Experience with Tannoy Westminster Royal Gold Reference

I own these great looking speakers for a few months, and i am looking for views on its sound quality and people who have long experienced these speakers with different amps, electronics, and rooms, etc..
Based on my short experience, it seems that they are very easy on power quantity as being very efficient speakers, but require absolute quality watts to sound their best.
It feels as if they have infinite potential for sound quality and power, as long as you have what it takes to feed them, so how far can i, should i go with these in terms of associated equipment?
I hope that experienced audiophiles out there can help me realize the full potential on these beauties.
ASR electronics from Germany


"...As a preamble to those reviews, let me just say that the synergy between ASR and the Tannoy Kingdom Royals reported to me by listeners from around the world is quite real, and if there are Kingdom Royals in your future, you might as well starting writing the check now for the ASR electronics, as they are a superb match..."
Those are two very different speakers akg_ca.
Yes, they are indeed!!
For the sake of the discussion, I am actually using Esoteric Grandioso P1 & D1 as source and DAC with G1 masterclock, Coincident Statement Linestage for preamp with WE101D Psvane tubes, amps are Coincident Dragon 211PP MkII monoblocks with upgraded caps and WE211 Psvane tubes, and cabling is Tellurium top line Silver Diamond. I forgot to mention that the Tannoy are complemented by the Prestige supertweeter. The sound is very good, but i would like it to be absolutely great, and I think the element to improve is the amps. So any experience out there is welcome!!
From the reviews i’ve read, the holy grail to match with these speakers is the Kondo SET mono blocks if you have the coin. Otherwise Audio Note make some very nice mono’s at a more approachable price. For a front end, I really like the Kronos Sparta or Reference tables...great decks. Btw, Kondo make some nice cables. Personally I use Jorma Design which sound natural and harmonically rich.
It's going to be pretty tough and costly to beat the electronics that you are using.  AN and Kondo are both good choices.  Depending on where you are located, you may want to talk to Vu at Deja Vu Audio in Virginia.  He has some very interesting vintage stuff that I think would sound glorious with those speakers.
Dear Melbguy1 and Marco1, thanks for your input. Audio Note sounds great, but unfortunately don't have the bank for it now, don't know if i will ever have actually!! To power these speakers i guess it would need to be the Kagura model, which is over $200,000 i think, and without offending anyone, i think these prices are ridiculous for home audio gear; more expensive than a very good house for just one element of the chain. I have a friend who is sound engineer at the english Arsenal football team, and he tells me that profit margins on such equipment is above 100%. Do these speakers really need tube amps?? What do you guys think of a very good SS amp playing pure ClassA with zero negative feedback, the likes of Pass, Boulder, or Gryphon? Wouldn't it have the quality and power at the same time. I have read and heard that many of us often use too low powered amps. If some McIntosh, which are very average amps, can do some good work with Westminster as already seen, than logically wouldn't a pair of, let's say Gryphon Colosseum or Pass XA200.8, work marvels at a price still high but more "reasonable"??
hddg -
For what it's worth I own a pair of Tannoy GRF Professionals, these have a back loaded horn similar to the Westminsters but with a much longer horn. The GRF Professional Speakers are physically about the same size as the Westminsters. I have heard many amps on these speakers and prefer by far very high high quality solid state amplifiers rather than tubes. I first head them with a heavily modified Perreaux 5150B, 500wpc, and the improvement in timing, particularly on large scale orchestral music with the headroom provided by this amp, is audibly superior to many high quality tube amps auditioned over the years. Tube preamp/solid state power amps are my preferred combo.

