I own Canterbury GR’s and very happy with the bass extension. They are powered by 40 watts Triode Class A single ended mono’s. My musical preferences includes jazz, classical, blues and rock.
61 responses Add your response
I also own Canterbury GR, and I’m in bliss with them. They’re fantastic, though I think the MSRP has (unfortunately) gone pretty high recently. You’ll definitely find other loudspeakers in this price range (and below) with notably better bass extension (including its own Tannoy sibling the GRF 90) and bigger soundstage, but what makes me happy with Canterbury GR is the deep connection to music it forms, and how it can realistically reproduce the energy and feel of a performance. The midrange is amazing. I drive mine with 275 Watts/ch tube amps, and get such amazing energy and dynamics. My musical diet includes a lot of rock and heavy metal.
But if ultimate bass extension and soundstage size are your main priorities - you should probably look elsewhere from this model.
A different take on the question is what I did-built my own. I couldn't afford any of the models that would meet my needs, so looked on Ebay UK, and found reasonably priced HPD 315's (12" Dual Concentric from 1975), with crossovers.
I then built very heavy 150 liter enclosures, eventually new crossovers, new woofer cones converted to hard edge surrounds, etc. They produce outstanding bass, a very deep soundstage, and considering their size, they do a fine disappearing act. They are innately musical, and can be driven very well with a wide array of amplifiers in my large room (34' X 16.5' w/cathedral ceilings.
I will not be looking to change speakers for the remainder of my lifetime.
@bache - perhaps a few of the Tannoy owners above can confirm/deny the following statements which was conveyed by an audio store that sells them.
Tannoy speakers sound their best if they are toe'd in such that the center line axis of the speaker crosses just in fron of the listening position.
A pair of Canterbury's I demo'd were toe'd-in that much and they sounded very good, but I did not have the opportunity to verify this.by changing the angle
I do have a pair of Fusion 4.s - which were developed more for A/V applications and they also need a more acute toe-in than most others, but not as acute as the larger dual concentric models.
The sweet spot is just that - sweet, it is very focussed but not as wide as I have experienced with other brands.
Also, the Cantebury's sounded great with lots of space around them - not sure what happens to the sound in a more constrained listening space.
I have listened to other large models in a much more constrained showroom setting and they still sounded great from a fidelity perspective, but the image suffered a little.
The friend who runs the audio store that demo'd them commented that people who buy Tannoy seldom return for a different speaker.
If you have not purchased them yet, the comments above may be something to consider.
Personally, I like the sound of Tannoy a lot - if you are into Jazz, female vocal and orchestral you will find them hard to beat. Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Adele, Melody Gardot and Ricky Lee jones are just a few artists that will sound amazing on them.
Hope that helps
I toe my Tannoys in a lot (I’ve owned 5 models now), but not enough to crossover in front of me. In my current setup they’re aimed to crossover slightly behind me. The positioning is a close to equilateral configuration, with each speaker some 9 feet away from me.
I tried the “cross over in front of me” setup some time ago and did not like it. This toe-in recommendation is written right in the manuals, and personally I find it a little baffling. It’s quite true that the sweet spots from my Tannoys have been relatively small, but oh so very very sweet. That works fine for my usage, with usually just one guest (my girlfriend) or just myself. They do get less impressive as you have more competition for the sweet spot. My guess is that the in-front crossover extreme toe-in might be a technique to expand the sweet spot size for a larger audience, spread over a larger area - but at the expense of the ultimate “sweeteness” in the single most optimal spot.
I don’t have too much space around my Tannoys, but enough to make them sound absolutely gorgeous. I do think it limits their ultimate soundstage size this way, though. They are amazing speakers! My girlfriend and I look forward to the all-night weekend listening sessions, all during the week. Just being honest about their limitations, in my experience.
@islandmandan & @mulveling - for the benefit of the OP could you provide the dimensions of your rooms please.
The room I auditioned them in was approximately 24ft x 22ft and the speakers were on the 24ft wall
The only speaker (which I now own) that came remotely close to the gorgeous Tannoy sound are the "Sonogram" model from Gershman Acoustics. Unfortunately they are no longer made, also being built in Canada, they can be a little difficult to get. Their other models are very good, but there was something about the Sonogram's that drew me into the performance, just like the Tannoys did. The other Gershman models did not really do that.
The only speaker to date that I preferred over the Tannoy are the Avangarde Duo's, They have a huge sweet spot, massive image and crystal clear delivery, but their price tag is a little bit steep for my wallet.
Hmmm - now I have a much larger listening room - I might just be tempted to try out the Tannoy's again.
