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February 2003
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
World Premiere!
Coincident's Ultra High Sensitivity Triumph Signature Loudspeakers
Simply Cherry!
Review By A. Colin Flood

 

Coincident's Ultra High Sensitivity Triumph Signature Loudspeakers  For tweaking audiophiles seeking the short route to audio nirvana with the delicious delicacy and tone of SET amplifiers, the choices for proper loudspeaker matches are limited. There are less loudspeaker choices for SET amplifiers than shades of red lipstick at the cosmetics counter. Therefore, Coincident Technology is proud to announce their Ultra High Sensitivity (UHS) series of loudspeakers.

The UHS series is a complete redesign from the previous models. Crossover, drivers, wiring and binding posts are all new. The only thing remaining the same is their distinct dark cherry enclosures. The UHS series was specifically designed to take advantage of the inherent sonic benefits of single ended triode tube (SET) amplifiers, without the need to resort to horn type speakers, (with their incumbent large size, high cost and audible colorations). The UHS series consists of three models.

The Triumph Signature UHS are an updated $1,199 per pair, designed specifically for 2A3, 300B and other delicate, but low-powered, tube amplifiers. The Triumph Signatures UHS loudspeakers have a very high sensitivity, glossy nimble cones with a flat impedance range near the nominal 8-ohm rating. The Triumph Signatures are a beefy and yet very transparent. As such, while they may look like a fairly typical, two-way bookshelf loudspeaker, their goals, components and craftsmanship are a few notches above the standard fare.

Except for a center channel loudspeaker, the revised Triumph Signatures are by far the lowest price offerings in the Coincident line. The next choice is almost three times their price. A consistently seller for Coincident, the Triumph Signatures exhibit many of the same features found in Coincident’s most popular model, the critically acclaimed $8,000 Total Eclipse. Founder Israel Blume says his twenty-five years of audio and music experience results in a loudspeaker that reproduces music with no obvious or distracting perversions.

First initial impressions are that he succeeded. The dark cherry bookshelf loudspeakers seem to have little coloration. They do not add many distinct qualities of their own to the sound. They have admirable neutrality to their sound, the absence of which made the Triumph Signatures hard to describe.

Second initial impression is that despite a low enough rating at 45Hz, the bottom end of Triumph Signatures does not sound deep at all. While they posses a smooth and quick sense in the upper bass ranges, the Triumph Signatures without subwoofers lacked musical involvement and passion. The caveat being that you are talking to a dual subwoofer man – me.

Third initial impression was that the upper bass is enjoyably quick, without being extremely punchy. The faster bass of the Signatures brought the lows and highs into focus and thereby restored a sense of scale to recordings. Rather than slogging along, the drums and guitar walked along at a cleanly defined pace, restoring some snippiness to the beat. Their frequency range and overall tonality smoothness is suited more to live acoustic instruments, than megawatt driven amplified ones. Indeed, unless a subwoofer or two was added, it was difficult for the charming cherry creations to find "The Devil Inside" (Inxs Kick Atlantic 1987).

The Triumph Signatures have well-defined highs, full and clear midrange and authoritative upper bass. This is extremely well balanced response overall. They have a natural, if not obviously noticeable, flow of all musical program material.

Connected to either my flea-powered or solid-state amplifiers (as described in my reviewer’s Bio), the Triumph Signatures were more similar than different, making me think that this was an easy-to-drive design. While the Bottlehead 2A3 Paramours did add more detail, it was not as much as one might expect. They do not play awfully loud. There was not a lot of difference in volume between 3.5, 9 and 22 watts of power. The Triumph Signatures did not play loud or punchy enough to be my first choices for parties or dorm rooms.

In addition to transparency, the Triumph's excel in the midrange. Their portrayal of the human voice lacked any noticeable colorations, chestiness or sibilance. They offer good soundstaging and very fine midrange detail.

 

The Comparisons
The Triumph Signatures look sorta like Axiom Audio M3Tis. They are both two-way cherry bookshelf loudspeakers. They share the same size and number of drivers, a truncated rectangular shape, Canadian origin, cherry finish and approximate size. They could be cousins, but that is the where the resemblance stops. They could not sound and cost more different.

In comparison to the slick Triumph Signatures urbanites, the M3Tis are country bumpkins. They are only ¼ of Triumph Signatures’ price and yet sound punchy, exuberant, joyous, bright and surprisingly deep. Compared to Triumph Signatures, the charming Axioms seem brash, bold, punchy, missing on details, abrasive and inaccurate. The Triumph Signatures however, are some of the most neutral, level, even toned bookshelves loudspeakers that I have had the pleasure to audition. They have more in common with the reserved Vince Christian E6C satellites than any other loudspeaker I have auditioned so far. In addition to numerous other quality details, the Triumph Signatures are also veneered inside and out, plus they weigh twice of the M3Tis.

