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The hi hat gives it away: Next up was Bill Callahan’s gorgeous Sometimes I Wish I Were An Eagle. The opener "Jim Cain" is a true treble tester as the enormously forward clockwork precision of the closed hi-hat has been recorded in near pornographic, painfully close focus. A lame tweeter congeals, a hyper present one clicks and scrapes. Not the Altea EX. Each discrete ‘tsing’ appears casually dry in the air and one sees sticks falls before they even hit. Once Callahan’s baritone kicked in, I was already lost in the beautifully saturated power and peace of the Altea.

2 x 2.5 watt experiment:
I soon got itchy for experimentation. Just a day prior, the Hong Kong courier had suitably dispatched a bleeding 2.5wpc valve amp. Including ship charges, maker MiniWatt charges all of a shameful €192 equivalent. Did that even stand a chance in hell? I hung ridicule off the Triangle Altea and fed the player Grant Green's famously relaxed live version of "Down here on the ground".

Idris Muhammad feathers ghost notes, Ronnie Foster plucks a dreamy Hammond organ and grandmaster Green adds divine Laidback. This amp/speaker combo too was great fun. The room measures 30 square meters yet the Altea at 12:00 on the pot hit the groove in live fashion. It did look just a bit funky and in theory one could even park the amp atop a box. One shouldn't but hey, one could.

Derailed? Now I wanted to upset the Frenchies. Not for nothing do tone meisters fear the Irish U2 quartet's elaborations for their - ahem, unusual acoustics. The gloomy "Cedars of Lebanon" meanwhile isn't merely a reliable goose pimpler but true system assault. One refrain into the song, the most chilling of sub basses enters the picture to ruthlessly reveal any imbalances between bass and midrange. To not get the gentle Yarland too deeply worked into a sweat, I moved in the yeoman old Harman-Kardon HK670 which tends to produce somewhat more beer gut in the lower reaches. Sun shine continued.

The Altea EX remained unfazed, clear and articulate. Higher SPLs did not upset the balance and mids and highs remained clear, not always the case with mid/woofers. The Triangles however did stay the course perfectly.

Anything amiss? How 'bout classical? An SACD of Mahler's Second with the Vienna forces under Gilbert Kaplan would call out dynamics, dimensionality and depth layering. The first posed no challenges. Altea's dynamic prowess slaps your ears one moment, caresses them the next. It's with soundstaging where we encounter a peculiarity by way of a narrow sweet spot. If you're in it, welcome to due holographics. When you're out, it's still nice but you do miss the speaker's true potential.

To put it squarely, Triangle's Altea is one finicky diva during setup. It's advisable in fact to call upon one or two willing subjects who, while one hogs the comfy plush seat with furred brows, follow persnickety commands—a tad more to the right, now turn inwards, stop, too far—until everything locks in and fits to taste. To not overdraw, the Altea is already fun outside the sweet spot but does reward proper attention with far higher interest rates than most competitors in this class. My favored geometry was the classic equilateral triangle of at least 2.5 meters in side length, without toe-in but a slight rearward elongation.

Conclusion: The Altea is a finely finished floorstander that's unusually tolerant about even ridiculously under-powered valve amps where she'll still generate impressive and clean levels. But powerful transistors too are well served and sound very peppy and bursting with vitality. The overall sonic character is clear, lively and full of presence but free of superficial effects. The highs are exceptionally silky and transparent, the mids dynamic and the bass well-balanced and fast without emphasis. Alas, this is no box for extreme Rock and the sweet spot is narrow but potent. With proper setup, staging is exceptionally spacious and well transcends the borders of the triangular speakers/chair layout. Due to tech specs, actual sonics and spatial traits, I'd recommend Triangle's Altea EX particularly for all live-vibe music. Jazz of all ages, singer-songwriters and high-level Rock or Pop won't ever disappoint and chamber music and symphonics are served as well. To really disappear into a deeply drawn stage merely requires that you not leave the hot seat...

Triangle website