Monday, 8 February 2016

The TrueFi Tannoy Speaker – What others say

Andreas V. wrote at 27th of March 2017: 

Visiting Volker and listening to his 15” Tannoy Reds based speakers was quite exciting for me. I was really curious. Not too long ago I was way into Tannoy sound. Once you get accustomed to this warm, mellow and space-filling sound you can get from a 15”- or 12”-Tannoy alnico driver, it is hard not to get addicted to the Tannoy sound. The coax offers you all of the musical fidelity and liquidity you need to have to understand the musical massage. In this sense Tannoy alnico driver are very unique surpass many other conventional speakers. On my way through the Tannoy world I owned many Tannoy speakers mainly older alnico models and some other modern made Tannoys, like Turnberry, Kensington and the mighty Westminster SE. Frankly speaking, I almost owned them all, some of them even more than once. My personal interest belonged to Arden, Berkeley and Cheviot from the HPD series that I untypically combined with tube amps. Obviously I finally run out of space to store the cabinets. I found that the special sound delivered from Alnico driver with older crossovers was one reason for the typical sound, but I also had to learn that the soft Tannoyplas built in all HPDs (all but Eatons) suffered from control and texture in bass, at least when fed by meager powered tube amps. Solid state amps make a different picture and mostly gain control on HPDs, but on the other side lack of refinement and brilliance compared to fine tube amps. On my way to the high fidelity Mount Olympus I found after all more attended to full-range speakers like Salaberts or Line Magnetic replicas of the Western Electric 755a. The coherence and homogeneity of these fine full-range speakers is incomparable to all others. But they don’t quite offer the brilliance and deep bass as of an excellent coax system can offer. So I found that you have to decide which side you want to belong to. 
After visiting Volker I realized that he managed to create a speaker that incorporates the best of both worlds. His speaker offers the liquidity and musicality a good coax combined with the coherence and homogeneity of the world finest full-range speaker. We listed to a lot of his vinyl collection. The speaker’s bass is totally incomparable to conventional bass reflex speaker. It is so precise and naturel that it is almost shocking. Trebles are present, but never disturbing. Thereby never distracting from the music, but rather focusing on the essence. Actually, you totally lose interest in pinpointing criteria, like soundstage and treble or bass-qualities. Not saying they don’t perform well, the opposite is true, you rather stop counting beans and start enjoying records. And that’s what it should be all about, shouldn’t it? I personally realized after spending some hours of fulfilling listening time with Volker’s set what capabilities his speakers offer. 
So if you are looking for a very special speaker aside from mainstream high fidelity, skillfully hand-crafted, that has the capabilities to unleash the musicality, I honestly recommend that you listen to Volker’s speaker.

Patrick Leuba, owner since February 2016: 

I know Volker since quite some time, mainly via e-mail contact, but I’m so happy I finally met him. For about 3 years we were regularly exchanging e-mails on many different topics, but always keeping a focus on audio subjects, beside cooking, Italian kitchen, mushrooms, and other subjects. Volker helped me a lot in many areas of the improvement of the reproduction of an audio signal, finally he even guided me through the DIY built-up of a tube pre-amplifier, an excellent piece of sound. But this is a different topic.

Quite some months ago, I do not remember the details, but somehow I asked him, if he would agree to build a pair of his Tannoy dipole speakers for me, the ones described in his blog. I never had heard them, but I had the feeling, these speakers have a great sound quality. After some hesitation, he finally agreed to this project. The set-up, the source of the wood, the right colour, the bending facility of the front horn, everything had to be found, defined, produced. It took quite some time to Volker, but he managed to find a suitable solution for every production step.

 Finally, one day, I got the news about the termination of the building process, but, a bit frightening, also news about a big difference in sound compared to his own speakers. Volker was concerned, but quickly realized, that by adding hour on hour of playing, the performance improved. It needed a few days of intensive playing to bring the new speakers to a comparable performance. I never would have expected such a long play-in time for such "old" speakers. Came the day, Volker confirmed that their performance was now as expected and asked me to pick them up. Volker, staying more than 600km away from my living place, how to bring them to me? Fortunately enough, my wife still owns from her father a 20 year old Volvo 850, in this the Tannoys fitted perfectly.

