Tannoy anyone? Cheviot Legacy vs. Stirling GR


Good Morning and happy holidays,

Having just spent a day over at my friend's new listening shack/man cave with my Leben driving his Tannoy Stirlings, I fell in love and am thinking I might just need a pair myself. So, I could use a little help deciding between the Stirling GR's and Cheviot Legacy's and am curious if any of you have experience with both and what you hear/feel is the difference between the two.

If it helps, I listen to a pretty wide variety - mostly singer songwriter, alt country, some classic rock and jazz. A little hiphop, no metal and very little classical.

Thanks in advance for your insights.

 

 

budburma

I own the Legacy Arden which is in the same line as the Cheviot.

Since you already love the sound of the stirling and its point source design, that seems like the safer bet. And you'll save around $500 in the process.

The Cheviot will likely net you more bass and a more traditional looking cabinet. With either choice, I'd suggest looking into ways to get the tweeter height at ear level. It makes a huge difference in mid to high range frequencies. I have my Arden's raised 8" using steel legs.

This review that briefly compares the legacy models to a Prestige model may be worth reading:  

 

Thanks for that @yakbob - interesting quick read. Actually seemed to point me towards the Cheviot as the writer enjoyed the legacy series Arden as more expansive over the almost twice as expensive GRF! Closer to wall is helpful in my case, but not a decision making requirement....

I get the more and impactful bass, I'm particularly curious around stage/image, details/vocal and high end/extension presentations/perceptions. And maybe versatility with different music genres..

My Ardens are about 20" off the front wall and the sound is not negatively affected if i move them closer to the wall. However, the soundstage is really affected by toe in. The Tannoy recommendation of having the driver axis cross a few feet in front of the listening position is true in my experience. They sound best with cross eyed toe in. The sweet spot is fairly narrow, so the dual concentrics are not the best if you critically listen with more than a couple people.

Thanks, @russ69, I spoke with them last week and am looking for some real world experiences. They're pretty straightforward and helpful though and if you're lucky enough to get Kevin on the phone, pretty dam entertaining to boot.

Kevin never steered me wrong. His advice is spot on. I'm curious what Kev said, I'm thinking about some Tannoys myself. 

Although I'm using Tannoy Berkeley's I'd agree with the previous advice about getting them at the correct height, ie the tweeter at or near ear height.

I've seen photographs of when Tannoys were used at the Abbey Road studios. They had them placed upon what looked like wheeled tea trolleys that must have been 18-20 inches off the ground.

That would certainly make placement a lot easier, and I guess exact height wouldn't matter so much if you're listening from a distance over 10 feet away.

Correct height then! I haven’t had the chance to bend Kevin’s ear over this one yet, and I definitely agree that his advice is solid.

Have a friend with Tannoys (not sure which models). He has both bookshelf and floor standing models.  He's driving the floor standing ones with a McIntosh 252; nothing but good things to say about the sound he gets.  Very natural full spectrum and great sound stage.

I got him to get them farther away from walls and canted slightly towards the listening position.  Sounds even better!

I listened to the Cheviot and the Turnberry GR 2 months ago at Upscale Audio. It was a close contest as they both have the expansive, somewhat dry Tannoy presentation. There was a little more articulation and  sophistication with the Turnberrys. Cheviots won with the big bass moments hands down. But both seemed to have the same bass presence. 

Had to go with my gut and chose Turnberry GR. So my advice to you is to go with the Cheviot. The Stirling has a 10" driver but with smaller  voice coils and and with smaller HF driver.

Listen, you can't go wrong woth either...but based on my audition, the Cheviot was quite good compared to Turnberry. I imagine that the Stirling, with it's smaller box and driver coils will have less bass output than the Cheviot, which was, as I said earlier, near equal to the Turnberry is bass.

Not sure you will need to raise the Tannoys. They sound expansive and big enough that this may not be necessary. I get plenty of soundstage with them in a low lounge chair and the supplied feet.

They will need a good 40-60 hours to sound their best...so be patient.

 

 

I have Arden's, interesting point regarding lifting units up to ear level.