Damn - I thought I was done :-)
My Tannoys are situated in a section of my living area room, backed into a little alcove (4 feet deep) that’s 14 feet wide and serves as the front wall for my setup. The length of the room in the other dimension is 21 feet. 10 foot ceilings. However, the left wall is only partial, and the right side opens up into the rest of the main living area - fully 30 feet in that dimension. So there’s effectively a bit more space around Tannoys than there would be in an actual closed 14’x21’x10’ rectangular room. The Canterbury is an excellent size for this space. I used to own Kensington SE, and their bass was a little lean in the same room. And the best bass I heard in this room was from Yorkminster SE, but unfortunately its midrange is not as beautiful as the Canterbury.
The bit of room asymmetry is not ideal, but the building construction is excellent and I’ll easily take a little asymmetry over a flimsy construction with bouncy floor and low ceiling under a drywall shoebox. No residential neighbors around, either, so late night loud listening is my favorite pass-time :) And my seating at midfiend/nearfield-ish, along with Tannoy’s controlled dispersion, largely mitigates the asymmetry effects. Sounds amazing! Total immersion into the musical performance, with good records.
The 12” driver with traditional reflex porting, like the discontinued Yorkminster SE and current GRF 90, will give excellent bass extension - significantly better than the 15” Canterbury. I think that is due to the distributed port on the Canterbury and most other Prestige models - but also I speculate that distributed porting helps given them a sweeter midrange at the expense of bass extension.
Thinking about this some more, I wonder if @islandmandan ’s custom build, with reflex porting and a large vintage Tannoy HPD driver, would achieve a nice balance of bass extension plus sweet midrange. Especially paired with the right tube amp, which it seems he’s also done. And good god Dan - your custom cabinets are beyond gorgeous! Brilliant work.
Mulvening, I have to be honest with you, I didn't actually build them myself. At the time I started the build, I didn't have the necessary space, or the tools and skills to make them. Frank Wyatt of Wyatt Woodworking built them for me.
I have, since then, sanded and polished the finish (Frank attempted his first high gloss finish, which he had much trouble getting right). There was orange-peel, and a few runs as well. They still looked nice, I but I wanted them better. I replaced the woofers with ones that Lockwood converted to hard edge surrounds for me. I also built the crossovers, and wired the speakers.
My woodworking skills have improved, which is evident on my plinth for the Garrard 401.
The SET 300B amp is an Audio Assemblage which was built by Sonic Frontiers, which was sold in kit form. This particular amp had been built for a reviewer, with all the available upgrades. After I purchased it, I sent it back to them, and had the caps and resistors upgraded, and bought EML XLS 300B tubes to run in it, which made the amp sound very nice indeed. The amp has a set of quite large transformers, which has a great deal to do with why it can drive the Tannoys to very satisfying levels.
I apologize if you feel mislead about the speaker enclosures, I feel, after having spent years working on them, including the fact they were built to my specifications, that I feel I had a great deal to do with the outcome of what they are today.
I have admired your system for years now, and I know how much you must enjoy it. The fact that you are able to listen to the music you do shows what Tannoys are capable of. They are what I would call agnostic regarding what music they will play well.
I have Tannoy 8 dcTi from their Definition line. The Tannoy's are positioned about 3' from the back wall and 3' from each side wall. My room size is 12' wide, 13' long, with 9' ceilings.
I use a NAD M12 pre/dac and NAD M22 v2 power amp. I listen to jazz and old school R&B streaming Tidal and ripped CDs from a Innous Zenith MKII via Roon, and vinyl from a Technics SL-1200G with Ortofon Quintet Black cart. I love the music, sound of the vocals, and I get a nice tight bass. The music is crystal clear and the sound stage is quite good.
I have the Kensington's. I agree with Mulveling on the recommended toe in - baffled is a good word (because presumably the manufacturer knows what they are talking about). They did not seem to image well when I tried it. My room is 21 x 14 and they fire towards the length of the room. I have wondered if their toe in would make sense if you had something like the Westminsters in a huge room in the corners, spaced very widely apart. By toeing them in (such that they cross over in front of the listener), perhaps it would lessen the first-wall reflection . But who knows.
There is a good reason why tannoys cost so much - enclosures are what they seem to excell at. They may look simple on the outside, but...
I steer clear of DIY when it comes to speakers, especially if selecting expensive drivers, simply because companies invest millions in design/tooling/glues/construction methods and finish, which immediately puts the DIYer at a disadvantage.
I did try building PA speakers, which are not as complex as hi-fi speakers, but even that took some effort to get right.
I've also had a friend that tried to build open baffle speakers, where cabinet design is less complex, but just as critical to "get right". Alas, the crossover proved to be a significant challenge.
I know that Gershman takes their speakers to a lab in Ottawa to prove and refine their cabinet/driver/crossover combinations. That is something most DIYers do not have access to.
I am a keen DIYer for things like cables and isolation tweaks, and I did build my own turntable plinth, which proved to be an exceptional performer.
