar as a company were further solidified. For those of you wondering about the core character of GoldenEar Technology, I can firmly attest to its professionalism and extreme levels of kindness; many thanks to the fine folks at one of the industry's top-shelf operations.

The late, great Dale Earnhardt once said: "You can't let one bad moment spoil a bunch of good ones," which certainly holds for this review. To put it bluntly, GoldenEar’s knack for spectacular audio unlocks amazingly good times. So, with that, it's time to gas-up and officially unleash one of GoldenEar's most accomplished creations to date: The Triton One.R Loudspeaker.


Kicking the Tires
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If you've read my past GoldenEar musings and reviews, you know I have a serious sweet tooth for its take on audio. Year-in and year-out, the company has one of the most invigorating demo rooms at CEDIA's annual trade show, and quite a few of its speakers have arrived at my doorstep for evaluation. In fact, GoldenEar's SuperCinema 3D Array XL Soundbar (yes, a soundbar) remains one of my favorite product reviews to date. And its small but potent SuperSub X anchors a home gym system that routinely helps me greet pre-dawn hours, hammering away as I grind through early morning workouts. So, when the Triton One.R was offered as a review opportunity, it was impossible to say no.

Triton One.R is only bested by Triton Reference in GoldenEar's vaunted speaker lineup. Still, much like its older sibling, it houses an abundance of audio firepower encased within a mysterious cabinet. While some speakers flex their muscles with notable bulk, exotic wood grains, or visually arresting driver arrays that beg to be displayed, the Triton One.R is much more subtle. It hides its audio ferocity within a deceptively narrow 54” cabinet that's dressed in all black.

The speaker is pure GoldenEar in its physical appearance – sleek and alluring – and carries its 80-pounds of weight well. Handling the speaker conveys a substantialness that's solid and confident; knocking on the speaker's top and sides is like knocking on concrete, many thanks to a one-piece cabinet design. And a close visual inspection reveals a spectacular piano gloss finish, soft edges, and lots of subtle angles and curves.

As your eye scans the speaker's exterior, it's hard to ignore an unusually narrow baffle capped by a rounded grill. This detail is made possible by a complete range of drivers possessing no more than 5.25" of width. On the top, GoldenEar's engineers opted for an internally isolated M-T-M arrangement consisting of a High-Velocity Folded Ribbon tweeter sandwiched between dual 5.25" cast-basket midrange drivers. Its lower half houses a trio of front-firing 5" x 9" active bass drivers and four side-mounted 7" x 10" planar infrasonic bass radiators (two mounted on either side of the cabinet).

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The inclusion of an active bass section (1600 watts, Class D amplification) allows the Triton One.R to remain impressively easy to drive (92dB sensitivity) and capable of diving well below the 20Hz mark. GoldenEar says the speaker can be paired with almost any quality amplifier, opening the door to enthusiasts looking to power the speaker with gear that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. And, to increase the speaker's versatility, owners can choose to source LFE using a straight line-level connection (speaker handles crossover functions) or by running a sub-out from a processor (crossover is handled externally).

Most of the speaker's performance features, such as the bass section's 56-bit DSP control, represent tweaked and retooled versions of similar components found on other GoldenEar speakers. Take, for example, its reference-grade ribbon tweeter, which benefits from 50% more rare-earth neodymium magnet material for better transients and efficiency. There are also new fine touches such as retooled wiring, steel floor spikes, and an advanced version of GoldenEar's internal crossover.


Safety Check
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For purposes of this review, the Triton One.Rs shipped to my home were previously handled by another reviewer. So, I wasn't able to experience an actual new-in-box unboxing moment. However, I was able to touch and see stock packaging materials, all of which fell in line with what you'd expect from a speaker pair costing just south of seven large.

Because of its sheer size, GoldenEar ships each Triton One.R individually, wrapping it with a protective cloth bag and custom-fitted styrofoam. I was able to coax the speakers from their large boxes in an upright position, allowing each to land safely on its feet. However, if you purchase a pair, I'd strongly advise recruiting a second pair of hands to help with the process. Teamwork would make extraction and setup significantly more manageable, not to mention safer for the speaker.

In addition to a speaker (which ships affixed to a thick guitar pick-shaped plate pedestal), contents of each box included: a power cable, machined carpet spikes with locking bolts and matching hard-floor discs, rubber leveling feet, and an Owners Manual loaded with detailed installation and positioning instructions.

