Thanks for your detailed reply. Just to go over a few of your points:
No worries, that's interesting. I did the comparison (15" Reds vs. 15" Golds) in the same Lockwood Major cabinets I'm using now (using the respective crossovers for the speakers), and I agree with your comments about transparency. The Reds were more transparent and also had the more open/expressive midrange.
Originally Posted by Mike Adams
However, the trade-off (and sadly in audio there always is one) was that for such large drivers they lacked bass impact and authority, and conversely sounded rather lean and tonally 'cold' on certain material. I could've lived with the Reds if my musical diet consisted solely of small jazz quartets, light classical, female vocalists and acoustic music, etc.
Thing is, as much as I love all of that, I also enjoy listening to heavy rock music, reggae, dance and electronic music, and many things with a nice 'meaty bass-line', which didn't cut it with the Reds, as I suspect that because they were designed before most of that music came about, they weren't optimised to reproduce it properly. That was certainly my experience anyway, and I persevered with the Reds for many weeks before (somewhat reluctantly) changing over to Golds.
When I did so, I lost some of the transparency and midrange magic of the Reds, but gained massively at the opposite end of the spectrum, where the sound was now fuller, richer and warmer, but not in a euphonic way.
It was simply that the lower frequencies, rather than being strangled and somewhat 'held in check', as they had been with the Reds, were now liberated, allowed to 'breathe' and develop their full tonal envelope, and this brought rock and dance music alive in a way that simply wasn't possible with the Reds, whilst the midrange and top-end were still very open, detailed and clean sounding.
It took quite a while for me to get a proper 'handle' on what the Reds were doing wrong (after initially being very impressed with them), which the Golds ably fixed, albeit by introducing their own inherent sonic signature and limitations, as all speakers have. The balance with the Golds, however, in my system was eminently more satisfying and 'correct' with the majority of the music I listened to.
I should also add that this was achieved in conjunction with a relatively modern valve amp (Tube Distinctions 30W Class A P/P Copper amp), which only had 6-8ohm taps, and so might not have suited the 15ohms Reds. Therefore, that may have had a bearing on proceedings. I didn't want to change my amp, or have it fitted with transformers wound for 15ohms, especially when it gelled really well with the 8ohms Golds. Results may have been different with a vintage SET amp, fitted with 15ohm taps.
Absolutely. One other thing I noticed right away when swapping from Reds to Golds is that the former were notably more efficient! Thus, as you say, suiting a low-powered valve amp rather well. In that respect, my rather 'gutsy' P/P one may have been a little too much for them. I don't know. Either way, the results simply weren't optimal.
I also found that they drove off a lower power valve amp more easily. As my knowledge of the drive units improved I began to understand that there were more changes from Golds to Reds than I had thought. (For instance the HF unit/magnets etc are all different)
Getting the crossovers right with those is mandatory. I simply couldn't have lived with the original Gold crossovers, as they made the speakers sound tubby and old-fashioned, with a rather rolled-off top end and crude overall tonal and musical delivery. Having new crossovers built, complimentary to the design of the loudspeakers and using the best modern components, however, changed all that... Once fitted, never had I heard a pair of loudspeakers so fundamentally transformed for the better!
When I got my Lockwoods, they actually had re-coned early Golds. Its hard to say what exactly was wrong with them but dirt in the magnet gap, and wrong crossovers left with a harsh HF and resonance on key frequencies on piano repertory.
As Jo has also commented, this is rather strange... Firstly, are you sure that the Lockwood Major cabs you had were original?
I went for the Lockwood cabs as whilst I liked the better midrange of the Reds, I could hear that they were missing the LF of the Golds. The bigger volume cabs were the answer to getting the LF extension.
However they were quite resonant being lightweight ply, with little bracing and old dampening cloth. Consequently they resonated at certain frequencies and made the sound quite coloured.
Mine definitely are, and have the rosewood formica finish. The cabinets are also very well-constructed, heavy and inert, and most definitely not resonant in the way you describe. Consequently, the bass they produce is tight and deep, but also 'free' and unrestricted, not overly damped and somewhat too 'controlled', as I've often heard with some modern large Tannoy DCs, which to my ears have had the musicality 'strangled' out of them, in the quest for notional greater 'accuracy'...
In my experience, you can brace the buggery out of speakers, which improves certain aspects of their musical delivery, but strangles others, so you have to be very careful and get the balance right between control/accuracy and musicality, which is where good ears and fine-tuning comes in, as opposed to relying too heavily on measurements. I've heard many different large Tannoy DCs, in various cabinets, both HPDs and Reds and Monitor Golds, and I wouldn't swap my Lockies for anything else that I've heard so far!
That said, I've yet to hear any of Paul's excellent creations, so that view might change after I've been to visit him later in the year. As ever, this hi-fi game is a continual learning curve, so when presented with good reason, I'm more than happy to reassess my opinions
P.S If you're interested in reading it, this is the original thread documenting my Tannoy journey: http://theartofsound.net/forum/showt...to-Tannoy-land
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