Haven't heard Tannoy's in 20 years or so but I have demo'd & lived with a lot of speakers in my time...NEVER in my life had better sound in my home than I do with the Harbeth M30.1's!!!
8 responses Add your response
Some say that vintage 1960s Tannoy Gold drivers with their alnico magnet drivers are superior to those models such as my late 1970s HP385 Berkeley's, which also feature alnico drivers. Some argue differently.
The usual reasons given in their favour I think were the surrounds used for the drivers and a better acoustic match between the drivers and the larger /huge cabinets they were used in.
If they are truly superior to the Berkeley's
then they must be truly superb loudspeakers. I, hoping that Tannoy would have learned something in the intervening years, remain somewhat sceptical and would have to hear it to believe it.
Similarly the Harbeth 30.1s seem to be the best loved Harbeths outside the M40s, with their common tweeter often sited as a main cause.
In your shoes, unless you have a very large room, I believe the Harbeth, being the newer speaker by far, would be far less of a gamble. For sure it won't have the bass of the Tannoy but being a Harbeth, it will never be difficult to move it on if you ever felt the need.
You must really listen to the Tannoy yourself if you go that way,whilst the Harbeth you could buy blind if necessary. I haven't heard the M30 but heard the SLH5s and there were no rude shocks there.
Oh, I don’t even know the Tannoy gold is an active driver! Thanks for pointing it out. Then yes, they are very different.
Then I guess, maybe one of the reason that make the Tannoy unique is that, one can use a small power tube amp to bet a nice mid range, and yet still get decent bass because of the fact it is active? And by eliminating a subwoofer, the sound is more coherent? Maybe that’s the magic behind it?
Then my question is, is there a definite benefit to go vintage? As mentioned above, there is a bigger risk to go vintage, and some say it is better to update/upgrade the cross over.
The vintage Tannoys (pre 1980s) were not active.
Later iterations and models were sometimes also labelled Golds, hence the confusion, but they were a totally different speaker. Tannoy also made studio monitors but these are not what audiophiles usually enthuse about.
The real legend of Tannoy was mainly built in the 1960s around various dual concentric drivers of which the best were said to be the ones with the rare alnico magnets. These drive units were large with some of them going up to 15 inches.
There was never any real consensus as to whether 10, 12 or 15 inch drive units were the best.
Without subs, a large Tannoy will naturally produce a larger and deeper sound than the smaller M30. It will also be more efficient when it comes to amplifier choice. After that, the advantages start to move towards the more strictly measured accuracy of the Harbeth.
A large Tannoy should really be compared to a large Harbeth, eg M40. Amazingly enough, even here some folks still prefer the Tannoys!
This is why they have a cult following like the vintage JBLs, QUAD ESL 57s and the BBC LS3/5 etc. These were all outstanding speaker designs of their time.
For the driver below, is it active or passive? I think that box is the cross over, and I believe it has a power plug.
They look passive to me.
Yes, the crossover and the controls for the bass and treble have been removed from the original cabinet but that’s totally different from running them active.
It was a feature of many vintage designs, and one coming back into fashion now, to allow the user to make subtle changes to the treble/and or bass output to suit various rooms via passive level controls.
The classic JBL L100s have something similar.
These look ok, re-coned and all that, but you weren’t thinking of building a cabinet for them were you?
A decidedly tricky business.
If I were you, I’d only consider a ready made pair you could listen to first.
It would be far easier to go with the Harbeths and add a sub later if you wanted. 😃