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The speakers themselves proved to be easy to slide around with furniture sliders (word of caution: do not install carpet spikes before moving the speakers, your furniture sliders will thank you for it!). I ultimately placed them roughly 100" apart and 120" from my dedicated room's primary listening position. Following extensive listening tests, I found imaging was best with a speaker toe-in aimed approximately at the middle seat, if not slightly wider. A more aggressive toe-in was tempting as imaging appeared to sharpen, but I ultimately found the soundstage lacked breadth with that sort of positioning. Of course, toe-in can be influenced by a room, so your mileage may vary.

In terms of hookup, associated gear used during this review included Denon's flagship X8500H AV receiver, an Emotiva XPA-5 Gen2 amp, and Panasonic's DP-UB9000 4K Blu-ray player. The speakers were connected straight using speaker wire (no sub cable), and carpet spikes were applied. While most owners will likely opt for speaker level connections, the addition of a subwoofer input enables the Triton One.R's bass section to be used in conjunction with other standalone subs. Personally, I'd only venture down this path in rooms primarily used for home theater, particularly those running a single standalone subwoofer. However, some may simply appreciate the ability to boost LFE for movies using the speakers’ physical bass output controls.

Before demo sessions, Audyssey XT32 MultEQ room correction was applied, and bass performance was manually measured and tweaked to my liking. As you can see in Figures One and Two, I increased bass output roughly 8dB post-calibration, with overall in-room bass levels hitting well below 20Hz. For those of you keeping track, post-calibration bass tweaks left both speaker's bass attenuation knobs turned toward 2 o'clock (not too much more engaged than GoldenEar's recommended baseline setting of 12 o'clock).

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Figure One: Post-Audyssey Calibration Measurement, Right Channel

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Figure Two: Post-Audyssey Calibration Measurement with Bass Adjustment, Right Channel

All music for this review consisted of CD-quality and Hi-Res audio sourced from Qobuz, streamed to Denon's X8500H using Audirvana. Movie demo clips were sourced from 4K UHD Blu-ray discs played via Panasonic's DP-UB9000.


Road Test
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Before we dig into sonics, let's talk looks because GoldenEar's Triton One.R speaker is insanely easy on the eyes (especially in a light-controlled environment). In reading its specs, I was concerned the speaker might be too physically dominant in my 2100 cubic foot theater room. However, that concern dissipated once I positioned the speakers and dimmed the house lights. Its slender front-to-back attributes and black surfaces fit my room like a hand in glove, virtually disappearing from a center seat perspective. Frankly, it was love at limited sight (and I hadn't even heard the speakers' engines purr!).

One.R's gloss black surfaces and rear-facing LED amplifier light might be a drawback to some, especially those looking to minimize intrusive light and reflections. However, my room's black rug and walls adequately soaked up the LEDs' shine, and any screen-to-speaker light reflections weren't offensive enough to cause concern. The impact of these factors is undoubtedly room-dependent, though I wouldn't obsess over them. Besides, there are simple remedies and workarounds for scenarios where these factors need to be tamed.

With looks out of the way, let's turn the key, back the Triton One.Rs out of the garage, and let’em loose on a sonic highway. In hindsight, my featured list of reference demo music may have strayed a tiny bit from typical – okay, it strayed a lot – but I think these highlights best capture the speaker's smile-inducing performance capabilities. Besides, rather than drive the One.Rs on less familiar roads, I wanted to make sure I knew every turn and hazard as I took them to cruising speeds and beyond.

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Kicking things off, I reached for a live experience with Jack Antonoff's Bleachers on MTV Unplugged (16-bit / 44.1 kHz, Qobuz). The opening track's warmth laid a foundation of breadth and vibrancy that transported me directly to New Jersey's legendary Stone Pony. I was immediately impressed with the speakers' ribbon tweeters, which did anything but deliver a muted sharpness, offering natural highs with exacting precision. As I came to find, the Triton One.R possesses the ability to throw a sonic high-end that's poignant and detailed without stumbling into realms of fatigue.

As Unplugged continued, "Everybody Loves Somebody" allowed the speaker to reveal smooth and confident bass capabilities. Digging deep without becoming loose or overly dominant, the song's punctuated bass-lines rode with an evenness that made this track one of my favorites. As for punchiness, the kick drum on "Good Morning" was correctly delivered with the right balance of tightness and thump, as was the drumbeat on "Hate That You Know Me."

Shifting gears, I accelerated to the demanding speeds of electronica, where a fast and accurate transient response is an absolute necessity. I spent hours sifting through epic tracks created by the Hartnoll brothers, letting their Orbital vibes slice through my theater room to a dazzling effect. "Lush 3-2" (16-bit / 44.1 kHz, Qobuz) was a highlight listen, as the Tritons' bass drivers fired away, delivering pulsating shockwaves and pounding with a mesmerizing tightness and confidence. Imaging was on full display with this track, as the speakers commanded a massive and detailed sonic canvas that bloomed with an airy nature.

