I'm not at all surprised by your findings based on my auditions of the 7s, 2s, and 1s. I have one of their ForceField subs and like it, but found their Triton series incredibly overpriced. Revel Performa series is a much better value - the same for Monitor Audio's offerings at respective price points.
40 responses Add your response
The AMT they use is already an extremely honest and revealing transducer and all they've really done to it in the Reference is stuff meatier magnets in it. I'm not sure that really buys huge improvements to a basic design that's already got tremendous technical advantages over practically any dome there is. It's just a question of whether you like what they do. It kinda drives me nuts when companies only build their flagship product to the hugest proportions, like the reference. It's one of the reasons I gravitated to the Focal 900 series. The whole line basically sounds identical with varying degrees of compromise in the bass, which is rational for varying room sizes. If you want more quality, you move up a line.
First off, I don’t think I listen like most. I played in the band in school. I soon realized that specs were essentially meaningless and contributed nothing to musicality. Later, I was a recording engineer. A system may have flat frequency response yet its phase and time coherence is non-existent and thus unlistenable! It’s not the Frequency. It’s the Time!
The sine qua non of a system is that it emotes. By that I mean it draws me into the music, all but disappearing from my consciousness. It does not matter if it is an early Miles mono, Hendrix Live @ Monterrey or Verdi Requiem, I must be engaged. When friends first hear my system, they tap their toes, bob their head, play air guitar because they are involved.
Countless store demos have lost me by bar 2. If I think there is potential, I ask to move the speakers to maximize performance, if I think it’s possible.
For me, it’s all about imaging. Whether a DI bass, Marshall stack, vocal or horn section, the sonic image must not move on a recording. Close mic’d vocals must be small and in the plane of the speakers. Any slap or reverb must be accurately delineated. The thwack and heft of a kick must be coplanar. One should ’see’ the recording ’space’ whether that space be silicon, stone or Symphony Hall.
Too many systems present a large ’image’ but it is homogenous not holographic. Close mic’d vocals are smeared between the speakers. Slapped bass jumps fore and aft. Thwack and heft are miles apart and heading in opposite directions.
Which brings us to the Tritons. The present a reasonably good image. Perhaps not holographic, but far better than several well regarded brands at several price multiples. They drew me into the music.
Regarding the Refs vs 7s, one must match the speaker size to the room. When I heard the Refs they were in a large [800ft²?] home theatre sized room that could seat perhaps a dozen or more people comfortably on sofas. The 7s were heard in a room similar to my ~600ft² media room. I moved both to maximize their imaging potential. Both gave excellent sound stages for my 3 reference tracks. The Refs would over power my room and the 7s would require a sub or two for optimal bottom octaves. But in their respective environments, both systems engaged me. So much so that I made it through all three reference tracks. Most store demos don’t.
IMO, while multiple woofers are a bad idea Tritons ameliorate it somewhat with their sloped baffle. Ported / Resonator speakers compromise phase for efficiency, subs are mandatory for all but the largest systems, mains should always have their low end crossed over to the subs, most subs have inadequate controls for proper integration, most audiophile’s rooms are just sonically awful being devoid of proper treatment either with furnishings or acoustic panels, and WAF is highly over valued.
Unless one is willing to place the speakers where they must be situated and treat the room appropriately, don’t waste your money.
Not a side by side comparison, but I owned a set of Triton 7s for 3 years (which I recently replaced with a set of Ohm 1000s) and have also heard the T-Refs at the local dealers in a living room enviornment, using my music.
Golden Ear does have an excellent, and very consistent "house sound" that is reflected in all of their speakers from the Aons on up the line. (I also still have a set of Aon 2s in an office.) The T-Refs certainly have better bass and, properly powered, have a greater sense of ease due to their dynamic range. However, they are simply too big for my listening room.
I was very pleased with the natural and accurate sound of the T-7s and consider them an excellent buy. If you have the necessary room and your listening habits need the extra oomph provided by the T-Refs, I would also consider them a good deal. The only drawback of all the GE speakers is a narrow sweet spot. That is the primary reason I now have a set of Ohms.
