The Triangle Theta Speakers Visually and Audibly Stunning

By Jeff Dorgay

If you live in a somewhat compact listening environment, Triangle’s Theta is a perfect quality vs. quantity proposition.

In my 13 x 15 foot listening room, driven by the precise Nagra 300p amplifier, the 90db/1-watt sensitivity rating is more than enough to deliver room filling sound. With the Nagra’s legendary Modulometer hovering around the .2 watt per channel level, bouncing occasionally up to the 2 watt mark, punching me in the chest with the opening drum riffs of Black Sabbath’s “Fairies Wear Boots,” from their Paranoid album.

Forget about how stunning these speakers look for a minute. Well, maybe it is time for an ADD moment and just take a quick flyby. Maybe more than that. If I hadn’t known better, I might have mistaken the Thetas as a product from those guys we all know in Italy that make some of the world’s most beautiful speakers ever. Fit and finish on the Thetas is that good. The cabinet has a curvy, flowing shape, sporting a smooth finish that would be right at home on your favorite hypercar. Our review sample sports a deep, lustrous, red mahogany lacquer (10 coats) finish, but gloss white and gloss black are also available. As a huge fan of white speakers, I really like the white grille on the white speaker.

The stand mounted offering in their Signature line, the Theta is a two-way system with what looks like a 6-inch woofer (all the tech stuff is only available online in French, so I have no idea) and a modified dome tweeter inside a waveguide. Theta claims a 45hz LF limit for the Theta, but they manage to pick up a bit of room gain, nearly 10 feet apart with a bit of toe-in.

It’s like headphones, kind of

Cars, potential mates and loudspeakers share one thing. If they don’t make a bold impression right away, they usually don’t hold my interest. The Thetas present a deep, three dimensional image that’s like a fine tapestry. There’s layer upon layer of detail, that redefines the audiophile cliché of “pinpoint imaging.” Even at modest level, you’d swear that you have one of the world’s best pairs of headphones on – you just float around in the music. Truly amazing for a $4,200 pair of speakers.

Some minimonitors (say that ten times as fast as you can) sacrifice sheer sonic power for pinpoint imaging. The Thetas give you both, again exceeding expectation for price and cabinet size. There’s a level of refinement here, provided your system is equally capable, that’s usually attached to a five-figure price tag. They also offer a sense of height. The opening triangle in Tears for Fears “Woman in Chains” floats in mid-air, just above tweeter level, yet when the lead vocals enter the mix, also create an illusion of two guys right out in front of the couch. The more you listen, the more nuance you hear.

These small cabinets play much bigger than most comparably sized minimonitors. Swapping the Nagra power amplifier for the mighty Audio Research D-79, cranking up Aerosmiths “Eat the Rich” has the Thetas moving a lot of air during the pounding bass drum opening riff. I doubt in a small to moderate sized room you’ll be even thinking about a subwoofer, though Triangle does offer one of those as well if you just have to have more bass.

Even music with a driving low end like HVOB’s “Pay as you go Mobile Phone” has a locked down beat, with a forceful enough groove that you’d swear you were listening to much larger speakers. All the while, the wispy lead vocals in this track keep the pace, floating just behind the line of the speakers, equally blended in with the electronic elements present. The Thetas do not compress and feel congested, even at listening levels that are higher than prudent.

Simple use and setup

24-inch, filled Sound Anchor stands (with a bit of blu-tak to complete the interface) proved the best way to mount the Thetas. As with other high performance stand mounted speakers, this is critical to getting the best imaging and most solid bass response from the Thetas. Mounting them on a flimsy pair of stands will compromise these speakers to enough of an extent that they may not deliver the impressive performance described here. The Thetas are so beautiful, you may want a more aesthetically pleasing stand than the Sound Anchors, but don’t scrimp on the mass or the sticky stuff to keep them seated in place.

Because they throw such a large image, our experience was that they could handle a wider distance between them than some small monitors, allowing them to be a better choice for room filling sound, than only being able to enjoy them in an extremely nearfield mode. Should you choose to take that route, the massive three-dimensional sound they offer, is even more of a headphone-like experience. It’s nice to have a choice.

Finally, the Thetas worked well with every amplifier we connected them to, even the 9 watt per channel Coincident SET proved a fantastic match at moderate levels. Incidentally, the Thetas offer a pleasing musical experience at these levels, so if you aren’t someone who really needs to rock the house, a high quality 10 to 30 watt per channel amplifier will serve you well. This opens up a tremendous amount of possibilities for system building.

Simple, elegant, sonic excellence

I’m guessing our European readers know more about Triangle than our American readers, but they are working very hard to change that in the months to come. If you’d love a gorgeous pair of standmount speakers in this price range, and looking for something a bit different than what everyone else might be listening to, seek out the Thetas. They stand out in the crowd.

The Triangle Theta speakers



Digital Source                         dCS Rossini Player and Clock

Analog Source                        AVID Volvere SP/Rega RB2000/Ortofon Cadenza Bronze

Amplifier                                 Pass Labs INT-60

Phonostage                              Conrad Johnson TEA 1

Cable                                       Cardas Clear

Power                                      PS Audio P20