Tannoy Speakers

Who here owns, owned, or has auditioned Tannoy speakers? What did you think of them? If you no longer own them or opted to buy something else, can you tell me why? I'm trying to decide what my next set of speakers will be.
I used to have a pair of 611 back in 90's. Unfortunately when my daughter was born, my audition room had to go. Currently, I have some Tannoys from previous series hooked to my HT system and I love them.
I don't know anything about the newest series, but I love Tannoys and Celestions from 80's / early 90's
I own two models, the MX-1M and Fusion 1. Small bookshelf spks. Excellent overall sound. Very highly recommended.
Bernie Grundman has used Tannoys for years...very good speakers...much of what you buy will have been mastered on them! Bernie has had close to 40 Grammy Nominations...
My uncle had classic co-auxial 15 incher, and they sounded warm and pleasant. They are classics for a reason.

But not all Tannoy offerings sound good = especially now.

The good sounding ones cost quite a bit. If you can find an old one that still is in good condition, that might be your ticket to sonic heaven.


The prestige series sounded good - especially for classical, but they are quite expensive. Me thinks one can get similar quality for less.

Lesser offerings didn't do it for me - there are better alternatives out there - you might want to check out Canadian speakers like Paradigm, PSB, etc, if your price range is not upto the Tannoy prestige series.

Tannoys can sound really good - their top models, but lesser ones are not good values in audio - also they seem tobe over priced for what they do.

They seem to play this game of over charging - making buyers feel that there must be something to the high cost, when in reality, it's just over charging - compared to other companies.

Canadian speakers are good value - might want to audition them, before buying British speakers.

Paradigm studio sound good, and are reasonably priced - they are a little polite sounding speakers - if you like that quality in speakers.

I once owned the M4 and have auditioned many models over the years. I was once invited to a dealer only audition of one of their prototypes that never made it to market. I liked the M4 and used them for a few years and these performed amazingly well for sub $1K speakers. When I went to replace them I auditioned the Eyris DC 3 which was pretty good and in the running, and the TD12 (out of my budget at the time, but sounded excellent), but ended up with the VSA-4JR which I loved from the moment I heard it. The set-up on the TD-12 was not optimal from a placement or electronics standpoint so I really do wonder what they would be like set-up correctly.

I hope someday to hear some of their offerings up in the prestige line.
I have a pair of Turnberry speakers from the Prestige line. I have owned them for about four years. That is much longer then any of my other components. I thought about getting rid of them, but could not find anything else that I liked better. I am listening to them as I write this and wonder why I should even consider getting rid of them. Their sound is musical, balanced, focused and just very natural sounding overall. And besides that, they are drop dead gorgeous with this very attractive retro look to them. I have never considered them overpriced as was suggested above, I just think of them as a pretty good deal. I'll be hanging on them and when I do decide to do something different, I'll probably just look up the Prestige line. Just my .02.
While Tannoy is the topic, I picked up a pair of Venus MkII's that I haven't played around with yet. Do these have any potential?
I own Tannoy Arundels with the 15in dual concentric drivers. I could not be much happier with those speakers. They are not «hifi» (they have a little horn coloration) but just plainly musical, coherent and easy to listen. They are efficient and present a easy load to the amplifier. The only drawback is that the are big and bulky and not much wife friendly but can have some retro charm. I have completely redone the crossover (without changing the values) and refinished the exterior so I plan on keeping them for a long time.
The Prestige line are some of the best speakers I have ever heard but they are pricey and the looks won't please everyone.

The Dimension series is highly underrated. The TD10 was really incredible sounding - different from most speakers but perfectly natural in the end. They need a BIG space to really open up. If you want orchestral pieces to sound believable, these are the speakers for you IMO.

I have never found the Eyris to sound good - they have always been rolled off and dull. I don't recommend them.

However, the Mercury series is really surprisingly good for the money. The MX3s I heard were most impressive and basically did everything right (except for scale but they are little speakers). Way better than Eyris for a lot less money.

I owned two sets (the MX series for HT & the Revolution 3's for 2-channel). I still use the MX series in my HT and very much enjoy them. The R/L front MX 4's play down to the low 30's so the sub crosses over much lower (about 45Hz).