The only drawback of all the GE speakers is a narrow sweet spot.Interesting. I've never found a narrow sweet spot to be a defect but a strength.
Mixing on a nebulous speaker makes it difficult to create a sound stage whereas one with pinpoint focus makes it a doddle. On playback, a narrow sweet spot more easily recreates what the engineer intended.
IMO, there is only one place to listen and that is the "engineer's" chair. Anyone who comes to listen sits there.
I get your point regarding the size of the sweet spot, but that in and of itself is unnatural. That's not how one hears things when one is at a live acoustic event when one moves around. The Ohms are much closer to the live experience with this one aspect.
Of course, like all things audio, different people prefer different things. Not a big deal to buy what you like versus buying what someone else prefers.
I still think the GEs are an excellent choice if one wants a speaker with a conventional radiation pattern.
Why would anyone compare the lowest end speaker (Triton7) with the top speaker(Triton Ref)? It’s like comparing a minivan to a sports car. The Triton Ref gives you all of GE house sound, deepest and most impact bass, a smooth midrange able to play very loud without strain and a very sweet but not tipped up treble. The sweet spot in my living room is wide enough for 3 people listening side by side to fully enjoy. Unless you own the T Refs and have lived with them as I have for almost a year and a half, you really have no idea what you are talking about.
Hello all -- thanks for the many interesting perspectives.
helomech, and kosst_amojan, thanks for your thoughts on the comparison with Revel/MA, and on the GE range.
ieales, thanks for the continued input. One thought I did have: I think your perspective is: "If you can't optimize the listening experience, it's not worth buying the audio equipment", or something like that. Here's how I see it: All of the elements that go into an optimized listening experience require resources: tweaking the equipment and its positioning extensively (resources: time, energy; capital for cables/interconnects; acquiring knowhow); modifying the room setting (resources: time, energy, disruption of living arrangements); special listening room (various kinds of resources); acoustic treatments (resources: time, energy; capital; acquiring knowledge). In my case, I do not have any of those resources except some limited ability to upgrade some of the equipment itself (speakers). If that gives me substantially greater enjoyment of the music, even if far from optimized, I would consider that money well spent.
misstl, thanks for the thoughts on the comparison. You mentioned the T Refs being too large for your room (and ieales also mentioned them as being overpowering for his/her space). Do you mean physically too big? Or sonically too big? If the latter, that ties in with something I wondered about at my dealer auditions: whether they were overpowering the rooms (I'd estimate the room were approx 500 sq ft). Also, your description of the Ohm Walsh's has had me looking into those today.
stereo5, the reason I am trying to get a sense of the comparison is because I have the 7's, feel they are lost in my open-floor-plan room (approx 8000 cu ft.) and am looking for something bigger. My ears did not find nearly as much difference as I'd expected between 7s and T Refs in my dealer auditions, so I'm asking for input from much more seasoned listeners. You seem to say that it's invalid to compare speakers at such different price points. Could you explain that a bit more? I don't understand how in that case, it would be possible to figure out big upgrades. Also, may I ask what size room your T Refs are in?
schubert, your point about not moving around at a concert is well taken, and I wish I could listen to music like that! In my case, though, my listening situation is that about the only time I can listen to music is when preparing dinner in the evenings. I wish it weren't, but it is, and so for me it would be listen then, or not at all. (Hope I didn't just get myself banished from audiogon :) That makes misstl's mention of a large sweet spot interesting to me...
When I say its not a good comparison, you are comparing a pair of 8.5K speakers to a pair with a sub that are less than 3K. The T7 use two 4.5 inch midrange drivers compared to the T Ref which uses 2 six inch drivers. The midbass punch is real with the T Refs, not with the T7. I have compared the T ref in my main system with my T 1 in my other system. I did it side by side with the same amp and I could hear a BIG difference in clarity, detail, air and much better bass on the T Ref. I am lucky as I have a pair of each on 2 different systems. Don’t get me wrong, both the T Ref and the T One are my "forever speakers".
