Tannoy Speaker Owners

I have Tannoy DC8Ti speakers.  I'm planning to retire sometime this year, and want to try tubes before I do. I'm wondering what amps, tubes or otherwise, other Tannoy owners have. I'm only interested in power amps.  I've tried the Tannoy's with each of my three solid state power amps: Pioneer SPEC-4 (~36 years old) ; McIntosh MC2600 (~ 25 years old); and NAD M22v2 (1 year old). The NAD sounds best in my system: wider sound stage with better instrument separation, timbre, musicality, detail, etc.  

My current system:  Herron VSTP-3A(r02) pre amp, NAD M22v2 power amp, Innous Zenith MKII media player, Small Green Computer i7 for Roon DSP, Audio Mirror Tubadour III SE DAC, Parasound JC3jr phone pre, and Technics SL-1200G TT w/ Ortofon Quintet Black.

My listening room is small ~13'x12'x8'.  I listen to contemporary jazz (no John Coltrane , Miles Davis, etc) and old school R&B (none of today's Hip Hop or Rap).  I love vocals (e.g., Gregory Porter, Diana Krall, Angela Glaupo, Randy Crawford, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Chicago); non-vocal music (e.g., The Crusaders, Arne Domnerus, Brad Mehldau, Dave Grusin, Stanley Clarke) and the combination of both (e.g., War, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Santana).

I'd like to audition whatever I buy in my system.  I'd prefer to start looking at amps that others are using. My budget is ~$7500, and I'm in no rush.

I'm not opposed to used, and there are several deals on agon at the moment. In particular a Zesto Audio Bia 120 that is about 60% below retail.  In my area, there are several high-end audio stores and independent manufactures that produce high-quality / reference grade components.  I realize there's the usual suspects (Cary, Rogue, PrimaLuna, Luxman, etc.).  I also plan to visit the local manufactures.

@oldschool1948  I hope non-Tannoy folks can chime in...

What volumes do you typically listen at? I ask because your DC8Ti are not the most efficient and different than prototypical Tannoys, in that regard; However, your room is small.

Specifications copied below, as they may be helpful for recommendations:

Recommended amplifier power (Watts RMS)30 – 200 Continuous power handling (Watts RMS) 100 Peak power handling (Watts)400
Sensitivity (2.83 Volts @ 1m) 89dB Nominal Impedance (Ohms) 8
Frequency response (-6dB) 33Hz – 35kHz
Dispersion (degrees conical) 90
Dual Concentric™ high frequency 25mm (1”) Titanium dome with Tulip WaveGuide™
Dual Concentric™ low frequency 200mm (8”) treated paper pulp cone with rubber surround. 44mm (1.75”) edge wound voice coil
Bass Driver
200mm (8”) treated paper pulp cone with rubber surround.  44mm (1.75”) edge wound voice coil
Crossover frequency 250Hz, 1.5kHz
Crossover type Passive low loss 2nd order LF, 1st order HF
Deep Cryogenically Treated
Type Rear ported Volume 43L (1.52 cu. ft.)Dimensions (H x W x D)
excl grille 1025 x 271 x 260mm
(40.4 x 10.7 x 10.2”)Weight 28kg (62.839lbs)

Thanks for the specs.  Why didn’t I think of that :-)!

Unlike my youth, I now keep my listening levels low to moderate. I’m just trying to enjoy the music.  My “rock the house” days are long over.

The NAD pushes the Tannoy’s with ease.  I have the NAD gain set to low and the Herron gain set to high. In my near field listening position, I get a nice bass response with great vocals and crisp highs.  I don’t want to loose any of that with a tube amp, and I’ve read that Class D amps have a deeper bass than tubes.  I also don’t want to use any subwoofers.  


@oldschool1948, The key sentence for me is "The NAD pushes the Tannoy’s with ease."

I have used Tannoys with different amps (all solid state unfortunately) and the sound was always similar. My previous NAD 3020 and current Creek Destiny amps are difficult to compare because one didn't follow the other but I do feel the Creek has more of a sense of ease about the way they drive the Tannoys.

On the other hand could that be down to having to turn the volume dial much further around on the NAD?!

My advice would be to stick with the M22 and only if and when the upgrade urge demands action, to perhaps investigate some larger Tannoys, or maybe some DeVore speakers.

I'm not altogether in a different situation to yourself in that I also want to (must) try out a tube amp before I can say my audiophile journey is finished.