As far as the Rev 3's, they sounded fairly neutral (slight upper mid bump) and were easy to listen to in my analog setup. However, my listening room is 17 x 35 and open behind the wall they were up against (another 12 x 35) and even though the bass was tight and clean (down to the upper 30's), there just wasn't enough of it. I now have Kirksaeter 220's.
Hi, my comments are in the context of an owner of 12" Tannoy red monitors, as well as auditioning the big 15" red GRF Autograph monitors and the huge dual 15" red GRF Autograph Professionals in friend's systems I'm familiar with. I also owned dipolars, Apogee ribbons and conventional ported and sealed box speakers.

The better Tannoy dual concentrics are more about the "big picture" of music reproduction because they capture the flow, emotion and human qualities. They also sound very alive at low volume levels, a common trait of horns, where other topologies tend to sound sleepy and compressed in comparison at low levels. They can boogie at high levels too, if that's your thing. They work with different genres of music - classical, chamber, jazz and rock. And they do some of the best "tone color" I've heard. These qualities come with a trade-off in less transparency, detail and accuracy compared to other speakers. I hear better sound with the other speakers, but I'm reminded of living people performing music on the better Tannoys.

I have owned and enjoyed Tannoy Dual Concentrics since the 1970s.

I currently own three pairs from the Tannoy Professional line, none of them, unfortunately, current models: the System 15 DMT II, the System 10 DMT II and the (rather rare) active model, the AMS-12A.

I have also owned Monitor Golds, Monitor HPDs, and the System 12 DMT I.

Sensitive, dynamic, detailed yet supremely musical--all the good adjectives are applicable, plus the special something that only full range drivers and DCs can deliver--except DCs don't compromise frequency extension and dynamics they way single full range drivers do.

I have auditioned and owned many other fine (and not so fine) speakers over the years, but have always gone back to Tannoy DCs (Tannoy makes regular non-dual concentric speakers as well, but they are budget models and do not compare to the dual concentrics).

One day, when I get the money and the space, I will get a pair of fully horn loaded Tannoy Westminster Royals.

P.S.: Altec's long-time competitor to the Tannoy DC, the 604 series (once again available from Great Plains Audio in the U.S.) are also very fine speakers. I owned the 604-8K until recently, and enjoyed them immensely, but they are somehow not as engaging as comparable Tannoys.
A good friend has a new pair of Glenair's, they sound fantastic and look beautiful......I love em!
He runs them with Pass Labs Mono Blocks, Linn pre, SOTA Cosmos with SME V arm, Again they just sound great and effortless.
My reference speakers are a pair of Tannoy 215 DMT II professional studio monitors with two 15" drivers per channel, one of which is the famous dual concentric (DC) --
same speakers as found in professional mastering studios throughout the world.

These are extremely coherent and musical speakers, with beautiful instrumental timbres and the best dynamic swing I've heard. Excellent for large-scale orchestral music. Also, lots of detail and nuance at low listening volumes.

Efficiency is 101dB, and I drive them with 300B SET amps.

My praise applies only to Tannoys with large doped-paper DC drivers, not to the smaller plastic drivers.
My A/V surround sound system has the following Tannoy's
Front L/R - Mercury F4
Centre - Mercury FC
Rear L/R - Mercury F1

My Bro-in-law has Sensys DC2 - which I auditioned with him.

None of these are "Real Tannoys", since they are all made in China and not the UK, but they are all extremely good value and great performers

The Mercury line is timbre matched and I can say that they do have extremely similar sound attributes - the bigger the speaker the better the bass, but there was also a slight improvement in treble from the F1 to the F4

If space is a limitation the F1 is a great small speaker for music also

Sonically I found these speakers to be very neutral and extremely dynamic and well controlled, compared with similarly priced competition - heck even most speakers at twice the price.

I found them to be better than Rega, which I found were much too harsh.

When driven with a good amp they are excellent value for money.

One complaint is the cheap terminals do not clamp spades very well (stripped the threads) so I had to switch to bananas (not a big deal)

Being front ported they can be placed close to the rear wall

Correct speaker placement from the side wall makes for a much better sound - either 1/5th, 1/7th or 1/9th the width of the room in from the side walls and toe-in to focus the sound just behind the listening position.

On the F4's I made feet to take the spikes outside the footprint of the speaker cabinet in order to make them rock steady - improved the sound a lot too!

The Sensys DC2 - are a completely different story -
- Nicer finish
- Far superior drivers
- absolutely amazing value for Money.

Once again, you have to drive it with a quality amp and cables to bring out the best qualities....

