Wall-to-Wall Sound Page 4

Tannoy iw6 DS
Tannoy's history dates back to 1926, before drywall was even invented. The company started in London, manufacturing electrical components for battery chargers, and grew to become a supplier for the loudspeakers used in sound-reinforcement applications. Today Tannoy manufactures audio equipment and speakers for home and professional use. The iw6 DS is their entry-level in-wall model and features a 6.5-inch multifibre paper pulp cone woofer and a 1-inch titanium dome tweeter with a neodymium magnet. The baffle is made of ABS, a heavy-duty plastic compound. It all sounds like pretty techie stuff; we'll see what it means for sound quality.

The iw6 DS uses Tannoy's Wideband Technology, which purportedly extends the tweeter's high-frequency response to 51 kilohertz (–6 dB), well beyond the accepted upper limits of human hearing, which falls at (or below) about 20 kHz. The iw6 DS also has a high-frequency level control that lets you adjust the tweeter level by +/–1.5 dB to suit your listening tastes.

My first reaction after unpacking the speaker was that it's of very high quality—excellent in fact, with a solid, rigid baffle. Tannoy uses six spring-loaded clamps to secure the speaker to the wall, and the springs made it easier to install and remove the speaker. The iw6 DS is finished in a neutral white, and both the speaker and grille are paintable.

The iw6 DS is very flat and neutral sounding, although pleasant to listen to. The speaker lacks the high-end sizzle that many speakers possess and has a smooth, balanced sound quality. In my Sheffield recording of Lyle Mays' "What It Takes," the piano had a real sense of presence, especially in the lower- and midbass regions. This is a speaker you could listen to for long periods of time without any listening fatigue. If you're looking for a speaker without boom and sizzle, check out the Tannoy iw6 DS.

At A Glance: Tannoy iw6 DS

Tweeter (size in inches, type): 1, titanium dome
Woofer (size in inches, type): 6.5, paper pulp cone
Cutout Dimensions (inches): 6.813 wide by 10.75 high
Mounting Depth (inches): 3.875
Available Finishes: white (paintable)
Price: $600/pair (fair market value)

Ratings: Tannoy iw6 DS
Build Quality: 93
Value: 93
Features: 90
Performance: 93
Ergonomics: 92
Overall Rating: 93

General information
iw6 DS In-Wall Speaker, $600/pair
Tannoy North America
(519) 745-1158
Dealer Locator Code TNY

Overall, I was impressed with the sound quality of all of the speakers I tested. Clearly there are sonic differences among models, as noted, but they all did a good job of reproducing music. You really can't go wrong with any of them. Your choice comes down to individual listening preferences and, if you're adding in-walls to an existing speaker system for multichannel listening, matching the in-walls' timbre to that of your other speakers. Although many of the in-walls had good bass response, I'd still recommend a subwoofer, either in-wall or freestanding. A sub will not only improve bass response but also increase the entire system's maximum sound output.

Now that this in-wall extravaganza is complete, I wonder if I can return all of the leftover drywall for credit. Probably not. Maybe I'll just add another room on to my home. Happy listening!