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Triangle Borea BR03 5.1 speaker package review

A speaker package that could convert any surround sound non-believer Tested at £1317 / $2076 / AU$3217

Home cinema speaker package: Triangle Borea BR03 5.1
(Image: © Triangle)

Our Verdict

Find another, better sub and you’ll have made one of the most entertaining packages you could find at this price

For

  • Very cohesive sound
  • Tonnes of expression
  • Surprisingly detailed

Against

  • Sub lacks precision and punch

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Find another, better sub and you’ll have made one of the most entertaining packages you could find at this price

Pros

  • + Very cohesive sound
  • + Tonnes of expression
  • + Surprisingly detailed

Cons

  • - Sub lacks precision and punch

We hope that hi-fi companies feel a great sense of responsibility when putting together an entry-level bundle such as the Triangle Borea BR03 5.1 speaker package. Installing a proper home cinema set-up, along with an AV amp and all those metres of cabling, is no small act of expense, spatial commitment and often persuasion.

If the end result is in any way underwhelming, then you’ll have lost someone forever. Make those first few films they put on a true AV awakening, though, and you’ll have sparked one of the best lifelong addictions we could possibly wish on anybody.

Fortunately, French hi-fi company Triangle is no first-timer itself. With 40 years of speaker manufacturing experience, anyone looking to shop in its direction should feel as though they’re in good hands. Self-describing its sonic signature as “extremely dynamic, balanced and focusing on that bandwidth where the music really happens”, we’ve every reason to expect a sweet spot both in budget and in cinema sound.

Price

Home cinema speaker package: Triangle Borea BR03 5.1

(Image credit: Triangle)

The Triangle Borea BR03 5.1 speaker package price is £1317 / $2076 / AU$3217 when pieced together.

That’s £399 / $599 / AU$999 for the pair of BR03 front speakers, £319 / $499 / AU$619 for the BR02 surrounds, £249 / $379 / AU$600 for the BRC1 centre and £350 / $599 / AU$999 for the Tales 340 subwoofer. There don’t seem to be any discounts when bought as a package, but then that does offer some flexibility if, for example, you wanted to try a different sub or beef up the system by using a set of BR03s for the surrounds.

Lastly, if you’d like to turn this into a Dolby Atmos package, then you’ll find the Triangle Borea BRA1 speakers at £349 / $599 / AU$900 per pair.

Build

Home cinema speaker package: Triangle Borea BR03 5.1

(Image credit: Triangle)

Based around a front pair of five-star rated standmount speakers, we have understandably high hopes for the BR03 5.1. The BR03s themselves are the largest of Triangle’s Borea standmounters, not unlike the Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 in scale with a very solid look for budget speakers.

Triangle Borea BR03 5.1 tech specs

Home cinema speaker package: Triangle Borea BR03 5.1

(Image credit: Triangle)

BR03 Bookshelf speakers

Type Front ported two-way

Sensitivity 90dB

Frequency range 46Hz–22kHz 

Power handling 90W

Nominal impedance 8 ohms

Dimensions (hwd) 31 x 21 x 38cm

Weight 6kg

BR02 Bookshelf speakers

Type Two-way, not ported

Sensitivity 89dB

Frequency range 51Hz–22kHz 

Power handling 80W

Nominal impedance 8 ohms

Dimensions (hwd) 12 x 7 x 11cm

Weight 5kg

BRC1 Centre channel speaker

Type Front ported two-way

Sensitivity 90dB

Frequency range 57Hz–22kHz

Power handling 100W

Nominal impedance 8 ohms

Dimensions 18 x 48 x  27cm

Weight 7.5kg

TALES 340 subwoofer 

Frequency range 30Hz–120kHz

Amplifier output RMS 200W Class D

Dimensions 34 x 36 x 38cm

Weight 8.85kg

BRA1 height speakers

Sensitivity 89dB

Frequency range 90Hz–22kHz

Power handling 80W

Nominal impedance 8 ohms

Minimum impedance 4.5 ohms

Dimensions 21 x 18 x 30cm

Weight 3.6 kg

Take off the magnetic grilles and it’s clear that these speakers mean business with the twin-pronged silver diffuser in front of the tweeter dome and the duo of forward-facing reflex ports aimed at the listener like shotgun barrels. The 16cm midrange/bass paper driver stares us down like a large white eye in our black ash finish samples.

As one would expect, the look and feel of the BRC1 centre is consistent with its neighbours. It’s a modest-sized box featuring the same twin port design. It has two 13cm mid/bass drivers and the same 25mm tweeter with its diffuser aimed at improving the dispersion of the high-frequency sounds.

Triangle’s smallest standmounters, the Borea BR02, are used for the surrounds which certainly helps keep the package at an affordable level. These portless, shoebox-sized speakers are considerably smaller than the front pair but there’s consistency of build with the same diffuser-clad 25mm dome tweeter at the top of the baffle and a 13cm mid/bass cone. All five speakers are single-terminal and available in Black, Light Oak, Walnut or White.

As is often the case, the sub (available in either Black or White only) is a slightly different beast. It’s something of a faceless cube because its 10-inch driver fires downwards. It’s also surprisingly light to lift for what should normally be a fairly back-breaking part of the package. 

The inch-long rubber feet leave plenty of space for the speaker unit  to operate and there are controls on the rear to tweak the output of its 200W RMS class D amplifier with crossover and volume dials. There’s also a phase switch, as well as ports for LFE and stereo RCA inputs.

It’s well worth noting that Triangle Borea BRA1 height speakers are also available to upgrade your home cinema with Dolby Atmos sound. There are fittings to help with wall-mounting or even ceiling-mount these speakers and that’s the better way to go given that they’re really too big to sit on top of the small BR02 surrounds.

