Comparing Tannoy Sensys DC2 to the Autograph
I recently put a pair of Tannoy Sensys DC2 speakers in the same room as the Autographs to compare them and to identify the difference in sound. The listening tests were done using the same amplifier by simply swapping over the speaker leads. Everything else remained the same. Same CD player, same CD and same Hypex amplifiers.
The room that I use is far from an ideal listening room, I’m not sure what an ideal room is but I know that mine is not. The room is and odd shape with hard reflective wooden floors and in order to get good bass projection from the Autographs I can’t sit centrally between them because of the room shape. Maybe one day I will be fortunate enough to get another house with better listening conditions! The autographs need a biggish room and the enclosures should be mounted hard into the corners of the room to get good bass projection. The room corners act as an extension to the horn mouth so sitting too close is not advisable.
The first and most obvious difference is the efficiency. Play the DC2’s at a reasonable level and then swap over to the Autograph’s without changing the volume control and you will get your ears blown off. The Autographs are way more efficient. I think a 10 watt RMS per channel amp would be more than enough to drive the Autographs while the same amp on the DC2’s would produce a whisper!
Play the DC2’s at a fairly high volume and the cones are jumping all over the place. Play the Autographs at the same level and the cones barely move.
One would think that the large Autograph enclosures that tower over the DC2’s would produce much more bass however this is not the case. The DC2 is a rear vented bass reflex enclosure and the Autograph is fully horn loaded so there are some big differences, especially in the bass and mid range. The DC2’s on a lot of music even seem to be louder in the bass than the Autographs. On first listening you can be lulled into thinking that the Autograph is lacking in bass but then you realize that this is because it is far more accurate than the DC2. The DC2 is a nice sounding speaker but has the typical shortcomings of a conventional enclosure. It rounds off bass transients resulting in an inaccurate sound. A kick drum on the DC2’s is heard as a mushy thump with added bass harmonics (this type of sound although inaccurate appeals to a lot of people, especially those that listen to rock music), on the Autographs the same kick drum does not have the low frequency bass harmonics that a bass reflex enclosure introduces and instead sounds way more natural. Feed a low frequency square wave into the DC2’s and they produce bass because the cones overshoot and undershoot each time the square wave changes, the same signal to the Autographs produces more of a click sound which is what should happen. The reason for the much better transient response is because the Autographs have a high loading on the cone (the cone barely moves) and better coupling to the air at the throat of the horn resulting in improved efficiency.
The power rating of the DC2 is 125 watt RMS, the 15” Monitor Gold is rated at 50 watt integrated program material so you would think that the DC2’s can go louder, wrong! Another obvious difference between the two enclosures is that the Autographs just seem to sound better the more you wind the volume up and don’t seem to crack up like the DC2’s at high volume. On the Autographs your whole body both hears and feels the bass whilst the DC2’s sound ok up to a certain volume but if you go past that point the sound level does not seem to increase, rather the sound just gets worse and is quite distorted.
The DC2’s also seem quite thin sounding compared to the Autographs. The sound of the Autographs can take a bit of getting used to because they produce more mid bass and mid range than the DC2’s. Jazz guitar has a lovely bite and warmth that is missing on the DC2 enclosures.
All that said, the DC2’s are still a nice sounding speaker and have that typical Tannoy Dual Concentric sound and maybe are a little better and more accurate in the high end (due to the Super Tweeter) compared to the Autographs but at the end of the day the Autographs win by a long shot. Even though I have had the Autographs for a number of years I can honestly say that I haven’t tired of listening to them.
The only thing I would like to change is to get a Super Audio CD player and some modern high quality recordings as most of my CD material is average to poor quality and does not do the Autographs full justice.