Tannoy Loudspeakers: The Originators Of True Point Source
Tannoy Ltd. is a Scotland-based manufacturer of loudspeakers and public-address (PA) systems. Tannoy is one of the oldest and most prestigious audio brands in the world with over 80 years of audio invention. The company was founded in London, England as Tulsemere Manufacturing Company in 1926, by Guy R. Fountain, but has been based in Coatbridge, Scotland, since the 1970s. Since 2002 it has been a part of the Danish-based TC Group.
The name Tannoy is a syllabic abbreviation of tantalum alloy, which was the material used in a type of electrolytic rectifier developed by the company. The brand had been trademarked by 10 March 1932, on which date the Tulsemere Manufacturing Company was formally registered as Guy R. Fountain Limited.
It became a household name as a result of supplying PA systems to the armed forces during World War II, and to Butlins and Pontins holiday camps after the war. This usage is current as of mid-2010. Tannoy is famous for its ‘Dual Concentric’ speaker design which places the tweeter behind the centre of the medium or bass driver. ‘Dual Concentric’ is a trademark although Tannoy is not the only speaker manufacturer to design coaxial speakers.
Tannoy’s image is particularly linked to studio monitors on the one hand and its Prestige range of home speakers on the other. Prestige speakers use Dual Concentric cone speakers and are easily recognizable by their ‘vintage’ design.
The term ‘tannoy’ is often used generically in colloquial English throughout the British Commonwealth to mean any public-address system, particularly those used for announcements in public places; although the word is a registered trademark, it has become a genericised trademark. The company’s intellectual property department keeps a close eye on the media and will often write to publications that use its trade name without a capital letter or as a generic term for PA systems, in order to preserve its trademark.
Today, Tannoy is the brand name that can be found not only in the homes of discerning hi-fi enthusiasts across the globe, but in some of the most prestigious audio installations throughout the world. Examples include the Hong Kong Convention Centre, the Sydney Opera House, the London Palladium and the Bellagio and Hard Rock Hotels in Las Vegas, and most recently, the Burj Khalifa and Atlantis Hotel Resort in Dubai and Yas Marina Hotel on the Abu Dhabi F1 circuit to name but just a few. The company’s Scottish factory HQ is located in Coatbridge, near Glasgow where they’ve been based for the past 35 years. Indeed, all Tannoy products are still conceived, designed and developed at their UK base to this day, as well as extensive manufacturing.
Product development has been even more energetic and exciting since Tannoy became part of the TC Group of companies in 2002. TC Group now comprises of several individual audio technology businesses, which includes TC Electronic, a leader in MI and studio products, as well as Swedish amplification specialists Lab.gruppen and signal processing innovators Lake. The combined expertise of Tannoy, Lab.gruppen, Lake and TC Electronic is allowing the companies to share research and development and award-winning products like Tannoy’s new QFlex range bear testament to this exciting synergy.
The Originators Of True Point Source
From the late 1940’s onwards, Tannoy loudspeakers with dual concentric drives earned a reputation for accuracy, clarity, and prodigious output which made them extremely popular in the recording and broadcast industries for monitoring audio. By the late 1950’s keen hi-fi enthusiasts were using these drive units at home as well. The trend for domestic applications has continued to the extent that Tannoy now market domestic and professional units separately.
The classic designs of the 1940’s to 1970-‘s now yield high prices amongst vintage audio-buffs. This un-official Tannoy web-site is intended to promote interest in old Tannoy monitors, and assist with identification and restoration.
Presently, Tannoy remains active in three key audio sectors: Residential Hi-Fi, Installed Sound and Studio Monitoring. In each of these market sectors, Tannoy continues to incorporate highly developed derivatives of the Dual Concentric point source driver into its products maintaining the sound principles behind the original design concept in that it combines transparent, fluid performance with true point source symmetrical dispersion properties. The recent introduction of the highly acclaimed VQ Series sound reinforcement system and new Kingdom Royal flagship hi-fidelity loudspeaker are prime examples of this cutting edge evolution of a consistently developed principle.
Westminster Royal SE
The Westminster Royal SE, the crowning achievement of the Prestige range, combines hand built traditional compound horn loaded enclosure with the latest technological innovation in acoustical engineering.
The 15” Dual Concentric drive unit incorporates an Alnico magnet system with an integral computer designed and manufactured reverse throat high frequency PepperPot WaveGuide for exceptional transient response and increased sensitivity. A ‘hard edge’ cone surround and unique chassis earthing system deliver tight, fast and controlled bass with fluid and transparent midrange and high frequency performance of great purity.
The magnificent 530 litre cabinet with its complex horn loading system delivers greatly increased efficiency with a wave front area approaching that from real instruments. Effortlessly capable of resolving truly low frequencies and the reproduction of the dramatic dynamic range of musical instruments with stunning realism, this is a true Tannoy classic.
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