The subject of today’s review has been the subject of literally thousands of reader eMails that have landed in my inbox over the last year or so, not to mention much debate in the comments of various posts both here and on other fora. Tannoy’s Revolution XT range superseded the previous highly regarded DC range, and it’s safe to say there is a huge amount of interest in these speakers. I reviewed the Xt6 standmounts back in 2015 describing them as an “enthralling, exciting, and musically rewarding listen”. With requests continuing to pour in, it’s time we took a look at the flagship model in the range.
Much like many of Tannoy’s ranges, the XT series includes a variety of models catering for various room sizes, budgets and uses. The range comprises two bookshelf models – the XT6 and XT Mini, along with the XT6F and XT8F floorstanders and the XTC centre channel for use in a home theatre setup. The trapezoidal cabinets, a hallmark of the revolution range since its inception, are finished in hand crafted dark walnut or medium oak real wood veneers with magnetic grilles and integrated stabilising plinths.
The XT Mini is the smallest model in the range packing a 4” dual-concentric driver into a 152 x 272.2 x 199.3 mm (W x H x D) cabinet weighing 3.7KG. Perfect for use in small rooms or as the rear or height channel in a home theatre system, its frequency response extends from 68Hz to 52kHz, with efficiency rated at 88dB(2.83 v / 1m. This roughly equates to 1W of power into an 8 ohm load, and is the standard for measuring sensitivity. The centre channel is similarly specified, though with a 20W increase in recommended power, an extra 6Hz extension in low frequency response and efficiency up to 89dB. Its 7.9KG, 450 x 176.9 x 205.6 mm cabinet sits on a plinth which can be adjusted to alter the angle of the driver towards the listener.
The remaining models in the range are more traditionally sized. The 7.9KG XT6 steps up to the 6” driver with frequency response rated at 46Hz, 32kHz and sensitivity at 89dB. It’s a large standmount at 224 x 400 x 302 mm. The XT6F floorstander offers an increase in recommended power to 150W, lowers the low end frequency response to 38Hz, and increases efficiency to 90dB. Its 16.3KG cabinet measures a tall but slim 272.4 x 1003.8 x 317 mm. Finally, the largest model in the range, the XT8F, further increases recommended power to 200W and efficiency to 91dB, while extending the low frequency response down to 34Hz. It packs a pair of 8” drivers into its 320.4 x 1078.8 x 345 mm, 19.9KG cabinets.
The dual-concentric Driver
The XT series is Tannoy’s most affordable line utilising their famous dual-concentric driver, though with a radical new design developed for the range. Tannoy’s new OmniMagnet driver is a completely new interpretation of Tannoy’s proprietary single-point source driver, in which a high frequency driver is set back in the acoustic centre of the mid/bass cone. This results in an almost perfect point source, improving symmetrical dispersion and phase coherence and reducing time delay, resulting in superior imaging and maintaining the harmonic relationship of musical instruments and vocals. The new drivers feature a new HF diaphragm and Torus (doughnut shaped) waveguide along with an Ogiv (‘rocket cone’ shaped) phase plug situated in the centre of the waveguide assembly. High frequency directivity is improved, as is the low frequency performance, giving more headroom and enabling a higher crossover point. The two driver units utilise a single shared magnet improving time alignment, coherence and power handling while reducing the depth of the driver. This reduction allows the high frequency waveguide to be brought further forward with a more aggressive flare improving high frequency directivity.
The cabinets too are new, incorporating a dual-cavity coupled reflex system. In a taller cabinet such as that of the XT6F or XT8F, standing waves can occur causing colouration of the upper bass and mid range. While the trapezoidal shape of the revolution cabinets, and the curved cabinets of higher-end designs help to reduce these standing waves, they are traditionally suppressed using acoustic dampening material. Designed to reduce standing waves and to combat the disadvantages of traditional front or rear ported systems, the dual-cavity system essentially splits the cabinet into two chambers.
The drivers operate in an upper chamber, connected to the rest of the cabinet by an internally tuned port. Above the port tuning frequency the drivers only ‘see’ their chamber’s volume, the reduced height of the volume making it easier to dampen any standing waves. At the port tuning frequency the entire cabinet volume becomes operational, necessary to achieve the extended low frequency performance. The energy then exits through the port beneath the cabinet and is distributed into the room, aided by the plinth which forms an extension of the port flare and also helps to prevent energy being absorbed by the flooring.
This has several advantages over ported cabinets. Rear ported cabinets don’t work well close to a rear wall, while those with front ports can cause turbulence in the airflow which can be audible, and front ports can compromise the aesthetics of the speaker.