Hi Dover,
Thanks for sharing your experience which is certainly worth, and helpful!!
Tube preamp and ClassA solid state seem to be a good way, and very often come around as highly recommended all over the net, especially for large audio systems, whereas all tubes seems best for smaller scale setups.
What are you actually using with the GRF?
I second the rec for Vu and Deja Vu audio he's got the best ears of anyone I've ever met and his guy Aldo is making some amazing gear from a mostly vintage parts, truly special. And Vu knows horns inside and out.
Hddg, the Tannoys are highly efficient speakers aren’t they? If you’re looking for SS amps which sound musical & tube-like, i’d check out Vitus Audio Signature series and Pass XS series. Dartzeel also make some nice gear.
I am using Ayre gear....have found them absolutely wonderful.  I've never hear them with Tannoys, but I would imagine they would be hard to better.  I stongly suggest you look at Ayre stuff and listen in your own system.  I stongly suspect that a dealer will lend you one for evaluation.

Try Audioconnection in Verona, New Jersey.
I currently use a modified Marantz 7 tube preamp with Brown Electronic Labs power amp built by Richard Brown. Unfortunately Richard Brown has passed away and no circuit diagrams exist, so I would recommend trying some more current amps. The only thing you have to watch is that the power amp has a high input impedance relative to your Coincident tube preamp to ensure you get no bass rolloff issues. I would not be too dogmatic about class A - class A can sound too smooth and gluggy sometimes - go for speed and transparency, this will ultimately give you more satisfaction in the long haul. Try before you buy if possible.
One really good thing with the Rowland amps is that you can adjust the input impedance and gain to match your system. Their later 625 series would be on my list to try.

thanks very much to all for your interventions. I appreciate very much. Lots of wise advise. The main reason i am here, is that i haven't got much chance to try many things out before buying, since i am not based in the US. I live on a small island in the Indian Ocean called Mauritius, hence the search for other experienced audiophiles.
That preamp/ amp impedance relation seems an important factor to consider, but so is the amp's output impedance i believe, which is determining of damping which in turn is necessary for large and hard woofers' control. My preamp output impedance is 500 ohms, would an amp input of 10K ohms be fine??
As for class operation, i have used many good ClassA/B and ClassA amps in my life, but i must say that to my ear ClassA has always been superior by far, with a sound as quick and transparent as AB, but adding a more complete, livelier, vibrant and musical sound. I would never accept a soft or sluggish or too warm tube like sound. I want thee sound, the one that is complete, balanced, with full harmonics, highly dynamic, full resolution, neither tuby nor dry, but one which is alive like the real stuff, with the full message, bringing tears in the end!!
I have tried several good AB amps on these Tannoys, but they just look at these amps with disdain, saying; you cannot move me and bring me to life!! In the actual setup, at all times, all ClassA amps (using zero negative feedback) i've tried have always been better. I guess the zero NF issue is an important one too with the Tannoy, which seem to demand the full signal. They are very good speakers, but they are difficult to bring to full blossom, as earlier said they seem to have "unlimited" potential.
I guess the likes of FM Acoustics and other very good AB amps are the exception to the rule, but again the prices are stratospheric. I heard the best of Ayre, very good amps but does not beat the Coincident Dragon MkII, so that would not be an upgrade!! I think Vitus, Pass, Boulder, Gryphon, Soulution and the likes will be the way.
Can we agree on this??
Maybe Absolare and Viva would be great, but again power seems limited...


Congratulations on your wonderful speakers. I do hope you are using an audio grade  A/C wall  outlet and audio grade fuses in your preamp and amp. I am impressed with and use the Synergistic Research  Black outlets and their Black equipment fuses.

Audio Magic by reports also makes a very nice sounding fuse that is damped with beeswax.

The Synergistic Research  products are sold with an excellent 30 day return policy.

I do know my horn system and my Terasonic speakers have both  really responded to upgraded wall outlets and fuses.

