Monday, October 17, 2011

The Tannoy 615 dilemma

A friend tricked me into buying these from him - it is now a love and hate relationship, with more of the former .. But only in the bedroom ;-)

So here are 3 images to introduce them as they sit hooked in my "HT" system 

OK. Why the mixed feelings ? 

These speakers (NB they are not the 615 MKIIs) are wonderfully coherent, with excellent linearity and almost velvety mids, very serious low frequencies, yet tight and fast, extended and airy top end, which, however, i suspect of some sibilance.

Where are the problems ?

Firstly, when i put them in place of my Quads, in the main system, they virtually killed the music ! The sound stage shrank both from the sides and from the back and front. The sound became "small' and ear fatigue was sensed as approaching fast.. Some detail and most micro detail disappeared from fine recordings i know well, and the sense of notes attack and decay, so beautifully conveyed by the Quads, was now missing or diminished at the very least. Disconnected them and back to the HT setup where they sounded so well - as above described. I don't know if it is the components of the main system or the smaller room of the HT system, but as much as i like them in the HT, i cannot stand them virtually - in the main ..

This is where i decided i  wanted to upgrade them to the MKII revision, and wrote to Tannoy about this. Tannoy were a bit reluctant to give me the fine technical detail of the upgrade, eg capacitor type change - for a early 90s model speakers, so i opened the back to get to the crossovers, took the pictures below and came here for help ..

Three questions bug me, which i feel are the essence of a "low hanging fruit" upgrade :

1. What type of caps are those in the picture ?
2. What do i replace them with to get the most out of the Tannoys ?
3. How much will OFC solid copper wiring impact / improve the overall sound ?

Your input is requested and much appreciated .. The wiring you see is silver or silver plated copper (?) VDH. Any other suggestions are welcome too.

The system where they sound great has a hybrid amplification : 2 x ECC83 into a Class D output stage

Thank you


  1. Update of 30 Aug 2012 :

    Some wonderful "metamorphosis" took place after changing my amplification to Sonab P4000 (modified) and adding the Townshend supertweeter on top of the Tannoys - at level 6. Im virtually scared to put back the ESL57s with the current sound : detail, imaging, transparency, tone attack and decay - a fast / fast transients speaker, microdetail and this full and textured base !

    Virtually a dream team now, shouting 'reference setup' and begging to be listened to.

  2. je ne crois pas que la classe D soit ce que des hauts parleurs tannoy requièrent pour jouer. Ce sont des enceintes qui ont besoin de chaleur et le 100% numérique est tout sauf chaud. tu devras changer l'amplification.

  3. Eh bien, je l'ai fait... Droit maintenant je vais avoir tout tout en ayant mon Jadis Orchestra fortement modifiées, ce qui leur donne beaucoup de jus – les résultats sont tout simplement incroyable, pour ce qui est le programme d'installation

  4. Et ma déception initiale avec le Jadis configurés en tant que puissance (aucun étage d'entrée), a complètement disparu maintenant, après le recâblage de la Jadis à intégré

  5. I will not have anyone speaking of the 615s in this manner , you clearly have not got a clue !!!!!!

  6. Maybe you should read my short comments as of recent .. The 615s with the Townshend super tweeters and AFTER i changed back the Jadis to the original input stage, are truly amazing and are here to stay.

    Naf said

  7. I have the Mark II version, and I swapped out that big blue tweeter cap for a better quality polypropylene--I think it was SCR, same rating. Removed the slight hint of metal in the lower treble, so that this is now a very smooth speaker. I grew up on Quad 57s, and nothing matches those; but these Tannoys are very enjoyable now. I run them either with a Quad 303 or a little Scottie receiver, which is an incredible match: about 3 watts of the sweetest Class A you'll ever hear! And the 615s are so efficient, this works great for normal listening in a very large room.

