Tannoy cheviot

tannoy cheviot

Tannoy cheviot, a review 33 years too late

For the first time I have at home a pair of tannoy’s dual concentric speakers.

They are ugly and it’s done on purpose so you have to close your eyes while listening music.

I’ve got them two weeks ago and started to play them for couple of days and quite liked what I heard.

I had to take the cross over appart and realized that some capacitors where problematics. I changed them all for parts I had on hand (solen fastcap bypassed by a jensen copper in oil for bass and solen tin film and foil bypassed by a multicap polystyrene for highs). The rest was perfect and I just cleaned the rotary switches before installing everything back in the boxes. I also took time to clean the compression driver voice coil gap like I have to do from time to time to my lowthers.

Since the cross over refresh I’ve been listening to the cheviots non stop for a week. Ok I sleep and works some times but the speakers don’t.

My reference is custom made big fun horns (corner loaded back loaded horn) using lowther dx4. I don’t really search for replacement but I enjoy trying different gear from time to time. My place is unfortunately stuffed with speakers and amplifiers. I need to sell some but I much prefer buying than selling. I say my reference about the BFH simply because I’ve tried and listen to numerous thing so far and still keep the monsters at home. It may also have to do with the fact that it’s a very hard job to get the BFH outside my house.

Construction

The drivers are very impressive to looks at. Not only are they nice, the construction is of very high quality. Now the cheviot use the hpd 315 drivers with inverted foam suspension which need to be replaced every 15 or so years. The ones I have got recently new surround and I suspect it’s not the first time it as been done. On the back of the main cone there is some pieces of plastic in triangular shapes glued to reduce cone brake-ups which is the first time I’ve seen that on a driver.

The cheviot are in some way compromised in size at 65 litters from some simulation I made but still they are tuned close to 32hz without much aberration in frenquency response and very low group delay. The worst part of the cheviot, and probably for any tannoys of this era, is the cabinet construction. The boxes are made of thin press-wood of some sort (maybe low density fiber board) and  are vibrating likes crazy. While playing some double bass tracks and listening to side panels I can easily hear some bad resonance comming from wood panel junctions. From listening position I can also hear that from time to time.

Still, I tried to forgive the cabinet problems and listen to the speakers.

How do the oldies reproduce the precious ?

Much much better that you can expect from looking at them.

I really enjoy the 12″ driver abbilities to handle lower midrange with weight while keeping lots of details. Few commercial speakers I’ve heard recently are able to render properly this part of the audio spectrum and this seems to be the cheviot (or should I say hpd concentric drivers) strongest point.

The bass extension is there and it goes quite low but I get a little bit of the bass reflex one note characteristic. I’m not a big fan of bass reflex but I’ve heard so much worst than that and so far I can deal with it. It may also be simply the awful cabinets resonance problem or my room easy emphasis on this spectrum.

The dynamic is very good but not exceptional and I think 93-94db/1w/1m is a little low for my personal taste. I tried a 45 tube amp, a 2 watts otl, a passlabs aleph 5 and a gainclone. The gainclone and the pass helps a lot but the small 2 watts transcendant otl give some interesting results as long as you keep the volume level under control. I may hook up my pair of 845 tube amplifiers which should be a good match for the tannoys. The only problem is that it’s summer and the 845 heat up the room way too much for my taste.

The highs are a little bit laid back and they are quite good and never disturbing. I’m very sensitive to high frequency transducers and the compression drivers used in the concentric are good at what they do. My only real problem is the crossing point between the two transducer because I sometime hear a strange reproduction in some piano notes and been living with full range driver for some times it is very easy for me to pin point this kind of problem.

Going the active cross over with multi amplification way may be the solution for this issue and should also improve on dynamics. I may try it with a deqx soon if laziness doesn’t win.

The overall presentation is on the relaxed side a little bit “english” in presentation but compared to english harbeth, spendor and other if this type, the tannoys have a good level of immediacy and dynamic range while keeping the coloration under control.