That kind of pinpoint accuracy and detailed character of sound was on full display during tracks such as "Petrol" (16-bit / 44.1 kHz, Qobuz). In fact, this track found the soundstage pushing away from my primary listening position, existing several feet behind the speakers. Low-end beats were incredibly tight and accurate, and extreme bass lines dug confidently to their appropriate depths without any hint of stress.

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With a glance at my side mirror, I changed lanes and paid the good doctor (Alex Patterson) a visit for a romp through his decades' old electronic masterpiece The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld (16-bit / 44.1 kHz, Qobuz). This album proved to be a veritable playground of sound for the Tritons. They took control of Beyond the Ultraworld’s dynamic nature and threw down a memorable show loaded with floaty atmospherics and richness abound. Particularly impressive was the speaker's super-clean, almost sparkly recreation of content such as the mid-song keyboard solo on "Star 6 & 7 8 9." Meanwhile, songs like "Into the Fourth Dimension" found beautifully etched and thunderously controlled bass pulsating from the center of the soundstage as various components of the song danced across an audio canvass.

As I accelerated, the Tritons gripped the road and hurled me toward the dark side of electronica and Nine Inch Nail’s The Downward Spiral (16-bit / 44.1 kHz, Qobuz)."Closer" was a clear highlight track, as Trent Reznor's vocals carried discernible textures, and finer details, like his wispy breaths, were delicately defined. Of course, the song's trademark beat hammered away with powerful definition. This particular track also showed off the Triton's soundstage and imaging capabilities; it lived wide of the stereo pair while leaving plenty of detail residing between the drivers.

Shifting into 7th gear, all 160-pounds of GoldenEar's audio prowess had officially hit full stride, making it the perfect time to bring Dr. Dre's controversial 2001 (16-bit / 44.1 kHz, Qobuz) into the mix. While not your typical demo album (fair warning, folks, it has a plethora of ultra-explicit and offensive content), 2001 carries incredible sonics that are squeaky clean and loaded with dynamics. I nearly opted for the lyric-less 2001 Instrumental version but ultimately took the full-album plunge to hear vocal reproduction.

The opening THX intro to "Lolo" was ridiculous fun, only to be immediately topped by a jaw-dropping soundstage thrown by "The Watcher." This particular track contains a repeating short-burst horn sample that appeared to travel down the room's sides. Dre's voice was mesmerizing as it hung dead-center, naked and raw, revealing every last drop of detail contained in his smooth rhymes.

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"Still Dre" was a highlight listen, feeding the Tritons low-end material that kicked with tight precision, pulsating shockwaves through my seating position. The powerful and controlled bass capabilities of the One.R were simply stunning. The ultimate track, however, proved to be "What's the Difference," much thanks to its deep, punishing bass, large and dynamic soundstage, and height of sound. The song's horn section dripped with analog flavors far to the listening left while other samples and a head-bobbing drumbeat took specific positions across the front of the room. It's a song loaded with short and snappy bursts of energy, and the Tritons completed each one with zero overhang or audible distortion. Of course, I'd be completely remiss not to mention "The Next Episode," which sent shivers down my spine as Snoop Dogg's opening chatter electrified the outer edges of my room and the soundstage sprung to life with insane levels of depth.

Looking to pace the One.R at a less frenetic speed, I downshifted and dialed up a special remastered release of James Taylor’s The Warner Bros. Albums: 1970-1976 (24-bit / 96 kHz, Qobuz). This album was an absolute treat. The balance of Taylor's guitar, voice, and accompanying instruments was on point. Treble and bass were intertwined in perfect harmony on tracks such as "Country Road" and "Fire and Rain." And the details revealed in Taylor's voice, right down to his silvery highs, were natural and expertly controlled.

It was Taylor's album, more than any other album thrown the Triton's way, that opened my eyes to the speaker's superior imaging capabilities, and, frankly, I wasn’t expecting that to be the case. The depth of its presentation and robustness of detail was thick and rich. Mids effortlessly bridged highs and lows, and textural detail was vivid and uncolored. Additionally, this music has tended to sound a tad thin and flat on my reference system. Not so with the One.Rs.

Folks, these speakers are special.

