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Floorstanding speakers

Price (in Poland): 63 998 zł/pair

Manufacturer: Tannoy Limited

Rosehall Industrial Estate | ML5 4TF Coatbridge | UK
tel.: +44 (0) 1236 420199 | fax: +44 (0) 1236 428230
Manufacturer’s website:

Country of origin: Great Britain/China

Text: Wojciech Pacuła | Photos: Wojciech Pacuła, Tannoy
Translation: Andrzej Dziadowiec

Published: 3. July 2013, No. 110

Tannoy speakers are manufactured in China. The vast majority of reviewers and especially retailers avoid the subject like the plague, fearing a reaction of potential buyers. A negative reaction, as they think. They are often right. A great deal of audio products manufactured behind the Great Wall is still made not quite “kosher”, not by the book and don’t sound as they should. The only advantage of these products is their low price with which they can compete with recognized brands in the West and in Japan. The picture is somewhat different in Asia, which I know from the manufacturers involved in that part of the world, but here, in Europe, it is exactly as described. The reason is very simple: manufacturing in China is driven by maximum profit and even the smallest saving on each single unit at this scale of production translates into huge money.
But what are we to make of such expensive product as the Tannoy DA10A speakers? We look at them and sigh with jealousy, envious that stuff like this isn’t made back home, that others can make such beautiful cabinets, and that the metal components fit so well and that the speaker drivers are perfect. In the case of such expensive speakers moving production to China has the same objective of minimizing production costs. However, there is no way the final quality may be compromised just to make profit. It’s actually the other way round. A product of such quality manufactured in Europe would cost twice as much. Were it to cost the same as that made in the country that brought us paper and gunpowder, the manufacturer would have gone bust.

Current brand owner, the TC Group registered in Denmark has chosen brand’s existence over its nonexistence. From the moment it took over in 2002 it has made Tannoy a "healthy", well-managed company that is present on the audio world map.
Care was taken at the same time not to cut it from its roots which are everything for Tannoy. Founded in 1926 under the name Tulsemere Manufacturing Company that was officially registered on March 10th, 1932 (last year celebrated its 80th anniversary), it was tied up with audio from its beginning. Its current name TANNOY was made up of two words: Tantalum Alloy. It was the material used in an electrolytic rectifier developed by the company’s founder, Guy Fountain in 1926.
Tannoy is famous for its coaxial speaker design called ‘Dual Concentric’ developed in the late 1940s, which has become its trademark. In classic speaker designs the drivers are placed one above the other. In a coaxial system individual driver units are placed on the same axis and the tweeter radiates the sound from the center of the woofer where the dust cup is normally located. The best known manufacturers that offer this type of speaker systems are KEF with its Uni-Q system and Cabasse. Coaxial drivers are manufactured by SEAS (see Bravo! speakers) and Altec Lansing. The latter actually has a patent similar to Tannoy’s in which the tweeter is mounted behind the woofer and radiates the sound through a small metal horn that smoothly converts into the woofer cone. This Tannoy design is called PepperPot WaveGuide after the horn shape that resembles an upside down pepper pot or shaker.

They employ the Dual Concentric system that draws on the best practices from the past. The 10-inch woofer diaphragm is made of paper pulp and has a twin roll fabric front suspension. The driver units incorporates proprietary AlNiCo magnets, named after their alloy composition with aluminum (Al), nickel (Ni) and cobalt (Co). Their characteristic is markedly different than that of the commonly used ferrite magnets which contributes to their different tone. They are much more expensive and hence rarely used. The Alnico magnets used in the DC10A are Tannoy’s most recent version to date referred to as Alcomax 3. The tweeter uses a large 2-inch aluminum dome to provide high power handling capacity. The speaker cabinet has been very carefully designed starting with multiple internal bracing, through the use of proprietary Differential Material Technology, parabolic curved ply-wood laminate side walls, internal wiring on PCOCC copper cable and ending with Deep Cryogenically Treated crossover - the process where the entire crossover is super-cooled and warmed over a controlled period of time. It is rounded off with two pairs of WBT Nextgen binding posts (bi-wireable) that incorporate a fifth speaker terminal to electrically ground the driver chassis. Everything here screams class! Traditionalists will surely grumble that these are not “true Tannoys” since, firstly, they are manufactured in China, and secondly, they belong to the new line that uses a classic shaped speaker cabinet. They will have “their” point. All those for whom the top line huge jukeboxes or their prices are beyond reach and who will see and touch the DC10A and feel their class I’m talking about can sit down to listen. There is lots of listening to.


