Tannoy Eclipse 3

Tannoy Eclipse 3
My Tannoy Eclipse 3

TLDR; After a long search – I chose Tannoy Eclipse 3 as the best bang for the buck performance-wise, with good looks, and a world-leading heritage as a speaker company. What Hifi? 5/5 Floorstanders group 2016.

It all started when my 9-year-old or so Samsung 34″ TV was about to conk out – it literally had horizontal white lines on it. I went shopping for a TV and luckily I was able to find this affordable LG TV – a 55 in UK6300PPA model (I’ll blog about that some other time). Like with all new TVs that have come out recently, the speakers on the TV left much to be desired – despite this model’s thickness compared to its competitors. I told myself I probably needed one of those soundbars to go with my swanky new TV. This started about 2 months of a deep dive into audiophile territory.

I went to many different stores – Abensons, Sony Center, many department stores, Robinsons and SM Appliance Store, Egghead, etc – looking for a good soundbar. But each time I went, I wasn’t so happy with the price and performance ratio – so I kept going up the ladder, so-to-speak. I listened to all the LG, Sony, JBL, and Harman Kardon soundbars. I found the highest tier JBLs to have the chest thumping bass and good treble with the highest tier LGs having the cleanest sound (plus it had Dolby Atmos to boot!). I remember I decided to go for a Sony soundbar that cost about PhP34,000 (USD650) but then I researched online and found out that at that cost you can get better speakers – although I’d be exchanging a possibly higher configuration (3.1 or even Atmos) for better speaker quality (beginning with the basic stereo). But I was willing to go that route since in the long run I can get the system I wanted and it would be flexible enough to change if my needs also changed.

Samsung soundbars I checked out at Abenson

Searching for Speakers

I auditioned a lot of speakers. I was lucky that in Ortigas and nearby areas there were a lot of audiophile stores. I visited The Listening Room at Megamall which is conveniently located at the Megamall wing which is closest to Shangri-la Plaza Mall. That way I can visit both malls! I went to the listening many times. I auditioned the Klipsch RP160s (PhP22,400 or USD428) – they sounded good with tight strong bass but after a while you indeed ‘overheard’ that horn – that Tractix horn which everyone talks about. I also auditioned the Wharfedale Crystal 4.0 – it was a bundle 5.1 set – SW150 subwoofer, a pair of Crystal 4.3 tower speakers, the Crystal 4.C center speaker, and a pair of Crystal 4.1s for surrounds. It sounded really great! I think it was bundled with a Onkyo TX-SR373. But, I honestly didn’t have the money to buy the entire package – and if I was going to spend that much money, I’d want to know that it was the best speaker set for the price. So I kept looking – and my options went back and forth from getting an affodable 3.1 to a 5.1 setup, to starting off with a stereo system.

I decided that since I was beginning my journey into ‘audiophile territory’ I should begin with the basics and decide from there. I was told that getting into this hobby was both a long, difficult, and expensive journey – but that it was all worth it. I personally knew I wanted this – I have great memories in the 1990s of getting my mom’s two stereo component’s speakers (Sharp and Sony) and hooking them up together to make a large stereo speaker (I had no idea of Ohms for speakers yet, luckily none of them was blown) and blasting away trance and classical music. My mom had a collection of tape and CDs – she was so into Enya then. I researched online and found out a lot about speakers and especially this magazine called What Hifi? which was supposedly this respected review magazine for speakers, amplifiers, preamplifiers, and whatnot. Apparently, these speakers out on front at the Listening Room’s facade were there for a reason – the Q Acoustic 3050i floor-standers were rated 5/5 by What Hifi? just last year (2018). So I auditioned them at The Refinery at UP Town Center.

Auditioning the Q Acoustic 3050i

Before going there though I probably spent 100 hours or so watching youtube reviews. Here are some of the channels I watched based on how useful it was for me:

  • Tharbamar – his online auditioning is just so invaluable, he also has great reviews and talks in great detail about not only how the speakers sound but the methods he uses in his auditioning.
  • PS Audio – this channel, lo-and-behold, has this guy talking about so informative stuff based on his own experience. After looking him up, wow the guy owns the company! It’s just not any company – it’s a multi-million dollar audio company. He has a treasure trove of videos – really a great contribution to the audiophile community.
  • Zeos Reviews – If you can take his profanity (it gets too much most of the time), he covers a lot of products and practical stuff which are left behind because they aren’t so glamorous. He has a great how-to on making your own DIY speaker wire.
  • Joe N Tell – One of the first reviews I saw was his Elac vs Wharfedale video, when I just auditioned the Wharfedale Crystal 4.0s. He has a lot of great production and in-depth analysis of products but somehow he doesn’t cover that many products – I guess the quality of his videos takes time.
  • Steve Guttenberg Audiophiliac – he is everywhere, so despite me finding him quite annoying to watch, he has a lot of knowledge about the subject and you find him in CNET and even in What Hifi? reviewing products.
  • Zero Fidelity – I watched his reviews about Klipsch speakers and how they were different from the old ones where the horns were unbearable for music but great for home theaters.

