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Where to start with Tannoys ?

Discussion in 'classic' started by steveinspain, Oct 17, 2021.

  1. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    As a rule of thumb the 15” drivers have better scale and impact, but less midband clarity, the 12” drivers just have that bit more clarity in the mid. Both have their fans and to my mind its not a ‘better/worse’ thing, they are both great with a slightly different character. Golds vs. HPDs is more complex and as much down to what you want to do with them. I view earlier than Monitor Golds as being valve era, later as being solid state, the Golds being the pivot point between the two. Basically HPDs etc expect a rather tighter drier amp upstream whereas Golds and before are perfectly happy with a 10 Watt Leak or whatever. With every generation Tannoys got heavier and more robust as they had to cope with crazy loud rock music in studios and adapted to ever more powerful amplification and higher volume levels.

    PS FWIW there is something close to a consensus in the far east that the 12” Silver is the best Tannoy. As I understand it it runs the bass cone wide open with no crossover and has an immediacy, life and delicate nature with the best valve amps one hears from single drivers (Lowthers etc) but without the shortcomings. I’d love to hear a pair sometime.
    steveinspain likes this.
  2. steveinspain

    steveinspain pfm Member

    What a great and helpful reply Tony, thank you!
    Another of my problems is that I'm going to be hard pushed to get 12" drivers into the sitting room let alone 15", but having heard the 15's.....
    But you have cleared up one thing. It'll be HPD's for me.
  3. cooky1257

    cooky1257 pfm Member

    You won't go 'wrong' with whichever generation you decide on just aim for unmodified drivers.
    It's oft repeated that Tannoys got heavier, they didn't.
    The dynamic mass( inc air load) of the Monitor Gold 12r( rubber surround), HPD 315, k3128/DU316 is 60 g, the Monitor Gold 15, 385 HPD and k 3838/9 is 90g.
    The standard Monitor Gold12 and the hard edge k3148 are both 40 g- their light cones and stiff surrounds give a higher fs.
    John and steveinspain like this.
  4. Gaius

    Gaius pfm Member

    ^^^ They are not actually that big or imposing, in my room they take up less space than some stand mounts I have had because of a rear port requiring them pulled out from the back and side walls.

    The Lancaster cabinets measure 55cm wide, 31cm deep and 84cm tall. Not small but reasonably discreet and blend in more like a piece of furniture.

    My drivers are these:

    [​IMG]Tannoy Golds by Mark Digman, on Flickr
    steveinspain, cooky1257 and myles like this.
  5. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Same as mine!
    Gaius likes this.
  6. Mike P

    Mike P Trade: Pickwell Audio

    For a little while I simultaneously owned both Mk1 Ardens (HPD385) and 15" Monitor Golds in high quality oversized corner Lancaster cabinets. Both with original crossovers in perfect order.

    Most importantly, both were lovely and I could happily live with either!

    Subjectively, I felt the golds had a slight emphasis in the upper mids, which was delightful with some music (female vocals especially).

    I felt the HPDs had slightly better bass and because of that I felt they were a tad more 'even handed' across the full frequency range.

    Since I had a slight preference for the sound of the HPDs and the Golds were worth more, it made sense to me to sell the Golds; so that's exactly what I did.

    I've used my HPDs with a variety of solid state amps and also with a Leak ST20 and Radford STA25. I disagree with the often repeated wisdom that HPDs are best with solid state amplification. Mine sound wonderful with both the Leak and Radford, so much so that I sold my SS amp.

    As Cooky says above - don't overlook the K series drivers.
    steveinspain and cooky1257 like this.
  7. steveinspain

    steveinspain pfm Member

    The width is the biggest problem, add in the look of a big box and I'm finding it hard to argue with Kate. I can see me ending up conceding that 15" is just too big, but a pair of 12's are a perfect compromise dearest...

    Thank you all for the helpful replies by the way, although I sort of hoped that one of you would say that you had a pair for sale..
  8. simonpyeman

    simonpyeman Active Member

    Just for the record, the drivers Steve listened to are the Red 15” 15 Ohm version in untouched original Lancasters, so as Tony said definitely valve era. The crossovers are a halfway house between silvers and golds in that the bass drivers have 2nd order filters, but the treble side is 1st order. I suspect that part of the mid smoothness is due to the horn having a gentler roll-off with the bass driver not getting in the way. The crossovers in use when Steve was here are home-brew versions using original component values but film caps and air-core inductors. They also have a version of the 3kHz honk filter and 50 Ohm damping resistors which were not fitted to silvers or early reds. To my ears they are a very distinct improvement over the near 60 year old originals.
    Incidentally, I’m not 100% sure about this, but my research indicates that the 12” silvers were run open but the 15” ones had the same crossover as the reds.
  9. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    That’s my understanding too.
  10. ff1d1l

    ff1d1l pfm Member

    A good while ago I did a comparison between 12" Silvers and butyl surround preference was for the butyl Golds with the Silver crossovers.
  11. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    I've never paid much attention to Tannoys but I'm increasingly curious recently.... is it possible to buy something dual-concentric and decent for around a grand?
  12. tonerei

    tonerei pfm Member

    I took the plunge on Legacy Cheviots. I think they have something special. In my room it took a bit of time and acoustic panels to get the best out of them but defo worth chasing down. I can't comment on the older models which will probably have to be your hunting ground at that price level.
    paulfromcamden likes this.
  13. eastone

    eastone pfm Member

    There’s rubber surround 12” golds on eBay at a bit over a grand. Will sound great in Chatsworth or Cheviot cabs.
  14. MUTTY1

    MUTTY1 Waste of bandwidth

    Having early Arcs myself I’d be interested in your comparison. They have similar thinking in that at least no neurotics about coupling to the floor or inch perfect placement. They replaced IBL’s ( another you had) and I have never thought of changing them. My Arcs don’t like low power(Naim 140) but work well with Avondale(260z). The tannoys seem to work with anything. Just curious.
  15. Gaius

    Gaius pfm Member

    ^^^ I have not had Arcs for years, I remember them being very good but to be honest the Tannoys are very different, you cannot escape the effortless scale a 15" driver achieves, they sound very real, not at all hifi like, they will not be for everyone.
  16. Jono_13

    Jono_13 Duffer

    Plan for around £1,500 for a restored, good condition pair.
    paulfromcamden likes this.
  17. divedeepdog

    divedeepdog pfm Member

    I thought I'd found my set, System 12's just about fitted the space, diy stands and whoop, everything slotted into place. Matched my Voyager amps, and will go into party mode as easily as quiet evening listening.

    [​IMG]IMG_8203 by mark leatherland, on Flickr

    But idle hands and no interest in my 12" Golds, I've hacked the Lancaster inspired cabs to Chatsworth proportions to see if its worth investing in nice cabinets.

    [​IMG]IMG_8224 by mark leatherland, on Flickr

    I've stuffed the port with obligatory towel and been rewarded. Looks like cabinet project wont go away...
  18. cooky1257

    cooky1257 pfm Member

    2 things, the DMTs are designed in such a way that stands should be touching the inner base panel and not the rear/baffle/ rails and your Gold cabs look like they are unlagged or is that just the pic?
  19. divedeepdog

    divedeepdog pfm Member

    The diy stands sit inside the rails, slab of granite there for height as much as anything while I’m faffing.

    The Golds are bare, they had glass fibre in there, previous owner stripped out. Foam panels in my basket but don’t want to spend too much if they’re gonna be rebuilt, just wanted to get a feel for the differences.

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