Albums used during this review

  • Depeche Mode, Soothe My Soul, Columbia Records, 730682, SP CD (2013).
  • Depeche Mode, Soothe My Soul, Columbia Records, 730692, SP CD (2013).
  • Józef Skrzek, "Pamiętnik Karoliny", Polskie Nagrania/Metal Mind Productions, MMP CD 0535 DG, CD (1978/2009).
  • King Crimson, In The Court of the Crimson King, Atlantic/Universal Music [Japan], UICE-9051, HDCD (1969/2004).
  • King Crimson, Lark's Tongues in Aspic, Atlantic/WHD Entertainment, IECP-20220/221, "40th Anniversary Series", 2 x HQCD (1973/2012).
  • Kings of Leon, Only by the Night, RCA/BMG Japan, BVCP-40058, CD (2009/2010).
  • Led Zeppelin, Celebration Day, Swan Song/Atlantic/Warner Music, 79688-1, 2 x CD + Blu-Ray + DVD (2012).
  • Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin (I), Atlantic/Warner Music, 826325, “mini LP”, CD (1961/1994).
  • Miles Davis, In A Silent Way, Columbia/Mobile Fidelity, UDSACD-2088, “Special Limited Edition, No. 1311”, SACD/CD (1969/2012).
  • Stan Getz/Joao Gilberto, Getz/Gilberto, Verve/Lasting Impression Music, LIM K2HD 036, K2HD Mastering, “24 Gold Direct-from-Master Edition UDM”, CD-R (1964/2009).
  • The Oscar Peterson Trio, We Get Request, Verve/Lasting Impression Music, LIM K2HD 032, K2HD Mastering, “24 Gold Direct-from-Master Edition UDM”, CD-R (1964/2009).
Japanese editions of CDs and SACDs are available from

People often ask me in their letters for advice on choosing speakers that would be detailed without being sharp; crisp but with the emphasis on midrange. They are often interested in big speaker designs yet ones that wouldn’t kill with excessive bass. Although I try to answer any such questions as best I can, a proper combination of these, often contradictory, qualities proves extremely difficult. Most often, if a speaker is detailed its tonal balance is raised and it tends to brighten the sound. If it’s large it usually pumps out plenty of bass. And if it’s crisp it turns out tiring in a longer listen. Now I have found a simple answer: Tannoy Definition DC10A. Simple as long as it can be afforded, obviously. The Tannoys sounded different than 99% of speakers I’d heard at home. Actually, that remaining 1% is reserved for those speakers I can’t exactly remember. In short, it was the first time I heard huge, powerful floorstanders sounding like larger British monitors. My first impression was that of a good selectivity and strong midrange solidly supported at both ends. Speaking of “monitor” I refer to a certain stereotype in which such speaker lacks the bass and treble. In the case of the DC10A it’s not true as both ends of their frequency range extend far beyond what’s available for stand mount speakers, yet their emphasis on human, especially female, vocal range is so intense that we don’t notice anything else at first.
It is key in understanding this speaker. Before I address it and include a few examples, I’d like first to look at the issue that is the raison d'etre of concentric and coaxial systems (which are similar but not identical designs). Systems like the Dual Concentric aim to bring together the radiation axes of separate speaker drivers. It is assumed that the phase shift introduced by moving apart the radiation axes of the drivers covering individual parts of the frequency range is deteriorating to many aspects of sound like spatial location, coherence, attack and rhythm.

