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Tannoy Speakers Over 80 Years of Audio Invention

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  #1  
Old 01-10-2019, 12:01 AM
Sonic Guild Sonic Guild is offline
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Default Kensington vs GRF 90

I am in between the Kensington or GRF 90

room 15 x 22 x 9

What is the difference in terms of sound signature?
Kensington is 3000 cheaper but not quite sure which one to get!
How come is the GRF more open and has more resolution but there are only 90 speakers of it. In other words, why would Tannoy make a better resolution speaker in a limited edition? If it is so good why it is not replacing any older Tannoy speakers?

Can someone compare the Kensington to Sonus Faber or Focal?

Thanks

Last edited by Sonic Guild; 01-10-2019 at 12:17 AM.
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  #2  
Old 01-10-2019, 02:21 AM
mulveling mulveling is online now
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GRF 90 is no longer limited - it's been a regular production part of the Prestige lineup fo a while now.

I owned Kensington SE (prior version to GR) before upgrading to Canterbury SE and then Canterbury GR. I've also auditioned Yorkminster SE in my system, which at least on paper - if not cosmetically - is sort of the GRF 90 predecessor. All of these model Tannoys should do very well in your room size.

The Kensington SE had a wonderful midrange, which I preferred to Yorkminster. The Kensington's weakness is that it struggles to fill a larger room with bass, and will start to sound a little lean and anemic down low as you stretch it thin with room size. In your room, with properly matched amplification, I think you should be OK. Furthermore, the GR series's updated woofer cone should help here too.

The Canterbury has an even slightly sweeter midrange than Kensington, plus a bigger lifelike image - it better projects the perception of performers on the stage in front of you. And it's amazing with classical/orchestral music. The Canterbury SE model's main weakness was treble extension, by far. The GR series brought a BIG improvement there.

The Yorkminster SE had the best bass out of all of these. No question. Look at the extension spec on the Yorkie and the GRF 90 (about the same); though that extra 5-6 Hz lower (to 23 Hz) than Kensington/Canterbury doesn't look like much, the audible difference was HUGE! The 12" driver, in that cabinet size, with a more traditional reflex port seems to impart a large advantage in bass vs. the distributed port system of the others. And you'd think the 15" driver of the Canterbury would give it a bass advantage over the 12", but it doesn't work out that way. But also, the Yorkminster didn't have as rich/sweet a midrange as Canterbury/Kensington. And it probably has the biggest soundstage, but it's not as lifelike a presence as Canterbury, again. Believe me, I wish like anything I could magically graft the Yorkminster's bass extension onto my Canterbury GR - it would be my perfect speaker! But with the models as they are, the Canterbury GR is still by far my favorite overall. My dealer also strongly recommends Canterbury GR over GRF90, though I haven't hear the latter myself.

Btw you can find great deals on the black-ash Kensington GR's right now; makes them a LOT cheaper than the GRF 90.

I've only heard Focal Sopra 3's of the other brands you listed, and in my dealer's system. I LIKED them a lot! Great speakers. However, I firmly remain a Tannoy man!

Last edited by mulveling; 01-10-2019 at 02:27 AM.
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  #3  
Old 01-10-2019, 06:33 AM
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Higgens Higgens is online now
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One of the major differences between the two Tannoy’s is the GRF90 is rear-ported while the Kensington has it’s ports in front like the rest of Tannoy’s Prestige line. Front porting simplifies speaker placement which I think is a big advantage.
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  #4  
Old 01-10-2019, 10:43 AM
Sonic Guild Sonic Guild is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mulveling View Post
GRF 90 is no longer limited - it's been a regular production part of the Prestige lineup fo a while now.

I owned Kensington SE (prior version to GR) before upgrading to Canterbury SE and then Canterbury GR. I've also auditioned Yorkminster SE in my system, which at least on paper - if not cosmetically - is sort of the GRF 90 predecessor. All of these model Tannoys should do very well in your room size.

The Kensington SE had a wonderful midrange, which I preferred to Yorkminster. The Kensington's weakness is that it struggles to fill a larger room with bass, and will start to sound a little lean and anemic down low as you stretch it thin with room size. In your room, with properly matched amplification, I think you should be OK. Furthermore, the GR series's updated woofer cone should help here too.

The Canterbury has an even slightly sweeter midrange than Kensington, plus a bigger lifelike image - it better projects the perception of performers on the stage in front of you. And it's amazing with classical/orchestral music. The Canterbury SE model's main weakness was treble extension, by far. The GR series brought a BIG improvement there.

The Yorkminster SE had the best bass out of all of these. No question. Look at the extension spec on the Yorkie and the GRF 90 (about the same); though that extra 5-6 Hz lower (to 23 Hz) than Kensington/Canterbury doesn't look like much, the audible difference was HUGE! The 12" driver, in that cabinet size, with a more traditional reflex port seems to impart a large advantage in bass vs. the distributed port system of the others. And you'd think the 15" driver of the Canterbury would give it a bass advantage over the 12", but it doesn't work out that way. But also, the Yorkminster didn't have as rich/sweet a midrange as Canterbury/Kensington. And it probably has the biggest soundstage, but it's not as lifelike a presence as Canterbury, again. Believe me, I wish like anything I could magically graft the Yorkminster's bass extension onto my Canterbury GR - it would be my perfect speaker! But with the models as they are, the Canterbury GR is still by far my favorite overall. My dealer also strongly recommends Canterbury GR over GRF90, though I haven't hear the latter myself.

