I first heard the Tannoy Revolution XT 8F at the Bristol Sound and Vision show in February 2015 and it was one of those moments where, even given the unfamiliar context of a show environment and somebody else’s system, there was something about these modestly priced floorstanders that caught my attention. A few months on, a review pair arrived and, in the context of my own room and system, that ‘something’ was still there.
The XT 8F is the largest in Tannoy’s Revolution XT series, the larger of two floorstanding designs. It uses a version of Tannoy’s familiar dual-concentric driver where the tweeter is set in the throat of the mid/bass unit, utilising the diaphragm of the larger unit to partly horn load its output. The advantages are in efficiency, imaging and coherence (all frequencies emanating from, effectively, a point source).
Of course, a loudspeaker retailing at £1,299 per pair is not going to be able to utilise the expensive drivers in Tannoy’s high-end Prestige or Definition ranges. Instead, the drivers for the XT series are all new and, inexpensive or not, they utilise some innovative technology. Both XT drive units cleverly share the same magnet, and utilise a sophisticated waveguide, incorporating a torus-shaped diaphragm for the high frequencies and an ‘Ogive’ phase plug, for better time alignment and coherence with the bass/mid element.
The ‘8’ in the model name denotes that this loudspeaker uses the 8” (200mm) version of this ‘Omnimagnet’ dual-concentric driver, coupled with a similar-sized bass-only driver. Tannoy says the new driver design, while saving useful space, also offers improvements to high-frequency directivity, phase-coherence, dynamic headroom, and overall accuracy of reproduction and imaging. The cabinets derive, broadly, from the previous Revolution range’s trapezoidal cross-section and the floorstanders employ a reflex-coupled dual cavity design. The port exits in a forward-facing slot at the foot of the cabinet, flanked by two nicely-trimmed chromed pillars and atop a neatly-machined plinth with four chunky, knurled adjustments for the spiked feet. The overall effect, in walnut stained real wood veneer, is classy and smart, and could easily pass for a considerably more expensive model on looks alone.
What impressed me when I first heard them was the degree of expressiveness they brought out in the music. Dynamics were unconstrained, and that familiar Tannoy openness and freedom was there. Not everybody will enjoy Tannoy’s uninhibited, somewhat loose-limbed approach, but if you’re one of those who enjoys a speaker that is not afraid to let its hair down, then the XT 8Fs deliver a lot of what makes the Prestige and Definition ranges so prized in terms of sheer communication of the intent behind the music.