Good luck with whatever road you decide to take.
I’ve read that Class D amps have a deeper bass than tubes.
With the speaker rolling off at 33 Hz, this is no worries. Our tube amps go full power to 2Hz and on the right speaker play better bass than most solid state amps. Its all about matching the speaker and amp appropriately together. I tried searching google for an impedance curve as the impedances in the bass region will tell you how well a tube amp will work. If it really is an 8 ohm speaker even in the bass, it should be no worries playing tubes.
Its all about matching the speaker and amp appropriately together.
I couldn't agree more.  The NAD is a pretty good match with these speakers.  But, I'm hoping to hear that "tube magic" that so many folks talk about.

@cd318 I have considered keeping it and calling it a day.  But, by son just bought another house.  As a house warming gift,  I've given him my NAD M12 pre/dac w/ BluOS module, M22v2 amp, vintage Technics SL-1600MK2 TT, and vintage DCM TimeWindow 3 speakers.  That's one of the main reasons I'm in the market for a new amp for my main system; and I can justify the expense with my wife :-). 

If I end up staying SS, I'll buy some monoblocks.  I plan to start that way with tubes.
@oldschool1948 +1 to @atmasphere ’s post.

Given your ’smaller’ room size and because you are "now [keeping your] listening levels low to moderate..."

...I suggest investing in quality, even if it means going slightly lower in power output than would be ideal for your current speakers (especially given your listening levels and room size).

This will pay off should you follow @cd318 ’s suggestion to move up to larger [and more efficient] Tannoys. Though you are making decisions based on your upcoming retirement, allow for some flexibility and ’space’ to get to where you want to!
I agree on the quality front.  Great sound a given, I also want something that's going to last.  For the amp, I set my budget at $7.5K for something new.  I'm hoping to buy a demo or used amp at a much better price.  

I want to move into retirement with a bang, so in my overall budget, I've included an upgrade from my Parasound JC3jr to a Herron or Sutherland Little Loco.  I have about 1200 vinyl albums that I purchased in the 70's and 80's, and a few recent ones that I'm taking more time to enjoy.  I got kinda lazy and spent more time streaming because it was easier.  After buying the 1200G and JC3jr, I quickly realized what I've been missing.  I'm hoping a better phono pre and the right tube amp will take my analog SQ to another level with the speakers I have.

I hadn't budget for new speakers, and I realize speakers more efficient that what I have would better.  I got both DC8Tis (demos) in mint condition for less than the price of one.  I could not pass up that deal.  At the time, I was looking at a pair of Tannoy Turnberrys, which are 93 dB efficient.  I may have to revisit that idea.


Look into Accuphase Integrated (Class A)...they are match made in heaven for Tannoy’s. I am currently using E-650 with Canterbury’s and couldn’t be any happier.

I have gone through my fair share of high end gear, solid state and tube amps /preamps but nothing, I mean nothing sounds as sublime as Accuphase with Tannoy’s.

Accuphase is not cheap, but it will last you a lifetime. I have seen some good used bargains on Accuphase.
I have two sets of Tannoys:  a vintage pair of Eatons from the 70's and a new pair of Autograph Mini's purchased a few months ago.  
In my experience, Tannoys are very easy to drive.  Neither of these speakers have been finicky about the amps I've used with them.  My NAD M10 sounds great with both pairs.  I have not used a tube amp with them but you should be able to drive yours with any decent tube amp.  Atma-sphere amps are among the best you'll find.  Also consider Primaluna.  
Another amp to consider is an LFD amp.  I recently purchased an LFD LE IV Signature amp and have to say this SS amp is the closest thing I've heard to tube amp sound.  
Thanks to everyone who’s responded.  This has given me a lot to think about.  My plan is to stay with separates, and to try a tube amp.  I hope to audition the Audio Mirror Reflection 45 WPC SET mono blocks within the next two weeks and go from there.

I’ve read great reviews of Atma-sphere amps and @snackeyp your comments make we want to audition them as well.  I’ve considered Primaluna and have a local dealer that I plan to visit.  They also have Rogue, Luxman, and a few others.

I haven’t had an integrated amp since the 70’s when I was a huge Pioneer and Marantz fan.  I’ve been using separates since the early 80’s and don’t see that changing in the foreseeable future.  I like the idea of being able to swap out a component for something better.

I’ve bee quite 
Big fan of Tannoys here! They sound pretty great with any decent amp that’s not on the dry, bright, or analytical side of things. I’ve even heard them sound good from the old PS Audio class D amps of the 2000s, so I’d bet your much more modern NAD sounds pretty nice there (I like NAD gear too). I play loud and I like a lot of power. Yes, I can shamefully admit I’ve once even hit hard clipping given 60 Watts/ch tubes into 93dB / Watt Tannoys before! Hence my focus on push-pull amps of KT88-types. So consider that context when I describe my amp experiences.