Unboxing and Setup
First off, those solid cabinets come with a weight penalty. Enlisting the help of a friend is advised, though unboxing them alone in a relatively small room wasn’t terribly difficult. Inside each box you receive a pack of documentation, four spikes, four locking nuts and four floor protectors. The speakers themselves are wrapped in plastic with a cloth layer beneath to protect the finish and aid the luxurious first impression. Cloth grilles are also supplied.
Out of the box, setup is as simple as screwing the four spikes into the inserts beneath the plinth. Using the spikes helps to disperse energy evenly from the cabinets into the floor and is highly recommended. The spikes are adjustable from the top-side of the plinth using the provided Allen key. This neat touch was introduced with the Precision line and makes levelling the speakers a doddle. Spikes installed, the speakers can be located and, if necessary, placed into the floor cups supplied to prevent scratching of hard flooring.
Cables connect to the substantial gold-plated terminals on the back, which are pre-fitted with bridging plates should you not want to bi-wire (why would you?). The terminals will take banana plugs, bare wire or large spades, And are mounted on a non resonant acrylic plate which Tannoy claim offers isolation from vibrations and thus an audible improvement over the traditional moulded plastic blocks often used.
On the front, the drivers are mounted with the Dual-Concentric driver sitting above the auxiliary bass unit. Decorative aluminium trims surround the drivers, with ‘Tannoy’ etched into the bolt heads. Lower down the angled underside of the cabinet reveals the bass port, the cabinet standing on chrome pillars to form the port flare. Further branding features on an angled nameplate on the front of the plinth.
Thanks to the new port system setting up the XT8Fs is unusually fuss-free. Their design is less susceptible to poor placement than previous designs, though care should still be taken to get the best from them. They’ll work relatively close to a rear wall, my tests showed that about 25CM is the point where bass issues begin to arise. I’m confident that if this is still an issue, the XT6F with its smaller drivers could be placed even closer. That said if you have the space, bringing them out into the room can improve the sound significantly.
The new drivers offer a wider sweet spot than previous designs. I placed the speakers roughly 2M apart, the same distance from the listening position and pointed them straight on. The XT8Fs would undoubtedly benefit from a little more breathing room, though I didn’t notice any obvious deficiencies with this setup.
The XT8Fs were fed by a heavily modified Cambridge Audio 851A, a Cambridge Audio 851N and a Technics 1210. My reference Marantz PM-11S3 later took over amplification duties. Cables were Van Damme UPLC-OFC 6MM. I had previously been informed that the XT8Fs would require some run in time in order to sound their best, and comments from readers certainly suggested that to be the case. I therefore used them continuously for a month before any serious listening took place, beginning to push them to high levels after the first couple of weeks. Out of the box the speakers were somewhat bright and lacking in low end control. Allowing them to play resolved both issues, the top end relaxing and the bass response and control developing as the drivers settled. after a month or so of constant use when I could be sure that the performance of the system was consistent, I sat down to listen.
My tests began with the Pink Floyd classic ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’. From the sounds of heartbeats that open the album I knew I was in for a treat, but it wasn’t until the synthesiser-driven instrumental ‘on the run’ began to play that I got my first taste of what the XT8Fs could deliver. The track represents the scene at an airport, evoking the stress and anxiety of modern travel. Synths throbbed and the sound of chaotic running flew around a massive stereo stage which was beautifully portrayed with room-filling dimensions and a grand sense of scale. Then it was on to the bells leading into ‘time’ examining the manor in which its passage can control ones life, warning those who remain focused on its mundane aspects. The XT8Fs reproduced the whole album with the scale and authority that you might expect for a speaker of this size, but with levels of detail and articulation that are quite simply uncommon at such a modest price. Clare Torry’s soaring wordless vocal in ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’ (the soulful metaphor for death) were astounding in their realism and the sheer power and emotivity with which they were delivered.
The XT8s can deliver an astonishing amount of bass when required, but it isn’t without control. They’ll lap up the bass line in a track such as Bon Jovi’s ‘Keep The Faith’, but play a track such as paramour’s ‘Ain’t It Fun’ or ‘Hard Times’ from the new album After Laughter and the XT8s demonstrate an impressive agility with a light, rhythmic presentation that only lends to their huge sense of fun. If ever there was a speaker that could make even the most composed of tracks infectious, the XT8s are it.
