Tannoy Westminster Royal HE

Hi, I would like to hear your opinions and comments regarding the Tannoy Westminsters. These very oldfashioned (to many: ugly) looking speakers have been quite a while, undergoing various modifications. According to some audiophiles they sound impressive. How will they sound compared to my current speakers, the Dunlavy SC-Vs? Do the Tannoys beat them in terms of sonics and sheer musicality? Do you have to drive them with single ended amplification or can they also sound good with solid state? Thx in advance.
Hello Dazzdax. To quote an age old adage: "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". Yes,I use a pair of these big "ugly" speakers! While I have heard the big Dunlavy's on a few occasions, any meaningful comparative study would be rather ambiguous anyway as I have never heard them in my room, with my music and my gear. The Westminster is Tannoy's definitive statement speaker and their crowning achievement. To be candid here,I have never really been a big fan of horn loaded speakers per sey as I have spent most of my adult life listening to the recorded arts through mostly electrostatics and planars types. While your typical vintage horns from yesteryear have many positives attributes[efficiency,presence, low distortion and dynamic range] Most commercial horns will offer some sonic liabilties by contrast. Many possess a kind of honky coloration in the mid band/upper midband area,some can be a somewhat shouty at higher volume levels,some have mediocre resolution and weight in the lower octaves.Most will sound a little rolled off or closed in at the top end when compared to most modern high end speaker designs. Most will not create the proverbial imaging tricks akin to the better top shelf monitors or floor standers out there. That said: the Westminster is not your typical loaded horn type speaker.IMHO.... Tannoy's legendary dual concentric driver configuration and complex crossover design is what sets in apart from other full range horns, whereby the drivers act as a true "point source". Almost all of the vintage Tannoy drivers that use Alnico magnets have an amazing coherency to them that is readily apparent upon first listen. The Westminsters were first conceived and designed in the early 80's to address the short comings of their earlier designs, all of which lacked the bottom octave,sounded lumpy and soft in the midbass area when compared to most good modern speakers. Other competing horns like the bigger altecs and jbl's in the day had better perceived bass pitch, speed and drive as well. Most of the vintage Tannoy's can be improved upon in this area [every area for that matter] by re-installing the driver in a heavily braced cabinet constructed from 1 1/2 birch ply, removing the crossover boards from the cabinet,updating the crossovers with better caps,resistors,inductors and wire, hardwire the drivers in a true bi-wire configuration. Soundwise, the huge Westminster is truly majestic and something to behold. It does require a lot of work to move them around in most rooms [they weigh in at around 550 lbs each]and due to their full range dynamics can be very difficult to find the correct tonal balance and that proverbial coherency magic they are so capable of. Once you do find it though, you would be hard pressed to find much fault in their presentation. I am still completely amazed and dumbfounded at how these behemouths literally dissappear in my room. I would hazard to guess that the larger ones room, the easier it will be to find their magic. My room is very large by most standards [34ft x 27ft x 16.5 ft ceiling] I have used the big Soundlab A-1,the proac response 4[still use in another room], the acoustat 2+2 which I still have, tried the Vandersteen 5 as well however none of them can pressurize the room like the Westminster.
Ecclectique, I've seen another big Tannoy speaker, called the Kingdom 18. This particular type is no more in production I suppose, because Tannoy homesite doesn't mention it in their "products" list. It is even more expensive than the Westminster Royal. Do you know this speaker? Is it actually better than the Westminsters?

Hello Chris. I have heard of it, although never seen one nor heard one. It's probably only available for export,and like the Westminster,most all of them are exported to the Far East. Their doesn,t seem to be many Tannoy enthusiast's here at Audiogon.
I am a Tannoy enthusiast, and corresponded with Ian Gellatly (sp?)at Tannoy regarding the Kingdom line. He explained it is stricily for export to Asia, and also told me that the Churchill is superior to the Westminster, having a smoother And easier impedance. Have you read all that Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenburg said about the Westminster Royals? www.meta-gizmo.com
Used Westminsters are not very easy to get (in fact this is a very uncommon thing). But I've seen there is a pair for sale! Do you think it is worthwhile to replace my Dunlavy SC-V's with them? Thank you.

IMHO you will gain in dynamics and SPL loudness and slightly more flexibility in placement if that is what you desire then go for it. Dunlavy's are wonderful but they don't play extremely loud and they tend to have a narrow sweetspot and tend to present a more woody tonality. Tannoys will be a little harsher or edgy or lively in comparison. Both are classic absolutely awesome speakers - so please don't take this as any criticism of either- just relative stuff.
Thank you Shadorne.

