To Jeff Fritz,
I am presently in the market for new speakers and an amp. I have decided to go with a Pass Labs amp, but deciding on a speaker is proving difficult and time consuming. I have read most of the rave reviews of the GoldenEar Technology Triton One speakers, and for some reason the phrase “If it sounds too good to be true, then it is too good to be true” comes to mind. The reviews focus on the bass, and while applauding the mids and highs, give them short shrift. I have doubts about their appearance (yes, I’ve seen them) and whether I would want them in my listening room. Fit and finish are important.
It has been my experience that some highly rated, full-range budget equipment just doesn’t satisfy over the long term. It has also been my experience that manufacturers such as Oppo and Benchmark offer high-value, low-cost equipment. How do you separate the two?
I am seriously considering the Legacy Focus SE (perhaps the next model down) or the Zu Audio Definition Mk.IV speakers, both of which cost (at least) double the Triton One. I am not looking forward to moving these into the house for auditions, but . . .
Regarding your first point, I believe you have answered your own question. I am reminded of the plight of the in-wall speaker. That type of product is perfect for those who want unobtrusive, even "invisible" speakers, but will never satisfy -- no matter how good they sound -- the hardcore audiophile who loves the pride of ownership that comes with a very nice cabinet and high-tech drivers. The latter is the type of investment that makes a statement -- both sonically and visually -- in the listening room. If you value appearance and fit and finish as you say, then a fancier-looking speaker is what you should get. This hobby is, after all, about enjoyment, not merely prudence.
As for how to separate the really good high-value products from those that are truly too good to be true, here is my advice: you have to experience the products for yourself, firsthand, to see what type of fit they are with your likes and dislikes. I know tons of folks who just love their Oppo players and think the build quality is outstanding, but then again, compare an Oppo with a player from Esoteric and the differences will be readily apparent. Ultimately it comes down to your own tastes and budget. . . . Jeff Fritz