Some have expressed concerns that the XTs are particularly bright speakers with an unusually fatiguing top end. While I do find them perhaps a little less tonally warm than other Tannoys, I didn’t encounter any instances where they became excessively bright. The top end is certainly very extended, currently making the tambourine in The Beatles ‘We Can Work It OUt’ sound very realistic. However I never found them fatiguing even after extended high volume listening. The XT8Fs can be a little brash if not allowed sufficient break in time, and pairing them with particularly bright source components isn’t advised. But give them a few hours and some sensible component choices and I don’t see fatigue being an issue.
Perhaps ‘confident’ is the wrong word to describe a speaker, veering dangerously toward the typical nonsense buzzwords often used by the audiophile community to describe the sound of audio kit. But confident is the best way to describe the sound of the XT8. It’s unerringly confident no matter what you throw at it. These are speakers with an enormous sense of fun, practically begging you to raise the volume to see what they can do. Their ability to deliver massive dynamics and musical crescendos on a huge scale is impressive, all wrapped up in a massive sound stage with exquisite levels of detail and musical articulation. The fact that this kind of performance can be experienced in your own home for a mere £1399 is the icing on the cake. Tannoy have created a giant killer here, the XT8 is a truly wonderful speaker, easily standing head and shoulders above the competition at many times its modest price. Highly recommended.
Hi Ashley; What is the best (smooth) amp for these Tannoy’s? I was looking at Marantz pm 8006 with the ND 8006, Arcam sa20 with vds50 or MF m2si
The Marantz combination you suggest will give you “smooth” performance with Tannoys. The Arcam would be similar but more ‘dry’ sounding.
Hi Ashley – I would be grateful if you could provide some comment on the Castle Knight5 in comparison to the XT6F and XT8F. Thanks !
They’re both similar in design, at least in principle if not execution. Which you’d choose depends on whether you prefer the sound of a more traditional tweeter and woofer arrangement or a point-source driver like the Tannoy Dual-Concentric.
Hi Ashley. From your experience, which speakers have better sonics, a better stereo imaging, xt6f or kef r500? I mean, i like speakers that i would forget the music comes from speakers, the instruments and vocals appearing in between. The amplifier is cambridge cx60. Thank you
I would go with the XT6F personally, especially with that amp. All comes down to personal taste of course.
Thank you Ashely.
Jadis Orchestra is enough to drive Tannoy XT8F easily and efficiently ?
Thank you very much. I’ve already ordered it, I’m very curious about tannoy.
Cambridge CXA80 is enough to drive Tannoy XT8F easily and efficiently ?
Yes. They are good enough to see the benefit of a higher end amp, but the CXA80 will drive them just fine.
Thanks, but i have decided to go with Azur 851A because its a higher series and have more power and neutral with more refined sound than cxa80, I think 851A will give more justice to XT8F, what you mean by “heavily modified Cambridge Audio 851A,” in above review?
I used to own an 851A with modified power supplies, a modded volume circuit and alterations to the pre and power stages. The 851A stock is great and while the modifications did improve things slightly they really just showed how good the amp is to begin with. You’ll enjoy it I’m sure with the XT8s
Thanks Ashley 🙂
Will XT8F sound good with the new Arcam SA20 amplifier?
It certainly has enough power to drive them and Arcam and Tannoy is usually a nice pairing.
Here in Holland most dealers have stopped with Tannoy. Tannoy ist Sold and the product Line will all good to China. Their engineers all have moved tannoy to the new Tannoy called fyne audio.
Will you review speakers from fyne audio?
I do hope to review Fine Audio’s speakers very soon. Demand has been huge and I am waiting on samples, but I am certainly keen to hear them.
Thank u. What amp would u recommand for the xt6f that has a sub out pls?
Yamaha 501 / 701 have sub outputs, not that I’d recommend a sub with the 6F.
Or you could use a sub that has speaker level inputs, connected to the second pair of speaker terminals of either the Marantz or Cambridge you mentioned.
Hi Ashley. Cambridge cxa60 or Marantz pm6005 for Tannoy xt6f pls? Power not so important for me, just sound quality. thank you
It’s a matter of personal taste of course, but I’d have the 6005 for its more musical sound and I personally think it sounds more powerful than the CXA60 does, likely owing to a larger transformer and more power supply headroom.
One more thing, The Bass Drivers of the XT8f are moving less than the Mid-Bass-Dual Concentric drivers for bass notes on both the speakers. Is it normal.