In my experience, a well-designed multi-driver speaker with a classic driver placement that is built with attention to detail handles all these elements very well. Many of the best speakers sound like having a single big driver. However, coming face to face with a well-executed coaxial system like that in the Tannoys shows that there are things we won’t get anywhere else. Except perhaps systems based on a broadband driver.
It is primarily the homogeneity of the sound field. I do not mean the soundstage which is - I would say - normal, but the coherence of what is referred to during a live performance as “the sphere of the emitted sound”. Let me explain what I mean by that. The soundstage is defined as the space occupied by the instruments and the accompanying acoustics - whether natural or added in the recording studio. The soundstage is never too large – it’s usually too small – provided that the size of particular instruments is not too large. What I mean in the context of the Tannoys, though, is something within the soundstage. The British speakers show the spatial relationships between instruments in a manner I have rarely heard. For example, when the drums hit on The Oscar Peterson Trio’s album We Get Request you can hear them in their location and their delayed sound recorded by the piano microphone, but you also hear everything between these "events". The album was recorded in one take without any overdubs, with all the musicians present at the same time in the same studio. Hence, the instruments were "heard" not only by their dedicated microphone but also, with some delay, by other microphones. Good speakers show this relationship quite accurately, but very rarely do it so naturally. The Tannoys focus not only on the dominant sound sources but also on their acoustic environment and mutual relations.
I think it’s the latter that makes us realize when listening to albums we know well that they have more "air", are more spacious and show more reverbs. All the sounds are set in a kind of air "cushion", which on the one hand makes them less "explicit", and on the other better connected with each other. And that’s the thing that the traditional multi-driver speaker systems don’t have.

As announced earlier, after demonstrating the benefits of placing the drivers in one axis, I’d like now to go back to the beginning, to my discussion of tonal balance. Speaking about the midrange I pointed to it as the most important range of these speakers. Although a longer audition confirms that, it’s a bit unfair. The midrange may be so free, open and dynamic only because it is supported both at the top and bottom. Without the two, it would be just another speaker with a small sound.

As these are big speakers, the bass needs to be discussed first. It’s set to be as resolved and clear as possible. Needless to say, it has a great definition. Although rock recordings, such as Led Zeppelin’s debut album, Depeche Mode’s single Shoot My Soul and other similar albums make us realize this with a slight delay, the recordings that feature organ, not only classical but also Józef Skrzek’s Pamiętnik Karoliny, let us immediately appreciate this feature. It is important, because it means differentiation that the speakers struggle with, understood as the ability to show tone and dynamics changes without emphasizing bass. In the final analysis, it needs to be said that the amount of low frequencies is lower than that of the midrange and that the tonal balance is raised above a few hundred hertz. In any case, this should not depreciate these speakers as full-band sound sources.
Actually, it can be remedied, at least to some extent. The Tannoy DC10As are designed to be placed close to the wall. Large rear vented speaker designs react very badly to any such attempts. While the amount of bass increases, it happens at the expense of its differentiation and speed. Imaging is significantly worse, too, including the depth of the soundstage. The Tannoys are different. Near the wall there is more bass, but it has exactly the same character as when they are placed in the center of the room (which I strongly advise against). The soundstage actually doesn’t change – it’s the advantage of loading the tweeter with horn and then with the midwoofer cone, acting as a waveguide and determining the sound waves radiating direction.

The use of the horn also determines other things. First of all, the listener's head needs to be close to the tweeter level. Sitting below the tweeter level results in losing a part of treble and the upper midrange becoming less selective. That's one of the advantages of this design - the upper range has a clear attack, is shown directly, without "beating around the bush". And again – in classic designs it would cause anxiety and fatigue in a longer listen. Here the treble is silky and very vivid, even on inferior produced recordings. There is no sign of "material fatigue". There is plenty of sounds and information, but it makes sense.
Despite their strong attack, the speakers disappear as soon as we close our eyes. The sound is not projected close to us, but is rather shown behind the speakers’ line. Neither is it located in the drivers, but rather behind or next to them. It’s a part of the "freedom" I’ve mentioned. There is no sense of the instruments and vocals trapped in the cabinet, nor can you hear them as if coming from the speakers. Despite their large size the DC10s can evaporate, leaving us alone with the music.
The more so that the generated sound field is uniform and coherent. The soundstage and instruments are one thing, although - as I’ve already mentioned – it is the reverbs that
will draw our attention at first. Not because they are emphasized and exaggerated, but because we hear them for the first time in such a clear and understandable manner. The soundstage itself is broad and deep. Instruments’ bodies don’t have great depth and everything is shown in single plane, with no clear distinction of what is nearer and what is further away. The do not merge, however; that’s not the case. The soundstage is deep, as it shows acoustic recordings. Even the sounds located behind the listener are different than usual - less palpable but very stable and well-connected with what we hear before us.


