Precision. That’s the goal of Tannoy’s latest range of mid-priced speakers – to deliver your music as accurately as possible.
Of course; precision is a word that, arguably, could be attributed to any of Tannoy’s loudspeakers – or perhaps I’m biased. Having loved the Revolution DC6T SE’s, and subsequently the budget-oriented V1i’s, naturally I jumped at the chance to place Tannoy’s new Precision 6.1’s in my system.
A relatively compact standmount speaker, the Precision 6.1 contains a single, 6” driver in its beautiful, curvy cabinet. Not just any driver, either – it’s one of Tannoy’s famous Dual-Concentric, single point source drivers. BY placing the 1” titanium dome tweeter in the throat of the 6” mid/bass driver, the driver creates a single point source for all frequencies – bass, mids, and highs.
This ensures that all frequencies arrive at the listener’s ears at exactly the time – making the sound very coherent, with accurate timing and an excellent sound stage. The tweeter also features Tannoy’s tulip wave guide, which helps with dispersion – further widening the sound stage and aiding instrument placement.
The 6.1s contain an updated crossover, optimized for the new precision driver. Rather than mounting their crossover on a PCB, Tannoy opted to hard-wire each component – resulting in a clean, short signal path, with low signal loss. This crossover, combined with the precision driver, result in a speaker that is detailed and expressive – able to accurately convey the message in the music.
The Precision 6.1s come packaged in a relatively flimsy box. Keeping things in place are 2 identical, full-sized blocks of polystyrene. These are thick and strong, and provide more than adequate protection for the speakers inside – they’re much better than the cheap, flimsy polystyrene used to protect the budget V1is, and indeed many other, more expensive speakers.
The speakers come wrapped in plastic bags – removing the bag reveals a speaker draped in cloth. A very nice touch – which is also effective in protecting the glossy finish.
In the box, you’ll find the manual, some rubber feet and the wire jumpers used to configure the speakers to run in single-wire mode.
The first thing you’ll notice when lifting the 6.1s from their box is the weight – while certainly not as heavy as some other standmounts, these speakers are nothing if not solid. The hi gloss, deep lacquer cabinets, with their curved sides designed to reduce internal standing waves, are a welcome departure from the common plain square designs employed by many speaker manufacturers.
The grilles feature a woven cloth material, wrapped around a wooden frame – they’re solid and well-made, with no flex. They’re held in place with strong magnets, concealed within the front baffle – there’s no chance of them falling off or rattling as is the case with the plastic grilles found on lesser designs.
The front houses the single dual-concentric driver, surrounded by an aluminium trim. The drivers are mounted using DMT (Differential Materials Technology) – acoustically coupling the driver magnet to an internal cabinet brace. The mounting screws are hidden beneath the aforementioned trim, making for a clean, beautiful-looking installation.
A single Tannoy name plate is situated at the bottom of both the front panel and the grille – its subtle branding that blends in well with the rest of the speaker.
Situated on the rear of the 6.1s are the large bass port, and the terminal block. The terminal block contains the usual HF and LF terminals for bi-wiring, as well as a fifth terminal used to earth the speakers to the amplifier chassis.
In certain parts of the world where RF interference is an issue, connecting a wire to a speaker effectively transforms it into an antenna – and, in certain areas, a radio – which is obviously not desirable behavior. Tannoy implemented this terminal as a means to reduce (and in some cases, eliminate) this effect – cleaning up the midband performance in the process.
This is entirely optional, though – the speakers were used exclusively in single-wire mode throughout this review
Rather than the usual thin metal jumper plates, Tannoy supply a set of wire jumpers to link the terminals together. These jumpers are fitted with a spade connector on 1 end, and a banana plug on the other – meaning you have a choice of which connection you wish to use if using single wire mode.
The terminals are solid – there’s no flex when turning the large, plastic screws or inserting banana plugs. Plugs slide in and out easily; though remain firmly held in place once installed.
