Triangle Magellan Cello - road to audio Valhalla

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by SME12A, Jul 28, 2021.

  1. SME12A

    SME12A Takumi forever Thread Starter

    Location:
    PA
    As of today, I have been living with Triangle Magellan Cello for a week. To summarize my journey in a quest for perfect speaker that I truly love, it is worth going back and looking at all speakers I have tried/owned in my current listening space.

    1. Spendor S5e

    2. Reference 3A Veena

    3. Merlin VSM

    4. Dynaudio Contour S3.4

    5. Spendor D9

    6. Spendor A6R

    7. Spendor D7

    8. Dynaudio Contour 60

    9. Dynaudio special 40

    10. Harbeth P3ESR

    11. Harbeth HL5

    12. Harbeth 40.2 Anniversary

    13. Devore 0/96

    14. Devore Super 9

    15. Wilson Sabrina

    16. Raidho C3.2

    17. Vandersteen Treo CT

    It is a rather extensive list considering that most of these speakers became resident at my place for several weeks/months. I tried them with different amplification starting from 8W SET and ending at my current 400W a channel, mono-blocks.

    While living with my last speaker – DeVore Fidelity Super 9, and being quite satisfied and content with their integration into my listening space, I knew something was missing.

    They were musical but could not be pushed without distortion. Sound stage was wide but scale and depth missing. They sounded small and light – sometimes thin. I wanted something that will bring random goosebumps…..DeVore simply did not cut it… they were just average – sometimes even boring speakers.

    Fast-forward to now – my local dealer received pair of Triangle Magellan Cello in a beautiful ruby red finish. The aesthetics of that speaker made a huge impression on me! Initially I was very skeptical as to the titanium – horn loaded tube tweeter. These are known in the industry to sound forward, bright and fatiguing when implemented incorrectly. The artisanship of Magellan towers were simply breathtaking – solid materials and well-planned engineering with best spoke parts. Speakers’ binding posts of very high quality and attention to details obvious at every little area of the speaker. Cellos were two class up from what I got with DeVore Super 9s as far as build quality and solidity goes. (Little gibbons looked like toys in my room)

    I did some major research and investigation into Triangle manufacture that day. I checked all international reviews I could find (Polish, Chinese, Japanese, German, English, US) about the Magellan line. I discovered that Triangle makes all their parts including drivers and crossover parts in their French factory and they own anechoic chamber for research and development. I truly respect all companies that rely on both – objectivism and subjectivism in their development. Measurements are as important as listening during the design stage.

    Initially, I got slightly disappointed and discouraged - most reviewers stated that Triangle speakers can sound forward and bright when paired with wrong electronics in live room. I did not give up and when read between lines; it became obvious that Magellan series has certain magic about them. The common denominator seemed to be speed, agility, startle dynamics, resolution, scale, soundstage, and low end.

    When I found measurements for Cello and higher models (Stereophile, HiFi News, Polish Audio, Stereoplay) from Magellan lines, it became obvious that these designs required powerful solid-state amplification that will pump enough current when impedance dips are happening. Looking at the impedance characteristics and phase angles (especially at low frequency range) one can easily conclude that any tube amp should be avoided or speakers will sound forward with lacking authority in low end.

    At that moment in time, I did not have a chance to hear Magellan Cello yet – all my findings and conclusions were strictly theoretical. The Cello model is specified at 91dB/W/m and most measurements support that value with Triangle reporting on the rather conservative side. The impedance dips in low end to 2.2 Ohms with 60-70 degree phase angles. At that point, I knew these babies need power (amp current delivery efficiency) to show their true potential. Before I went any farther with speaker research, I pulled out the measurements for my current Simaudio Moon 400M monoblocks to see if they are stable into 2-4 Ohm loads. It turned out 400Ms can easily put 600-700W continuously into low impedances without any sweat or distortion. One boxed checked – amplification is ready for future audition…

    It was interesting to find out that Luxman is often paired with Triangle Magellan models at different audio shows especially often in North America and Japan.

    I went back to all those Magellan’s reviews that claimed the forward sound, to see what amplification was used. From experience, I have seen that people have a tendency to match tube amps anytime they see higher than usual efficiency speaker. Once again, my experience won over – most reviews for Magellan Cellos were performed with tube amplification. I even found one that the person used 8W SET! The only one review that was actually very positive came from a man who used very high-powered SS amplification. At this point, I was very optimistic about trying Magellan Cello in my space.

    I have several thick woolen rugs in my room and quite a few cabinets with books, records, CDs and memorabilia so the celling is the only one untreated and reflective surface. It is a second level in my condominium that is shaped unregularly with acoustic pressure dissipation across the whole area. Walls are made from concrete and plywood so it is difficult to predict how speaker will sound in such a difficult acoustically environment.

