Six TI 100 - 8 Ohm and one KE 25 SC - 8 Ohm built into a hybrid cabinet design that combines horn and transmission line principles. In many respects, this is something special, something different. The development effort involved was particularly great. There has seldom been a project that required so much rebuilding and intensive optimisation. The development of the crossover was most complicated of all because there is powerful interaction in the bass department with the damping, so with each new configuration both had to be adjusted to match. The construction of these cabinets is aimed at particularly skilled cabinet builders, which is why we would emphasise that building them is a matter for DIYers with plenty of experience, this is not a good project for first-time builders. Alternatively, you can always commission a professional cabinet maker. The wiring is also not exactly a piece of cake, due to the sheer number of drivers used, but it can be mastered if you have a grasp of the basics.
Anyone with the confidence to attempt construction of this loudspeaker will be richly rewarded, in terms of both the visual appearance and the acoustic presence. Despite the impressive height of the speakers, the narrow front panel communicates a tremendous lightness – far more so than one would expect, given the sheer dimensions of the cabinets.
The hollow base of the cabinet houses the crossovers and raises the tweeter to the on-axis plane. The spacing of the drivers not only optimises the function of the cabinet but also assures a pleasantly harmonious appearance, while approaching a D’Appolito configuration.
Four of the 8 ohm TI 100 are exclusively assigned to the bass frequencies. With a total diaphragm area of the drivers equivalent to
20 cm, there is no need to worry about dynamic reserves and level accuracy. A further two 8 ohm TI 100 act as pure mid-range drivers, while the 8 ohm KE 25 SC dome tweeter takes up the central position both physically and acoustically. To prevent interference between the coils, the crossover has been split across two PCBs that are physically separate from each other. By connecting the mid-range speakers in series it has been possible to configure this branch without any resistances to balance the levels; only the tweeter requires a little restriction. The system has been designed using only essential components and, with the exception of the bass branch, it has been possible to dispense with remedial branches, which means the component requirements are on the modest side for a three-way speaker.
The separating frequency between the high and mid-ranges has been set at 2100 hertz, which is so low that, in conjunction with the slope rate of the 3rd order filter (18 dB filter), the baffle resonance levels of the 8 ohm TI 100 have no negative effects. Thanks to the highly linear sound pressure and impedance frequency response of the 8 ohm KE 25 SC ceramic dome driver, it is possible to create the link using a deliberately minimalistic 12 dB filter, allowing the driver to respond with the superb characteristics it was designed for. Also, by separating the mid-range and bass frequencies at a low 180 hertz, the designers have achieved a situation where the locatable frequencies emanate almost exclusively from the drivers for the mid- to high-range group that are close together. Furthermore, the tendency for bass horns to resonate in the mid-range has been minimised by filtering the critical frequencies through the crossover, so they are hardly excited at all in the horn. As a result, it has been possible to reduce the necessary damping considerably compared with a higher separation level, which benefits bass reproduction.
The pure reference-standard sound, without the slightest distortion, the fidelity of detail and clarity are breathtaking. Resolution of this quality is difficult to beat – every last detail is heard, nothing is suppressed or drowned out. But this does not mean that the details are obtrusive or heavy-handed, they are merely there. It may sound contradictory that the finest details are reproduced in the overall sound package but can still be overheard. It does require an active listening effort to detect them, quite simply because they are not artificially boosted or forced into the foreground but are rather presented to the listener in the best way as a perfectly natural component. On the other hand, it is not necessary to exert oneself excessively to pick up these nuances, they are audibly present and not just implied. This means that even very long listening sessions are not the slightest bit tiring. Vocals come across tangibly and seamlessly. Poor quality recordings are instantly detectable as such even for less well-trained listeners. There is no detectable colouration, the sound properties are analytical but not cold.
High frequencies are clear, fast and accurate but never intrusive or excessive. If the recorded material is the result of good mastering, it will shine and sparkle when it is supposed to and can easily cause waves of goose-pimples.
The dry, deep bass is surprising; the narrow cabinet and relatively small bass driver do not look capable of generating such a presence.
However, the bass is not thick or overpowering, it is precise and well-defined and is a refreshing rest from those boomy boxes that are currently so high on the best-seller lists.
The TriniTI should, however, never be underestimated. It is well able to move large quantities of air. When instructed to do so, the four 8 ohm TI 100 can project an unbelievable amount of deep bass energy into the listening area. Discerning listeners can experiment with the optional damping mats in the opening of the horn to fine-tune the bass to their personal tastes and the room. If one relies on the measurements, the best version is one in which the two optional pieces are inserted in the horns, but in our listening tests in the listening room we preferred the version without this option.
The level accuracy was a further surprise: the limit is well above volumes we would term "home use". It is particularly noticeable that the overall sound quality remains completely stable and effortlessly uniform across the full range from loud to quiet. As a result, dynamic leaps are reproduced faithfully and the stage does not collapse when things get a bit heavier. The TriniTI will always respond in a relaxed, measured way and present its maker with exactly the acoustic nourishment that is fed into it. To the detriment of neighbourly relations, there is a tendency to turn up the volume control, simply because the speakers show that they can take it. However, their strength definitely lies in their clarity and resolution. One seldom experiences loudspeakers that are as neutral as these, whose complete range of reproduction and volume levels always remains so well-balanced and yet is so incredibly responsive. Their precision and ability to produce result in tremendous satisfaction while never resorting to excesses or irritation. This means one can enjoy music at low volume levels but equally well at high volume levels. These loudspeakers are quite simply enormous fun.