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tech / rec.audio.high-end / Tannoy Westminster’s Audition?

SubjectAuthor
* Tannoy Westminster’s Audition?Tim Britt
`* Re: Tannoy Westminster’s Audition?Peter Wieck
 `* Re: Tannoy Westminster’s Audition?Tim Britt
  `- Re: Tannoy Westminster’s Audition?Peter Wieck

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Tannoy Westminster’s Audition?

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From: loveoldr...@gmail.com (Tim Britt)
Newsgroups: rec.audio.high-end
Subject: Tannoy_Westminster’s_Audition?
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2023 07:29:31 -0700 (PDT)
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 by: Tim Britt - Sat, 12 Aug 2023 14:29 UTC

Greetings all. I’m searching for someone who hopefully lives within a day’s drive from me (28694) who owns Tannoy Westminster GR OW speakers, and who would be willing to let me come listen to them. My wonderful wife likes their appearance (big sigh of relief 😉), but I want to hear a broken in pair without having to fly across the country to Upscale Audio in Los Angeles before I make the investment. I essentially live in BugFuck rural Appalachia, very close to where the NC/VA/TN state lines intersect.😎

[Moderator's note: you should also consider the forums at
www.audiosciencereview.com -- dsr ]

Re: Tannoy Westminster’s Audition?

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From: peterwie...@gmail.com (Peter Wieck)
Newsgroups: rec.audio.high-end
Subject: Re:_Tannoy_Westminster’s_Audition?
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2023 04:12:43 -0700 (PDT)
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 by: Peter Wieck - Mon, 14 Aug 2023 11:12 UTC

Below is the description from the manufacturer of this $27,000 + speaker.
a) Nowhere on their website could I find specifications or output curves - only the efficiency and power-handling capacity (line 2 below).
b) Similarly, neither dimensions nor weight.

With that in mind, please note the interpolations below. Please also understand that this is OPINON based on my experience with horn-loaded speakers in general. NOT INCLUDING these speakers. I have numbered the lines - my opinions are not numbered.

1. 2 way horn loaded floorstanding loudspeaker for large sized rooms
No issues here as a basic description.

2. Dual Concentric driver technology provides class-leading coherence and point-source imaging
OK - if it works. One would have to hear it in *THEIR OWN* setting to determine if this were a true statement or not.

3. 15" highly efficient driver with 99 dB/Watt sensitivity and 700 Watt peak power handling deliver breath-taking dynamics and realism
They are very efficient, and can handle a fair amount of power under normal conditions. A good start.

4. PepperPot WaveGuide powered by Tannoy Alnico magnet system enhances point source symmetrical dispersion properties
I understand and have experienced waveguides addressing (not necessarily solving) some of the inherent problems associated with horn speakers.

5. Aluminium-magnesium alloy diaphragm and Mylar surround compression driver delivers exceptional clarity and articulation throughout high frequency range
Certainly looks like a ridged system. A good thing.

6. Handcrafted oiled walnut veneered cabinet with hand-selected burr walnut inlays provides a unique and timeless piece of furniture
Pretty, then.

7. capacitors, low loss laminated core inductors and thick film resistors delivering a more natural and cohesive sound
Verging on snake oil.

8. bi-wireable binding posts to improve signal transmission and integrity
Absolute snake-oil.

9. Fifth binding post provides grounding to reduce radio frequency interference and improve midrange clarity
Highly refined snake oil.

10. High density birch ply cabinet provides extreme rigidity to control low frequency performance
Reasonable.

11. Front midrange horn and rear loaded compound low frequency horn provide exceptionally high sensitivity and dynamics
If they say so. No reason to doubt.

12. Extensive bracing incorporating DMT (Differential Materials Technology) to couple drivers to cabinets
So they had a structural engineer vet the design. Good idea.

13. Precision machined gold anodised aluminium metal trims complement the aesthetic of the real wood cabinet
Pretty.

14. Specially formulated Prestige wood wax provided to keep cabinet in pristine condition
Reminds me of "Corinthian Leather" (tanned in Jersey City, NJ.).

