Last week I took delivery of Tannoy Eyris
3's (fronts/2 ch), Eyris C center, and Eyris 1's (rears). The enclosures are wrapped in very nice American walnut. They are beautiful, and definitely fall in the good furniture category. Enclosures are 18mm mdf, with 30 mm baffles throughout the range. Bookshelf and center use 6" paper cones, while the floorstanders have two 7" paper cones. The tweeters are a titanium dome with a -6dB point of 44kHz.
I ran them in over the weekend, although they didn't sound too bad out of the box. For the rears, I am using Sanus 26" steel stands, each loaded with 12 1/2 pounds of #7.5 lead shot (they will accommodate a total of 25#). Spikes front and rear. For the fronts I am using Canare 4S11 biwire cables, all 6' runs. For the rears, just plain old 14 gauge in 20' runs, and the included Tannoy jumpers, which appear to be 12 gauge. For multi channel, an SVS PB12-ISD is used. Powering the setup is a B&K 200x5, and a Marantz SR5400 acting as pre/pro. All two channel listening was done using the source direct feature on the Marantz, which bypasses any additional processing and just feeds the signal to the amp. After some experimenting, the mains were positioned 7' apart, 2' from the back wall, and 3 1/2' from the side walls. I settled on a very slight toe in, putting the intersection of the tweeters at a point just behind my head from my seating position 8' away from them. The Eyris line utilizes an unconventional binding post configuration
The fifth post is for a ground cable. Since my amp didn't have a ground post on it, and since I felt the benefit I would receive from utilizing it wouldn't pay for the effort of hooking them up, I opted to pass on the ground connections until a later date.2 channel
I have been enjoying the Spanish band Ojos de Brujo
of late, so I popped in their latest cd Techari
. The Tannoys rendered every last detail of the percussion on this cd, which made me realize that I am used to hearing speakers blur the percussion, mixing it to a certain extent. Each percussive sound was distinct and seperate, and locked into it's own space in the sound stage. Acoustic guitar was holographic, and I think for the first time I experienced the "air" around notes that gets used in describing loudspeakers a lot. There was a very good sense of the initial attack of the finger on the strings, and the modulation of tone and volume from attack through decay was spectacular. I was a guitar/bass player in another life, so I have an inkling of how these instruments are supposed to sound. Lastly, the soundstage surprised me by being larger than the physical space between the speakers, with good (but not the best I've heard) depth. So far, so good. Great imaging, good soundstage, and the best reproduction of acoustic guitar I've ever heard.
I listened to some rawer material, just to see how they rocked. After a session of The Jam
, Dream Theater
, and some Skinny Puppy
, I was satisfied that the Tannoys could indeed rock, with bass that was tight and accurate. They could also play loud, and do so without getting a hard edge to their sound. One caveat: for this type of music I found myself wanting more low end extension, and I will use the sub for this type of music. Your mileage may vary. For 15 years I had Klipsch KG4's, and depending on placement their 12" passive radiator gave more usable extension than their rated 38Hz, so I am used to a little lower bottom. The Eyris 3's are rated down to 38Hz.
I moved on to Mahler's 5th, performed by Eliahu Inbal and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra. I was impressed by how the Tannoys gave such an accurate rendering of brass without becoming harsh on the ear. The thing that caught me off guard however was the soundstage. Holy cow! The soundstage being presented to me was so much larger than the confines of my 15x15 room that I was dumbfounded. I closed my eyes and listened and felt that I could really feel the space that the musicians were in, not just where they were in it.
Next up was an old favorite. Scratch that, my single favorite piece of music since the very first time I heard it. The incredible 1961 performance of Richard Strauss' opera Salome
, Sir Georg Solti conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, with Birgit Nilsson in the title role. This is a colossal piece of music that really lets you know what a 105 piece orchestra is capable of. The Tannoys created an immense sound stage that was wide and deep. Tidal waves of sound crashed down on me, threatening to crush me like an ant in an early summer downpour. Well, maybe not, but the Tannoys did a great job of recreating the experience of such a large orchestral work, and if something was lacking, it wasn't anything the addition of a sub wouldn't fix. There are massive swells of brass and strings in this piece, and it's easy for a speaker to sound harsh and glaring at points in this work. The Tannoys, while I wouldn't exactly call them laid back, did not exhibit any harshness.