I have the toe in a lot less with no perceivable issues with imaging or soundstage. Might be because my room is only 10ft wide so they are fairly close to sidewalls and obviously only about 6 to 7ft between the tweeters, albeit they are 2ft off the front wall.

Tannoys are no longer made in Scotland. Music Tribe won't say where they are made now, but it's possibly in China. I would not be buying any new Tannoys, buy used ones made before the move from Scotland which was last year. 

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Thanks, @sandthemall, for your insight there. My initial search was for the Stirling and I got a little thrown off when some Cheviots appeared. After sitting with it for a while, my gut choice is towards the Cheviots. That said, I know I like the articulation AND the bass response along with my tendency to read and ask and gather info, them be impetuous over whatever comes available! So, @raysjazz, used (or nicely  discounted) has always been the way I've bought my gear. And Scotland made would be my preference for sure.

@alan60  My room is basically 14X14 with two opposite wall having large 8 foot openings - french doors on one end and a bay window on the other, so some room to move. That said, it's a common area room and hard to leave speaker, a chair or cough too far off the wall - but our kid is off to college and there's more room at the inn. 

Over Thanksgiving, my son had a few friends over to hang and it was both nice and fearful to hear low res digital hiphop blasting out of my system....eyerolls, laughter and the practice of letting go!

@budburma ​​​ I think you should try to listen to both before you decide, a 10" driver is not going to lack a lot of slam in comparison to a 12".

We can all have an opinion, but it is not our ears or our money.

@raysjazz,

There has been a lot of misinformation about Tannoy manufacturing.

What I know is that there is a commitment to build the Legacy speaker line in Scotland. 

Each pair of legacy speakers is made by one person, who personally signs each section of the included quality certificate. 

 

 

Yes that's true, but the factory in Scotland closed down last year. It is over, gone, finished. There is nothing being built in Scotland. Everything was auctioned off last year. The building owner is trying to relet it, if that does not happen there are plans to build houses on that site, subject to local council permission.

Most of the designers went to Fyne Audio, have a look at their range, they are now building Hi end speakers in Scotland, some cost £30k.

So where is the person who is signing off these speakers, located now?

According to Kevin Deal, the US Tannoy distributor, a new factory will be located in England to continue building the Legacy line. Lower priced Tannoy stuff is built in Asia.

The Fyne stuff is interesting but honestly does not look anywhere near as kool as the Tannoy Legacy stuff. It's simply iconic. 

 

 

Kevin has said a lot of things that are not correct. Factory in England, never heard of that before, where is it and where have they been making the speakers for the last 14 months? 

Ex employees are saying there is nothing being built in the UK.

There was plans announced they would build a new factory in Scotland but that did not happen. 

"What I know is that there is a commitment to build the Legacy speaker line in Scotland. "

That all went soon after the Music Tribe group takeover, within a year they announced they were closing Coatbridge down but did a very last minute U-turn. They even told the staff they were redundant and were moving production to China.

Music Tribe have not been forthcoming about where these speakers are being produced.

Do you have any links to this factory in England story?

Maybe he is getting confused with some staff moving to Manchester?

 

Just been informed that the “Designed and manufactured in the UK”  has now been removed from the front panel, of the Legacy range, on recent speakers. 

Is there anyone who has bought speakers recently, can tell us if it still has “Designed and manufactured in the UK” on the front adjustment panel.

Mine are a couple years old at this time and they do have the UK crossover plate.

It's disappointing to hear if they are really moving production. I'm sure they'll reduce the MSRP in kind. /sarcasm.

Just been corresponding with a guy who works in Coatbridge area, he is sitting next someone to at work, who worked at Tannoy, it closed last year. He drives passed the factory everyday. All the key workers now work at Fyne which is close by. 

I bought mine in October 2021. They were made in 2019 in the UK.

I believe current stock at Upscale is all from that shipment.

Nothing lasts forever. If you want made in UK, buy Tannoy asap.

Would be curious to know where Legacy products are going to be made. 

 

You might try asking on 'The Art of Sound' forum. Some Tannoy savvy guys there could probably assist.

