“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

Triad Cinema Reference CR-1 Loudspeaker Preview

Triad Cinema Reference CR-1

Triad Cinema Reference CR-1


  • Product Name: Cinema Reference CR-1 Loudspeaker
  • Manufacturer: Triad
  • Review Date: October 15, 2012 21:00
  • MSRP: $15,000/ea
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now
  • Tweeter: Proprietary Air Motion

  • Midrange Driver: Dual 8" woofers

  • Bass Driver: Single 15" woofer

  • Dimensions: 46-inches (H) x 31-inches (W) x 10-inches (D)

  • Minimum placement depth: 11"

  • Placement Options: on-wall or floorstanding (with optional stand)

  • Finish Options: flat black, real wood veneer, custom color

  • Price: $15,000/ea

Executive Overview

Triad has long been a go-to speaker brand for many custom installers when they need high-end in-wall or behind-screen solutions. To mark their 30th anniversary they have announced the Cinema Reference CR-1, a brand new flagship LCR speaker.

The design goal behind the CR-1 was to fulfill a need for large screening rooms and dedicated home theaters. It it supposed to easily hit reference level in 15 to 30 seat theaters. The CR-1 is meant to go loud and has more headroom than any speaker Triad has every created. They claim it can comfortably exceed 120dB @ 1 meter (we assume at 1Khz). The driver design certainly makes us believe it can play loud.

The bass driver is a 15” woofer, supported by two 8” midrange drivers and a proprietary air motion transformer tweeter. We do not know anything about the driver design except that they are from “premium European driver manufacturers." We can guess that they are extremely high quality and possibly custom tailored by Triad after being ordered OEM. This would make sense because otherwise we are not sure how a tweeter Triad orders from another manufacturer is proprietary to them.

We have seen air motion, or also referred to as folded ribbon, tweeters cropping up all over the place in the last few years. Most notably, Martin Logan has ditched every other tweeter technology and redesigned each speaker to use their “Folder Motion Tweeter” (excluding electrostatic panels which do the highs and mids). From the inexpensive Emotiva Airmotiv monitors (starting at $349/pr) to ridiculously expensive Steinway Lyngdorf speakers, manufacturers are using air motion tweeters. Personally, I am okay with this because I really liked the Folded Motion tweeter in the Martin Logan LX16 speakers I reviewed.

Also new in the CR-1 is Triad’s Diffraction Control Technology (DCT), which employs a baffle design to minimize diffraction and resonances, and act as an acoustic diffuser. The CR-1 cabinet is made of premium MDF with extensive asymmetrical bracing. It also has internal proprietary-damping material and back-wave deflectors to reduce cabinet resonance.

The speaker is designed to be mounted on a wall with 12 degrees of toe-in, set behind a screen, or set in-room on an optional stand. It is available in flat black, real wood veneer and custom colors. Triad claims the size is modest, but at 46-inches (H) x 31-inches (W) x 10-inches (D) we wouldn’t exactly call it unobtrusive. However, based on the size of venue it is made to accommodate, it is very thin and certainly smaller than much of the competition. Part of the reason Triad kept the speaker so thin was so it could easily fit behind an acoustically transparent screen. And since it is an LCR speaker it should make for a seamless transition across the front soundstage.

When a company like Triad comes out with a new flagship model, the custom install world tends to listen (sometimes quite literally). This is especially true when they claim that CR-1 is the “most capable loudspeaker in the thirty years of Triad.” At $15,000/ea we don’t expect them to fly off the shelf, but they could be the answer for someone looking for a discrete, large-room speaker with great dynamics. The CR-1 is slated to ship during the 4th quarter 2012.

For more information visit Triad.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
author portrait

Cliff, like many of us, has always loved home theater equipment. In high school he landed a job at Best Buy that started his path towards actual high quality audio. His first surround sound was a Klipsch 5.1 system. After that he was hooked, moving from Klipsch to Polk to Definitive Technology, and so on. Eventually, Cliff ended up doing custom installation work for Best Buy and then for a "Ma & Pa" shop in Mankato, MN.

View full profile