New maxim for the Recession of '92: When the going gets tough, the tough go down-market. Unbelievably, the flood of beer-budget killers continues, when a year ago all feared that the hi-fi makers could produce only rhino-bucks hardware. The AR-M1 and Monitor Audio Monitor One loudspeakers, Musical Fidelity's Preamp/Typhoon, Analogue Experience's coax -- all respond to a dearth of disposable income. And now Tannoy's in on the act with the 603, the smallest in the company's newest model range.
Cynics could argue that the Six Series, the name denoting the number of sides to the cabinets, is merely another flash range designed to part dollars from Americans. So slick are these speakers that they wouldn't look out of place in the Innovations catalogue. I say that despite the sane reasoning behind the chosen shape. The cabinet is designed to bestow a number of benefits on the user, including improved standing-wave behaviour through an absence of parallel reflective panels, increased rigidity, better self-damping and an improved diffraction pattern.
On the manufacturing side, you're looking at a product which could only come from a company with the money needed to tool up the myriad plastic components, like the top and bottom frames. Even the minor details smack of Japanese prowess, with inset brass threads at the bottom to fix the speaker to dedicated stands and a bi-wiring link better than any I've ever seen (including Sonus Faber's new clips).
Competition and Comparison
To compare the Tannoy 603 loudspeakers against the competition read our reviews for the Definitive Technology Powermonitor 900 system and the Sonus faber Musical loudspeaker. You can find more information about different products by visiting our Bookshelf Speaker Section.
Tannoy placed the multi-way binding posts one pair above the other. An upside-down U-shaped metal link connects the gold-plated terminals for single wiring. Raise it (the 'handle' is a Tannoy logo), then tighten the nuts and the terminals are ready for bi-wiring or bi-amping. And you won't lose the link because it stays in the speaker terminal recess.
The sides are finished in the ubiquitous black ash beloved of budget audiences, with a 'marble' insert at the top. It's a dark blue-green affair reminiscent of the patterns in a circa '67 light show.
Remove the cloth-on-a-plastic-frame grille (recommended) to view a 25mm aluminium dome tweeter with a protective mesh cover. Removal of this cover is recommended, too, if you have neither pets nor children and a craving for the maximum performance available. Cleverly, it's held in place by the speaker's magnetic field, so you don't risk damaging anything. The tweeter is mounted on a 'minimum diffraction plate' which raises the assembly a millimetre or so above the main baffle board. The dome is fitted to a high-temperature, polyamide insulated coil wound onto a Kapton former and the driver benefits from ferro-fluid cooling. Below the tweeter is a 5in mid/bass driver also fitted with an anti-diffraction ring. Its cone is injection moulded, with an inverted dust cap.