As is the case with any speaker that uses a single point source driver, great care must be taken to position the speakers for the best results. The first consideration is the height – the 6.1s will require a pair of stands that place the tweeter as level with your ears as possible, when in your listening position.
Try to achieve an equilateral triangle between you and the speakers. I found that, in my listening space, positioned roughly 1.5M apart, seated 1.5M away – with the speakers angled in 20 degrees or thereabouts – was optimal. The 6.1s also require a decent amount of room to breathe – placing them too close to a wall results in overpowering bass and a reduced sound stage – so I’d avoid placing them on a shelf or wall stand.
The acoustic version of ‘Night Drive’, taken from the All American Rejects’ Move Along album, demonstrates the Precision 6.1s… well, precise nature. The delicacy and detail in the hand drum was particularly impressive – as were the vocals and acoustic guitars. The timing demonstrated during the staccato piano was spot on, too – and the same could easily be said for the acoustic guitars. There wasn’t a single note out of place – apart from the slightly dodgy backing vocals towards the end, which the Tannoys weren’t to blame for.
Norah Jones’s ‘Nightingale’ shone through the precision 6.1’s, too – again, guitars were delicate and, well, precise – and her vocals are simply breathtaking. Organisation and placement are spot on – the open, airy sound stage spreading out before the listener in a wide 3-dimensional arc.
The 6.1’s may only have a single 6” mid/bass driver, but that doesn’t stop them excelling in the bass area – the deep, heavy bass line and thudding kick drum were delivered perfectly. There’s a real blend between the lows, the mids and the highs that only a single point source driver, such as the Tannoy dual-concentric driver can manage to pull off.
The 6.1’s aren’t as forgiving with poor recordings – and the same goes for bright recordings. Bon Jovi’s ‘Something For The Pain’, taken from their One Wild Night live compilation, is 1 such track – while it’s certainly not the worst live recording, it’s definitely up there. It’s a shame – it’s a great track – but a mixture of over-bright guitars, feedback from ambient mics, and over-compressed vocals let it down.
The 6.1’s do a fair job at smoothing things out – though the sound stage isn’t nearly as wide as it could be, and they have a tendency to veer towards being over-bright, almost shrill at times. That said, it’s perfectly listenable – which is more than can be said when playing the same track on lesser speakers.
Lastly to some Evanescence. Spin ‘Everybody’s Fool’ from the Fallen album, and again some of that brightness makes an appearance. that said, the 6.1’s do a great job of delivering the heavy bass line.
There’s a delicacy to the performance that seems to be a recurring theme with the 6.1’s – it’s particularly evident in ‘My Immortal’ – a track that, arguably, sounds great on pretty much any system. The 6.1’s deliver a stunning performance – that sweet piano, those violins, and Amy Lee’s emotional, expressive vocal all coming together, engulfing the listener. It simply has to be heard.
It was listening to ‘Hello’ though that I finally had an epiphany. Sometimes, when listening to music, there’s a moment when everything falls into place. There’s perfect synergy between you, your system, and the track itself. You’re taken away from your listening chair – taken on a musical journey. You feel exactly what the artist felt when he or she was writing, or performing the track. The pain. The happiness. It hits you; and you become lost. “Has no one told you she’s not breathing? Hello? I’m your mind… giving you someone to talk to… hello?”
for a speaker at this price level to have such an impact, is simply astonishing
These are by no means the “best” speakers money can buy. Audiophiles spend thousands trying to achieve musical perfection; sometimes with disappointing results. They go through a constant cycle of upgrading cables, equipment, and even their listening spaces – and even then, they can still be left dissatisfied; only more so because it’s cost them a small fortune.
The Precision 6.1’s are the kind of speaker music lovers look for; the kind they place in their system and simply say ‘yes, this is the one’. Hats off to Tannoy for creating such an incredible product, and sharing it with the rest of the world.
Forget the occasional brightness; if it bothers you, leave the grilles on. Chances are if you have a system good enough to support these speakers, you won’t be spinning low-quality recordings.
These are worth the money – and then some. Highly recommended.