Tri­an­gle

Elara LN01A Ac­tive Speak­ers

NOVO - - REVIEW -

Tri­an­gle has grown over its 38 years to be­come one of France’s largest speaker man­u­fac­tur­ers. As a sought after high end brand, it has de­vel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion in au­dio­phile cir­cles for a qual­ity of sound that pri­or­i­tizes an ideal of mu­si­cal en­gage­ment over ab­so­lutes in ruth­less rev­e­la­tion, thus open­ing up a much wider mu­sic cat­a­log for ex­plo­ration and en­joy­ment. Tri­an­gle of­fers a broad range of speak­ers, from high ticket top tier con­tenders to high value prod­uct de­signed to please the ear as well as the wal­let. Their lat­est de­sign opens new ter­ri­tory in the life­style mar­ket with a tempt­ing al­ter­na­tive to the ma­jor­ity of Blue­tooth of­fer­ings.

DE­SIGN & FEA­TURES

The com­pact new LN01A is de­rived from their pop­u­lar Elara pas­sive se­ries and adds an “A” for am­pli­fied to the model name. The LN01A, in fact is a full fledged stereo sys­tem, in­cor­po­rat­ing mul­ti­ple com­po­nents: an am­pli­fier, pream­pli­fier, and DAC into a sim­pli­fied two box stereo ar­range­ment. It’s a sys­tem that packs the punch and flex­i­bil­ity of a tra­di­tional setup mi­nus the nu­mer­ous boxes and ca­bles.

The Tri­an­gle de­sign fol­lows the stan­dard form of a com­puter style, am­pli­fied two box ar­range­ment. One speaker is ac­tive, hous­ing the elec­tronic hard­ware and the other speaker is pas­sive, teth­ered via a pro­vided speaker ca­ble. The LN01A mar­ries 50 watts of am­pli­fi­ca­tion (x2 chan­nels) with a full as­sort­ment of modern and stan­dard con­nec­tiv­ity on the rear panel. There’s a wire­less Blue­tooth con­nec­tion (4.0 A2DP aptX ver­sion) to give ac­cess to phone, tablet or com­puter sources. There are also coax and op­ti­cal hard wire dig­i­tal in­puts feed­ing an in­ter­nal Wolf­son WM8761 DAC, as well as an RCA pair which is switch­able to ac­com­mo­date either a reg­u­lar line source or a turntable. In fact, Tri­an­gle of­fers an at­trac­tively priced pack­age in­clud­ing a match­ing Pro-Ject turntable with an Orto­fon OM-10e car­tridge to sat­isfy vinyl lovers. Ab­sent are a USB in­put and WiFi, and although not sup­ported on­board, these can be added via out­board so­lu­tions from com­pa­nies such as Google or Ap­ple. For those con­tem­plat­ing a 2.1 ar­range­ment for more ex­tended bass, there is an un­fil­tered sub­woofer out­put. A small wire­less re­mote

al­lows easy con­trol of all stan­dard func­tions plus pro­vides the ad­di­tional niceties of bass and tre­ble tone con­trols as well as Blue­tooth play­back com­mands.

The LN01A is a com­pact de­sign mea­sur­ing 165 H x 235 W x 291 D (mm) and weigh­ing in at 9.5 kg. Driver com­ple­ment is a 25mm silk dome tweeter and a 13.5 cm woofer utiliz­ing an un­capped, full sur­face di­aphragm with a rub­ber sur­round. The aes­thet­ics are taste­fully han­dled, with MDF con­struc­tion fin­ished in satin black or white paint. The drivers are flush mounted with no vis­i­ble mount­ing hard­ware and the tweeter is em­bel­lished with a light cham­pagne tone ac­cent ring. The ap­pear­ance “au na­turel” is clean modern, but for those pre­fer­ring a more con­ser­va­tive front face, Tri­an­gle sup­plies a pair of mag­net­i­cally fas­tened cloth grill cov­ers. There is a light on the lower left cor­ner of the right speaker which gives vis­ual con­fir­ma­tion of sta­tus and con­trol com­mands. Red in­di­cates standby mode, blue for Blue­tooth source, green for hard con­nec­tions, and flash­ing to in­di­cate vol­ume change to it’s up­per and lower lim­its where it be­comes solid.

PER­FOR­MANCE

For lis­ten­ing ses­sions, I went back and forth be­tween my mu­sic server and Ti­dal stream­ing, both con­nected through my server us­ing the wired coax and op­ti­cal con­nec­tions as well as wire­less Blue­tooth from my iPad. The in­ter­nal 192/24 DAC proved ex­tremely son­i­cally ca­pa­ble over a broad spec­trum of record­ing stan­dards, with a sin­gle anom­aly. The coax in­put had prob­lems with Ref­er­ence Record­ings 176.4/24 ma­te­rial, but the op­ti­cal did not. Both wired con­nec­tions were oth­er­wise roughly equiv­a­lent. The Blue­tooth source was quite en­joy­able, but a marked step down in qual­ity from the other al­ter­na­tives, so a hard wired con­nec­tion was a pre­ferred choice for se­ri­ous lis­ten­ing. The phono stage had to go un­ex­plored be­cause alas, my record col­lec­tion and turntable have long since de­parted. I would make the as­sump­tion that since a qual­ity turntable and car­tridge are avail­able as a pack­aged bun­dle, Tri­an­gle would not short­change the prospec­tive vinyl afi­cionado on that front.

