After living with the Triads Gold LCR for over a week and a half, watching over dozen movies and listening to a dozen or so cds, I think I have a good enough time with them where I am comfortable enough to provide some feedback. These are just my subjective opinions – YMMV.
Before anyone read my thoughts on the Triads, I think it may be a good idea for you to read my review/thoughts on the JTRs Sealed T8s
I did almost a year ago as I feel it somewhat ties into this review.
If you read or did not read the review you should know that I loved the JTRs.Disclosures:
All these listening tests were done without the aid of alcohol or any other substances.
It was just me and my two ears. I have not owned that many speakers in my lifetime, not as many as some here, but I have heard some friends and family members speakers, speakers at different events, various IMAX movie theaters, various aftermarket car audio system (not just woofers on wheels but good car audio systems), specialty stores with dedicated rooms and even some decent headphones.
OK so let’s start…
Both the JTRs and Triads look and feel to be solid build quality. My JTRs have a more rugged pro look while my Triads have more of a finished smoother, more refined, look. I prefer the Triads when the lights are on but usually we have the lights off when watching movies so maybe it a moot point for me. If your thing is to have a nicer finish the Triads look better but JTRs do make custom finishes as well for an additional cost.
After I hooked up the Triads, I disengage the previous Audyssey setting as it was set to work with the JTRs. I made sure all the crossovers were set to 80hz and level matched everything with an SPL meter and listened to music and some movies scenes for 1.5 hour and really loved what I heard.
I would have left things well enough alone but the bass coming out of the SubMersive was just a tad bit boomy (room related). So I decided to try Audyssey which did smooth out the bass more and I like what Audyssey does to my surrounds too.
Audyssey XT set my Gold LCRs to full range and I changed it to 80hz.
Audyssey had previously set the JTRs at -12 and it set the Triads at L/C/R -7.5, 8.0 and 7.0 respectively. Cleary the JTRs are more efficient/sensitive at 98db. The Triads Gold LCRs are 92db sensitive. With the Audyssey setting the JTRs at -12, the center channel (via SPL meter) measured 2db more than the left and right. I thought this might have given the JTRs an advantage as I thought dialog intelligibility was a little better on the JTRs. Triads were not bad at all (was actually great) but the JTRS were slightly better. While JTRs center was 2db more than the left and right speaker, the Triad left, center, and right measured the same via the SPL meter. I raised the level of the Triad center (1db) from -8.0 to -7.0 and the dialog improved further where I now feel they are about the same. Both are excellent at dialog intelligibility.
JTRs can definitely play louder but my room is only 1150cu. ft and I’m only sitting 8 to 8.5ft from the front 3 speakers. The Triads can go loud enough to put a grin on your face or damage hearing in this little room with the Onkyo 805 receiver. It’s one of the few receivers that actually meet and exceeds its published specs (bench tests)
. I also feel that while the Triads are very dynamic, the JTRs seemed even more dynamic but in a small room like mine with the just 805 receiver, the Triads are way more than dynamic enough for me. In a much larger room, say ~2500cu ft or more, I believe the JTRs should have a bigger benefit in dynamics over the Triads when using the same wattage.
Let’s just cut to the chase – In my room, even with the JTRs having a slight edge in dynamics and being more efficient, the Triads Gold LCRs are the best speakers I’ve ever owned. Triads are smoother, voices sound even more natural and it seems more delicate with certain material while resolving more detail. I’ll go as far as to say, the Triads are the best speaker I’ve ever heard in my life time! (Again, this is just my personal preference and it should be noted that the JTRs new is still about half the price of the Triads new). To be even clearer, I am not saying there are not any other better speakers out there. I’m just saying that I personally have not heard anything better.
In 2 channel mode, the sealed Triple 8s gives a great wall of sound. The Gold LCRs seem to cast an even bigger, more engulfing, wall of sound. There were times when I could swear, not only was sound coming from center, the right, far right and left and far left of me but it almost sounded like there was sound wrapped around me (WTF?!) How is this possible? It was like wearing some of the best set of headphones but music had more air and or ambience/presence to it. Imaging was superb in two channel mode! While I was going through some of my favorite music cd’s my, 68 year old, mother in law walks in the room a few times and starts dancing. I could not believe how great these speakers sound and how the lead singer’s voice was anchored at, what seemed like, the center channel even though this was in stereo (2 channel mode). The T8-lps did this quite well too but the Triads were revealing more details while remaining smoother to my ear. I was in such disbelief that I sat my mother-in-law in chair (sweet spot) and asked her “Can you tell me which speaker you can hear the voices while the music plays?” My mother-in-law begins to pick up back ground singers on the right speaker, tells me she hears certain instruments on the left side and then explain the lead singers voice is coming from that speaker (as she points towards the center channel – which was not even on). It’s one thing for me to understand some of this stuff and pay attention or look out for it but it’s amazing that it’s so apparent to someone who knows nothing of this hobby and could care less but yet she can still pick up on this stuff so easily. On movies, this trait makes the Gold LCR seems more fluid – meaning stuff just pans across the front stage so smoothly. There are no drop outs, holes or gaps, if you will, in the front stage. The Triple 8s were exceptional at this, the Golds are slightly better.