David Pritchard

hddg OP14 posts10-14-2016 7:23pmI guess the likes of FM Acoustics and other very good AB amps are the exception to the rule, but again the prices are stratospheric. I heard the best of Ayre, very good amps but does not beat the Coincident Dragon MkII, so that would not be an upgrade!! I think Vitus, Pass, Boulder, Gryphon, Soulution and the likes will be the way.
Can we agree on this??
From all that you’ve described hddg, and having owned or heard many of the amps you mentioned, I think you would most like the Vitus SS-103 - http://forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/172886/vitus-ss-103-debuts-at-munich-high-end, or a 2nd hand Vitus SS-102 - http://www.vitusaudio.com/en/114879-SS-102. Vitus aims for a sound which offers the best of both worlds between tube and ss which is non-fatiguing and natural. That is a good summary. If your finances don’t reach that high, I would look at a new Wells Audio Innamorata Signature -  @$15kUSD which is a very musical sounding amp.
Thanks Melbguy1. I can go to some USD60k, and actually i am having a great and rare opportunity around that price for a pair of brand new Gryphon Mephisto Solo (230V) from Europe, that's the monoblock version, with 200W ClassA with zero NF. They are usually 100K euros, so that looks like a great opportunity to own one of the best amps on the market. There is not much review of these in USA since Gryphon is not represented, but the shop which is selling it as well as the Pass Xs300, tells me that the Pass is sluggish in comparison, and the same Pass Xs300 have had the best reviews in the US. I suppose that the Gryphon Mephisto Solo must be a grade superior to the Vitus which are also recognized amps. Here is a review of the stereo only version: http://www.soundstageultra.com/index.php/twbas-menu/399-sonic-sorcery-gryphon-audio-designs-mephisto... & http://www.avhub.com.au/product-reviews/sound-image/gryphon-mephisto-394798
Dear David, my system already uses SR Black quantum fuses, but could not make the difference with the new Tannoy since it was already there before i completed the setup!!! However, i do not have audio grade wall sockets, but it is on my list of next and last small tweaks.
hddg, if you can consider US $60K then you might want to look at this -


I suspect that might be magical.

Hddg, that does sound like a good deal on the Gryphon Mephisto mono's. And no question they are great amps. Though I don't agree the Mephisto mono's are a grade superior to Gryphon. I can tell you, Vitus's factory is SOTA, and arguably superior to even Boulder. Virus designs his gear to achieve a sound which offers the best of SS, Class A, zero NFB design, with a natural/organic tube-like quality. He also designs his amps to be non-fatiguing. 

Fyi, Vitus will be releasing new SM-103 mono's, probably by early next year based on the SS-103 stereo amp which should be around $60kEUR. Like the SS-103, they will operate in pure Class A with Zero NFB & feature Intelligent Class A bias' & two tunable modes 'Classic' and 'Rock'. They will absolutely compete with the Gryphon amps on any metric. Though I wouldn't pair Vitus monos with a tube preamp. Rule of thumb: Vitus sounds best with Vitus. Sound-wise, I think you'd find Vitus sounds more organic and tube-like compared to Gryphon, but still with PLENTY on control, speed and resolution. Just with a more natural presentation. Just another option to consider...
In an earlier post on this thread I think hddg indicated that he's not looking to spend that kind of $$$$$.
There has been good feedback using Sophia Electric 300B amplifiers. The life they bring to the speakers is in the midrange. 
hddg OP15 posts10-17-2016 6:59pmThanks Melbguy1. I can go to some USD60k, and actually i am having a great and rare opportunity around that price for a pair of brand new Gryphon Mephisto Solo (230V) from Europe, that’s the monoblock version, with 200W ClassA with zero NF
According to XE.com, $60,000 USD = €54,511.64EUR, so he is not far off the mark. Also, Vitus is made in Denmark so he would be able to access better pricing than in the US. Besides that, personally given the choice I would prefer to own a Vitus SS-103 & SL-103 preamp over the Gryphon Mephisto solo & Pandora pre. But in the end, this is all subjective.
Thanks again to all for your input!!
Hi Roxy54, i said i wasn't ready to spend for USD200,000 and over, it is a big difference with $60,000 for an all European made and outsourced 200W ClassA zeroNF very high grade SS amp don't you think? just $140,000 less than the Audionote!!!
Melbguy1, i understand you like Vitus, and i am positive that they must be excellent amps.
The philosophy of Vitus going to monos is same as Gryphon doing monos, just more power and stereo separation, and that's about it i believe. But if i can get this additional quality at the cost of the stereo version, why not? The fact is that i am having that rare deal for Gryphon Mephisto solos at near half price, whereas i don't have the same for Vitus. As for taste, as you rightly put it, it is subjective, but it is also nice to hear and learn from others, so thanks again for sharing. The Mephisto has also some high degree of tube like sound to it, but maybe a bit more on the neutral side, and i think it could better suit the Westminsters who have some character.
Dynamics wise, the Gryphon beat the Vitus hands down, but all the rest is comparable i think. Both great amps, but i think i am not missing the deal and going Mephisto solos' way!!! I will inform and share my observations of the results if you are interested. I think such pairing will be sort of first of a kind, probably, and could be very interesting...
Believe it or not, i have experienced it, european gear is more expensive in europe than in the US. You can google on european shops for same products and compare with US shops, you will be surprised. For example, the Tannoy Westminster GR is over 35,000euros in europe, and around $30,000 or maybe even less in the US... In Europe there are big taxes (21% VAT) and on top of that the people are considered as ever milking cows, if i can put it this way (i am french speaking, so forgive my English if the imagery is not so good).

