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Tannoy Prestige Canterbury Gold Reference speakers Review

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The term “waveguide” is used in audio to describe a technique to address this issue in certain types of horns. Indeed, the term “waveguide” is sometimes used as though it is a different device than a horn. However, it is more accurate to say that all waveguides are horns, but not all horns are waveguides. Most horns with narrow throats have some waveguide design which controls their radiation pattern. Tannoy uses either the PepperPot WaveGuide™ or the Tulip WaveGuide™ to address this issue, dependent on the model. The new Prestige line incorporates the PepperPot Wave Guide™, which should please Tannoy aficionados who enjoyed the presentation of the earlier iterations of the Prestige line which used the PepperPot. For the readers interested in a clearer picture of what a waveguide is and the difference between the Pepperpot and Tulip waveguides, check out the pictures at (pepperpot) and (tulip).

Loudspeaker magnet systems have generally been constructed in two ways: (1) With a permanent magnet as the center pole, and a rounded outer casing that forms the flux return path to the front of the magnet; or (2) a soft steel center pole, and ring-shaped cast Alnico outer ring permanent magnet. The second way is the method Tannoy uses. The Alnico powered motors are now fitted with a new heat-treated aluminum (Brits call it “aluminium”) alloy HF compression diaphragm. The diaphragm is bonded to a revised copper-clad aluminum voice coil. According to Tannoy, use of a new Mylar surround delivers a sweeter response than in previous models.

Tannoy says that the new 15-inch Gold Reference bass driver is Tannoy’s most powerful and articulate Dual to date, offering over 96dB efficiency. It has a new fiber-enriched paper pulp cone material and the cone is terminated with a twin roll surround of impregnated fabric for improved damping characteristics. The crossover to the bass driver has also been redesigned, featuring Custom ICW ClarityCap™ MR capacitors, low loss laminated core inductors and thick-film resistors, and the final assembly is deep cryogenically treated as a whole unit.

The birch plywood cabinetry has been engineered with what Tannoy calls a Variable Distributed Port system allowing low frequency output to be tuned to best fit room dimensions. There is also Tannoy’s signature high frequency power switch, which permits fine adjustments to the treble. As I will discuss below, the dual variable distributed port system and the high frequency power adjustment options give greater flexibility with room placement and personal tuning than with most other speakers.

Tannoy Prestige Canterbury Gold Reference speaker


I used the Tannoy Prestige Canterbury GR with the fabulous Pass Labs Xs 300 four-chassis monoblocks, the Electrocompaniet Nemo monoblocks and the Electrocompaniet monoblocks. The source was my modded Qsonix Q-105 server, DACs were the Bricasti M1 and MBL 1611F, then the signal went through a BSG Technologies QOL and a Lyngdorf RP-1 before sending the signal to the Pass or Electrocompaniet amps. Interconnects were Audio Reference Technology (A.R.T.) Super SE, Silent Source Music Reference and Signature, Tara Labs Zero Gold, and Lessloss Tunnelbridge. Speaker cables were the A.R.T. Super SE and the Silent Source Signatures. Power cords were A.R.T. Super SE and Lessloss DPFC Signatures.

I started by placing the Tannoy Prestige Canterbury GR in the same locations that I place my Vivid Giya G-1. This put the Tannoys approximately 12 feet apart, 7 feet from side walls and 5 feet from the front wall. The seating position was approximately 13 feet from each speaker. Toe-in was initially set by aiming the speakers directly at the center of the listening position. I eventually moved the speakers slightly closer together (just a few inches), changed the toe-in to aim the speakers at the outside of the main listening chair, and used some Walker Audio discs to slightly elevate the front feet of the Speakers (discussed further below). This was the position of the Canterbury GRs during the auditioning sessions.


Comparison Speakers and Use of Solid-state with Horns

The two speakers I used for direct comparison were the fabulous $62,000 Vivid Audio Giyas 1 and the overachieving $3,500 Sonus Faber Venere 3.0’s. I did not have any speakers in the Canterbury’s price range, but having something that was twice as expensive and something that was 1/10th the price kept things in perspective. There’s lots of excellent competition in this price range, including speakers from Electrocompaniet, Rockport, KEF, and Wilson. However, no one else I can think of in this price range has the particular design philosophy or traditional aesthetics incorporated into the Tannoy Prestige Canterbury GR.

When Constantine Soo proposed this review of the Tannoy Canterbury Prestige GR, I was very enthused, but also a bit apprehensive. Since I hadn’t heard any Tannoys for many years, I checked the Tannoy website to get some information on the speaker’s design. One of the first things I saw was that they incorporated a horn. Many light years ago I owned a pair of Klipsch Heresy I, which featured horns in the midrange and tweeter and used Alnico magnet materials in the drivers. I drove those speakers with much less power than what I have on hand today, and also used a tubed preamp. For many years, horns have been thought to be best coupled with tube electronics. How would the Canterbury GR sound with extremely high power solid-state electronics? Nonetheless, I assumed that Tannoy expected many users to be using solid-state electronics in today’s environment.

7 Responses to Tannoy Prestige Canterbury Gold Reference speakers Review

  1. michele surdi says:

    very enjoyable and thorough.for different amplifier perspective you might be interested in my 6moons review
    have a nice sunday
    michele from rome

  2. Michael Spruill says:

    I enjoyed your review; thank you for the effort and thoroughness. Were you able to place any tubed equipment into the system, and what were the results?
    Mike from Atlanta

    • Jeff Haas says:

      Mike, I have the Kensington GR’s on CJ Premier 12’s. The dialing in of things on this little brother yields fantastic results with tube amps. This speaker and its big brother are made for tubes. I gave up my Wilson’s for these 2 ways and I can not imagine a more pleasurable experience in critical or every day sounds

  3. Pasquale says:

    Hi, thanks for the review.
    Can you explain what “bass regulation” are you talking about? On the cabinet I see only the treble adjustments…

    • Richard says:

      Pasquale, the vertical slots in the cabinets have a physical port adjustment. Open or closed and infinitely variable in between. I own a pair of these and drive them with tubed VTL MB450’s. Absolutely amazing and perfect for my ears.

      • Vasile Andrei says:

        Hi! I just bought an open box pairs and the tool for the ports adjusting is missing! Ihave checked on the net and didn’t find any image for how it looks like and how to use it! Can you help me with that? Thank you!

  4. Richard says:

    The “tool’‘ is a simple wooden dowel. In a pinch I’ve even used the grill key. Whatever you use just take care not to drop it inside the cabinet.

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