But I choose to leave speaker designs strictly to the professionals.
Regards - Steve
I've heard many Tannoy speakers and generally they tend to have a family sound with generous midbass and a smooth, non-emphasised top end. This can sound slightly shut in compared to some rivals, but never thin.
I love this full (old fashioned?) sound on all the models I've heard (with the exception of one of the large Dimension models which took this fullness a bit too far in my opinion).
The M1, R3, and the HPD 385s all have that classic Tannoy sound. Even the floor standing MX3s sounded like Tannoys despite their elevated treble response.
I have read of complaints regarding sibilance on some vintage models and others seem keen on 'improving' the enclosures on the older models but I'd steer well clear of such ideas.
Its only the fully horn loaded Westminster, so beloved of the late Harvey 'Gizmo' Rosenburg that have elaborate cabinetwork. The rest seem very matter of fact, but this was quite intentional.
I would have loved to buy a brand-spanking new pair of Westminster Royals or Canterburys, but they were way out of my league financially. I had purchased a demo pair of Dynaudio Contour 5.4's years earlier (with beautiful Rosewood cabinets), and I thought I really loved them. As time went on, however, I was itching to have a go at tube amps, and I knew the 5.4's had to go.
My first pair of Tannoys were 12" Gold MG's, which I bought in 1971. They were in some very poorly self-constructed cabinets. I knew, at the time I started my current Tannoy build, that I had unfinished business with Tannoy. I realized they were capable of much more than I had been able to get from them the first time around.
So I bought on Ebay UK my 12" HPD's. I knew how special they were going to be when I set them up temporarily, (just the crossovers, with the drivers propped up), on the floor next to the Dynaudios. They blew the Dyn's away in every way you care to mention. It was shortly after that I sold the Dyn's, and got started on the HPD's. I found as much info as I could find on appropriate enclosures, which wasn't very much, but I decided 150 liter bass-reflex cabs were the way to go. I knew I wanted them to be massive, so I had them built of 3/4" MDF inside, laminated to 1 1/8" MDF outside. They turned out to be 192 lbs. each, without crossovers and drivers.
I didn't want them to have the typically wide Tannoy baffles, so I had the outside dimensions made 17" W X 20" D X 48" H. Front of the cabs are beveled 45 degrees. Room dimensions are 16.5' X 34' w/cathedral ceilings, and they are toed in so the centers intersect just a bit behind the listening position.
My Legacy Eatons place the performers right in my living room and provide a sense of presence and engagement like few other speakers I've ever heard and none anywhere near them in price. Powered by a Luxman L-550AXII the bass is both ample and physical.
Tannoy's recommendation regarding toe-in is spot on here. I started with no toe-in, gradually moved them in roughly 5-degree increments, and they sound their best when crossing 10-15cm in front of my nose when I sit in my listening chair.
@ dan, you're a braver man than me and no doubt more knowledgeable in these matters.
Still, I hope you don't mind a few suggestions, that might be worth bearing in mind. The original Tannoy's all used chipboard as cabinet material, and to a large extent it works really well. With MDF I believe it is possible to get good results, but more care may be needed to keep those nasty resonances away from the midrange.
Secondly, as is being appreciated more and more, the driver/cabinet coupling is all important, so it's well worth experimenting with the tightness of the driver bolts. I strongly believe that no more than finger tightness is required (for any large heavy Tannoy DC drivers).
So it might be worth playing around with that too. Best of luck.
@cd318 i feel some sarcasm about Dan project. MDF- is one is best
material for High End speakers Cabinet , majority of famous brand is used to, dont scare too much about resonance , well done braces almost eliminate. regarding bolts-- one guy i remember, send the post
to audiophile community ----after replacing driver bolts he get significant
sound improvement .period
Dan's project is impressive regardless of the fine details and what-have-you's. Yes, the Westminster is the only current production Tannoy with a complex folded-horn cabinet structure, and has been for some time. The other cabinets are pretty simple (minus the nice cosmetic wood work) but reasonably well braced and upper-line products use the excellent Baltic birch plywood. Part of me wishes I had Westminsters instead of Canterbury, but I think they would just overwhelm my room.
So minor philosophical differences aside, you can at least see how enthusiastic we Tannoy owners are for our speakers - one common theme is that we all feel Tannoy offers a good route out of audiophile hell and towards musical bliss. Get you some!!
The main principal difference big size Tannoy loudspeakers to compare to other famous brands - they use non compression woofers.
is require big amount volume, but much more sensitive, no need big
monster amps, much more faster and get much better midbass ability.
Huge soundstage , not boomy base
No, they have some space around them from the corners - about 3.5 feet from back of speakers to the front wall, and just shy of 2 feet from the outer sides to walls. Gives them enough space to breathe, even with all ports fully open. 10' ceilings help, too.
