Costing £1199 the Triangle Borea BR09 loudspeakers are a three-way floorstanding design. Stuart Smith tries them out for Hifi Pig.

Triangle, or Triangle Manufacture Electroacoustique to give them their full title, is a French manufacturer based in Soissons in the North of the country and now owned by Hugo Decelle. They are distributed in the UK by Elite Audio. The Borea series of speakers is very much at the budget end of things and has three floorstanders, two bookshelfs, and a centre speaker in the range, with the BR09 being the top model. Clearly the Boreas are aimed at the multi-channel market as well as the more traditional two-channel market. The Borea range is available in light oak, walnut, black and white finishes.

Fit and Finish

Let’s be clear here, at this price I wasn’t expecting the BR09’s to be anything fancy fit and finish wise but, in truth, there is nothing here to complain about at all, though it is clear they are built to a price point. It’s a three-way design with three 16cm bass drivers in a front-ported bass reflex enclosure. There’s a similarly sized mid-range driver and a partially horn-loaded “Efficient Flow System” 25mm silk dome tweeter that has a phase plug designed to reduce directivity. The white midrange driver is made of natural cellulose paper, has no surface treatment, and has a “small pleat peripheral short-travel suspension” and is designed to be very rigid. The bass drivers are fiberglass.

The cabinet itself utilises something Triangle call DVAS (Driver Vibration Absorption System) which is in effect a back brace to each driver, interfacing with the back of the drivers motor with a high-density foam gasket. DVAS is a pretty neat solution as it reduces vibrations of the drivers’ suspension getting to the cabinet and, in turn, provides bracing to the cabinet itself. You get a pedestal on which to mount the speakers that comes with rubber pads should you not be able to use spikes. You also get a grille that connects to the speakers magnetically but I didn’t bother with them and Triangle suggests removing them whilst listening anyway.

Being 92.5 dB sensitive they should be pretty easy to drive and they have a claimed frequency response of 35 to 22 000Hz.

Round the back you get a couple of good quality speaker binding posts that accept all the usual connections.

Standing 1.1m the BR09 is a pretty imposing loudspeaker and you certainly do seem to be getting a good deal of product for the asking price, though, being hypercritical, they are a bit boxy looking – lots of other loudspeakers are too and that aesthetic will either be to your taste or not.

Sound Quality

I’ve always been a fan of Triangle since first encountering them at a Hifi show in the UK about 10 years ago and they then had a good reputation of being a great match for valve amplification. One criticism that has been leveled at Triangle (like Focal for that matter) has been a sharp top-end response but I’ve never really got that accusation at all.

For the purposes of this review, I’ve partnered them with a pair of Merrill Thor amps, Leema DAC, and an Auralic G2 streamer. Cables are the usual mix of Tellurium Q, Atlas, Way, and Atlas. Qobuz allied with Roon was used for the duration

For a two-channel set up Triangle recommends having the speakers at least 40cm away from the back wall, 50cm away from side walls, and 2m apart. I had them well out into the room and well away from any side walls but when considering a purchase you should take Triangle’s recommendations into account. They also suggest having them firing down the length of the with the listening position 2m from the centre which I duly complied with.

One of the very best experiences I have had with HiFi was a few years back at Munich was listening to Kraftwerk on a huge set of old Western Electric horns, and it was Trans Europe Express I virtually reached for and this is when I had to go look at the price of the BR09s. The delayed synth sequence at the start of the album’s opening track (Endless Europe) was really well done and I was well impressed with the focus and imaging of these speakers. No, you don’t get the same airiness of our Audiovector R3 Arete with their AMT tweeter but there was really nothing to moan about here I don’t reckon. The width of the soundstage could be better and there is a feeling that it is confined between the speakers left to right, but there is good depth to the image and sounds stay in the right places. Jean Michel Jarre’s Oxygene confirms all of the above but, due to the recording’s production I’d suggest, you are getting more width to the stereo image and the little staccato pings on Oxygene Pt 1 bounce about in a very pleasing manner – in fact, I let the whole album play and wash over me.

OK, 35Hz is a pretty bold claim for a loudspeaker and so a bit of Photek was in order and his Solaris album. Yep, these go low but when the volume is cranked up to realistic volumes things can get a tad confusing when compared to listening to our Avantgardes and their active bass, but hey, apples and oranges. Id not say the BR09’s have the same refinement in the bass as our Audiovectors either, but the market for these speakers is in my opinion, and judging by the Borea range’s offering, going to be people who want a good stereo production that can easily be incorporated into a surround sound system without the need to add a sub and in this these speakers hit the mark very nicely indeed. Compared to the Davis Acoustics speakers we had in recently for review (read it here) there is certainly more bottom end but it’s just less tight with the Triangles. But bass it’s still nicely balanced with the rest of the frequency range and certainly doesn’t dominate proceedings. In fact, and turning to our speaker killing track (Daft Punk’s Contact) and at volume, I’m really enjoying what I’m hearing and when the track breaks at around 4 minutes 48 seconds that guttural synth is presented very well, and the throbbing undercurrent sounds fab. No there isn’t the detail the Davis’ or the Audiovectors give you when pulling sounds apart but for the vast majority of folk not being too over critical they will be well served. Roon throws up The Chemical Brothers’ Gravity Drops before I can make my own selection and again that bass kick sounds great at volume. Actually, on this kind of material, the Triangles are great fun to be around – and an exciting listen!