15. Tannoy - Over 95 years of British sound heritage and innovation
No comment.

I am entirely in agreement that you want to hear these speakers, and at some length and with a considerable variety of programming before plonking down your cash to purchase them. I would further advise that you listen to them in their final venue as well, not *JUST* somewhere else. Horn speakers are acutely sensitive to placement, at the least. I also suggest you audition a pair of Klipschorns, and others as well, I will even suggest heresy, and audition options from the Magnepan line. I take it as a given you have a large room and really want to fill it.

Leaping to conclusions:
a) You are looking for a 'lifetime" pair of speakers ideal to your situation. You are willing to spend whatever is necessary to achieve that - and you clearly understand that transducers are the last frontier/cutting edge of audio technology. Electronics are done-and-dusted, and have been for 50 years or more.
b) You owe it to yourself to actually test the options to this end. There is nothing worse than making such a decision with too little and incomplete information.

So: Please understand that unless you hear *those* speakers in *that* room with *these* electronics, you DO NOT have the necessary information to be even moderately sure that you are getting what you expect. This goes in spades with horn speakers. And being disappointed after a few days/weeks/months would be devastating. Certainly, auditioning a pair of your target speakers that have been in use for a while is a good start. But only a start.

Best of luck!

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA

Re: Tannoy Westminster’s Audition?

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From: loveoldr...@gmail.com (Tim Britt)
Newsgroups: rec.audio.high-end
Subject: Re:_Tannoy_Westminster’s_Audition?
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 by: Tim Britt - Wed, 16 Aug 2023 00:22 UTC

Some comments below on Peter’s response to my initial query.

On Monday, August 14, 2023 at 7:26:56 AM UTC-4, Peter Wieck wrote:
> Below is the description from the manufacturer of this $27,000 + speaker.
> a) Nowhere on their website could I find specifications or output curves - only the efficiency and power-handling capacity (line 2 below).
> b) Similarly, neither dimensions nor weight.

IMHO, Tannoy does a poor job of marketing themselves. Click https://www.pplaudio.com/documents/prestigegrbrochure.pdf for this information. I can only assume that its lack of a link to Tannoy reflects the organizational troubles Tannoy is currently experiencing.

The
>
> With that in mind, please note the interpolations below. Please also understand that this is OPINON based on my experience with horn-loaded speakers in general. NOT INCLUDING these speakers. I have numbered the lines - my opinions are not numbered.
>
> 1. 2 way horn loaded floorstanding loudspeaker for large sized rooms
> No issues here as a basic description.
>
> 2. Dual Concentric driver technology provides class-leading coherence and point-source imaging
> OK - if it works. One would have to hear it in *THEIR OWN* setting to determine if this were a true statement or not.
>
> 3. 15" highly efficient driver with 99 dB/Watt sensitivity and 700 Watt peak power handling deliver breath-taking dynamics and realism
> They are very efficient, and can handle a fair amount of power under normal conditions. A good start.
>
> 4. PepperPot WaveGuide powered by Tannoy Alnico magnet system enhances point source symmetrical dispersion properties
> I understand and have experienced waveguides addressing (not necessarily solving) some of the inherent problems associated with horn speakers.
>
> 5. Aluminium-magnesium alloy diaphragm and Mylar surround compression driver delivers exceptional clarity and articulation throughout high frequency range
> Certainly looks like a ridged system. A good thing.
>
> 6. Handcrafted oiled walnut veneered cabinet with hand-selected burr walnut inlays provides a unique and timeless piece of furniture
> Pretty, then.
>
> 7. capacitors, low loss laminated core inductors and thick film resistors delivering a more natural and cohesive sound
> Verging on snake oil.
>
> 8. bi-wireable binding posts to improve signal transmission and integrity
> Absolute snake-oil.
>
> 9. Fifth binding post provides grounding to reduce radio frequency interference and improve midrange clarity
> Highly refined snake oil.
>

I agree with you about points 7, 8, and 9, but many manufacturers& feel driven to add some snake oil to their product information. It falls on us to filter this out.