This is a decision only you can make. I am pushing my T Refs with a McIntosh MC152 150wpc and the Triton 1 with a McIntosh integrated at 200wpc. I don’t know what you are using for an amp and pre and front end equipment so I really can’t comment. The T refs are in a 16 by 20 living room with a 10 foot ceiling. The Triton Ones are in a50 by 50 room with dormers and high 16 foot ceiling in the center. I can really fill the room with sound but use this system for mostly background music while I am on the computer and such. Are one of the dealers willing to let you borrow their demo units for a home trial? There is a level control on the back of each speaker to adjust the volume of the woofers in the room.
Take a look at the Spatial X-2 as it will easily fill your room without a constrictive "sweet spot." And contrary to myth they don’t need to be 5 feet plus from the back wall. I am using the model below, M3 Triode Masters, with a pair of Rythmik subs in a room over 5500 cubic feet that opens into a combo Kitchen/Breakfast room.
I've also owned the Triton 5 with the Rythmik subs in the same setting and the Spatial does what your are looking for with greater ease.
I get your point regarding the size of the sweet spot, but that in and of itself is unnatural. That's not how one hears things when one is at a live acoustic event when one moves around. The Ohms are much closer to the live experience with this one aspect.All HiFi is unnatural.
As one who has mixed live sound, recorded large orchestras in great studios, attended concerts in the worlds finest halls, continues to produce live productions in our local 450 seat venue, I categorically state that NO HiFi anywhere anytime is anything but an extremely poor simulacrum of any live performance, acoustic or otherwise.
IMO, the flaw in the Walsh theory is that sound from instruments is not omnidirectional. An acoustic guitar sounds very different as one walks around a seated player. The Walsh driver takes the frontally recorded sound and flings out 360° to bounce and absorb erratically in the listening space. One may like the effect, but it is in no way similar to any live performance.
To hear a recording as made requires a system as good or better focus than the recording studio monitors.
Thanks to all for the additional comments.
stereo5, the information about room sizes and your comparison of T1 and TRef was helpful, thanks. I'm still puzzled by my impressions from my side-by-side T7 vs TRef comparisons at each of 2 dealers, especially as your T Refs are in a similar size room to the dealers' (and so overpowering the dealers' listening rooms may not have been the issue). It's entirely possible that my ears aren't experienced enough to appreciate such differences -- although that probably also means that if my ears weren't impressed by a speaker, I would not be happy if I purchased it. I'm a three hour drive from the nearest GE dealer, so I had assumed an in-home demo was out, but your suggestion is a good one -- it's a good idea to ask.
jackd, thanks for the Spatial suggestion. I have looked into them a little, but I was concerned about placement issues, as positioning is quite constrained, for me. How far from the wall and sides are yours?
twoleftears, I am not necessarily aiming to stick with GE. But GE seemed the easiest starting point, as I already have the 7s and a SuperCenter XL in a 3.1 HT configuration. [For HT, what I have is quite adequate for me. It's for music that I've found myself hankering for bigger soundstage and more detail/clarity than the GE T7's]. As far as non-GE options go, another recent thread (https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/road-trip-to-demo-10-000-speakers) was very helpful in identifying other possible upgrade paths.
My Spatial's at the moment are 36" from the rear wall to the front of the baffle. I tried them as far out as 5 ft and didn't notice any significant difference. As to the side walls they are about six feet on one side and about 8 feet on the other due to the layout of the room. The subs are at the inside back edge of each baffle.
I'd agree that all hi-fi fails to some degree to capture live acoustic performances. But, a couple of comments. First, the current Ohms are not full omnis. They have a controlled dispersion pattern. Second, instruments vary in their sound projection. A cymbal is fully omni while a trumpet has a very tight focus. Others are in between. Conventional speakers only have one radiation pattern that gets used for everything it plays, so they are just as much a compromise in this regard as Ohms, Quads or any other radiation pattern.
As for the T-Refs, they were physically too large for my room, which serves many purposes.
