Triangle’s speakers tend to be characterful. They’re normally not the ones to go for if you’re after tonal neutrality or class leading refinement. But, if you want to have fun they rarely disappoint. We could end this review right here, as that neatly sums up the Esprit Comete Ez on test here.
What? You want more? Okay, here goes. It’s fair to say that Triangle’s Esprit Comete Ez stereo speakers enters a tough part of the market. They are up against KEF’s mighty LS50 Meta, which are the current award winners at this level and one of the best all-rounders we’ve come across in years. There’s also Revel’s excellent M16 and the likes of the Bowers & Wilkins 606 S2 available at a lower price. So, when we say that the Comete Ez are good enough to be a viable alternative to any of these options, you know that these French boxes deserve to be taken seriously.
Triangle is on something of a golden run at the moment. Its budget Borea range is going great guns, picking up five star reviews and awards in the process. In a lot of ways the Comete Ez reminds us of the excellent Borea BR03, though with the benefit of having a far bigger build budget.
That extra money buys a solid and chunky 40cm tall cabinet that’s deep at just over 32cm. There’s a choice of four finish options – walnut, black ash and, for a broadly 25-30 per cent price premium, gloss black and gloss white. While things like the aluminium rear terminal plate and smart metal-work around the tweeter horn look premium, the finish around some of the cabinet edges could be tidier.
In our experience, it’s in the drive units that Triangle’s products tend to stand out. The company has traditionally prioritised sensitivity and dynamics above all else and the Comete Ez tows the same line. This explains the use of a horn-loaded tweeter – a type of design that tends to excel in those areas. Here, the tweeter uses a titanium dome with a compression chamber. The engineers have worked hard to improve the design’s dispersion and tried to reduce distortion with the use of a damped chamber behind the dome to absorb all that unwanted rear-firing sound.
Type Two way
Tweeter Horn-loaded titanium dome
Mid/bass 16cm paper cone
Impedance 8 ohms (4.2 ohms minimum)
Ports Twin front ports
Dimensions (hwd) 40 x 20 x 32cm
This unusual tweeter is partnered with a front-ported 16cm mid/bass unit. It uses a paper cone and is designed to deliver strong dynamics over a wide frequency band. The combination of the horn tweeter and muscular mid/bass results in a relatively high sensitivity standmounter that’s rated at 90dB/W/m and has a claimed nominal impedance of 8 ohms. It should be noted that the speaker’s impedance curve dips down to just 4.2 ohms at its minimum, so it makes sense to drive these standmounters with an amplifier capable of a decent amount of grunt. Something like the Cambridge Audio CXA81 or Naim’s pricier Nait XS3 would work well.
The Esprit Comete Ez need care in setting up. Solid stands are a must – we use Custom Design’s FS 104 Signature to good effect. The Concept 20 speaker stands from Q Acoustics would make a good choice too. While the Comete Ez aren’t overly fussy as regards distance from the rear wall, we think they sound best when placed around 60cm out into the room.
Don’t be tempted to angle the Triangles directly at you, as they will sound bright and raw when used this way. The wide dispersion means that they can be fired straight into the room and work well, but if you want to optimise stereo image focus it makes sense to angle them just a little towards the listening position, ideally crossing a metre or so behind the listener. Do that and it's possible to get a decently balanced sound, providing the partnering equipment is suitably refined.
We’re not just after refinement from the electronics though. They need to be good enough to make the most of the speaker’s considerable strengths. Optimise the system and you can really get these Triangles to sing.
Play a demanding piece of music such as Stravinsky’s The Rite Of Spring and the Comete Ez are a ball of energy. They’re responsive and punchy, thumping out the music’s savage dynamic shifts with vigour. These are still fairly compact boxes, so we’re impressed by the weight and authority of the lows they produce. Perhaps even more unusual is that those bass frequencies are taut, agile and grippy.
There’s a good scale of sound here, with the speakers casting a wide and nicely focussed soundstage, if positioned with care. Their presentation is pleasingly stable even during the more demanding sections of the symphony.
Detail levels are good, though a comparison with the KEF LS50 Meta shows that there is more available at the price. Still, there’s enough on offer to give us real insight into the music, and all that information is organised in a really musically cohesive way.
We switch to Day ‘N’ Nite by Kid Cudi and the Triangle speakers respond with the enthusiasm of a toddler shown a paddling pool in a heatwave. There’s so much drive in the way they pound out that distinctive bassline but also plenty of discipline in regimenting the rhythmic elements of the track properly. We enjoy some excellent midrange clarity and can follow Kid Cudi's vocals with ease, his voice coming through with expression and verve.
As we’ve mentioned previously, these speakers don’t have the most tonally even of presentations. They can easily sound forward and spiky in the treble if provoked with less polished recordings or less sympathetic partnering electronics. Even when carefully matched, play a less polished recording like Bruce Springsteen’s Terry’s Song and that tweeter sits on the edge of acceptability. That said, it plays a large part in the dynamic personality of the Comete Ez, so swapping it out for something more conventional and more refined wouldn’t necessarily lead to a better overall performance.
While those KEFs continue to be our firm recommendation at this level, there’s certainly a place for something as thrilling as the Comete Ezs. These Triangles may not be the ultimate all-rounders but they can be immense fun, and you can never have enough of that.
- Sound 4
- Build 4
- Compatibility 4
Read our review of the KEF LS50 Meta
Also consider the Revel Concerta2 M16
Read our Bowers & Wilkins 606 S2 Anniversary Edition review