Tannoy – Which is the best open or closed

Tannoy loudspeakersTannoy loudspeakers are one of the most respected and sought after loudspeakers in the world and in my opinion have the best sound for all musical needs.

Tannoy was founded by Guy Fountain in England in 1926 and has been based in Scotland, since the 1970s but times are changing for Tannoy.                   Read more

The system

15" HPDMy first taste of Tannoy was many years ago when I was visiting a friend in the United Kingdom.

My friend took me into his music room to show me his latest acquisition, which was a pair of Tannoy Berkeley’s. The units had been built in 1970 but were in very nice condition and fitted nicely into his room.  Read more


Esoteric amplifier

The amplifier was made by a Japanese company called Esoteric and the model was the Esoteric A1-10, which I knew  from past experience to be a really great sounding amplifier.  Read more


DV 60 CD player

The Source machine was again from the same company and the model was the Esoteric DV-60. The DV-60 is a really great sounding CD/DVD player and this player was my first introduction into the world of Hi-end audio.  Read more


I thought the speakers seemed a bit on the small size for the room but my friend was an audiophile for many years and if he was showing me his system I figured that it must sound good but speakers build in 1970?

I was very interested to hear the sound because in all my years of being involved with music and audio I had never heard a pair of Tannoy loudspeakers before.

The sound

Tannoy Berkeley speakers in UKMy friend inserted a CD, which was one of the classics from Dire straights and pressed play. I think the only word that comes into mind as I write this was OMG!

The sound coming from those 1970 Tannoy cabinets shocked me in such a way I will never forget that experience. I have never heard such a rich full bass. The sound had so much detail and was alive and it was a real joy to listen to.

The next step

When I returned to Lithuania I decided that I had to find a pair of Tannoy loudspeakers because I wanted to have that Tannoy sound in my apartment. I searched everywhere but could not really find anything in Lithuania so I decided to ask some of my friends if they could help me. As luck would have it, a friend of a friend was getting married and so wanted to sell his Tannoy Edinburgh’s to raise money for his wedding.

EdinburghsTannoy Edinburgh

Tannoy Edinburgh’s have a 12″ driver so one would not expect the same response from a 15″ driver that the Tannoy Berkeley’s had. I though as the cabinets were bigger, it must sound good. The Loudspeakers arrived in the Tannoy shipping boxes and they were in really fantastic condition. They were made in 1997 and had a cabinet volume of 200 liters and fitted perfectly into my room.

The set up

Best loudspeakersI set everything up the best way I could and used the same CD from Dire straights that I had heard in the United kingdom. I was using an amplifier from Esoteric, which was the Esoteric I-03 and the CD/SACD player was again from Esoteric and was the Esoteric X-03. Read more

The cables in my system were from the Nordost Valhalla series because I liked the sound these cables gave. Read more

The sound

I inserted the CD and pressed play and went back to my listening position and sat down ready to hear what these beautiful Tannoy loudspeakers would sound like.

The sound was very full and life like with excellent detail and soundstage but was indeed lacking at the bottom end. This was my first listening session with Tannoy loudspeakers in my apartment in Lithuania and now I wanted to improve the sound and decided to look for something a bit different.

Open baffle

Open baffle"Open Baffle" is becoming more popular in  recent years and is always a good topic for discussion between audiophiles. Some seem to love the idea and others hate it so I thought why not?

Some of the open baffle systems are really works of art and seem very futuristic. Read more.

I decided to build an Open Baffle system for myself just to see how good it could sound and if, I would like what I heard.

The first step

I started this experiment by taking a very nice old pair of Wharfedale Dovedale 3 speakers that I had for years and sounded very good in the enclosures they were in. The Wharfedales are a very nice sounding speaker and have a very wide range so were very well suited for this purpose and I was eager to see what all the OB fuss was about.

"Open Baffle"The first step was to build my OB and for this I used a sheet of 25 MM MFD, which I obtained from our local hardware store and they were able to cut the driver holes and the sizes that I had specified. Getting the materials was easy and I returned home to carry on with The Baffle build.

Next, I had to assemble all the pieces together and this was done just by simply screwing the four sections together. I was interested to hear what it would sound like with the drivers in place and this was a temporary measure and if I liked what I heard then I would carry on with the glue.

My next step was to fix the bass driver, the midrange driver and the tweeter securely to the baffle and this was done simply by screwing the three components directly on to the Baffle. Afterward, I was able to fit the crossovers and the termination box, which was by screwing to the base of the Baffle with the correct size screws. Next came the wiring and I was able to use the same wiring as was in the original cabinets but had to be very careful not to cross any of the wires as phase was important!



OpenThe next step was to do cover the front of the OB with a material, which was transparent so the sound would be able to pass through. The material also had to have a nice color so it would fit into the room and not look out of place. This was done with material taken from the local curtain shop and you would be surprised just how many shades of brown there are!!!

I was able to fit the material to the Baffle with the help of an industrial staple gun and I went on very smoothly and I was able to start at the top and work my way down and pull it tight to give the material an easy path for the sound to pass.

The next thing I did was to add some wooden surrounds to the Top, sides and bottom of the Baffle and this gave it a very nice look and even had a professional look I was told!


The sound

I must say I was very surprised to hear how different the system now sounded and I will try to give you an honest evaluation.

The first thing that I noticed was the air and space the music now presented. Gone was that boxy sound and here was now a very open and inviting sound. The bass was rich and full, all the highs were in place and there was a much more lively feel to everything. I was impressed and really excited to hear this transformation. The music also had a somewhat 3D effect to it and this I had not noticed before when the drivers were in the original cabinets. So this was a real improvement in sound and I liked what I heard!


Will I ever go beck? This is a good question but in all honestly I was so impressed that I have decided to take it a step farther and find a pair of 15″ Tannoy drivers and build a very good set of Open Baffles. I will then do a test using the same drivers in the OB configuration and then put them into a 300 Liter enclosure and will let you know the results very soon.


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