Triangle Antal 40th Anniversary Loudspeaker Page 2

It's a performance that plays well with orchestral compositions and horizon-wide electronica, while providing precision staging for a rock 'n' roll four-piece. What's arguably missing is a real grip on the lowest octaves, and the energy and top-end sparkle of (typically more expensive) rivals. This is a very well-behaved loudspeaker generally, an attribute that's suits the music perfectly at times – though not all the time.

Swayed by the cabinet's classy looks, I dialled-up a copy of Max Richter's hypnotic 'On The Nature Of Daylight' [The Blue Notebooks; DG 4835014], a piece blending cello, violin and viola with some low-range synthetic accompaniment. The opening notes showed off the Antal 40th Anniversary's natural tone, while texture and separation were bang on the money, even as the instrumentation became more layered and the high-string violin motif ramped up at the conclusion.

However, the speaker's handling of Richter's bassy keyboard swells lacked a degree of both weight and definition. Even partnered with my punchy Class G Arcam amplifier, it didn't quite have the confidence to give the track the rich, saturated bottom end it deserves. That's not to say it sounded bumpy or unbalanced, just a little shy and somewhat soft around the edges – a touch sluggish compared to the tighter performance achieved elsewhere. Perhaps I was hearing something of the steep LF roll-off, along with a deliberate voicing favouring smooth – as opposed to overtly punchy – bass.

Going Higher
Nor was this a one-off. Paul Simon's 'Boy In The Bubble' [Graceland: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition; Sony Music, 96kHz/24-bit] lacked the bounce to its bassline that I'm familiar with, while the speaker didn't quite lock into the deep, strident bass of Chase and Status's 'Fire In Your Eyes' [No More Idols; Mercury 2745135]. With this track, in an effort to wake up the woofers, I pushed the volume higher. The result was in part what I desired – the low-end sounded more purposeful, but mids and highs hardened too. I had no such worries with up-tempo, upper register basslines, such as the one driving Dire Straits' 'Sultans Of Swing' [eponymous; Vertigo 800 051-2]. But there are other options, around and under the price, that seemingly have more fun below 100Hz.


With 2nd/4th-order slopes at 185Hz and 3.9kHz the split crossover services bi-wire or bi-amp operation via its dual sets of 4mm terminals. Two bass units work into their own cabinet space and are braced against the rear panel

So, its bass performance won't suit all tastes, but the speaker earns its crust elsewhere. With a number of tracks it sounded completely effortless, lapping up everything from well-recorded jazz and acoustic blues to the beeps and beats of modern dance music. It combined resolution with speed when necessary, but also revelled in more sedate recordings, where its rendition of both instruments and vocals shone through. The Gina Furtado Project's cover of bluegrass staple 'Kansas City Railroad Blues' [eponymous; Mountain Home Music] spilled out of the Antal 40th Anniversary speakers with rhythmic flair, a barrage of lightning-fast banjo picking and swing-style guitar.

Rocking Chair
There's a lot going on here (violin, double-bass, and mandolin too), but the celebratory Antal admirably coped with the chop-and-change of timbres and left my foot tapping. Meanwhile, Lee Haslam's 'The Future' [Slinky Concepts; Tidal] made brilliant use of the loudspeaker's wide, full-range soundstage, its electronic soundscapes leaving me feeling almost pinned to my chair.

Finally, with 'Georgia' [The Seven EP; n/a cat no.], a sparse production by singer/songwriter Emily King that seems designed to mainly highlight her vocal talents, the loudspeaker put her right in front of me, all breathy and close-mic'd. Admittedly, this is the sort of song we've all heard countless times at hi-fi shows, but I was surprised by how this floorstander made it sound so intimate and articulate. And it wasn't just King's presence. Other details – acoustic guitar, gospel-style backing vocals, a gentle kick-drum – stood back a little, creating an image with an easy-to-visualise depth.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
If Triangle, freshly turned 40, is having a mid-life crisis, it doesn't show. This comprehensively upgraded edition of its Antal three-way floorstander offers impressive value for money. The performance is large-scale and musical, with wonderfully cohesive imaging, and the cabinet finish and styling are exceptional. Just be prepared to give it plenty of amp power, and don't expect explosive bass...

Triangle Distribution France
Bordeaux, France
Supplied by: SCV Electronics Ltd, Herts
03301 222500