I also joined many home theater and audiophile groups online, such as:

  • Philippines Home Theater Enthusiasts Facebook Group – this 9,745 member and growing group of, like what the name says, enthusiasts of home theater are a jolly group just wanting to have a good time, share what they know and stories about their home theater setups, brag about their toys, and talk about how they get away with buying stuff from their wives! What I like about this group is of course it being localised – they talk about products we can easily get hold of in the Philippines and they review it in ways that are just Filipino-ish. The admins also are good at discouraging piracy!
  • Budget Audiophile subreddit – Just like PHTE above, I like this subreddit because it has an international flavour, and they cover many, many topics. For example, not many people actually use or have the lower-tier Tannoy products in the Philippines, Youtube only has a few of them, and so I am able to ask there since you’re basically asking the entire world. Also, the format is less intrusive than Facebook. It’s reminiscent of those more geeky, techy layouts I prefer.
  • Audiophile subreddit – Of course, you need to go join this too. Just looking at the gorgeous setup of others is inspirational and makes it worth it.

I also auditioned Wharfedale 230s and 11.1s at the Listening Room Megamall and of course I chanced upon the Tannoy Eclipse 3’s at the 5th Avenue New Electronic City (yes, it’s such a long name for a store) at Shangri-la Plaza.

The Wharfedales (at the Listening Room Megamall) look handsome indeed! The 11.1s (2017 What Hifi? 4/5) are on top of the 230s (2015 What Hifi? 4/5 from an earlier 5/5).
These are the Wharfedale 11.1s close up. Look at the finish and the curved cabinets – such a beauty. Too bad I found the sound quite muddy.
The Tannoy Eclipse 3 (at 5th Ave Electronic City, Shangri-la Plaza Mall) are unassuming but their ad videos look cool. Importantly, sounded great! (2016 What Hifi? 5/5)

Making comparisons

In my part of the world, I ended up comparing Wharfedales, Klipschs, PSBs, Elacs, and the Tannoys. I have a simple table for comparison below.

Comparison of some floor standing speakers

In making my comparisons, I knew that some speakers were warm and some bright and that I intended to hopefully match then with amplifiers or an AV receiver (depending on my budget) that was also either warm or bright – again depending on how I felt my music would be or should be. That’s the trickiness with the entire audiophile business – there’s a lot of subjectivity in it but you can have baselines and standards which are easy to learn (such as the airiness in treble or high notes that audiophiles like, their disdain for boomy bass which younger generations love – actually Zero Fidelity has a good video on terminologies and what not such as on laidback, mid hall, and forward or say on warm, bright, and neutral).

But from all my research, reading, watching, and of course listening – I knew what I wanted was the crispness of cymbals the Klipsch had, the airiness and warmth of vocals of the Wharfedales, and the very tight bass that the Klipsch had but at an affordable price. Add to that, I wanted a company that had a good heritage in the business – had a lineage of innovation and was a product I could be proud of. I also decided early on that I wanted floor standers because I didn’t want to buy speaker mounts which would make bookshelf speakers the cost of floor standers without the bass.

So how did I find each of what I auditioned? Very briefly:

  • Q Acoustic 3050i – Very capable. The bass was there but somehow it didn’t have that tightness or that satisfying combination of treble, mids, and bass ‘prrrrut’ you would hear when a saxophone goes off. The airiness still had weight to it for high voices. Mids were present but for me, they weren’t so much defined as I would like. Probably mid-hall. Imaging was very good. Very well balanced. The price was steep!
  • Wharfedale 230 – Okay, pleasing and warm. I agree with the rest it won’t offend anyone. Imaging was okay, but in complex music, it hid a lot of instruments. It’s lack of good tight bass or shattering cymbals was a no-go for me. Very good with warm vocals. This was on sale and was the same price as the Tannoy Eclipse 3, about half the price of the 3050i.
  • Tannoy Eclipse 3 – This impressed me for its price point. The saxophone had both the crisp strong, voluminous sound with the mids and bass intact. Bass was sound chest-thumping and was tight and responsive. It had the Klipsch clearness to the high trebles but without the harshness. Imaging was great too! The music I played just sounded so good!

