When a local fellow audiophile offered me to try a pair of Triangle Borea BR03 speakers, I was immediately interested to make it happen. First of all, I have never had any Triangle speaker in my setup, but most importantly, this particular model has been praised quite a bit by my fellow reviewers and the audiophile community in general. Naturally, I was curious to see if they can live up to the hype.
Build and Features
Triangle Borea BR03 is what I would call a normal-size bookshelf. Measuring 206 x 380 x 314 mm they’re not particularly small but one could never call them big either. It’s just big enough to host a 160 mm (6.3″) bass/midrange unit which is joined by a 25 mm (1″) silk dome tweeter. Just beneath the bigger driver, you can see two bass-reflex ports located on the front panel. This makes it a ported two-way design. I’m not sure about the USA, but here in Europe, this size of speaker is usually the most popular in the entire range. It’s probably due to the fact that this kind of size works well with most small to medium rooms.
The finish is good for the class, nothing really stands out but there’s nothing to complain about either. Estethics boils down to personal preference so I’ll leave that one to you. For more tech specs you can refer to the table at the bottom of the page because now we talk about performance.
I listened to these speakers hooked to three different integrated amps: SMSL A300, Rega Brio, and Atoll IN100 integrated amps. Later on, I used my Acoustic Invader separates to fully access its limits. I used several different DACs as a source: Ladder Schumann, Topping D90LE, Musician Pegasus, etc. All of these different pairings revealed the speaker’s own character quite well.
Sound and Pairing
Triangle Borea BR03 is one lively-sounding speaker. Its tonality is bright and open, and highs are very extended and airy. There’s also a certain speed and forwardness to the sound that can’t be easily explained by talking about the frequency spectrum. It sounds very attractive and brings life into music, but some attention to pairing must be given. For example, with Atoll IN100 the whole experience was on the too-bright side for my taste. Rega Brio with its full and juicy tonality matched this speaker’s character much better for example. Being open and direct in higher registers doesn’t really take anything away from BR03’s bassline performance. The bassline is deep and punchy, it has that same quick, lively, and forward character as the rest of the sound.
The quick and lively nature of this speaker makes fast-paced rhythms very enjoyable in a way that would make most other speakers in this class sound slow and lazy. Microdynamics is great, but big dynamic swings are carried out with a kind of authority that I really didn’t expect from a speaker of this size and price. There’s nothing to complain about on this front, BR03 is party makers in the most positive sense of the phrase.
Borea BR03 wasn’t demanding when it came to positioning. It worked just fine closer to walls but at the expanse of the soundstage depth that increased as I moved the speakers more into the room. The soundstage width is pretty good, and BR03 positions every tone with precision. Nothing gets blurred or smudged if the rest of the system is up to the task. That said, there is a slight tendency to push the soundstage forwards, toward the listener. I find that characteristic attractive since it makes vocals and leading instruments sound close and in my room. However, if you’re after laid back and relaxed listen, with laid-back soundstaging, this Triangle might not be to your taste.
Q Acoustics 3030i has a different character. It sounds tamer dynamically, which is a nice way to say flatter. Its soundstage is more laid back too, with most things happening behind the speakers. Triangle made a noticeably more engaging and forward-sounding speaker with more punch and a simply livelier sound overall. However, Triangle probably needs more care with pairing. Truth be told, 3030i was always a little bit too sedated for my personal taste, so I have a clear preference towards Borea BR03 here, but you might disagree.
Klipsch RP-600M is yet another very lively and engaging speaker. RP-600M can create an even wider soundstage and equals Triangle when it comes to dynamics. However, Triangle is better when it comes to imaging and layering. I also feel that Triangle integrates different parts of the frequency spectrum together better. Once properly matched, the sound with Triangle appears more as a whole. With Klipsch, I was always aware that the bassline and highs are coming from two separate drivers with their own separate characters. So once again, my preference is towards Triangle.
ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 is a smaller and cheaper model. B6.2 would definitely be a more fair comparison, but I only tested 5.2 so better this comparison than nothing. That said, Elac is tonally more balanced and its frequency spectrum is more coherent. Because of this, it will sound more neutral with a wider range of amplifiers and sources. On the other hand, Triangle offers bassline authority, dynamics, speed, resolution, and overall engagement that Elac simply can’t match. B6.2 would certainly fare better with regard to the bassline, but I do believe that Trianlge would still have other advantages.
While not perfect in every situation and with every pairing, Triangle BR03 is such a great and engaging performer that it pays off to build a system around it. At the time of testing, this speaker I have not heard anything near this price point that combined this many qualities into one package. All of this makes it my new favorite affordable speaker (Elac Debut being in that position for a long time), and a very easy recommendation. I had to make a round and decrease the final scores of all previously tested speakers in this price range.
|TRIANGLE BOREA BR03 – CHARACTERISTICS|
Enclosure Type: 2- Way Bass Reflex