07 February, 2011

Audition: Tannoy Edinburgh HE

Audition: Tannoy Edinburgh HE, Quicksilver, Phase Tech

Despite cancellation of yumcha, Saturday turned out to be a fruitful day for me, with a totally unexpected audition that pleased me immensely.

It was one of those R33 transactions. In the afternoon I went to the large and tastefully adorned working loft of Carl, a professional photographer, to pick up something. As soon as I walked in I caught glimpse of a pair of large Tannoy's. It was the Tannoy Edinburgh HE (Official Tannoy Edinburgh HE brochure)(More Edinburgh HE pics on Audiogon)(the later hard-edge 風琴邊 version, now discontinued; not to be confused with the earlier non-HE Edinburgh, which we heard also to great effect in Tsing Yi!). The Edinburgh is a little smaller than my Canterbury and looked magnificent in this large space. If I remember correctly, unlike the 15" drivers used in the Canterbury and Westminster Royal, the 12" driver here is not alcomax. But it's the sound that is important, not whether the drivers are alnico or not.

I didn't have too much time but Carl was very nice and played me a few tracks. Needless to say, the sound was so good that I was late for my next appointment. Carl setup is very simple but very effective, all placed neatly on TAOC stands. It's too bad I don't have a pic. The loft is >2000 ft, and the system took up just the space near the entrance. The speakers are placed along on the long wall, toed-in. I roughly estimate more than 15' for each side of the equilateral triangle formed with the listening seat. Here's the equipment list:

Analog: Acoustic Solid Machine/Ortofon AS-212S/Phase Tech P-1
Phonoamp: Phase Tech EA-3
Preamp: Quicksilver Line Stage Preamp
Amp: Quicksilver Silver 60 monoblocks
Loudspeakers: Tannoy Edinburgh + ST250 supertweeter on TAOC stands

A word on Quicksilver (Products). I have always liked the products of this unassuming company. My first encounter was the wonderful Philips 8417 amps many years ago in NYC. Later in HK I organized a group buy for their astonishingly cheap and wonderful Mini Mite monoblocks, surprisingly still in production after more than 10 years; as an anecdote, I even met a good friend through the group buy!

Carl played several pop and jazz tracks. The sound on Ricky Lee Jones and Miles Davis were altogether engrossing, wonderfully clear and neutral. The Quicksilver combo delivered wonderful neutral sound, proving they had plenty of juice even in this large space.

Amazingly, there was not a hint of softness to the bass (a character of the Mini-Mites)! And there was not a hint of slowness that one frequently encounters in vintage Tannoy drivers, proving yet again that modern Tannoy drivers are faster and can go much louder. The excellent sound also once again proves Tannoy positively thrives in a larger space, at least the modern ones, that is.

This was my first encounter with Japanese hi-end manufacturer Phase Tech (official website) not to be confused with Phase Technology, the American loudspeaker manufacturer. I liked what I heard, a direct and clear sound. Price for the P1 (Positive Feedback review) seems quite reasonable by modern standards. This company deserves closer scrutiny. From their website, their flagship phonoamp EA-1 positively makes my mouth water!

Serendipity! A great day!

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