Tannoy Revolution XT 6F Floor standing speakers

All of us know just what a good loudspeaker should do, but how to do it's another issue altogether - there are a variety of methods for attempting this. Moving coil drive units in a wooden box are the most straightforward and most common type to make, but arguably the most flawed. However, as the concept is not so new there has been plenty of time and Tannoy came up with its solution nearly 70 years ago. Its first double concentric layout - the Screen Black of 1946 - was a coaxial loudspeaker combining mid/bass and treble components in a single drive unit. This wasn't sold due to the extremely flat frequency response, in cabinets, but as research tools for testing microphones.

Whereas regular speakers fire sound out at you from different spots on the front baffle, it is produced by the driver of Tannoy from the exact same location. Consider a violin playing one note; a conventional speaker will have distinct parts of this (including its harmonics) coming from several points in space in the exact same time. A Tannoy dual concentric driver, however, will produce each of the note's spectral components from just one spot at precisely precisely the same time. This brings great stage coherence and better off-axis response also, making the speaker picture much more exact.

The motorist has been refined over time. Indeed, this year has seen one of its most revolutionary redesigns, using a new Omnimagnet motor and Torus Ogive Waveguide. Both mid/bass and treble drivers now use just one common magnet plus a special waveguide incorporating a donut-shaped (Torus) tweeter diaphragm and bullet-shaped (Ogive) period plug. The tweeter was moved forward for better time alignment along with a more shallow but flared waveguide is said to give high frequency directivity.

The '6' refers to its 6in dual concentric driver, including the 25mm PEI dome tweeter along with the 150mm multi-fibre mid/bass unit, which crossover at 1.8kHz. There is an additional 150mm bass unit that works below 250Hz using a combination of paper fibres in parallel.

Sound quality

There's something automatically right about the sound of the loudspeaker. First impressions, when itself is initially revealed by a speaker, are not unimportant and can decided whether it lives or dies in the showroom. In the off, the Revolution XT 6F impresses, but not in the sense of sounding dramatic or impactful, but rather because it doesn't. It presents itself as a 'mature' product for the cost, devoid of the usual frequency peaks and troughs which are often blatantly - or unwittingly - engineered in.

The very first track on the CD player is Spacer, a classic piece of disco music, performed by B and Sheila Devotion. It is an evaluation that is worthy, with plenty of energy at both ends of the frequency spectrum plus a splendidly sinewy rhythm that soon discloses whether it can stop and start properly. It comes over as tonally there's no sign of lumpiness to it, although you'll have to concede the upper bass has a subtle weight that helps propel pop music on in a most satisfying manner. Treble is very good too, being clear and sharp if not quite as fine as the best at the price. In between this can be a well integrated and pleasingly open midband with a surprising quantity of clarity from a loudspeaker only at that cost and also from a Tannoy. It is definitely a touch well defined and seems able to give a more intricate rendition than I've heard before from a speaker in this segment bearing this great name of what's actually in the record. The result is that Spacer comes over in a most gratifying way; yet and seeming warm, smooth, grand participating.

Going to something completely more contemplative, and also the amazing ambient airs of The Cocteau Twins' Lazy Calm shows just how great the new Tannoy is at imaging. Not that this was ever in doubt of course, but nonetheless it serves up a cathedral-like area of sound, imaging right and far left, and also hanging back nicely. This is further underlined after I move to the Ralph Vaughan Williams stirring Symphony No.2, only to hear the soundstage open up still further. Really, the Revolution XT 6F is able to show off its even tonal balance, fine group and clear ability to recreate a recorded acoustic in three dimensions. I'm also struck by the fine string tone delivered with this recording; earlier entry-level Tannoy dual concentrics had the inclination sound a little 'cuppy', but the latest drive unit is a model of neutrality and openness by comparison. It might not always have been voiced as such, but the Tannoy proves a superb alternative for classical music.

One frequently finds that loudspeakers that score highly in traditional features of performance - bandwidth, smoothness, detail, etc. - do less well in their ability to entertain and involve the listener. But not thus with the Revolution XT 6F, which proves highly adept at pulling the crucial rhythm of the music from the electrical signal it is presented with. This really is a highly enjoyable design that bounces along in a higher rate of knots.

John McLaughlin's excellent Love And Understanding is a robust piece of guitar-based jazz fusion as well as its outstanding transient response is shown by the Revolution XT 6F with some dizzyingly quickly strummed electric guitar strings and hi hat work. It proves well able to get into the groove, potently showing up the fine rhythmic playing of the instrumentalists, together with the dynamic accenting that makes the music sound so expressive.

Additionally, it does well for its size in bass expansion, having a deep and smooth base end that doesn't sound like it's struggling too hard with lower bass notes. Overall, there is nothing I could find to mark down this loudspeaker in the cost; it's a fantastic performer with a special talent all of its own.


Tannoy goes through something of a purple patch with some really powerful affordable and mid-price speakers out there, all of which have garnered a reputation for musicality as much as that brand sound that is expansive.

To the list we now have to add the Revolution XT 6F, which performs much better than it's any right to. Add those traditional values you get from the double concentric driver - beginning with that amazing 'point-source' imaging - to its sound that is highly engaging and this really is prone to win many friends within an already highly competitive marketplace.

Tannoy Revolution XT 6F Floor standing speakers photo

Review price £999 / $1498.5