> 10. High density birch ply cabinet provides extreme rigidity to control low frequency performance
> Reasonable.
>
> 11. Front midrange horn and rear loaded compound low frequency horn provide exceptionally high sensitivity and dynamics
> If they say so. No reason to doubt.
>
> 12. Extensive bracing incorporating DMT (Differential Materials Technology) to couple drivers to cabinets
> So they had a structural engineer vet the design. Good idea.
>
> 13. Precision machined gold anodised aluminium metal trims complement the aesthetic of the real wood cabinet
> Pretty.
>
> 14. Specially formulated Prestige wood wax provided to keep cabinet in pristine condition
> Reminds me of "Corinthian Leather" (tanned in Jersey City, NJ.).
>

Perhaps Tannoy should recruit a Ricardo Montalbán clone to emphasize the “specialness’ of this wax.😉

> 15. Tannoy - Over 95 years of British sound heritage and innovation
> No comment.
>
> I am entirely in agreement that you want to hear these speakers, and at some length and with a considerable variety of programming before plonking down your cash to purchase them. I would further advise that you listen to them in their final venue as well, not *JUST* somewhere else. Horn speakers are acutely sensitive to placement, at the least. I also suggest you audition a pair of Klipschorns, and others as well, I will even suggest heresy, and audition options from the Magnepan line. I take it as a given you have a large room and really want to fill it.
>

Some additional relevant background info:

I’m retired and I’m extremely interested in purchasing new Tannoy’s that have Tannoy’s 15” coaxial driver. I’m somewhat considering the Ardens, but what has really seized my ears and eyes are the TOTL Westminsters. I’m not drawn to the Canterbury’s as both my beloved wife and I don’t care for its styling. Whilst unrelated, amplifier guru Nelson Pass uses 15” Tannoy HPD speakers as his reference (https://youtu.be/_n3ZJnzo1tY).

I recognize there’s a huge price difference between the Westminsters and the Ardens, but the 15” driver in the Arden makes me wonder if it is all close to the Westminster in sound quality? But from what I’ve been able to glean from assorted Tannoy comments on the web, the horn loading of the Westminster’s propels them into an extremely high level of “pressurizing” and “loading” a room unlike almost any other speaker/speaker design.

I first became aware of Tannoy whilst at university when I was working part-time in a good hi fi shop in Chapel Hill. We were actually storing a pair of Tannoys that were about the same size as the current Westminsters (this was in the late 1970’s) for a very good customer who was building a new home. I don’t remember the model name, and they had either the 12” or 15” coaxial driver.

Our customer was gracious enough to allow us to listen to them at will, and I have to say, IMO, they were significantly better sounding (to me) than any of the better speakers we sold. And this included the Infinity Servostatic electrostatic speakers, large Bozak floor standing speakers, Magnaplanar 1-D speakers, large JBL speakers, and the venerable Klipschorns, among others. These Tannoys just loaded and pressurized our primary demo room like no other speaker I’ve ever heard, and nothing I’ve listened to since has ever recreated the magic of the live sound that these large Tannoy’s produced in our demo room. Our shop didn’t sell Tannoys, so these were the only ones I’ve ever been able to hear. These Tannoy’s were far superior to K-horn’s in “pressurizing” the room and in low bass response, and this room was designed to show K-horn’s at their best.

Now, I’m going to have to make a purchase decision without being able to actually listen to new Tannoys. As for my location, I live in a very small town (3,500’ elevator) of approximately 1,100 hell-billies in a county with a total population of about 21,000 hell-billies.😲

The major industries here are meth labs, covert weed cultivation, moonshiners (yes, it’s still a thing here), and bluegrass music.😳

Believe it or not I actually chose to retire here from an extremely interesting (and stressful) career as a field operator for a well-known 3-letter US government agency. Why? If you’re not in the drug trade virtually no one bothers you, and no one becomes overly inquisitive about my background, particularly if I mention my former employers. And owning 20 or more firearms is quite normal here (if one owns NO firearms they are viewed here with great suspicion and ostracized).😎

I’m also ex-military special forces. Here, I’m considered just a mostly-normal (Though I wasn’t born here😟) local when I show up at the local shooting range with a variety of weapons chambered in domestic and international calibers.

So, back to audio. I have severe PTSD from my time in Southeast Asia, and listening to good music is therapy for me - I haven’t found any meds that work as well as a skillfully-recorded classical symphony, or classic rock from the 60’s and 70’s, or good jazz, or good bluegrass, and perhaps a wee dram of Laphroaig 10 or Laphroaig “Quarter Cask” 🙃.

