5th Jan 2013
"quality with ease"
I had the idea to upgrade from my faithful floorstanding Tannoy 636's by looking for good second hand stereo speakers. As I knew that the rubber surrounds and the polypropylene cones of my Tannoys hadn't aged over the years (as far as I can judge), I was interested in Tannoys with this driver construction. I looked for speakers with a bit more bass than the 636'es could offer as their cabinets are closed and relatively small dimensioned. First I found a pair of 637's that are quite similar designs on a larger scale, 8" drivers instead of 6". The price was decent given the huge upgrade in soundstage. I loved the more substantial bass. Most striking, however, was the the Dual Concentric arrangement, offering a fascinating accuracy in voices, strings, brass etcetera.
I could have kept these if it were not the fact that I had the impression that the bass missed a bit of integration. Maybe, the lower midrange was on the weak side, making music that should sound bold, sounding a bit slender. I bought another pair of "vintage" floorstanding speakers to compare. These 22 y/o Magnat Zero 6, still well rated, had an ordinary 3 way arrangement with rear bass ports. I loved their stereo imaging and they had a pleasant bass. However, I didn't quite like their sharper highs and I missed the accuracy of the Tannoy Dual Concentrics.
Then I found an attractive offer for 638's, that could be the best of both worlds. The 638's are 10 cm's taller than the 637's but more importantly, they are rear ported, offering more bass. It turned out well! Compared to the other pairs mentioned above, I was immediately convinced that these were what I had searched for. Despite of being almost 20 years old, they play everything with ease and quality. They are not demanding regarding amplifiers, I couldn't hear any difference using my old Sony receiver compared to a reputed Sony ES amplifier. So, I hope, these 638's will last forever.
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