Rafael Todes listens to a high-end floorstanding speaker oozing with Gallic flair…
Magellan Cello 40th Anniversary
Triangle has built itself up to being one of France's key loudspeaker manufacturers in the space of the past forty or so years. The company offers a variety of rather impressive products, all presented with the attention to detail you would expect from a country famous for its fashion houses.
As part of its ongoing birthday celebrations, it has launched this premium-priced floorstander – one that is likely to catch the eyes of buyers wanting high performance in a relatively compact package. Its name refers back to the company's own Magellan Grand Concert loudspeaker, which is something of an iconic design for fans of the brand. Only five hundred pairs of this 40th Anniversary Edition are being made, so you had better be quick if you're seriously interested!
Standing 1,140mm tall and weighing 39kg, the Magellan Cello 40th Anniversary is the second largest design in its range – and looks striking in its Zebrano finish, a beautiful Zebra-like striped wood veneer, polished to perfection. The rounded cabinet helps soften its visual impact, and there's a semi-integral metal plinth base that's said to confer superior stability. It sports a polymer layer between the base and the speaker cabinet, along with a protruding spike at the front that does not sit on the metal plate but touches the floor via its tip. This is reminiscent of the spike of a cello, hence the name. It has four spikes which make contact with the floor, and the end result is a more stable speaker than you might think, given its relatively narrow baffle profile.
The drive unit complement of this 3-way speaker includes one of Triangle's TZ2900PM-MG magnesium alloy tweeters, a single T16GMF100-V2 paper coned midrange driver and twin T16GM-MT15-GC2-V2 honeycomb-reinforced woofers. The latter are loaded by a large front baffle-mounted bass port, making the speaker slightly easier to position than designs with rear-firing ports. Speaker grilles are supplied for those who wish to cover up the Magellan Cello's quite crowded-looking front baffle, complete with silver driver surround and bass port accents – plus the largish engraved brass 'special edition' plaque.
The manufacturer quotes a sensitivity of 90dB/1W/1m, which is healthy enough for this size of speaker, and a frequency response of 35Hz to 30kHz (+/- 3 dB). It recommends amplifiers from 40W to 300W. Nominal impedance is put at 8 ohms, dropping to 3.4 ohms – again, not especially troublesome. My VAC 2001IQ power amps drove this loudspeaker with ease, fed by a Townshend Audio Allegri Reference passive preamp and a dCS Network Bridge streamer via a Chord Dave DAC as a source. Triangle says this speaker suits rooms from twenty-five to fifty square metres.
The Magellan Cello 40th Anniversary's standout talent is its exciting and dynamic midrange performance. Not only this but it's got lots of detail and a good degree of tonal accuracy, too, as I found out when listening to a new recording of Shostakovich's tongue-in-cheek 9th Symphony, played by the Berlin Philharmonic with Kyril Petrenko. The tone of the sections of the orchestra proved very solid and sweet; indeed, its glossy and enveloping sound proved far more beautiful than most.
Additionally, I found it to offer a decent soundstage. I wouldn't say it's the best I have heard, but it was still quite generous in scale and was fairly accurate in terms of image location – albeit not quite pinpoint. All the same, there was a lovely airiness to the proceedings, with lots of presence and ambience. I particularly liked the way it reproduced woodwind instruments; they had a breathiness that was quite beguiling to listen to.
With a full orchestra, there's a slight lack of articulation in the lower frequencies in absolute terms. Still, you have to remember the fact that this isn't the largest loudspeaker on the market, and deliberately so, of course. Compared to my reference B&W 802D4, the double bass had a little more overhang to it – but let's not forget the considerable price difference here. The Magellan Cello 40th Anniversary actually does very well with low frequencies considering its price.
What this speaker does well, it does really well – and this is its overall sense of energy and purpose. It makes orchestral music highly enjoyable to listen to. There's an energy and confidence in the way the symphony was reproduced – making any slight shortcomings in the bass region easily forgotten. Those who find this Triangle speaker lacking low down should go and seek out a larger design.
This overall joie de vivre is apparent whatever type of music you play. For example, Antonio Forcione's Tears of Joy is a beautifully recorded and mixed album on the Naim label. It really came to life via the Magellan Cello 40th Anniversary, as this speaker's engaging presentation truly brought the characters in the recording in front of my very eyes – and/or ears! Thanks to the Triangle's gloriously liquid midrange and larger-than-life attitude, the guitar sounded fabulous. The recording's various effects were texturally splendid, the rain machine entirely credible, and tam-tam bursting with life. There's absolutely nothing sterile about the sound of this speaker – indeed, you might say it's the polar opposite of professional studio monitors, which can push away the fun of the music as a tradeoff for clinical accuracy.
Triangle's Magellan Cello 40th Anniversary is a speaker that instinctively knows its job is to involve and beguile the listener rather than to hand him the music in a cold and clinical way. That's just as well, of course, considering its not inconsiderable price tag – yet I still believe the purchaser is getting a lot of speaker for their money. Strikingly beautiful, dimensionally agreeable and likely to have a high partner acceptance factor, it has a truly crowd-pleasing sound that should win it many friends.