Compatibility

Home cinema speaker package: Triangle Borea BR03 5.1

(Image credit: Triangle)

Triangle states that its BR03 speakers fit best in rooms running from 15-30sqm and they certainly do the job nicely in our AV test room, which goes beyond that. There’s enough presence in the sound even when placed quite far into the space. In fact, any less than half a metre away from a wall and the BR03s begin to lose their sense of precision. Triangle also recommends a minimum of 2m between speakers and also between them and your listening position, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem for AV use.

You may wish to be even more careful about the positioning of the smaller BR02 speakers, which are designed for 20sqm rooms when used for hi-fi. That rating shouldn’t be a problem when used as surrounds in a home cinema set-up but users in bigger spaces should take care not to move these too far from their walls to make sure that the speakers’ personality doesn’t get lost.

Sound

Home cinema speaker package: Triangle Borea BR03 5.1

(Image credit: Triangle)

Starting our listening with Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth (2015) we quickly find a lot to like about this well-priced and exciting speaker package. It delivers the drama and atmosphere of this tense piece with wonderful poise.

There’s a terrific sense of controlled power in the front three speakers in the opening sequence as Macbeth buries his young child. The strange bagpipe-like sounds made by the violins set the tone wonderfully as they rise and fall in pitch and volume alongside the eerie wisping of the wind swirling across the heathland. It’s almost quite jarring that we can’t actually smell the peat in the ground and feel the intense heat of the flames crackling through the sticks of the pyre.

By the time we see the witches standing alone in the middle of the glen, we’re ready to hang on their every word but the dynamism of these speakers doesn’t end there. Dialogue and effects come out with detail and expression through the centre. The rhotic accents are a delight to listen to, each offering a slightly different texture to match their age.

There’s still plenty of subtlety available once we hit the chaos of the battlefield too. There’s a terrific roar as both sides fly into combat but we can still easily pick out individual voices among the melee.

Home cinema speaker package: Triangle Borea BR03 5.1

(Image credit: Triangle)

That level of precision is even more obvious when we switch to the highway shootout sequence in Deadpool where we really get to appreciate how well the individual speakers in this package knit together to form a cohesive 360-degree soundscape. Bullets move brilliantly across the space, zipping behind our ears between the surrounds like you can almost follow them with your finger.

It’s a calmer moment in the film that impresses us even more, however. The sounds of the rain in the scene in which Ajax and Vanessa meet at the back alley outside the strip club is quite astonishing. For an entry-level set of speakers, we’re frankly blown away by how much it feels like there’s rain all around us, and of all different types. There’s the drips of rain falling into puddles, the rain that’s overflowing from the gutters and spilling out in large splashes. There’s a more dulled drumming of the rain that bounces off the characters’ clothing and even those that land with a metallic tap as they hit the tops of dumpsters in the alley. It’s a symphony of precipitation that we find ourselves rewinding again and again – one of those moments that could turn you into an AV bore among your friends pretty quickly. Hey, you’ve got to sit here and listen to this!

At this point, we would love to tell you to go right out and buy this speaker package but not all is well with this 5.1 system. There is one member of this band of six of which we have not really spoken, and for very good reason – the sub.

The Triangle Tales 340 is not a good sub. It’s a wet lettuce of a sub. It’s oddly cursed with neither a sense of timing nor dynamics, and the result is sound that feels both soft and formless. Turn up the bass channel and you’ll hear it mumbling away to nothing that particularly matches any one on-screen effect and it tends to mask the detail of the other speakers if you let it.

Home cinema speaker package: Triangle Borea BR03 5.1

(Image credit: Triangle)

Fortunately, the rest of the five have a very credible low frequency output, but the best answer is to buy a different sub. The Wharfedale SW10 from the Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 Home Cinema Pack does an admirable job in its place and will add the real big hits such as Angel Dust hitting the floor with her superhero landing, or Negasonic firing her warhead blasts. It’s easy enough to buy the other five Triangle speakers separately and we’ve even seen them sold on their own as a 5.0 bundle.

Your only other consideration would be whether or not to add the BRA1 height modules and we’d certainly encourage you to if you can afford them and find the space to ceiling- or wall-mount. We try out a 5.1.4 arrangement with them, watching the Nauru bombing attack sequence at the beginning of Unbroken, and it makes for an excellent experience.

As with Deadpool, we get a terrifically precise feeling of objects moving fast across the space. In this case it’s the Japanese Zero fighter planes zooming by on their machine gun runs.

There’s a clear difference this time with that element of height added in. The Zeroes are a good couple of feet above the line of our five standard speakers just like we’re sitting in the cockpit of the US bomber. When Louis goes down to fix the bomb bay doors the height of those effects is raised even further with the bullets coming down from even higher angles. Truly cinematic stuff.

Verdict

Home cinema speaker package: Triangle Borea BR03 5.1

(Image credit: Triangle)

Don’t let the four star rating put you off. Triangle is an excellent choice for an entry-level home cinema speaker package. You’ll struggle to find anything as engaging and enjoyable as the front pair, the surrounds and the centre speaker.

Our advice would be to buy these speakers either individually or as a 5.0 bundle and then add the Wharfedale SW10 Subwoofer from the Award-winning Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 Home Cinema Pack, and even the Triangle BRA1 height speakers if there’s anything left in your budget.

Put that together, along with a five-star AVR, and you’ll have the kind of system to convert any home cinema sceptic into a full surround lifer.

This package is no hi-fi afterthought. Toss out your soundbar and embrace a better world.

SCORES

  • Sound 4
  • Build 4
  • Compatibility 4

MORE:

Read our review of the Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 Home Cinema Pack

Also consider the Q Acoustics 3050i 5.1 Cinema Pack

Read our Daii Oberon 5 5.1 Speaker Package review

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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