French manufacturer, TRIANGLE, celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2022 and introduced an impressive new lineup of loudspeakers to celebrate this important milestone. The Triangle Borea BR03 BT Wireless Loudspeakers caught our attention for the simple reason that they offer so much for under $800 USD and having just reviewed the impressive KEF LSX II Active Wireless Loudspeakers which retail for $1,400 USD (not including stands) — we needed to take a deeper dive.
I’m sure there are audiophiles growing weary as we profess our belief that active wireless speakers will (eventually) make traditional high-end systems irrelevant — but it’s hard not to see that becoming reality.
Dynaudio and KEF have already successfully proven that it can be accomplished at the high-end for under $10,000 USD and there is clearly a lot of room in the $800 to $1,500 range for products like the Triangle BOREA BR03 BT, KEF LSX II, and the new PSB Alpha IQ.
It really needs to be asked — why can’t a pair of high-end wireless loudspeakers with multiple connectivity options and a subwoofer output work for 99% of the population?
Consumers want the ability to stream from their smartphone or network player, listen to their turntable, and watch television and movies through the same system.
That doesn’t require a rack filled with components or a huge wiring mess behind their media unit.
Give people a compelling reason to spend $800 on a pair of high-end loudspeakers as opposed to buying a cheap plastic soundbar.
Products like the Triangle BOREA BR03 BT accomplish that goal in a rather attractive looking package.
The French part of my DNA secretly loves our superior wine, cheese, bread, and culinary excellence. It’s just the rest of French culture that I’ve never warmed to very much.
I should have been born an Italian Jew. Would have solved many problems.
Having owned Focal, YBA, and Audiomeca over the past 25 years, I have more than dabbled in the French high-end audio scene; the products have always been visually arresting and rather minimalist in their design. They were also not the most reliable when it comes to CD players, turntables, and amplifiers.
Focal might be the lone exception in that regard; their loudspeakers are very well made and with great attention to technical performance using state-of-the-art drivers and components.
The tonal balance has always been on the more neutral side with more top end energy in the case of the loudspeakers. The YBA amplifiers were a tad loose in the low end but the midrange resolution was superb and they never really offended with any type of recording.
Pacing and energy were never really on the same level as their British counterparts across the English Channel; I’ve yet to listen to any French audio components that made me sit up and really dig into the music in the same manner as KEF, Cambridge Audio, Spendor, Croft, Q Acoustics, ProAc, Naim, Rega, Harbeth, or Exposure.
The Borea BR03 BT are not without some quirks; they wouldn’t be French if everything moved in a straight line or didn’t offer its own spin on things.
The industrial design is fairly conservative but it is hard not to be impressed with the build quality and finish options; Triangle supplied the Green Oak version which looks rather attractive with the grille covers removed.
But what they do offer is a very compelling experience with all genres of music and whilst not every aspect of the execution is perfect — they make me want to listen to music all day and that’s the highest praise I can possibly give a pair of loudspeakers.
- Number of drivers: 2
- Sensitivity: 90 dB/W/m
- Frequency range: 47 Hz – 22 KHz (+/- 3 dB)
- Power handling: 2 x 60 watts per channel
- Nominal impedance: 8 ohms
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0, aptX, aptX HD, aptX Low Latency, SBC, and AAC audio
- Inputs: AUX mini-jack 3.5mm, Optical Toslink, Coaxial, RCA (LINE/MM Phono)
- Output: Subwoofer
- Dimensions (WxHxD)
- 8.1 x 14.1 x 12.36 inches
- 206 x 360 x 314 mm
- Weight: 14.2 kg
- Stand (option): S01, S02, S04
- Finishes: Black Ash, Light Oak, Light Oak Blue, Oak Green, Cream
The amplifier section of the Borea speaker integrates a MM phono preamplifier, which allows you to connect your turntable directly to the speakers.
In partnership with Pro-Ject, Triangle has also developed a turntable designed to create an elegant and uniform all-in-one package. The turntable will be available in 4 finishes.
Triangle did not supply a turntable for the review; my system currently has 5 and 4 of them offered me an opportunity to try out the phono stage with inexpensive MM cartridges.
The class D amplifier offers 60 watts/channel and I never came close to running out of gas with any genre of music pushing the loudspeaker above conversation levels. These loudspeakers can be driven hard — but that’s not the range where they really excel.