The DC10As are beautifully crafted speakers. Their heart is a unique driver, manufactured the same way as it used to be forty years ago, save for using modern tools. I see their role this was: if anyone would like to have the advantages of classic-looking Tannoys (of course classic for Tannoy) – large, old-fashioned cabinets – but with a modern twist, the choice is the DC10A.
The speakers under review are different than almost everything else we will hear in an audio salon. They combine the opposites, each of which individually would be a disadvantage. In these speakers they turn into advantages and strengths. The use of a coaxial driver system provides ultimate flexibility in showing spatial relations within a group of instruments. So well portrayed reverbs are very rare.
The range that draws the listener's attention is the midrange. Not because there is no top and bottom but because the two edges of the frequency band complete it so well to create together a new quality. A small speaker has no chance to show this range so nicely. The sound attack is strong but the tone remains silky.
On the weaknesses site, the DC10A stops at some point in showing instruments textures which are here averaged. The tonal balance is slightly raised which necessitates a careful speakers positioning. To explore their potential I would pair them with a tube amp in the style of Italian Pathos (or just Pathos) or a solid state like the Ayre AX-5. The tube will provide a deeper, softer sound in terms of color, while the solid state will prove to be better defined. The speakers are best suited for jazz, electronica and rock recorded in the 1970s, and vocal recordings. Well positioned and properly driven, they will become a beautiful complement to the living room, a living legend in contemporary edition.


Tannoy is primarily known for its Dual Concentric system. It consists of two coaxial transducers – a mid-bass driver with a large cone in the center of which is placed a metal horn hiding a large dome tweeter. The DC10A under review employs drivers with the diameter of, respectively, 10 inch (205 mm) and 2 inch (51 mm). The mid-bass driver is a new unit, using Alcomax 3 Alnico magnets. The voice coil has the diameter of two inch (52 mm). The speaker has a vented cabinet design with two large vents on the rear panel.
The drivers work in their own frequency ranges crossed over with a 2nd order crossover network mounted to the internal vertical brace. All its components, such as polypropylene capacitors, and PCOCC copper cables are Deep Cryogenically Treated in a process of instant cooling to a very low temperature (-190 degrees Celsius) and warming up over a controlled period of time. DCT reduces mechanical material stress but most of all lowers transition resistance between copper crystals.

The DC10A is a very large design. Its cabinet’s shape is quite elaborate – the front baffle is flat, like the back. The latter is narrow, with parabolic curved side walls. The cabinet is made of ply-based laminate. The entire enclosure is made of several different types of wood in Differential Material Technology (DMT), and is covered with high-quality, natural veneer. The speakers are finished in high-gloss lacquer.
These are prestigious speakers with high quality components to match – not only the drivers and the cabinet, but also the base. The DC10A plinth consists of two thick and heavy all-aluminum sections that are attached to the cabinet bottom for better speaker stability and rigidity. Thick and long floor spikes are inserted into the threaded holes in the base and tightened with locking wheels. Small steel cups are provided to be used under the spikes. I suggest to immediately buy either Acoustic Revive SPU8 spike receptacle insulators (as have been tested), or Ceramic Disc Slim Foot from Franc Audio Accessories. The plinths and all accompanying accessories are packed into large boxes together with a hex key. The cabinet is engineered with a Mass Loading Cavity (MLC) in the lower section which is sealed from the main cabinet. It can full or part filled with a heavy material - lead grit or sand. We all remember this solution from the past. By mass loading the cabinet and changing its mechanical properties an audiophile can change the bass character.

The icing on the cake are excellent WBT-0708 binding posts from Next-Gen series sporting the minimum amount of metal. There are five binding posts that are very comfortable to tighten. We are used to multiple connectors for bi-wiring, where we have two pairs of connectors to drive the tweeter and mid-bass driver separately, and even for tri-wiring in three-way speaker systems. Years ago Tannoy developed its own system in which we have an odd number of binding posts - the "redundant" terminal is connected internally to the driver basket. It should be connected to the system ground. Tannoy shows measurements which indicate that this arrangement reduces the noise. Driver baskets act as a Faraday cage, shielding the drive systems. Ideally, such arrangements should use shielded speaker cables.

