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Question Tannoy XT 8F or Focal Aria 926/936

Leelo

Active Member
Hi All
Looking to do a speaker upgrade from my old Wharfdale speakers ( see list in signature for rest of kit) I’m looking at the 2 speakers in thread title. I’m going to hear the Focal ones next weekend but hearing the Tannoys is a challenge as my local dealer doesn’t stock them. I could go to RS in Birmingham to hear them but before I do I just wanted to get a view from anyone who may have compared them


One thing to note is that I can get the Tannoys for an extremely good price of £750 list was originally £1500 and the Focal ones are both still well north of £1000 in fact the 936 are £1650. I know that at the original price the Focal ones are still more expensive than the Tannoys but it would be interesting to see if anyone thinks that they are worth the extra

Thanks in advance for your help
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
You want to look at the size and quantity of the bass drivers and at the rated bass response. The Focal 926 are good speakers, but with modest bass response. The Focal 936 add an additional bass driver and that brings the bass depth down to a more workable range.

Focal 926 - 2x6.5" Low Bass - [email protected], [email protected] - £1800/pr -

Focal Aria 926 Speakers (Pair)

Focal 936 - 3x6.5" Low Bass - [email protected], [email protected] - £2495/pr -

Focal Aria 936 Speakers (Pair)

Tannoy Revolution XT-8F - 2x8" Low/Mid Bass - [email protected] - £1299/pr -

Tannoy Revolution XT 8F Speakers (Pair)

You have to ask which of these comes closest to filling your specific needs?

I've not heard the 936, but I did hear the previous 836 and was very impressed - big sound stage, perfectly rendered bass, exceptionally clear. Rather than coming from the speakers, the music just hung in the air, very impressive.

I'm add one more speaker -

Focal 948 - 2x8" Low Bass - [email protected], [email protected] - £2595/pr -

Focal Aria 948 Speakers (Pair)

Instead of the THREE 6.5" bass driver, you have TWO 8" Bass Drivers. The reality is that 2x6.5" is very close to 2x8", so in terms of the air pushed, they are about the same. And the 936 is going to have a narrower face (294mm vs 371mm), so that is something else to consider.

Obviously you need to hear them to truly be sure which will best suit your needs. I would say both are a bit more forward then the Wharfedale. Wharfedale tend to be Laid-Back, they pull you into the music. Where as with Focal and Tannoy, the music reaches out to you. I've nor heard those Tannoy, but while the Focal are a bit forward, they are not harsh and are crystal clear. Though whether they are harsh or not will depend on your room acoustic. In an overly bright room just about any speaker can sound harsh.

Upon auditioning the Focal 800 Series, which is now the newer better 900 Series, Focal quickly jump to or near the top of my list of desirable speakers. The clarity and presences is amazing. and more so than any other speaker I've heard, the bass was rendered to perfection. Rather than a generalized drone of bass, I clearly heard Bass Guitar.

Again, limited experience with Tannoy, but I would expect similar results from them. The concentric Mid-Bass/Tweeter should throw a very impressive sound stage, but equally I would expect them to be a bit forward but also, in their price class, very clear and detailed.

Tough call, but because of personal experience, I would lean toward the 936 or possibly the 948. Though to some extent that would depend on the size of the room. In a smaller room with limited space, the 926 would still be crystal clear with good sound stage, just more modest bass depth.

Steve/bluewizard

Steve/bluewizard
 

Hixs

Distinguished Member
I have the 726, which do [email protected] and tbh I find the bass plenty good enough. I had my doubts originally, but the arcams control of power paired with the tight bass of the Focal works a treat. It's bass you can hear, rather then bass the vibrates the floor like a sub. Soundstage is very good on the 726 as well, so can imagine it's even better on the higher end 9 series.
 

Leelo

Active Member
You want to look at the size and quantity of the bass drivers and at the rated bass response. The Focal 926 are good speakers, but with modest bass response. The Focal 936 add an additional bass driver and that brings the bass depth down to a more workable range.

Focal 926 - 2x6.5" Low Bass - [email protected], [email protected] - £1800/pr -

Focal Aria 926 Speakers (Pair)

Focal 936 - 3x6.5" Low Bass - [email protected], [email protected] - £2495/pr -

Focal Aria 936 Speakers (Pair)

Tannoy Revolution XT-8F - 2x8" Low/Mid Bass - [email protected] - £1299/pr -

Tannoy Revolution XT 8F Speakers (Pair)

You have to ask which of these comes closest to filling your specific needs?

I've not heard the 936, but I did hear the previous 836 and was very impressed - big sound stage, perfectly rendered bass, exceptionally clear. Rather than coming from the speakers, the music just hung in the air, very impressive.