As for not moving around during a concert, that's true, but I also don't always get the same seat. I like the Ohms from the standpoint that I don't need to be in only one spot to get good sound -- that's especially nice if there is a group of people in the room listening.
Like everything audio, it comes down to individual taste. I really enjoyed my Triton 7s for the 3 years I owned them. They are a great buy. RIght now, I happen to like my Ohms better. YMMV.
I have had the References, 5s with and without proper sub, and 2s and 1s.
All in same treated room and with a ton of equipment. (Yggy dac, Hegel H160, H300, Peachtree Nova300, Primaluna, Raven, and much more)
To me and many of my industry buddies, the Triton References are WAY overpriced and cheaply built. $8500 Are you kidding me !!! That was my reaction after breaking them in for a serious listen.
I much preferred the Triton 5 with a single SVS SB16 Ultra. And save $5k
All personal taste, but you would not believe how many speakers I buy to evaluate and then re-sell. (Yes, Geek alert!)
While I still like the 1s and 5s for money, and have reccomended them a lot to friends (especially used) Cheap build, but sound fantastic for the relatively low cost. Reviews for References are all over the top, Love to see what GE spends per year with the magazines.
My Tritons are all long gone and the Triton References, I sold them the quickest after just a month.
I am not sure they want me listing their name and company title. That's for them to do (if they choose) Rest assured my friends have spent many a time listening to each others gear including mine, and also at shows.
Everyone has their own thoughts, and I was chiming in as I have a ton of experience on this topic and brand, and can give reccomendations based on my "own" experience and opinions. You can dismiss it or not.
Not many folks have tested each of those GE models I listed with the same equipment in the same space for hundreds of hours. I still love the brand and the house sound, just cant be convinced on the Trefs.
As for cheaply built, that is my opinion on all the Tritons, and dont mind it per se at the Triton 5 price point or a little higher, but I definetly REJECT it at $8500 for the references and a whopping 70% premium to the Triton ones. Also- the reference grill wasnt even seated properly in the tabs when I got the speaker, it was bowed out on one speaker from the factory and had to get a diagram sheet from GE to take off and put back on and screamed cheap parts when shined a flashlight and was up close with the drivers and parts. They do offer amazing customer service BTW and I have even spoken to Sandy during that time.
So to recap, overall love GE and the house sound, and think they over deliver bang for the buck for some models, but not at the higher price point. As per the orginal poster's question, I would say to stay with the 7s or 5s and use a serious sub.
jackd, thanks for the additional information. If I were thinking about Spatial, I think I would be looking at the M3 Triode Masters that you have, rather than the X-2s (because I'd be uncomfortable purchasing $10K speakers without having listened to them at all; because I couldn't find much by way of reviews/measurements; and because the Spatial website doesn't mention a return window for the X-2's -- unlike for the M3 Triodes). So, wrt the M3 Triode Masters: how essential do you think it is for them to have a sub each? (Having to get 2 matching subs raises the effective price quite a bit over $4K). Do you think a single 15-inch 600 watt sub could work with them, for a large 7000-8000 cu ft room? I realize you can't give any definitive answers, just asking what you'd guess... thanks!
mlsstl, thanks for the info on the way in which TRefs were to large.
winefix, thanks for your thoughts on GE within-range comparisons. I believe from other threads I've seen that you currently have M3 Triode Masters? If so, can I ask you the same question I asked jackd: Do you think a single 15-inch 600 watt sub could work with them, for a large 7000-8000 cu ft room? -- thanks.
Also, to both jackd and winefix: any suggestions on how to figure out whether someone not too far from Iowa has them (M3 Triode Masters) and would let me come and listen...? (Post to the Audiocircle thread...?)
"and screamed cheap parts when shined a flashlight and was up close with the drivers and parts." I question on weather you are an expert on speaker drivers? Are you a raw speaker driver manufacturer? What do you know about cheap parts and speaker drivers? Please, I am waiting to be enlightened with your driver wisdom.