It’s an advanced, very well made design with a beautiful, unique driver system.

Speakers provided for testing by: Audio Styl

Specifications (according to the manufacturer)

Recommended amplifier power: 30–300 Wrms
Continuous power handling: 150 W
Peak power handling: 600 W
Sensitivity (2.83 V/1 m): 93 dB
Nominal Impedance: 8 Ω
Frequency response (-6 dB): 28 Hz – 22 kHz
Dispersion: 90 degrees
Crossover frequency: 1.1 kHz
Crossover type: 2nd order LF, 2nd order compensated HF, Deep Cryogenically treated
Cabinet Volume: 103 liters (3.64 cu. ft.)
Dimensions (H x W x D): 1135 x 345 x 438 mm
Weight (each): 42.7 kg (94.1 lbs)
Finish: High gloss black, high gloss cherry, high gloss dark walnut

Distribution in Poland
Electronic International Commerce Sp. z o.o.

02-434 Warszawa | ul. Łuki Wielkie 3/5
tel.: (22) 594 83 83 | fax: (22) 594 83 84




- Turntable: AVID HIFI Acutus SP [Custom Version]
- Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory KANSUI, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory SHILABE, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory ZERO (mono) | Denon DL-103SA, review HERE
- Phono stage: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC, review HERE
- Compact Disc Player: Ancient Audio AIR V-edition, review HERE
- Multiformat Player: Cambridge Audio Azur 752BD
- Line Preamplifier: Polaris III [Custom Version] + AC Regenerator, regular version review (in Polish) HERE
- Power amplifier: Soulution 710
- Integrated Amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
- Stand mount Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic, review HERE
- Stands for Harbeths: Acoustic Revive Custom Series Loudspeaker Stands
- Real-Sound Processor: SPEC RSP-101/GL
- Integrated Amplifier/Headphone amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
- Headphones: HIFIMAN HE-6, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-300, review HERE | Sennheiser HD800 | AKG K701, review (in Polish) HERE | Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, version 600 - reviews (in Polish): HERE, HERE, HERE
- Headphone Stands: Klutz Design CanCans (x 3), review (in Polish) HERE
- Headphone Cables: Entreq Konstantin 2010/Sennheiser HD800/HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE
System I
- Interconnects: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, review HERE | preamplifier-power amplifier: Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo, review HERE
- Loudspeaker Cables: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, review (in Polish) HERE
System II
- Interconnects: Acoustic Revive RCA-1.0PA | XLR-1.0PA II
- Loudspeaker Cables: Acoustic Revive SPC-PA
System I
- Power Cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300, all system, review HERE
- Power Distributor: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate, review HERE
- Power Line: fuse – power cable Oyaide Tunami Nigo (6m) – wall sockets 3 x Furutech FT-SWS (R)
System II
- Power Cables: Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version, review (in Polish) HERE | Oyaide GPX-R (x 4 ), review HERE
- Power Distributor: Oyaide MTS-4e, review HERE
- Portable Player: HIFIMAN HM-801
- USB Cables: Acoustic Revive USB-1.0SP (1 m) | Acoustic Revive USB-5.0PL (5 m), review HERE
- LAN Cables: Acoustic Revive LAN-1.0 PA (kable ) | RLI-1 (filtry), review HERE
- Router: Liksys WAG320N
- NAS: Synology DS410j/8 TB
- Stolik: SolidBase IV Custom, read HERE/all system
- Anti-vibration Platforms: Acoustic Revive RAF-48H, review HERE/digital sources | Pro Audio Bono [Custom Version]/headphone amplifier/integrated amplifier, review HERE | Acoustic Revive RST-38H/loudspeakers under review/stands for loudspeakers under review
- Anti-vibration Feets: Franc Audio Accessories Ceramic Disc/ CD Player/Ayon Polaris II Power Supply /products under review, review HERE | Finite Elemente CeraPuc/ products under review, review HERE | Audio Replas OPT-30HG-SC/PL HR Quartz, review HERE
- Anti-vibration accsories: Audio Replas CNS-7000SZ/power cable, review HERE
- Quartz Isolators: Acoustic Revive RIQ-5010/CP-4
- FM Radio: Tivoli Audio Model One