    Most well reviewed speakers sounded recessed and lifeless in my space. Total disappointment came from Harbeth 40.2, Devore 0/96, and all floor-standing Dynaudio models. It is important to mention that I cannot tolerate fatiguing and forward sounding systems but on the other hand, I still have to be able to differentiate between cello and violin… trumpet and sax. Devore Super 9s were better in resolving details and throwing wide stage than other speakers I have tried but still did not give me the experience and fidelity I was after. The C3.2 from Raidho was pretty close to perfection, however considering their rather steep price ($38k in US), I decided to hold off.

    Sabrinas from Wilson were outstanding speakers but the sound staging was simply not there – In my room, they could not disappear the way small speakers could. Dynaudio Special 40s were all time winner in that department and Devore Super 9s took second spot unquestionably.

    Being dissatisfied with Super 9s resolution and midrange, I wanted to try something new, for the territory that I have always avoided all these years – forward sounding speaker with metal tweeter. I have always stayed away from B&W, Focal and Wilson speakers for that reason….I simply never heard a pair from these manufacturers that I truly love in a long run.

    I am a close friend with a local high-end audio dealer so the opportunity to try Magellan Cello in my space showed up. Being totally mesmerized by the French company roots and belief in engineering as well as OUTSTANDING manufacturing quality, I brought Triangle speakers home…

    The unpacking “ceremony” was a special event in its own kind –packaging material is extremely thoughtful with simple yet protective materials. The touch of luxury is evident at first sight – the speakers come with orange velvet dust covers and are meant to be on when speakers are not in use. Two large, wooden boxes hold 8 spike assemblies with a supplied hex wrench. Large Triangle catalogue as well as manual is included as well. What really got me intrigued was inclusion of individual speaker’s measurements with technicians, QAs and shipping personnel sign-offs! What a nice touch! At this point, I was super optimistic, excited and full of hopes that this could be the “game over” speaker…. (Honestly, based on aesthetics – I SO wanted it to be!)

    When removed from shipping boxes and situated on the floor next to DeVore Super 9s, Cellos were 15” taller, MUCH heavier and solid. Gibbons, on the other hand looked like a little cheap toys when compared. At this moment (before even hearing music from Triangles), I was sure of one thing – even if Magallanes are not the ultimate speakers for me, DeVore design has to go. I obviously listen with my ears, BUT aesthetics play an important role in a process as well.

    After positioning Cellos in the exact spot where Devore Super 9 used to sit, hooking up my Cardas Clear Beyond speaker cables, I played some tunes from Tord Gustavsen’s phenomenal“Restored, Returned” ECM release.

    (Another important feature that I learn is that all models from Triangle Magellan line are fully broken in at the factory before speaker ships to its owner. Looking at included with Cellos measurements and paper work – the pair I have on hand had 450 hours of break-in in France. Bravo Triangle!)

    At this point in time, without fine tuning speaker positioning and trying only CD as a source, I knew this speaker is very special and very much up to my liking. I have always believed in first impressions – whether at work, or in a relationship, audio, cars etc. With most speakers I have tried the process was opposite (especially with DeVore and Harbeths), I did not like them at first but then I spent time to justify their presence in my room….Triangles are different – love at first sight without a doubt.

    The first 3 days I spent playing CD albums while fine-tuningspeakers positioning for best performance. On the 4th day, after I got best sound in my room, I have started to play records. My jaw hit the floor and stayed there for the next 3 days…I will go into details in a minute.

    Something interesting yet predictable happened. Playing at 88dB levels for extended time, my Simaudio monoblocks got quite warm to touch. This is the first time it ever happened since I own the pair! This occurrence confirms my predictions that these speakers require powerful amplification to shine.

    I will start from the summary – this speaker plays well above its asking price killing designs 3X their price. In a correct environment with a well-matched – powerful amplification, it is a “game over” tower! They destroyed $38000 Raidho and $18000 Sabrinas in dynamics, resolution as well as musicality. I wanted to make sure the aesthetic part of equation is not overshadowing the actual sound perception so I decided to listen to Alan Shaw’s (Harbeth) advice and leave grills on for all the listening. This way, I do not see beautiful large drivers that could possibly skewed my findings. With grills on, Triangles lost theirmagical beauty in a way they looked. I did not really waste my time comparing the sound with grills on and off – I simply did not want to explore audio hell.

