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Triangle Borea BR09


Lord Darlington, in Oscar Wilde’s play ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’, famously observes that “a cynic is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

We all know people who complain that in audio the link between the cost of manufacture and retail price is often tenuous at best. The resistors used in Product A can be had for less than five pence a pop and the capacitors a mere 30 pence each. In plain speak, vendors are being accused of profiteering.

It’s all good sport of course, but as an argument it fails to account for the overheads of employing design and production staff, providing a building for them to work in and equipment to work with, marketing and advertising, a dealer margin of perhaps 40%, plus service and support.

French cuisine

And, anyway, as Lord Darlington reminds us, value is not cost. Unless we are members of the distortion police, those for whom measurements are all, we approach to value in audio much the same way we might approach a meal. Two chefs cook the French peasant dish ratatouille. The minimal cost of the ingredients is identical, but the more skilful chef turns out a dish that tastes quite sublime while the other’s is rather ho-hum. By happily paying more for one of them, we demonstrate our sensitivity to value.

Enter Triangle’s Borea BR09 floorstanding speaker. At a recommended UK price of £1,149 for a pair, the French company gives us a lot for the money; a boxy but aesthetically inoffensive package just over a metre high with three ways, five drivers, and a front-mounted port. The review samples were neatly finished in cream-coloured fronts, with light oak vinyl wrap everywhere else. The speaker is also available in black, white and walnut finishes.


Triangle designs all of its products at its factory in Soissons but outsources the build of Borea speakers to China. The ’09 is the largest model in a range that comprises two stand-mounted designs, three floorstanders, a centre-channel speaker and a dedicated wedge-shaped speaker designed to deliver movie sound effects. While the Boreas are the least-costly speakers made by Triangle – the company’s portfolio tops out with the Magellan Grand Concert speaker at circa £50,000 – the review sample Boreas impressed right from the start by delivering a good measure of the characteristically entertainingly expressive DNA to be heard further up the Triangle price ladder.

Editor Alan Sircom had a similar reaction when he reviewed the slightly smaller Borea BR08 back in Issue 186. The synchronicity of our respective findings is no coincidence. In most respects the two speakers are the same; the same 25mm neodymium silk dome tweeter with phase plug, the same 16cm paper-coned mid-range driver and the same width and depth dimensions. However, whereas the ’08 has two 16cm fibreglass coned woofers, the ’09 has three, plus an extra 75mm in cabinet height to accommodate the added woofer.

That third driver and resultantly larger bass reflex enclosure allow the ’09 to dig deeper into the lower octaves than the ’08. Triangle claims a minus 3dB point at 35Hz rather than the ’08s 40Hz. With careful siting to take advantage of room gain the review samples generated rather amusing levels of bass slam and weight as part of a relatively linear frequency response.

Take your positions

In my six by four metre listening room, I ended up with the ’09s positioned within a centimetre or so of the dimensions recommended as a starting point by Triangle; a little over half a metre from speaker sides to the side walls, a little under half a metre from the front wall to the rear of each speaker, and with a very slight toe-in towards the listening position. The review samples – brand new out of the packaging –sounded very tight and not well integrated at the start, but after four days I felt I could confidently make listening notes.

To drive the BR09s I used a Bryston 4B Cubed power amplifier connected to the speakers via Quiescent Peak silver cables. The source was Jay’s CDT2-MK3 transport feeding a Denafrips Gaia DDC/re-clocker and a Terminator Plus DAC whose balanced output was attenuated by an icOn 4PRO balanced passive line stage.


Triangle is not alone in offering floorstanders at a price level where AV buyers and two-channel buyers tend to bump into each other. The Borea BR09s are not so inexpensive that they occupy the AV basement, but neither in two-channel terms are they at all costly, especially for a three-way.

