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Triangle Borea Br08 floorstanding speaker review

Lattiboy

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Aug 13, 2020
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It’s not often I purchase gear on a whim. I’m a cheap bastard after all, however when Adorama had the Triangle BR08s on sale for $900 a pair, I just kind of clicked “buy”. I’d seen a ton of reviews for the BR03 all saying essentially, these are the new kings of budget audio (inevitably to be replaced by a new “king” when some other company decides to up the bribes!) j/k.... mostly.

Unboxing:

Who cares!?!! They’re speakers, they came in boxes that kept them from damage and they require 5 minutes to attach bases and spikes.

Looks:

Meh. They look like pretty much every other speaker. I got back because the walnut was sold out, but these aren’t going to win any aesthetic competition. With the grills off they look pretty okay with the white drivers, but I don’t leave my speakers nude to have my nephews inevitably defile them.

Positioning:

They sound fine close to the wall. I’ve got them two feet away and it isn’t holding them back. I brought them all the way to 5 feet out and yes, they sound a little different, but not much “better”. The whole “PUT YOUR SPEAKERS IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR ROOM” movement is tiresome and weird. Unless you live in a geodesic dome, this is not an ideal setup. IMO a speaker that requires that much room to perform is the wrong speaker for most people.

Equipment:

Onkyo M-504 power amp, XengSheng DAC with Burson opamps, Denon 3600H AVR, Chromecast Audio. Additionally tested with and without my Infinty 12” 300W subs. Using a mix of Tidal HiFi and loca FLAC files. I don’t do CDs or vinyl.

Listening:

First up is female vocals. Pink Martini, Amy Winehouse, Bonnie Raitt, Adele, Lizzo, and Lana Del Rey. And..... it’s fine. Totally competent, utterly inoffensive. This may sound like a dig at these, but I will come back to this later and explain.
It’s hip hop time! Weird how the far and away most popular music form in the world is almost completely ignored by music reviewers both professional and amateur..... I can’t imagine why? (Hint: we’re almost all older and white)

Run the Jewels, Kanye, Meek Mill, RZA, Pusha T, Dead Prez. These Triangles really do justice to these tracks. Super dense mixes with deep bass are kind of a cheat code for them. The excellent separation really helps in a genre where you almost always have two or more vocalists going at the same time!
Next? ITS TIME FOR A F’IN DANCE PARTY! Prince, !!!, The Knife, Justice, M83, NCZA Lines, Depeche Mode, and more. I’m starting to understand what make these speakers stand out: dense, percussion rich music. The vocals are well blended, the bass is tight and surprisingly deep, and the drums.... MY GOD THE DRUMS!

Never, ever have I heard speakers reproduce drums like this. I’m not a speaker designer, and unlike most internet commenters I don’t pretend to be one, but whatever the hell Triangle has done to make them sound like this is phenomenal. Probably something about spectral decay.... or cabinet resonances..... or.... something. Regardless, it rocks.
So, I dove headlong into more drum-centric music. Steve Smith, George Duke, and a bunch of other musicians whose album covers consist solely of middle aged men in awkward poses with titles like “The Book of Steve” in some godawful font. Don’t pretend you’ve never seen these.

Yes, dear reader, I’ve entered into the land of “supermarket jazz”. Technically brilliant, well recorded music that has all the passion of a tax form. Just a bunch of dudes being awesome at their instruments while trying to book their next inexplicably well attended community amphitheater show. People love this stuff and I guess it’s a free country, so to those people, these speakers are FOR YOU. Wonderful instrument separation and rhythm sections as good as I’ve ever heard. Detail is not really up there with speakers more focused on it, but it’s good and never distracting or lacking.

One song I’m going to give a whole paragraph to is Gustavo Santaolalla “By Any Means” off the Last of Us soundtrack. At reference volume levels on these speakers this song is auditory pornography. I feel like I can actually hear the texture of each drum cover being slapped. It is only two minutes long and thank god because it is almost too intense to listen to for longer. A+++

Final test is live recordings. I can’t really explain it, but these get live recordings so well. I don’t know if it’s the increased dynamics or what, but time and time again I was blown away by how good these reproduced a live performance. Best example is the aforementioned George Duke’s “Black Messiah part 2”. Everything just fell into place and I felt like I was sitting in the audience. Again, I don’t even like this music and I listened to this three times in a row.

So, yeah, this has been a rambling and confusing review, but these BR08s are kind of an enigma. Part of me wants to immediately send them back (I even put them for sale locally!), but part of me hopes nobody buys them. I’ve had a fair amount of “oh shit” moments with these and a few moments of deep disappointment coming off my Renaissance 80s with all their ribbons and detail.

Overall, I think these things do a lot of stuff well above their price point, but are kind of middling in others.
 

Chromatischism

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Interesting review. Does your impression change after listening for an hour or two? Do you need to turn them off for a while or are you still marveling at them?

Can you try Tool - Invincible on them? Ideally when the kiddos aren't around and you can really listen to the drums and everything.
 

valerianf

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I always dream having some Triangle speakers.
Drums are a very good way to test the mid range speaker quality.
Could you pin point why you put them on sale?
Sorry but I did not get it.
 

VMAT4

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Measurements?
 

paulraphael

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I have a pair of Triangle Zerius speakers, bought way back in 2002. They're in storage now because I moved into a smaller place. These are probably lower in the line than the Boreas, but with a similar sonic fingerprint.

I agree 100% on the drums. It sounded like a live drummer in the room. When I mentioned this, someone told me I was probably tripping, that it had been a long time since I'd hear live drums up close. But in fact, a friend of mine stored his drum kit at my old loft, and came over once a month to jam with me. He set up the kit right between the big triangle speakers. So I have a good frame of reference!

I also loved the huge and precise soundstage, and the dynamics in the bass. I did not like the brightness. If I'd known then what I know now, I would have eq'd them. But at the time the only eqing I did was swapping in dark-sounding preamp tubes. Not exactly a surgical approach. If I ever get to set these up again, I'll play with eq and room treatments and see if I can make them great. Unfortunately they seem to be worth at most $400 on the used market, so it's not all that tempting to unload them. It might cost close to that to ship the things.
 
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