I'm add one more speaker -

Focal 948 - 2x8" Low Bass - [email protected], [email protected] - £2595/pr -

Focal Aria 948 Speakers (Pair)

Instead of the THREE 6.5" bass driver, you have TWO 8" Bass Drivers. The reality is that 2x6.5" is very close to 2x8", so in terms of the air pushed, they are about the same. And the 936 is going to have a narrower face (294mm vs 371mm), so that is something else to consider.

Obviously you need to hear them to truly be sure which will best suit your needs. I would say both are a bit more forward then the Wharfedale. Wharfedale tend to be Laid-Back, they pull you into the music. Where as with Focal and Tannoy, the music reaches out to you. I've nor heard those Tannoy, but while the Focal are a bit forward, they are not harsh and are crystal clear. Though whether they are harsh or not will depend on your room acoustic. In an overly bright room just about any speaker can sound harsh.

Upon auditioning the Focal 800 Series, which is now the newer better 900 Series, Focal quickly jump to or near the top of my list of desirable speakers. The clarity and presences is amazing. and more so than any other speaker I've heard, the bass was rendered to perfection. Rather than a generalized drone of bass, I clearly heard Bass Guitar.

Again, limited experience with Tannoy, but I would expect similar results from them. The concentric Mid-Bass/Tweeter should throw a very impressive sound stage, but equally I would expect them to be a bit forward but also, in their price class, very clear and detailed.

Tough call, but because of personal experience, I would lean toward the 936 or possibly the 948. Though to some extent that would depend on the size of the room. In a smaller room with limited space, the 926 would still be crystal clear with good sound stage, just more modest bass depth.

Steve/bluewizard

Steve/bluewizard
Hi Steve many thanks for your detailed response lots of very good information and plenty to ponder. I did look at the 948s but a little too pricey as I have to buy a matching centre as well.
I am going to listen to the Focal ones this weekend and hope to be blown away by them. I have a handle on the Tannoys as a good friend has a set of the DC precision series and I love them.

It could be all down to price in the end given I can get the Tannoys for roughly half price fromPeter Tyson
 

Leelo

Active Member
Steve my room is pretty neutral so not overly concerned about forwardness bass depth is something to think about I use a sub for movies but generally disengage it for music as it’s an old one that’s not really musical but that’s on next years bonus purchase list
 

alextheg

Active Member
I'll be interested to hear what you think of the Focal's @Leelo . I've been considering my upgrade, currently using Kef Q900's. My shortlist was Arendal 17023 towers, Kef R11's and Focal Aria 948.

Arendal are off the list as it's near impossible to get a demo. I had two demo sessions of the R11's and they are really quite impressive , I'd go as far as to say stunning. However I need to demo again at my local Audio-t as their demo room is similar to my home environment and I think it will give me a better representation of what I can expect. To be quite honest after hearing the R11's I thought my mind was made up .......

Then I also heard some Focal speakers in Bristol. Firstly the Kanta stand mounts and then the Sopra 3. Very impressed by both , such clarity and detail with rich controlled bass. Though the Sopra were connected to around 40k of Naim equipment so obviously that certainly added to the mix. Though I'm not expecting to achieve quite the same level of quality it just really got me thinking twice about spending 4k on the R11's . The Aria 948's are a good 1k less now and after hearing the other Focal speakers I can't help thinking that they are serious contenders. I'm going to do a demo of both and if the 948's display similar attributes to their superiors then I'll be going with them .
 

Leelo

Active Member
I'll be interested to hear what you think of the Focal's @Leelo . I've been considering my upgrade, currently using Kef Q900's. My shortlist was Arendal 17023 towers, Kef R11's and Focal Aria 948.

Arendal are off the list as it's near impossible to get a demo. I had two demo sessions of the R11's and they are really quite impressive , I'd go as far as to say stunning. However I need to demo again at my local Audio-t as their demo room is similar to my home environment and I think it will give me a better representation of what I can expect. To be quite honest after hearing the R11's I thought my mind was made up .......

Then I also heard some Focal speakers in Bristol. Firstly the Kanta stand mounts and then the Sopra 3. Very impressed by both , such clarity and detail with rich controlled bass. Though the Sopra were connected to around 40k of Naim equipment so obviously that certainly added to the mix. Though I'm not expecting to achieve quite the same level of quality it just really got me thinking twice about spending 4k on the R11's . The Aria 948's are a good 1k less now and after hearing the other Focal speakers I can't help thinking that they are serious contenders. I'm going to do a demo of both and if the 948's display similar attributes to their superiors then I'll be going with them .
Hi Alex

I’ll let you know how I get on with the demo. I’ve only heard and read positive things about them. The owner of the shop I am going to on Saturday actually uses them himself which tells me a lot given he is surrounded by lots of quality stuff to choose from
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Hi Steve many thanks for your detailed response lots of very good information and plenty to ponder. I did look at the 948s but a little too pricey as I have to buy a matching centre as well.