Hddg, I think that is a pretty safe deal on the Gryphons as even if you later sell them, you should not lose much money. As I said, they are great amps. I was just trying to let you know that Vitus should be releasing new SM-103 mono's early in the new year which will be more powerful, faster/more dynamic, more resolving etc, and a bit more neutral than the SM-102's. MSRP doesn't dictate the performance or musicality of an amp. Just sayin'. Enjoy the Gryphons..
Yes Melbguy1, i totally got your point, and totally agree that MSRP don't reflect the actual and full musical quality of an amp. So far, all subjectively, my Coincident Frankenstein 300B MkII beat anything i have heard in pure musical terms, at any price, and may remain better in same terms over the Gryphon, but we all know they do not have enough control over the Westminsters.
My few main points and logic just is:
1- don't really want to wait till next year, and don't even know what price the SM-103 will be - no good prices available when new stuff comes on the market - often we have to wait one or two more years to get good deals.
2- Mephisto Solo is already preferred by many over the Vitus MP-M201, which are actually the Masterpiece of Vitus and easily better the SM102.
3- It seems reasonable to think that the Vitus SM103 to come will not beat their flagship MP-M201, or would the SM-103 become the flagship?
4- Jeff Fritz of SoundStage magazine reviewed the Mephisto stereo in 2013 and preferred it over the MP-M201, and he's reviewed quite some good amps so far.
5- I very recently wrote to him to verify, and he told me that he would go for the Mephisto without hesitation over all the others, except for the Boulder 3050 which is his preferred ($200,000!!)
6- The Pass Xs300 make unanimity in US, and apart from SoundStage, no one got to review the Mephisto Solo, so no real final opinion available in the US.
7- European shops and consultants that sell both Mephisto and Xs300 (about same price) prefer the Danish amps by a large majority.

Have you actually listened to the Mephisto solo, and on which preamp and speakers?
hddg, First of all, Is Jeff Fritz and this loyal followers the "many" people to which you refer who prefer the Mephisto solo amps over the Vitus MP-M201 mono’s? Lol! I like Jeff, but let’s just say you only have half the story. There is a very specific reason why JF doesn’t review or praise any Vitus products, but I’m not going to go into that here. Let’s just say that his views on Gryphon vs Boulder are not objective.

Re: The release of the SM-103 monos, yes they incorporate much of the Masterpiece series technology, but also some new technology which is now being ’filtered up’ to the MP series. Hence the Masterpiece series will still remain VA’s flagship line.

