Test Report: Triad Speakers

Did you know they stopped making speakers? Sure, you can still buy things that make sound when connected to an amplifier, but now they;re called "solutions." The idea here is to solve problems that emerge from the public's simultaneous love of good sound and hatred of the traditional speaker form factor. Solutions have been the mantra of late at Triad Speakers. In fact, some of the company's recent creations would have been considered downright crazy back in the days when the opinions of enthusiasts dictated speaker designs.

The weirdest of these solutions is the Designer Series, which install like drywall patches: Your installer "muds them into" your walls so they can't be seen. The Designer Series speakers are totally invisible as long as a competent drywall guy muds them in. You can even put wallpaper over them. Each speaker comprises a lightweight foam panel backed with a metal frame and one, two, or four NXT exciters, which are like the "motor" section of a conventional speaker without the cone.

Somewhat less weird is Triad's InWall SlimSub/4, a slim subwoofer that mounts inside a wall so all you see is a paintable grille. Triad got the SlimSub's depth under 4 inches by using a flat-diaphragm woofer that looks like a black Frisbee. The woofer is mounted in a box that your installer notches into your wall, and it's powered by a separate amp that sits in your equipment rack.

Not at all weird is the OnWall Mini LCR 3.0 soundbar, which looks like a zillion other soundbars on the market except that it's bigger. It's basically three of Triad's Mini LCR home theater speakers packed into one cabinet.

Instead of the shrunken, enfeebled woofers found in most soundbars, the Mini LCR 3.0 boasts six high-quality 4-inch woofers along with three tweeters. The Mini LCR 3.0 works like an ordinary soundbar but sounds better. Plus, it's available in black, white, silver, or custom colors to match your decor.

Although these products aren't specifically designed to work together, Triad suggested I try the whole bunch both separately and collectively. With drywall knife firmly in hand, I accepted the challenge.