Posted on Tue, 04 Apr, 2017
Posted by Bob


The Tannoy GRF loudspeaker is a new addition to the Prestige Range; featuring, world class construction, and Tannoy’s famous Dual Concentric driver. Previously sold as the limited edition ‘GRF 90’ speaker, the newly named Tannoy GRF is now a permanent part of Tannoy’s Prestige Range.

The question which many must be asking is, “Are big, wooden boxes using 70 year old technology still relevant”? At a not unsubstantial price of £17,000, it’s a question worth asking.

spoiler – they’re absolutely relevant and worth every penny!

Tannoy GRF


TRADITONAL CRAFTSMANSHIP WITH TRADITIONAL VALUES

Tannoy are one of, if not the oldest manufacturer of loudspeakers in the world. Tannoy’s Prestige GR (Gold Reference) Range sit at the top of Tannoy’s Tree in terms of domestic Hi-Fi Speakers. Created largely to fulfill the desires of Asian markets  such as Japan and China, the Prestige Range is a modern continuation of Tannoy’s illustrious past designs.

The cabinets of the GRF series are exquisitely crafted from Birch ply with a beautiful, oiled, walnut veneer. I was fortunate to see a pair of these loudspeakers, in person, on a recent visit to Audio Affair. I defy anyone to walk by one and not casually rub a hand over the cabinets. They’re a beautiful piece of furniture in their own right.

Tannoy’s signature component has been, since 1947, the famous Dual Concentric loudspeaker. Originally designed as an ultra-flat, ultra linear laboratory reference, it was soon adopted by many recording studios for critical monitoring. The GRF uses an updated, 12″ version of that same design, which should please Tannoy purists everywhere.

ACOUSTIC TRANSPARENCY AND HONESTY

Tannoy’s historic decision to place the HF driver at the centre of the woofer cone, integrated as one unit, still bears fruit today. Time alignment, and phase coherency is outstanding; anyone who’s ever listened to a Dual concentric driver will attest to the remarkable transparency and detail lent by the Dual Concentric driver. The Tannoy GRF boasts a superb frequency response of 24-27 kHz, all this remember from a single integrated drive unit!

Tannoy have paid special attention to the crossover unit on the GRF; a process of cryogenic treatment in which the crossover is slowly cooled to very low temperatures via liquid nitrogen. Tannoy claim this has been observed to relax the structure of audio components and lends to improved audio reproduction and increased component life.

For those who like to tune their loudspeakers to their surroundings, or tastes, Tannoy has made provision with user adjustable HF levels. In keeping with the high quality, traditional feel of these loudspeakers, these parameters are adjusted via gold plated pins inserted into an anodised metal panel.

Tannoy state that “The Energy control has five positions offering +/-3 dB trim to the energy output of the HF compression driver over a frequency band approximately 1 kHz to 27 kHz… The treble Roll Off control…has five positions (+2, level, -2, -4 and -6 dB/octave) and provides adjustment at extremely high frequencies of 5 kHz and above”

AN IDEAL MATCH FOR MOST ANY AMPLIFIER

The Tannoy GRF Loudspeakers have an additional ‘Trump Card’ to play – that being their ability to pair well with a wide range of amplifiers. Highly sensitive, at 95db with an astonishing suggested power range of 20-280w RMS, one would struggle to find an amplifier the Tannoy GRF wouldn’t pair with.

With that said that, it opens up the scope for those who like to experiment with power amplification. Both low-wattage valve designs, and high power solid state amplifiers should have their inherent characters revealed bare by the famous transparency of those Dual Concentric drivers.

Audio Affair have tested a few amplifier combinations with the Prestige Range, and have come up with a few ‘recommended pairings’.

A TIMELESS INVESTMENT

The Tannoy GRF Loudspeakers, then, should perhaps be viewed as an investment piece. A beautifully crafted piece of Hi-Fi art which will mate well with any future system purchases. Whilst not as daring, or revolutionary as some of the designs we’ve recently seen, it’s highly unlikely that any speaker from Tannoy’s Prestige Range will ever go out of fashion.

View the Tannoy GRF Loudspeakers like a pair of handcrafted English shoes. Beautifully made, timeless, and fit for a lifetime of enjoyment.