Triad InWall Bronze LCR/4

TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,099 14 4
#1
Triad InWall Bronze/4 LCR Loudspeaker Review



Triad InWall Bronze/4 LCR Loudspeaker Review

When you love good sound, but do not want to sacrifice floor space, loudspeakers mounted within the wall itself become a great option.

Oregon based Triad offers each of their InWall Bronze/4 LCR at $650. It is a 2-way, 90 dB sensitive loudspeaker using dual 5-1/4” paper fiber blend woofers and a 1” fabric dome tweeter, nominal 4 ohm impedance. This price also applies to all 4 installation varieties of Bronze speakers that Triad offers.

This speaker has a full sealed enclosure designed to fit neatly within stud or timber frame walls, vertically - with 16 inch OC walls. Triad's InWall series model names account for varying wall constructions, these LCR/4's are intended for 2x4 walls with other series offering 2x6 and even 2x8 designs.



It is worth noting that Triad makes an effort to minimize their environmental impact, from operations to packaging. Almost all of their speakers are built and tested in Portland, OR, where they ship from as well. This also results in no wasted paper, the only documentation included is the instruction sheet and the cut-out template - which is made from a thicker paper board and is easily reusable itself!

Each speaker arrives in sturdy packaging that is optimized for setup and unpacking. Each item is layered as an ‘order of operation’ to installation, so there is no need to even remove the loudspeaker until it is ready to be installed.

Upon opening the box you are greeted by the rigid, magnetic, grill cover, which is available in black or white, as well as custom colors - so it’s a good time to verify your color match!

To further guarantee color match, Triad now includes a removable matching scrim cloth behind the grill to hide the all black enclosure. (not shown)




Under the grill is the foam wrapped frame that mounts the speaker securely to the wall, with few parts or operations, just 8 screws.



And of course, the speaker itself:



Once installed, the grill completely hides the speaker and only sticks out about 3/16 inch from the wall.


 
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TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,099 14 4
#2
Preparation:




So you’re going to cut large holes in your walls? You don’t need to be a contractor to install InWall speakers safely, neatly, or properly!

First things first - grab an electronic stud finder (preferably with AC current detection - its easy to forget there’s a switch on the other side of the wall). After selecting the wall to use, take a marker and locate each side of every 2x4 stud in your wall.





As I had never heard these speakers before, I wanted to listen before I chose the ideal height for them. Having a friend to help, I connected a single speaker to the right channel and had the speaker moved around the surface of the wall. I found the sound to be compromised the closer the speaker was moved to the adjacent boundary, signaling the first stud cavity was a definite no-no. They also sounded the best when held with the tweeter as close to my ear height as possible. I measured my seated ear height and marked it on the wall, and even tried to account for slouching or laying.

Unfolding the template, I lined the center up with the ‘ear mark’ and used a tape measure from each bottom corner to the floor to achieve level - Remember; measure twice, cut once! Trace around that pattern and move on to the next one!







Stand back and make sure everything is where you want it to be - maybe even double check your measurements for plumbing fixtures…





Installation:


Cutting holes in drywall creates a mess. Laying down painters plastic is recommended regardless of the intent to paint. If you are painting, go ahead and remove any outlet covers. But either way, apply masking tape over the outlet to keep the dust out.

For your safety, turn off the power to all lights and switches in any room sharing the wall the speakers are to be mounted in.

Using a serrated drywall knife, plunge into the center of the cutout, slicing down and then out to the side. Cut all sides, saving the bottom for last.

Before completing the bottom cut, insert a flat head screw driver into where the knife was first plunged until pressure can be applied so the screw driver can support the cutout and not drop it into the wall cavity. This particular cavity housed the faucet drain vent that was secured to the stud and I did not expect to find it on that side of the stud. Thankfully the enclosure is narrow enough for the speaker to fit without touching, I just had to shift the cut out over to compensate. The loss of symmetry is not audible, and barely visible.






With the loudspeaker still safely stored in its package, remove all 8 screws on the front and fit the mounting frame over the top, and replace the screws. Take care to keep the retrobrackets straight and lined up with the screw hole. To ease fitting the speaker into the wall, keep all the screws loose, particularly the ones holding the frame to the speaker enclosure.