You posted in the HIFI STEREO forum and neglected to mention that his is an AV Surround System. In this case, I think smaller speakers like the 926 would probably be OK. Or in the Tannoy, the XT6F would work.

I am going to listen to the Focal ones this weekend and hope to be blown away by them. I have a handle on the Tannoys as a good friend has a set of the DC precision series and I love them.

It could be all down to price in the end given I can get the Tannoys for roughly half price from Peter Tyson

Keep us informed on the speakers you try, and give us your opinion on them. Always valuable information.

Steve/bluewizard
 

Leelo

Active Member
You posted in the HIFI STEREO forum and neglected to mention that his is an AV Surround System. In this case, I think smaller speakers like the 926 would probably be OK. Or in the Tannoy, the XT6F would work.



Keep us informed on the speakers you try, and give us your opinion on them. Always valuable information.

Steve/bluewizard
Hi Steve

I did post in the stereo forum as whilst the system does include movie use my main concern is quality for music primarily 2 channel but also multi channel I recognise that the system is a compromise as my processor pre amp stage has to do both and whilst the Yamaha is not the best music system it’s probably the best I could afford given I do want multi cast as I’ve got a large investment in it in many rooms in my house.

I’ve tried using the sub for bottom end reinforcement but it doesn’t quite sound as good as the Wharfdale speakers so not really wanting to look at anything smaller speakers wise although if the 926s sound quality is enough I would consider them

I’ll certainly keep you posted after the demo
 

MartinH32

Well-known Member
Just as an aside I purchased the Tannoys last week for 750 from Peter Tyson in damaged boxes. What turned up loo
 

alextheg

Active Member
Just as an aside I purchased the Tannoys last week for 750 from Peter Tyson in damaged boxes. What turned up loo
Bit lost here mate ....... Did the speakers turn up damaged ?
 

MartinH32

Well-known Member
Bit lost here mate ....... Did the speakers turn up damaged ?
Sorry mate, damn mobile phones! I purchased the 50% off in a damaged box set - they turned up perfect - the boxes also (not that that's important), but I can't see why at all they were half price!
 

Leelo

Active Member
Sorry mate, damn mobile phones! I purchased the 50% off in a damaged box set - they turned up perfect - the boxes also (not that that's important), but I can't see why at all they were half price!
From my understanding they are the remaining stock from Tannoy who I believe are either dropping the range or redesigning a replacement. I understand the design team responsible for this model have All moved onto form the core of the new Fyne Audio manufacturing group

Regarding your 8F what is your honest assessment please as I’m seriously considering them as an option
 

Leelo

Active Member
Sorry mate, damn mobile phones! I purchased the 50% off in a damaged box set - they turned up perfect - the boxes also (not that that's important), but I can't see why at all they were half price!
Also I noticed that you have a similar setup in terms of receiver although you have a different disc spinner to me
 

MartinH32

Well-known Member
From my understanding they are the remaining stock from Tannoy who I believe are either dropping the range or redesigning a replacement. I understand the design team responsible for this model have All moved onto form the core of the new Fyne Audio manufacturing group

Regarding your 8F what is your honest assessment please as I’m seriously considering them as an option
In all honesty I've not given them enough of an airing to really appreciate them. I came from DC6T fronts and always found them a little lacking in bass and overall 'fullness'. Already on the XT8F I'm finding a more rounded sound and a higher clarity but need more time to appreciate them. I've only had them a week myself!
 

Leelo

Active Member
In all honesty I've not given them enough of an airing to really appreciate them. I came from DC6T fronts and always found them a little lacking in bass and overall 'fullness'. Already on the XT8F I'm finding a more rounded sound and a higher clarity but need more time to appreciate them. I've only had them a week myself!
Cool hopefully come the weekend I’ll be able to make a decision what to get
 

Leelo

Active Member
Right so for anybody still interested am just back from Creative Audio in Shrewsbury where they were kind enough to let me get my hands on both the 926 and 936 speakers listening to Saint Saens symphony no 3, Yes Relayer Enya Watermark. All on CD. I took some SACDs and Blu Ray Audio discs but facilities to play them. Anyway more to the point I can confirm both of these speakers are an upgrade from my Wharfdale speakers. That’s the easy bit. Both have more clarity and smoother treble as to bass extension not much in it for the 926. Both are more musical and allow more space around the individual instruments

First up were the 926 and all of the above applied but they didn’t have the wow factor in fact I sat there after listening to them and chatting with the owner and said goid as they were I was finding it hard to justify the money on upgrading to them. They felt like there was a bigger speaker in there trying to fight it’s way out of the cabinets So I said was there any point in listening to the 936 given the advice I’d had about room size etc. The demo room there is roughly the same size as my Mancave. He agreed to wire them up and away we went. Same music same kit. Wow just wow within the first 3 minutes of Gates of delirium I was completely convinced these were the speakers I wanted these were excellent loads of character tons of room commanding presence accuracy, details pace and sheer joy to listen to.

