Positive Feedback Logo

The Neoteric Listener…The Triangle Antal Anniversary Loudspeaker

04-19-2015 | By Dean Seislove | Issue 78

Clothes may make the man, but what do loudspeakers make you? Sure, we all wish the fashion police would drape a hazmat pancho over that ratty Dynaco Dynamite! T-shirt stretched tight as tube top on your audio buddy. But who is in charge of equally egregious audio disasters like the ear-shredding "faithful to the source" experiment? What is being done to stop the spread of unnaturally sweet audio system treacle? What power is on the watch to prevent the spread of sterile sounding systems producing nothing more than music chiaroscuro? Who will slay the egomaniacal monster systems shoehorned into ill-fitting rooms across the land? By the light of all that's Harry and mighty, how do we save us from ourselves?!

Thank goodness, then, for the premium paid on taste and proportion (and the finite residential development) of Europe. The Triangle Antal Anniversary Loudspeakers arrived at my home in decidedly American friendly JUMBO boxes. Looking at the palette, I worried that the Antals would be too large for the door, much less the room. But unpacked, they emerged as svelte, stylish, and charming as anyone could want.

The sound, however, was like waiting for your date to get to ready. When the time allotted for perfection passes (a couple of months casual listening, in my case), the Triangle Antal Anniversary speakers deliver a sound that makes all the deliberation well worth the anticipation. In the meantime, you can enjoy looking at the exquisite mahogany high gloss finish (piano black and white also available) and chic decor-friendly 108x20x38cm dimensions that make these speakers such a visual delight. The fact that my wife nodded approvingly at the Antals (instead of uttering the dreaded "What are those?!" death sentence) speaks volumes about the Triangle speakers' style. If your favorite speaker is inevitably "The biggest one!" then the Triangle Antals may not be to your taste, but they're lookers, to be sure.

The Triangle Antal Anniversary loudspeakers work really well in my very small room. You wouldn't think so at first blush, given the imposing array of drivers in each cabinet, but it's clear that Triangle went to great lengths to make sure that this is a speaker that can adapt to a variety of listening rooms. A pair of Triangle T16EF100SC1 6" bass drivers produce superbly tuneful, controlled bass (down to 40Hz). Meanwhile, a Triangle T13EF84MD1 4.5" cellulose pulp membrane midrange cone utilizes a small pleat peripheral suspension to captain the essential tonal character that embodies the Antal sound. Finally, Triangle's TZ2500 titanium dome compression chamber tweeter extends the frequency response to 20kHz (taking their word for it here, my ears don't travel that far up the stairs). At 91dB efficiency, I had no trouble driving the Antals with either my own Peachtree iNova integrated or the Peachtree Nova 220SE recently reviewed in this column. It should be mentioned, however, that the Triangle speakers responded much better to the Nova 220SE's substantially higher power. Furthermore, so alive and responsive were these speakers that I also greatly wished for a fine tube amp in this price range, but the timing of the review did not allow that to happen. Still, I suspect that better amplification will only improve one's impression of the Antal's sound, as opposed to exposing their shortcomings.


So, what kind of fit is the Triangle Antal Anniversary loudspeaker for the prospective purchaser? Easy! "Tailored well enough for the seams lie flat, but not so snug that you can't move about comfortably." Listening to something that cuts a little sharpish, say, Bonnie Raitt's collaboration with Charlie Musselwhite, "Shadow of a Doubt," the Antals give a very convincing portrayal of live performance, both in soundstage and dynamics. Musselwhite's harmonica tone is always as good as it gets, and the Triangle speakers do a masterful job of cleanly evoking the richness of his harp when accompanied by Raitt's incomparable voice and tasteful slide guitar. The piercing wolf whistles that punctuate the performance are also conveyed in all their annoyingly boozy glory. The Triangles open the curtain to this live performance without the edge that makes you wish that you were listening to a studio cut, which is no mean feat.

