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Tannoy Speakers Over 80 Years of Audio Invention

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  #31  
Old 03-03-2020, 07:41 PM
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Nicely done. Thank you for your insights on the Arden.
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  #32  
Old 03-05-2020, 07:51 AM
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Excellent "review". Thanks for taking the time to do it.
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  #33  
Old 03-08-2020, 01:46 AM
merkinman merkinman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yakker View Post
I realize this is an old thread, but since there's not a lot of independent Legacy Arden information out there, I've included my thoughts which I've also posted on AK. I will add here that most of my critical listening is jazz, soul, modern R&B, and general working around the house music is alt rock.

Speakers I’ve owned recently include a restored pair of KEF 107s and the Spatial Audio M3. I also have a pair of Onix Strata Mini’s in my semi-vintage home office system.

I sort of lucked into a pair of the Legacy Arden back in October and to be honest, they weren’t on my radar up to that point. I was about to sell my Spatial Audio M3 (Turbo S) for the new Spatial X5 which feature a pair of 12” powered sub drivers. I loved the M3’s sound and open baffle design, but my room is so hard to get decent bass response out of. The listening area is only 14’x 17’ (in a 14’x 40’ main room) but has a max ceiling height of 18’ and open on one side to the entire rest of the house (including a second floor). In order to support the M3s, I employed a pair of 15” sealed subs and an SVS AS-EQ1 sub equalizer.

One thing that interested me in the Arden design is the 15” dual concentric design and its trio of front mounted ports. Since my set up is on the long wall of my room, I have plenty of width for a large, wide, speaker that is not too deep. Most of the modern “living room friendly” designs are narrow with a lot of depth…not to mention rear ported.

I have the Arden’s placed with their backs about 18” off the front wall and toed in so the axis crosses about 3’ in front of my head. This yields the best sound stage. I’ve experimented with them in many positions including flush to the wall and pointing straight ahead. This placement yields more bass, at the expense of sound stage in the sweet spot. The speakers are about 11’ apart and 11’ from my listening position.

The overall sound of the Arden in my system is best described as coherent and “full”. There is a weighty sound throughout the mid bass, and lower bass that has rendered my dual subs obsolete. I’ve since sold off the subs and EQ which helped justify the cost of the Arden’s. I was a little concerned about the ability for a 1” tweeter to blend well with a 15” woofer, but my concerns were unwarranted. The sound throughout the frequency range is sublime.

One of the professional reviews I’ve read on this Arden describes the overall sound to be on the warm side of neutral. I would agree with this assessment, but would add it’s more forward than laid back, which is how I would describe the KEF 107 (laid back). The Arden does not present a hyper-detailed , clinical sound. It is definitely on the lush side of the spectrum, but do not take this to mean the sound is mushy, instead, think of it as scale. There is a thrust and weight in the room that I’ve not experienced with any other speaker. There is no listener fatigue after long listening sessions. The danger in that is that I find myself sitting for longer periods than is healthy, so it’s self-loathing, rather than listener fatigue that forces me to grab my mountain bike and get out of the house.

Tune-ability.
Between the ported vents (which can be plugged), and the adjustable treble energy and roll off crossover, the Arden offers a lot of flexibility depending on your system’s front end. I experimented with both and have settled on no port plugs and tweeter adjustments at level.

One caution I would provide prospective buyers of the Arden is to closely consider the other gear in their system to ensure synergy. All of my listening is some combination of digital (CD, SACD, streaming). All are run through a Musical Paradise MP-D2 Mk2 tube DAC, a McIntosh C2300 (tube hybrid) pre amp, and either a Pass Labs XA30.5 (solid state) or VTA ST-70 (KT-66 tubes) amps. I can easily tune the overall sound with tube swaps in the DAC, and to a lesser extent the C2300. Both amps, at 30 and 35 watts respectively, drive the Arden with ease. The Pass provides a higher damping factor that result in more defined edges in the lower frequencies, where the ST-70 provides a slightly finer grain sound in the mid and upper frequencies (smoother if you will). Both are staying in the system, and I swap them frequently depending on my mood. If forced to choose, I’d keep the Pass, and will say I believe SS amps make for a safer pairing with the Arden. YMMV.

If I imagine a worst case scenario front end for the Arden’s it would be a vintage Dynaco ST-70 running EL34 tubes, an older Conrad Johnson tube pre, and a vinyl rig. I feel this combination would be like adding too much salt to a properly cooked meal. I feel Arden’s benefit from a little extra detail from upstream components. For tube guys, think more NOS Telefunkens and less NOS Mullards.

