When we talk about Hi-Fi, there is a French sound and audiophiles are not mistaken. Based in Soissons, the company Triangle has been perpetuating this know-how for more than 40 years by manufacturing high-end speakers sold between 350 and 50,000 euros per pair. CNEWS went to meet this small family business which exports its products to the four corners of the world.
It is the work of engineers, designers and craftsmen that we find in the small electroacoustic factory where only 16 employees are busy. About 2,500 hand-assembled speakers come out of this town in the Aisne located about a hundred kilometers north of Paris. And orders are not weakening, reports Hugo Decelle, who became the young head of this company taken over by his father in 2010. “Over the past two years our turnover has increased by 50%, from 4 to 6 million euros. “, He enthuses, while the context of the Covid and its confinements have helped encourage some consumers to equip themselves with audio equipment.
And to continue: “If Hi-Fi remains a niche and passionate market, it is also a market of boomers who experienced the great era when people had installations with real speakers and Hi-Fi systems in homes. In recent years, the return of vinyl has also done a lot of good for stereo and our business. Consumers who want to differentiate themselves invest in installations with good speakers and an amplifier, to complete the experience with their turntable ”.
© n.cailleaud / CNEWS
Founded by Renaud de Vergnette in 1980, Triangle took its roots in Soissons during a time when French Hi-Fi was booming. Like specialists like Cabasse (Var), Focal (Loire) or even the pioneer in her time Elipson (Val-de-Marne), Triangle belongs to these reference brands for discerning audiophiles. She notably contributed to defining the tricolor acoustic signature: “The French were among the pioneers who developed sound systems. We can define this sound as dynamic, lively and very detailed. It is different from the English sound, quieter and cooler. For us, the sound should be very detailed and very open, with mids and highs present. The bass, meanwhile, must be fast and precise, not too fat. The founder of Triangle was a lover of classical music and for his part he wanted each instrument to be present ”, analyzes Hugo Decelle.
© n.cailleaud / CNEWS
In the workshops, the order books are always full. Above all, Triangle has had to adapt to a market complicated in recent months by the shortage of electronic components. “While it took us three months on average to fulfill orders, this deadline has now been extended to six or eight months. And again, in 2022 we could go to twelve months! ”Believes this thirty-something who has to juggle with his Chinese subcontractors. Because if the assembly and design of the products are done in Soissons, it is indeed in China that this company is also forced to place an order.
“We are sorely lacking in subcontractors in France”
“Even if we want more made in France production, there is a dire lack of subcontractors in our country. We are therefore forced to go through China to produce part of the electronics. But it takes time because we have to manage everything remotely, while the cost of container transport has exploded from 2,000 dollars before the health crisis to 20,000 in recent months, ”he laments. The increase in the cost of raw materials and the resale of components at high prices are not helping the sector.
© n.cailleaud / CNEWS
And on the production lines, the technicians are busy while the designers imagine the speakers, with the choice of a wood which must often be as dense as possible to contain the power of the vibrations of the speakers. In the semi-anechoid chamber, which absorbs sound waves (photo), Sébastien Niquel takes very precise measurements. This manager of the Triangle design office develops the brand’s R&D and also calibrates high-end speakers. “No two loudspeakers are the same, so you have to check the sound adjustment. Over the years, measurement tools have evolved and make it possible to perfect the sound of a speaker. The goal is to use as few electronic components as possible to limit disturbances. The components must above all tell the loudspeaker at what frequency it must work in order to reproduce the entire frequency field, ”he emphasizes.
At the same time, the brand is also developing a range of wireless speakers in order to keep pace with the market, where fierce competition reigns between the large American and Asian groups. Apple, Google and Amazon are now coming to walk on the beds of sound specialists. Not yet present in the segment of headphones, yet booming, Triangle says it is studying this interesting avenue without however wanting to give in to the wireless fashion.