Triangle Esprit Australe EZ Review
Triangle Esprit Australe EZ floorstanding loudspeaker
by Alan Sircom
I am going to try a spot of mass-hypnosis here. You are feeling calm and relaxed, relaxed and calm. You are feeling sleepier and sleepier. Now… I want you to forget the word ‘price’ for the next couple of thousand words (and you feel a burning need to give me all your money), and when you awake, you will feel refreshed and relaxed. 3,2,1… you’re back in the room.
The Esprit Australe EZ is the top of the lower-middle of Triangle’s product lines, with the Signature and Magellan models above it, and the Elara below. The Esprit range comprises three towers, two standmounts, a centre, and a rear channel wall-mount. Australe EZ is the new reference point of the range and, according to Triangle, “is the result of unprecedented technological innovations.” Given Triangle’s science-led standpoint, this is likely to be more than just hyperbole.
The core technologies in the Australe EZ are the Dynamic Pulse System (or DPS) and the Driver Vibration Absorption System (or DVAS). Dynamic Pulse System uses a second tweeter to the rear of the cabinet, which is designed to improve the polar response of the front tweeter, by helping to reduce its directivity. This is not quite the same as creating a dipole tweeter, or the equal front/rear radiation pattern of an electrostatic panel, because using a second driver dedicated for the task helps control any phase issues that may arise. This is not a new concept to Triangle, but to date the only loudspeakers that have used the DPS concept have been the top of the top Magellan series. All the other models in that or any of Triangle’s other ranges have been more conventional in approach.
On the other hand, Driver Vibration Absorption Systems technology is a means whereby the loudspeaker drivers are decoupled from the loudspeaker by what Triangle refers to as ‘reinforcements’, pushed against the magnets of the drive units to limit and damp vibration. These ‘reinforcements’ need to be a little more ‘Commandos Marine’ and less ‘raw recruit’ because the new bass drivers introduced for the Australe EZ have an oversized engine, along with a wood-pulp/carbon-fibre composite diaphragm, and a very big magnet, designed to reach down to a healthy 29Hz. We aren’t finished, though, as the Australe EZ uses the crossover design and even internal wiring of the Signature line. Even the plinth itself is new: a glass platform with a rubber absorbing plate. This both widens the base and lowers the centre of gravity (to pass European tilt test rules) and absorbs the dispersion of vibration from the cabinet into the floor.
Australe EZ is a three-way design, featuring a trio of those aforementioned 165mm bass drivers, another different design of 165mm for the midrange, and the aforementioned front and rear set of 25mm tweeters, both with a bullet phase plug and deep set enough to be a quasi-horn. The speaker crosses over at 300Hz (bass-midrange) and 3.9kHz (mid-tweeters), using a second- order network for the bass and a third-order crossover for the top end. The loudspeaker can be biwired or bi-amped if so desired.
Triangle has always made its loudspeakers relatively efficient and the Australe EZ is no different, with a 92.5dB sensitivity and a nominal impedance of eight ohms that drops to just 3.3 ohms at minimum. This means a loudspeaker that is easy to drive and is unlikely to trouble any amplifier it is likely to be partnered with. The tall tower is neatly finished in a choice of gloss white or black, and there are no veneers or RAL paint options.
Set-up is a breeze. You just need to place the loudspeakers at least 0.4m from the rear wall, at least 0.5m from the side walls, and at least 2m apart. You need to sit at least 2m from a centre of a line drawn from tweeter to tweeter. And if that sounds pragmatic, it is, and so is the Australe EZ. It is unfussed about positioning, placement, and partnering. Just make sure the loudspeaker is level and not wobbling, and experiment with toe-in (don’t make it too acute though, as you don’t want the rear tweeter to start interacting with the front). There is one limitation to this; try not to have a very reflective rear wall. This is a good idea in general, but when there’s a rear tweeter involved, you want it to subtly reinforce the main sound, not provide too much of its own influence; a wall of glass is going to do just that, so aim for a more diffuse rear wall (you might want to put room treatment panels on the back wall behind the tweeters in extreme cases).
I actually preferred the Australe EZ wider and with no toe-in and sitting closer to the loudspeaker than usual. This is more of a near-field setting than most might choose, but it worked for the Australe EZ perfectly. This was just at the limits of the central image becoming distinct left and right channels. At that point, everything snapped into focus and clarity, the musical integrity of the sound went into hyperdrive, and the sound just seemed like there were real people projecting music into the room.
Amplifier and source choices are pretty much open to interpretation. I’d go with ‘quality’ rather than ‘quantity’, although if you can do both, the system will sound even better. Because of the hypnosis, I’m not talking specifics and price points, but when you are out of thrall, you’ll probably work out that this deserves a ‘commensurate’ system.
I found it worked perfectly with a spot of Class D overkill in the shape of an Aavik U-150 integrated amplifier fed by a Hegel Mohican CD player, and hooked together with either Ansuz, AudioQuest, or Nordost cable. In truth, I preferred the slightly earthier tones of the AudioQuest over those of Ansuz or Nordost in this context.
For a loudspeaker with two tweeters and three bass drivers, the Australe EZ really leads from the midrange. It’s a midband- out loudspeaker, getting that all-important aspect of music correct first, and then letting the other parts do their stuff from there. That is not to down-play the bottom end or the treble extension but shows just how the design criteria of the Triangle sound is created. The mid and treble (but especially the mid) are fast, dynamic, open, precise, ►
► clean, and entertaining. It’s the kind of loudspeaker where you put on a piece of music – let’s say ‘Marietta’ from Buena Vista Social Club Presents: Ibrahim Ferrer [World Circuit] – and it leads to another, and another, and another. Even with a CD front-end, this is more like a Tidal and Roon workout, with you just enjoying ‘swimming’ through your music collection. The overall presentation of that midrange is a little forward, but not troublingly so; music is an exciting projection further into the room, not a lap-dance.
What that midrange-primacy does with something like ‘Marietta’ is make you wish you spoke Spanish, makes you want to reach for a Cohiba Exquisitos (and I don’t smoke anymore) and mix up a Cuba Libra with seven-year old Havana Club (and I don’t drink anymore… than the average rugby club after a big win), then you want to reach for any of those other records made by
Every piece of music has its own distinct ‘right’ level.
octogenarian Cubans in the 1990s. In short, that mid-forward-and-first sound of the Australe EZ makes music fun again (which sounds like it should be written on a hat).
It’s just so damn enjoyable to listen to music played through the Australe EZ, you want to hear more of it, and that’s always a sure sign of musical goodness.
As is the next big acid test. Each recording sounds different and has its own optimum level with the Australe EZ. This is how it should be; music recorded in one studio should not sound like music recorded in another, and yet too many systems blur those lines and make everything sound a bit ‘samey’. There simply isn’t the resolution to hear the difference from engineer to engineer, or from studio to studio… but there is here. Also, the difference between a few dB listening levels is not a big one in the case of most loudspeakers, but here every piece of music has its own distinct ‘right’ level. That is a sign of deep resolution.
The Australe EZ sings from the midband on out, and the bass and treble need to give that midband a good underpinning. And they do. OK, so they don’t do ‘big boy dynamics’ in the way a much larger speaker will, but instead they deliver subtle woven texture to the bass (in particular) that makes the speaker so entertaining on most styles of music. The big hitters do better with heavy opera and large orchestral pieces – if you are expecting audiophile Mahler played at thunderstorm levels, you’ll be mistaken, and likewise if your music is predominantly different versions of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, there are more satisfying loudspeakers available. But for the rest of us – including those who want a spot of Mahler, just not the full catastrophe all the time – will find the Australe EZ’s bass beguiling.