We met her for the first time at the annual Doelen Spring HiFi Show in our hometown of Rotterdam, in one of the hidden rooms tucked away from the rest of the exhibits. And start of the Tannoy Glenair review
From a corner, she stared at us. Her big brown eyes made an indelible impression. The sparkle of light in the middle of that mischievous glance gives away her lively personality. Her slender body is well-proportioned. Without being intrusive, she radiates classic beauty – classic in the sense of timeless elegance. The way she addresses us is mesmerising from the start.
Tannoy Glenair review
Even without knowing her better, there is instant ignition, a sudden cohesiveness. As she reveals more and more of herself during our brief first encounter, the desire to get to know her better grows and grows. We will try to make an appointment. She does not say no directly. She holds back. Later, she will contact us. With mixed feelings, we have to say goodbye for now.
On the one hand, there’s regret for leaving her behind; on the other, hope for a reunion persists. She will contact us. Hope says so as desire grows. Then we boldly contact her. Such an initiative can bounce back when perceived as pushy. Alas, we’re lucky, and she agrees to make an appointment. She will come to us for a closer acquaintance. Tannoy Glenair review
The days to follow pass by slowly. Even though she has little time, we want to make her visit as pleasurable as possible. We prepare and assemble all manner of things to please her when she comes. Our excitement grows as the day of her visit approaches.
The day is here. The doorbell rings, and she’s behind the door. She is, of course, Glennie, as we have christened her informally. Her full name is Tannoy Glenair, and she is a member of the Prestige line of the Scottish Tannoy loudspeaker family. Being the youngest offspring, she’s outspoken. The other members of the Prestige line feature a distinguished, sober, classic look. They can blend in any classically understated home decor with their exteriors finished in sedate walnut veneer and grill cloths in typical Anglo-Saxon tweed. Tannoy Glenair review
Glenair distinguishes herself with a nice light Cherry finish. Her presence is also different from other Prestige members by not being a square box. Instead, Glenair has a trapezoid shape, with the rear panel less comprehensive than the front baffle, hence tapered sides. As a result, the most severe internal standing wave modes scattered, and Glenair appears smaller than she is. It’s like a model doing the stop on the catwalk. Tannoy Glenair review
Fortunately, Glennie shares other typical Prestige characteristics, such as transducer configuration. All use a dual-concentric driver, from the smallest Mini Autograph to the immense Westminster Royal. But, lucky for her, Glenair is equipped with a massive 15-inch/38cm unit.
Fifteen-inch dual concentric loudspeakers remind us of days gone by – the period before transistors ruled and tube amplifiers of a handful of watts had plenty of power to drive high-efficiency loudspeakers. With an output of 95dB at 1 meter from a single watt, Glennie’s the sensitive type. A humble 300B-based 8-watt amplifier has enough oomph to party. Tannoy Glenair review
While Tannoy has remained loyal to high-efficiency loudspeakers that came with a cost, Glenair, however, signals a turn of the tides price-wise. For a very reasonable price in Europe, you can acquire an authentic Tannoy Prestige transducer doing 15 inches at 95 miles an hour – oops, 95dB/1w/1m.
Dual concentric describes a driver where the tweeter sits inside the middle of the mid/bass unit, which avoids stacked vertical arrays that place one driver above the other. You can easily spot the tweeter of Glennie as the shiny sparkle in her huge eye. The way Tannoy has perfected its coaxial transducers disables undue driver interactions.
The tulip-shaped waveguide of the tweeter acts as a quasi-horn to focus high frequencies. Here’s the strong point of a dual-concentric design. All sound propagates from one singular point in space rather than various origins in a vertical plane. As a point source, the listener’s experiences sound coherent and natural. For example, a singer’s voice comes from her voice box and mouth, which sit at a certain height. Her throat does not relocate to a lower point when her voice drops nor rises when she sings a higher note.
Even though a dual-concentric design can provide excellent integration, a crossover remains necessary to define the transition between both drivers. So Tannoy relies on the most straightforward possible network design for the Prestige line. A Hovland capacitor and an oversized coil separate the big unit from the tweeter. The Scotts also considered their hookup wiring – Acrolink silver-plated pure copper. But, again, simplicity and quality are the leitmotifs.
Time for Glennie to get undressed. Once in full naked splendour in the soft sunlight of the listening room, we can admire her fit and finish. Cherry wood has that internal warmth which suits nearly every style of interior. The tapered shape nicely disguises the actual size of 1.05 m high, 46 cm wide and 45 cm deep. Her weight of 45 kilos could be more robust as she slides smoothly across the carpet on four gliders. Once in her preferred spot, four black cones may be used to enhance floor contact. In the case of delicate flooring, several discs can help protect it.
Connecting Glenair from the back, bi-wiring is the way to go. Next to two pairs of heavy connectors, an unexpected fifth in the overall star formation provides grounding. Tannoy’s loudspeaker cable, aptly dubbed TLC, is equipped with a fifth wire for this grounding purpose. Working on Glennie’s back side, we find two ports to vent two internal compartments. Through one of the ports, the good-sized coil and capacitor of the crossover are visible.
First, we place Glennie roughly 50 cm from the front wall and a fair distance from the side walls. At 95dB, she is a good candidate for the Audio Note Meishu’s 8 watts. ’round front. Next, we have to make a decision: to veil or not to veil. The veil, in this case, is the brown-and-gold grill. The cloth on the grill is some woven metal wire and is strong indeed. We go for the full Monty. The grill magnets hide behind the baffle veneer to help to give Glennie her unmarred smooth look.
With the first CD in the player, we give it a go, looking Glennie fully into those big brown eyes with that special glimmer of the tweeter smack in the middle. From the first notes, it’s clear that this Tannoy oozes visual and musical relaxation. The total depth of an acoustic bass is presented without problems by that giant paper-pulp cone. Midrange tones, our most critical frequency range, benefit from the same naturalness and Glenair’s impressive capabilities to handle dynamics.
Moreover, the Scottish designers crafted their driver combo so it never gets into trouble, even at high SPLs. ‘Modern’ stiff cones of smaller Kevlar or metal diameter are no comparison to old-fashioned huge paper pulp cones whose giant magnets and voice coils keep it under control in conjunction with the cabinet dimensions.
High frequencies are free of edginess or sharpness. Tricky instruments like cymbals and saxes are reproduced with precision and are full of overtones. It’s remarkable how easily Glenair brings music to life in our 40 sqm room. Glennie loves all kinds of music.
We started with smaller acoustic settings before opening the drawer on heavier works. Glenair handles Hendrix, Zappa, or Miles live with ease. The party starts when we switch amps and use the Meishu as a preamp for the MOSFET/tube hybrid Moscode 401HR for review. With 200wpc on tap, our ears give out before Glennie signals a wrinkle of distress.
Extensive classical orchestral works pose no threat, nor does modern dance with its pounding electronic bass monotones. If dynamics are encoded on the recording, Glenair unravels them and brings them to life. And for best results, we used a toe-in of around 8 degrees, and the initial half-meter distance from the front wall proved a good guess for a rear-ported system.
Glenair is a loudspeaker that continues the great Tannoy dual-concentric tradition in a modern package. So you get a modern classic suitable for all kinds of music at a very reasonable European price. The natural representation, the dynamic qualities and the point-source design guarantee hour upon hour of musical delight without ever becoming tiring – but Glenair likes to be charmed with equally classy ancillaries. If you have enjoyed this ‘Tannoy Glenair review’, please share with friends and thank you for support
- Reviewers: Marja & Henk, 6Moons.com
- Review component retail: € 4999/pr
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