The weight of a loudspeaker makes a big difference in their sound, because of the dampening effect of the construction. The Triumph Signatures seem heftier and sturdier than their 29-pound weight implies. Underneath that refined cherry exterior is a bulldog. What you get for three times the money is an incredibly well made and startlingly transparent loudspeaker. "Depth," my friend with the Axioms would sadly proclaim. The Triumph Signatures have "depth."

Compared to the Axioms, everything is rendered politely, from bass to drums to horns to cymbals. Nothing intrusive.  Not laid-back, though they did evoke memories of the Advent speakers of yesteryear. The high-end is soft without sounding too rolled-off. Although many violin recordings "eek" in my ears like nagging mice, the Triumph Signatures render them as friendly and inquisitive pets.

Also similar in size to the Coincident cherries are the less expensive, blue-gray marble, single driver Omega TS1s, which I enthusiastically reviewed in the October 2002 issue. When paired with my delicate Bottlehead 2A3 Paramours, these loudspeakers weren’t startlingly noticeable, except in the absence of low bass, but they were dynamic, smooth, easy-to-listen too, non-fatiguing and provided long term enjoyment. Compared to the Omega TS1s, the Triumph Signatures are not as sparkling, dynamic or rich in tone.

Larger in both size and price, the Newtronics Skates reviewed back in September 2002, remain my favorites with a good solid-state amplifier. Of the loudspeakers auditioned so far, tweaking audiophiles will find plenty of bass, midrange clarity and high-end sparkle. Compared to these leaning transmission lines, the cherry Triumph Signatures are neutral, transparent, weak in the bass and lean in the treble.

Compared to the Classic Audio Cinema Ensemble horns, the loudspeakers coming up next, the Triumph Signatures are not as brassy, brash or forward. The Cinema Ensembles are a few hundred dollars more than the Triumph Signatures, and a much larger box (also in Cherry), with a gaping rectangular midrange horn. Yet, the Cinema Ensembles not only weigh less than the Triumph Signatures, but they also have an enticing sound. They are snappy, dynamic, more colored sounding and no-where near as transparent sounding as the Triumph Signatures.

In many sonic respects, the beefy and transparent Triumph Signatures are very much like the reserved and laid-back sound of the Vince Christian E6c Satellite System. Except for two things. The Triumph Signatures have no grilles, while the E6c system looks naked without theirs. Plus the Triumph Signatures seem easily, but not loudly, driven by any amplifier, while the E6c system did not open up until driven by Pass Lab’s Supersymmetry Balanced Single-Ended X250 Stereo Amplifier. With the nOrh $399 integrated EL34 tube amplifier, the Triumph Signatures averaged mid-70 SPLs at the 12:00 setting.

The Triumph Signatures did sound better with tubes. They were sharper on Reference Recordings Test & Burn-In tracks, exhibiting more tingling chimes, better pace, dynamics, bite and blare. The triangles tease the edges of your ears, the tympani have whomp and thump. With tubes, the Triumph Signatures seem to image slightly better. Oboes are slightly more open, floating out from the rest of the orchestral crowd. My notes say it is easier to be involved and then there was this: "more alluring than a hint of lace under a blouse."

Even with so modest an offering as the hand-sized $99 ASL Wave 8 tube monoblocks, the Triumph Signatures performed quite well. They didn’t get down and boogie, but they do step a mean waltz.

With the Bottlehead 2A3 Paramours, the Triumph Signatures were still neutral, reserved and did not play loudly, but there was more texture on horns, as if the notes came from inside the bell. This lead to a more enticing and involving sound. Like the E6c system however, Israel’s cherry charmers do not seem to favor one instrument over another. Neutral perhaps, but they can also be as deadpan as an accountant.

Only with full volume did the Triumph Signatures begin reaching for those juicy plums that fall into tweaking audiophile's laps in the dark of the evening as they swing their legs up and settle back with a cold beverage. If it was hiding in the closet, I would have wheeled out the iron-pumping Pass X250 to push these urbane voice boxes. Perhaps the Pass X250 could have roasted the delicate notes that the Paramours could only warm. Perhaps the X250 could have gotten the Triumph Signatures to stand up and belt out a clubhouse jam, because the nOrh SE9 couldn’t and the Bottlehead 2A3 Paramours only came close.