Since I’ve had the JTR T8-lp’s for almost a year, I had a lot of opportunities to try different sources on them. On some poor sources, the JTRs can really point out the flaws in the source. Sometimes if the source is bad enough, it’s not pleasurable listening experience. I don’t think this is a flaw in the JTR as they excel when the source is good/great. Less than stellar sources on the Triads don’t sound great but it does not sound as bad as it does on the JTRs. This may not seem like such a bad thing but if I’m watching a movie with a somewhat poor recording/source, I am more focused on how distracting it sounds versus actually watching the movie. This is probably just a mental flaw in me as it does not bother the wife or others who has watched these movies with me. Since the Triads don’t sound as bad with the same source, I am more focused on the movie and can enjoy it that much more.
IMHO the JTRs are great at live acoustic type music. It’s an incredible goose bump inducing experience. They are good with most music as well (source dependent of course). The Triads are a goose bump inducing experience regardless of the genre of music, not just live acoustic stuff. While I have experienced goose bumps on previous speakers, the Triads do it way more often. There was one point where the Triads induced tears
That has never happened with any other speaker regardless of source, material, location, price, venue and etc! The Triad Golds are silky smooth, detailed and a pleasure to listen to at any volume. It does not have to be turned to near reference to enjoy them. For a guy who was always 99% HT, the Triads have me listening to more music in 1½ week than what I have listened to in the past 2 years or 2 previous systems. I feel they are fantastic with movies and yet even better with music. I never felt the need to pull out CDs with my last 2 systems as I do now – not that the JTRs or my Sapphires sounded bad with music but that’s how phenomenal I think the Gold LCRs are with music.
It seems I can turn the volume up more on the Triads and they seem to sound fuller, smoother, may be warmer than the JTRs yet remain very detailed. I don’t know why this is – I thought with the JTRs being more efficient it would sound more composed (if you will) at reference. JTR sound composed at reference but the Triads sound composed yet fuller at reference. (Again this is in my small treated room with an Onkyo 805 receiver).
Midbass seems slightly improved and smoother on the Triads. I’m also noticing more subtle details in movies and music. I can hear more instruments on music and heard a few background singers I never heard before on certain songs. On movies, if someone is walking outside, I hear more of the details like the wind, leaves/trees ruffling, birds chirping and background noises. On other movie scenes where someone might be talking in a big room a little louder than normal; I can clearly hear their voice in the center speaker and a subtle echo on either the right or left speaker. It’s not only that I can hear these details clearer now vs previous speakers but it’s how life like they sound that is equally impressive. These subtle details, mixed with big dynamic swings, superb clarity, engulfing wall of sound and the smooth/natural sound of the Gold LCR makes for an amazing music and movies experience -the best I’ve ever heard in my home or previous homes/set up. It really boggles my mind how a speaker can be this detailed, have this kind of clarity, sound so natural and tight yet remains so silky smooth.
I’ve had my in-laws staying with us for a few weeks. They have been watching movies with us almost every night. My mother-in law was always quick to tell me to turn down the volume on previous systems (except the JTRs). She never once mentioned that with the Triads either. Can’t remember what movie it was, but I had it around -6 from reference for most of the movie but for the last 40mins, I let it ride at reference and no one said anything. I thought it sounded great but at the end of the movie, I asked them if it was too loud and they said no.
In the End, I feel it was a huge gamble for me to buy the JTRs without ever listening to them and the gamble paid off very nicely. It was an even bigger gamble for me to buy the Triads (used), which, I also never heard; from someone I never met. I’ve been very lucky as the bigger risk is reaping bigger/sweeter gains. I know we all say this at one point or another in this hobby but in my current room, there is no need or desire to upgrade from the Triads Gold LCR. The only desire is to spend more time in said room!
While sound quality preferences/opinions will differ from person to person, I still feel the JTRs are a tremendous value. If one likes a speaker with excellent dynamics, dialog intelligibility, ability to play very loud and great overall clarity then Triple 8s are probably for you, but FOR ME and if someone wants the same clarity and great dynamics but with more a little more refinement, smoother sound, and greater low level detail, then the Triads would make almost anyone ridiculously happy.
There you have it…The Triad Gold LCRs are my favorite speaker...ever!