I have Dr Gizmos sun light se308 concentrics up for sale he said sound has just as good if not better than his tannoys.I greatly improved on this system search audiogon for add.Might be of interest to you the se308 in a 18in concentric with a 50lb alnico magnet I tried a few diferant cab designs inc horns but ended up with a dual port BR design simlar to tannoy Churchill.System included rare fostex t90aex triple alnico mag super tweeters and a massive Aura 18in with 1000 watt ice powered subwoofer.I have also seen Gizmos Tannoys up on the gon a few weeks back for arround $14000
There is not one dealer in The Netherlands who has Tannoy Westminsters for an audition, so I really don't know what the Tannoy sound is and what the Westminster is capable of. My only references are the Dunlavy SC-V (which I own) and the Apogee Diva. Do the Westminsters really outshine the other speakers? I'm quite curious because the Tannoy Westminster has gained a cult status among many audiophiles (mainly tube-o-philes and followers of the late "Gizmo" Rosenberg).
If the Tannoy Westminsters are truly sublime, then I might consider to replace my Dunlavies by these speakers.

I have heard other tannoy concentrics and there is a reason so many enjoy them concentrics have a musical connection thats diferant and more involving than others more conventional designs.FYI I also see someone listed a 2 1/2 year old Westminster on audiogon today.I have used many diferant amp types on my concentrics inc SS designs if the gear is good and low noise should drive a concentric just fine.With SET these drivers do have a bit of synergy.
It's a very small data point, but about five years back I took some 2A3 monoblocks into a dealer showroom to qualify the Churchills for SET amplification. They sounded anemic--at least on 3W. In addition to the lack of dynamics in this less-than-optimal pairing, the midrange lacked smoothness and refinement I was used to with the Wilsons. In that same showroom the SETs were much happier driving Cabasse Farellas.
On the topic of the Churchill, although it has an efficiency rating of 95dB/8Ohm, the 15-inch Dual-Concentric driver does require a little more power to coerce good levels of dynamics to fill up a medium-sized room. My Churchill Wideband can be driven very satisfactorily with 7Wpc, although I must also concede to the immense dynamics and scale of the CW when they were driven by powerful solid-state amplifiers.

On the other hand, 3Wpc is a little underwhelming for the big drivers; but the real potential of an SET of such output is predominantly dependent on the actual design of its power supply section. I've come to learn that with serious efforts in equipping the amplifier with a powerful power supply, even an SET can push a lot of speakers in a medium-sized room, including the Churchill Wideband.

Constantine Soo
Publisher, Dagogo
These were Cary 2A3SE monoblocks. It surprised me that they were able to develop big bass with the Churchhills (suggesting that the 3W amps were up to the job) and yet the whole presentation was discontinuous and not very musical. It was a long time ago, however, and memory is weak. I would only suggest that Dazzdax not become too enamoured of horns viewed from afar; the Dunlavy V is a very different animal and the large Tannoys leave a large footprint after international delivery.
Does anyone care to comment or happen to know if this cabinet is vented on the front corners w/45 degree angles similar to the "Onken" vents? It does seem curiously familiar...
I just heard this speaker for the first time yesterday.

I used to own the Tannoy Arden,which also uses a 15 inch concentric,but that's about where the similarities end.

This speaker is in a whole other zone.

I heard it driven with a 17 watt el84 push pull tube amp, I believe from DIY audio kit.

More than enough power to drive the speakers, and the sound in a medium sized room was very good.

There's nothing lacking with these speakers.

They are speakers you can sit back and just ooze into the music.

Nothing about their sound shouts out "I'm atweeter hear me soar, I'm a woofer hear me roar".

No, the music is all you notice and isn't that the way things should be?

So, for the flash bang,knock my socks off ,these speakers rock types,they may sound different than what those folks have been raised on.

But I think one listen on these with any type of music could convert anyone over to them.

I bought my Acoustat X monitors from the same fellow who owns Westminsters, and I can understand why ,as good as they are, the X's went and the Tannoys stayed.

Then again, at over 300lbs a piece,there might be other reasons.

But all joking aside, these speakers are not a joke,don't let their pipe and slippers look divert you away from these if you are considering a truly great speaker to hold onto and enjoy music with for a very long time.

If I were at the beginning and not the end of my audio journey, I would buy these, a good amp and front end and never look elsewhere for decades.
Here in Scottsdale, Arizona, there is a music museum with a small auditorium where concerts are performed. Luckily, they use Tannoy speakers for sound reinforcement, and I truely am in awe of the sound. Instruments on stage sound exactly like they're supposed to....astounding dynamic contrasts, etc. I don't know the electronics they are using, but it really does work. The big concert hall in Phoenix has the very worst sounding system I have ever heard. I have written to them asking for improvements, but I fear it has landed on deaf ears.
I am also TW lover,I own TW Roayl,pre SE and HE versions,best investment I have done in hifi!Sometimes I have to smile when I hear other speakers.For big rooms this is a way to go.
they are NOT ugly if you have the right house they are beautiful! The sound has better image than Dunlavy but not as accurate in my opinion. They are wonderful if you play tubes amps
They are NOT ugly; If you have the right house they are beautiful! The Tannoy has better imaging than Dunlavy but they're not as accurate in my opinion: I have heard both. They are a wonderful speaker if you play tube amps and they make one hell of a statement. Good luck finding a used pair people don't sell them they normally stay in the castles they live in.
These are mine in my room http://img508.imageshack.us/img508/192/tannoywestminster1621ps.jpg