Elara LN01A Active Speakers
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.
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.