The Borea BR03 BT utilize an 1-inch EFS fabric dome tweeter combined with a 6.5-inch midrange/bass driver from the Borea range. Unlike the passive version of the loudspeakers, the Borea BR03 BT are rear ported which means that they need at least 10 to 12-inches from the wall if placed on a media unit or credenza.
The BOREA Active speakers are built to match the quality of the rest of the range and are manufactured from layers of HDF; they also incorporate an innovative DVAS system to absorb the vibrations generated by the movement of the bass drivers.
This important research on the vibratory behavior of the speaker reinforces this notion of neutrality and clarity when listening.
A remote control with a range of more than 15 meters regardless of obstacles (walls, furniture, etc.), a power cable and a 3 meter speaker cable to connect the amplified speaker to the passive speaker are provided with the speakers.
Setup and The Art of Being French
Triangle did not supply their own loudspeaker stands with the review samples (they do exist), so I did most of my listening with the Borea BR03 BT on my BDI media console which allowed me to place them almost 48″ apart.
I did experiment with the Borea BR03 BT on 24-inch stands from Gig Harbor Audio placed almost 60″ apart in my basement office, but really didn’t feel that I would ever use these speakers like that.
The soundstage was slightly wider and deeper sounding with the stands pulled almost 36″ from the wall, but nothing about the tonal balance was really altered.
The supplied remote works rather well; but that raised one strange out-of-the-box issue that I didn’t quite understand.
The remote allows users to boost or reduce the treble and bass output and I almost immediately reached for the reset button (which is on the remote) and started with a default setting. I’m not sure if they were boosted before at the factory, but not a fan of the settings out of the box. Too much bass and not enough top end energy.
I did add some treble output with some classical recordings on TIDAL and Qobuz, but was otherwise fine with the levels once equalized on most recordings.
There is a mono subwoofer output which I did use with 3 different subwoofers; Triangle, Q Acoustics, and Monoprice subwoofers all filled in the bottom octaves rather effectively but the tonal balance and impact delivered by the Triangle Thetis 340 matched its sibling the best.
Sources included an iPhone 12, iPhone 13, Apple MacBook Pro, WiiM Pro and Cambridge Audio MXN10 Network Players, Andover Audio SpinDeck Max, Thorens TD-145 MKII, NAD C 588, and Pro-Ject X2 Turntables, and the Marantz CD60 CD player.
Eric Pye texted me about Wayne Shorter’s passing and whilst it would have been appropriate to stream “Infant Eyes” (Qobuz, Speak No Evil, 24-bit/96kHz) almost immediately — I was busy having a needle pushed deep into my hand at the time and it would have to wait.
Never write or edit over 1,700 articles in 28 months and think it won’t tear or stretch a tendon.
Once settled on the sofa and my hand started to lose some of the sting, I lowered the lights and listened to both Speak No Evil and Adam’s Apple (Qobuz, 24-bit/96kHz) because someone like Wayne Shorter happens once in a lifetime.
The Borea BR03 BT is a rather dynamic sounding loudspeaker with excellent mid bass and upper midrange punch and detail. The extreme low end lacks some definition and impact but it is certainly not soft; the rest of the range is rather robust and defined which works well with percussion and acoustic bass.
Horns had more than enough bite without coming across as somewhat etched when the volume was increased, but the airiness of the presentation was really recording dependent. On the Wayne Shorter tracks, there was more than enough and it was hard not be impressed by the pacing.
The soundstage was constrained in-between the loudspeakers but the depth and solidity of the imaging made up for that shortcoming.
Pace and presence are excellent with most recordings; vocals can be slightly forward of the instrumentation but that only made these loudspeakers more engaging over the many weeks I listened them. Boring they are not.
The Borea BR03 BT is not a warm sounding loudspeaker; it is not perfectly neutral sounding either with the aforementioned mid bass/upper midrange emphasis.
Midrange clarity and detail were very good, but I would have preferred slightly more color with vocals; Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday were delivered with a lot of energy and clarity, but slightly cooler than I normally prefer. When I switched over to the Marantz CD60 with the same CDs, there was most certainly an uptick in midrange warmth.
The internal phono preamplifier worked just fine with the Goldring E3, Grado Prestige Red3, Grado Timbre Opus3, and Sumiko Rainier Phono Cartridges; anything over 3 mV will be enough based on the amount of gain which is in the 40 to 43 dB range.
My bigger issue is that the phono stage could be quieter.