I have only tried the Triode Masters with dual subs so kind of hard for me to say. Unless you already have the sub you are asking about I would prefer even a pair of smaller subs compared to one but ultimately you will have to try it and see and then work from there. Also like with the GE's don't get fooled by the sensitivity ratings and think low powered amps are fine as that is not the case with either brand.
I am an experienced consumer with nearly $250k worth of gear in and out of my rooms. Also, vast experience with furniture grade cabinets as well. So, yeah you could say I know a thing or two about quality parts in audiophile equipment.
Always look at build quality up close and assess ergonomics, not just the sound.
As stated, love the GE house sound and dont mind the quality of parts used for the lower priced models, but for the Tref
and $8500 !!! I guess it’s like calling someone’s kid ugly, looks like you are offended. Sorry, I stand by my own opinion on the Tref and lack of value and build quality for the price point. You might think it’s built like a Harbeth, if so, great !!
But, Not what I would recommend and not even close to what I feel are better quality drivers I have owned in Zu, Vandersteen, Gallo, off the top of my head.
As for Spatials, love em !! They use 4 15” inexpensive paper woofers from Eminenece (made in USA) and a high quality and absolutely amazing compression drivers which I think are from France?
Top of the line crossovers from Mundorf and it just works like magic for less than $4k retail and factory direct for much less for demo model with 20 year warranty.
Had the M3 Triodes and now have the M1 Triodes.
To me, both wipe the floor of the GE refs.
X2 on my list of speakers to try next year along with others. Pretty pricey though and may not offer value. Can’t comment just yet on them.
As always your mileage may vary, just offering my experienced opinion.
@jackd and @winefix,
Many thanks for all your input on the Spatial M3TM. I actually spoke with Clayton today and he was incredibly gracious and helpful. But unfortunately, after measuring my constrained positioning/space again, I just don’t think I can make them work with 3 feet behind them..
Next thinking of auditioning Revel F208 and F228Be...
Hope everyone has a good holiday!
i hope to to be able to go up to $10K. Color preference probably black, just because this will need to look neutral (it goes in the main living area). I do have a list of speaker options that I’ve been researching, which has a lot of overlap with the list at the other thread I linked to a few posts ago.
Any recommendations.. ?
Nola KO- https://www.upscaleaudio.com/collections/nola/products/nola-ko-floorstanding-loudspeaker-pair
On the KO's the difference between the original and the Series 2 is that the mid-range manufacturer change the driver so that the crossover had to be re-worked so they gave every speaker in their line that used that driver a Series 2 designation and raised the price 25%. A friend that owned the originals like me heard the new ones at RMAF and could detect no difference of note.
PSB Imagine T3
Audio Physics Avanti
All have bass into the 20's and are attractive enough to pass any WAF test.
Nola - NOT!
They will be a phase nightmare with an incoherent image.
Their product sheet is laughable buzzword bingo:
These drivers employ advanced technical features such as edge-wound Kapton voice coilsKapton is an insulator, so a voice coil made of same would be exceedingly quiet.
The new NOLA KO3 incorporates the latest edge-of-the-art components in its new crossover system. These components, not available previouslyGimme a break!
Thanks for your comments about Nola. I don’t have the knowledge like you do to identify spurious claims/jargon, but it did seem even to me that there was little technical information/measurements on that website to back up the statements made there.
Would you additionally be willing to give your thoughts on the technical description of the Spatial M3 Triode Masters? This is given at http://www.spatialaudio.us/m3-triode-master/ I ask because I’ve been getting interested in the M3 Triode Masters, but I don’t have the knowledge to evaluate what is stated there. In your opinion, does it seem technically coherent?
Also, there is a statement from someone on another forum, claiming that the parts in the M3 Triode Masters are off-the-shelf. This is from https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=149584.140:
---- begin quote----
"...Did you not notice as soon as you saw the speakers in the M3 they were stamped frames??? That is a sign of cheap drivers....
