Hi! Just wanted to share a review for anyone coming across these speakers. This is fairly old model by now, and not a lot of information is available on the 'net.
I got mine used, and it was a fun process in itself. My pair can be best desribed as "beater". Spikes missing, one speaker has been dropped (!) on the corner, leaving a dent, one tweeter has small nicks on it, grilles have been chewed & clawed upon by some monster cat, and the lower drivers are refoamed (don't know why, but I suspect the cat). All in all, just looking at this junk I would not bother to spare it a second of my time. Well, after listening them for 30 seconds, I was sold.
Buy these if you like slightly mellow, laid-back, non-fatiguing sound like I do. I use mine with a NAD 304-512, a good combo I think, that will do for a while. The seller ran them with an old Accuphase Integrated, which is of couse much better.
These are not the most detailed or revealing speakers, but they never fail to deliver a coherent musical presentation that does not detract the listener with "special effects". Fabric tweeters do a great job of delivering clean treble that really sings without being harsh a-la German acoustics (Canton). Bass is not too shabby with the right amp.
Read the below review by Michael Johnston - I agree 100%.
BTW, they have a sensitivity of more than 90db - must be good with tubes.
If you like Rotel, B&W, they will not be to your liking. If you like the sound of Technics or Yamaha (the sci-fi sound), you'll hardly like them either and I suspect you're an alien too. But for English sound on a budget (made in Hungary, I heard), these are great.
Let me make clear that I am a mid-Fi kind of guy. I am using these with NAD & Adcom electronics. I know that there are a lot better speakers out there, but at what cost? I listened a lot before I purchased these loudspeakers and found nothing that was significantly better that didn't cost drastically more. My rating below is not in reference to all speakers, only to those that are similarly priced....I assume that this is what the instructions mean by "class".
My family uses these loudspeakers heavily. They are not just for the stereo. We use them for TV broadcasts, radio listening, and video games. Because we listen to them so much, if there was anything annoying, it would really irritate us. After 10 months of heavy use, we are delighted. They are better in all respects than the LS3/5As that they replaced....high end, low end, imaging...everything. The entire family loves these loudspeakers.
If I had it to do over again, I might not purchase the 5s. I understand that the 3s are similar with less bass & power handling. It might be a better idea to buy a pair of 3s and combine them with the Msub10. This would provide a lot better extreme low end for only a little more money.
These speakers are just not for me. I found them somewhat sharp in the upper mids, and I felt the urge to lower the volume - never a good sign. They sounded almost nasal compared to the B&W 603 (which I A/B'd with the Tannoys). They imaged just ok, not great, and the bass was good - fairly deep, controlled, but not that strong. Vocals were natural and uncolored at all but high volumes. I was much more impressed with the NHT Super2 and the Mission 703 (similar prices). In the end I went with the Vandersteens, review to pbe posted soon.
Sorry to say so but I did not like the Tannoy M5 at all! One of the reasons that I went for this speaker is that it got great reviews on both sides of the Indian Ocean. British and European speakers are by far the most popular here in South Africa. It is only fairly recently that names like Paradigm, NHT etc have become more well known here (Apart from the very exotic names from the USA) I have owned several makes of speakers over the last 25 years or so, namely AR, Linn and KEF. We pay a big premium for equipment here and it is also not easy to compare equipment here as it is very hard to find a dealer that stocks a sufficient number of different brands. I therefore bought these speakers more on recommendation than anything else. At the dealer I listened to them with Home Theatre but on arriving home with them I was very disappointed. Home Theatre was not as much of a problem as music. I think part of the problem is that in the past I have been used to very revealing and highly informative speakers- which these Tannoys definitely are not. Anyway I won't be dogmatic about it as this type of thing is very subjective- they just were not for me. I was fortunately able to swop them for another pair of speakers (No home trials here with equipment). Well you won't believe what I swapped them for! I have never liked Japanese speakers but I traded them in for a pair of Yamaha NS200 speakers!! The Tannoys simply could not even come close! The new Yamaha NS range are as far as I am aware not avaiable in the USA or Canada. (I gather most of the people on this website are from either Canada or the USA) Still, I must admit in terms of what you get for the buck (SA Rand) the Tannoy M5 is one of the biggest speakers with the biggest bass! But the bass is just about all that I liked about them. Ayway, whether you agree with me or not, the important thing is that my ears are now happy- very happy!
