Bass or rather lack of it has always been a problem in the audiophile world. And in most cases is hard to get correct amount of bass and the way you want your system to sound so the question remains ‘How to improve the bass?
The Tannoy Edinburgh is a beautiful looking enclosure and the subject of much discussion in the audiophile world. I have written this blog ‘How to improve the bass’ simply to share my findings and what I did to improve my system sound.
Over the years I have owned many models, from the Berkeley, Arden, SRMx15, Turnberry, Glenair, Edinburgh, GRF’s, and Kensington. I have also listened to many other Tannoy loudspeaker systems and every system is different and has it’s own sound.
My Edinburgh’s looked great but felt the crossover that came with them was not really up to par. And would not allow the enclosures to respond in the way I wanted. I decided to look for a replacement crossover, hence this story of ‘How to improve the bass’.
The Driver – 3149
The Tannoy 3149 12″ driver with Alinco magnets as fitted to the Edinburgh enclosures. The enclosure came with a crossover that was first order HF and first order LF and set to crossover at 1200 Hz. The driver had a frequency response of 28 Hz to 25Khz and a sensitivity of 94db.
How to improve the bass
The first crossover
The first crossover I found (with the help of eBay) was build by enthusiast who lived in Romania. The crossover employed top of the range components and crossed over at about 1K. I exchanged several emails with the owner who was able to answer all my questions perfectly and had great experience in crossover building.
After two weeks of waiting the crossover finally arrived. I was very excited and connected it up just as quickly as I could and sat down to listen. Unfortunately the crossover did not make any bass improvement so contacted the person who said “let in burn in for a week”. This I did, the sound did improve but certainly did not live up to my expectations!
The second crossover
The second crossover was hand built by a Tannoy expert who lived in London. I found the gentleman from a friend of a friend who like me is a Tannoy lover. It was an absolute pleasure to meet this person and again we shared many emails. The build took over three weeks and another month before the crossovers finally arrived.
The components used were ‘Best of the best’ and assembled very well. The Capacitors were supplied by ‘ClarityCaps’ and Inductors supplied by ‘Mundorf.’ The crossover frequency was set to 1.2K. The cabling was pure silver and the mounting boards were hardwood.
I was very excited when I unpacked this crossover and connected it up as quickly as I was able. I pressed play on my CD player and listened. The sound I heard was so much better than anything before. The difference in clarity made a big impression. There was a much improved sound stage and I heard more details. But even though the bass had improved I still wanted more!
The third crossover
The third crossover was from the Tannoy professional series and supplied by a company know as ‘Mainly Tannoy’ from Hampshire in the United Kingdom. The owner is Mark (who has great experience with Tannoy crossovers). I got to know Mark very over the following two weeks as we exchanged emails and telephone conversations.
After three weeks, the crossovers finally arrived and the installation complete. But to cut a long story short, I was still missing the depth I was looking for. I decided to get involved and get my old trusty soldering iron warmed up. The two small lamps and connecting resistors had to go. After the removal the crossover was stalled into the enclosure. I used a studio-grade cable to connect the drivers to the crossovers and actually soldered the cables directly.
One of my very good friends has a pair of Tannoy Autographs fitted with 15″ monitor Gold drivers. The Autographs have a simply amazing sound and I have spent many hours with my friend listening to his varied collection of CD and Vinyl.
All modifications were done in my friends listening room because I think he is just as crazy as I am with trying to find the best bass. As you can see, my Edinburgh’s look very humble sitting next to the Autograph’s and I wondered how they would sound this time around!
It only took a few bars of music to hear how the Edinburgh’s sounded. They had clarity in the upper regions plus the rich middle tones the ‘Pepper-pot’ driver is famous for. The bass was now in another league and the best I have heard from my Edinburgh’s. My friend totally agreed and was impressed to say the least of the power and performance the Edinburgh enclosures were able to deliver. The next step is positioning the speakers!
If anybody ever says to me “The Edinburgh has no bass” I will stand up and tell them this story because it shows exactly what a bit of perseverance and a crossover change can do!
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