Thanks for the thoughts. I'm honored you'd post back.
The audition was at Chelsea Audio and Video in Beaverton, OR, which is just outside of Portland. Vendor training may be called for but they really seemed to know exactly what they were doing, even more so than other dealers I've stopped by here in this area (even other high-end dealers here, of which I had shopped two others in addition to Chelsea, looking at different systems).
On the physical setup, the Triton IIs were the primary system installed in a pretty close to dedicated demo room, though they also had a pair of Triton IIIs off to the side, as well as a recently released B&W in-wall system (not sure which one) in the same room. The setup was nowhere near what you might see in the local Magnolia/BB in that there was just one receiver and just the two other speaker systems in addition to the Triton IIs, and the room had clearly been treated to special soundproofing and other sound treatment treatments. In fact, at Chelsea, if anything, A/B testing is a bit of a chore due to the limited ability to switch back and forth. I believe the receiver was an Anthem MRX-700 with an Oppo-95 DVR, so a reasonably good set up on the electronics end there, too. If anything, it seemed a pretty close to ideal situation for an audition, certainly better than it will get in my mezzanine home theater room, and I made a point of discussing my concerns with the sales tech there, who tried to make adjustments to change the characteristics of the system to overcome this problem while I was there.
By the way, I want to love the system, I really do, and I wanted to walk out with one when I went for the audition. Instead, I found I loved the towers. If I was just looking for 2 channel you can bet the Triton's would be my first choice. As it is, I'm looking for a home theater system and as a result I'm really getting caught up on the center, which seemed to really under perform on the voice track (the only real problem I had with the center) even when we jacked it up from -2.0 db (the level their rep reported to me as optimized) to +4.5 dB. The problem with the intelligibility of the voice track in comparison to the music track, or even the effects track, which mostly came through the center, never went away. The voice track sounded like someone had thrown a blanket over it.
I'd really love to find a setting that would make the center sing the way the towers sing. If you'd be able to direct the guys at Chelsea on how to make that happen, I'm totally game. Based on the reviews I've seen, I want to love your system and take one home with me today. It's just not happening for me yet, and it is all about the voice track on the center channel.
As it is I'm likely to go back out there one more time to see if maybe I can change some settings myself, but I really do think this might be a technical issue with the design of the system. I feel like I'm having to work way too hard to love a $500 center in a system I want to get because I really do love the towers. The center seems just not to be in the same class as the towers, not even close.
By the way, I also received an email through the private channel that said pretty much the same thing I put up above, but that originated somewhere else geographically, and in that email they also questioned the use of a $500 center with a $3,000 set of speakers.
As you know in HT... it's all about the center. The GoldenEar towers really deliver, but in an environment in which an estimated 80% of the content comes through the center, does it really make sense to spend in the neighborhood of $5k for a $500 center? I think there may be a lot more people out there that have this feeling than might be realized there at the GoldenEar offices, even following auditions for the media that all seem to focus on two channel music.
Beau Martin / aka: Choice_Econ