The grounding post is of high quality and all of my turntables are finished with after-market phono cables and I don’t have noise issues with the other phono pre-amplifiers at home.
There was some audible hum with the Andover SpinDeck Max and NAD C 588 Turntables; you don’t notice it with the music playing but it was certainly there.
The Borea BR03 BT supports aptX, aptX HD, SBC, and AAC and there were never any issues pairing the loudspeaker to any device. The illuminated blue LED on the right loudspeaker confirms that you are in Bluetooth mode and it will not pair with your source device if any other color is illuminated.
I walked around the first floor of our home and changed tracks successfully through walls and even managed to get the loudspeakers to respond positively when I raised the volume walking up the stairs. Every scenario will be different based on the distance, construction of your home, and any forms of interference — but the Triangle Borea BR03 BT offer a stable Bluetooth connection.
Was there a big difference between AAC and Bluetooth aptX? I was more than satisfied that the loudspeakers work with a wide range of codecs and that any sonic differences between them listening to TIDAL and Qobuz were more recording dependent.
The slightly noisy phono pre-amplifier might be an issue for some and because we experienced hum on two tables out of the four that were tested — it’s hard to predict how it will impact users.
The tonal balance out-of-the-box required an immediate click of the EQ default button and we suggest using the bass and treble controls on the remote to find a tonal balance that works for you. The Borea BR03 BT is already a rather lively loudspeaker and something is certainly wrong if the treble seems rolled-off or dull; fortunately you can make adjustments with the remote.
Some manufacturers like KEF and Dynaudio have created rather sophisticated controls apps for their wireless loudspeakers and our experience with both has been very positive.
Triangle has not supported the Borea BR03 BT with an app (so far), but nothing about the remote or how the loudspeakers respond to be used with TIDAL, Spotify, or Qobuz from the source device itself has created any issues.
We wish Triangle had included an HDMI port and USB digital input so that users could connect the loudspeakers to a desktop computer or laptop; they really work exceptionally well on the desktop.
An HDMI ARC/eARC input would make it easier to connect this system to your TV; although you can use the digital optical input as well.
Our review pair of KEF LSX II Wireless Loudspeakers had already been shipped off to the next reviewer when these arrived so we were unable to make a direct comparison between the two loudspeakers.
The KEF does offer a rather comprehensive control app that offers users a lot of flexibility when it comes to setup and connecting the LSX II to Roon, KEF subwoofers, and your TV.
The tonal balance and presentation of the LSX II were very different; warmer, slightly harder in the top end, and less impact in the mid bass. The KEF has better resolution at lower volume levels, and a wider soundstage. The $500 difference in price does deliver certain features and performance that some will feel are worth the expenditure.
Does it make sense to spend $800 on the Triangle Borea BR03 BT Loudspeakers?
There is a lot of competition from Klipsch, PSB, KEF, Sonus faber, and Bluesound that can’t be ignored.
Some will bemoan the absence of a control app and remind us that Bluesound and PSB Wireless Loudspeakers come with BluOS; a well-designed app that offers access to every major streaming platform, support for Roon, and a long list of setup features that helps integrates these products into different settings.
But how do they sound?
Having already reviewed the Sonus faber Omnia and Bluesound Flex Series — I know exactly where the Triangle Borea BR03 BT belong.
On my BDI media unit.
These are well worth seeking out.
For more information: trianglehifi.com | Dealer locator
March 9, 2023 at 1:28 am
Great review ian, and this system interests me. I listen to mostly acoustic music and videos in an 18x11x8 room. Would you prefer these with a sub, Wharfedale 12.2 with NAD316 and a sub, or NAD 316 with wharfedale 12.3 and no sub. Keep up the great reviews. Thanks. Steve.
March 9, 2023 at 1:35 am
Thank you for reading and excellent question.
The NAD 316BEE V2 does not have a subwoofer output; although you can use something like a REL which would connect to the NAD’s binding posts.
Very different sounding system. The Wharfedale loudspeakers are much warmer sounding tonally and the tweeter is much smoother than the 1″ tweeter on the Borea BR03 BT.
The phono stage is better inside the NAD amplifier.
There is no streaming module inside the NAD, so will you be using your smartphone connected to the NAD with a Dongle DAC or directly?
The Wharfedale 12.3 does not need a subwoofer in your room.
The Borea BR03 BT with the Triangle subwoofer can easily fill your room with music and movie content.
How far back are you sitting? Volume levels?