My ini­tial setup dur­ing the break-in pe­riod mounted the speak­ers atop my Co­dia Acous­tic De­sign equip­ment rack, fairly close to­gether to ap­prox­i­mate a small scale lis­ten­ing en­vi­ron­ment. There­after the speak­ers were stand mounted in two po­si­tions. First ses­sion saw the Tri­an­gles oc­cupy my stan­dard mon­i­tor spot, well out into the room to re­move bound­ary ef­fects. Sec­ond round put them closer to­gether and about 16” away from the rear wall. IsoA­cou­sic vi­bra­tion mounts were used in all po­si­tions. Cabling was stock pro­vided speaker wire, Au­dio Sen­si­bil­ity coax and Sig­nal Ca­ble op­ti­cal.

The Elara did quite well in the small scale setup, show­ing broad im­age spread, de­cent fo­cus, and sur­pris­ingly un­coloured tonal re­sponse, es­pe­cially in the crit­i­cal mid­band, where in­stru­ments had weight and pres­ence. My stan­dard “big rig” place­ment, far out into the room, didn’t show the Elara to ad­van­tage, but in Goldilocks fash­ion, at 16” out, they played to per­fec­tion.

Low vol­ume re­sponse was ex­em­plary, re­tain­ing in­tel­li­gi­bil­ity and dy­namic en­ergy. On the op­po­site end of the scale, the diminu­tive pair played rea­son­ably loud with ex­tra­or­di­nary dy­namic con­trast. Don’t ex­pect PA lev­els, but they can fill a room. Tre­ble re­sponse was both sweet

and highly de­tailed, prov­ing the silk dome a good driver choice in this pair­ing and con­trib­uted a cred­i­ble sense of “air” and rel­e­vant venue in­for­ma­tion with­out any hard­ness or ring­ing. Vo­cal pre­sen­ta­tion was clean and un­clut­tered, favour­ing an or­ganic, solid pre­sen­ta­tion that gave body to the per­form­ers with­out ex­hibit­ing any se­ri­ous box col­oration. Bass weight on the small mid­woofer reached a solid 35 cy­cles, prov­ing once again, that modern com­pact speak­ers needn’t be bass shy. The ex­tended lower end re­sponse didn’t draw at­ten­tion to it­self, un­less pushed to ex­cess by either place­ment er­ror or vol­ume level, giv­ing cred­i­ble foun­da­tion to in­stru­ments like the bass cello and piano. Record­ings such as “Fever” from the Con­ver­gence al­bum by Malia and Boris Blank or the heavy slam­ming main ti­tle theme for “The Pu­n­isher” by Tyler Bates on Ti­dal kicked with weight, def­i­ni­tion, and dy­namic power. The lit­tle Tri­an­gle wasn’t afraid of throw­ing some mus­cle into the mu­si­cal pro­ceed­ings.

All fun­da­men­tal pa­ram­e­ters were well rep­re­sented, and high lev­els of de­tail, venue size, dy­namic swing, and di­men­sional fo­cus, although very slightly di­min­ished by price no ob­ject stan­dards, were still very much in ev­i­dence. The Tri­an­gle could play big and bold, or warm and in­ti­mate, with a vis­ceral qual­ity cap­tur­ing an ad­dic­tive mix of au­then­tic in­stru­ment den­sity and propul­sive en­ergy. Per­cus­sive spec­tac­u­lar “Can Can” from FIM’s Top 12 in Gold Plus al­bum came alive with quick at­tack, re­ver­ber­ant de­cay and a huge sound­stage. On Ti­dal, the scale and haunt­ing del­i­cacy of Lavinia Mei­jer’s harp on “Rooftop Kiss” from James Horner: The Clas­sics was cap­tured grand scale, ar­tic­u­late, life size and di­men­sional in a con­vinc­ing fash­ion.

Just how good was the Elara LN01A? Those mak­ing the as­sump­tion that the com­puter speaker form would dic­tate ad­e­quate but not se­ri­ous per­for­mance, would be in gross er­ror. Tri­an­gle’s rep­u­ta­tion for mak­ing thor­oughly en­gag­ing high end loud­speak­ers was well hon­oured in these strong lit­tle per­form­ers. They ex­hib­ited some of the best abil­i­ties of higher tier pow­er­houses with what most will per­ceive as only small com­pro­mises, and like a good magic trick, those com­pro­mises were clev­erly con­cealed. The mod­est price tag buys a high qual­ity, full fledged stereo sys­tem with only a source re­quired to make mu­sic. Pro­vided a good source, these de­mure look­ing tots will hap­pily demon­strate some diva cal­iber per­for­mance that can com­pete against sep­a­rates at mul­ti­ples the cost. Whether you’re up­wardly mo­bile or down­siz­ing from the big rig, the Elara LN01A is eas­ily rec­om­mended. It’s per­fect for those short on space but not on mu­si­cal as­pi­ra­tions - a stand­out sonic value.

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