Reviews

Review: Tannoy Revolution XT6 and XT6F

This week we tested the Tannoy Revolution XT6 and Tannoy Revolution XT6F speakers from the British Brand’s new Tannoy Revolution XT range. The Tannoy Revolution XT6 are compact models while the Tannoy Revolution XT6F are floor-standing speakers. Both these speakers use the same 6″ Dual Concentric Omnimagnet coaxial driver. The Tannoy XT6F also uses a “double bass reflex” enclosure. These features are designed to obtain a very unique high-quality sound and we decided to give it a try.

Tannoy Revolution XT6 et XT6F

Tannoy Revolution XT6F

Tannoy Revolution XT : Omnimagnet Dual Concentric?

The coaxial technology Tannoy calls Dual Concentric is not new. As a matter of fact, it has been Tannoy’s signature for decades. The coaxial driver, as its name indicates, features a configuration which combines two transducers in order to deliver sound according to the same axis (hence the name coaxial).

The advantage of such a construction is that it provides a more coherent sound dispersion in a way separated drivers cannot offer.

The Tannoy Dual Concentric coaxial driver is a two-way type model featuring a treated paper membrane held by a surround whose function is to deliver low and medium frequencies (up to 1.1 kHz for the XT6 and XT6F). In the middle of this membrane is a tweeter which takes over for higher frequencies. This tweeter is made up of a torus shaped 1″ diaphragm placed at the bottom of a small horn and topped with a torus shaped pole piece (the Torus waveguide).

Tannoy Revolution XT6F Torus

Tannoy Dual Concentric Omnimagnet

The construction quality of the Dual Concentric Omnimagnet driver is up to the British brand’s quality standards. The quality is obvious.

The Torus waveguide is mainly responsible for the outstanding sound placement this speaker offers. The function of this waveguide is to disperse the soundwave with maximum accuracy both vertically and horizontally.

This brand new waveguide has been designed to enhance the sound stage.

The term Omnimagnet refers to the magnets used to set the driver’s mobile parts in motion. In the case of the Dual Concentric driver, many magnets are used in order to improve the transient phase of the bass driver and tweeter (their ability to go from one state of vibration to another).

Tannoy Revolution XT6 et XT6F

The Tannoy Revolution XT6 and XT6F speakers during our listening sessions

Design and internal construction

The Tannoy Revolution XT6 compact speaker is fitted with a 6″ Dual Concentric speaker placed in a small air volume (11 litres) supplied via a bass reflex enclosure. Its side panels are not parallel in order to avoid unwanted internal vibrations which would disrupt the membrane’s movement. The resonator, whose function is to deliver low frequencies, is placed on the bottom panel and thefore emits sound from under the speaker. The Tannoy Revolution XT6 is thus equipped with feet to allow a better flow of the soundwave.

Tannoy Revolution XT6F

The magnetic covers are easy to place.

With an internal air volume of about 11 litres, the 6″ Dual Concentric driver has a frequency response ranging from 46 Hz to 32 kHz for a sensitivity of 89 dB (for 1 W at 1 m). This speaker also boasts a quality natural wood coat finish. Other signs of Tannoy’s meticulous work on this model are: the bottom panel (also coated with natural wood) and the name “Tannoy” engraved in the driver’s fastening screws.

Tannoy Revolution XT6F

Tannoy Revolution XT6F

The caps were designed to  not come off the terminals when unscrewing them. A nice touch.

The bi-amplification compatible terminals can hold strong section cables. The Tannoy Revolution XT6’s power handling is 60 Watts (continuous), which is a realistic value for a 6″ driver. Some other brands don’t hesitate to tweak these numbers.

Tannoy Revolution XT6F

Despite being one metre tall, the Tannoy XT6F give the impression of being a small floor-standing speaker. Yet, it is a completely different story when listening to it.

The Tannoy XT6F floor-standing speaker features the same Dual Concentric Omnimagnet coaxial driver as well as a second 6″ driver dedicated to low frequencies. This second transducer is equipped with the same membrane minus the tweeter. Both are placed in the same air volume, which is, however, not provided via a bass reflex enclosure directed towards the room. Tannoy decided to use a double bass reflex charge, meaning the air volume in which the drivers are placed (top part of the speaker) is provided by a first port and comes out through a second port, situated under the speaker.

Tannoy Revolution XT6F

The feet of the Tannoy Revolution XT6F allow the speaker to be directed towards the listener. The bass reflex port is visible. Note that the natural wood coating hasn’t been overlooked.

