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Tannoy Kensington GR
page 2
page 3 - Sound Quality
page 4 - Conclusion
page 5 - Measured Performance
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TANNOY KENSINGTON GR REVIEW                          November 2014 issue


 

CLASS IN KENSINGTON

 



At £9950 you may need to be a native of Kensington to afford a pair, but you get a classy product, Noel Keywood finds.

Not so long ago our office building was demolished, not by us playing too loud, but to make space for much needed new homes in Kilburn, north-west London. We had to find new offices and a key requirement and big issue was that they suit Tannoys. This isn’t favouritism: big Tannoys are physically challenging and if we could review them properly, we could review any loudspeaker properly. The new Kensington Gold References I’m reviewing here illustrate our dilemma.
    Doorways and goods lift had to be big enough to accept Westminster Royal SEs, the biggest speakers Tannoy make and a size benchmark for us. And I knew from my time with Yorkminsters that we also needed a listening room that was big – and neighbour free.
    Put together, these requirements were nearly impossible to meet, but in the end we found a building able to survive the onslaught and reasonably free of humans. Tannoy obligingly announced a new range of Prestige loudspeakers at around the same time, so a large lorry duly arrived and left in the street, sitting on a palette, two huge boxes, vinyl wrapped together. We had to get them in-doors quickly before Notting Hill decided the date of Christmas had been changed.
    When we used Westminsters at a show demo in Manchester some years ago it took three men to move each one. The Yorkminsters needed two men and the Kensingtons need around one and half men. Each one weighs 37kgs and stands 1.1m tall. As most floorstanders are 1m tall and big ones 1.2m, the Kensingtons are not in truth so high, even by UK standards. But they are relatively wide (405mm) and quite deep too (350mm), meaning they loom large in a room. But there’s “nothing like a good big’un” when it comes to loudspeakers and these dimensions give a generous 105 litres (3.7cu ft) to load the 10in Dual-Concentric bass unit, for “real bass”.
    What you get with the new Kensington Gold Reference is a large and very heavily crafted traditional looking loudspeaker in a big, but not impossibly large cabinet. The Yorkminster had a 12in Dual and the Westminster a 15in Dual, so they are larger speakers all round.
    The Kensington tops the 10in Dual-Concentric equipped Prestige loudspeakers and will fit a typical UK lounge, even if it is more likely to be bought elsewhere, especially the Far East where they love traditional style and values – and Tannoys.
     A price tag of £9950 may seem high, but the new Kensington GR offers a lot for this and of course, with its olde-worlde styling and high quality of finish is almost alone in any case.
    And it’s a Tannoy, which truly does mean different and very, very good. I’ll always miss the Yorkminsters, no other loudspeaker ever moved a room like they did, but I needed a new home to suit them and couldn’t afford one big enough!
    The Kensingtons have been carefully and subtly tailored to suit medium sized rooms, around 18ft-20ft long. They’d likely even work in my lounge at 16ft long (I didn’t try – it’s three floors up and I don't have a goods lift), which the Yorkies nearly demolished, but I’ll go into this in more detail later.
    What you have in the Kensington GR is a Tannoy 10in Dual-Concentric drive unit, loaded by a front ported cabinet. The ports are slots concealed in each front, hardwood corner trim, at left and right and effectively facing forward.
    The Dual-Concentric drive unit houses a large 2in (50mm) aluminium dome tweeter, loaded by a brass plated central horn with ‘pepperpot’ waveguide, that you can see in our pictures. Most tweeters are 1in diameter, so this one is twice as large. What that means in principle is that it goes lower than other tweeters – and this is good. When designing World Audio Design loudspeakers for Hi-Fi World it became obvious to me that a lower crossover frequency largely eliminated the phase error problems that conventional tweeters impose on loudspeakers (this is all due to distances and wavelengths). Tannoy’s large tweeter all but eliminates crossover phase error and you can hear this as a less phasey and indeterminate quality from the loudspeaker. It sounds solid and consistent, especially as you move your head or move around.
    The 10in paper cone bass unit handles everything below 1.5kHz, quite a big task for a large paper cone but there are no hand-over issues between bass and midrange our measurements show. Tannoy have continued to develop their Dual-Concentric drive unit so it meets modern demands and expectations, and in the Kensington GR you get a technically refined performance, that is smooth in nature, carefully avoiding emphasis or aural artifice.



 

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