    Powerful Simaudio amplification stay in control of Cellos all the time never sounding fatiguing or forward – I am very surprised in a way that horn loaded tweeter sounds - It is silky smooth with a presence that gives all vocals and instruments free flowing resolution. I can never tell that metal transducer being used – there is enough air around each note that listening never become boring. This speaker will show you many “I didn’t know this was there” moments. The Triangle Magellan Cello is the most exciting speaker I have ever heard in my space bar none!

    The 91dB efficiency comes into play when we want to mention the out-of-this world dynamics – perhaps one of the Cello’s biggest advantage and positive. It punches so fast and tight that it will make you jump with a right recording when driven by powerful amplification. Ron Carter’s acoustic bass goes down low and each string’s plug will be felt on listener’s chest. Like Mike Tyson at its prime – quick, precise, and unexpected. Music to me is all about emotions and I need resolving speaker to create them. It is VERY difficult to find the speaker that is resolving but not fatiguing in a long run, which is why I am truly happy and grateful to my local dealer to find these rare gems from France…

    During my several chats with the owner and chief engineer at Dartzeel - Herve Deletraz, He advised to look for speakers that are efficient with preferably 1st order crossovers to convey realistic dynamics swings with little phase errors and time delays. I think I start to hear what he was after when I am listening to efficient Triangles…

    I will be making periodical updates as to how the sounds evolves….
     
  2. Amazing review. Thanks for taking the time and work to be so comprehensive.
    I’m a huge believer in massive power supplies. The differences are obvious.
    Looks like you picked a real winner here.
     
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  3. Mad shadows

    Mad shadows Forum Resident

    Location:
    Karlskrona- Sweden
    Nice write up. You have tested an impressive group of speakers.
     
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  4. SME12A

    SME12A Takumi forever Thread Starter

    Location:
    PA
    Thank you - I forgot to mention Revel Ultima Studio 2… :)
     
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  5. Tony C.

    Tony C. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portugal
    Congratulations on what sounds like a very gratifying conclusion to a rather long journey!

    I'm interested in your criticisms of the Devore speakers. While I've never owned a pair, I can't recall having previously read some of the criticisms that you make.
     
    SME12A likes this.
  6. wownflutter

    wownflutter Nocturnal Member

    Location:
    Indiana
    I bought a pair of used Celius 202's several years ago. They have served me well as my system has evolved.
    As components were upgraded, the Triangles held their own each step of the way.
    I've been contemplating a speaker upgrade down the road a bit. I look at all the different speakers out there and keep coming back to Triangle. I'm pretty sure I'll end up just moving up in the line.
    I've tried tubes and solid state with them.
    I'm currently running 100 watts from tube amps. This is the best sound so far.

    I mainly buy used equipment. I wish there were more Triangles in the states available on the used market. The options are pretty slim, especially their upper models.
    Hopefully I'll find some when the time comes.
     
    Tim 2, Sugar Man, timind and 2 others like this.
  7. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Great review.

    The French make some awesome stuff. Apparently wine and pastries makes for top-notch engineering.
     
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  8. SME12A

    SME12A Takumi forever Thread Starter

    Location:
    PA
    You are correct - great company with pedigree that has weak exposure in US…distribution fault for sure!!!
     
  9. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eagle, ID, USA
    I love my 2002 vintage Titus 202s (must be the same vintage as yours). I still have them after all these years and component upgrades.

    Years ago I rebuilt the 'crossovers' (actually in the Titus, it's only a high pass filter for the tweeter, the mid/woofer runs with no filtering at all up to 6kHz).
    Triangle 202 tweeter hi-pass upgrade

    I'm considering a second go-round on the filter caps (which made 'all' the difference), using even more premium parts (Mundorf EVO-SGO-3.3 Silver-Gold-Oil Price: $116.30 ea., bypassed with a Duelund 0.01uF 600Vdc JDM-Sn/Cu Tinned Copper Foil cap ($45 ea.). Yeah, that's $322 to upgrade an originally <$600/pair speaker ... :winkgrin:

    If you're handy with a soldering iron, highly recommended! I'd suggest the tweeter caps first, you don't have to spend $160 each but some nice $30 AudioCaps or something would give you a nice improvement in sonics. I see in the 'Humble Homemade HiFi' capacitor evaluations the Audience Auricap XO 200VDC (<$40 ea) is very highly rated. If I had known about these, would have used them in the first upgrade.

    I don't know what a midrange/woofer crossover rebuild would do, I'm considering that (as well as the tweeters of course) for my Monitor Audio Silver 8s (just because).
     