Nothing in life is perfect, and neither is this Tannoy. For the price, I would expect a wood finish that rises to the level of cost. They are beautifully constructed and (book match) veneered, but essentially come “ready to finish”. They provide a tin of wax, but it is not a suitable finish for long term protection. I tossed the wax and applied 4 coats of Watco Danish Oil. I suppose the upside is one gets to pick the final color and sheen. Heck, you could stain these in a JBL L100 orange stain if you wanted.

Both the spikes and feet provided are pretty basic and not befitting the price. That they’re constructed in Scotland, and not China is likely the main justification for the cost. I ended up making my own feet with threaded studs and hockey pucks (don’t laugh, they work). If Tannoy is going to cut corners, I’m glad they chose inconsequential, non-sonic areas like supplied footing and expensive finishes.

On WAF.
My wife has either said nothing, or downright criticized the speakers that have come through our home over the years. This was partially due to the fact I was teaming them with the aforementioned subs. “I hate all those boxes in the room”. I thought for sure she would hate the bulky looking Arden in person. I was smart enough to show her photos of beforehand. When I removed the M3s, subs, and put the Arden’s in place she walks in and says “These look nice, they look like furniture.” I was shocked. As they say… happy wife, happy life.

If you have any specific questions that I can help with, fire away.

I have had the Cheviots at home for an audition and find the midrange to be a bit dry and extremely detailed. This makes lots of recordings sound less than stellar. May have something to do with the monitor heritage.
Would love to hear your opinion on this.
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  #34  
Old 03-08-2020, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merkinman View Post
I have had the Cheviots at home for an audition and find the midrange to be a bit dry and extremely detailed. This makes lots of recordings sound less than stellar. May have something to do with the monitor heritage.
Would love to hear your opinion on this.
Dry midrange is definitely not a characteristic that I would associate with Tannoy heritage. Tannoy is the most sensitive speaker to upstream components of any speaker I've owned. A single cable change can make a major difference in the sound. I'd start there before making any final decisions.
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  #35  
Old 03-08-2020, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tweet View Post
Dry midrange is definitely not a characteristic that I would associate with Tannoy heritage. Tannoy is the most sensitive speaker to upstream components of any speaker I've owned. A single cable change can make a major difference in the sound. I'd start there before making any final decisions.
I've been breaking in a tube amp and the changes have been very noticeable. I think it finally turned a corner last night and the mids are sublime.
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  #36  
Old 03-08-2020, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merkinman View Post
I've been breaking in a tube amp and the changes have been very noticeable. I think it finally turned a corner last night and the mids are sublime.
Good to hear. They just get better and better with age.
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  #37  
Old 03-14-2020, 06:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merkinman View Post
I've been breaking in a tube amp and the changes have been very noticeable. I think it finally turned a corner last night and the mids are sublime.
Great to hear it was a break in issue. I have not experienced the dry midrange you mentioned. I do notice on some tracks the highs can be a little recessed, so I now run the treble level setting in the +2dB socket.

I would love to hear the cheviot at some point, i think I'd really enjoy them in my home office system.

Cheers!
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  #38  
Old 03-28-2020, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mulveling View Post
There is a tweeter "ringing"/static kind of distortion, which was resolved with a replacement tweeter diaphragm (it is a small-ish part that bolts onto the back of the large driver). Apparently that has been problematic across the line, not just the pepperpot models. But there are many "good" diaphragms that will never develop this issue. Tannoy should hopefully be able to supply these diaphragms, but it has been 5 years since the pepperpot SE line was discontinued, and GR diaphragms are not compatible. I have a couple of these in a drawer somewhere. But this is probably not your issue.

Then there is a woofer rattle, which could be caused by a woofer spider coming partially unglued -- which can be fixed by a good speaker tech, without driver replacement.

And then you could have a cabinet rattle, caused either by the "variable porting" rails not being snugly fit/secured (which is almost always a problem on Canterbury), or by some other wire or loose component getting energized in the cabinet and banging against a neighbor surface. The latter can be difficult to track down, but easily fixed if discovered.
Would you describe the tweeter ringing or static as sibilance? I've noticed sibilance on vocals is a bit pronounced with my Cheviots. There is also ringing, but I would say it is recording dependent. I'm starting to think it's just a characteristic of the speaker...just doesn't gloss over the sibilance.
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