Tannoy ...

picture of product Few companies' products have such a profound impact on our lives that their names enter the dictionary as generic descriptions for their inventions. There are notable exceptions such as Biro, for its ballpoint pen and Hoover for its vacuum cleaner. But in the pro audio field, Tannoy stands alone for its success in developing early public address systems and then continuing its reputation for pioneering audio solutions. The word Tannoy is synonymous with sound, appearing in the dictionary as: 'a communications system with loudspeakers, used for making announcements in public buildings.' The phrase 'Over the Tannoy' is universally used to describe a PA announcement.

Product development has been even more energetic and exciting since Tannoy merged with the Danish TC Group of companies in 2002. TC Group is a holding company of several individual music technology businesses, which includes TC Electronic, a modern and vibrant company at the forefront of digital technologies especially in the field of digital sound processors. The combined expertise of Tannoy and TC is allowing the companies to share research and development resources and take advantage of the trend towards convergence of digital and acoustic technologies within the whole audio industry.

Presently, Tannoy remains active in three key audio sectors: Residential Audio, Installation Speakers and Studio Monitors. In each of these market sectors, Tannoy continues to incorporate exceptionally highly developed derivatives of the Dual Concentric driver into its products maintaining the sound principles behind the original design concept in that it combines transparent, fluid performance with true point source symmetrical dispersion properties.

Tannoy is one of the oldest and most prestigious audio brands in the world, having been founded as the Tulsemere Manufacturing Company back in 1926. The name originates from a solid-state rectifier invented by company founder, Guy Fountain, made from an alloy or mixture of Tantalum and Lead. This Tantalum-Lead Alloy was the basis of the now world famous brand name of Tannoy.

Through the recession of the thirties and during the Second World War Tannoy produced many different products all to do with speech and music communications, culminating in the company being commissioned by the then British War Department to manufacture and supply all of the communication systems for airfields and other military installations. This is what led to the name Tannoy becoming synonymous with PA as men from all corners of the country became familiar with the public address systems through their time in the armed forces, many of them having never encountered such technology before. Thus, Tannoy entered the OED in 1948 as a colloquialism for public address system and indeed the phrase Over the Tannoy is still frequently coined.

Today, Tannoy is the brand name that can be found on many prestigious sound installations throughout the world. Examples include the Hong Kong Convention Centre, the Sydney Opera House, the London Palladium theatre, Coca Cola Headquarters in Atlanta and the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas to name but just a few. The companys Scottish headquarters are located in Coatbridge, near Glasgow.

At the centre (literally!) of the companys modern success is the unique driver technology developed and utilised by Tannoy, the Dual Concentric, used in all manner of loudspeaker product ranges. Unlike ordinary drive units, the Dual Concentric is effectively two drivers properly merged into one, where the high-frequency unit is positioned on the back of the low frequency driver to ensure that they are on the same acoustic axis. With this system, the sound energy is propagated from the same point and delivered through the centre of the low frequency cone a true point source.