The lower end is strong and impressive from the reduces size cabinets (by my standard) and they are very happy rendering electronic music which is sometime bass heavy.

On jazz, classical and big bands they do it right untile you try to reach the stupid volume level (probably 11 on the preamplifier) where you can feel some modulation of the high of frequency spectrum.

On vocal they are lovely and it’s pretty much what I was expecting. there is an emotional connection that happens much likes with my lowthers.

They can snap on double bass, give a somewhat realistic and powerful reproduction of brass and handle better bad recording than my BFH but they aren’t as forgiving than some low efficiency speakers I’ve heard over time.

I feel that they are in some way close to the intended studio sound of many recording.

Tannoy still produce their concenctric line of speakers under the prestige line and I understand why. I’ve heard the new production at some expositions and they are very good but I think they should had really improve the cabinets over time. They are nice but thin and resonant even in 2010.

VS the bigfunhorns

Would I permanently replace my bigfunhorns with the cheviots ?

Absolutely not with the cabinets used in the cheviots. But I can say the tannoys have a edge on the lowther for lower mid range reproduction. For the rest I still prefer the BFH but not by as much as I would had expected. I still listen to the cheviots after 2 weeks which is a very good sign after all.

What’s next

I want to try home a pair of tannoy’s westminster royal se !!!

I may build some solid GFR rectangular horns and try the driver in them. I really don’t know what to expect but reports from peoples who did it looks very promising. It’s said to improve the bass quality a lot and that is something I would like to hear. Adding that to a multi amp active cross over setup and maybe we are on to something great.

I will wait a little to see if laziness win. It almost aways win anyway …

BTW : if you realized that I have a pair of totem beak on top of the cheviots you win an internet. Sometime I put them on my microwave or my refrigerator but I keep them as an reminder of the past.

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16 Responses to Tannoy cheviot

  1. Tapajeurs says:

    Well if you build GRF corner, why not duplicate the process, or if you want to sell the cabinet after the process, i will be likely to help! keep up the good blog, i like what i read at the end of internet! Enjoy!

  2. Sylvain says:

    Si je les fabriques, je te tiens au courant.

  3. Tapajeurs says:

    L’objectif faire un bench SRM vs HPD dans le même type de caisson? je serais curieux de voir, ce que ça donnerait?

  4. Sylvain says:

    C’est un peu complexe.

    Je pourrais faire les caissons grf standard pour 15″ hpd mais ils ne seraient pas adaptés nécessairement à mes 12″. J’ai lu que la simulation est très similaire car après tout dans les hpd le 12 et et 15 ont des paramètres qui se ressemblent mais je ne sais pas quel point ce l’est. L’avantage est toujours que je peux upgrader a des 15″ en agrandissant simplement le trous.

    Pour les SRM ca se complique car la on parle d’un driver très différent sur papier.

    Si tu trouve des références de gens utilisant des SRM dans un caisson pavillon grf (je crois qu’il y a quelques itérations) laisse le moi savoir via des liens ou de l’info.

    Il me faudrait apprendre a utiliser le logiciel hornresp, ce serait utile. Y’a surement un horesp pour dummy sur amazon !

  5. Halli says:

    I have recently picked up (rescued) a pair of these from a local thrift store for the amazing price of $12.50 the pair ($25, but it was half-price day). I just grabbed them immediately, unheard. For that price even if they were completely shot it would still have been worth it just for the cabinets.
    They needed a new foam surround on one, and the other surround is hanging in there for a while, but I’ll probably change that out in a few months, too.
    Now that I have brought them home and managed to get them into my living room, the process starts to listen to them critically. So far, they’re very “live”, with very good imaging and a sense of placement of each instrument, but I should try to locate them a little closer together so I don’t get the “hole in the middle” effect.

    I have told “she who must be obeyed” that I will probably sell them (women – or at least my woman – doesn’t “get” this audio stuff – bless her lovely heart). She would be deliriously happy if my loudspeakers were as follows: Only 2 in number, and only the size of a box of Kleenex, or smaller, ideally in a colour that matches the drapes.