 

The Cabinets
Most of the Coincident models are personally assembled by Israel Blume. He adamantly refuses to outsource the manufacturing. "Absolutely not", he says, "We could have our speakers manufactured in China (like many high end brands such as Revel, Aerial, etc) at a fraction of the price. But they cannot come close to matching our quality and I will never sacrifice the quality of our speakers for higher profits." Nonetheless, Coincident does do many things that other manufacturers do not:

- Veneers applied, both inside and outside

- Spline joint construction

- 1 inch hardwood MDF

- Matching crossover components to 1% tolerances

- Hardwiring with lead to lead construction, which eliminates wire in the crossover

- Copper binding mounted to high density 0.25 " acrylic plates ("instead of the .99 cents Chinese connects mounted on flimsy plastic")

- Phase coherent acoustically and electrically

- Large gold binding posts

 

The modest Triumph Signatures cabinets are a rich dark cherry finish, with a dark, but not a purple tint. The square edges of the front baffle are sliced off. The front is heavily beveled to minimize diffraction about the edges, giving the Triumph Signatures a unique sculptural appearance.

The front panel angling extends right to the edge of driver, thereby leaving virtually no surface area around it. Angling the edges of the front panel eases diffraction. Reducing the surface area around the driver reduces audible reflections off that surface. Therefore, the absence of any surface area around a driver reduces diffraction effects. Indeed, the initial impression of the Triumph Signatures is one of neutrality. You feel as if you are listening less to the loudspeaker.

This minimal diffraction feature is also found in the leanin' Newtronics Skates. The Skates front baffle is only 5.75" wide, coming right to the edge of the small black drivers. This minimizes reflections off the sides of the cabinet and helps to focus the mid-range. The effect is noticeable as an absence of coloration, an appearance of neutrality and a confident midrange capability. It is more noticeable on the Triumph Signatures than the Skates, perhaps because the Skate’s folded transmission line contributes so much bass to the middle range.

The cabinet's walls are made of 1-inch thick medium-density fiberboard. With an accelerometer, the walls are braced to dampen any vibrations that might contaminate the sound. The Triumph Signatures UHS enclosure's interior volume seems to be about optimum size for a 6.5-inch woofer, 931 cubic inches (15.25 liters). The cabinets are veneered both inside and out. This expensive touch prevents uneven moisture absorption and possible warping. "This is necessary," Israel says "to prevent the veneer from bubbling or peeling off. Our finish will last a lifetime."

No covers are included, Israel says they "create a sonic downside and obscure the beautiful finish of the veneer." His philosophy, he says, is to "treat all variables that can affect the speaker's sonics as relevant no matter how small or seemingly insignificant it may appear. This applies to tons of stuff inside the speaker than no one will ever see." Even the large gold binding posts are made by Coincident. They are solid, gold clad, 0.25" and 6N copper posts. They are some of the easiest to reach and use of any posts auditioned so far. Tweaking audiophiles with inquisitive children can order grilles that fasten with Velcro (free on demand, $35 US for a retrofit).

Seeing the rich dark cherry, the beveling of the front panel and the sturdy gold posts creates an aura of competency and craftsmanship for the Triumph Signatures, like sliding into the buttery leather of a heavy BMW or Mercedes.

 

The Drivers
The drivers are proprietary models from Vifa (tweeter) and Seas (mid-range woofer) made to Coincident specifications. The new mid-range driver is designed specifically for the Triumph Signature UHS and the Victory models with a beefy 64 kg. (22.5 ounces) magnet. In fact, the tweeter resembles the one used in the Newtronics Skates, although it does not dimple nearly so easily as it did in the Skates. The mid-range driver is noticeably flexible and loose – more so than anything other driver I know.

This is accomplished by adjusting the compliance parameters of the supporting spider with low loss butyl rubber surround. The low loss butyl rubber surround has a proprietary elastomer mixed with the rubber. This treatment on the mid-range woofer ensures high flexibility and impedes the loss of moisture through aging. “Previously,” Israel says, “woofers of high sensitivity were limited in terms of power handling capability and low frequency response in smaller enclosures. Their Volume Equivalent of Air (VAS) was quite high. This new woofer was designed to overcome those obstacles. The woofer took three years from initial design to actual production.” Even with so much flexibility in the driver, Israel estimates an expected minimum lifespan of fifteen years.

 

The Impedance
The Coincident line is renown amongst tweaking audiophiles for its high and flat impedance response, making Israel’s loudspeakers uniquely suited for tube amplifiers. The Triumph Signature impedance curve is quite flat, ranging from only 7 to 8.5 ohms. This did make the Triumph Signatures easy to drive for amplifiers, but particularly the tube ones. They did sound pretty much the same with most amplifiers. More so than with most other loudspeaker designs. Sonic differences between amplifiers were more slight than dramatic.

