Which ones should I choose? Tannoy Kensington Gr or B&W 804 D4

Dear Bro,

I'm in a dilemma about which speakers I should take, Tannoy Kensington Gr or B&W 804 D4? I dont have chance to audition those brands at the same dealer so plz give some advices. I'm going to pair speakers with MC 8900. My room is about 19 sqm (3.5m x 5.5m).

One more thing, are Turnberry Gr Speakers much difference from Kensington Gr.

Thank you very much



Always best to audition however possible but in lieu of that I would be biased towards the  Tannoy.

With the McIntosh MC 8900 the B+W may well the better choice. The BW's can be a bit bright, the Tannoy's are definitely too dull. Each of these speakers may also appeal or not to the interior decider. Personally my wife hates both. Each is challenging, the 804's look like granddad died and left them in his will, the B+W look like a Dalek mated with a set of traffic lights. Better by far at this price than either, they look great (optional finishes to suit most), stunning soundstage (better than either), bright enough to complement the Mac, are Audio Physic Codex or Midex. 

From a purely aesthetic prospective I like the Tannoys. Two very different looking speakers obviously. Which one of them satisfies your eyes. I think that’s important too. Not as much as sound but you do want something that’s nice to look at. 

I have heard both and own the B&W. It is impossible to answer as the speakers are so different. However you should get a good idea auditioning at different dealers simply because they sound so different.

Personally I much prefer the B&W. Also your room size is not so large and the 804s sound fantastic up against a wall in a smallish room, and they are easy to place, sounding good in most situations. They have a very clean bass sound which means they don’t really trigger bass modes in the room, so avoid any boomy bass that other speakers may stimulate in a smallish room like yours. And with your amp the B&Ws will work a treat.

The Tannoys are a more risky investment as they are less tolerant of room size and placement. However you may get lucky with your room/speaker interaction and if you like the more muddled but rich tone of the speaker you may enjoy them more.

If you go with the B&W I thoroughly recommend putting them on Isoacoustic Gaia feet and sit these directly on your floor if you have a hard floor.  If you have carpet put the speakers with the Gaia feet on a cheap slab of granite kitchen chopping board. Honestly, this makes a fantastic difference, particularly if your room has a suspended wooden floor (like most older British homes do)

I would always urge testing a speaker in your room first. The speaker/room interaction ultimately defines the sound of the speaker.

Best way is auditioning both speakers at home, convince the dealers they will understand.

The BW speakers are brighter but the older one gets,  the more they compensate for hearing loss. 

Tannoy - no contest. I have two different pairs of bookshelf models.  They actually sounded better than my older Focal 1027 Electras.  One pair - the D-100 (long discontinued) - even has provision for bi-wiring.

Vanson1 +1

I'm getting close to 70 and I switched to B&O about 2 months ago. I can hear the higher frequencies that I've been missing for a few years. I wouldn't be surprised if better ears found my system to be a bit harsh, but it's just right for me now.

@stevevn ,

This excerpt from JA of Stereophile. Keep in mind this speaker relative to the Tannoy is a more challenging load for an amplifier to manage. You may want to take this into consideration as you decide,

Bowers & Wilkins specifies the 804 D4’s anechoic sensitivity as 89dB/2.83V/m. My B-weighted estimate was the same. The 804 D4’s impedance is specified as 8 ohms, with a minimum value of 3 ohms. The solid trace in fig.1 indicates that the impedance magnitude, measured with Dayton Audio’s DATS v2 system, lies between 3 and 6 ohms in the upper bass and midrange, with a minimum value of 2.55 ohms between 121Hz and 131Hz. The electrical phase angle (dashed trace) is occasionally high; for example, there is a current-hungry combination of 3.7 ohms magnitude and –55° phase angle at 87Hz. The effective resistance, or EPDR (footnote 1), drops below 2 ohms between 22Hz and 33Hz, 62Hz and 116Hz, and 663Hz and 886Hz. The minimum EPDR is 1 ohm from 88Hz to 110Hz and 1.6 ohms at 886Hz. The 804 D4 must be used with amplifiers that don’t have problems driving 2 ohms.



As an owner of the 804's, I use them in my A/V system. From my first post I said the Tannoy.

Tannoys everytime.

