What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Fri, 25 Jan 2008, 12:00pm

Wilson Benesch Trinity

Tested at £4700
80100
4

Pricey for standmounts, but you do get an awful lot of technology for the money

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For

  • Highly impressive engineering
  • composure at high volumes
  • detail resolution and extremely stable stereo imaging

Against

  • Some may find the presentation overly clinical

Wilson Benesch might have an uphill battle with the Trinity. At first glance, the design seems little more than the company's well-respected Arc with the addition of a super tweeter – and that £2000 price difference looks hard to justify. And with some very capable and extremely luxurious-looking floorstanders available for similar money, why would anyone buy a pair of smallish standmounts with inherently limitated of low-frequency extension?

Well here's why: the Trinities sound great. Their sonic presentation is far clearer and cleaner than the Arcs, and they are much less fussy about room dimensions and positioning than most floorstanding designs at this level.

The Trinity may look like the Arc, but there is a massive difference between the two in engineering terms. The mid/bass driver is new, with a more powerful motor unit and plenty of detail work to improve venting and cooling. The result is more punch with improved resolution.

Unchanged tweeter
The tweeter remains unchanged, which is no hardship – this unit always was a good performer. Now, though, it is augmented by a super tweeter – or as Wilson Benesch calls it ‘The Ultrasonic Generator' – which takes over at around 20kHz and, it's claimed, has a useful output up to 100kHz. The idea is that this extended bandwidth will not only make the most of SACDs and DVD-Audio discs, it will also improve the sound from vinyl.

Other technological highlights include a rigid, well-damped and really strong composite enclosure made up of a carbon-fibre cabinet and a dual-layered alloy/steel front baffle.

This is no me-too product, and that carries through to the integral stand, even if the combination of three floor spikes, relatively narrow baseplate and height makes the speakers rather too easy to knock over. If you have small children, take note.

Loud and proud
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Trinities' performance is how loud they can go without losing composure: the sound of many a standmounter falls apart when asked to play bass-heavy dance music such as Insomnia by Faithless, but not the Trinities.

In our medium-sized test room, it was a question of who backed down first, us or them – and they won. Even at the highest volumes, powered by our reference 300-watt per channel Bryston 4B SST amp, the speakers stayed smooth and dynamic.

You shouldn't expect – nor do you get – thunderous bass performance, but by standmount standards there's impressive authority and punch, and never any sense that the speakers sound weedy or undernourished.

Naturally balanced
The beautifully judged tonal balance deserves much of the credit. Despite the use of twin tweeters, this is the most naturally balanced Wilson Benesch design we've heard: whereas the house sound has always been just a little enthusiastic at the top-end, the Trinities are very smooth and avoid any hint of harshness.

Nor can we let their stereo imaging go unmentioned. It's not often we hear so stable a soundstage and rarely does it extend so boldly outside the confines of the speakers.

Despite their many good qualities, these speakers aren't perfect. The presentation majors on clinical analysis, sacrificing cohesion and timing in the process, and potentially overlooking some of the drama and passion of music. The shortfall isn't huge, but it's enough to take the emotional edge off the likes of Orff's Carmina Burana.

The Trinitys are a decent addition to Wilson Benesch's range. They are not the best all-rounders we've heard, but they have some deeply impressive strengths. If you're lucky enough to be able to consider buying speakers at this level, give them a listen. 

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