I had to stop myself buying there and then. I still want to listen to the Tannoys but they are really going to have to be something special to make me change my mind regardless of the fact they are currently less than half the price of the Focals
 

alextheg

Active Member
Glad to hear the demo session went well. By the sound of your post I'll be quite surprised if you don't buy the Focal's. After hearing your thoughts I'm even more excited to demo the 948's.
 

Hixs

Distinguished Member
Do report back when you demo the 948s! :)

I wish I had the room size and money for a pair.
 

alextheg

Active Member
Will do. I've got some saving to do first mind you . They're not cheap by any means.

After hearing the Sopra 3's last weekend I've really got an itch for Focal.
 

Leelo

Active Member
Will do. I've got some saving to do first mind you . They're not cheap by any means.

After hearing the Sopra 3's last weekend I've really got an itch for Focal.
Hi Alex

I completely understand the itch I’m still sitting here thinking why didn’t I just buy them . I must admit if I could afford it I would listen to the 948 but I’ve other things that warrant some money spent on them this year
 

Leelo

Active Member
Hi

Off to Brum on Wednesday to listen to the Tannoys I will update afterwards
 

Leelo

Active Member
Ok so just back from Brum and as usual I changed my mind again. I listened to the Tannoys using pretty much the same kit as the Focal ones and using the same discs. I have to say the Tannoys really surprised me I honestly didn’t expect them to perform as well as the Focal ones.
Comparisons time bass the Tannoys won this by a small margin slightly more depth and control nd marginally clearer but not by much both excellent

Mid range nothing in it both very detailed and consistent. I could not really split them here. Treble again veryeven match if anything the Focals edged this by being slight more forward without being intrusive.

Now onto the less technical terms

Space around the individual instruments here the difference was easier to tell. The Focals a winner here especially in orchestral music. Sound stage I’d have to call out the Tannoys as a win here especially as they were trying to fill a vaulted ceiling rather than a more conventional space like the Focals had to work in both however very good

Dynamics the Focals seemed more agile initially but when combined with the bass performance of the Tannoys then in my opinion they edged it

Other impressions

The Tannoys definitely had a slightly warmer sound whilst the Focals are a drier presentation personally I prefer the warmth but the a very subjective view

Fit and finish very close call and considering the at full retail price the Focals are £1000 more expensive the difference in appearance isn’t sufficient to justify both very nice in gloss black my chosen colour.

I’m sure most people would be more than happy with either of these speakers but in the end my decision was down to what I originally thought it would be cost

The very best price on the Focals is £1649 which is a huge discount however the Tannoys are available for 749.99 which is an even larger discount and enables me to purchase the matching centre speaker for less than the full retail price of them alone

Was my judgment muddied by the cost element possibly but I did go today fully prepared to buy the Focals and had already put the cost aside but somehow I really couldn’t make a musical case at the end of the session when it was so close to call.

@alextheg im sure that the Focals will really impress you but I do urge you to give the Tannoys a whirl if you can. At that price they are a complete bargain in my honest opinion
 

alextheg

Active Member
@Leelo . Interesting to hear your thoughts and it sounds like you've made a sensible choice. Realistically cost differences like those you've mentioned are hard to ignore.

Makes you question the amount of marketing guff versus real world cost of manufacturing . I do think a better demo would involve the different speakers in the same room , though I understand this isn't always possible.

Nevertheless enjoy your new purchase. I'm sure you'll have many hours of enjoyment from the Tannoys .
 

Leelo

Active Member
Hi Alex I often wonder at the markup in the HiFi market clearly some stuff is outrageously overpriced especially in the snake oil end of the market (cables and gadgets for example) but I also accept that the costs of R&D have to be recouped during a products lifecycle which can be significant in some cases and truly there ar e times like end of line products and the requirement to get rid of old stocks means there are genuine bargains to be had like the Tannoys in this case but I’m sure there are significant margins on some kit both for dealers and manufacturers especially in the mass market area

Regarding testing both speakers together I didn’t spot the the dealer who did the Tannoys was also a Focal dealership as well when I did spot it and mentioned the fact it was towards the end and even if he had been willing to set them up I really didn’t have the time to give them a try unfortunately.

Still it’s been a worthwhile test and made me really glad I didn’t just go and by online which is fast becoming the only option although the returns policy of most online stores is pretty reasonable if you are comfortable with standing the cost of return shipping which can be significant for big speakers

The Tannoys arrive tomorrow so looking forward to it immensely I’ll let you know how they are at home shortly
 

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