Hi, I have Tannoy Xt8f, driven by the Emotiva XPA-2 Power Amp and Marantz 5008 AV Receiver as PreAmp. The Speakers are not fully Run-in yet, but for now, these speakers are too bright for my taste. perhaps they could smoothen eventually as they run more and more, but as of now, they are very bright. I also have a pair of Boston Acoustics A26 beside these Tannoys and the Boston Acoustics are warmer and more balanced in the upper and mid section. However, the low end is very strong with the Xt8f. I am using BlueJean 12AWG Cables to aconnect the speakers.
What could be the culprit here, Marantz or Emotiva, or are the XT8F’s bright by nature?
The pairing of XT8 and Emotiva perhaps, I used the XT8 with a Marantz and they partner very well with the Marantz ‘house sound’.
So, should I connect my XT8Fs directly to my marantz?
will the XT8Fs brightness smooth out after its run-in period?
The brightness will smooth out a bit. Whether they’ll still be too bright for you is a matter of personal taste.
Hi Ashly, isn’t the tweeter of the xt8f a little brighter than the XT6F? I read a review from someone. Who said the tweeter fro the xt8f was a little harsh compare with the XT6F. I also Read on whathifi a warming for the xt8f that they can sound bright. Not so ondo on the xt6X. Can you comment on the kef q750?
I think the tweeters themselves are actually identical. It could be that the crossover point may be slightly lower to account for the abilities of the larger drivers, which may increase perceived brightness though I haven’t checked this to verify. Personally I think they were more warm than bright, I am particularly sensitive to excessive brightness in audio equipment.
What are better for Symphonic Metal which are often too bright Recorded, the Tannoy XT8F or the Precision 6.2? Saw a good used ons. OR sonus Faber Venere 2.5?
The Precision 6.2s are less forward and ‘in your face’ than the XT8s, which would make them appear less bright.
Thanks for your answer. What do you think of the Sonus Faber Venere 2.5?
I’m just about to pull the trigger on these beauties. My only doubt. I have a Yamaha Aventage 1070 which I bought just recently and that will be my only amp with these speakers. How will they fare? I really want to get the tannoys. Will they be a decent match? Thanks.
I see no reason why they won’t be a great match. Sound tastes differ of course but the Yamaha certainly won’t have any problems driving them.
Thanks so much Ashley. These are going to be my first pair of floorstanders. People generally say that these good a speaker must be paired with a proper stereo amp. I just hope I’m not making a mistake. Are the Yamaha Aventage usually considered a lil bit bright? Well I’m pretty chuffed at owning these speakers. Just the stereo amp is making it out to be a wet blanket.
Hi Ashley. At the moment i have a pair of Tannoy Revolution DC 6T paired with Marantz pm 6005. Not really happy with bass level so i was thinking about getting a sobwoofer to improve that. But because i do not want more equipment in my 3.5 x 5 meter room, i want to know your opinion about changing the DC 6T`s with Tannoy XT 8F and kepping the Marantz pm 6005 which im really happy with. Im always listening to low – medium levels… What im looking for is Bass improvement ( for movies ) and a better sound stage image… Thank you
The DC6Ts weren’t the most bass-heavy speakers in their day, the XT8Fs do have a lot more low end. I would certainly suggest a demo as I’m confident they would solve your problem, any good dealer would likely allow a home trial. If that still doesn’t solve the issue, try a bigger amp.
Thanks Ashey. I went for a demo of the xt8f`s, but they where after selling the only pair they had in the shop… the manager suggested a demo of Dynaudio Emit 30`s, so I agreed… Wow…really impressed with the sound stage and mostly with the definition of instruments and voice…Michael Buble was played from my phone and a Marantz PM6005 being used for amplification and…I could “see” the instruments and kind of pinpointed their posisioning on the sound stage…realy nice! A lot better than my current Tannoy Revolution dc6T with the same amp… I almost buyed them, but I said to my self that I could wait a couple of weeks until they`ll get the xt8f`s back in stock… the question Ashley is, from your experience, would the xt8f`s have the same kind of definition of vocals and instruments? I would preffer the Tannoys`s for their beautifull look as I found the Dynaudio `s rather ugly in black color… thank u
Absolutely, definition is what the Dual-Concentric driver is renowned for particularly where vocals are concerned. In my opinion few speakers can match the ability of a Tannoy when it comes to faithful reproduction of vocals and acoustic instruments.
Thanks again Ashley for sharring your experience and time with us… gonna wait then for the Tannoy`s to come back in stock.