The Tannoys would not remedy a bad recording, and I noted on a couple of occasions during testing that the soundstage was confined to the area between the two speakers.5.1
First, about the center. This is the best reproduction of dialogue that I have experienced. I have always felt that 5 1/4" drivers sounded strained in a center channel, and that 6 1/2-7" drivers could make voices sound unnaturally full and resonant. Tannoy's choice of a 6" driver nailed it on the head, at least in the instance of the paper coned drivers the Eyris uses. Also, the Eyris crosses to the tweeter at a relatively low 2.2kHz. A robust tweeter can handle this, and I personally feel that a good tweeter is better at the 2-3kHz range than most 6 1/2-7" drivers.
During the course of multi channel listening, I was impressed by a quality of the Tannoys. They had no problem in rising to meet the demands of a dynamic scene, but there was a quietness to them. Sounds emerged from an inky black void, alone and untainted by the accompanying sounds, distinct. In the beginning I was concerned that the Tannoys weren't as dynamic for home theater as other speakers I've had. After further listening it became apparent that wasn't the case. The Tannoy was simply presenting material in a way that was quite different from what I was used to. Clean, neutral, truthful. I think we become accustomed to speakers that accent highs and lows. What I was hearing was a more neutral presentation than I have had in my home before, and my brain had to adjust to it.
The integration of the speakers in this series is fabulous. The tweeter is shared by all, but the center and rears use a 6" to the mains 7". You wouldn't know it, because the timbre match between these two drivers was dead on. As wonderful as I found the fronts for 2 channel, when I fired up some 5.1 music I found myself firmly within a completely believable field of sound. I found myself listening to familiar material far longer than I had intended because the presentation was so engaging. Highs were incredibly realistic and life-sized. My impression of mids was that they were ever so slightly recessed, although in truth it may be that they are simply more accurate than I am used to hearing. In any case, singers aren't thrust into your lap like some speakers do. Tannoy predates the BBC dip, and while the curve is much more subtle with the Tannoys, I wouldn't be surprised if it was there to a lesser extent. I find it pleasing, some may not. I wouldn't go so far as to call them warm or laid back, but they are definitely non-fatiguing.Conclusion
Keep in mind that I am an ecstatic new loudspeaker owner as you read this. I really did make an effort to maintain objectivity during testing. I kept finding aspects of these speakers that pleased me so much during testing that I may have been lead away from an unbiased evaluation. Bear in mind also that I have not had a lot of time with these yet, but I wanted to post a review before I got permanently sidetracked.On the plus side:
Tight, accurate bass
Crystalline, airy highs
Great voice reproduction
Do not become muddy during busy passages
metal dome tweeter I have ever heard
As neutral a musical
loudspeaker as I have ever heard
Incredible rendering of acoustic instruments and percussion
Can play loud without becoming harsh
Great integration between floorstanders, bookshelves, and centerPossible negatives:
Some will want a more "in your face" presentation
Not the best reproduction of piano or electric guitars I've ever heard
Home theater reproduction won't be edgy enough for some
Not the last word in resolution
Bass extension will warrant use of a sub depending on your musical taste
Well, there it is. My first loudspeaker review. Hopefully this will be useful to someone. I only found 3 reviews on this series when I was looking. There's no substitute for auditioning, but it's still nice to have lots to read about a speaker you're interested in. The Eyris 3 is a speaker that deserves more attention than it receives here in the states. At an MSRP of $2600, and a real world price closer to $2000, I haven't auditioned a speaker that even came close to the pleasure these are giving me. In fact, I have auditioned speakers costing much more that I feel these outclass. These speakers are in a completely different league than any speaker I've owned. I am supremely happy with them at this time, and don't imagine I will replace them for many years to come. When I do, hopefully it will be for some Tannoys from the Prestige line. Maybe a pair of Yorkminsters and 3 Autograph minis.
So if you have a Tannoy dealer in your area and you are in the market for speakers, please don't neglect a Tannoy audition. The Eyris series receives my highest endorsement. I am thrilled to own these.