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: Joël Chevassus
Financial Interests: Click here
Source: Audio Analogue Grand Maestro CD, Asus Eee-PC, Apple iMac, Trends UD-10.1
Preamp: Wyred4Sound STP-SE, SPL Volume2 [on loan]
Power amplifier: Orpheus Lab Three monos, Trends TA-10.2
Speakers: JLA Acoustique Perspective 2 Signature + Stand 80, McIntosh LS360, Triangle Magellan Duetto [on review], Triangle Magellan Duetto SW2 [on loan], Meteor 0.5 subwoofer [on loan]
Cables: Naturelle Audio XLR interconnects Live 8 and Live 4, Audio Art SC-5 SE speaker cables.
Power Cords: Audio Art Power 1 SE
Stands: DIY stuff, Triangle TS400 stands
Review Component Retail: ca. €4.000/pr in Europe (varies with country due to VAT)

Context: After the release of the Magellan Quatuor SE I reviewed with great pleasure last year, Triangle Industries decided to extend its SE improvements to all members of the Magellan range. When export manager Eric Dubouais called to solicit a review of the little Duetto monitor, I was surprised to hear him say that this one was a quite pronounced step-up from the prior SW2 version. I always considered the SW2 monitor a more than honest and truly versatile performer. Was it really feasible to improve it while maintaining its specific identity and the brand’s sonic signature? Eric opined that the Duetto was the model to have most benefited from the comprehensive Magellan range revamp. Why not accept his solicitation? I had my own opinion to form.

How I understand the latest developments at Triangle is that, more than a simple MkII revisit, the Soisson firm was about reinventing the Magellan identity and concept per se. Outside its top range, Triangle has always been considered a purveyor of affordable entry-level speakers, a kind of French Polk if you will. The more upscale Magellan line has suffered from this image and lack of differentiation. It arguably needed a new presence to become a serious player in the high-end market. The overhauled branding and logo combined with far reduced sonic compromises are Triangle’s machinations towards that end. Less compromise in sonic signature obviously entailed eradicating little sins of the past without impacting the sonic clarity and liveliness that have always been company hallmarks. As I said, this was brilliantly achieved with the Quatuor SE. [I reviewed the Magellan Cello SW2 last year and fully concur with Joël - Triangle's new 'upwardly mobile' ambitions are fully backed by performance, cosmetics and fit & finish in the new Magellan models - Ed.]

Going a few steps farther, Triangle now has abandoned the old SW and Special Edition suffixes as though to convey that the Magellan range has finally come to fruition rather than being just one more evolutionary upgrade. For their new statement Magellan monitor, Triangle has adopted MO from the Quatuor SE precedent – the TZ2900GC Grand Concert tweeter which now is common to the whole range; new internal wiring; new jumpers; and a new logo which preserves classic elegance.

As my previous audition of the Duetto SW2 wasn’t particularly recent, I requisitioned an ‘old’ pair of SW2 and a pair of new Duettos. What finally arrived at casa Chevassus was a stacked pallet with two pairs of monitors, one subwoofer to satisfy the beast in me and a pair of TS400 stands (they include the front-spike SPEC system). To sum up my methodology for this review, the ‘entry-level’ Magellan SW2 was first up for a critical listening session, without and then with the assistance of the Meteor 0.5 subwoofer. I then moved in the Duetto, thereafter returned to the SW2. I spent sufficient time on each to form a mature analysis of what Triangle had dispatched. My specific interest was focused on the intrinsic performance of the two models and how they might differ. Not everyone has €4K to spend. Snatching the older model on the second-hand market or on a special promotion could be a hot tip if deserved. To eliminate visual distractions, Triangle had shipped both pairs in the same piano gloss black to where only the new Magellan logo told them apart from the front. I also tried to audition competing models like B&W’s new 805Di but could only do so out of my house to where those particular comparisons must account for the obvious limitations of that exercise. 

: The new Magellan bookshelf arrived in different packaging than the older SW2. Instead of a rather anonymous box, the new one sports black livery with a printed white figure on either side and the proud statement handcrafted in France to remind us that all Magellan models are designed, built and assembled in Soisson. Inside the package, I encountered the same orange chamois leather cover which protects all Magellans. Once stripped of this luxurious protective skin, the cabinet looked like the previous one. Only the logo in front and the silver plate on the back were different. The black piano gloss defied criticism. Twelve layers of lacquer were polished at each step to create one of the finest samples of first-rate finish at this price. The enclosure dimensions and form factor are strictly identical to the predecessor and involve minimized resonance and cabinet coloration. I’m personally fonder of wood veneers but admit that the gloss loaners were truly beautiful creatures whose light reflections meshed well with our environment. At this level of execution and price, perhaps only the new B&W 805Di or Tannoy DC8 can compete cosmetically.

Removing the grilles, two items stuck out. The attachment magnets are now hidden beneath the lacquer to no longer mar the front baffle; and the tweeter is Triangle’s best TZ2900GC previously reserved for select models only. Its horn is machined from a solid block of 1.4kg aluminum rather than injection-moulded to offer lower micro resonance and better HF dispersion. Digitally controlled CNC cutters during machining applied a more precise wave-guide finish to ensure the smoothest dispersion of the uppermost harmonics. As a result, the finesse of Triangle’s sound reaches new levels. This tweeter is a beautiful driver, one of the purest I’ve had the opportunity to sample.