I have heard them with...
- a Cambridge Audio Azur 640 - which could not control the speaker at all well - very boomy bass
- an Exposure 2010s - had excellent control

They are very detailed with
- excellent response from deep-deep low's to the highest highs
- very neutral - little, to no coloration
- not too easy to drive - takes a bit of power
- highs are very smooth and extremely detailed
- very nice imaging
- extremely accurate respoduction
- very "fast" response from bass drivers

I would venture to say that these two lines represents what Tannoy has always stood for - Great Music

What suprised me was the price - excellent value!

Hope this helps
I have been around live music and studios for 25 years. Along with ATC and Harbeth, Tannoys are really a "pro" standard from which many songs have been mixed and edited. I frequently see them in visits to the UK and know many professional musicians who use them. Pete Townsend of the Who uses them in his private studio for demo playback and recently wrote a nice article about them two months ago which you should be able to "google". World class stuff all the way. I myself use ATC and Blue Sky Audio gear for my music rooms and am very happy. Blue Sky is an up-and-coming company and offers the best value for cost. ATC is well known, very expensive for the top gear, and are used by many respected engineers and Pink Floyd. I have two engineer friends who work for the BBC and Abbey Road and they swear by Harbeth 40s as the best neutral speakers. If you have the time, you should check all of them out. It is really a matter of personal preference and money.
I'm incredibly happy with my Tannoy D-700's. Have added the supertweeter and a good subwoofer to complete the range. Running LOTS of power with bi-amping and Bi-wiring for 350 watts to each DRIVER as a result.

Highly recommend them, and they come cheap on the open market. Nice pieces of furniture/wood finished for the wife factor.
Well i'll post the first contrary opinion. I have heard a TD12, and a few Tannoy Prestige speakers, including a Westminster Royal. Each of these speakers was fitted with the Tannoy super tweeter. I did not like any of them.

Just a note - the owner of the Westminster Royal indicated to me that he had the crossover settings wrong on the day that I visited. So I will exclude it from my comments until I get a chance to listen again. My comments are based on the Glenair, Turnberry, and the Kensington.

Tannoy Prestige speakers produce a very pleasant sound - warm, inviting, and comfortable. It is a very easy sound to listen to, a bit like an old wine which has lost its aggression.

However, when you want to really hear what is going on, the speakers fail. They simply fall over when asked to present complex orchestral works. Suppose I want to analyze what the cellists are doing in a Wagner piece. The Tannoys will not allow you to do that.

The romantic coloration of all pieces does not work with most types of music. The speakers have the effect of slowing the music down and giving it a bit more bloom. I wonder if cone breakup is the culprit - being such a large dome, and being asked to handle such a wide frequency response.

wrt the 3 speakers above - the Glenair seems to have the most coloration, and the Kensington the least.
12-03-07: Amfibius
Well i'll post the first contrary opinion.

Good for you! - However, it would be interesting (for me at least)to know what amp was driving them.

I have found that in many instances - when someone reports that a good pair of speakers are not performing to expectation, it is probably the amp & speaker combination that is the culprit and not the speaker alone.

Living Voice are dull and lifeless with the Raysonic SP120, but are improved considerably with the Raysonic SE 30

The Tannoy Sensys DC2 are very bassey and uncontrolled with the Cambridge Audio Azur 640 amp, but with the Exposure 2010 they perform extremely well

Also - the speakers you mention have an adjustable crossover, which may not have been adjusted to the optimum setting for the listening envorinment - or simply set to the owners preference!

Also - Speaker Position is crucial to good speaker performance - I've commented several times to my local hi-fi store about this one. Most listening environments are not optimally configured for good sound

Having said that - Tannoy are not to everyone's tastes - that is why there are so many other brands out there

But they are very good speakers - along with many others!

I would still be interested in knowing what amp they were paired with?

I have a set of M4's and they sound great to my unqualified ears. Everything we have played through them has surprised us with demonstrating how much we missed out with other speakers.

I am very pleased with these.
Williewonka, the Tannoys I heard were all driven with Cary amplification. The Glenair with the Cary CAD-300SE monoblocks (17W SET), the Kensington with my Cary CAD-805AE (50W SET) which I had just returned as a trade-in. I cannot remember what amp was driving the Kensington and TD12 as that was quite some time ago, but it was definitely a Cary valve amp of some sort. As you may guess, this was in a dealer's showroom who sells ... Tannoy and Cary :)
the Tannoys I heard were all driven with Cary amplification

Hmmm - Cary makes exceptional equipment, but you do need a aweful lot of juice(amps) to drive the speakers you mentioned.

