To Doug Schneider,

I enjoyed reading your review of the Triangle Borea BR03 speakers. I recently ordered a pair and have found them very enjoyable aside from some occasional brightness. I’m just using an Emotiva BasX A-100 amp, so I’m wondering if that’s what may be causing the brightness. Do you think it would make sense to try a different amplifier, or am I just coming up against the nature of these speakers? If the former, I would be very grateful for a sub-$500 power amp recommendation that would smooth out the sound.

Thank you very much.

United States

I wouldn’t blame the amplifier for the brightness -- it’s, to use your words, “the nature of these speakers.” If you look at our acoustical measurements of the BR03, you’ll see the tweeter’s output is fairly high at around 5kHz and 10kHz, particularly on-axis (i.e., directly in front), which is the cause of that brightness.

While some tubed amplifiers do roll off the highs, using an amplifier to tame brightness isn’t a good idea -- no good amp is likely going to diminish the highs all that much unless it has a tone control for the treble or some sort of equalization to let you turn the treble down. And don’t think about changing the cables or other electronics in your system because replacing them won’t do that much to reduce the highs, either.

I suggest working with speaker placement and room acoustics. Let’s start with speaker placement. Definitely don’t have the speakers toed in so they’re pointing straight at you. Instead, start with no toe-in at all, meaning the speakers are firing straight into the room. Set up that way, the tweeters’ on-axis output won’t be coming straight for your ears (I’m assuming you’re positioned several feet from the speakers and between them). This way, you’ll be hearing more of the off-axis response of both speakers, which isn’t as bright.

As far as room acoustics go, soft materials help to absorb high frequencies. I don’t know if your floor is hard or carpeted, but if it’s hard, consider throwing an area rug down large enough to fill up most if not all of the space between the speakers and your listening position. The rug will help to soak up some of the highs as well as reduce reflections from the floor. Similarly, soft materials on sidewalls (some people hang area rugs on them) can help too. . . . Doug Schneider