    I really need a good few days alone at home with no distractions to try out a lot of different recordings to appreciate their sound… they’re not like some of my other speakers in overall “signature”, but I’d like to get to know them for what they do, and also to adjust them to best suit my musical tastes and the listening room.

    I like your critique – very well researched and thoughtful… I’ll come back and add my thoughts sometime soon. Salut, et Joyeux Fête de Noël à la Francophonie!

    • Sylvain says:

      Hi,

      Very sorry for the delay and trouble I had with comments approbation.

      You made an amazing deal even if you add the cost of changing the surrounds.

      It’s very hard to evaluate the potential of the drivers but I feel that the cabinets car the big problem on these. I haven’t manage to build a pair of replacement cabinets yet but it’s still on my “never ending” list of to-do.

      Since december you probably had time to build yourself an opinion on the sound so let us know what you think.

      • Halli says:

        I have been listening to these quite carefully lately and I must confess I really like these speakers. On certain musical sources they really bring an immediacy to the music, and I can really understand Sylvain when he says he thinks this was likely the sound the recording engineers were striving for. I particularly like uptempo smooth jazz like David Benoit, Acoustic Alchemy, FourPlay, anything recorded by Narada or Windham Hill – really well recorded with the best studio technology available… these musicians really “come alive”. The bass extension is very good and very willing – but has to a minor degree that one-note thump (but it’s not objectionable, and who’s to say that most bass drums don’t have a peak somewhere around that near-infrasonic point anyway?).
        For what I paid, or 80x that amount I would still consider these to be amazing speakers. My comparison is my Celestion Ditton 66’s (an investment of another $15 and worth every cent) these are move “live”, seem to stretch and run with the music more. I love the Celestions too, but they seem a little more laid-back, can I say less “aggressive” or perhaps less “willing” to pop when the music pops. The horns seem to have it all over regular drivers for “immediacy”. I would say that the Celestions might be overall more accurate, but these are somehow more “fun” to listen to.
        Love them all – I have a really hard time letting go of good loudspeakers, so these will be among the last I’ll part with – they’ll probably go one pair to my son and one pair to my daughter.

  6. Greg Ohlback says:

    I have been using Cheviot’s for about 5 years now as recording studio monitors and I will NEVER use anything else. No need to check my mixes in the car or anywhere else. Don’t use ’em if you wanna kick arse – go get Bose, but these are the truest speaker I’ve ever used. LIKE!

  7. Crane says:

    Greg, What power amp are you using with your speaker please?

    I am struggling to get my Crimson 620c repaired and may need replacement or improvement. Any advice on suitable amps for Cheviot 315’s would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Crane…

    • Greg Ohlback says:

      Crane – Sorry for the late reply! – It’s a Yamaha AX-392. 90% of my music is recorded bands. Again – I will NEVER use anything else unless the Tannoys disappear one day. Arggggggg. I sit close to them (Near-field monitoring) and they are approx. 1.5 mtrs apart.

  8. Je vais terminer de voir tout ça ce soir

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  10. Chris Fairfowl says:

    I bought my Cheviots new about 1976 for £600, had the Lockwood Midas touch a few years back £350 due to the surrounds deteriorating and they are still sending shivers up and down my spine especially while watching a Blu-ray Movie. Friends find it difficult that they produce the sound they do considering all that is driving them is a Leak Stereo 20 valve power amp (power meaning 20 Watts per channel) from DAC and QUAD 34 pre-amp.
    Price is relative but I would guess a similar quality pair of speakers would cost these days about £1000 or more so you pay your money and take your choice – age shouldn’t come into it really.
    The cabinets and drivers etc. are in mint condition and I wouldn’t let them go for less than £1000 but I’m keeping them.

  11. Phil says:

    By-pass rotorary switches?

  12. Phil says:

    It’s a compromise

    ‘ On the back of the main cone there is some pieces of plastic in triangular shapes glued’

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