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Angel City Audio Trinity L/R & Center Loudspeaker Review

by February 25, 2013
  • Product Name: Trinity L/R & Center Loudspeakers
  • Manufacturer: Angel City Audio
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStar
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarhalf-star
  • Review Date: February 25, 2013 22:10
  • MSRP: $ 2599/pr for L/R and $999 for Center
  • Tweeter                         VIFA XT Concentric Ring Radiator
  • Woofers                         Custom 7"
  • Crossover                      Point to Point Wiring
  • Crossover Frequency     2.2kHz
  • Frequency Response     45Hz-37kHz (Trinity-C) ; 37Hz-37kHz (Trinity-L/R)
  • Nominal Impedance       4 Ohms
  • Sensitivity                   90db
  • Dimensions                  Trinity-C  - (WxHxD) 9"x24"x12"; Trinity-L/R - (WxHxD) 9"x24"x16"
  • Net Weight                  Trinity-C - 44lbs;  Trinity-L/R - 50lbs each


  • Beautiful finish and cabinet blends nicely into room decor
  • Clean & detailed sound
  • Good in multiple environments


  • Compressed sound at high listening levels


Angel City Audio Trinity L/R & Center Loudspeaker Introduction

It’s been a couple of years since I wrote a formal review, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped critiquing audio. The Audioholics “Get Together Event” was just what I needed to motivate me into writing another article.  I walked into the Angel City Audio room where they had their Trinity L/R speakers set up. The speakers had an M-T-M (midbass-tweeter-midbass) design with a beautiful black piano finish that sounded very sweet. I immediately noticed the ring radiator tweeter by Vifa which I had wanted to listen to for some time and then found out that the mid-bass 7” drivers were custom made. I had no idea at this time that I’d be driving home with this set for review but, lo and behold, the next day my was truck loaded up with speakers.

For this review I took a different approach than with past speaker reviews. Formerly, I had started by taking the speakers apart and examining the build quality. Then I would measure them and finally move on to the listening experience. This time I did not want the build quality or measurements influencing my opinion so I just set them up and started my listening tests.  Since my acoustic panels were not in the ideal place for these speakers, I took them off the wall and placed them on the floor to absorb the direct reflections. I have found that this works best for most speakers and gives them the fairest chance for the smoothest sound. Angel City Audio also had absorption set up the same way at the GTG Event.  Since the speakers have the tweeter offset to one side, I had the option of having the tweeters to the outside edge or the inside edge. Angel City Audio had them set up to the outside edge which they did to widen the listening area. That made perfect sense since several people were listening to them throughout the day. I chose to have the tweeters on the inside edge to reduce baffle diffraction in the sound stage. 


L-C-R Speaker Setup

Angel City Audio Trinity L/R & Center Listening Tests

CD: Yes - The Ladder

I started listening to The Ladder from the beginning of the CD with Homeworld.  The first thing I noticed was, again, the punchy and present bass. I played this CD at a relatively high volume to experience the pace and rhythm quality. The first five songs get me very involved in the music. The Trinity’s didn’t quite pull me in as I expected. Jon Anderson’s voice wasn’t as forward as I am used to hearing. The clarity of the speakers was very good, but the detail was lacking at the high volume. In other words, I could hear everything clearly but it was blended together. As I lowered the volume I could hear that separation much better.

 ladder001.jpg  ReturnoftheKing.jpg  ShepardMoon001.jpg

CD: Annie Lennox – Lord of the Rings

Another song that conveys involvement is “Into the West” by Annie Lennox. Her vocals were nice and smooth without any edge. The song as a whole was fairly captivating which is why I use it for testing.

CD: Enya - Shepard Moons

I always listen to a couple of tracks from this CD, “Caribbean Blue” and “Marble Halls.” With all of the layers of Enya’s voice in this track it creates a light wispy airiness that should make the speakers become completely transparent. Also, the detail of the main vocals should stand out. The sibilance should be heard clearly with every S, but not to be confused with an overabundance of sibilance or hissing sound. Every breath is apparent in this recording.  The music and vocals blend together to create a unique sound. Most of Enya’s songs have the same qualities but this one tends to stand out. The Trinity’s did a decent job of portraying these qualities.  I could also hear the good sibilance and again, authoritative bass.