@henry53 the Tannoys are far from being dull plus you can adjust the treble energy and treble roll off on the fly.


Thanks. Your point is also my concern. It seems that people prefer tannoy to B&w.

Post removed 


thanks for your advice. What amplifier did you pair with Tannoy? Did you have problems with bass for this room size?

@stevevn - a Naim 552/250 pre/power was the amp.  They sound more forward than your amp. I have massive bass problems in my small room (4m x 4.5m). The 804 was really the only decent speaker that worked well in the room without bass issues (till I got my latest pair which are semi-active with the active bass having dsp to allow me to tame the bass frequencies that trigger in the room.) 


Thanks. Your point is also my concern. It seems that people prefer tannoy to B&w.

You are welcome. I’m not down on B &W speakers and I know that many people like them. I have no idea what your listening bias are (We all possess them). I just tried to answer your inquiry between the two choices presented. Tannoy will offer the opportunity to use a wider variety of amplifiers more successfully. 

Tannoy is both higher sensitivity and have a more amplifier friendly speaker impedance load characteristics. Their implementation of concentric drivers have stood the test of time. Personally I believe that you will get a more natural sound quality with the Tannoy. I understand that others may disagree with this. This is simply my opinion/perspective. Best wishes in your decision making.


Tannoy, of course :)

I’ve heard a lot of Tannoy speakers, including Turnberry SE at a friend’s. I’ve owned a lot, including Kensington SE, but have not heard the GR series Kensington nor Turnberry. Of note, the Kensington model is where they start using the special pepperpot / alnico divers - almost 10x more expensive if you look at replacement driver costs! These models have a more vibrant, rich midrange and provide more "jump factor". In the right system they "breathe" better and music just flows effortlessly. The Kensington midrange in particular, is quite spectacular. The 10" alnico driver just NAILS the midrange, at the expense of some bass power.

The downside is that the alnico/pepperpot’s treble isn’t the smoothest on record - you’ll need *some* care in gear matching to not push it over your comfort zone. If you pile on bright & harsh components (I mean, why would you though) you’re gonna have a bad time! Quite frankly the cheaper ferrite/tulip drivers (a more recent design) may be easier to tame up top.

Interestingly, Tannoy once did a VERY limited run of Turnberry LE with the Kensington alnico driver! They wouldn’t have done that if it wasn’t the better overall musical driver.

Whatever you decide, match them with two REL subwoofers.  They need to be large enough and dialed in to avoid over driving the bass.  Bass frequencies fall like a rock with volume.  Having subwoofers, will allow them to fill in the bass frequencies at lower volumes.  

Like I said before there is no love for B&W on this forum. 9 out of 10 times there spoken against! Maybe one guy likes them. what does that tell me?  Mine must go 


Trust your own ears and listening impressions/reactions. It has to sound right to you. This is regardless of what others may say or believe. This approach has served me unfailingly well.


agree with the idea that the mcintosh amplifier has excellent synergy with the B&W 


i really enjoyed hearing this combination.  the smooth deep sound of the mac amp brought deep full range bass the b & w are capable of.  also the resolution of the diamond tweeters was spell binding, vocals sounded phenomenal.  there is a reason these speskers have a high resale value and they do! 

i have heard the tannoy many times and they can sound very good but never great.  

the midrange was never best in class transparent, the treble could be slightly edgy and the styling looks good if you like that out of date look, horrible if you do not.  


There is no question that both of these venerable brands have their loyal and happy supporters. Otherwise how could both have successfully survived for decades? Certainly posters responding on this thread have leaned heavily toward Tannoy. This doesn’t make your minority position wrong. We like, what we like. 😊


@avanti1960 Tony a lot of us old fuddy duddies love the old school look of Tannoy just fine or love it actually. 😎And not to cast aspersions on B&W but a robot mated with a waste basket does come to mind. 🤣 All kidding aside two great speaker companies with plenty to offer for different listeners.

of course jon, very popular look for sure.  i just wonder how many people just dismiss the b/w diamonds on supposed reputation as being bright and assaulting.  

listening to them with smooth amplification is a thing to behold as a fan of audio and music.  

definitely avoid the white finish unless you want someone to step on the base expecting the top to pop open.  :)