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Hello, I have 15" red dual concentric Tannoy drivers in Belvedere cabs, before you buy anything, try your speakers with an OTL amp. I run mine with a Futterman design amp. After hearing this combo, I put away my Quad 63 USA monitors and my Maggies and never looked back. I have tried Tannoy's with several other tube/solid state amps and have felt their performance was just so so,BUT once hooked up to my Futterman/OTL amp, I felt their performance to be FIRST class.Thank you.
Normally I would just enjoy reading the forum articles and stay quiet. But not everyday you run into Tannoy and OTL lovers.
I have a pair of Westminster Royal (not the HE) and drive them with Nagra VPA or Tenor 75Wp both with good result. I used to be a proud owner of NYAL Futterman Signature OTL-3 about ten years ago with an extra set of GE replacement tubes. I got rid of them purely because of my stupidity. I would love to get them back and try them with the Tannoy.
I personally don't think you can make a Tannoy sound bad with any reasonable gear (SS or glass) since they are so easy to drive. Mind you, however, since they are so sensitive, the tube noise of Nagra's original junky Shuguang 845 was much louder compared to, say, the better built Cetron or KR 845. However, it never really bothered me too much once the music starts.
Although I must say Tannoy aren't the most accurate speakers in the world but I have never ceased to be amazed of how emotionally involved the listening experience was with the Tannoy since the very first moment. Ive always read about them in Asian magazines like Stereo Sound. I finally ran into one while I visited Aki Habara in Tokyo in 1993. I was rivited in front of a pair of Edingburg while it was playing (Milstein?) Bach partitas and sonatas until the shop owner got rid of me by stopping playing *^#*^. There was not much to mention about the usual stuff that I sought after at the time - sound stage, depth, width, focus and etc. simply since these speakers were part of a 6 feet tall speaker wall. (Those who have been to Aki Habara would know what I am talking about). The remaining gears were not the latest and the greatest either vintage Luxman pre-amp driving Marantz 9s. Vinyl was being playing also on an old Microseiki built in the 80s.
The music I heard was simply, well, musical. The BWV 1003 Presto sent chill down to my spine. I had already been in Hifi for almost 20 years at the time but I have never experienced anything like that. I would even go as far as calling it my first HiFi ecstasy I was tempted to strangle the shop owner when he lifted the cartridge since he figured I had no plan of leaving until the music stopped. And by way I look he knew he had no chance of closing the deal since I was obviously a tourist.
I've lived with Maggies, Quad 63, 63Pro, 801s, N801, Guarnari, Amati, Wilson Watt/Puppy and finally landed on the Westminster Royal after all these years. I am not going to make statements like they would be my last pair of speakers like I have promised my wife so many times before. However, the fact that I have yet grown tired of them for one minute after nearly three years was a small miracle to my wife.
I know my comment didnt help much but like I said you simply go too wrong with them as long as you dont use any junky gears and overpower them.
The apperciation of the more expensive Tannoy Prestige and Kingdom lines has been a well kept Japanese/Asian secret. Hope to see more Tannoy and OTL lovers on this side of the Pacific.
Rdr4b, Couldn't agree with you more. I also visit Akihabara back in 1998 and was so impressed by the Tannoys. I wasn't into vintage gear then so I don't recall which model.
I now also own a vintage pair of Jensen coxials with my own GRF type of cabinet. I found the Jensens less thick sounding and more suitable to my taste.
The big Tannoys are lovely! As per amplification and given the plethora of choices out there, I would recommend any class A topology that suits your sonic tastes -- simply because that topology requires high VA power supply reserves. These are useful in taming the "thickness" chang refers to above.
You will also use twisted single-core copper wire (16 or 18gauge) for spkr cabling, of course, as a reference.
BTW, S23chang WHICH Jensens are you using on the GRF?
I'm not sure about the need for a preamp unless you use a TT.
The Jensen CX120 16 ohm alinco from the late 50s and early 60s. The CX225 has slightly bigger alnico and one inch deeper but not sure how it would sound.
Here is a photo of my speakers
I also have the EV 12TRXB with casted Aluminum frame. They are also great sounding coaxials. I have not had time to make the speaker baffle yet.
In my opinion, the Jensen speakers sound lively and quite transparent plus the sweet mids. They are not as dark as the tannoys.
I've used these the EL84 PP and my DIY 300B SEs and got great result. They are more neutral and you can drive them with almost every amp around 6 to 15 Watt range.
