Proac Response D 48/Tannoy Kensington



I was curious if anyone has had the opportunity to compare the Proac Response D48 and Tannoy Kensington. I realize they are probably quite different but I was interested in what you all thought. I have heard the Proac's on a few different occasions and was really impressed with what I heard. Recently, someone told me I should seek out the Tannoy Kensington's before I bought anything, but that isn't easy here in the states. There are a few dealers but it would require quite an effort to hear the Tannoy's. Thought I would seek your opinions before I did anything else.
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johnluke02
I have heard them both with high marks for each, but never in a head-to-head shootout.

Thye are not clones of each other sonically. Which you prefer is entirely a very personal bias choice with no consensus.

What they DO share is two-fold:

(1) what makes each soar performance-wise is VERY dependent on the supporting gear. With the proper and well thought-out system synergy factor considered, each is a terrific choice,

(2) You will assuredly need to have the rest of your system quality in-line (or better) with the price to preformance matrix strata of the speaker selected. Each brand will either favourably convey the strengths of the source and amp if paired with quality build gear.

conversely, they will mightily expose the warts and performance limitations if paired with budget to mediocre electronics..... the warts will be exposed graphically. Simply put, don’t chintz or just make-do on the other components.

Just me, but these are too good and very different from each other sonically to improperly fail to audition personally , so I would not risk a blind purchase on either for these reasons. BUT..... If you ultimately do go commando on a blind purchase for ?? reasons , then the TANNOYs would be my first choice.

FWIW.....
Thanks very much for your response.  I have heard the Proac 48 a number of times and the Kensington just once, 2 or 3 years ago.  I don't believe it was the latest version.  I do have reasonable access to the Proac's but not the Tannoy's.  That is a stretch.  

I agree very much with your comments on the supporting gear and I am quite comfortable that the rest of my system can handle either the Proac or Tannoy's.  I currently have the Pathos mono block amps, the BAT 51 SE preamp (tube), Accuphase CD player and my primary source is the Transrotor Dark Star turntable.  

Thanks again in for your comments.
Nice choice problem to have.....

here's how I would characterize the sonic signature of the two:

TANNOY .... bespoke refined, ethereal, XO Cognac snifter 
PROAC .......forward striding, bold, Quatro-Cinco tequila shooters...

Ive heard the entire TANNOY PRESTIGE line. They just get better and better as you go higher up the model line. The KINGDOM ROYALS can compete, nay slay, with anything out there 

tuff choice..... BUT if you reconsider to go higher up the PRESTIGE line, then the choice becomes easier IMO.
If looks enter the equation at all, I think the Proac D48 have a better WAF.  As for everything else, akg_ca covered it.   I have the D48 on order, and yes I bought it blind.   
Didn't hear the Tannoy I am sure they're great speakers but I personally wouldn't buy them metal twitter and paper driver are not my cup of tea,  Moreover I don't think they can compete with the Proac at the bass area . The D48R follow the recent tendency of fast,dynamic and exciting sound once the Tannoy seems a little bit old fashioned sound: comfortable ,relax and glamour. It's not bad if that's what you are looking for.
"There are a few dealers but it would require quite an effort to hear the Tannoy's. Thought I would seek your opinions before I did anything else."

You need to listen to them first. A speaker like that is very polarizing. One person may love them, and the next may hate them.

A nice alternative to ProAc is Living Voice.

I've heard both, in similar systems, though not in any sort of side-by-side comparison.  The ProAc is somewhat of a rare beast--it actually uses a ribbon tweeter that is well integrated with the other drivers.  In some respects it is a "safer" choice in that it will always sound good.   I like the Kensington for its fast, reasonably dynamic sound.  But, to me there is a peak in the upper midrange-treble region that adds a touch of sibilance or hardness that I find slightly annoying (others seem to think it makes the sound crisper and more exciting, so it is a matter of taste).  While the speaker has driver level controls, these do not remove the peak entirely without otherwise hurting the sound.

Both speakers play reasonably well with medium powered tube gear, which is a minimum requirement for my own preferences. Because I did not actually compare the two, I will not hazard a guess as to what would be my preference, so I will stick with saying that I liked both speakers.