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  10. SME12A

    SME12A Takumi forever Thread Starter

    Location:
    PA
    Speaker reviews as an absolute should not exist in my honest opinion - especially ones that categorized and grade them. Such an analogy would make sense if ALL speakers were reviewed by the same person, with the same equipment in the same room. Even in that case , we would simply hear ones opinion in accordance with his/her taste in a given room rather than absolute summary and recommendation. Speaker as a unit is dependent of the room it plays in. Anytime we talk about speaker’s performance, we ought to mention room! It is SUCH an important factor that many simply omit and ignore.

    Because of the shortcomings of my listening space, I was extremely unsuccessful with Harbeth, DeVore, and Dynaudio designs – it does not mean that these are bad sounding speakers – they simply did not integrate with my room up to my satisfaction and personal taste… can you put saltwater fish to the freshwater tank and expect her to live happily?

    John Devore does not hire team of engineers to get most unbiased sound signature but rather bases all his design off what he thinks is correct. There is a certain danger to that model –either one likes his sound signature or he/she does not. Looking at pictures from John Devore listening room, one can see rather large live room with plywood around – this room has certain signature that will be reflected in all his speaker designs. If one of his monkeys are placed in a heavily damped room like mine, they become lifeless, recessed and flat. (Same issue with Harbeths).

    Since we like bringing authorities into any discussion about audio, you will probably ask – how come Art Dudley loved them so much to give them Stereophile Class A ranking? Once again – let us look at Art’s room – smaller size AND live! Room is empty! In that live setup – Monkeys will behave their best = according to John Devore’s intention. For one listener the speaker will be Class A and for another Class D…. hence my issue with review classifications that in the end does not tell you much about the speaker…

    Now comes the theoretical part when I really like to look at credible and reputable measurements. I think many interesting facts about speaker’s behavior can be concluded just by looking at their impedance plot as well as phase angles and “waterfall”.

    I was puzzled to see pictures from one of the shows demonstration for Luxman where my Triangle Magellan Cello were driven by low powered tube amp…..I also read comments from people who attended that demo to conclude my predictions - system sound forward and bright with loose – thin low end. Conclusion obvious – let us blame Triangle’s titan horn tweeter! The truth is on the opposite end – when we play this speaker as the manufacturer intended it, we might like results better.

    The problem also lies on the manufacturing/ advertising side – only top players $$$$$$$$ will admit that their speakers need tons of power to drive them properly. Most of them will say nothing or they will give us a meaningless scale (20-400Watts)

    Coming back to my Cellos – if you tell me that you have 100W integrated, I would never recommend this design…. Even with 10W they would play music BUT wrong conclusions would have been reached – usually blaming the speaker….

    Summary from my experience = speaker and room goes together and are inseparable! Listening at dealer or reading review will not give you much about how the speaker will sound in specific room.
     
    jusbe, timind, Tony C. and 1 other person like this.
  11. vinylbuff

    vinylbuff Forum Resident

    Location:
    North Port Florida
    I heard the Triangle Esprit series Australe EZ's and really liked them.... A LOT! They demo'd them at the Tampa Audio show in 2019 and were using Tsakiridis power amps and preamp. It was the only room I went back to three times, and it amazed me that they were $4500 a pair. Last year they demo'd a pair of the Delta Signatures and I liked them a lot too. The dealer didn't want to pack them up and offered me the Australe EZ's for right around $3000 and I don't remember what the price was on the Delta's. I seriously thought about the Australes but my wife is still smitten with our Legacy's and talked me out of it.
    And it is amazing that you rarely see these on the used market, when you do they don't last long.
     
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  12. wownflutter

    wownflutter Nocturnal Member

    Location:
    Indiana
    I remember discussing this with you about a year ago.
    I have replaced caps and stuff in a tube amp before, but with the difficulty removing them off the crossover, I'm very reluctant to try it. I have no doubt that it would make a noticeable difference.
    It made my Jolida 302a sound like a totally different beast. Since I had another amp, it was no big deal having it out of commission.
    I'm not sure if I could stand the Triangles out of commission for very long.
    Man.....I'm so tempted though.
     
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  13. Mr.Sign

    Mr.Sign Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany

    Hello SME 12A,

    congratulation to Your speakers. I almost bought them myself , did not because my room is probably far too small. I auditioned big Triangles ( with another set of tweeters and midrange back firing) powered by two 700 Watt monoblocks. How can I describe this experience ? Well, the phrase "I am blown away" now gets physical proof !
     
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  14. SME12A

    SME12A Takumi forever Thread Starter

    Location:
    PA
    Same here - Cello are perfect fit for my listening space. I have a feeling larger Magellans would be too much... Also what's nice about the "new" version of Cellos is that the price for them was set in 2014 so one really gets a really good speaker for them money!!! Triangles are far more popular in Europe than here is US. Many here buys by reviews and you do not see many of those around.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2021
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  15. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    @SME12A, I appreciate your very thorough review, and follow up comments. The list of speakers you've had in for test is impressive.