Some speakers grab you by the arm and pull you to the front row, while others hand you a drink and sit you down on a soft leather couch. The Triangle Antal's veer towards the former, while retaining some of the pleasures of the latter. Daesoph's maddeningly infectious "Circulatory / Skeletal / Skin / Visual / Auditory" (how's that for a catchy title?) hops out of the Triangle Anniversary's and into my listening room with just the right immediacy for this quirky alt/pop music treat. Similarly, Keith Greeninger & Dayan Kai's "Immediately Blessed" from the excellent Blue Coast Collection sampler emanates from the Triangle loudspeakers as a fully articulated performance: full bodied vocal harmonies, warm and resonant acoustic guitar strumming, and a believably realistic acoustic space. "Real" is the operative word here, as these are the sort of speakers where there are many times when one stops to reflect on how lifelike the music sounds (when it's live) and how engaging the recording sounds (when it's studio).

Turning to an old favorite, I cued up Gorecki's "Symphony #3, Op. 36. 1. Lento, Sostenuto, Tranquillo Ma Cantabile." Swirling double basses, cellos, and violins flowed from the Triangle speakers to produce a riveting rendition of each instrument's musical texture as they appeared and reappeared throughout the piece. A complex recording with subtle musical cues and careful production, the Antals work wonderfully well in conveying the slow, steady unfolding of the piece. Nowhere did the music's progression seem stilted or ponderous, quite the opposite. The Triangle Antal Anniversary speakers utilize superb pacing and control to capture the hypnotic ascension towards the selection's denouement: the soprano's stunning vocal performance. This is a "you are there" class of loudspeaker, and it's difficult for many of this ilk to get close without cracking the lens. Hearing the female voice delivered with passion and power, one enjoys an absurdly grateful moment when all of the clichés for emotional response abound. The result is a metaphor mashup where all the goosebumps stood on end and the hairs on the back of my neck gave me the chills.

But can the Triangles boogie and holler? I wondered if their stellar qualities of timing and flow would be a good match for the rollicking "Shake Your Hips" cut from the Stones' Exile on Main Street.  I seem only able to play this cut really loudly, and most speakers that attempt to produce excitement like the Triangles do usually make an ear bleeding mess of it. This song dances on a beer soaked floor of Jagger's voice and Charlie's drum sticks. I'm happy to report that the Triangles successfully manage the trick of propelling all the groove and growl without incurring the withering criticism of slowly, gradually turning the damn thing down. Like most of us, when we say "The hell with it, let it wail!" and blow past the safe hearing and friendly neighbor checkpoint, well, that's a speaker that meets the rock n' roll eye test.

Fully satisfied that the Triangle Antals could sail through audiophile staples while still allowing me to roar around in the musical Camaro of my youth, the most important test was yet to come: Mainstream jazz and contemporary R&B. Yup, the music guaranteed to send the local audio society scurrying for Ella Fitzgerald records and Blue Note reissues is the very thing that most delights someone very important to me. So the heck with the boy's club, on goes the Brian Culbertson dinner jazz. His "Nice and Slow" is aptly titled, and you'd be hard pressed to find anything more innocuous and, um, laid back, so to speak. In any event, the Triangles are simply made for this sort of thing: piano, sax, and grooving electric bass pop with the color and sizzle of a swanky downtown affair. Which is to say, there is a distinctiveness of each instrument's tonal character and a seeming accuracy to the musical spacing of the recording. There are a number of speakers at this price point that sound very nice, but the Antals do many things well without any glaring tradeoffs. Unless you'd like to double the price and move up to the next performance level, the Antals are right there with the best in this class, and definitely should be auditioned before making your final purchase.

Like most people here in the U.S market, I first became aware of Triangle speakers after reading the many columns devoted to them by former Stereophile columnist, Sam Tellig. Great writer, odd exit, but I'm thankful that Positive Feedback's "Audio Community" ethos allows me to give credit where credit is due, especially as he was right on the money about the quality of Triangle products. The Triangle Antal Anniversary Loudspeakers are thoroughly enjoyable, immediately engrossing, and wonderfully complete loudspeakers. I don't think that a large room will show them to their best advantage, but if you have a small to medium listening space and like a scintillating sound, these speakers are hard to beat. Highly Recommended.

Triangle Antal Anniversary Loudspeakers
Retail $3499