However, it sounds more like the it was the setup and surroundings that added the "color" and not the equipment.

The rooms that most dealers setup for audition purposes are no more than somewhere you can listen to music undisturbed.

The ceilings are too high, the materials on the walls are inadequate, but the biggest offense by far, which is also the easiest to remedy, is Speaker Placement.

Each Sspeaker perform differently, but retailers place them all in a similar position and more often than not, they are only 6 ft apart - WRONG!

I spent a lot of time on placement and now have what I consider a very neutral sound

My quick rules of thumb for "Normal" or "Box" speakers are:
1. For placement from sidewalls
- I use the 1/nth principal
- place the speaker (i.e. the centre of the driver) in from the side wall 1/nth the width of the room - where n is an odd number
- The distance does not have to be the same for each speaker
e.g. 1/5th for left and 1/7th for left works also

2. for placement from the back wall:
- Front ported speakers - Minimum 1 ft from the back wall
- Rear/bottom ported - minimum 3 ft from the back wall

3. For Toe in - I start by adjusting the speaker to focus the sound 3 ft behind the listening position - i.e. when seated I can just see the inside surface of both speakers (assuming they are rectangular and not one of the new shapes)

Once you have an initial setup, play with it until you get the best sound

For Electrostatics - they like to be "free Standing" so you'll need a LARGE room to get the best out of them. The best I've heard to date were a pair of Magnapan's situated in a 20ft x 14ft room along the long wall - 4 ft from the Back to the wall and 5ft in from the sides - they were about 10ft apart and they were completely transparent.

My front ported Tannoy Mercury 4's are about 14 inches from the rear wall (to the back of the speaker) an my rear ported Magnat's are 3ft from the rear wall - any closer than that and the image becomes confused and the bass starts to get muddy and loses all of that nice detail

Also the Magnat's are very sensitive to Toe-in and can also lose detail and image if not set just right.

The Tannoy's are not helped by the TV being located between them, but they perform admirably under the circumstances.

But the worst speaker I have seen for placement recently is the new Ninka from Linn.

According to the Linn Rep:
- They MUST be only 1ft from the Back wall
- No toe-in
- Between 6-7ft apart
- have nothing in between them

Even after the correct setup, I was NOT impressed by the sound. Pitty! - I've always been a huge fan of their product - up until now that is.

The big Tannoys with 15" dual concentric drivers are wonderful. The smaller ones are mediocre.
Tannoy bigger units Westminster and Canterbury need big room,good placement and powerfull amp.I had similar experience as Amfibius but after i changed my equipment from Naim to the best, the sound sudddenly is more focused,cleaner and opened,the bass is now exact and they just sound so much better overall.It would be hard to replace these speakers with something else to have qualities and design as these babies.You close your eyes and you sit in 4th row and hear it the same way as in a concert with great sonics.Sounding very natural and realistic,they are very balanced in all frequencies,some speakers are sounding to bright,some too mellow,some too punchy etc,but these have all positive and most important features for music lover.They are my last speakers I will ever own except maybee Westminsters.
I had Tannoy Ardens from 2008 to 2009.

They were my first concentric ,high efficiency speakers.

I have past experience mostly with electrostats from stacked Quad 57, single paie of 63, Acoustat 3,and Martin Logan Sequel and two pair of CLS11z.

The Tannoys were fine at first, but after awhile I felt that to my ears,I wasn't hearing as much detail and speed that I had taken for granted with the stats.

The sound was similar, but just not as clean or clear.
Perhaps my Ardens need some more fine tuning,but I sold them and moved on to Ref 3A Grand Veena.

The amps that I used on the Tannoys were,Bell 2418 integrated,Cary 300sei,and at the end Audio Valve Eclipse, Red Dragon Leviatahan combo.

For what they cost in the used market, if you like what they do and can live with their flaws(everything has flaws)then they are a fine speaker provididng you have the room for them.

I heard the newer Stirlings at a dealers and they were quite nice, with a bit more clarity.
I was glad I had the opportunity to own a pair of vintage Tannoys just for the experience.
It's only when you directly compare the older models to what is on the market today that you notice the old speakers shortfalls.
Still a nice sound on the cheap.