Pass XS series is good, but they are not on the same level as Vitus or Gryphon.

No I have not personally heard the Gryphon Mephisto solo amps. Nor have you heard the Vitus SM-102 monos or MP-S201. But we can agree MSRP does not dictate how musical an amplifier may sound in a given setup.

I am not a follower of Jeff Fritz, or not really anyone for that matter. I was not born yesterday, and very well know that reviewers may have interests here and there, if not their own good taste.
As said in my introduction, i take things all over the whole wide world, with as much discernment as possible, then i make a synthesis of it and get my end result, which in any case is not the best, but just maybe one of the best possibilities!!!
Everyone's sensible opinion counts, and I again thank you most sincerely for having helped me a lot in that project. You made me think and progress. We agree on very much the same things in the end anyway, and even if it was not the case, we can agree to disagree, even more so for the sake that we all love a good music with the best possible sound.
Enjoy life and the music!
HDDG 10-14-2016
My preamp output impedance is 500 ohms, would an amp input of 10K ohms be fine??
The Coincident Statement Line Stage has transformer coupled outputs, and no capacitors in the signal path.  Therefore it will avoid the large rise in output impedance at deep bass frequencies that occurs in most tube preamps due to the use of a coupling capacitor at their outputs, which can result in the deep bass rolloff Dover referred to earlier if power amp input impedance is low.

However it is conceivable to me that other adverse sonic effects might occur, at least to a slight degree, if the CSLS is loaded with a low impedance such as the 10K input impedance of the Gryphon Mephisto Solo.  So I would suggest contacting Mr. Blume of Coincident and asking what minimum load impedance he would recommend for use with the CSLS.

Good luck.  Regards,
-- Al

hddg, if you pick up the pair of Mephisto amps up FS on the ’Gon right now, you will do very well. They are great amps as I said & will sound great for many years to come. I just had to correct some apparent misconceptions about Vitus amps which I know are equally, if not even better engineered than the Gryphon amps & have equal merit depending on one’s tastes and equipment of course.

JF runs a business, and as you correctly pointed out, some reviewers ’get in bed’ with manufacturers for what I would describe as mutual back scratching. Nuff said. Enjoy the Gryphons!
I don't think it would be wise to spend lots of money on amplifiers for speakers that you are not sure you like. Here is a review on the Sophia Electric 300B amplifiers paired with a pair of the large Tannoy's. Not sure you could do much better for any price. 


Good luck

Very good advise from Al, i will put to practice and contact I.Blume to check out. If need be, i have another high end preamp that might be better (Esoteric Grandioso C1), could try that as well.
Jim, i do like those speakers, they sound great with my top notch SET amp outfitted with the famous and great sounding Takatsuki TA300B tubes, but they just don't have the stamina for complex musical pieces at a good volume for a large room. Simple as that. That's why i termed them as difficult speakers, they need absolutely everything, and primarily big watts of big quality.
Melbguy1, was going to take the ones on Audiogon, but big hassle and additional cost for transport and to change them to 230V, and no ways to use transformer, and warranty is not transferable. I prefer to get new ones with my deal from Europe for just a few more bucks.
I should have mentioned that I have used the Sophia Electric mono blocks with the Tannoy Kensington's. Sounded good to my ears. My ears are not as good as they were when I first got married. I could hear my wife call me from the second floor when I was in the basement. Not so much any more.
Yes Soundsrealaudio, monoblocks for me too, but 300B SET amps, only 8Watts/ch.
Wife wise, many of us in the same situation, some things get harder, like our hearing, and some things become less hard!!
I was thinking of our hearts, of course, they soften with time, don't they?
Hddg, they are dream amps! Congratulations. In my apartment situation, I have some space limitations, so I have a relatively simple, high quality system comprising a pair of Magico S5 Mk2's, Vitus SCD-025 Mk2 (cdp/dac), Vitus SIA-025, Gigawatt conditioner, Stillpoints & Jorma Prime/Statement cables. I've got upgrade plans for next year on the amplification side, AC power and isolation. So my system is a work in progress.