Anxillary Equpment: Yamaha 595a Receiver Rotel 945 CD
I bought these speakers more or less on a whim, simply because I couldn't afford most of the speakers I really liked and had been shopping for. I just got tired of agonizing over the decision, so I went into a good store resolved to come out with a serviceable pair of speakers as a compromise. I listened to six or eight types of "cheap" speakers quickly, one after the other, and told the guy to wrap these up within maybe twenty minutes of first hearing them. In other words, I didn't shop carefully and I didn't expect them to be anything but a temporary stopgap for me.
That was 19 months ago, and I've been surprised at how well I like these speakers--still. Their "new toy" glow is long gone, and I've tried a number of amps with them, but I keep being impressed by the sound of my music. I use a mid-fi CD player, a very good turntable, a conrad-johnson tube preamp, a powerful solid-state amp, and Nordost wiring. I think I could do better on the amp--if I had it to do over (meaning, if I'd known I was going to keep these speakers this long!) I'd have gotten one of the 45-50 watt tube integrateds for these speakers, or maybe the discontinued (*sob*!) Pass Aleph 3. They're tube-friendly speakers that don't need a lot of power.
Mine are office speakers, for a home office in my basement. So they're carefully sited way out in my shoebox-shaped listening room (it's a really good listening room, the best I've ever had), and they have concrete blocks perched on top of them for a little added resonance control. I don't pay a bit of attention to appearances, but obviously it's not something a married guy is going to get away with in his living room. But then, this is just a tweak.
The speakers take a long time to really break in. I should mention that I listen to a wide variety of music, from chamber and orchestral classical to grunge rock and offbeat reggae on CD as well as lots of jazz and acoustic on LP, and some experimental or new music too, so I can't really be happy with a "one style only" type of speaker, no matter how well it does its one style.
Generally, I'm surprised by the Tannoys. I'm unfortunately very picky about speakers (a weakness). I tend to be able to distinguish the flaws of audio products and also, regretfully, I tend to zero in on them and obsess about them. This makes me tough to please. But these are surprisingly fine speakers. They aren't gee-whiz, in-your-face, impress-your-friends audionerd speakers, but they handle most kinds of music well, have deep enough bass, and sound rich and clean. I wish they imaged a bit better because I have a weakness for imaging. They do okay, they just don't throw a soundstage much past their outer boundaries very often, and the soundstage seldom breaks the room boundaries like some speakers can do.
Overall, I'd say their biggest strength is their balance--the way they balance fullness with transparency, deep enough bass with good midrange clarity, speed with richness, treble snap with lack of brightness, and they way they manage to avoid all obvious and common cheap-speaker faults without sounding boring or synthetic. A very forgiving, listenable speaker, very easy to learn to listen to music _through_. They benefit from good components (what decent speaker doesn't?), so I wouldn't necessarily recommend these if you have to stretch to afford them and it makes you compromise too much on your electronics or source.
Incidentally, I've also tried them with several smaller British integrated amps, and they pair really well with several--the less powerful integrated from Musical Fidelity / Audio Advisor (called the A3 I think?) would probably be as close to perfect as you're going to find for those bucks. I bet they'd do really well with the Manley Stingray. I'd personally pick the c-j CAV-50 as an ideal cost-no-object match, although that's getting up there in cost to match with speakers of this price level; better try the Musical Fidelity first.
I also take every opportunity to recommend the absolute best audio purchase I've ever made in my life, the PS Audio Power Plant (www.psaudio.com). I got the P300 and it was like upgrading every single component in my system at once. What a marvelous product. I can't listen without it. No matter what I ever do in the future, I will *never again* have a half-decent stereo without basing it around a Power Plant. It blows away every "power line conditioner" ever made--it's a whole other kettle of fish, a whole new ball game. I used to think the source was the most important thing in the audio chain. Now I think clean power is!
For a quality rating the Tannoys are a 4, not 5--they're not up to the superspeaker competition, meaning $2K speakers and up. Although they do compete with some $2K speakers, most $3K speakers are better. But then, most $3K speakers require much more power and much better-quality electronics, meaning the overall system cost will probably be *much* higher. The true value of the Tannoys lies not only in their own cost, which is very reasonable, but that they work so close to their best with medium-powered, reasonably-priced electronics. Because the Tannoys approximate so many of the strengths of much better speakers for such a low price, I've got to factor in their outstanding value and rate 'em 5 stars overall as one of the best in their class.