  8. Thanks for sharing Kevin ! I was happy for a (long) while, and then added the Townshend tweeters on top - which made a difference in some material - opening up the highs, injecting air and decay, when set at 3-5. Recently i moved to files .. Mac Mini - Streamer II (soon Rega DAC). The highs now have become slightly fatiguing, brighter, yet, more detail has emerged and the negatives are something to do with the DAC, I'm certain. Still, I will definitely investigate this blue cap once i've upgraded the DAC. When i change it, want to replace it with something really special .. This speaker can be so addictive ! My Quads are sitting behind them. I'll send an image here once back home


  9. Hi, I plane to buy the Tannoy to use with Yamaha M4 & M2 amplifier (or maybe a Nad).
    Any advice?

  10. Well, I am not aware of the Yamaha, but can tell you that you need very little juice with these speakers. They can sound so wonderful with the right material, that and so open in the top end, that I actually removed the Townshend tweeters I had there. Improvement can be had with upgrading few caps in them, but I have put all upgrades on hold - that is how good they sound. Right now im listening to a hybrid ECC83 - Stage D amp and did not expect to hear them sound like they do - when out of the main rig with the Jadis amp

    Just go for them ..

  11. Thanks for the very quick reply. The Yamaha's was the one named "natural sound", it was equivalent to a A Class and had the power of a tube amplfier without any distorsion. Now I have these ones: so I know how good Tannoy sounds! I also have a pair of Infinity Kappa 9, but I need to renew the foam and try to find two polydom tweeters what are very hard to find... So I will use bi-amp or tri-amp if I buy the Tannoy subwoofer and then... WOW ! O_o

  12. Oh My Go..odness, I won an auction and I got a pair for only [...] € 400.— :-)))) (€200.— each really)

    At this price.... So lucky, does I have to call my wife to know where she is and with who?

    So lucky and so happy, thx to gave me advice !


  13. Congrats ! I paid the same price few years back - to a friend. These speakers sound 10 x this price, s teal at this price if in excellent condition. Enjoy !

  14. Hi Andrei, My name is Pierre (you can call me Peter up to you) so yes it's an excellent day with anexcellent deal (previous owner is a German guy and they are in mint condition, so...). Except the point that I have a little problem. I don't pay attention to the fact that they are 6 Ω but my amplifiers are 8 Ω, so what can I do?

    Best Regards,

  15. And my name is Ilko but you can call me Bill ;-)

    You do nothing .. That's just fine, nothing to stress about ..

  16. Hi, for real, Peter in french is "Pierre", so I'm a french guy, but I enjoy your sense of humour! :-)

    Anyway I just measured my previous Tannoy. Specifications was 8 Ω on paper, but instruments give a resistance about 6 Ω. So it have a margin in fact, then you right. Also the oldies Sixes was also...6 Ω.

    Thank you again.

  17. My bad .. I took you for russian, where Piere and Peter not same ;-) No Piere in fact .

    So i say this - the Tannoys have such constant resistance across the band, that you should not worry. Now, the ESL57s are bad news with their swinging resistance across the freq range and need a proper matching.

    Do not forget to lift the Tannoys on their / some legs, up to an inch off the ground.


  18. Алло! / Bonjour,

    No problem at all ;-)

    Just a small question....

    Have you ever needed to recenter the HF coil vs. LF coil, because of a tad of a buzz sound when the membrane moves? Please take a look here, this thread explain better than me:

    Because if I changed my loudspeamers was also because of this problem with my previous Tannoy (yes I'm addict: I gave for servicing but they never can fix well).

    Have you experienced this issue? And at what volume do you listen to music (I listen to jazz and sometimes a little loud ...)



  19. Salut Piere !

    Funny how we encounter same issue, sam speaker .. I have this ringing, i'd call it phenomenon which exhibits itself on certain material at normal, approaching load levels - much more subdued at low levels .. Since it's not every time - on every record, i decided to live with it and do nothing. I am almost certain that this is mechanical / alignment issue, and will investigate further one day. Never had it on movies - my Tannoys are now deployed in my "HT" system, and i seldom listen critically to music there, unless when they play and I'm in the other room, in my office working. Try jazz vocals with some piano and whatever and then complex well recorded prig rock like Anathema, Genesis, something