JazzSuite001.jpg  bignotes001.jpg

CD: Terence Blanchard – Jazz Suite

“Malcolm Makes Hajj” exemplifies the sound stage and imaging.  The track first starts with a sax solo just to the right of the center, it then goes into a drum solo to the back of the stage.  After the drum solo finishes the trumpet player starts his solo playing to the front left of the stage and finally the track finishes with a piano solo just behind the trumpet player.  Good reproduction places these instruments properly from side to side and front to back.  The Sound stage should be high enough so that the trumpet and sax players can be pictured standing on stage. The tonality is even across the frequency spectrum and the instruments should sound natural and real.  The trumpet and sax should have a slight edge at high volumes but should never sound grainy.  The drums should be crisp without any ringing or poor damping. In the Trinity’s the imaging just wasn’t quite right. The sax and trumpet were too close to the center. Then the drums and piano were right on top of the sax and trumpet, there was no depth to the stage. As described above the instruments sounded smooth and clean but they didn’t sound natural, they lacked realism. Just to be sure I even recalibrated the speaker levels to make sure they were playing balanced. The instrument sounds themselves were just a bit dull.

CD: Flim and the BB’s – Big Notes

Detail and dynamics go hand in hand. When the playing levels of the recording are soft the same details should be heard as when the playing levels are loud.  The Heart Throb track does a good job of dynamics and detail.  Every instrument which isn’t a lot should sound natural from its softest notes to its loudest notes.  Paying close attention to the different saxophones used here I should be able to hear every note at every playing level along with all of the detail in the percussion. The same goes for the keyboards.  When the volume was increased the Trinity’s again sounded too blended. Once I lowered the volume to a moderate level all of the detail was there. I realized at this point that the Trinity’s didn’t perform as well at high volume as they did at low to moderate volume The Funhouse track is one of my favorite test songs; it is completely synthesized on some kind of IBM.  There is so much detail programmed into this song everything should sound crystal clear from its deep bass up to its high crisp bell sounds.  One other thing that I like about this track is what I call pseudo imaging.  All of the “instruments” have their position on the stage but of course there are no instruments. Over years of listening to this track I know where that should be. At a moderate volume the Trinity’s had good detail and clarity and they were very good at the pseudo imaging.

CD: Patrick O’Hearn – Trust

Trust is a great track for testing bass because it goes deep and plays long.  Although the Trinity’s did not play very deep, the bass had a lot of authority and it was tight. I think it’s more important to play bass with authority and tightness than to try to reach that lower octave which is quite common among high end speakers of this design. Along with the bass, the highs were balanced and proportional, so the speakers didn’t sound boomy. I placed my hands on the cabinets for a quick check of the build quality and felt no vibrations from the cabinet.

trust001.jpg solitudeStanding001.jpg

CD: Suzanne Vega – Solitude Standing

Next I played “Tom’s Diner” by Suzanne Vega. The midrange area of her voice was excellent and it sounded appropriately forward.  The sibilance was nice and the quiet passages remained quiet.

CD: Rickie Lee Jones – Pop Pop

I only play one song from this CD which I have recently added to my testing repertoire.  I learned of this song during my HAA acoustics training. It is a very hard song to clearly reproduce. Besides Rickie Lee’s voice this CD has a standup bass and the sound stage is also good. I kept the volume at a moderate level and the Trinity’s did a pretty good job. It really didn’t matter too much on the type of music, the Trinity’s performed the same: great clarity, good dynamics and lacking in the sound stage.

popPop001.jpg  mattsmood.jpg

SACD: Matt Bianco - Matt’s Mood

For this SACD I started with “La Luna in two channel mode. Basia’s voice was nicely forward, centered and the instrumental detail was good.

SACD: Tchaikovsky - Overture of 1812

This SACD is probably the best recording I own. Although I’m a bit more used to the 5-channel recording of this SACD it still sounds excellent in 2-channel. Again the bass was very authoritative through the passages with the canons. If the listener truly wants the full effect of the canons the Trinity’s should be supplemented with a good deep playing subwoofer.  Except for some loud crescendos, the detail was very good. All of the instruments were crisp and clear while playing at a moderate volume.

Overture1812001.jpg  rotk001.jpg

DVD: Return of the King – Scene 4, The Voice of Saruman

The Voice of Saruman from Return of the King extended version has so many different audio aspects it is very good for movie listening tests. One of the most important characteristics in L/RC speakers is tonal consistency, meaning that the center channel should have the same timbre as the left/right speakers. When the sound pans across the screen/speakers it should sound the same. This scene starts with Treebeard in the right channel and then it pans to the center. The Trinity’s did an excellent job in this respect. The scene also has a lot of dialog and special effect sounds. I heard the entire dialog very clearly and the special effects were clear and undistorted.

Angel City Audio Trinity L/R & Center Build Quality

Going back, one of the first thing I noticed with these speakers was the first-rate piano black finish. It was smooth and glossy with no imperfections. Now moving more toward the functionality of the build I noticed that this MTM (midrange-tweeter-midrange) design had the tweeter offset from the center which makes this a mirrored pair of speakers. While this is great for the having non-symmetrical diffraction it clearly is not a D’Appolito design which has its own advantages by having vertical alignment of the drivers and a properly designed crossover. Next, I noticed that they were rear-ported speakers; other than losing 1 or 2 Hz in the low end there is no disadvantage to placing the port in the rear and I’ve used them in my own design. The main advantage is that the front baffle area can be minimized reducing diffraction effects and another is it aesthetically looks better. Speakers should look good; they are a piece of furniture and most manufacturers put great efforts into aesthetics.  The connectors are 5-way binding posts that accept banana plugs but the spacing doesn’t allow dual banana plug connectors.

