Can French marque Triangle bring affordable hi-fi to immersive cinema? Steve Withers investigates
The stated philosophy of Triangle is to add a dash of romanticism to the world of hi-fi by emphasising emotion and sensitivity rather than reason and rationalism… so no prizes for guessing this manufacturer hails from France. The question is: do its loudspeakers have that certain je ne sais quoi?
The Borea range aims to bring the brand's passion for musicality to the home cinema market, and do so at an affordable price. The speakers benefit from some trickle-down tech from Triangle's higher-end Esprit Ez range, while also embracing modern immersive audio systems by including a new surround speaker that doubles as an upward-firing effects module.
The lineup is topped by the BR09, a five-driver, three-way floorstander. This is followed by the BR08, a three-way tower with four drivers; and finally the BR07, a three-driver 2.5-way design. Triangle also offers a brace of bookshelf speakers (the BR03 and the smaller BR02), a centre channel (BRC1), and the aforementioned BRA1 Atmos/surround speaker.
The variety shown by this seven model series allows you to build a system based on your needs, space and budget. In this review, I'm testing a 5.0.2-channel system composed of BR08s and BRC1 centre speaker front-of-house, two BR03 bookshelves as surrounds, and a pair of BRA1s sitting on top of the floorstanders. There's no Borea subwoofer, but Triangle recommends its Tales 400 or Tales 300 as a good match. During testing, I used my two M&K V12 subs to create a 5.2.2-channel system.
With the big BR08 retailing for just £749 a pair, the centre at £249, and the BR03 and BRA1 both priced at £399 a pair, the result is an entire system for £1,796, hopefully leaving you with dosh for a decent woofer.
Scandi Noir... Or White, Oak Or Walnut
The Borea styling is rather traditional, which is something of a surprise given the penchant shown by other French brands to go a bit mad when it comes to design (including Triangle with some of its pricier models). Instead, these take inspiration from Scandinavia – all clean lines and elegant minimalism. There are simple binding posts at the rear, and a choice of four attractive finishes: black, white, light oak or walnut, all with matching fabric grilles. The BR08 also comes with a pedestal for improved stability.
All the speakers use a 1in silk dome tweeter housed in what Triangle refers to as EFS (Efficient Flow System), which partially horn-loads the tweeter in a waveguide.
The various models then employ a 5in or 6.25in midrange made of untreated cellulose, which was previously introduced in the Esprit Ez. The larger BR08 also includes a pair of fibreglass woofers for deeper bass. All the speakers, aside from the BRA1, use forward-firing ports to augment their low-end extension.
Since the BRA1 has been designed with an adjustable crossover, you'll find a switch at the back with a choice of (A) wall-mounted and firing down, or (B) mounted on top of another speaker and firing upwards. The angled shape ensures precise and direct targeting of the sound waves towards the listener when wall-mounted, or reflected off the ceiling when looking skywards.
Playing The Part
The Borea system confidently blends the brand's musical ethos with the complex interactions of a multichannel system. There's an excellent energy to the overall delivery, combined with a precision when it comes to picking out individual voices, effects or instruments. The use of the same tweeters and drivers plays its part, leading to a sound that's both tonally balanced and pleasingly cohesive in terms of the soundstage.