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Joël Chevassus
Financial Interests: click here
Source: Audio Analogue Grand Maestro CD
Preamp/Integrated: Vincent SV-238
Speakers: JLA Acoustique Perspective 2 Signature & Stand 80, McIntosh LS360
Cable: Naturelle Audio XLR cables Live 8 and Live 4, Naturelle Audio loudspeaker cables, Guzi power cords
Stands: Quest for Sound Isol pads for CD player, Ikea stand for Vincent SV-238, Norstone AV piu for audio & video sources
Room size: 56 square meters
Review Component Retail: ca. €12,000/pr in Europe (varies with country due to VAT)

The context: Georges Cabasse, Jacques Mahul, Pierre-Etienne Leon and Renaud de Vergnette – it’s this manufacturers' quatuor which mainly contributed to establishing the history of sound à la française. Even today, their four companies deliver the essential high-tech range of French loudspeakers: Cabasse with its amazing La Sphere, Focal with the new version of the Grande Utopia, Elipson with the new 4240 series and  Triangle by combining in the Magellan line complex technical solutions with a traditional luxury image.

The French ingredient can be characterized by a detailed and airy sound, a kind of distinguished élégance opposed to an earthier more carnal British approach. One of the most typical promoters of this more delicate sound has been without question the Triangle Electroacoustique company. Founded by Renaud de Vergnette in the early eighties, Triangle quickly succeeded in finding followers by proposing a wide range of speakers delivering great musicality and highly accurate sound. Luminosity in the high range and bass subtlety over impact definitely assigned to Triangle the role of one of the two violins in the French string quartet.

Triangle's tradition makes the brand specific to and unique in France with its slim profiles, proprietary drivers and efficient construction technologies. Even today, Triangle's new engineering team conscientiously follows De Vergnette's founding spirit. Also the strong sonic identity remains on track. Precision, delicacy and purity are a perfect reflection of the loudspeakers' physical appearance.

Triangle loudspeakers are and remain first of all products designed by music lovers. While audiophile and technical perspectives have been taken into account as well, musicality prevails. Each speaker's name has a musical origin and may be one of the most exciting in the present case of the Quatuor. I will have opportunity to return to this specific quatuor argument. From an aesthetic perspective, the slim and elegant lines of the exquisite wood veneers remind us of a musical instrument. The front spike (SPEC system) of each floorstander is inspired by the cello's attribute.  Last but not least, the gorgeous midrange of Triangle speakers reminds us of the musical essence rather than characteristics of ambient noise.

Triangle's sound can be defined as an analytical approach due to the sheer profusion of detail in the mid/high frequencies. Yet this high level of information is delivered with great elegance and cohesion to underscore the integrity of the musical message. Listening to Triangle, one gains a better understanding of the musical qualities related to audio components. Of course, perhaps someone should ask how a speaker can be ranked as strictly musical. I think it is linked to the ability of reproducing the most subtle particles of both beat and melody.

Triangle loudspeakers are undoubtedly brilliant in this specific area. That’s not to say that the excess of focus and detail works against general coherence. Au contraire, I am convinced that each melodic line has to be precisely underlined inside the symphonic framework. Do we really believe the intention of a symphonic orchestra composer or conductor can be limited to an overall appreciation of the musical piece? Each small detail contributes and should be intelligible accordingly.

To return to Triangle’s aural identity, the crystalline sound of the French brand has been an element of differentiation versus competitors since the beginning. It has been difficult to remain insensitive to Triangle's house sound. You either love it or hate it. There’s no middle ground with such polarization. That's why so many discussions in French audio forums about Triangle have always been a matter of stormy debates.

Focusing the Quatuor SE: Get the Quatuor SE out of its box and you immediately know that you are dealing with a luxury product. Triangle definitely isn’t joking. Even the smallest of little details has been attended with care. As could be practiced in the jewelry business, the Quatuor SE is protected by a double orange chamois leather cover. Once removed from the packaging, the Bubinga loaner I received was one of the finest speakers I ever hosted. The Quatuor SE is a sophisticated piece of furniture able to fit into modern as well as more classical living rooms. Triangle applied ten layers of lacquer polished at each step to create a luxury finish very close to a real piano gloss. The Triangle enclosure remains narrow and the acoustic rear load of each proprietary driver has been studied and carefully matched. The Magellan cabinet does not merely serve an aesthetic purpose but also represents important technical considerations. Triangle declares to have taken great care against resonance phenomena to avoid cabinet talk colorations.

The challenge is nevertheless difficult considering the loudspeaker's lean form factor. Of course some coloration will remain. Desired or not, it is a specific feature of Triangle's identity. The design of the Magellan enclosure has been subjected to exhaustive measuring tests by means of laser accelerometers to highlight any remaining resonant zones. The MDF used is nearly twice the common density. Each Quatuor SE weighs 99 pounds and stands 52.7"’ tall by 16.7"’ wide by 14.6" deep. Positioning the SE among the Magellan SW2 family, you could consider that the smaller Magellan Cello floorstander recently reviewed by Srajan is as wide and deep as the next-step-up Quatuor but only stands 44.8" tall. In fact, both Cello and Quatuor have 6.3" woofers (two for the Cello, three for the Quatuor). The bigger siblings scale up the foot print and increase the woofers to 8.3" diameters. The flagship Grand Concert stands 84.6" tall by 23.6" wide by 17.7" deep, the shorter Concerto tops out at 63”.  One of the obvious design briefs for the Magellan Quatuor were still reasonable dimensions for a high-performance full-range loudspeaker.

The Quatuor SE (special edition) is the first Magellan speaker to lose the SW2 suffix. In turn, its tweeter designation earned the GC suffix. Upgrading from TZ2900 to TZ2900 GC, the Quatuor SE wins substantially with Triangle’s most prestigious tweeter ever handed down directly from the Grand Concert SW2. Machined from a single aluminum block rather than being injection molded, this 1.4kg metal mass offers sufficient density to eliminate even subtle resonance modes. The ultra-smooth horn surface supports better wave propagation and to improve dispersion and spaciousness in the high frequencies, Triangle has equipped the Quatuor SE with two tweeters, one in the front and one rear-firing (as was already the case for the previous Quatuor SW2 with TZ2900 tweeters).