Forgive the pun, but Tannoy’s system is the very Definition of audio luxury. Naturally given the range’s two-channel origins, its handling of music is sublime, reproducing a range of songs on CD, SACD and DVD-A with amazing depth, detail and transparency. It makes vocals genuinely sound like the singer’s in the room with you, and when reproducing instruments the delicate little breaths and twangs remind you that it’s a human being playing them, not a machine. After hearing this sort of insight and spine-tingling smoothness, that £8k price tag suddenly makes sense.
It’s equally assured with movie material. Yes the sound is refined, but not restrained – it can really let loose when it needs to, delivering a thrilling soundstage that’s epic in scale and pulsating with fast, attacking effects. Load up a disc like Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and the Definition system proves itself to be entertaining, powerful and articulate, handling the crashes and explosions of the Elemental scene with the sort of control you’d expect at this price, but digging out subtle background details that inferior speakers would allow to get swallowed up in the cacophony.
The system was supplied without a subwoofer so we tested it as such. But then we threw in a subwoofer just to check how it sounds. Although the bass performance of the DC8Ts and DC8s is fabulous, lending admirable punch to bottom-end effects, it did benefit greatly when the sub was added, making us more eager than ever to hear what Tannoy can come up with for its Definition subwoofer.
The DC8s at the rear do a fantastic job with transient effects, not only projecting them far and wide but doing so with a superb dynamic range. Ambience is beautifully handled too.
What’s more the new boy doesn’t let the side down. The arrangement of powerful drivers inside the DC6 LCR centre gives dialogue true presence, shaping the worlds with pin-sharp clarity and plenty of body. It blends perfectly with the DC8Ts on either side and DC8s at the rear, making for a cohesive soundstage.
As you can tell, we’re pretty much blown away by the Tannoy Definition system, but then at over eight grand we expected nothing less. It’s a real privilege to hear it in action – the heart-thumping excitement it generates with movie soundtracks is impressive given its musical heritage, and of course with music it’s sublime – articulate and sophisticated, like pure audio silk.
Build quality is phenomenal too, and there are loads of interesting technological features to set it apart from its peers – these are speakers with a real story to tell – but for movies it’s much improved by a subwoofer and we only hope that the forthcoming Definition bass-box can do justice to this wonderful five-channel system.