I had a pair of xt8fs driven by a yamaha rn602n stereo receiver in a 4×4 room. The sound was good but I didnt find them exceptional. Then I decided to move the speakers to the spacious hall and drive them using my Anthem integrated 225 which was being used to drive my Paradigm 95fs. The change did wonders and the sound was arguably as good as the Paradigms which were costing three times more. The sound stage and bass was absolutely fantastic. I have now left the anthem hooked with the tannoys and got a new plinius hautonga to drive the paradigms. Both systems are in the hall and sound very impressive but i find myself listening more often to the tannoys. 🙂
Thanks for sharing your feedback Maclean, great to hear you’re enjoying them.
I have a L-form room from 50 m2. But i listen in the small part of my room. This is from left to right wall 3,5 m. and from the back wall to the other site 5,50m. Are the xt8f overpowering? My room is in total bigger, but what i said i listen in this small part of my L-form room. And my music is mostly metal, rock and pop. I listen at 2,5m. distance and at normal nivea.(never at party niveau).
No, not at all. The room in which they were tested is slightly smaller than yours and they were not overpowering. Give them a bit of breathing room from the rear and side walls and form an equilateral triangle between them and your listening position. The port design makes them work well in smaller rooms.
Thanks again for your answer. I must listen to the new Kef Q750/Q950. It will be Kef or Tannoy. Which speaker sound the best with current rock and metal. From a dealer i became this answer:
“My personal opinion is that the Kef speakers would be preferable with more modern rock music. If you’re listening to older rock you may find the Tannoys to be more comfortable for your eardrums”.
That will mean Kef better for me. But must listen to it.
What do you think of the new monitor audio silver 300 and kef Q750? Are they better with rock and metal with smooth treble and forgiving for bad recordings ( loudness war)?
I’m afraid I’ve not heard either yet. Monitor Audio in my experience have always been quite bright, which would concern me with metal in particular. But I can’t judge until I hear them for myself.
Yes, many find MA too bright. I too. But don’t know if this is in the newer models. The Tannoy are always on the bright side. Maybe kef then the best. The highs are not so extended as with Tannoy. But Read also that it can be a little boring sounding. Long listenable, but boring.
I didn’t find the Tannoys to be too bright once it had been sufficiently run in, even when using them with bright equipment. They can be a bit bright out of the box but they soon settle down. I have never had an over-bright Tannoy.
Today there is the loudness war. Some speakers are forgiving for that bad recordings, others not. But don’t you find the xt6f brighter than the xt8f? The xt8f are big speakers but found the sound so much better than from the xt6f. Also warmer and fuller sounding.
To an extent, but it’s not a major difference once properly run in. The XT8F is of course the ‘water’ speaker owing to its bigger drivers and larger cabinet.
Hi Ashley, if you was me what would you choice, the Xt8f OR the xt6f? And with my rock and metal music and my room, I have a L-form room from 50 m2. But i listen in the small part of my room. This is from left to right wall 3,5 m. and from the back wall to the other site 5,50m.
Assuming they’re pointing down the room (I.E down the 5.5M length), I’d have the XT8.
The speakers Comes between de left en right Walls and from left tot right wall is 3,5m.
Great review as always, Ashley and spot on with these highly musical and superbly built Tannoys. I had the privilege recently to listen to them first hand at a friend’s place and they are so much fun, making it really difficult to tear oneself away from. Detail, effortless dynamics, you name it and they pack a punch too, great stuff, definitely on my shopping list as their quality could easily attract a much higher price than currently is the case. In the general scheme of things, Ashley, what amplifier would you recommend to complement and really do justice to the XT8Fs in its price range? An informed suggestion from you will be very much appreciated. Kudos once again.
Thanks Eugenio. I’d pair them with the Marantz PM-14S1 SE and, if in need of a matching source, the matching SA-14S1 SE CD player.
Much appreciated, Ashley, thanks
What is a good streamer for the Tannoy who are on the bright side? I think not Cambridge? Cambridge also mostly on the bright side. Amp is NAD C356. Music metal and rock. Or maybe Kef Q better?
A Cambridge would be fine, I’d describe them as ‘exciting’ rather than bright but the NAD would take the edge off. Or perhaps the Marantz NA-8005, or Pioneer N-P50.
Thanks for your answer. Then i think the Cambridge CXN is the best. Pioneer can have a thin sound and the marantz becomes mixed reviews and with rock and metal not good. Also horrible APP.
Do You know the Q Acoustics 3050? Very cheap end becomes very good reviews. I saw a interesting user review on WhatHifi. A old Tannoy Audiolog found it better than the XT8F! I have post this reveiw here.
