Old school Tannoy Loudspeakers and Valves

The deal was that when the venerable Tandberg Amplifiers died, I’d go over to Valve Amplification.

I’d head many recommendations, although it is difficult to get information about the Tannoy Monitor Gold 3LZ specifically.

What I really value is the ability of this system to allow pleasurable listening- with all the details- at low volume levels; something my Tandberg Amplifiers weren’t able to achieve!

Tannoys and Valves. Like Strawberries and Cream.

But why?

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Not really, Tannoy made valve amps. For 15’s / 12’s Silver / red / golds, I preferred 18W+ push pull For grip - Radfords drive them fairly well. 300b Set I have didn’t really, Not sure about the 10’s or Tanoplas HPDs. If I were looking again today, I’d try and demo EL34 PP amps with 22ish W.


A sorted Radford STA 25 would be nice I imagine.

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I’ve got a Radford STA15 you are welcome to try, not sure if it will be quite enough for Golds as the STA25 or preferably the rocking horse shit STA100 is considered better.

Also have some Audio Innovation Second mono blocks which I also think @murrayjohnson ? are 15 Watts but as they are parallel PP they may drive the tannoys better.

Not willing to post but if you want to try them you are welcome to come and pick them up.

STA 25 sounded about right with the larger Tannoys (Tannoys own autograph amp was KT66 18w if memory serves). For the 10" the STA 15 may well be worth a try.

I use 14W EL34 PP with mine (12" Cheviot 2’s with ‘rubber’ surrounds). They work well to my ears and go plenty loud enough. My usual amp is now an Arcam SR250 which also works well. The other week they spent the day being driven by a Primaluna EL34 integrated and that worked very well too. They seem very easy to drive (a wee Rotel integrated also worked well)

It’s about the grip of the bass in particular, this is where SET’s fall down.


These can be great, but they were built for large-scale use (it seems they were popular in recording studios). In a pro audio environment they would get regular maintenance, adjusting the output valve bias for minimum hum and the phase-splitter balance for minimum even-order distortion. Without this they can drift into being a bit noisy, which might not really be compatible with low-volume listening.

As a left-field suggestion maybe a Dynakit Stereo 70 (35W/ch) if you can find a 240V one with a quiet mains transformer ?

Beam-Echo DL7/35s are 35W too, but they’re as rocking horse shit as STA100s.

Clive G used to have one and although I’m not a fan of Tannoys it sounded fantastic with his 15" Red GRFs. He played some jazz and classical and the detail was just fantastic.

His STA100 had been fully restored by David Wright and had zero hiss or hum though.

This Leak Stereo 20 looks lovely. I’d be surprised if an EL84 wasn’t sufficient to drive 10" Golds.

Nice Croft pre-amp to go with the Leak:

I also saw this recently serviced Croft Series 5 power amp which should certainly drive your speakers:

Vintage Tannoys drivers are mechanically pretty well damped, so don’t need the additional damping a low impedance normal solid-state amp provides. OTOH, a no-feedback amp (SET or PP) will not provide enough damping, so they’re best used in combination with vintage PP valve amps of suitable power, say 15W+.

This and as per Pete… I had Golds in Lockwood cabs and Reds in Pete’s old GRFs and both were considerably better (in direct comparison) with PP than SE, or PSE.
If you were into classical or more acoustic music then maybe the EL34 types would have the edge but I preferred KT88.
Also worth watching the overall system gain as using a high gain pre with a high input sensitivity power amp can lead to some residual noise…

Is there a back loaded horn design for the driver, or is it just the plonked into the box thing?

GRFs, Westminsters and Autographs are all designs with some amount of back loading (simpler to more complex) Simon on here made both Westminsters and Autographs so is probably in the best position to comment on complexity vs effectiveness. (Despite other folk claiming differently, I found the GRFs a lot better than Lockwoods or Yorks)

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There was a Japanese cab for the 10’s that was doing something foldy / interesting but the standard IIILZ cabs are boxes.

Interesting. I can’t help but feel that a smaller driver could do with some help to provide more ease in the bass, but I’ve never heard them so can’t really comment usefully.

Apologies for the shite picture; these are mine.

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Bus Driver’s packed lunch on top?

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I was going to write a load of waffle about why Tannoys won’t do that (or much else… :wink: ) regardless of amp, and then I noticed you already own the Tannoys… :grimacing:

Instead, buy this - https://www.eliteaudiouk.com/product-page/un-new-amplifiers-octave-v40se-integrated-amplifier-black-rrp-4495

Offer £2k, they haggle. It’s a very good amp at a big discount (it’s already less than they paid Octave for it). It’s also pretty fool-proof for a valve amp, with some clever protection circuits for when the inevitable vacuum fireworks displays happen - so lots less ballache than the cute-but-flaky vintage stuff will cause.

Have fun.

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