Tannoy Westminster vs Quad 989

Yes, Yes, Yes -- I know they are completely different speaker types...

My history, for many many years in the past I absolutely loved the sound of the old Klipsch speakers -- over the years I have had; KG2, KG4, Quintets, Chorus, and Klipschorn and completely loved them all, increasing with each move up the line.

Upon 2 moves ago -- I ended up with a room too small for the Klipschorns and they overwhelmed me in that room (though I still loved the sound). At that point I moved to Quads, which worked extremely well in that environment.

Why from horns to ESL's? Because I value intricate micro detail -- I primarily listen to jazz (but do enjoy classic rock) and the ESL's made the sax, woods, and voices sounds heavily (rock they do accurately but the impact is missing). Yes, I missed the intense impact of the horn but the ESL did the mids perfectly.

Now, I have moved again and have a larger listening venue again. I still love the ESL's but I have to say that I can't help relishing in the availability of some increased impact... Thus, brings me to the Tannoy... Its said that their kids are to die for, yet they certainly are able to provide the impact I would like on the occasion I may though in some Zeppelin.

Thus, I reckon the essence of my question is; would moving to 15" cones muddy the sound after being so used to ESL's? Is the Tannoy mid accurate or just a "housebound" of Tannoy?

I absolutely love being able to hear DEEP into the music, the nuances, the echoes of the venue -- I hear all that with the Quads. But, I due miss the impact, the "energy" that horns can produce.

But most of all; do I just have the upgrade psychosis or would there be a significant upgrade in my enjoyment of the music if I ditched the Quad 988's and moved to Tannoy Westminster's ???

If you have actually OWNED Westminster's, Canteberry's, and ESLs' or similar reproductions please reply with your comment -- Thank you
I'm a longtime Tannoy fanoboy; I own Canterbury SE and had Kensington SE
for 3 years before that. Love my Tannoys, but I think realistically you have to
qualify their microdetail/resolution as being great *for dynamic driver
implementations*. You won't be fooled into thinking you're listening to a top
'stat here. I'm basing this on a recent audition of the Stax SR-009 electrostatic
headphones, which quite honestly blew me away with their resolution. Of
course, 'stats just can't do convincing bass impact for me, either.

What sets Tannoys apart is the coherence of their point source, which is
unique for a full-range dynamic speaker (coming from high-end headphones,
I require this coherence). You also get a touch of warmth/sweetness in the
mids (pepperpot models), which I find very pleasing and musical. Add in the
dynamics and you get a big musical sound and visceral experience with good
resolution. I prefer them to the Magico S5 for these reasons. On the downside,
these pepperpots' treble also has a slight tendency towards shrillness that
must be mitigated through proper setup and system matching (for example, I
find the S5's beryllium tweeter to be excellent, with no such issue).

The dynamic range of the bigger Tannoys is great, but the Westminster (which
I've not heard) should vastly exceed the Canterbury/Kensington in this area.
Honestly, you may not get quite as much low-end extension, dynamics, and
impact from the Canterbury as you'd expect from a 15" -- surprisingly
the now discontinued Yorkminster did better with a mere 12", but then I
didn't like its slightly recessed and dry midrange (compared to Canterbury &
I know I'm not following your instructions, as I've never owned Quads or Magnepans, but I've now had Tannoys for most of my adult life, with some of that time spent with B&W, and some very fine Dynaudio Contour 5.4's.

I decided to return to Tannoy, by virtue of feeling hampered by the limitation of amplifier types I could use with the Dynaudio's. I was longing to try tube amps, but Dynaudio's like power, lots of it.

Not being able to afford Canterburys or Westminsters, I built my own custom speakers using 12" HPD Tannoy drivers, and was able build them to a very high level of performance by optimizing every aspect of these loudspeakers.

I am able now to listen to the most realistic and satisfying music I've ever had the pleasure of doing in my large room (16' X 34" w/cathedral ceilings), with a 9 Wpc SET 300B amp.

As you know, you can't do that with electrostats.

I haven't had 15" Tannoys either, but I've never heard anyone complain about muddiness, or lack of detail, with the 15" drivers, quite the opposite, in fact.

I hope Kiddman, or other very knowledgeable Tannoy users, will add their input here. You might consider joining the Yahoo Tannoy site, and ask for comparisons between 12" and 15" Dual Concentrics.

I urge you to audition some Westminsters, or Canterburys or even come hear my custom built set, before making up your mind, and please excuse me for disobeying your instructions.

Best wishes,
Compared to speakers with real dynamics, on the micro and macro level, which the Westmisters have, the S5 is terribly boring and monotone to me.

The Westminsters are not overgrown Quads. They don't have that stat sound, but much of the stat sound is a sound, not true transparency. Much of the smoothness comes from compressing the dynamics. Sure, yours won't get pinged by a hard cymbal hit on the Quads, but that's because they don't DO the dynamics of that hit. I can imagine what a drummer or trumpet player would say hearing himself through Quads. "Who flattened my sound? "Who turned the compressor way up high?"

Not slamming the Quads, I love their low distortion. But, there is a huge price to pay, in both detail and dynamics.

The pepperpot Tannoys are not shrill. Something was wrong with that system. They are "easier" than pure neutrality, not a lot, but partly from having limitations in high end extension.

Quads are nice, polite, a miniature of live sound. Tannoy W's give you so much of the dynamics, contrasts, power, weight, and for me, on most music, that more than makes up for the not having all of Quad's strenghs.

Loads of Tannoys have been used to mix many of YOUR favorite recordings. Many are still using them for that purpose. There is a reason.

The compression driver is the same on the 12 and 15 Tannoy. the 15 will obviously have more weight, bass power, and depth.

I don't like the Tulip Waveguide as much. It seems that most Tannoy die hards agree.

Tannoys are not the only good or great speakers. But they are on a relatively short list of speakers that audiophiles as well as professionals have used for a decade or decades. You can't say that about many of the "audiophile" speaker companies. That says a lot. And the reasons are easy to hear. That is, if you use your own ears instead of the reviewers' ears. More audiophiles do the latter. A shame.