The compression drivers in the M3 are the cheapest worst sounding 1" compression drivers their are they are the K mart blue light drivers of the speaker world LMFAO. Ok the 15" coaxial is actually two different brands the 15" frame is a Eminence it is a Beta 12cx and it is $79.99 at u guessed it US speakers http://www.usspeaker.com/beta12cx-1.htm It is a coaxial but takes a screw on 1" driver witch means you can use any 1" screw on driver you like you could even use a bolt on 1" driver with a screw on adapter. Now this is were it gets really funny the 1" compression driver Spatial uses is one of the cheapest made it is a china made P-Audio BM-D440s and it is a whopping $79.95 at you guessed it US speaker http://www.usspeaker.com/paudio%20bmd440Sseries%20ii-1.htm
The lower 15" in the M3 is a Eminence Delta 12LFA and it is $79.00 at US speakers http://www.usspeaker.com/Delta-12LFA-1.htm So your talking about $490.00 in drivers for the M3 and that is our cost. Spatial i am sure only have less than half that invested in each M3 after buying the drivers in bulk. Your review for these terrible sounding speakers was just glowing really made me laugh. Out of all the 15" coaxial speakers there are you liked the cheapest worst sounding combo on the planet. a similar designed Modified Altec Lansing 604’s and 605’s would embarrass these M3 and those Altec have been around since the 1940’s as would a similar designed speaker using Radian 15" coaxial or Beyma, Faital Pro, B & C . With so many really really nice sounding 15" coaxial drivers available why would Spatial use inferior Eminence & P-Audio drivers."
---- end quote ----
*IF* these statements about the sourcing of the M3 Triode Masters parts are correct, does that affect your evaluation of the M3 Triode Master technical description in any way?
As I said, I ask because I’ve been thinking about the M3 Triode Masters, and would like to be as informed as possible about the product before any purchase. I hope I’m not stirring up a hornet’s nest here, or bringing up an inappropriate type of evaluation.
The Spatial's and the KO's are in two different systems so one did not replace the other. As to the tirade from the poster on AC ( he has since been banned) this is typical of his post on multiple threads all involving the cost of items for sale. He has no actual knowledge or experience with any of the products.
Would you additionally be willing to give your thoughts on the technical description of the Spatial M3 Triode Masters?
@ieales -- thanks for your input. BTW, in case it’s of interest to you, I just found a video where the Spatial Audio designer explains things in a way that was more understandable to me than what’s on the Spatial website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyPPD5RJvag
@jackd -- Thanks for the additional information. I did see another rant in an entirely different place with almost identical wording to the one at AC -- not sure what’s going on with that poster(s). BTW, I definitely would like to hear more about your listening impressions of the M3TM and Nola KO. Would you be willing to post them here? -- I think they would be interesting to many, especially as it seems difficult to find a lot of first-hand knowledge about either of these speakers. Or I could PM you if you prefer.
@secretguy — Thanks for the information. It seems like most people with Goldenear Tritons don’t find the sweet spot constricted, although of course some do, as mentioned on this thread. I myself haven’t felt that issue with the 7s — just looking for bigger sound.
So do you like your Triton 1s? I think I saw a thread somewhere from July where you were “trying” to like them...
This is in response to Winefix's post:
I guess I'm a little confused with your post about the cheap parts used In GoldenEar Tref's but mention in the next paragraph how your spatials use cheap eminence woofers? And some kind of French driver's? Am I to believe that the cheap parts in the GE's aren't capable of producing a quality sound such as the cheap eminence driver?
Could you elaborate on the cheap parts in the GE's, I'd like to know who builds the GE driver's and crossovers.
I myself am looking for two channel mains. I've never owned GE, I don't work for them either, I've never even heard one.
But I have been doing research, and again I am confused about the GE's, all of the audio shows I've watched that have GE listening rooms have the Tref's in two channel setups with seemingly impressed audiophile audiences, so if what you are saying is correct why would any of the audiophiles present even consider listening to these cheaply made house sound speakers and expect anything of use in two channel offerings?
Certainly they know as much as you do pertaining to audiophile parts?
I am a noob in the two channel arena and my questions mean no disrespect, just gleaning knowledge where I can.