Even the Tannoy engineer was surprised
I own the 3050’s for a year now. I play them with the Cambridge Audio CXA 80 and the Bluesound Node 2. I’am extremely satisfied with them. I can write some things about tonality, sound stage etc, but I rather tell you what happened one day when someone came to my house to buy my Monitor Audio Radius 380 subwoofer (that i didn’t need anymore because of the 3050’s) I was an elderly man and although he was there for my sub, he was clearly interested in the 3050’s. He asked me what brand they were. He had never heard Q acoustics. He told me that he was a retired Audiologist. He had worked for Tannoy the last years of his career. As a hobby he now installed complete soundsystems in retirement homes, hospitals etc/ He asked me if he could listen to the 3050’s. Of course i was glad to do him this small favor. I played a few tracks for him and he was really astonished. He said he owned a pair of Tannoy Revolutio XT8F’s himself. He liked my 3050’s better then his own Tannoy’s. Maybe he wasn’t hearing to well because of his age i thought. But it was as if he could read my mind. He said that he had his ears tested lately and he could still hear up to 15.000 hz. He asked me what the price was of the 3050’s. He really couldn’t believe his ears (hahaha). So this is what really happened to me. It says more than a bunch o cloudy talk i think.”
Can’t go wrong with a CXN in my opinion. The Marantz streamers are quite smooth sounding which might be a bit too smooth with a NAD. I disagree with those who claim Marantz kit isn’t great for rock and metal however, I listen to a lot of classic and modern rock and some metal and own a Marantz PM-11S3 amp. Admittedly it has a more neutral sound signature than the lower ranges, but it can certainly rock out when required. I’ve not heard the Q3050s. I know they’re a What Hi-Fi favourite (that means very little to me), that user review is interesting. I guess each to their own, I know people who prefer the likes of Dali, B&W and dynaudio to Tannoy and that’s fine. I probably wouldn’t pair a CXA80 and a pair of XT8Fs for fear of an over-bright combination, so the Q3050s may well be better with that amp. It is hard to argue with the price of the XT8Fs given what they offer, and I think their only downfall is that because of their reasonable price they are likely to be paired with equipment at the cheaper end of the market when they’re worthy of better to truly do them justice.
Thanks again for your answer. Last question; what is in your opinion a good interconnect and speakercable? Currently i have a Van den hul d102 3t and cheap 2,5 mm copper speakercable.
No need to spend a fortune on ‘audiophile’ cables, as you’re paying for clever marketing and hot air. Any well specified cable will do. I use Van Damme UPLC_OFC 6MM hi-fi-grade speaker cable and my interconnects use the Van Damme hi-fi twin interconnect cable and Van Damme OFC instrument cable for balanced XLR leads. Connectors are Neutrik. If you’re happy to make custom cables the above is in my opinion the best. If not, plenty of stores, and sellers on eBay, sell the Van Damme cables ready made and made to your specification. Power cables are the ones supplied in the box which are good enough, and I don’t use a power conditioner either as well-designed components do not need it.
Hi Robert, I was reading your comments on the Q3050s, and the opinion of the elderly man as it relates to the Q3050s sounding better than the Tannoy Revolution XT8Fs. I believe he may have been having problems with his hearing (as you had suspected), since the two are not in the same league. The XT8Fs are in a class of their own and CANNOT be compared with the Q3050s in any way, no matter what music one listens to. You may want to experience this for yourself and take what ‘really happened’ to you with a pinch of salt.
You can Read that he has no problems with his ears. See the many good reviews of the q acoustics on the internet. More than for Tannoy who many people find too bright and unforgiven. And the big price difference. I read from someone the q acoustics make music, Tannoy hifi………of course the Tannoy is much nicer built.
As I said, you may want to EXPERIENCE it for yourself and take what ‘really happened’ to you with a pinch of salt. Of course, the Q3050s have good reviews but the XT8s are in a different league and consequently in a higher price range so you CANNOT compare the two.
More expensive doesn’t always mean better, nicer sound. In my country there are not many Tannoy dealers. A dealer said once again me he had them for a couple of years, but no one want them.
What an amazing coincidence! I received a lot of advice from Ashley and other posters here before buying the XT8Fs and a Roksan K3 amplifier, which turned up two weekends ago.
I have just today (Sunday) concluded my attempts to position the speakers for maximum effect. It hasn’t been easy though, and needed reading around to get the principles and also some careful selection of source material, an important variable it seems.
