I can’t believe I’ve been using the Reveal’s for nearly ten years – but it’s true, file time stamps never lie. I don’t think. These days the Reveals are powered by a Quad 521f, with a Marenius DAC-S2 providing the source. And I still love them, I do keep meaning to try the new Nytech power amps and I will get round to it someday. However in the meantime these are still ridiculously good at what they do. The original review below is from 2005.
I’ve always adhered to the simple maxims of speaker design – don’t port them unless you really know what you’re doing and never under any circumstances paint them purple. It’s not much of a philosophy but it’s served me well for nearly 30 years. You can understand my trepidation on unboxing Tannoy’s latest Reveal 6s – purple, ported and proud of it. The Reveals are a new edition to a range that has been well established since the mid 90s, they’re a two way rear ported system featuring a six inch paper LF/Mid driver in a jaunty silver finish coupled with a one inch titanium dome tweeter.
At under £200 a pair you won’t be surprised that the Reveals are made in China, but Tannoy insist that their stringent controls over quality mean that the speakers leaving the factory are assembled and finished to high standards. I certainly would be very happy with the Reveals look and feel at the price, in fact I was a bit taken aback by how inexpensive the speakers were. “Surely” I thought “another bad omen when it comes to sound quality.” To be honest I expected an over bright top end, poorly integrated middle on top of some seriously waffling bass. And having done a few management courses in my time I know a thing or two about waffle.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. Tannoy describe the titanium tweeter fitted to the Reveal as a “SuperTweeter” with usable output beyond to 50KHz. Having had teeth drilled by the treble coming from hf units covering much less of the spectrum I really was expecting something on the bright side. In fact while the top of the Reveals has plenty of detail and extension, I never found them tiring. Tannoy claim lower phase errors as a benefit of wide bandwidth, I’m not sure if that’s the secret but the top end from these speakers is very good.
I’m working on a series on songwriting for Radio Wales that includes Ricky Ross, Chris Difford and local hero Martyn Joseph. Those names represent some seriously good songs and for a good chunk of this I’ve been using the Tannoys powered by a cheap Samson amp – just the sort of kit that thousands of home studios will be equipped with. I must confess that on plenty of occasions I found the reproduction of the music good enough to distract me from the edit or mix – I was regularly tempted into listening while trying to monitor. Those early drum machines on the first Squeeze hits make you smile, and the Reveals are good enough to let you isolate bits of the mix you want to concentrate on, which of course is exactly what you need.
And the bass, well if I expected “Super Size Me” flabbiness I was disappointed. I have a classic home DAW setup with the speakers just a couple of inches from the back wall and sitting on a wide work surface either side of a large computer monitor. In such circumstances you’d forgive a bit of bass tip up but the Reveals managed to keep the low end well under control. The bass is extended enough to impress teenagers and generally manages good pitch integrity. However you do lose some articulation at the very bottom and if you’re mixing drum and bass you’ll want more woof than any two way monitors can deliver. The Reveals are fully shielded so you shouldn’t have any problems with using them near your screen and although I’m sure they’d work better on stands out into the room – I didn’t find proximity to the back wall a problem. The Tannoy’s handle power with considerable aplomb and reasonably high sound levels are possible without significant quality disintegration.
As you can see my first impression was very positive but what about the long terms surely £200 speakers will let themselves down over the long haul? Well that’s just not happened over the two months I had them in the system – in the end I forgot how much they cost and just enjoyed using them. Of course they’re not faultless, well they’re purple for a start, but comparisons with Spendor’s S3/5se put the Reveals into perspective. The Spendor’s have a cohesion and an integration that is sublime, and however good the individual elements of a speaker might be it’s how the whole plays out that’s important in the end. I enjoyed music on the Reveals but the Spendor’s are truly enthralling. This is no disgrace for Tannoy as we’re comparing speakers with a cost ratio of roughly 4:1. Having lived with these speakers for weeks I can heartily recommend them to anyone looking for monitors that will do the business without breaking the bank. Tannoy’s achievement at this price level is remarkable and I’m sure the Reveal 6 will be a big success and if you have a few more quid there’s an active version available in the shape of the 6D.
So you can have ported and purple speakers that work, though now that I look closely I see that the Tannoy Reveal 6s are more maroon really.