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Tannoy or Music Tribe won't disclose where Tannoys have been made for the last 15 months, one user on the forum was just directed to Tannoy history, which tells you nothing since 2017. Many suspect production moved to China. Interesting that that dealers in the US have such old stock.  

How hard it figure out what going on with company? Do I need call friend in Parliament? He have linn system but maybe help. Nobody call guy in California that bring speaker to America? My guy task done for good bottle tequila.

So, I took the plunge and my Stirlings were built in 10/21. The expressly claim to have been "designed, engineered and manufactured in the United Kingdom." I made that a specific part of my request. That said, I'm a little paranoid over that. Before buying them, I took my Leben CS600 and cabling to a friends with the same speakers built in 2018 and it sounded pretty glorious!

Mine have maybe 75 hours on them and are still squawking away even with the treble energy dialed as far down as they can get. Also, wiring them to the LF and jumped to the HF helped a good bit. The distortion is definitely bie present on everything  mildly improved, but disappoint on most and verging on unlistenable with many.  That also lends to them not feeling well integrated across the spectrum with the midrange getting shortshrift.

Can anyone (@veerossi ) offer experience on approximate time to get broken in and how far behind the nagging tweeter might be from the bigger diaphragm? And whether my experience is similar to theirs? 

Once the ice and snow's cleared a bit, I could take my Stirling to my friend's digs to compare and contrast, too, I suppose....

hang in there Budburma they'll settle in.  Mine (new Stirlings 2019) took awhile to mellow out and become expansive but I swear they keep getting better all the time.  Congrats on a great choice you won't regret it.  

@pehare oooooohhhkaaayyy, then. thanks. I have some hologram ii biwire on the way, too, that may warm things up a bit. Sometimes patience is more of a virgin around here than a virtue.

The dealer in Canada tells me 250-400 hours. my wife tells me if I don't it down at night....well, you know. I'll keep playing them a much as I can.

I"m confident in knowing what I heard with my friend' was absolutely what I was looking for and sold my Devore Super Nines based on that.

A bigger house with room for two system would make the wait easier! Simaudio W5.3SE/Supratek Cortese/Dynaudio Confidence 3 please. A boy must have his dreams....

@budburma

That does NOT sound like my experience at all with new Tannoys. Sure, they can sound better with burn in but they shouldn’t sound anywhere near bad at hour 0. Burn-in isn’t going to fix that. I would NOT be a happy camper in your shoes.

It’s definitely worth opening them up and checking all connections (i.e. carefully remove the front drivers and then binding post plates). The internal speaker wires are not soldered to the drivers nor binding posts. They are connected to terminal posts via cheap little slide clips. I’ve even seen those come off from shipping. I’ve had one come off from loud bass playback in my Canterbury GR. If a driver or drivers(s) is no longer connected because of this, it will very clearly sound "broken" (maybe a disconnected woofer in your case). 

At least feel the surrounds for vibration during playback to make sure neither woofer is "cold"! 

@mulveling  As an owner of the Sterlings I appreciate your information regarding the internal wiring.  Seems like it would not be to difficult to remove the drivers to make repairs if necessary. I wonder if the drivers are available and at what cost. May have to look into this.

As an afterthought, I have had my Sterlings for ~18 months. to listening sessions due to temporal constraints I likely have somewhat less than2 00 hours on them. I wonder about the breakin period.

 

I have a couple of Tannoy Kensington and Canterbury, IMHO there isn’t much of opening/breakin.

The day I received the Canterbury, I connected them to an amp and a streamer in a  room I never use, left them for 5 weeks 24x7 the sound had changed but  not as much as others experience.

Same with the Kensington 

Well, I'm told by the dealer in Montreal 250hr and by Upscale 300hr with some significant change at 100. Upscale is working with me to look into it. I'm dubious about taking them apart myself. The Montreal dealer wants a 25% restocking fee. As @mulveling says, I'm not a camper at this point, but the story's not over yet.