The ’09’s third woofer, aided by the extra efficiency resulting from the port, allowed the speakers to generate enough low-frequency energy in my listening room to jiggle internal organs gently. Movie buffs who want ‘good enough’ and who don’t want the faff, loss of floor space and expense of subs might find a pair of ’09s with the Borea centre speaker to be sufficient. If not, then Triangle makes subs as well.

Tipsy uncle

As a two-channel speaker, the ’09s are a complete riot. Yes, I know that’s not respectable reviewer language, but while they do serve up a very satisfactory level of tonal sophistication and dynamic detail, and I’ll come back that shortly, as an overall package it’s their get-up-and-go that leaves a particularly strong impression. If they were human, they’d be our favourite uncle who turns up slightly tipsy at a sober family gathering. Suddenly it’s a party. The room comes alive, people beam at each other, and everyone feels slightly deflated when he’s been helped into the taxi at the end of the evening.

I played The Mothership Returns, the live recording by Return To Forever [Eagle Records] and on the track ‘Renaissance’, the ’09s absolutely nailed the bite and tone of Jean Luc Ponty’s electric violin, slightly forward but underpinned by the locked-in driving pulse of Stanley Clarke’s bass and Lenny White’s drumming. The track showed that the ’09 drivers are well integrated, and able to perform with satisfying subjective integrity in both the time and frequency domains. The low end sounded crisp and punchy with a surprisingly generous measure of texture, and the mid-range from that 16cm paper-coned driver had me shaking my head in amazement. It’s no particular surprise that a speaker manufacturer should employ its best technical chops on the mid-range driver since it covers the part of the audio bandwidth that many people latch onto first. Still, Triangle’s mid-range driver in the Borea BR09 delivers acoustic instruments and voice with a degree of sophistication quite out of proportion to the modest price point. The woofers are well-controlled and scatter notably little unwelcome harmonic distortion through the audio band to veil that fine mid-range quality. Soundstaging is also a strong point, as might be expected given the narrow cabinet dimensions and the quality of the drivers.

Emotional buttons

It’s not my usual musical fare, but when I played Rag’n’Bone Man’s duet with Pink, the track ‘Anywhere Away From Here’ on the album Life By Misadventure [Columbia Records], the ’09s delivered one of that hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck moment, so open, immediate and vital was the sound. The same track provided further evidence of the effort that Triangle’s designers have gone to in integrating the drivers. Despite a second-order bass-to-mid crossover point at 310Hz, Rag’n’Bone Man’s rich baritone wove around Pink’s raspy higher-range vocals with a highly satisfying sense of two voices at different frequencies combined seamlessly into a cohesive performance. Quite unexpectedly, it pushed my emotional buttons.


Some have fingered the silk-domed tweeter used in the Borea range for sometimes drawing attention to grain or brashness elsewhere in the system. On Patricia Kopatchinskaja’s spellbinding recording of Ligeti’s Violin Concerto with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra [Naïve] the soloist and violin section explore the instrument’s 3.5kHz upper limit, and there’s piccolo at up to 5kHz. On some systems, these can be finger-nails-on-chalkboard moments, but in my room, with my system, I hardly felt a twinge of discomfort. Perhaps this is system-dependent. Perhaps the added low-end heft of the ’09 over the ’08 to an extent counterbalances any undesirable tendencies at the top end.

Either way, I can imagine that Oscar Wilde’s Lord Darlington would wholly approve of the Triangle Borea BR09. It is honest sonic value, a rare exemplar of strong but understated technical achievement for not a lot of money.

Technical specifications

  • Number of drivers 5
  • Number of ways 3
  • Sensitivity 92.5 dB/W/m
  • Frequency range 35 Hz–22 kHz (+/- 3 dB)
  • Power handling 170 W
  • Nominal impedance 8 Ω
  • Minimum impedance 3.3 Ω
  • Dimensions 206 × 1095 × 314 mm
  • Weight 23.4 kg
  • Price £1,149 per pair




UK distributor



+44(0)1256 378751

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