I am considering to upgrade to the Proac D48R as well , I understood that it is very efficient speaker that do not need lots of power  but my concern is that my Mcintosh MC152 rated 150W power officially (but actually has 250W
real output power aprox )  is not enough to drive them properly ?
 what do you think ?
itzhak1969, according to the Tone Audio review your amp should be fine, they are relatively easy to drive.  I will be using McIntosh with my D48R as well, the 452, plenty of power there. 
Thanks for all your comments.  They were very helpful.
Well, don't leave us in suspense, what direction are you leaning?  :-)
Kensington is probably the only speaker in the Prestige line which can sound bright if not well matched with the amplifier. Proac sounds nice but not spectacular in any sense. Tannoys on the other hand can totally bowl you with their effortless presence, dynamics and tone if amplified well.
Thanks.  If I had to choose today, I am leaning toward the Proac's.  I think that is a safer choice for me.  I am very intrigued by the Kensington's but auditioning them is proving to be tricky.  I will have an opportunity to hear the Vandersteen Quattro in a couple of weeks so I may wait and see what I think of them.  Whatever I decide, I do appreciate everyone's thoughts.
I recently listened to the Proac D48 and the Vandersteen Quatro in the same room with the same electronics (Audio Research Ref 150 amp and Ref preamp with ARC CD) The Quatro's were setup first.  My impressions:  A very balanced and cohesive sound.  Detailed yet smooth....natural.  Nothing really called attention to itself.  Yes, the detail, midrange, highs, and lows were all there but nothing made you think "wow, listen to that".  Very engaging.  The powered subwoofers had just the right amount of visceral impact and were only heard when it was their turn to play.  Also, great looking speakers.

Next the Proac D48:  The dealer removed the Quartos and replaced them with the D48s,  After a few minutes of meticulous setup which involved tape measures and levels he invited me back into the listening room.  We went through the same music in the same order we had with the Quatro. The first thing I noticed was the bass was missing but soon discovered in the process of switching out the speakers the dealer had forgotten to remove the high-pass filter between the pre and power amp.  As soon as this was corrected we started over with the music and the speakers bloomed with deeper and fairly substantial bass.  I will compare the bass between the D48 and Quatro first since one of the first musical pieces, "Hotel California" from the Eagles "Hell Freezes Over" cd contains that deep bass drum in the intro.  Both speakers went low but the Quatro did so with a more visceral impact whereas with the D48 the bass bloomed.  No doubt the built in sub on the Quatro was IMO better able to recreate the impact and the depth of those low drum beats.
Having said that, the Proac had plenty of low bass.  In fact there were few if any other instances during the listening session I that noticed any difference in the bass between the two speakers.

The D48 was maybe just a bit more in your face with the midrange.  A liveliness and immediacy that I have always enjoyed with every Proac I have listened to.  Overall it was difficult to find fault with either speaker.  To my ears the Quatro had a more natural sound, slightly smoother and less etched with all the details there but just not calling too much attention to itself.

The required high pass filters for the Quatro will add nearly a thousand dollars to the price (for balance connection; single ended are slightly less expensive).

Overall I preferred the Quatro.  To my ears it just a slightly more of a natural sound and more cohesive presentation.  Also, I like the ability to tune the bass to your particular room.   

I hope you will share your impressions after you listen to the Quatro. Also, I hope the poster "aka_ca" is still following this thread and I hope he is familiar with the Quatro...and I really hope he can share his impressions of the two speakers as he did comparing the Tannoy to the D48.  

"TANNOY .... bespoke refined, ethereal, XO Cognac snifter
PROAC .......forward striding, bold, Quatro-Cinco tequila shooters..."
Thanks so much for sharing.  That is awesome that you could hear both speakers in the same environment.  Does the high pass filter on the Vandersteen require additional cables, or are they provided with the filter?  It looks like the Quattro would retail for $4,000 - $5,000 more than the Proac, so I would just need to decide if there is that much difference between the two speakers.

I will let you know my impressions of the Quattro when I hear them.  I owned a pair of Vandersteen 2C's years ago and loved them.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

The cables are attached at either end of the filter so you don't have to supply additional cables.  The filters are matched to the impedance of your power amp via some dip switches in the filter housing.  What equipment will you be using with your new speakers?

I don't think the comparison between the Proac and Vandersteen is relevant this are two totally different speakers for different purposes, While the Proac is for medium size room and modest amplification can be enuog the Vanderstten are for bigger space and needs a lots of power to drive them. 
The question is what are your needs and not if the Vandersteen is better than the Proac!
randyhat, you mentioned the Proac was more in your face and etched.  Was it in a hard, shouting,  irritating way in general terms or just relative to the Vandersteen?
Hello to all. I have tannoy Kensington Gr.
Before buy i listened about 20 diferent speakers, expensive models of course.
But then i came i room with kensingtons playing , my world was turned upside down. As someone sayd its expensive cognac... with smell in room, and taste no other speaker can match.
Now about proacs, they have nice midrange, BUT bass is worst ever, its boomy, pronounced,dominant, if you listen to house or other electronic music maybe then these speakers fot to you. Kensingtons are for music listening and resting at the same time, but not for dancing, but then i paired them with pass labs xa100 monos, wow, dynamics was phenomenal, i mean IT. You can feel air moving from speakers in 5 meters :))) at the same time they managed play smooth, no sibilance and etc..
But finaly i setled with tube amplifier 300b. All cables are silver.
Ps : all spekers mostly have imaging of 1 pont between speakers. Kensingtons have 5 points. So its like siting in real opera house... my personal opinion proacs are cheap toys compared to kensington.
lowrideris, have you heard the newer Proacs?  Specifically the D48 the OP is inquiring about in comparison to the Kensington?  