Here is the selection of music I played which is also based on many of the songs I found people played on youtube when auditioning:

Here are some of the Youtube videos that I watched before making my purchase:

Tannoy Eclipse 3

Official Tannoy Eclipse Ad from Tannoy

I really love my Tannoys! It’s an old company and when this particular series was released as the entry-level for Tannoy speakers (bumping up the Mercury line), the company was 90 years old! It was founded in 1926 in London and moved to Coatbridge, Scotland by a man named Guy Fountain. This company actually invented the Dual Concentric or coaxial speaker configuration used by the likes of Kef and Elac, among others. But of course, they don’t feature this on the entry-level Eclipse series. Instead, they use the D’Appolito speaker configuration, which is quite advanced as well and is used by Q Acoustic, Golden Ear, and Mission. They look quite innocuous and I guess they fit almost any type of room decor. I bought mine for only PhP19,600 (USD374), there was an option to purchase it at 12 months zero interest, what a deal! But I didn’t have the correct type of credit card, shucks! I do plan to get the centre and surrounds by Christmas.

That’s my Tannoy Eclipse Three I just bought at the store
Bringing the speakers out of the store

Inside my car

Finally home
How they will be set up in the living room

I recently sprained my wrists so it was quite difficult to bringing them into the house alone. They weren’t awfully heavy they just had a weird center of gravity being so long. After I positioned them, having moved the furniture appropriately, it was time to unbox it!

Opening the top of the box
That’s the speaker inside the box!
removing the feet and accessories from the packing foam
Removing the packing foam with feet and accessories
You get two feet, 4 screws for the feet, 4 spikes, 4 spike cups, and 1 bare speaker wire per speaker.
The Tannoy Manual was inside the box with the Philippine insurance card, Tannoy provides 15 or so years warranty online.
Now, carefully inverting the box so you can easily pull it out
Fresh! Do the same for the other speaker
That’s how the rear port and binding posts look like.
Put the speaker gently on its side, I used the carpet, to place the feet and spikes
There it is! Exciting!
And then I set them up flanking my TV

I waited for about a week or so until my amplifier was shipped from China. I will have another blog for that. I ran in the speakers for about 2 weeks, I think I was able to play them cumulatively for 48 hours. They sounded tight and quiet at first, but I tell you once they were done, they opened up and sounded amazing. Here is a video I took once they started opening up, it doesn’t do justice to the sound though.

I positioned my Tannoys 1.3 meters from the corner, 0.7 meters from the wall, and about 1.5m away from each other. They are only very slightly toed-in. I used a K.Guss DP-A1 Amplifier with the stock speaker wires that came with the speakers. The sound quality cannot at all be captured by my Huawei P30 Pro – it is missing the tight bass which was a critical factor for me. I played music from my Surface Book 2 15″ checking that it was using the APTX codec using a free windows app called Bluetooth Tweaker.

My Rating

An easy 5 out of 5 stars. I made a good decision going with the Tannoy Eclipse Threes. I’m excited to complete the series with the center speaker and surrounds to match. I hope you enjoyed reading this review, let me know what you think if you also have these speakers – or if you have questions about them and are thinking of purchasing them.

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6 Responses to “Tannoy Eclipse 3”
  1. AA says:

    I ordered mine during the pandemic because my old speaker needs major repair. I was surprised by its performance considering the price! Just applied a few tweaks and it sounded great! It is powered by denon PMA2000 IIIR (160W@4ohms)

    • Aaron says:

      Definitely, with a good amp they will perform really well. I listened to them at Shangrila using Cambridge Audios, I think those are a really good match if you can afford the Cambridge Audio amps.

  2. Jerry says:

    Best review of theese Tannoys.
    Have them from 2018. Now I was thinking about change for QA 3050i, but after reading your article I will keep the them!

    Regards J.

    • Aaron says:

      Thanks! I agree, the Tannoys, even if they are entry level sound just so good. I recently bought ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 bookshelf speakers, granted they are not towers and therefore not comparing their bass, I found the tightness of agility of the tweeters lacking a bit compared to the Tannoys. They perform differently, and I prefer the expansive, quick, and detailed delivery of the Tannoys. The Elacs are good, but I need more clarity with my speakers, plus responsive, tight punch, I will try another set of tower speakers and compare.

  3. AA says:

    i made a 20cm stand to bring the tweeter at ear level in my listening position. big improvement in sound!

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  1. […] Cambridge Audio, the looks are sweet. But at 25 watts per channel, it might be underpowering my Tannoy Eclipse 3s. Out the question are also the stereo entry-level Onkyo A9110 (50 watts per channel, PhP¬†13,950 […]

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