Israel says that a plethora of details is responsible for the flat and smooth impedance curve of the Triumph Signatures:

- The drivers are designed for this with oversize voice coils and adequate ventilation, so there is no impedance rise with higher frequencies due to the voice coil overheating.

- The simplicity of the Zobel crossovers has no adverse impedance effect.

- The driver is loaded into the enclosure to prevent large fluctuations at the resonant frequencies.

- The port is tuned for shallow saddles at the tuning frequency.

 

Like most of the construction details of this little loudspeaker, the Triumph's crossover is a tweaking audiophile’s delight. It is simple first order design, filtering at 6dB/octave, using air core inductors and good quality polypropylene capacitors. The first order design makes the roll-off very gradual, thus avoiding blips or suck-outs around the crossover point and creating a disconcerting change of timbre. This also avoids a ringing and the loss of dynamics that some complex crossovers can bring.

Coincident also provides loudspeaker cables. A pair of their thick, gray-woven rattlesnakes are up for review shortly. They also have long-range plans for a pre-amplifier, phono stage, DVD or CD Player. Someday, Israel would like to provide a single source solution for the entire audio chain.

 

The Score

A score of 50 is passing on the Enjoy the Music.com scale. I grade all loudspeakers auditioned on the same curve, so look for a wide range of scores as a clue to other they stack up against each other. These are the categories where speakers really excel when compared to other loudspeakers auditioned. I rate the Triumph Signatures average in many categories, which does nothing to detract from their other charms. Only unusually superb loudspeakers, possibly costing several times more, will do better in an individual category. A score of 90 implies that there might be a no-holds barred dream loudspeaker that could possibly do better, but this one is among the best I have ever heard. So do not let the other comparatively low scores fool you - these worthy of serious consideration. My own category, Enjoyment, reflects my overall emotional response.

Updated specifically for delicate, low-powered tube amplifiers, the Coincident Triumph Signature UHS is a very high sensitivity, beefy and transparent bookshelf loudspeaker. Because they contribute so little of their own sound to the reproduction, they have better than average inner resolution. Soundstaging on the Triumph Signatures is also good. They prefer a equatorial triangle with little or no toe-in. Because of their easy to drive nature, the Triumph Signatures image better than average. While it is not a sharper 3D image, but it is easier to picture a sonic holograph without the typical loudspeaker colorations. As gleaned from the description above, fit and finish, though it is a modest dark cherry, is superb. Noise is not really an issue: neither better nor worse.

Because they are a Canadian product, they are available through their dealer network or, in areas not served by a dealer, they can be ordered factory direct. The Triumph Signatures compare very favorably with more expensive, less accurate US retail fare. With the right amplification, I think the Triumph Signatures were a good value for anyone seeking a neutral and transparent speaker. Because of their neutrality, the Triumph Signatures took some getting used to, but once I learned to stop listening for their colorations, my enjoyment of their music increased.

 

Tonality

90

Sub-bass (10 Hz - 60 Hz)

25

Mid-bass (80 Hz - 200 Hz)

50

Midrange (200 Hz - 3,000 Hz)

80

High-frequencies (3,000 Hz on up)

50

Attack

50

Decay

50

Inner Resolution

75

Soundscape width front

50

Soundscape width rear

50

Soundscape depth behind speakers

50

Soundscape extension into the room

50

Imaging

75

Fit and Finish

90

Self Noise

50

Value for the Money   75

Enjoyment

75

 

Features of All Coincident Loudspeakers

Three finishes available: Red Cherry, Black Lacquer and Natural Cherry

Enclosures constructed from 1-inch MDF Hardwood

Enclosure tuning to high fundamental resonance (350kHz)

Drivers manufactured specifically for and/or modified

All drivers matched to within 0.2dB to eliminate variations

First order crossover networks for phase coherency and sonic purity

High gauge OFC air core inductors, metal oxide resistors, polypropylene (Auric Cap) capacitors (matched within 1%)

Copper cable used for all internal wiring

Hardwiring to binding posts

Gold plated five-way binding posts

Five-year limited warranty

Allow approximately seven days to fill an order

 

Specifications
Frequency Response: 45 Hz to 25 kHz
Impedance: 8 Ohms 
Sensitivity: 94dB/W/m
Power Requirements: 3 watts to 150 watts
Dimensions: 16 x 9 x 12 (HxWxD in inches)
Weight: 29 lbs.
Price: $1,199 per pair

 

Company Information
Coincident Speaker Technology
Designed By Science - Driven By Passion
142 Rimmington Drive 
Thornhill, Ontario
Canada L4J 6K1

Voice: (905) 660-0800 
Fax: (905) 660-1114
E-mail: iblume@coincidentspeaker.com
Website: www.coincidentspeaker.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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