- Written by Piero Gabucci
- Published on 22 May 2013
The Design of the GoldenEar Triton Three Floor-Standing Speakers
The design of the Triton is elegant from an industrial design standpoint. Although the giant "sock" may hide the working part of the speaker, the design is nonetheless clean and well proportioned. The top of the speaker is adorned with an extruded gloss black cap covering the drawstring for the fabric enclosure.
When I asked Sandy for some notes, he was kind enough to answer in spades.
Beneath the sock, Sandy claims is more than just for appearance and economy, he says:
The cabinet is constructed from high-density medite. The side cabinet walls are non-parallel which has benefits both acoustically and visually. This spreads out the peaks due to internal standing waves as well as results in a stiffer cabinet structure. There is considerable internal bracing. The grill sock construction is utilized for both industrial design as well as acoustical reasons. It provides additional sheer dampening to the cabinet walls.
The wide-standing oblong oval base beneath the tapered and rounded front speaker tower has a slim appearance from the listening position. Aesthetics aside, the slender front is wider than the rear for internal acoustic reasons. Sandy writes:
Most important, for imaging reasons, is the narrow front baffle. It has long been observed that small mini-monitor type loudspeakers have outstanding imaging. Much of this has to do with the narrow front baffle and the resulting benefits relative to diffraction effects. With a loudspeaker with drivers mounted on a baffle, you get a primary radiation of sound from the drivers and then a secondary radiation from diffraction at the edges of the baffle. The wider the baffle, the greater the time delay between the primary and secondary radiation. The shorter the time delay, the better, as the two signals will psychoacoustically blend together into one if the delay is short enough. On the other hand, with a wide baffle, the listener subliminally hears the secondly radiation as a cue which caused them to identify the radiator as a box, allowing the speaker to disappear.
The Triton Three boasts a single 5"x9" subwoofer and 800 watt class-D amplifier with two 6 ¾" x 8" passive radiators. Sandy explains:
The reason for building in the powered subwoofers has all to do with superior integration of the subwoofers, especially for music. This was the driving raison d'être when Don Givogue and I developed and introduced the concept back in 1995. It is very hard to properly integrate a single subwoofer to a pair of freestanding speakers. There are many variables, including physical locations, which require adjustments, which few listeners are able to accurately perform. In fact, if you have a single subwoofer, unless you have it equidistant from the two speakers, it is impossible to set it up so that it is properly blended with both. Even with two subwoofers in a room, the adjustment of all factors to properly integrate them with the speakers is very difficult. In fact, the low frequency section of the Tritons is actually a powered woofer section whose response goes down deep into the sub-bass region. It is engineered as an integrated part of each speaker.
Also, of course, since a Triton system would put two subwoofers in a room, you also get bass output that is not only the additive result of the two sub-woofers, but also delivers additional gain due to the acoustic coupling of the two subwoofers plus the additional advantage of the two subs smoother interaction with the room because they are coupled to different room modes.
GoldenEar purports that the cabinet and bass radiators placement close to the floor "…optimally couples with the room for exceptional low frequency performance, which provides additional gain and bass radiation into the room beyond just the simple additive sum of their outputs. In this case 1+1 doesn't equal 2, but rather 3 or 4.."
Complimenting the impressive bass arrangement, the Triton Three has a single 4 ½" "High Definition" cast mid range driver along with the High-Velocity Folded Ribbon tweeter which when folded down is almost 1.5 inches square of surface area. Unlike conventional drivers, the folded ribbon design "squeezes air like an accordion" which among other things makes it very efficient.
So how do they work together? Sandy explains:
The crossovers are actually much more complex and interesting than I originally thought (this info is coming from Bob). I will try to describe: The crossover between the tweeter and the midrange is actually a Low Q third order where the additional order is not so much used for quicker roll-off but rather to add phase correction for better phase alignment of the tweeter and the midrange. The crossover between the upper bass/midrange and woofer (high pass) is basically a Low Q second order, again, where the additional order is used more for phase correction rather than faster roll. Additionally, the enclosure of the 4.5" driver is designed to, in effect, be part of the crossover and provides an over damped roll-off which keeps the system Q low resulting in better transient response. Of course, the electronic crossover, which is part of the woofer electronics, is much more complex as it is in the DSP software so we could really go to town and optimize the rolloff and phase response to a very fine degree in order to get exceptional blending. There are a series of Low Q first order digital filters at different frequencies so there is nothing to ring or cause transient response issues. It would be very difficult to do this in the analogue domain whether at high or low level. Because it is done in the DSP we are able to get consistent accuracy better than .1 dB. Finally, there is a Zobel network across the tweeter to compensate for the phase shift of the speaker cables. This provides a much better, easier load for the amplifier. I believe that there are tweaky high-end companies selling aftermarket Zobel networks at high prices that perform the same function.