Triangle Delta Signatures.
One of my earliest HiFi purchases was a pair of Triangle Antal ESw speakers, I remember auditioning them at UKD and excitedly loading them into my car having handed over less than a grand in reddies. They stayed with me for many years, the rest of my system was steadily upgraded and improved, but the modestly priced Triangles could not be budged. I liked their immediacy, the clear leading edges and decay, their ability to play loud or quiet while retaining a good level of detail and an even handedness that seemed to be missing from other speakers I tried. I also liked that these relatively large floor standers didn’t over power my decidedly small living room. In the end, it took a drastically under-priced pair of second hand Meadowlarks to shift them.
So It will come as no surprise that I asked for a review pair when Audio Emotion sent me a press release announcing that they are bringing them back into the country. They suggested the £5k Delta Signatures, as a worthwhile improvement on my previous Triangle experience and I happily agreed.
The Eye of Sauron.
That’s the first impression of these heavy, nicely boat shaped boxes.. The horn loaded tweeter on top seemed to stare at me, it actually took a little while before I could ignore them. Like the laughing Cavalier, they follow you round the room. Visitors have commented on the “eyes” too, overall though, the styling is clean and room friendly, especially as they work close to rear walls (front ported) they can be pushed right back and some of their height is hidden from the room.
The bases have a nice wide plinth, with built in spikes and the familiar “triangle” front spike, which is designed to increase the rigidity of the frontispiece by coupling it to the floor.
Available in piano white, piano black or high gloss walnut, the general fit and finish is of a very high quality, the paint work is beautifully finished and there’s a reassuring feeling that your £5k wasn’t all spent on marketing.
The cabinets are rock solid, which comes across when listening, there’s none of that nasty cabinet colouration so many seem to go for these days; you know who you are, with your flimsy boxes! The sound quality speaks of good quality drive units moving against a solid wall, in a rigid enclosure… you know, like a proper Hi-Fi loudspeaker. They have a paper cone for the mid-range and a front firing port, with two glass-fibre bass drivers. It’s a 3 way configuration across the 4 drivers, that achieve a very sensitive (for a box speaker) 92decibels for 1watt at 1 meter. You can drive these with a low powered valve amp if that is your thing.
Neil Diamond’s guitar intro on “Captain of a shipwreck” from his sublime 12 Songs album is recreated with stunning reality. The drivers doing the work, not the cabinets, this brings a clarity and cleanliness to the sound. It’s believable and projects into the room without getting too close for comfort. As the guitar goes low the twin bass drivers could perhaps work a touch harder, however the trade off is amazing mid-range clarity as Diamond’s voice is a clearly defined hologram in the middle of the room.
The piano on Wild is the Wind, from the Bowie at the Beeb recording, is a high point too, few speakers can really replicate the percussive tonality of a Piano, especially against a busy back-drop of snare drums and guitars. The Triangles do a very respectable job, far better than perhaps one would expect at this price point. As the drums kick along clearly, the bass line is very tuneful and what appears to be a lack of ultimate depth pays off again as Bowies’ voice is allowed to soar above, unhindered.
Many have commented on Triangle’s metal-domed horn-loaded tweeters in a negative way. I agree there are perhaps more refined tweeters out there, but when they work they really do work. Percussion is given the speed it needs, violins and other strings have that high level of granularity which allows one to almost sense the bow working across the string.. Adele Anthony’s violin on Philip Glass’ Akhnaten Prelude (from his Violin concerto) has real warmth, the horn section is perhaps a touch etched at the very edges yet the sound as a whole is stirring, the music comes through first and only if one works hard to tune-in is one vaguely aware of this minor flaw right at the very limits.. The control in the bass really pays off here, as the big horn-section go to work, there’s a solid wall of deep bass notes backing the crescendo of strings and horns soaring above them all.. I’m somewhat lost in the music, and not really considering the speakers much now, and for that point alone they have proved their worth.
While the Delta’s are laid back in presentation compared to the entry level Triangles, Yellow’s The Race is an absolute hoot! The Delta Signatures might not be the most dynamic speakers I’ve had here, but they can certainly swing. Any thoughts that they are not capable of finding the lower bass notes are soon dispelled too! The room is filled with thunder, controlled thunder from the 2 bass drivers, the sound of the car doors slamming is wonderfully solid the horns blast without blaring and the hand clap backing track gets the feet tapping.. the Triangle/Yello combo does what it should, it puts a smile on your face!
When all’s said and done…
My overall impression is very positive. There’s a phrase often used at Wigwam get-togethers and at shows; “I could live with that”. Which roughly translates into: “while they might not ultimately be my first choice at this price point, I can see why he bought them and if the circumstances where such that I ended up with it/them, I would actually be very happy.” This is quite a compliment when you consider that it’s only really one stop short of “I’m going to buy some for myself, right now”. The Delta signatures leave me somewhere between the two. They out-perform my current speakers and their predecessors by a large margin.. I know that anyone that does buy a pair (and many will), will have their purchase decision affirmed by anyone hearing them with a hearty round of “I could live with those, all day long”. And in Wigwam speak, that means they should be on every £5k short-list.
Call Steve at Audio Emotion to arrange a demo http://www.audioemotion.co.uk/ Tell him James Palmer at HiFiWigwam sent you.. maybe he’ll give me a discount I can’t refuse..:-) 01333 425999