Remove the loudspeaker from the box and connect speaker cables - although this wall does not have insulation, I often find spools of CL2/3 rated insulated speaker cable at electronics stores on discount so I had plenty on hand. I also used a handy tool I know as ‘fish tape’, it provides a semi rigid guide to help ‘fish’ the speaker cable through the wall.







Guide the speaker into the wall and push the retro brackets into place. I did need to tap the bottom ones in with a flat head screw driver, but the top pushed in easily. Tighten all the screws in a rotation and repeat until the speaker is securely fixed in the wall.



 
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TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,099 14 4
#3


Equipment and Setup:

Despite the 4 ohm impedance rating, the Denon 4311 receiver had no issue driving all 3 speakers to uncomfortable listening levels. As I used separate recordings, I did my best to level match each track, focusing on vocals, using my trusty RadioShack SPL meter. Audyssey was not enabled.





It should be noted that I tend to prefer the sound of speakers without their grills. The Triad’s were no exception. However the grills themselves are very sturdy and easily replaced thanks to their magnets. For casual listening, the timbral changes are too subtle to notice, and the grills certainly provide that extra bit of protection for the speakers.






The ‘ole reliable Sony DVD player and a Denon 5 disc changer provided the sources, certainly nothing fancy, connected via HDMI and analog, respectively. My wife and I tend to watch movies to fall asleep to in our bedroom, so we prefer the reduced light output of our little 20 inch monitor. But of course this audio upgrade is giving her other ideas….

While movies sound great with all 3 speakers playing, music mixing variations made the choice of Stereo or Pro Logic 2 a matter of personal preference. For consistency and comparison, all listening was done in Pure Direct - 2 channel.





Listening Tests:

In trying to keep some familiar reference tracks from past reviews, the following were used:

CD:
Tori Amos - Live from the Choirgirl Hotel “Northern Lad”
Meschiya Lake and the Little Bighorns - Fooler’s Gold “Catch ‘em Young”

DVD:
The Sondheim Birthday Concert - Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin “Move On”
Rush - Exit Stage Left “ByTor and the Snow Dog”

Tori Amos - As the title suggests, this is a live recording. Her breathing is an audible component that lesser speakers were some how able to overlook. The Triad Bronze InWall LCR’s, however, stayed true to the recording while keeping her voice full and rich. The bass guitar, piano and drums played comfortably behind her and never missed a beat.

Tori’s vocal crescendos in this track have been cut short on other speakers, but not here. The 2pi ‘InWall’ speaker loading ensures that low frequency sounds like bass guitars really come through. I did not take measurements, but my RBH WM30’s OnWall speakers have a stated roll off of 80 hz, same as the Triad’s, but there is no question the bass of the Triad’s is vastly superior! My only criticism of this track’s presentation was an unnaturally damped sound of the cymbals.

Meschiya Lake - A New Orleans jazz singer that I have seen live. I doubt she is more than 5 feet tall but possesses a voice that can soar far above her jazz ensemble. Similar to my complaint of cymbals with Tori Amos, the brass and wood-winds sounded unnaturally soft, but still remained musical and provided a solid backing to her voice. She has a unique timbre to her voice which was only partially lost on these speakers as compared to my reference Philharmonic 3’s.

Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin - The operatic duo brought everything they had for this performance, and the Triad’s did not disappoint. While I noticed Mandy’s voice to be a bit higher than on other speakers, their voices never fought for dominance of the soundstage. This did seem to come at a bit of a cost to the resolution of the symphony playing behind them, strings varied throughout the recording and sometimes sounded synthesized. With the grills on, there were some bass resonances that were diminished or absent with the grills off.

Rush - Anyone who knows me, knows my affinity - or - obsession, with Rush. This track has presented an enormous challenge to many speakers. With three musicians effectively soloing through the entire song, 2- way loudspeakers have sometimes cancelled out one or more instruments for brief moments. The Bronze InWall LCR’s never once replicated this issue and really put Geddy Lee’s bass guitar on center stage. The dexterity of both guitar players fingers was never lost, not even the fret harmonics or pick slides of Alex’s Gibson ES335. Without a subwoofer, the bass drum of course was soft or absent, but the drum solo on Toms was nearly as exciting as on my reference system.

