I am going to give this review a subtitle called "a Tale of Three Triumphs," because I will discuss the Triumph loudspeakers, The Triumph Signature loudspeakers, and the Triumph speaker stands. These are all products from the Toronto, Canada based Coincident Speaker Technology.
The story spans considerable time and began earlier this year when I first made arrangements to review the Triumph Signature speakers. These are essentially the standard Triumph speakers with upgraded tweeters, binding posts, and crossover components. Since I didnt own a pair of stands for that size speaker, Israel Blume, Designer and Principal at Coincident, volunteered the matching stands as well. When I picked them up, Israel spoke at length about the stands and the way they were designed to counteract the speakers cabinet resonances and turn them into energy. According to Israel, they are designed to resonate out of phase with the speakers and cancel any unwanted noise relating to those types of vibrations. The concept is similar to the Silver Bullet Totem puts on top of their new Sttaf speakers. As a skeptical reviewer, I nodded my head, rolled my eyes, and headed home to listen to speakers.
In later conversations Israel kept bringing up the stands. "I don't know why you didnt say more about the stands," he said. By that time, however, I had already given them back to him. I explained that I dont buy into claims about performance until I hear it for myself and those stands were the only ones I listened to. They seemed fine to me and at $295 USD they were a good way not only to support the speakers at the right height, but to keep the look consistent to the floor. "But they DO sound better," was his response.
I knew that if I was to verify his claim I would have to assess them against another high quality stands. Intrigued by these claims I said, "Well give em back to me and Ill find out. If I like them, Ill do a follow-up review, if not
. So, back came the stands for some further evaluation.
First let me tell you a little about the aesthetics of the Triumph stands. They come in either the basic black or veneer options of the Triumphs. They are 24 inches tall and complete the dimensions of the Triumphs to the floor. This gives the speakers a floorstander look, one I prefer over conventional stands. The stands are supplied with four spikes that are easy to install and level. The construction is the same as the Triumphs, using one inch hardwood MDF. While the stands do have a coupling material, I prefer to listen to them with Blue Tak or its nearest equivalent, as you will soon find out.
I compared the Triumph stands to the all metal Atlantis Reference series stands. These are a high quality stand that can be filled with sand or lead shot (the stands I used were filled will shot). Visually, the Atlantis is similar to the Target R-4. This comparison showed me that although the Triumph stands were competing well with these stands costing $200 more, the speakers on the Triumph stands gave less clarity and detail than when placed on the metal ones. It was not much of a difference, but it was enough to give the thumbs up to the metal stands.
There was one more thing to try, though, because I never did like the foam pads that came standard with the Triumph stands. They are okay in a pinch, but Blue Tak (or the nearest facsimile) has always been my preferred route in situations like this. By the time I got Israels okay to dispose of the foam, the metal stands had gone back and the Triumph Signature speakers were scheduled elsewhere. Luckily, Israel was kind enough to offer me a standard pair of Triumphs to replace the Signatures. Before the Signatures actually left, however, I got a chance to compare the Triumphs to the Triumph Signature speakers. A worthwhile endeavor for what followed.
Being well acquainted with the Signature version of the Triumph, differences with the standard Triumph were easy to discern. As stated before, the main difference between the two is the higher quality tweeter and the crossover components. Not surprisingly, then, the first and most noticeable improvement is in the top end. The highs are clearer with greater refinement on the Signatures. Also, the mids are smoother and more natural sounding -- quite worth the extra $200 in price if you ask me. Factor in the binding posts, which are all metal on the Signatures, and you have a definite upgrade.
With some careful negotation, I managed to get a listening session together to use the same metal stands that I had previously compared to the Triumph stands. I was back in business. With more familiarity with the Triumph speakers, the foam pads gone and replaced with Blu Tak, it was a hands down win for the Triumph stands. The speakers took on a new dimension of clarity, with cleaner mids and highs as well as control and extension on the bottom end with the Triumph stands. Not a huge difference, mind you, but a noticeable improvement that was not subtle. The metal stands seemed to make the speakers "ring" in comparison, leaving them overly bright with blurred imaging. The Triumph stands seemed to better tune the speakers. Based on my listening tests, the cost compared to comparable stands, and the ability to keep a more consistent appearance for the speaker, I think that if youre a Triumph speaker owner of either model, youll want to listen to them on their matching stands.
Stands are an often mentioned, but too often overlooked component. I dont know how many times I have read, "make sure you have stands with these," but no mention is given to what you should be looking for in a stand. What is it in the Triumph stands that makes them sound better than another stand in this instance? It is really too tough to say with any certainty since there are numerous variables involved. Still, since I have been paying more attention to stands lately, I have come to appreciate the value of a good pair of stands and the improvement that can be gain in a system.
Some general rules of thumb are:
- The more rigid and damped the better. Rigid stands generally mean metal ones, but not always. There are a few good wood or MDF stands out there, but you will want to go with something that can be filled with sand or lead shot. Lead shot is better for mass loading, but sand is less resonant. Of course, this advice seems to go against what I have just said about the Triumph stands. However, these stands are optimized for the Triumph loudspeaker.
There is another low-priced alternative I recommend. When I am lacking stands of the correct height, I will sometimes use cement blocks (cinder blocks). At $10 for four, these are a cheap way to elevate your speakers and they often outperform inexpensive metal stands.
- Spikes or cones under the stands should be used. I have always found cones or spikes to improve the performance of stands. Considering the cost of admission, I dont understand why some people dont bother.
- Good adhesion of the speaker to the stand is important. Never place a speaker on a stand without using a proper coupling medium. Some stands come with spikes for the speakers as well as the floor. When in doubt, use Blue Tak or its nearest equivalent. Simply roll it into four pea sized pieces, place them on the stand near the corners, and push the speakers down.
- Proper stand height is also critical. Depending on the dispersion characteristics of the speakers, they will sound different at different heights. Generally, the best results come from having you tweeters at about the same height as your ears when you are seated in your listening chair. Three feet is a common height for floorstanding speakers for just this reason.
Finally, its at this point that I have to give Israel his due. His insistence to have me carefully listen to the stands and not just the speakers gave me a new appreciation for the importance of this component. The Triumph stands do perform as advertised and they bested metal stands costing $200 more in this applicaiton. It just shows that careful matching of components can make very worthwhile improvements. Will they work the same for your speakers? You would have to try to know for sure. Ill take my licks for not paying more attention to him in the first place.
Coincident Speaker Technology Responds:
I would like to thank SoundStage! and John Stafford for the immense time and effort expended on the reviews of the Triumph and Triumph Signature loudspeakers and the matching Triumph stands. John's conclusion that the Triumph stand outperforms the $500 Atlantis stand is accurate. But there is no need to merely single out Atlantis stands. The sonic superiority of theTriumph stand is readily apparent over ANY metal stand regardless of price or manufacture.
The same scientific reasons that are responsible for the sonic excellence of all Coincident speaker enclosures are similiarly at work in creating a superior speaker stand. The material (1 inch MDF hardwood) used in the construction of all Coincident speakers coupled with the Coincident enclosure tuning technique combine to uniquely create the finest value loudspeakers and stands in the world.
The Triumph stand will sound better than ANY metal stand, not only with Coincident speakers but with ALL speakers. The Triumph stands will of course mate the most synergistically with Coincident speakers for the reasons enumerated in the review, but they will still best the performance of ANY metal stand with ANY speaker. Due to this fact, we are now making the Triumph stand available in custom made sizes to match non Coincident speakers. Prices vary according to specfic requirements.
Once again, allow me to thank John for a highly informative review.
Coincident Speaker Technology