My current system is B&W DM3000 speakers with a B&W HTM centre channel for the 20% of the time I view and listen to a movie. The DM3000’s were B&W’s TOTL domestic speakers in the early 80’s and they preceded B&W’s introduction of their 800 series of speakers. In my room, the B&W’s are flat down to 30Hz, and I have a couple of Bob Carver’s Sunfire subs for the infrasonics. For those interested, my system is listed at www.tinyurl.com/mcintoshrules

I intend to simplify my system and ditch the centre channel when I purchase new speakers. I don’t hear much of a difference now when I disable my center channel for movies, and I’ve read Tannoy’s 15” coaxial drivers have excellent dispersion, likely better than my current B&W’s. Although I did speak with a dealer in Scotland who told me that to-date, he’s actually sold three Tannoy Westminster L-C-R systems! Personally, I think using a Westminster as a centre channel is a bit of overkill!🙄

Now, I’m soliciting opinions here from those of you with 12” or 15” Tannoy coaxial speakers: If you view and listen to movies through your Tannoy’s, do you think a centre channel is necessary?🤩

Next, have you ever had an opportunity to compare Arden;s with Westminster’s? I’m mostly convinced nothing can surpass a Westminster in pressurizing a room whilst playing music (I attribute this to the complex bass reflex cabinetry design of the Westminster). But I’m curious if the Ardens can come somewhat close to the Westminsters in terms of pressurizing a room, or is the cabinetry of the Westminster really needed to accomplish this?😗


Click here to read the complete article
Re: Tannoy Westminster’s Audition?

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From: peterwie...@gmail.com (Peter Wieck)
Newsgroups: rec.audio.high-end
Subject: Re:_Tannoy_Westminster’s_Audition?
Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2023 09:24:25 -0700 (PDT)
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 by: Peter Wieck - Thu, 17 Aug 2023 16:24 UTC

Thank you for the link to actual Tannoy specifications. For the Westminster, if the curve is relatively flat, being down only 6dB at those extremes is impressive. Nor to I have any reason to believe that they are 'cooking the books' in any way. As you noted, they do add some flavoring of snake-oil here and there ("cryogenic"), but the specifications speak for themselves.

So: A little story - some years ago before I was married, I purchased a row-house in West Philadelphia at at time when gentrification had not quite gotten that far, for $17,500 in little-old-lady mint condition, from the little old lady who was born in the house. This was in 1978, and the house was built in 1895. Well, in the process of moving, my then quite modest audio system was stolen, which included two pair of AR speakers, the 3a and 10pi - all purchased used or remaindered (Sam Goody went out of business about this time, so I was getting stuff at $0.10 on the dollar). And, about that time, coincidentally, Dynaco was folding its tent out of its Blackwood, NJ factory. So, my leap-of-faith was to purchase a pair of just-introduced AR9 speakers at nearly-retail, and a complete Dynaco system (ST416, PAT5bifet, FM5, SE10) as kits from the factory for less than the cost of half-a-speaker - which were $1,200 at the time, and so new that they were not stocked anywhere. yet.

I was schooled to the Boston Sound, as exemplified by AR, and not the least bit disappointed. And, the 416 had more-than-sufficient power for the 9s - which fit nicely in a 16 x 27 x 10 room. Four years later, I got married, and 18 months after that, we bought a house together - she had kids and the Philly school system was not in the cards. That listening room was barely 15 feet square. So, the 9s went away.

I still keep AR speakers, and have an Athena sub-sat system in my office, playing presently, fed with Dynaco tube components (ST35/PAS3X/FM3).

I could tell a similar story resulting in my pair of Maggies in the main system today. Although the electronics are Revox and Harman-Kardon.

Point being that if you are pleased with a 'type' of sound, and find that that 'type' is consistently good across the years and the various lines from a speaker manufacturer - which you seem to be - that is not so much of a leap-of-faith. That you are in a position to make such a decision is a rare privilege (AKA: "First World Problem"). That one only lives once is even more suggestive. Lastly, you can't take it with you!

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA


tech / rec.audio.high-end / Tannoy Westminster’s Audition?

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