I’ve ran Rogue tube amps for the vast majority of my 12+ years with Tannoy speakers. Started with the basic Atlas (non-Magnum) and went all the way up to the Apollo Dark monos. Great value for money with Rogue, and great service/support. They’re really great sounding amps with Tannoys, especially as you roll in NOS small tubes to match your needs. I never liked their use of 12AU7 driver tubes much, so I sub in 12BH7 and get better sound. The only downside of Rogue amps with Tannoys is they tend to have a very high gain, so this places a higher burden on your preamp to have a very low noise floor in order to not be audible from the high sensitivity Tannoys. You could always pick up a used Stereo 100 just to play with and see how you like Rogue - it should sound great, especially after some NOS tube rolls. And the older Zeus is a killer deal used (usually under 4K), and is basically the same as the Apollo monos (sans dark upgrades) - if you can handle its 200 lbs!

I’ve recently moved on from Rogue though - to VAC Signature 200iQ monos, which I like even better than the Rogue monos, good as they were. A used VAC 170iQ stereo amp would be well in your price range. Or maybe a used 300.1 Phi for close to your price - if you get lucky. VAC amps have always sounded great with Tannoys! Definitely look into them.

But also - for your budget, consider going for an upgrade of Tannoys - it’s fun to climb up their lines, past or present. You can almost get Churchills for that money, which are truly end-game speakers.
@mulveling Thanks for the feedback. Never heard VACs. I’ll have to talk to some of the local dealers.

 I hope to audition Linear Tube Audio’s reference power amps next week. LTA is a local manufacturer, who will be at the upcoming Tampa audio show. 
I think muleys got good point. upgrade to some used Tannoys from 
the Scottish made line. Get a 12'' or 15" Dual Concentric.
You can push these with any amp. 
VACs are pricey and quite good. Rogue would be the way I'd go.
Now that said I do have Tannoy FSMs I bought used. Made in the late 80's, mine are in excellent condition. I was using a Cary 120MKS ll 60wpc triode. Sound was lush, warm and enraturing. Then when the amp went in for service I picked up a used pair of Pass Class A diy monoblocks at 6 wpc. $350/pair.
The new clarity was an eye opener. Sold the Cary and now am shopping
used Pass Labs gear.
Good luck and keep us posted please!

"I've given him my NAD M12 pre/dac w/ BluOS module, M22v2 amp, vintage Technics SL-1600MK2 TT, and vintage DCM TimeWindow 3 speakers."

Good man!

That's possibly the most heart-warming thing I've read here on Audiogon. 

Well in that case you should be able to enjoy auditioning as many tube amps as you want!

I know next to nothing about how good modern tube designs sound but I don't know any that look better on the eye than the Leben integrateds.


Perhaps one day I will be able to donate my Creek amp to my son or daughter (or future son-in-law) and follow your example.

Anyway, good luck with your auditioning.

@gadios Nelson Pass has a pair of Tannoy's and tests much of his First Watt gear on them (see https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/pass-labs/280649-question-pass.html).  Many of those amplifiers should be a great match.
@cd318  Thank you.  I truly appreciate your comments.  I also had way too much 80's and 90's era stuff from my military days, and began giving it way last year to my nephew, godson, and goddaughter.  In the end, I can't take it with me:  NAD 7140 receiver each; original Bose 901s w/ equalizer and chrome stands, JBL L100, and Boston Acoustic T1000 speakers.  I set them up with Raspberry PI DACs so they can stream Tidal via Logitech Media Server.  

@mulveling @gadios.  If I do change to another Tannoy model, it will mostly likely be the Turnberrys.  I wanted the Ardens, but they are too wide for my listening room.  Also, the chief-of-staff (my wife) gets a say, so whatever new speakers I buy have to look "nice" and fit our home decor.  Know that I mean?

Today, I visited Linear Tube Audio and listened to their ZOTL40 Reference and ZOTL Ultralinear power amplifiers.  Both sounded really good; I liked the  ZOTL40 best.  Next step is to hear the ZOTL40 in my listening room. 

I'm anxious to hear how the ZOTL40 compares to the Pioneer SPEC-4 that I'm currently using (since I've given away the M22v2).  The SPEC-4 pushes the Tannoys with ease and sounds really nice (after I changed the Herron's gain from High to Low and set the SPEC-4's gain controls appropriately).  
@oldschool1948 In that case where Legacy series are ruled out for width and/or WAF, check out Fyne Audio. A lot of Tannoy engineers started it up after Tannoy’s last ownership change (and a lot of outsourcing to China). Fyne speakers are all made in the UK and carry on the tradition of the dual-concentric, but with their own spin on things. They also have some sleek looking models that seem to have disappeared from Tannoy’s lineup. The F703 in particular look like they’d be amazing.

