In the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown, I found myself in need of some new studio monitors. I did not want to spend too much money, but I did not want rubbish either. Champagne taste and Coke budget you could say. I was aware of these new Tannoy Gold series monitors and with memories going right back to their hay day in the 1970s and 1980s, Dual Concentric Tannoy Monitors left a lasting impression on me.
If you have never had the pleasure of hearing the older Tannoy Dual Concentric Monitors from that period, then you have missed out. It was not that they were the last word in accuracy, but more that you could listen to the things all day without fatigue, and the sound stage from those dual concentric drivers is just amazing, at least that is how I remember them.
Trouble is, I have a real problem with Tannoy having been consumed by the music giant Behringer, or should I say their parent company Music Tribe. Plus, with the manufacturing of these monitors being done in China, it kind of ruins the British Speaker heritage in my mind. I figured, how good could they be? They are just cashing in on Tannoy’s great heritage, by making a speaker that looks like Tannoy of old, I doubt it will sound anything like the old Dual Concentric monitors right?
With all of that in mind and having decided on the Tannoy Gold 7 as the right one for my needs, I ended up passing on them, and decided to buy a pair of Danish made Dynaudio LYD7 monitors. Sure, they cost a lot more, but I wanted a quality studio monitor and would find the extra coin somehow. The trouble was of course, because of the COVID-19 lockdown, there were no LYD7s in the country, in fact most monitors had sold out. I guess there were a lot of bored musicians at home who decided it was time for new monitors!
The only speaker that was in stock due to a recent shipment arriving, were the Tannoy Gold 7s. I decided after much deliberation, to buy them ‘for now’ and to offload them when the Dynaudio LYD7s came back in stock later in the year. So when the Tannoys arrived, I made sure to keep the boxes so that I could ship them out when the time came.
The Tannoy Gold 7 monitors are a powered studio monitor with a 6.5″ dual concentric driver, bi-amplified with 300 watts of total power. So what exactly is a dual concentric driver I hear you say? In simple terms it is a bass driver with a tweeter in the centre between the bass drivers voice coil. In this case, it is a titanium 1″ tweeter with a Tulip Waveguide.
The main advantage of this dual concentric design is that it allows the engineers to time align the tweeter by the distance it sits back within the bass driver, and of course it provides a single point source, which is why these speaker designs image so well.
The front baffle also includes an input trim and high frequency trim which makes it very easy to set these speakers up. The bass driver can also be adjusted but that is found on the back of the speaker which is less convenient, but once adjusted should not need to be touched again.
Surrounding the input and high frequency trim controls on the front, is the bass porting. I always prefer to have front ported speakers, particularly when I am using them in a nearfield desk setup as I am with these Tannoys. Being front ported allows for the speakers to sit further back to the wall than a rear ported design and is less prone to bass boom in my setup.
Upon arrival, I found myself quite surprised by how heavy these monitors are, and at 9.4kg they are every solid indeed. Now when I first got the speakers out of their shipping boxes, I was rather relieved to see that the build quality is quite nice. The cabinets are covered in a textured vinyl that feels not unlike brushed aluminium to the touch. The front baffle is a matte black paint. The trim controls and the surrounding plate all feel solid and nice to the touch too.
I set the Tannoys up on a pair of Auralux MoPads to minimise the sound waves from the speakers resonating the desktop. I left the bass roll off at 0dB as well as the front panel high frequency trim to 0dB. After connecting the XLR inputs to my audio interface, I then started to listen.
After being relatively happy with the build quality of the Tannoy Gold 7s, I was very keen to hear them. With memories of the old Tannoys swimming aorund my head I started listening. My initial impressions were one of close but not exactly as I remembered them to be. Knowing that speakers require a burn in period, I then decided to play music through them all day for the next few weeks before judging them.
As the weeks went by the Tannoys started to smooth out that top end which was a little brittle at first. After three to four weeks they settled in very nicely. I decided to roll off the top end with the high frequency trim control to the -1 setting. I sit very close to these speakers so high frequency attenuation is to be expected really, it is not a fault of the speaker being too bright, I would need to do the same with any speaker really.
Bass extension in my setup was excellent and did not need to be attenuated at all. The bass is not woolly sounding at all either, it is tight and solid, just the way I like it. The very low frequencies are clearly being electronically rolled off to protect the 6.5″ bass driver but this only rears it head on the occasional track with sub-sonic lows. For everyday monitoring use, this should not present itself as a problem.
After owning these Tannoy Gold 7s for about six weeks now, the question remains; do I still want to offload them and buy the Dynaudio LYD7s? The simple answer is, just last week I threw out the boxes for the Tannoys, they are staying. The Tannoys have mellowed nicely over the weeks and they truly do hark back to the good old days of Tannoy monitors in the 1970s and 1980s just as I remember them.
In terms of accuracy, who knows, does it matter? Certainly not for the work I am doing with them and if it did, I would have a pair of ATC monitors on my desk. I did do a mixing job with them after I had them for about two-three weeks and that mix translated to my mastering guys ATCs very well, that in and of itself should be recommendation enough.
The thing is I can listen to the Tannoys all day without fatigue, they cost about the same as a midrange driver for the ATCs (literally) and suit my needs very well. The Dynaudio LYD7s may well be better in terms of pure accuracy, but I may never know now, I am satisfied with these Tannoys and look forward to them being on my desk for years to come.
If you spend hours a day in front of your studio monitors, and find yourself being fatigued at the end of the day, or your mixes are not translating well, you owe it to yourself to get down to your local dealer and audition these monitors. Just make sure they are well and truly burnt in. Very highly recommended.