So, I and my wife decided to drive to Volker. On a Thursday we started, arrived in the late afternoon in Düsseldorf and went for dinner together with Volker. It was a very pleasant evening, excellent Japanese food, in one of the biggest Japanese communities in Europe, a new experience.

Next morning we met at his place and he started to play music on these speakers. Firstly, I was surprised on all the musical details, the depth, the stage I could identify out of the music flow. I really never encountered such a musical reproduction, especially out of a single speaker. I have some experience with broad band speakers, but this experience was really surprising. Not a single minute I felt any doubt on my decision to ask for such speakers.

The final comparison was only possible at my home, in my listening room, where I was able, to easily distinguish the sound differences compared to my old speakers. And now, after a few weeks of intensive listening, I can only repeat above statement. I usually listen with CDs or vinyl as source, mainly rock, jazz, world music, and a bit modern classical music, especially piano. With my old speakers, I sometimes lost interest listening to music, or I had to turn the volume up. With Volker’s speakers I’m again listening nearly every day, at lower volumes and still all kind of different styles, they reproduce any music  in an excellent way. I re-discovered many of my older recordings. Their sound is different from anything I heard before, pleasant, detailed, rich, dynamic, including a wide and deep stage, where you can identify the placement of almost every instrument. The frequency range is well balanced, a tight bass, going very deep, a very clear midrange and sharp heights. There is no special frequency range dominating or popping up. Everything very well balanced. The placement of the speakers as well is quite uncritical. My listening room is quite high, with a lack of damping materials. The effect is none compared to my previous speakers. Good recordings sound terrific. No need to judge bad recordings, they just remain bad.  With Volker’s Tannoys, it’s becoming difficult to listen to other speakers. I got with these speakers a true gem!  Volker has such a great experience in testing items, combined with a clear vision for a good sound. I have a great respect on his judgement capabilities for sound. He really knows what a good sound is. And his speakers sound accordingly. Great! And they look beautiful. A masterpiece of craftsmanship.

Hans Andreas Schiffer did say at the 7th of February 2016:

"Ich empfinde es als wohltuend, das zunehmend mehr Menschen sich an die Werten historischen Konzepte erinnern und dabei deren Vorteile beibehalten und auch ganz in diesem Sinne weiterentwickeln. Nachdem ich mehrmals den Lautsprecher bei Dir hören konnte, bin ich nicht nur von den überragenden Qualitäten der alten Tannoy Chassis überzeugt worden. Überraschend gute Transparenz und Schnelligkeit für eine 15-Zoll-Pappe und als Ergebnis eines H-Dipol ähnlich dem berühmten WE7331. Dies kombiniert mit den Qualitäten des Ausnahmehochtöners des Tannoy und durch einen vorgesetzten Trichter anzubinden, machen das System so verblüffend. Es erinnert mich in seinen positiven Eigenschaften erstaunlicherweise mehr an meine LM-Installation als so vieles andere, das sich meist in ungeordneter Bemühtheit verliert. Chapeau!"

Mike Thomas did say at the 19th of January 2016

Ich höre mit einer Horninstallation (siehe Artikel in diesem Blog) und empfinde Volkers Lautsprecher als wirkliche Alternative.

Die herausragende Homogenität und Geschlossenheit paart sich mit einem farbigen, federnden Grundton und Bassbereich. Die Wiedergabe über diesen Lautsprecher gestattet einen einzigartigen Zugang zur Musik. Historische Tannoy Lautsprecher zu hören war immer schon ein besonderes Erlebnis, vor allem der Hochtonbereich hatte immer eine Qualität, die man bei praktisch allen anderen Lautsprechern vermisst. Volker hat es geschafft mit dem Rest des Lautsprechers an diese überragende Hochtonqualtität anzuknüpfen.

Zum klanglichen Erlebnis kommt eine optische Ästhetik die den Lautsprecher zu einem wunderbar verarbeiteten Möbelstück macht.

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