if you can find the focals for 30-40% off like at a4l or other online shops, I think they are of great sound and value.
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I bought a pair of Triton 2+ speakers about two years ago. I've since sold them because I decided to move my audio system to a much bigger room, and I wanted to upgrade.
I haven't heard the Aria 936, but I did audition the Kanta No 2 when I was shopping for the Triton 2+. I liked the Focals but thought the Triton's delivered more performance for the money. In both cases, the dealers offered me about 20% off retail. The Focals were a little thin in the bass for my taste although the top end was more detailed than the Tritons.
I lived with the Tritons for 15 months of so before selling them. For the price, I thought they were a very nice speaker. I had them in a 13'x14' room - about 3' from the front wall and about 8' apart. Being able to adjust the bass level made if easy to dial in a good balance without overwhelming the room. I did have tube traps in the front corners which help reduce the room modes.
Overall, I thought the Tritons imaged very well and had excellent bass performance. The SQ got somewhat weaker as you moved up the frequency range. It wasn't bad, but they lacked the clarity, smoothness, and sparkle of the best speakers I've owned.
If the Aria 936 is anything like the Kanta No2, I'd say the Triton 2+ would be a much better choice for home theater, particularly if you like action movies. The Focals were great with jazz and vocals, but lacked the punch that the Tritons had.
I listened to both at dealer in same system and much preferred the 936 for music. Electronics may have been Rotel. Can’t remember for sure.
i expected going in to like the GE better based on reviews but really did not think they sounded very good.
The 936’s on the other hand, were some of best I heard under $5k. If that were my budget, I’d probably have gotten them
Thanks for the feedback all! Went to a local stereo shop, they had some Focal and GoldenEar floor standers. Did not have the exact models I was look for but gave me a taste of what they sound like (I guess). In the end, the Focal tweeter seemed a bit edgy to me and the GoldenEar was okay but not great.
What electronics were used to power/demo each of the speakers?
Did they have them connected with a decent preamp/amp, good interconnects, decent speakers cables -or- a low grade speaker switcher and limited electronics - sometimes the case. I’ve heard good speakers sound lousy in an audio store and bring them home and they sound like different speakers all together.
I’ve heard both, I’m a big AMT fan in my own custom build speakers, and GE did a decent job with their HVFR tweeter implementation and they added internal subs as you know. I helped my sister with the Focal 936 for her integrated tube system. The 936s is a little brighter than the GE with no sub, but can sound truly musical with a subwoofer too. I’d think hard if you think you want to add a sub later. Focal does a nice job too, they make all the drivers in-house and a bit more musical as others have said. Can you see yourself adding a nice small sub later, seem possible?
Yeah, I'm a little concerned that the 936 would be too bright paired with my Rotel gear.
Yep, adding a small sub is a possibility.
Regardless, the frustrating part of this is not being able to audition the models I'm interested in. My local shop is mostly interested in custom installs. So, the little guy is not on their radar.
I understand they cannot have every model of the brands they carry. However, having only the lower end of Focal and GE seems silly.
They had a good range of Dynaudio but entry point is a bit higher. Have to admit the Evoke 50s we're really nice... 🙂
Looking a bit closer at your amp, MOSFETs, that’s a very nice amp you have there. Known to drive many speakers well. I’d have no problem putting any of the speakers listed so far behind that amp with the caveat of ensuring a nice neutral source at the front-end. For digital as an example, careful selection of a neutral (non-tipped up) DAC in front of your preamp. Some DACS and lower grade cables can exacerbate the issue, making the result sound more grainy too. With careful selection of interconnects, maybe more copper and non-silver ICs for example with SS amps and gear, could help some to yield a less tipped up or more neutral sound. Could help grant you a wider selection IF you feel a particular speaker may be on the edge of sounding too bright or too forward for your ears. Small Tweaks up front can help too if not already in the works...
What was not said in my OP... I have been researching for a few months and have considered several brands (e.g. GoldenEar, Focal, B&W, Dynaudio, Paradigm, Tekton Design, Elac). These are just the 2 I narrowed it down to based on my research.
That said, made a final decision this morning. A pair of GoldenEar Triton 2+ are on their way to me!