Sorry my post comparing the Quatro to the D48 was not relevant to you itzhak.  I was hoping it might be relevant to the poster who had heard the D48 and was planning to listen to the Quatro.  It just so happened that I had compared two of the speakers he was interested in exactly two days before I read his post.  I just thought I would offer my impressions.  I assume he has a better understanding of his needs and preferences than I do...I was just sharing MY impressions.  BTW I don't necessarily agree with your interpretation of what each speaker's "purpose" is.  I think either could work well (and did) in the same environment with the same amplification.

k clone...my observation regarding the midrange of the Proac:  It did seem to be a little more forward but not necessarily in an objectionable way...but it did draw attention to itself.  A slightly different presentation than the Quatro...not necessarily better.  In the context of the afternoon listening to these two speakers my comments of "in your face" or "etched" probably misrepresent the nuanced and subtle differences between the speakers.  Clearly the D48 is a wonderful sounding speaker.  I wonder how differently my impressions might be if I had heard the D48 before the Quatro.  I have owned the Proac 1sc monitor in the past and have always loved the Proac sound.  Keep in mind also, even though I spent nearly 4 hours listening to these two speakers, my impressions are still initial observations with a limited selection of music.  Long term listening and a deeper exploration of my music collection might reveal different preferences.
Hi kclone, yes i auditioned d30r and d48. If you want real music in your home, buy focals, tannoys or wilson , of course models from 15000usd and up... wilsons and focals very close in sound, tanoys are more romantic with more emotions in vocals, but not extremely detailed in highs. I personaly dond change my kensingtons to anything. With none of  other speakers for example then i watch movie i "listen" to movie;)  tannoys made sad movie realy emotional and sad, i hope you understood what i meant.
lowrideris and randyhat thanks for your impressions. Good stuff!!!!! I listen to a lot of pop/rock, and to me the Focals are to bright/hard.   But context is important and I have only heard them in show conditions.  Wilson, not a fan of that sound either.  As for Tannoy, i have heard their "lower end" models which I thought were excellent. 
I appreciate everyone's comments, and Randyhat, I do appreciate the comparison of the Proac and the Vandersteen.  My only concern with the Quattro CT is the size of the sweet spot.  I am hoping that maybe the new tweeter has helped with that.  It seems that next week I will have the same opportunity to compare the Proac and Vandersteen side by side.  Really looking forward to that.   As far as the Kensington, it appears that auditioning that speaker is just not feasible for me right now, so they will probably be dropped from the list.  I also will have the chance to hear the Wilson Sabrina as well.  I heard the Sabrina several months ago and wasn't all that impressed, however, the setup in which I heard the speakers was not optimal at all.  I have never been a fan of Wilson, however, I have heard good things about the Sabrina from people that I respect, so I need to give them another listen.

I don't know if I will expand my list, or if I will choose from the these three speakers.  Hopefully, I will fall in love with one of these and my search will be over.

I don't think you can go wrong with the Proac or Vandy's.  No need to complicate your search with more options.   It will just come down to what you like for looks and sound preference between those two.
I have a pair of Proac D48R with a Audio Research VSi75 intg amp. I listen mostly to jazz, classic rock and some prog. Many of the recordings are less than perfect....The Proacs do a fantastic job. I do wish I had a little more power but all in  all I'm really happy with my system.
Hi heinrichmilw

I'm considering the  Proc D48R too,Do you think that they require a lot of power to be driven properly ? Your VSi75 is not enuogh for them ?
Yes the VSi75 is fine for my 23 x15 room. I'm afraid any more power could overwhelm my room. My D48Rs are done in maple and they're gorgeous.
@heinrichmilw 
Would love to see your system, with those ProAcs. While I am eyeing them, they are a bit out-of-budget for me. But I can always ogle in other's systems :-)
milpai, have you considered the smaller more affordable Proac D30R?  There is a few on Hifi Shark for sale.
Proac just released the new D30RS which has the same new revised driver as the D48R .should be better than the D30R.
@kclone ,
Yes, I have already figured out a dealer in Chicago area, for those. I will have to travel a few hours to get there. Also found out dealers for Spendor and PMC in that area. It is just a matter of time between job, family and other priorities. So should be early spring or AXPONA 2017.
Proac, Spendor and PMC are great speakers worh audition. 

Enjoy the journey!