That kind of break-in has not been my experience with new Devore Super Nines or Dynaudio1.8mkII back in the day - they started out very good and wound up great. And, these Tannoy don't sound anything like my friend's - I bought these on my listening to his Stirlings with my Leben CS600 and wires. So, the only difference being our sources. His Linn/Adikt/EAR 834P vs my modded TT and same modded pre - Thorens/SME/Soundsmith/EAR. My digital source has always sounded great too....Music Vault Diamond/AMR DP777SE all guccied up with nice tubes, etc.

My suspicion at this point is that these are a faulty pair somehow and hope that it's not indicative of the overall line. If they don't fall into place somehow, I guess I'll have to eat the 25%....

My pair was made 8/20 according to the signed booklet that came with it as part of of the groovy prestige package. Nice touch for sure...corny, but I like it! And, according to what info I can gather, were made in Scotland

Part of the story goes that Tannoy made all the pairs of Prestige, Heritage and Definition lines they could in Coatbridge before those Scotland doors were shut. That's what there is for sale now. In the future, those three lines will be made in Poland at the same factory where the cabinets have been made for several years once the factory there is up and running. The other Tannoy lines are and will continue to be made in China. 

I'm told by someone I trust that they can arrive "tight as a drum" and start to loosen up at 100 hours with full break in around 300. That's a lot of hours on my getting rarer preamp tubes in the old Leben CS600, but in for a penny, in for a pound. Patience is often more of a virgin than a virtue around here, but I'll put in the time and report back. Fingers crossed once more unto the breach.

@budburma

Hoping it turns out well for you! I’d suspected maybe they were still selling though Scotland-made stock for a while after the factory closing. Thanks for that confirmation.

Thought I’d add some pics from when I had my R speaker’s woofer become internally disconnected. This happened only 5 months into ownership. You can see two black wires to the woofer (light brown and blue bands), and 2 in the back to the tweeter (yellow and green bands). The thicker yellow wire is the optional ground connection. And the little gold slide clips instead of soldered connections - when one of these (other than ground) comes off, it’s gonna sound real bad (as pictured, they are properly connected)! Nothing’s come disconnected since then (4 more years in), so maybe it had been barely hanging on from shipment?

The 3rd pic is from me tightening up a binding post on the L speaker. Same little slide clips on this side too. Same deal, if one comes off it’s gonna sound bad.

Thanks for that @mulveling - I'll take it under consideration before tossing out the baby with the bathwater. My friend down the street w/Stirlings just told me he went through a similar experience, but blamed his midfi ss amp (probably not too far off the mark there!). He wandered around the hifi gear desert for long enough that by the time he circled back to Upscale for a PrimaLuna integrated, the speakers had settled into the pocket. 

So, I have some new confidence that time is the antidote. Joni Mitchell Blue sounded pretty good last night - better than previous anyway. Granted, the treble energy is dialed as far down as it can go and they're still wired to the LF and jumped to the HF, but the grit was definitely downd and heading in the right direction.

I have a pair of AZ Hologram II biwire on the way that might also help simmer things down.

It's also good to see the evolution of your loft space - my room is similar old world construction and 14x15x10 -  and dream of some Kensingtons. They look fine! If the house were mine and mine alone (but "it's his, his and hers alone"), the Canterbury could just ride....

I zero interest in China hifi product. Those UK Whig guy tax themselves belly to chin and charge through the sole of feet so not crazy about deal with those guy either but no China fi 

Omystarsandgarters. So much for the understanding of those who believed they were "in the know". I wonder when that is supposed to have started. And, sort of, if the splitting of the lines for production holds any water - or consequence, really. Maybe the supposed Polish factory would also be problematic. Sigh. Such a bummer...

 

As a follow up, after 100 hours or so the Stirlings have calmed down quite a bit. Still tough for moderately long listening and I'm pointing my finger at my source....although the same defect is true with both my digital and vinyl. Finding time to play at moderately loud volumes is a little hard around here, so break in is slower than I'd like, but Acoustic Zen Hologram II biwire helped (they are breaking in as well). I've been able to move the treble energy to -1.5, so that's moving in the right direction anyway. They are more musically involving (for me) than my Devore which seemed to check off a lot of boxes and were much better in many ways, but left me at a distance. An audio friend described them as "fauve" and I think that fits.

