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Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
Source: Esoteric UX-1, Yamamoto YDA-01
Preamp/Integrated: Esoteric C-03 (transistor), ModWright DM 36.5 (valves)
Amplifier: FirstWatt F5, ModWright KWA-150, Octave MRE-130 monos with SBB
Speakers: ASI Tango R, DeVore Fidelity Nines
Cables: Complete loom of ASI Liveline
Stands: 4 x Ikea Molger and butcher-block platforms with metal footers
Powerline conditioning: 2 x Walker Audio Velocitor S
Sundry accessories: Furutech RD-2 CD demagnetizer; Nanotech Nespa Pro; extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters, Advanced Acoustics Orbis Wall & Corner units
Room size: The sound platform is 3 x 4.5m with a 2-story slanted ceiling above; four steps below continue into an 8m long combined open kitchen, dining room and office, an area which widens to 5.2m with a 2.8m ceiling; the sound platform space is open to a 2nd story landing and, via spiral stair case, to a 3rd-floor studio; concrete floor, concrete and brick walls from a converted barn with no parallel walls nor perfect right angles; short-wall setup with speaker backs facing the 8-meter expanse and 2nd-story landing.
Review Component Retail: €8,470/pr in high-gloss white as reviewed, €7,700/pr in stock Mahogany as shown below

Geometries: Street talk advises against being square. Associated qualities ain't hip. What attributes go with a triangle? If you were a loudspeaker under founder Renaud de Vergnette's aegis, a noticeably rising frequency response starting in the upper midrange; no real low bass; wideband cellulose-pulp mid drivers; and above-average sensitivities. When Vergnette finally meant to retire from the business he started in 1981, he approached one of his very early customers. Having made his fortunes as a frozen food baron, Olivier Decelle became inspired to devote his future affairs to the two grand passions of wine and music. The former materialized by acquiring Chateau Jean Faure, Chateau Haut-Maurac and Mas Amiel, the latter with Triangle. As do swanky restaurants, the wine biz relies on the owner's constant presence at least during the launch and establishment phases. Decelle's presence today at the still privately held Triangle Electroacoustique is thus that of a mostly absentee landlord - one who trusts his tenants as long as the rent is paid, the property maintained and its value secured or rising.

À la française: Nearly ubiquitous in its home market as a deep distribution high-value brand, Triangle today is France's second or third largest speaker house (a distinction it shares with Cabasse, final positioning contingent on any given fiscal year). At about five times the size of either, the Gallic giant is Focal. Compared to Triangle, Focal is 49% owned by a banking consortium. That makes the giant accountable to very different corporate pressures than the smaller folks operating out of Villeneuve St. Germain. Incidentally, Focal, Triangle and Cabasse have all made enviable reputations for designing and building their own drive units.

The world is round, not triangular: Because of its consistent home-front penetration, Triangle was slow to pursue export markets with strategic focus. To finally get serious globally required a statement product. Quality importers wanted a competitive demonstrator at the highest level to transcend the company's domestic Polk/Paradigm branding. The Magellan Project was Triangle's answer and cleverly named. It was after all the Portuguese Ferdinand Magellan -- Fernão de Magalhães -- whose ships first circumnavigated the globe. In its second generation, the Gallic Magellan spawned a complete 6-model series. Unlike the proprietary Genèse and Esprit drivers sourced offshore, the Magellan transducers are fabricated exclusively in France. The Cello model under review is the smallest floorstanding Magellan of four, with the tri-partitioned and very tall Grand Concert the presiding flagship.


At 44.8 x 16.7 x 14.6 inches HxWxD, the Cello is conservatively sized, attendant 74.8 lbs weight equally reasonable. As a front-ported 4-driver 3-way with 400/2800Hz crossover points (2nd and 4th-order slopes respectively), the Cello continues Vergnette's legacy of parallel smaller woofers and high tweeter transitions. Yet the 91dB rating is down about two or three clicks compared to the pre-Magellan Lyrr and Ventis XS models I owned in New Mexico. "We retain the trademark Triangle liveliness with a rather shallower built-in rise and greater treble refinement; and all our models now have far greater bass extension and low-down weight than before" explained export manager Eric Dubouays*. One of his specific Magellan contributions was the optional piano gloss white. Despite arched eye brows in the office, he fought for and eventually got his wish. I spotted the white Cello at the Munich HighEnd 2009 show and was smitten. Despite classiness when new, high-gloss black is a fierce dust and fingerprint magnet. It invariably suffers telltale swirl marks from even very gentle cleaning. Soon it looks nothing like Photoshopped press kit perfection. Gloss white meanwhile does not betray the same marks of living as loudly. It also color coordinates with the iPod, Macbook and related hipness. It's très chic, un-square to the extreme and at least in speakers, still rarer than it ought to be to warrant some supportive publicity.

* Once Triangle completes renovation of a key building it lost to fire last year, expect a formal factory tour. Hence this review abstains from presenting current company culture and engineering specifics in any detail. For today, the map below hints at Triangle's 400-strong domestic dealer network, here coded by regional departments.

The Cello phase plot displays the typical saddle response of a vented alignment with 9.7 and 16-ohm peaks at 28Hz and 55Hz for some steep phase angles in the bass. At 1,050Hz, it rises again to nearly 10 ohms before dipping to 2.5 ohms at 3,100Hz. As always, the nominal 8-ohm impedance is just an averaged figure. The low-impedance encounter occurs where power demands on an amplifier are moderate to predict little by way of testiness. It's the steep phase angles in the bass which likely separate the boys from the amplifier men particularly among no-feedback tube amps.


It's with the puffed cabinet cheeks, plinth and two drive units where we encounter post-Vergnettian changes. The Titanium 1-inch tweeter is still deeply hornloaded and phase-guided; the exponentially shaped paper-cone midrange still capable of surprising 70Hz to 4,000Hz bandwidth. It's the woofers -- T16M11oc boomers in unfortunate Triangle speak -- which under the new engineering team have evolved. They combine a paper core beneath glass-fiber skins with aerodynamically optimized baskets and serious thermal power management to boldly go where older Triangles didn't. If Dubouays hadn't been laying it on épais (though he stills drives Sonus Faber from his days as a Ph.D'd historian and university lecturer, his other speaker now is a Triangle Cello). As seems triangular tradition in fact, the Cello's published specs remain as arch conservative as ever. They only promise 35Hz at -3dB. Truth in advertising? Understatement? Should one expect nouveau bass quality from Dubouays' brief or also quantity to keep the Americans and their sympathizers happy? It's always tough to be everything to all people. Some might even say that it's particularly French to go about things one's own way with nary a care for outside approval. What kind of expectations would the Magellan Cello Sw2 conform to?