The advantage of the bass reflex enclosure is that it allows an extended response in the lower end of the sound spectrum despite a limited air volume, which is the case with this “small” floor-standing speaker. The two resonators work with different frequency ranges, one in the high-bass while the other is dedicated to infra-bass (around 50 Hz in this case). The numbers are coherent as regards the performance offered its compact counterpart: Down to 38 Hz for the lower end of the spectrum and a power handling of 75 W (continuous)

Listening conditions

We listened to the Tannoy Revolution XT6 and XT6F with several sources and amplifiers. We used our reference amp, the Hegel H80, as well as the Cambridge Audio Azur 651A, Denon PMA-50 and Micromega MyAMP. Our sources were the Pioneer N-P01 paired up with the Marantz HD DAC-1 as well as the Astell&Kern AK500. As for cables, we used Viard Audio Silver HD12 HP and Micromega MyCable HP to connect the speakers to the amplifier and Viard Audio Premium RCA-RCA to connect the source to the amplifier. We listened to FLAC files stored on a computer and shared via DLNA.

Tannoy Revolution XT

Listening impressions

Besides the obvious coherence of the soundstage, it is the softness of the tweeter which really got us. Tannoy’s Dual Concentric coaxial driver is a real success. The British manufacturer did a great job with the tweeter, which is not overwhelming and doesn’t compress the sound stage when the level is turned up. The energy delivered by the transducer is not exclusively focused on the traditionnal 5 to 10 kHz bandwidth but goes far beyond. The Dual Concentric driver reacts well to the signal sent by the amplifier. Medium and high frequencies are delivered with a lot of subtlety and space. Listening to these speakers is very relaxing but is in no way boring.

The Tannoy Revolution XT6 compact speakers are a little short as regards the lower end of the sound spectrum, but what were we expecting with only 11 litres of air? This limited amount of air seems to be a deliberate choice from Tannoy in order to favour a swift reaction from the driver with other frequency ranges. The Tannoy Revolution XT6F floor-standing speakers are, on the other hand, ideally balanced. The second 6″ driver offers a solid foundation despite the small size of this speaker.

Tannoy Revolution XT6F

L’amour est un oiseau rebelle, Maria Callas, FLAC 16/44
The voice of the singer is remarkably well placed, right in the heart of the sound stage. The space around Maria Callas is striking. It is simply beautiful and emotion is well conveyed from beginning to end. Male and female choirs benefit from a great sound level and are always audible. The often blurry “prends garde à toi” is crystal clear here.

Duel of Fates, John Williams, FLAC 16/44
The depth of the sound stage is absolutely outstanding and the speakers never seem to struggle. There is absolutely no harshness when the volume is turned up high, regardless of the DAC-amp configuration. This tweeter is nothing short of incredible. We would have liked the kettledrums to sound a little more punchy but the sound is definitely clear and spacious.

Martinique, Lalo Schifrin, FLAC 16/44
The Tannoy XT6F are right at home with this jazz track and its complex sound take. The delivery is, once again, very clear and ample and the brass section doesn’t sound compressed when it sets the tone.

Requiem pour un con, Serge Gainsbourg, FLAC 16/44
A completely different type of track here. Right from the intro, we can hear the artist taking a breath, Gainsbourg’s voice is mesmerizing through the whole song. Percussions sound like a real festival and the immersion is incredible. The XT6F has what it takes to go very low.

Superfast Jellyfish, Gorillaz, FLAC 16/44
Just like many other highly compressed tracks mixing synthetic sounds with a wide array of samples, this Gorillaz track is not an easy one to deliver. The complexity of the musical message doesn’t take the XT6F by surprise as the sound stays balanced from begining to end. The bass rumbles as the synths flow very smoothly.

Human Behaviour, Bjork, FLAC 16/44
Bjork’s vocal range is meticulously rendered. The lower notes are well emphasized, percussions are believable and have just enough echo. We enjoyed the same feeling of richness with the live version available on Deezer.

Venus as a Boy, Bjork, FLAC 16/44
Percussions flow, roll, and take off smoothly without the slightest dryness. We enjoy the constant feeling of depth and space.

What we liked…

The softness and the micro-dynamic performance of the new Dual Concentric Omnimagnet driver
The Torus tweeter and its ability to go high up in the sound spectrum while adding a real depth to the listening experience
The Tannoy XT6F’s double bass-reflex enclosure
The elegant design and stylish wood coating

Conclusion

We really enjoyed the Tannoy Revolution XT6F floor-standing speakers, more than we liked their compact counterpart as we felt that the Dual Concentric driver has more to offer when provided with more air. Yet, both speakers splendidly level the sound stage and bring a rare rhythm and space to the musical message. The Tannoy Revolution XT are extremely easy to supply in power and will provide you with an extremely convincing listening experience with both small and extremely powerful amplifiers. The Dual Concentric technology is perfectly tuned and opens the sound stage right in front of you. These speakers will please whoever is looking for a detailed, dynamic and non-stressful sound.

Tannoy Revolution XT6 et XT6F

Tannoy Revolution XT6 et XT6F

This post is also available in: French

About the author

Tristan Jacquel

Tristan est rédacteur chez Son-Vidéo.com. Passionné de musique, d'acoustique et de high-tech, il réalise notamment les tests matériels pour notre blog.

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