It probably doesn’t matter to most, but the drivers were fastened with Allen head screws. This prevents a screwdriver from slipping off into the cone although most people will never be removing the drivers. Once the drivers were removed the first thing I noticed was the cabinets were completely stuffed with a polyester fill. In addition to the fill all of the walls were lined with ¾” foam.

   ACinside1.jpg      ACtrinityinside.jpg

Trinity L/R Drivers and Bracing

The cabinets were extremely well braced with double layers of shelf bracing. Now I know why I felt no vibration with heavy bass playing. All of the wires from the crossover were soldered to the drivers. I personally do not put a soldering iron to speakers for fear of damaging the voice coil but since I do not know Angel City’s process it may be completely safe. I didn’t pull the crossovers out but they looked well-constructed with good components.

 ACtrinityinside5.jpg      ACtrinityinside3.jpg

Trinity L/R Crossover

The center channel speaker is basically the same design as the main speakers except that it is not as deep (4” less deep actually). Having the offset tweeter for the center channel is a pretty good design when you lay it on its side because it gets a little closer to a vertical alignment as opposed to a Midrange-Tweeter-Midrange design where the design concept is completely lost when on its side. I did the same type of design for my own center channel speaker as you can see here.


Center speaker design similarities

Angel City Audio Trinity L/R & Center Measurements and Analysis

ACtrinity.jpgThe measurement and analysis I performed for these speakers are very basic; a frequency response at 1 Watt at 1 meter and then the off-axis response. I did take care to isolate the speaker from the room by placing the acoustic panels on either side of the speaker. I usually overlay a near field measurement of the woofer up to 300 Hz with the rest of the response. Since the Trinity’s have 2 woofers I didn’t do this measurement so don’t pay too much attention to the response below 300 Hz. After the direct measurement I did off-axis responses. I used True RTA software because it is easy to use and I like the quick sweep function.

The on-axis frequency response of the Trinity’s is very flat above 300Hz except for a small dip at the crossover frequency at 2 KHz. On the low end remember that there was some room interaction.


Trinity L/R On Axis Response

For the off-axis response the microphone was place at 30, 45 and 60 degrees off axis. In the Home Acoustics Alliance training certification we take off axis measurements for the purpose of seeing the response shape as the microphone is moved off axis. The shape of the off axis response indicates what kind of acoustical treatment, if any, should be used for the speakers direct reflections. If the shape of each off axis response is identical to the on axis response then direct reflections are okay. If the off axis responses are not the same shape as the on axis response then some sort of acoustical treatment should be used. It is not bad that the responses may not match; it is only an indicator of what to do acoustically. As can be seen for the Trinity’s, there is a change in the response shape at 15 kHz which means that these speakers’ direct reflections should be absorbed or diffused.  As I mentioned earlier for my listening tests I placed absorption panels on the floor for their direct reflections.


Trinity L/R 30, 45, 60 degree Off Axis Response

Angel City Audio Trinity L/R & Center Conclusion

The Angel City Audio Trinity's sounded really sweet when I first heard them at the Audioholics GTG event and continued to do so once I got them into my audio room.  I found that the cabinets were built extremely well and their measurements showed them also to be well-designed speakers. Since the tweeter is a Vifa I was able to do a little research on them and found that the distortion measurements on it were very low. In my listening tests I still found them to sound good at low to moderate volume. At higher volume they did compress the sound, losing some of the detail they had at the lower volumes.  Also, I think if Angel City Audio used a D’Appolito design for the main speakers, the vertical dispersion and phase improvement from this design could have resulted in a better sound stage and image placement. 

Although these speakers are not perfect, and of course none are, I would definitely recommend them for a smaller room with some room treatment on the side walls. The three (LCR) speakers worked very nicely together which made for an enjoyable movie and music experience.


The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
Build QualityStarStarStarStarStar
Treble ExtensionStarStarStarStar
Treble SmoothnessStarStarStarStar
Midrange AccuracyStarStarStarStar
Bass ExtensionStarStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStarStar
About the author:
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Ken Stein is a contributing writer and reviewer for Audioholics and he really REALLY likes his speakers (which he should, since he spent countless hours hand-crafting them himself.) Ken is an engineer with FedEx and applies his diligent attention to detail to his speaker and electronics reviews here at Audioholics.

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