Movies - Despite only using the front 3 channels, the sense of envelopment this system offers is superb. What the tweeters give up in high frequency extension, they make up for in horizontal dispersion. Being the sweetheart that I am, I positioned the center channel in line with my wife's side of the bedroom. Little does she know it really made no difference and even where I sit in our King bed just barely inside of the Left channel, the sound is the same!


Additional Comments on Listening:

It should be noted that I had been primed with the notion that these particular Triad InWalls are intended for home theater cinema systems. Despite that, I threw a diverse and challenging selection of music at these speakers. Considering the InWall Bronze LCR’s are intended for smaller rooms I genuinely feel that for most types of music, the clean installation and no loss of floor space makes a compelling argument for these speakers as opposed to a typical bookshelf speaker. The loss of some high frequencies and sibilance of voices or brass may disappoint some listeners, but the abundance of musical bass and overall clean reproduction while disappearing into the wall is a pretty neat party trick.

My interior wall construction does not have any insulation. Despite that, nothing ever sounded boomy or caused any part of the 25 year old wall to add its own soundtrack. I also measured the sound in the bathroom that shares this wall, with both room’s doors closed, and found a full 20 dB SPL attenuation just from the drywall. And as I have a reference system downstairs, it will not be often that a movie will playing above 80dB as it was for this test - the Triad’s are not likely to startle someone in the next room, even without insulation!
 
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TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,099 14 4
#4
Conclusion:

Having only experienced OnWall type speakers before, this unique InWall solution really helps to ensure listeners can have great sound, even in small bedroom installations without sacrificing space. This is my first introduction to Triad loudspeakers and considering their incredibly broad range, organized by installation, combined with USA engineering and manufacturing for almost all models, Triad is a brand that should seriously be considered. While not always specified, experienced eyes will recognize the distinct look of Scanspeak drivers in their Silver, Gold, and Platinum series - the origin of the Bronze drivers was not disclosed by Triad.

In an age of Internet Direct sales and ‘one size fits all’ engineering, Triad has continued to remain a domestic powerhouse with an environmentally clean conscience that literally has a loudspeaker that can fit in any room of the house - up to and including custom cabinet sizing! This may be my first sampling of their products, but if this is considered their entry level, Triad is a brand that I feel comfortable in recommending!


A special Thank You to the Audioholics Forum for once again making my loudspeaker dreams come true! Thank You to my friend KEW who helped to orchestrate the introduction to DigitalDawn a Triad dealer and Audioholics forum member who can be reached at: Dawn@TriadSpeakersForum.com

Dawn has been able to answer all of my questions and seems to always be available. This process started last year, and I look forward to being Dawn’s customer again in the future!
 
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TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,099 14 4
#5
Still need to route the channels in the back, but for those wondering how I am hiding the cables protruding from the base of the wall I have made some mahogany base moulding:

 
DigitalDawn

DigitalDawn

Audioholic
Ratings
61 2
#6
Alex,

Thanks so much for the great review of the Triad InWall Bronze/4 LCRs.

Let me know when you're ready and I'll send you a pair of Silver Monitors or MiniMonitors to try out. They are very musical and detailed and feature the venerable Scan-Speak/Seas drivers. As I might have mentioned, we specify the Monitor Series (Gold & Silver) for clients who enjoy music as much or even more than movies.

Dawn
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,099 14 4
#7
Alex,

Thanks so much for the great review of the Triad InWall Bronze/4 LCRs.

Let me know when you're ready and I'll send you a pair of Silver Monitors or MiniMonitors to try out. They are very musical and detailed and feature the venerable Scan-Speak/Seas drivers. As I might have mentioned, we specify the Monitor Series (Gold & Silver) for clients who enjoy music as much or even more than movies.

Dawn
Thank you! I don't exaggerate at all for the forum, your care and finesse in sorting out this project spoke volumes about your business!

In this capacity and as a customer, I look forward to continuing to work with you!
 
ByTor

ByTor

Audiophyte
Ratings
1
#8
Hey, had no idea Triad was here in my hometown! I will have to check them out. Thanks for the awesome review.
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,099 14 4
#9
Hey, had no idea Triad was here in my hometown! I will have to check them out. Thanks for the awesome review.
Always glad to be of assistance! They are one of the few still manufacturing in the US, and with a keen eye for minimizing their carbon foot print!
 

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