Ps: Yes I would go for the euro example even at a premium. Will you be posting a 'Virtual system' when your new amps are installed?
Thanks Melbguy1!! Your system looks and must sound great. All the best for future upgrade... let me know when you do so, would like to hear about your choices and results.
I have designed all my racks myself, and use heavy amps bases made of good plywood, filled with fine rocksand, and i cover it all with real wood finish because i am a maniac on looks, too!! The racks are very much resonance free, but i am still considering Stillpoints; are they good?
Good idea to post a Virtual System, maybe some U.tube too...
Will let you know when it's up!!
@hddg, I plan to finish my Virtual system on here once my current system is setup after a long break (hopefully in the next few wks).
Good supports are important. I use Taoc ASR series II racks with FE Cerabase Classic feet & heavier SCB-RS-HC50G boards for my amp & cdp, alongside Stillpoints Ultra 6’s, Ultra LPI’s & Ultra Mini’s for my Oppo. I’ve found Stillpoints very effective in my system. They work very well under my Vitus gear, improving bass, image focus & resolution. I’ve also found they are neutral (ie: they don't have any tonal color of their own like Harmonix devices tend to).
I’ve got exciting plans for 2017, but just have to enjoy the present! Anyway, this thread is about Experience with Tannoy Westminster Royal Gold Reference speakers...back to usual programming.
melbguy1, thanks for the feedback. 2017 plans sounds exciting, impatient to see your system. Orders made for the Gryphon Mephisto solos since last week, should receive them this week, and will wait another week of burn-in to give some feedback (cables mostly burn-in already). They'd better be good, because i must say that the Coincident 211PP Dragon MkII are doing a really beautiful job with the Westminsters, but as said earlier, I want to push it further.
I.Blume from Coincident told me that 10k input impedance would be the minimum required for the Statement Line Stage which is 600ohms output, so that makes it maybe a little too just for the Gryphons. I also have one Esoteric Grandioso C1 preamp, which is a beautiful 66ohms output and has an impressive 100,000mF per channel. So if the Coincident preamp doesn't do, the Esoteric should control the Mephisto easily. Will remain to have the sound quality too!!
I see that you have already placed the order for your, yet I have some suggestions being a Tannoy prestige speaker owner too. I have tried Wavac, FM Acoustics, Tenor Audio, Pass Labs, McIntosh, Naim and few more amps with my speakers.

If I have to buy a SS amp today it will be the First Watt F6. It is one of the most transparent and honest sounding solid state amp I have ever heard. It costs only $2500 but believe me it is better than most $25k amps out there and your Westminister will revel with its pure class A 25 watts because its current delivery super quick. It presents music with the kind of life and energy thats scary real. If you are open to listening then check it out.

For tube amps even though Kondo is amazing (and unaffordable) I would suggest you look at the Zanden amps. They are state of the art and not as expensive.
thanks Pani for your input. I am very open to try them out and was actually wanting to try one for my secondary system, but then a friend of mine who is a Pass representative (he owns the Xs300) told me that it wasn't good enough. If only everyone had the same ears and brain!! all would be much simpler...
I did not necessarily wanted an SS amp, what i wanted was excellent quality sound plus the power, and as said earlier somewhere, i want to really push the limits. Anyone not too pushy would be more than satisfied with the excellent sound quality (and with some power too) that I get out of the Coincident Dragon MkII, really really good. It is far from sure that the Gryphon will do a better job, and if it's the case, i may want to sell them back anyway.
From the Wavac to the Naim which you tried, which did a better job? did the First Watt do a better job overall? and which Prestige model do you have?

Our customers have had really good comments working with this speaker. It seems to be very tube friendly.