Btw you can find great deals on the black-ash Kensington GR's right now; makes them a LOT cheaper than the GRF 90.

I've only heard Focal Sopra 3's of the other brands you listed, and in my dealer's system. I LIKED them a lot! Great speakers. However, I firmly remain a Tannoy man!

Thanks a lot!

I care the most about image and soundstage with dynamics.

I am surprised that u didn’t find the Focal bright and enjoyed it. How it is compared to the Kensington?

I do have a pair of REL 5 subs, will this make the Kensington complete with no issues at all?

I am looking for a soeaker that doesn’t make me feel wanting to upgrade for a loooong time. What brought me to the Tannoy’s territory is the dual driver but never heared Tannoy before.
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Old 01-10-2019, 11:29 AM
Sonic Guild Sonic Guild is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Higgens View Post
One of the major differences between the two Tannoy’s is the GRF90 is rear-ported while the Kensington has it’s ports in front like the rest of Tannoy’s Prestige line. Front porting simplifies speaker placement which I think is a big advantage.
Did not know about the ports thing, thanks!

I am wondering why I can't find good amount of published reviews and comparisons between the Kensington and other brands like Focal.

It sucks when you live in the middle of no where and there is no dealers to do serious speakers audition
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Old 01-10-2019, 02:09 PM
mulveling mulveling is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic Guild View Post
Thanks a lot!

I care the most about image and soundstage with dynamics.

I am surprised that u didn’t find the Focal bright and enjoyed it. How it is compared to the Kensington?

I do have a pair of REL 5 subs, will this make the Kensington complete with no issues at all?

I am looking for a soeaker that doesn’t make me feel wanting to upgrade for a loooong time. What brought me to the Tannoy’s territory is the dual driver but never heared Tannoy before.
If at all possible I would strongly encourage auditioning one of these Tannoy speakers before purchase. The Tannoy dual-concentric sound is something that presents itself as very special for some audiophiles (like myself), but not for others - just due to differences in the way we hear and evaluate sound. I started out from high-end headphones in the early 2000's, and other speakers I'd been purchasing/auditioning at the time generally sounded like an incoherent, non-musical mess - i.e. bad hifi designed (at best) to show off sonic special effects and Diana Krall albums; God help you if you wanted to thrash out to rock or even heavy metal.

The first time I heard the dual-concentric was Tannoy Eyris DC3 (very compact floor-stander, much like the Revolution series today) driven by a PS Audio HCA-2 (class D), and it blew me away how coherent, musical, and natural it sounded. It had all the coherence of single-driver high end headphones, but with the full soundstage and tactile bass of speakers. I got minted as a Tannoy fan for life at that time, though I didn't fully realize it yet.

Some folks run subs with Tannoys (even Canterburys!) and love them, but I haven't tried it yet. That setup with Kensington GR could be really really nice! I kind of like that idea. Without subs, I think the decision of GRF90 vs. Kensington/Canterbury will come down to a choice between better bass performance vs. more beautiful midrange, due to the porting differences (extrapolating from my experience with the Yorkminster).

I've read about treble/brightness issues with the Focal tweeters, but it did not vex me when I heard the Sopra 3's or owned Utopia headphones. That said, they are NOT a relaxed sound, and I could see it potentially causing fatigue in a long session. To be fair the Tannoys can have a bit of a slightly "hot" spot somewhere in the low/mid treble region; I think this is caused by the horn. It can exacerbate harsh recordings. You can mitigate it somewhat with gear matching and setup - but generally I find Tannoys to be exceeding musical and non-fatiguing. And also to be honest, I think these modern speakers with high-tech tweeters/drivers are generally going to eclipse the Tannoys in soundstage size. Also look at current Vandersteens for large soundstage.

Unfortunately it is tall task for us audiophiles find a "perfect" speaker. Tannoy Canterbury GR is the compromise that worked wonderfully for my ears & budget.

Last edited by mulveling; 01-10-2019 at 02:16 PM.
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  #7  
Old 02-18-2019, 03:53 AM
kingofstoneage kingofstoneage is offline
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Hi, i just switched from an new Arden Legacy to a new Kensington GR. WOW what a step up in soundquality. The Kensington has also a very good bass response which goes deeper than the Arden. The Highs and Mids are a different league. I am glad i stepped up in the Tannoy family. The Kensington plays well with my McIntosh MA9000 integrated amp.

Last edited by kingofstoneage; 02-22-2019 at 04:49 PM.
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  #8  
Old 02-18-2019, 02:53 PM
mulveling mulveling is online now
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Very nice, and interesting findings! The Kensington GR is a beautiful speaker. I'd been curious about the Legacy series, which looks really nice, but it appears there are still major benefits to the Prestige line, particularly the pepper-pot/alnico DC models (which starts at the Kensington).
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