It was only after what has been a gruelling process, of moving speakers closer together/further apart, forwards and backwards, toeing in/toeing out, all the while putting the spike shoes back on each time and trying to figure out what the sound should sound like (a good question – implicit, but often not articulated), that I finally felt I got something resembling what I heard in the test room in the shop.
Firstly, I must admit, I don’t think I have the same sound as I heard in the shop, but maybe 90% of the way there. Wooden suspended floors, speakers sitting in the middle third of a 15X5 metre room and other real life constraints are a reminder of how a purchase in ideal test conditions can produce slightly optimistic impressions.
Nevertheless, as Ashley says, speaker placement with these Tannoys works reasonably well at around 2 metres – in fact I just measured mine at 2.1 metres, although my seating is around 2.4m from them, but it seems to work. There is 50cm space from speakers to the rear wall, which was the result of pulling out until I got an optimum result, without the speakers being too far in the room (need to be realistic). Toeing in seemed to add some directionality to the treble, delivering to the ear, rather than a few metres away, but I may play with that a bit more. Here’s the thing though, when I had them placed more widely, it felt like each speaker was producing its own sound independently of the other. With some tracks I noted that the recording allows the vocal or some element of the music though one speaker, while another sound was coming from the other. And I was hearing them separately, rather than together. Moving the speakers together, reduced that and I brought them closer but without creating the opposite problem of losing the laterality effect of having 2 speakers over a distance i.e.stereo. I think this sound stage and stereo-imaging stuff, and it also seems highly music track dependent in that many tracks are almost monolithic and cant be easily decomposed, whereas some recordings by certain artists really showcase the separation (apparently this is to do with how the recording was ‘miked up’ by the sound engineers?). So, what I have now is wall of separated sound between the speakers, and certain specific sounds that appear from the left of right speakers. I cant say that I’ve a horn sounding at 2 o clock and trumpet at 7 o’clock, and really I don’t know is 2 speaker audio can achieve that positional placement in the central wall.
Having started with wider speaker placement, I am reluctant to pull them part more than the 2.1 m they are now, as it will feel like each speaker is doing its own thing. Of course they fact the room is much wider than the speaker placement probably causes havoc with the harmonics, but its a home for living in too.
As Ashley says, the speakers are really impressive. I don’t know I there is a slight crackle on the treble from one speaker on one track, or whether its the recording itself, but I don’t have any qualms. I am guessing £1150 speakers (RS are doing a discount on these which takes within £150 of the 6TF’s and makes it difficulty not to go for the upsell) should not have any crackle so will keep an eye on that.
Also, funnily enough, before coming to post this review, I had tested Pink Floyds DSOTM, the first time I have ever heard it. And it sounded superb.
Thanks for sharing Rob. Stereo sound staging is a very odd thing and your’e right in that many tracks are very monolithic. It’s one of the reasons many audio reviews feature ‘audiophile’ recordings especially when referring to sound staging and dynamics, because in reality many mainstream tracks and albums these days are limited in both areas. Beatles stereo mixes are some of the best for sound staging, but really a good system should get the best from any track no matter how limited in terms of dynamics or stereo spread.
With regards speaker positioning, it sounds like you’re doing everything right. One thing you could try if you have the space is to widen the speakers and severely toe them inwards such that the straight lines taken from the centre of each treble unit cross at a point a foot or so in front of your listening position. I remember seeing that positioning used to great effect with some vintage Tannoy monitors with 12″ dual-concentric drivers, and it resulted in an extremely focused and coherent sound. I haven’t tried it with the XT8s or any modern Tannoy for that matter (I don’t have the space here to achieve the required width) but it’s worth a try. Might look a little odd though.
With regards the crackle on 1 channel, it’s more than likely the track. To see if the problem goes away, reverse the speaker cables at the amplifier end and see if the problem exists on the other channel. If it does, it’s most likely the track and the speakers are fine. If not, check that the terminals are tight, particularly at the back of the speakers where the 2 bridging plates are connected assuming you’re not bi-wiring.
I’ve had these with a CXA80 for a month now and also own the XT6F’s with the same amp. I don’t find them overly bright at all, even straight out the box. The 6F’s were noticeably brighter were as the increased mid and low end on the larger speakers balances it out nicely. I would recommend the pairing.
using QED speaker cables, wireworld interconnects and an Oppo BDP-203 as my main source. It is an exciting, lively and engaging pairing but definitely not harsh or overly bright and fatiguing like some seem to think.