With the tannoys, you will probably need a thinner and cleaner sounding amp to balance out. I've heard the red, silver and gold 15s with Jadis, Canary, and Cary 300B PP. The Jadis is probably the best combo I've heard with the tannoys. The Quad II works but didn't sound as good.
Hi Gang. Great to see some vintage Tannoy users on this forum. Rdr... nice post and well said. I concurr with futterman here regarding and the OTL amplification marriage,however there are many amplifiers that work well with the big tannoys...both tubed and solid state.In actual fact...it's difficult to make the Westminsters sound poor with any decent amplification.I preferr tubes with mine but have heard buddies 70 watt Pass amp [not sure of model] and was very impressed as it does have a nice tight grip on the big woofer.Solid State? My vintage class A 25 watt bedini does make real magic with the tannoy. I used to have a pair of original 25 watt Mark Levinson ML-2 monos. They were far and away the best ss amplification I have used in my rig. That thickness thing in the midbass/upperbass area mentioned above can be completely eliminated with a good solid state amplifier as well as most any of the OTL amps out there. However... there is a better way and a must for the big 15 inch tannoy users that preferr vacuum tubed amplification.Simply remove the crossover from the cabinet and that thick dense colour completely disappears! My pair of Westminsters were factory wired with Van den hul cable... I removed the crossover boards and rewired[with the same van denhul wire] from the crossover taps directly to the 8 omp tap of the amplifier. This little mod is a revelation and not suttle either!It also allows one to bi-amp if you preferr a different amp on the tweeter.It also eliminates the binding posts and speaker wire per se. I have used small set amps from the 3.5 watt 2a3 based wright monos,300b based amps as well as the big 60 watt parrallel 845 set monos from Antique Sound Lab and all of them exhibit a cleaner textured bass resolution with the crossover out of the cabinet. Some food for thought?
Thanks Chang. The 225 *might* take you a tad lower and sweeter; but not sure about using the same enclosure though...
The EVs: if memory serves SOMEONE is using/has used these on an open baffle and a 200-150Hz tractrix horn. I can't find the link (I may be confusing things too). IF I'm not confusing things, the tractrix loading was superb.
That's quite a few ifs:) Cheers
S23chang. A very good analogy , you have good ears sir. Although in my experience the 300b triodes are probably the most difficult set amps to voice with vintage 15 inch tannoys due to the 300b's typically softer and bloomier bass range flavour .I also agree that any of the older Jadis p/p amps are simply fabulous with big tannoys. Regarding el-84 based amps????..... I can honestly say I have never heard a el84 based amplifier that I didn't like. Hell... even my trusty old vintage Fisher 400 makes for a very engaging musical experience when driving the Westminster,albeit a rather lumpy bass range but still magic nonetheless. To be candid here: I personally believe the nos 6bq5/el84 power pentode should to be considered one of the best sounding tubes ever produced. Which brings to mind the sensational sounding el84 based VTL tiny triodes. I just cannot say enough about these little beauties when paired with fairly efficient speakers. They are a modern, up to date, simple circuit topology that "bang for the buck" cannot be beat in commercially produced market sector IMHO. Each and every time I hear them they always make me wonder about the other el84 amp offerings out there, like the musical reference,audio notes etc. To be sure... one must spend some serious cash to beat em! I Would love to build one employing some of the great old trannies like the accrosound or perhaps the tangos.
I have vintage 12" monitor golds in custom cabinets and have had great results with single ended 300b,845, and pushpull EL84's. The Tannoys although being very musical speakers, are also very revealing of their upstream electronics feeding them and certainly do show the differences in all three amplifiers. The main thing is that they are easy to drive, so just pick out a quality amp whose house sound you like and the Tannoys will gladly give it to you.
I did manage to get myself a Tannoy GRF Memory TW after my last post 18 years ago. I drive them with Dared DV-300B Parallel Single-Ended Triode monoblocks with vintage Lafayette KT-600 tube preamp. I found this combination produces the best sound ever with the Tannoys. The vintage preamp has room shape and size adjustments with loudness and presence switches. On top of that, it also provides bass and treble adjustment switches. This can compensate for the amount of bass without sacrificing dynamics. I have tried a few other amps/preamps combinations and none of them come close to this combo. The 300B SET provides refined detail which Push Pull can't touch. The bass is not great on a typical 300B without going into expensive KR/Emission labs or other high-power dark plates 300B tubes. I personally like the original WE 300B sound. I think the Sophia Mesh plate came close to it around 85 to 90%. What is special about this KT600 preamp is speed, and sweetness with extras. Most of the modern preamps don't give you extras. They believe a straight signal is the best. However, it might not work in all situations as it is room dependent.