Triangle Up-sizes The Sophistication.
Last year, France’s Triangle scored a big hit with the reasonably priced BOREA BR03 standmount speaker, which supplies a huge amount of refinement and style for only $549. I went as far as making them our speaker of the year for 2019, and they piled up the accolades from many other outlets as well.
I was so impressed with the BR03 that I had to check out the only BOREA floorstander offered in the U.S., the $1399 a pair BOREA BR08 Floorstanding Speaker (they offer the larger BR09 and smaller BR07 floorstanders in Europe). As a three-way design with a bigger cabinet and two additional drivers, more low end and separation are given, but could they provide the same soundstage and focus of their smaller siblings?
Well, after several months with these beauties, I’ve learned that and a lot more about the BR08, so read on if you wish to know my findings. Disclaimer: The distributor sent out the BR08 speakers in return for an honest review, and that’s what follows.
The reference model of the BOREA range, the BR08 looms large with a height of nearly 3 1/2 feet on their MDF pedestals. Combined with a footprint width of nearly an inch, they are quite substantial. Like the standmount sibling, the BR03, they come in some striking finishes like the Walnut I received, a new Light Oak, plus the usual Black and White.
The quality Walnut veneer presented like furniture in my living room, and the Matte Black baffle (on the Walnut version) is kept clean via the use of magnetic grilles. Like all Triangle speakers, they strike the right balance between ornamental and flashy, giving you just enough chrome accents to make this low-cost speaker look luxurious.
Prime examples are the chrome binding posts in the rear, which have to be some of the most dazzling I’ve seen at any price, much less a speaker that retails below a grand apiece.
At the top of the BR08, you have the same drivers as the BR03, the 25mm EFS silk dome tweeter with a shallow horn loading, and the 16cm (6 inches) paper cone midrange. Below those, you have two 16cm fiberglass bass drivers, which work along with the others in a three-way configuration. This means that unlike the standmount option, low frequencies (below 215 Hz) are rolled-off to the dedicated fiberglass cones.
At the very bottom of the speaker is a large front-facing bass reflex port, which customarily means you will have more options for placement. I found optimum placement (for me) was about 2-2 ½ feet out into the room, which kept the low end tight. Any closer to the rear boundary seems to make the bass a little too rambunctious for my taste.
Again like the BR03, these speakers benefit from Triangle’s DVAS (Driver Vibration Absorption System) system, which utilizes specialized MDF bracing augmented with EVA foam behind the bass/midbass drivers. This both stiffens up the cabinets and isolates the drivers, which should allow for a cleaner sound.
Triangle recommends these speakers for rooms between 20 to 40m squared (about 200 to 400 sq ft. for us Americans), and my room was definitely at the lower end of this range. That surely factored into my findings. If you have a larger room, you will probably put them closer to the wall for more low-end punch.
Listening to the BOREA BR08 HiFi Floorstanding Speakers
While the BR08 is a sensitive speaker at 92db/W, they also have a minimum impedance of 3 Ohms, so you want to use a quality high current amp. In an average-sized living room, you should be able to drive them to their full potential with as little as 50w per channel.
I found they matched well with various integrated amps, including the Denon PMA1600 NE, the Cambridge Audio CXA81, and the Audio By Van Alstine SET120 Control Amp, which really made these speakers sing.
At the end of the day, I did most of my testing with the new PS Audio Stellar Stratus Integrated Amp, which provides a minimum of 100w per channel into 4 ohms. I streamed both TIDAL and Hi-Res files from my NAS drive and employed a slight amount of toe-in for the best focus.
“With great power comes great responsibility” (or something like that) seems to be the overarching theme of these speakers. With such a large complement of drivers, you would expect these speakers to be party monsters, but unlike the huge Cerwin-Vega boxes of my youth (I know I’m dating myself), the BR08 are overall very restrained.
I know two 6 inch bass drivers will only go so far towards turning your living room into a nightclub, but I’ve heard smaller floorstanders, like the DALI OBERON 5, for example, which were livelier. That is not to say I think lively is necessarily better. I actually prefer a deep and tight low end in most cases.
I guess their balance shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise because when I reviewed the BR03, I said the tonal balance was one of their biggest strengths. That goes for the floorstanding version as well, which has the same smooth treble and midrange. Triangle sells the paper cone midrange driver as natural-sounding, and it’s as advertised, providing beautiful vocals along with authentic-sounding horns.
The low end, of course, is more plentiful in the BR08 than the BR03, but it’s more a matter of depth and articulation than sheer volume. Both have very tight bass like an acoustic suspension design, but the floorstander is deeper, tighter, and quicker, allowing them to drive the rhythm in a way the smaller BR03 cannot.
Another difference between the standmount and floorstanding BOREA speakers is the imaging; as I suspected, the larger BR08 isn’t quite as focused as the BR03, but it isn’t a huge difference. The 08 matches a wide soundstage with some outstanding imaging making them a joy to listen to, especially with acoustic and jazz music. They generally have the same airiness as the 03.
Listening to “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” by Casey Abrams, it was amazing how the speakers just faded away, and the guitar and bass just jumped out of their individual corners of the mix. The two vocalists are panned one to the left, the other to the right on this amazing recording, and you can clearly hear their distinctive voices harmonizing on the track.
You can also hear the amazing space the song was recorded in, which happens to be a decommissioned church in Brooklyn, New York. The BR08 is again a remarkably refined speaker at its price point, pretty much more of the same compared with the BR03 with one big exception. The floorstanding version can fill much larger spaces with its rich sound.
One caution with both the BR03 and BR08. While they will sound fine with dance, hip-hop, and other modern genres, acoustic music, classic rock, and the like is where they really excel. If you’re looking for a hard-rocking speaker, you may want to check out the DALI OBERON series, which is more lively overall.
The Triangle Borea BR08 Floorstanding Speaker is more of a good thing from Triangle’s affordably priced BOREA line. Build quality is excellent, the look is superb, and the sound quality is immensely polished. They allow you to actually see into a recording and hear the nuance of instruments and vocals. The BR03 does the same on a smaller scale. I recommend the standmount for a smaller living room or basement setup, but if you have a larger room (200 sq ft. or bigger), check out the BR08.