I'm going to stick with this for now and am considering a full reconstruction back to SS and inefficient speakers - like Gamut or Plinius power and Supratek Pre driving Dynaudio Confidence 3 or 5. That's my most familiar ground and sticks in my memory as a sonic delight.

@budburma

I’d definitely have them checked over by a tech before giving up on them (check internal wiring and each driver for continuity and DC resistance, etc). They’re too nice and expensive to not sound wonderful after 100 hours, or really even from hour #1. I still suspect this is much more likely to be internal issue and has nothing to do with supposed burn-in requirements.

Sorry you’re having such a bad experience so far :(

My experience, going through a lot of audio gear: Companies make production mistakes all the time. Sellers of used gear sometimes either "miss" things wrong with it, or try to pass the buck. And stuff happens in shipping! I think the "burn in" panacea is bandied about a lot of times when the gear really needs to be checked out for operational health. Your brain can adapt to a skewed sonic balance over time, but only so much!! I once had a tube headphone amp fixed by a guy who erroneously put small bypass caps IN SERIES with the big output caps. It sounded like sh**t and his brilliant response was "those big caps take a LONG time to burn in!". At that point I opened it up, and even with only the most minimal circuit knowledge, this doofus’s mistake was clear as day. The classic roll-off formula indicated that with the values involved, the bypass cap was acting like a high pass filter starting at 1kHz! NO bass and very little midrange. Went to another tech who got that (among other things) right.

In all my history there is ONE TIME I can remember a piece of gear that sounded mediocre out of the box and then improved wildly after ~300 hours. It was a set of Audio Technica L3000 "Leatherhead" headphones. It didn’t sound broken out of the box either - just not inspiring like it eventually did. That’s the only time something has changed enough from burn-in to completely reform my opinion of it. And I DID have an older burned-in one to compare. I think they did something weird with those L3000 drivers - that model sounded way different than any other AT headphone of that time period. 

I had Cheviot recently and returned them. In part because they were too large for my space. In part because the definition was muddled to my ear. I’m used to Revels with berilium tweeters which give silky smooth very articulate. Was using PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium HP Integrated and Pass Int -25. Loved the tone from the Cheviot. Bass was wonderful. But any music that was very complex seemed kind of muddled. Think is has to do with the crossover at 1200 (if I remember correctly). It’s asking this 12” driver to go too high and the tweeter to go too low is how I was guessing at it.  They asked me to give it some break in which I did maybe 100 hrs and it did improve. Still on some music seemed less than optimal, but on other music particularly acoustic was wonderful. I miss those speakers now. Still, bottom line they were just too big for my space.  

Checking back in. I found some of the same. The Stirlings sound MUCH improved at 150-175 hrs. They started to change for the better around 100hr. What a relief!

My Leben CS600 at 30wpc is underpowered. It's an amazing sounding piece of gear, but won't suffice. It's hard to judge with the underpowered dynamic compression and it does still fall apart with complex passages. I imagine the class A Primaluna and Pass would take care of that and, to my ear, that's the case with them driven by my friends Primaluna EVO.

The Tannoy are super engaging with whatever that indefinable draw of involvement is that I just call 'musical' for want of a different term. So, I'm thinking of (GULP) selling my Leben....

Pass seems like a good match - I'm consider the INT 60 or a First Watt J2 with a Supratek pre...if the impedances match well. I haven't finished my research there and am open to suggestions!

The INT 60 might be enough. I found that a Pass XA30.5 was too underpowered for my Tannoy Turnberrys. They are sounding wonderful with a Benchmark AHB2.

@leotis I was (pleasantly) surprised at the improvement after 100hours. The falling apart continues to come back together, even after 150-175 hours. It's a crazy torture for sure. The low crossover also felt like a potential contributor, so Robert Lee at Acoustic Zen was kind enough to chat me up and send a pair of Hologram II biwires designed for lower crossover speakers. They made an immediate difference, smoothing things out and make the spectrum more coherent. I'd recommend them (and him!) very highly for the speakers!