A Nice Pair
...of Tannoy DTM-8 Monitors. Compact monitoring for the compact studio.
The logistics of small studios often suggest that near-field monitoring is the best approach, but very few near-field monitors perform well enough to be used as a sole monitoring reference. The Tannoy DTM-8s are worthy of serious consideration in this respect.
Tannoy have long been a legendary name in loudspeaker design since they pioneered the dual concentric principle several decades ago. The new DTM-8s follow that tradition, except that the tweeter now has its own magnetic assembly rather than sharing that of the bass/mid-range driver. The speakers are time aligned so that the high frequency unit is working in the same phase as the bass/mid driver and, being dual concentric, you can work close up to this speaker and still have an effective point source of sound which is very important for stereo imaging.
The cabinets are a compact 460mm x 300mm x 200mm (18.3 litres internal) and are constructed from Medite, which is a resin bonded woodfibre that offers considerable acoustical advantages over the more conventional particleboard. Bass loading is provided by a symmetrical ducted port and the inside of the cabinet is damped by mineral wool. The driver fitted is the 2008 which I believe was developed specifically for this project. This has a polyolefin cone driven by an edge wound voice coil in the centre of which is the high frequency compression driver.
The crossover which is solidly housed within the cabinet is an overdamped second order type incorporating parallel impedance and phase correction, all passive, and the cross over frequency is stated as being 1.8kHz. Each cabinet weighs 11 kgs and an optional grille is available though none is provided as standard. What is supplied is a self adhesive rubber mat which can be fixed to whichever side of the cabinet you designate to be the bottom in order to give a non-slip surface that won't scratch your mixing console. In order to keep the set up looking tidy, the facia surrounding the port may be located in either plane so that the logo is always the right way up. Oh yes, the colour is black.
"The recommended amplifier rating is between 10 and 100 watts per channel."
Rated at an absolute maximum of 120W peak per speaker, the recommended amplifier rating is between 10 and 100 watts per channel, the speakers having a nominal impedance of eight ohms falling to five ohms at 8kHz. The frequency response is quoted as being 55Hz to 20kHz ± 3dB and the speaker efficiency 89dB for one watt at one metre (4π). In terms of the time alignment aspect of the design, the phase response is claimed to be within ±20 degrees between 140Hz and 10kHz with time compensation being better than ±30mS, but as I don't have the same mystic powers as the guru from the Cat and Beam Engine, I have no way of checking this out. Dispersion is conical which is to be expected with a dual concentric design and this model gives a 100 degree dispersion angle. Of course the spec can tell you a lot of things but what you really need to know is what the spec doesn't tell you and for this job there is no substitute for a pair of ears.
"The cabinets are constructed from Medite, which is a resin bonded woodfibre offering considerable acoustical advantages over the more conventional particle-board."
"Though the DTM-8s were designed as desk top monitors for professional use, they're certainly a joy to use as main monitors in a home studio."
On the application of programme material (pop/rock), it became evident that these little monitors sound typically Tannoy. It never ceases to amaze me that different manufacturers claiming similar technical specifications always end up producing speakers that have their own characteristic sound. The Tannoy sound always seems to me to be a little soft and yet it somehow still shows up the detail within the sound and this combination gives a monitor that can be used for long periods without producing aural fatigue. The bottom end is also characteristic of Tannoy in that it seems almost artificially punchy but of course there is little or no really low bass due to the limited response which is an understandable compromise in such a compact design. That is not to suggest that these speakers do not produce a well balanced sound because they do, particularly when used in the near field as intended. In this respect, the bass is probably more accurate (or at least more useful) than that produced by a full range unit at a distance of eight or ten feet in an untreated domestic room of indifferent acoustic design. The bottom line is that the monitors sound good without unduly flattering the music and mixes done on them seem to be consistently good when played back on other systems which is a very important consideration.
In terms of acoustic efficiency, there are obviously more efficient systems on the market but if you are using these monitors at a distance of three to four feet driven by a 100W per channel, you are going to find them more than loud enough for comfort unless you like mixing under the handicap of threshold shift and its attendant frequency domain distortions. Imaging is excellent, as you would expect from a dual concentric design and it is this property that allows you to work so closely to these speakers. Mounting these monitors on the top of a typical mixing desk will give you a stable image at virtually any operating position the engineer may adopt and though the DTM-8s were designed as desk top monitors for professional use, they're certainly a joy to use as main monitors in a home studio or in situation where space is limited. There are no real criticisms of these speakers, apart from suggesting that the grilles really should be supplied as standard to protect the drivers; any other comments relating to the lack of bass extension are implicit in the specifications. Of course if you want point source monitoring at desk top level and want the extended bass, you could always consider a mono sub-woofer if your room design is such as to let you make use of the extra bass.
DTM-8s retail at £315 per pair. Further details from: Tannoy, (Contact Details).
Review by Paul White
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