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Product Review: TANNOY PowerV SERIES LOUDSPEAKERS

Tannoy has long been known for their high quality studio monitors and is now venturing into the live sound arena. Their latest offering, the VPower Series was unveiled at this year’s Plasa show and they graciously sent TFWM some speakers to take for a spin.

I received a pair of the Tannoy PowerV Series V6 speakers and a single PowerV VS10BP subwoofer. The PowerV6 is a 6”, Dual Concentric™ speaker with a 90-degree dispersion. The VS10BP is a 10” subwoofer with interchangeable ports. All speakers in the series are finished with a durable, textured paint. I much prefer this to the typical carpeting found on most speakers in this price range. All speakers come in black and white versions, giving the end user an option if working with an install. Both the mains and subwoofer are powered, however, Tannoy does make passive versions of each.

Specs
Weighing in at 18.7 pounds, the V6 is only 13” x 9” x 9”. The VS10BP is 14” x 14” x 23” and weighs a mere 39.6 pounds. The V6 and VS10BP rear panel has XLR input and output jacks and an attenuation knob for setting levels. One very nice feature is the addition of a Neutrik Powercon connection. This twist lock power cable is starting to replace the older IEC power cord that can sometimes come unplugged. The V6 has a switch that allows the user to select full range or high pass operation (high pass of 110hz). The VS10BP has a similar switch, however, it selects a low pass of either 110hz or 80hz. Power output ratings are 200w and 400w for the V6 and VS10BP, respectively.

When I first received the speakers, I was a bit taken back by the size of the V6. The V6 is not very large compared to the speakers I usually carry around. Even with its small size, the V6 feels quite solid. The VS10BP yielded similar results, robust but not overly heavy (a trait most of us will appreciate).

The VS10BP has one unique feature that I almost missed upon first inspection. The speaker actually has two sets of output ports. One set is on the side of the speaker and the other is located on the front. Using a hex wrench, one can easily change the ports from front firing to side firing. This allows for very flexible placement of the sub. Tannoy actually recommends placement in tight places such as under stages and in corners.

Certain VPower Series speakers can be flown with optional Tannoy hardware, and the V6 and VS10BP fall into this category. This allows for placement of speakers under balconies, in ceilings above choir lofts and other out of the way places. Tannoy makes saddle systems to allow for the flying of up to 4 V6 speakers in addition to typical wall mounting brackets.

In Use
I personally own a pair of Tannoy’s studio monitors and have used many of their products in different studios in which I have worked. I have always been pleased with the results that I have been able to achieve and the new VSeries speakers continue that success, it just took me a while to find.

The first job these speakers were deployed on was as personal monitors for the keyboard player in our praise band. I split the main outputs, sending one to FOH and the other to the Tannoy V6s. I then fed out of one V6 straight into the VS10BP sub. The keyboard player loved the setup, with the V6s pointed straight at him as opposed to the usual keyboard amp behind him. The sub allowed him to really feel those lower notes on the keys and reproduced the synth sounds flawlessly. This setup brought the stage volume down some, I think the V6s pointed straight at him helped, however, the reduction from that was offset by that sub sitting underneath his keyboard. The major drawback here was trying to find some way to situate the V6s. They come with cups for pole mounting, but putting these little speakers on a pole is a bit over the top, no pun intended. At the lowest stand settings, the speakers were extremely high over the keyboard player’s head. After some ingenuity and assistance for my A2, we devised a mount to put these on a heavy-duty microphone stand. Perfect height, not much floor space taken up, great solution. This actually took up much less floor space than the usual keyboard amp.

Job number two involved a fall youth group party at one of our church member’s home. The praise band was lined up to provide some music and atmosphere while folks bobbed for apples and took part in other fun fall activities. I figured with a setup like this, the Tannoys might be the perfect solution.

I had just 5 channels run, 3 vocals, a keyboard and kick drum. I got the band situated and started to sound check. Our regular OAP monitors were employed on monitor duty and everything was good. I started to bring up the vocals in the mains and started to have some problems. The internal amps were limiting and things were sounding not that great. I dropped the kick out of the mains (it was still running an aux feed to the sub) but still had problems. I simply had too much running into these little speakers. The band’s amps and drums were outrunning the V6s. I ran out to the car and grabbed some EV mains and a power amp and set them up next to the Tannoys. We got the band running and I pulled the feed to the Tannoys down. The sub did a good job of keeping up with the EVs, but every now and again I would hit the limiter and it would clamp down fairly hard. While standing with the kids in the crowd, I could hear the kick, but it wasn’t cutting through like I was accustomed to. We only had about 20 kids, so I figured the sub would be up to the task. Well, the set progressed and we got to an acoustic guitar piece. With just acoustic and vocals, I dialed the EVs back and brought the Tannoys back in. Wow, they sounded great. The coax-mounted horn was super smooth and gave the vocals exceptionally good presence.

My conclusion: I simply had too much band for the speakers up to this point. However, this leads me to job three.

Here is where the V6s found their niche. Our guitar player was playing at the local coffee house. He generally carries some larger 12” speakers and a power amp along with his small Mackie mixer to this gig. I offered to bring the Tannoys and he agreed. I set the V6s up on microphone stands (using our mount mentioned earlier) and got the speakers up to a good height. The sub sat just next to the left speaker on the floor and provided a good place to set the mixer and other miscellaneous things (picks, extra strings). This is where the system really shined. With about 30 people in the room, coverage was even and smooth. Our guitar player was thrilled with the size, portability, and (lack of) weight of the system. I truly feel this system would be great for someone who played coffee houses on a regular basis. The sub allowed for great extension on the acoustic guitar and gave an extremely realistic depth to the sound.

The fourth and final job was more of a fun little experiment for me. As I stated, I’ve used Tannoy monitors before, so I hooked these up in the production suite just to compare them to true “studio” monitors. The V6s and VS10BP sub did quite a fine job. I compared mixes on this setup with mixes I had done on my trusty Reveals and they were quite comparable. I then popped in a James Bond type DVD and sat back to watch a few minutes of the excitement. The VS10BP sub duplicated the explosions and sound effects extremely well. While it was not the ideal choice for our praise band, it worked quite well as a studio sub. This little system would also do quite nicely in your living room, hooked up to your home A/V system.

Conclusion
Tannoy has developed a nice product in the VPower Series. The V6s and VS10BP both have their pros and cons. I would highly recommend that you check out this series if you’re looking for some alternatives to the usual powered speakers on the market. The setup I had lends itself to personal monitor use on stage and as a small system for acoustic gigs. Perhaps the V6’s larger siblings are up to the challenge of the praise band main system, you’ll have to check them out for yourself (they make 8”, 12” and 15” versions as well). You can find more information about Tannoy at: www.tannoy.com

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