My extensive listening sessions meandered through lists of favorite artists, including Norah Jones, Lorde, Pink Floyd, and more. Each time, the Triton One.R stepped out of the way and delivered a pure audio experience exploding with sonics that pleased the ears. I also paced the speaker through several favorite 4K Blu-ray movie demo scenes, which were regurgitated with all of the ferocity you'd expect to hear from a system anchored by decent standalone subs. Because I lacked a matching center channel, my time spent digging through movies was rather limited, but I can confirm that the One.R has plenty of low-end extension for action movie material. So, if you're looking to run a 2-channel system that occasionally tackles movies sans external subwoofers, you'll be fine. And I have zero concern about the Tritons anchoring a sub-based multi-channel system in a home theater setting; they have all the snap and sizzle necessary to bring Hollywood to life.


Conclusion
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My expectations entering this review were lofty, simply because GoldenEar sets a high bar for performance across its entire range of speakers. Much like test driving a Porsche 911 or a Jaguar F-Type R, I knew it was going to be a fun ride. Add in flagship-grade components and its large yet room-friendly size, and the Triton One.R reads like the total package on paper. As demo sessions revealed, the translation from paper to real-world performance was seamless. From its competent and tight low-end capabilities to a top-end that's fatigue-free and tantalizingly sharp, Triton One.R is a dream speaker that can easily perform two-channel or home theater duties.

Thanks to GoldenEar's generous pricing, the Triton One.R can serve as your system's reference wheels for $6,598 per pair. Considering price and performance, this speaker is easy to recommend. It's a true high-performance audio machine that'll give your ears the ride of their life.


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GoldenEar Technology Triton One.R Loudspeaker Specifications
  • Speaker Dimensions: Base: 8" (20.3 cm) W x 165⁄8" (42.3 cm) D x 54" (137.2 cm) H (is with base installed, no spikes) 123⁄8" (31.4 cm) W x 1913⁄16" (50.3 cm) D
  • Weight: 80 lbs (36.3 kg)
  • Frequency Response: 13 Hz - 35 kHz
  • Efficiency: 92dB
  • Nominal Impedance: Compatible with 8 ohms
  • Driver Complement: Three 5" x 9" long-throw subwoofers coupled to; Four 7" x 10" quadratic planar infrasonic radiators; Two 51⁄4" high-definition cast-basket mid/bass drivers; One High-Gauss Neodymium High; Velocity Folded Ribbon (HVFR) Tweeter
  • Rec. Amplification: 20 - 650 watt/channel
  • Power Requirements/ Consumption: 1600 Watt SuperSub Subwoofer digital/DSP amplifier; Low Voltage Version - 120 V at 50 or 60 Hz / 1600 Watts High Voltage Version - 240 V at 50 or 60 Hz / 1600 Watts (Approved for NA (TUV) and the CE market)
 
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Tom L.

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Very cool Todd! I agree that the Triton One.R is a real bargain in the performance vs. price department. Sound is stellar with some of the most listenable mid-range I have ever heard and, as you said great upper registers delivered with ‘fatigue free” listening!

Thanks for the great review and your insight!

Tom
 

Todd Anderson

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Hey Tom, you would definitely know! I've heard the Triton Reference and the One.R is right there in terms of performance. It's almost impossible to go wrong with either!
 

Sonnie

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Excellent review Todd.... would love to hear these in my room one day.

Interesting that Sandy is giving it up. Is he selling it... any buyers lined up?
 

Todd Anderson

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Emotiva XPA Gen3 2.8 multichannel amp
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VSX21-THX
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
OPPO UDP-203, Panasonic UB9000
Front Speakers
SVS Ultra Towers
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SVS Ultra Center
Surround Speakers
SVS Ultra Surround
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SVS Ultra Bookshelf
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SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Front, Top Mid-Front)
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SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Middle, Top Rear)
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dual SVS SB16s + dual PSA XS30s
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Behringer 1124p; Aura Bass Shaker Pros; SuperSub X
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JVC NX7
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Carada Cine-White 0 gain
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Thanks Sonnie. With your love of stats, I’m positive you’d love these speakers. They flow like butter and image like you’dexpect.

GoldenEar was purchased by AudioQuest at the beginning of 2020. At the time, Sandy Gross became President Emeritus and was going to continue many of the functions he was performing prior. Fast forward a few months and he decided it was time to shift his focus for the time being and announced his retirement.

Sounds like GoldenEar is in good hands... I think we can expect a lot more from it in the future.
 

Sonnie

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MartinLogan Classic ESL 9
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MartinLogan Focus C-18
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MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL
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MartinLogan Motion 12
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MartinLogan EM-IC
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SVSound SB16-Ultra x 4
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Epson 6050
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Elite Screen
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Ahhh... okay... well I missed that bit of news with AudioQuest. Yeah... I'd say they are in good hands.
 
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