Works out nicely because visually it acts like a "stage" for the system, and all the gear is set back enough to be protected from the walkway.
I’m not sure if it is the same for all Tannoy speakers, but this is from the Kensington manual
Locate the loudspeakers so that the favourite listening position is approximately 15¡ from the axes of the cabinets. Theaxes of both cabinets should intersect at a point slightly in front of the listening positionAnd from the Kingdom Royal manual...
The axes of the cabinets can even intersect at a point slightly in front of the listening position.That aside, I have heard that just behind the listening position is preferred by some people, so I believe the above off axis placement is the suggested "starting position" and is NOT absolute because they also cite reflectections as being a crucial part of speaker placement and that would impact off-axis positions.
Personally, my Mercury speakers sound their best, i.e. in a large room with side walls about 8 ft away, with off axis just behind the listening position in order to provide the largest sweet spot. But I am wondering if that is because they do not use the dual concentric drivers?
That aside, I have heard that just behind the listening position is preferred by many, so I believe the above off axis placement is the suggested "starting position" and is NOT "cast in concrete" because the manual also cites reflectections as being a crucial part of speaker placement and that would impact off-axis positions.
But one thing seems to be "a given" - Tannoys seem to require significantly more acute off-axis angle than other brands.
Regards - Steve
I used to have tannoy windsors, they are really good speakers.
Bass solid not boomy and mile wide soundstage. In my home theater i built 6 diy subs with 15 inch tannoys that we took out of a church, they do wicked bass in big 8cubic foot enclosures. Tannoy makes everything from cheap to uber awesome grade products. I also have a little bookshelf pair that dont sound good at all, worse than similiar sized polks.
jburidan: i dont understand you gradation, The High End speakers with
good bass extension like B & W nautilus or Egglestone Viginity with
two 10" butyl surround (low resonance frequency) drivers is excellent for any type of music included hard rock /Heavy metal ,etc) The Kensington
like other Tannoy get woofer with cloth surround , this woofer is very fast
good punch , but is not be able produce lower bass ,
@johnrothschild, each and every Tannoy speaker I have heard R1, MX3, R3, DC6, Berkeley etc had a full sound never too far off neutrality. All of them good all rounders with plenty of Bass warmth.
However they would not be my first choice for Rock or Metal - there are better options out there for those genres. I’d start by looking at something from JBL, then maybe ATC, PMC etc.
In my experience those genres thrive primarily upon attack, dynamics and speed. Not especially subtlety and nuance.
Even some budget / party speakers can sound decent with Rock.
Tannoy has a loyal following and I consider myself a big fan.
Like Dan I have vintage hpd drivers but mine are in a newly made cheviot cabinet made of birch. The sound is fantastic in several different large rooms I have had them in. They sound really good almost anywhere in the room but yes with some toe in they sound better.
I have a pretty good sub and since getting the Tannoys three years ago I have not even considered using it. In fact I consider myself a bit of a bass head but since getting the tannoys I don’t even think about bass - just the music.
bache’s English is not the best, so just for the sake of all of the contributors on this thread, and others of the ops, bache is a manufacturer of speakers out of Brooklyn N.Y. I do not believe he is a shill, not telling anyone. I just do not think he knows enough to state it. He does fish for information to help his designs and sales. I typically appreciate when an audio manufacturer or an audio related business ( such as a store ) to be open about it, which is why I am posting this. Enjoy ! MrD
I listen to a lot of hard rock and metal. I used to own Kensington SE. They are very good for that music, but you don’t want them in too big a room so that they have trouble pushing out satisfying bass pressure - or use them with subs. You’ll also want to pair it with gear with a sweet and slightly relaxed treble.
@skoczylas , I’m a big fan too. It sounds like you’ve arrived at one version of the state of the art.
I understand that not everyone agrees but I don’t think a better cabinet material for the midrange exists.
I just love that organic tactile clarity you can get with the birch cabinet/paper cone combination.
The need for a subwoofer with any non-powered speakers is very subjective. You may not know what you’re missing if you have not tried a subwoofer with your 15” dual-concentric driver.
I do concur with ‘organic tactile clarity’ comment. I run my Canterbury’s with dual REL subs and they do get standing O every now and then 😉
However they would not be my first choice for Rock or Metal - there are better options out there for those genres. I’d start by looking at something from JBL, then maybe ATC, PMC etc.This is nonsense- but is the most common myth about speakers- that a certain speaker is good for a certain genre of music. Its entirely false- speakers (and electronics) don't care what music you play- and what makes them good at classical or jazz makes them good at rock as well.
Imagine if you had to have a different speaker depending on what record you pulled out of the shelf that day! Obviously it just doesn't work that way.