    I have a question concerning the level you listen at. How do you measure the 88db listening level you claim? Is this level at your listening position? Is this C-weighted?
     
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  16. SME12A

    SME12A Takumi forever Thread Starter

    Location:
    PA
    Yes - calibrated mike at my listening spot. I usually listen in a lower 80s but like to pump up to lower 90s when mood dictates :) I can change the weighting among A B C and Z. The 88dB I referred to was C-weighted directly at the sweet spot.
     
    timind likes this.
  17. My average is within the 85 t0 90 db for most music at listening position C-weighted slow response. If I want to really start rockin it gets to mid to high 90’s or more with very high peaks.
     
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  18. Itamar.K

    Itamar.K Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Israel
    Great journey. Enjoy the speakers.
    Did you check the Focal Sopra line? great speakers, with similar qualities and presentation to the Triangle. I read that you never like them but memory is tricky thing.
     
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  19. Blue Devil

    Blue Devil Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tuxedo Park NY
    Quite a list of well-known and well-loved speakers. Any photos of these in situ? Because it would be very instructive to see the context of such an elaborate set of critiques. And images would help to leaven the avalanche of text.
     
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  20. SME12A

    SME12A Takumi forever Thread Starter

    Location:
    PA
    I only listened to Focal speakers at shows and dealers. I did not have any local dealers that I could borrow them from and listen in my space.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021
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  21. SME12A

    SME12A Takumi forever Thread Starter

    Location:
    PA
    Not a big fan of posting pictures of my personal space online. Also, there is no easy way of posting pictures here without hosting them somewhere else. Several years ago I have abandoned all social media drama :)
     
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  22. SME12A

    SME12A Takumi forever Thread Starter

    Location:
    PA
    Last night I played Diana Krall – “The look Of Love”. It is a remastered in 2003 by Bernie Grundman, 45RPM, Original Recordings Group release. The organic quality and chestiness of Diana’s voice as well as her palpable presence in my room were simply breathtaking. Truly, goosebumps experience.

    I am amazed by the control the Cellos have – when well-engineered kick drum shows up, the speaker hits me to the chest with a sound pressure and then there is that divine decay to absolute silence. Super-fast impulse that comes and goes…I have never experienced that with any speaker before.

    Another quality that threw my jaw on the floor for the reminder of the record was the scale! It is colossal! (Some people will not enjoy that kind of – in-your-face presentation…)

    Yes, I am a huge lover of extensive, wide, and deep staging connected with ballsy presentation. Perhaps the combination of Triangle’s high efficiency and powerful amplification make that magic happen.

    I am coming back to the Titanium horn loaded tweeter – I cannot believe how smooth it is! There is absolutely none of that sibilant’s hardiness that sometimes shows up with female voice….Spendor D9 and D7 were the worst in that department – they were very fatiguing, forward and hard in my room.

    After the “analog” Diana, it was a time to change the pace - Japanese release of The Alan Parson Project “Eye in the Sky”, hybrid SACD. The title track tested Cello’s transparency, separation, and resolution. This album is very well engineered and in fact, it was nominated for Grammy Award for Best Engineered album in 1983. It was recorded on analogue equipment and mixed directly to the digital master tape. Unfortunately, it was the last platinum record in the US for the band (1 million sold)

    It was interesting how I was able to listen to the piece closing 93dB (A-weighted) without any hint of fatigue (DeVore Super 9 gave up around 86dB distorting and hardening. With Harbeth 40.2 Anniversary, I could fall asleep even at 90dB – all life was sucked from the tracks) and tiredness – on the contrary, I wanted to go higher with sound pressure but wife and daughter did not share my enthusiasm.
     
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  23. Blue Devil

    Blue Devil Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tuxedo Park NY
    Yeah, I kinda figured. Have fun!
     
  24. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    @SME12A, I don't want to belabor the point, but man 93db A-weighted is loud! How large is your room? I went back a reread your original post, but didn't see this info.
     
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  25. SME12A

    SME12A Takumi forever Thread Starter

    Location:
    PA
    Its a irregular condo with dining room, activity room, hall and living space all connected on one level.
    Equipment room has a 9’ celling but pass my listening spot the celling expands up to 15’. Its difficult to measure that space for the purpose of the discussion. I do not listen that loud that much but Cellos invites me to crack that volume control up :)

    The wall that speakers are on is 25’ wide and when I measure from that wall to the farthest opposite point , I get 43’. My place is quite heavily damped as well…
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021
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