After reading our recent interview with Colin Pratt from Chord (read it here), I’ve found myself delving into more and more rock from my mid-teens and so to Motorhead’s Ace of Spades and the fantastic anti-heroin track Dead Men Tells No Tales. At low volume I feel I’m left wanting a little more, but hitting Vol+ on the remote brings rewards and I’m really rocking out to what the Triangles bring to the party, though those looking for more refinement may want to explore the company’s Esprit range of speakers. Audiophiles can be a demanding bunch and, let’s face it, most people buying these speakers are not going to be your dyed-in-the-wool audio nutter (I include myself in this category so please don’t feel offended if you think “that’s me!”) and if you want to party at volume, then these could well be the speaker for you – in fact, I pop on more Motorhead in the form of Overkill and loving it and, as Lemmy says, and it’s very apt with these speakers, “The only way to feel the noise is when it’s good and loud” – wise words from the much-missed Mr. Kilminster. I suppose what I’m trying to get across to you is that these speakers, like Lemmy, certainly know how to party!

However, the world is not only made up of techno and rock freak and so I line up Tracy Chapman on Roon. Again I’m really not disappointed at all, with the Boreas throwing Chapman’s voice out into the room and without adding much colour at all – Behind The Wall sounds really beautiful and her voice is presented with a clarity that belies the price of these loudspeakers – I really wasn’t expecting this at all. Being hyper-critical they are not as uncoloured as our reference floorstanders, but there’s little to whine about here. There’s also a good level of detail to Chapman’s guitar playing and you get a very acceptable feeling for the song and the production – very accomplished for the price!

Conclusion

When I first plumbed in the Boreas I thought there was a fault with the left-hand channels tweeter. There was a very slight tizziness and so I contacted Triangle’s press guy to tell them so and I took them out of the system – next day the left-hand channel went on my amp. This ability for the Triangles to highlight what was a very minor warning sign is pretty impressive I think.

OK, these speakers are not going to win the contest for the most revealing speakers overall and they are certainly not perfect, but for £1200 they are great fun and especially at volume. If you are looking for the ultimate refinement then you will want to look elsewhere, I reckon, but if you want to PARTY then these could well be the speakers you have been looking for, with the added bonus that, in actual fact, they play a wide range of music very well indeed. In the final analysis, they are a nicely balanced speaker.

So, overall I really enjoyed the Boreas and think that if you want a good pair of speakers to perhaps put into a home cinema then these are a good value, great sounding choice with the benefit of doing two-channel really well.

In France I know which shops these loudspeakers will be bought in (Boulanger (where they can currently be bagged for €499, which is outrageous value) and Darty) and Triangle have created a product that fits this market very well – a mid-priced product that shifts in numbers. In the UK I think the Borea will struggle a little more with regards to being bought in huge numbers, but that is not to say they are not a relevant product for this market too.

If you get a chance to hear them and are in the market for a fun loudspeaker that won’t break the bank, then do so.

AT A GLANCE

Build Quality: Clearly built to a price but solid and well put together.

Sound Quality: A party speaker that likes to be turned up loud but one that can also do a good degree of subtlety too.

Value For Money: Triangle has done a great job at creating a speaker with great mass-market appeal.

Pros:

Deep bass.

Reasonably uncoloured.

Exciting and involving.

Good imaging and soundstaging.

Fairly well integrated across the frequency spectrum.

Like to go loud.

Cons:

Bass not as tight as some other speakers.

Do like to have a bit of volume to sound at their best.

Not the most refined of speakers.

Not the prettiest of speakers.

Price: £1199

 

 

 

 

 

Stuart Smith

Review Equipment: Auralic G1 streamer, Leema Libra DAC, Merrill Thor amps, Way, Tellurium Q, and Atlas cables.

Technical Specifications

 Type Floorstand speakers
Ways 3
Sensitivity (dB/W/m) 92
Bandwidth (+/-3dB Hz-KHz) 35-22
Power Handling (W Rms) 170
Minimum / Optimal Impedance (Ohms) 3.3 / 8 Ω
Cabinets Dimensions (WxHxD) (Inch) 8.11 x 43.11 x 12.36
Dimensions with Pedestal (WxHxD) (Inch) 10.23 x 44.33 x 14,17
Packaging Dimensions (WxHxD) (Inch) 12.2 x 47.3 x 16.6
Net Weight (Lbs) 51.58
Packaging Weight (Lbs/per piece) 57.32

 

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