Defining Moment

I've always loved Tannoy speakers—in fact, I've used a pair of NFM-8 near-field monitors in my home recording studio for many years. And I'm not alone—many pro studios, especially in England, use Tannoys as reference monitors. But the company also makes exceptional consumer speakers, including the new Definition line.

One of Tannoy's main claims to fame is its Dual Concentric driver technology, a type of coaxial design in which a tweeter is located at the apex of a bass cone. In the Definition line, the tweeter is a 1-inch titanium dome coupled to an acoustic waveguide behind it, which extends the frequency response up to 35kHz. The woofer uses a multi-fiber diaphragm material with a precision-tuned rear port to enhance low-frequency detail and resolution without introducing midbass coloration.

The crossover is of particular interest. The highest-quality components are used in a simple, "straight-path" design, and the entire circuit is cooled to –190 degrees Celsius (-310 degrees Fahrenheit) and thawed at a specific rate, which is said to reduce internal stresses in the microstructure, leading to superior resolution of fine detail and a more natural, cohesive sound. As with many high-end speakers, the Definition can be bi-wired or bi-amped, and it provides a unique fifth terminal that grounds the speaker's chassis to the amp to reduce any chance of radio-frequency interference.

At the top of the Definition lineup is the DC10T, which sports a 10-inch Dual Concentric driver and a separate 10-inch bass driver. Its frequency response extends from 30Hz to 35kHz (-6dB) with a sensitivity of 92dB/W/m. Like all Definition models, the parabolically curved cabinet is carefully designed to reduce resonances and internal reflections.

The DC8T is very similar to the DC10T with 8-inch drivers. Frequency response is just a smidge less, from 33Hz to 35kHz (-6dB) with a sensitivity of 89dB/W/m.

Finally, the DC8 is a smaller version of the DC8T with one 8-inch Dual Concentric driver and no secondary bass cone. The frequency response reflects this, ranging from 42Hz to 35kHz with a sensitivity of 88dB/W/m.

For now, the Definition speakers are intended for 2-channel audio systems, but Tannoy is working on a center-channel model to match them. And despite their high-end pedigree, they aren't all that expensive—the DC10T lists for $1900 each, the DC8T is $1400, and the DC8 is $900. If they sound as good as the studio monitors I know so well, that's what I call an ultimate value.