If I were you I'd probably have gone F703 and kept the NAD amps!
heard the Fyne F702 at the Florida Audio Expo over the weekend and was highly impressed. By far the best under $10,000 speakers at the show. They were also in another room with the 502 series. Also very impressive at the $3000 range. Had never heard of the brand before but the value was very noticeable. In my opinion they were Best of Show for the price point by a large margin.
The F702's look very nice and a lot like my DC8Ti's.  They are priced about the same.  The F702's are more efficient and lack rear ports, which might be good depending on the amp I end up with.  

Going with a tube amp is a big decision for me because I've always used SS amps.  And while the NAD M22v2 sounds really nice in my system, I want to audition mono blocks - tube or SS.  There are so many choices that its mind boggling.  
@gadios. Thanks for the suggestion.  I will definitely try to audition that amp.  The price is well within my budget. 
In-spite of all of the craziness going around with this new virus, I've had the opportunity to audition both the LTA ZOTL40 Reference and ZOTL Ultralinear amplifiers.  The ZOTL40 sounds so good in my system.  It probably goes without saying, the ZOTL40 sound is more natural and musical than my NAD M22v2.

Next, I plan to audition a pair of Bel Canto REF600M monoblocks.  I'd be happy with the ZOTL40, but I want to make sure they are worth the additional $1800 retail price.

I just ordered a PS Audio DirectStream DAC (they have a sale on at the moment), and upgraded my RCA cables to Transparent Audio MusicLink Super MM2.  With the new cables, background voices and music are much clearer and focused, and the sound is a little warmer - which I like.  The SQ with the ZOTL40 and new cables is the best I've ever had with my system.  I can't wait to see how the DSD and my Zenith MK2 work together, as compared to my Audio Mirror DAC.  
A lot has changed in my system since my last post.  I never did audition the BC power amps.  As much as I liked the ZTOL40, I’m now giving serious consideration to the PS Audio BHK 250 because I recently purchased the BHK Reference pre amp, DirectStream DAC, and Stellar Phono pre amp.  Price wise, the 250 is a better deal because of PS Audio’s trade-in and existing customer discounts, which is great.

The BHK 250 gets great reviews and I’m convinced it sounds great with its matching components and the right speakers.  As a hybrid power amp, I’m wondering how it will sound with my Tannoy's.   

I’ve read Tannoy’s sound better with tubes.  The BHK 250 has a tube input stage only.  I’m inclined to buy it because I can always send it back, but before I do, I’d like to hear from other Tannoy speaker owners - especially any that might be using a BHK 250.
@stringreen I realize the NAD M22v2 is the weakest link in my system.  Overall however, it is a nice sounding amp.  If it were not, I would have replaced it long before now.

I am looking for a warmer amp that has better speaker control, particularly in the mid range because I listen to old school R&B, contemporary jazz, and some soft rock.  Because I am space limited, monoblocks are out.
I have the Tannoy Canterbury GRs and tried a few amps with them. They are in a moderately large room with doors or opening at all 4 corners.  Very little bass modes and RT 60 decay time in bass frequencies are lower than  midrange and treble. There is a even 5 db boost from 35hz to 120hz.  Flat at 30Hz and dive off a cliff below that.  I use two JL subs crossover at 35hz.  

Canary 339 mk2 - At 50W per ch, the presentation is  most detailed and pure, surprisingly tight and dynamic low bass but deficient upper bass.  Some distortion in the highs and makes Canterbury sound bright.  Need treble setting adjusted.  The purity and transient portrayal of the 300B tubes in attack, sustain and decay far surpass my other amps.   Deficient upper bass and run away treble adds up to unbalanced presentation.   Expensive to operate 300B x 8.   

Vac 200iq (stereo with KT88 and KT150) - Not quite the purity or microdynamics of 300B but still very good music flow.   KT150 has tighter bass and more bass pop.  KT88 sweeter midrange and treble.  Overall fairly good balance.  Not quite the bass dynamics of the  bigger tube amps and SS.

ARC 250 ( non SE with KT120) -  Excellent bass dynamics with sweet midrange and treble,  good musical flow.  Gives up some  microdynamics and detail to VAC 200iq.   Outstanding macrodynamics with big drums.  Missing some subtle bass detail in the left register of the piano.   

ARC 150 SE - Not quite the macrodynamics of the ARC 250 but actually better bass control.  Bass is tighter with more subtle bass details.   Midrange slightly more mechanical than the 250 ( KT120s) or the VAC.

Accuphase A70 - Outstanding macrodynamics and most bass control.  Many piano recording sounds like a real event rather than stereo reproduction.  Class A power is richly texture similar to a tube amp but does not quite equal tubes in music flow and decay.   It does not bloom as much on strings or big drums reproduction.  

The Tannoys are very good speakers but not without short comings.  In terms of micro and macrodynamic contrast, it leaves most medium size modern speaker in the dust.