Hi Ashley, excellent review, especially with The Dark Side of the Moon, just the kind of thing I listen to. Though I have a nagging question, have you tried them with the Cambridge CXA80. I have this amp with a Marantz CD6005, QED XT40 speaker cable and Atlas Element Integra interconnect. I did have a pair of Kef IQ5SE speakers which failed on me after 6 years, so I’m after a new pair of speakers and the XT8F’s are looking pretty good but I have concerns regarding the potential over brightness of the combination.
Glad you enjoyed the review Warren. I’m afraid I haven’t tried them with the CXA80. The 851A is a brighter amp (though not quite as bright as the CXA) and that combination was certainly exciting, though I wouldn’t describe it as ‘over bright’. The CXA is a pretty bright amp and may well be a bit too sharp at the top end, though I do believe that most of the comments concerning the brightness of the XT8s are from those who haven’t allowed them sufficient time to break in. While break in of electronics is a debatable subject, speakers are mechanical devices and therefore do benefit from break in time, some more so than others. I would recommend giving them a demo. You’ll probably find that your CD player (which is an excellent choice by the way) will smooth things out a bit.
Hello. I have read all reviews, as a TANNOY owner. I hace DEFINITION DC8 in main setup and a mutichannel setup with ONKYO TX-RZ900 and a 5.1.2 setup with TANNOY REVOLUTION SIGNATURE DC6T x2 front DC6LCR center. height TANNOY REVOLUITION DC6 x2 and rear TANNOY PRECISION 6.1 x2 . Room is square with 4,3 m side. I have the option put XT8F x2 in front changing DC6T to rear cnannels. II have the revolution signature long time ago. They sound well -center is much bettrer than xt center- but these revolution signature DC6T get a litle steressed when going loud, and perhaps with the xt8f front s get more authorythy, but I have herad xt8f have very bright treble and boomy bass ant room is 4,3m squre. I do not want to make a disaster puting the xt8f please tell me whay do you think about this? You have listened xt8f and you can tell me if quality is a step up over REVOLUTION SIGNATURE. Getting xt6f is other option, but I believe xt6f is like my revolution signature DC6T. Not forgetting my DC6T are build perheps better than XT series, maed in Scotland wirth real wood curved.
I wouldn’t say your current Revolutions are any better built than the XT8s, the XT8 is a very well built speaker. I also didn’t find them overly bright or boomy in the bass, they just take a bit of running in. I think they would sound nice in that setup. Or find a pair of Precision 6.2s or 6.4s on the used market.
I have purchased XT8F and Revolution Signature DC6T go for rear channels. “Out of the box” I can say they are NOT bright in trebble, or, at least, my Signature.s DC6T are brigther… but, in my sqaure 4,3 meter room, Xt8F are very very boomy in upper bass… they are rolling now but bass perhaps excites vibratgion modus in my room and sound is very boomy in 60-80 Hz. If this continues after rolling, I can block bottom port buat If I do so, XT8F acoustic design is killed and I have a clsed box… En these firs moments, medium and trebble are OK, and I think my problem will be domesticate the bass
Build quality is good but I thing my revoluton signature is better built, nd perhas better balanced… I remember DC6T out of the bos was better balance… After rolling them I will add something.
Ia continue rolling the speakers. I see rthey are very sensible to position. bottom port is announced not position depndeant, but moving speakers few centimeters change a lot upper bass response, but anyway I think speaker ins not accuately balanced in bass response.
I can see also, like other user posted here, The Bass Drivers of the XT8f are moving less than the Mid-Bass-Dual Concentric drivers for bass notes on both the speakers. Ashley you say this is normal but why? threr is any logical explanation to this fact? I never has seen this in other dual driver spekaer
After rolling I contine expalining: I have measured frecuency response. Speakers peak high at 90 Hz. This peak can be avoided with speakers two meters off wall. This speaker does NOT have aggresive trebble, midban is amazing and bass is tricky about room and position. Build construction is good, but thay are saving cost respct revolution signature series. No curved surfaces here. Tonal quality is more relaxed than DC6T. Signatured have more aggresive trebble… At the end, XT8F can be an amazing speaker if you arer able to position it properly in your room
thanks for sharing your findings. The trapezoidal shape is designed to achieve a similar reduction in internal standing waves to the curved surfaces. I would be interested to see another frequency response measurement after a couple of months run in time.
With these speakers I have to put some bass traps in corners and other acoustic resources for tyyng to domesticate this speaker. High pea-90 hz is well known in these speakers. TANNOY should provide foam bungs. I will tell you ather two months.