Tannoy or focal

Hi some advice needed please, I currently run sn2 with non-Naim PSU to a pair of tannoy xt8f room size is 5m X 4.2 approx. My question is would the focal aria 926 be a better match than the tannoy which can sound a touch to forward at times in the highs . Midrange is great and bass too but the treble can be fatiguing after long listening periods and especially at volume . Rest of system is Naim cd5 +flatcap , marantz tt15s turntable with project ds+ phonopreamp with separate PSU , bluesound vault 2i to a chord DAC with separate PSU .

I would more look at Sonus Faber or Harbeth, if you want a softer treble and nicer midrange.


I find the Tannoys to be transparent with my analogue centric system. I can usually tell if my LP12 needs a bit of tuning. I found my Tannoys sounded better after using quality jumper cables and speaker cable risers. I have a Musical Fidelity M6SPRE and M6SPRX for amplification.

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Interesting i used to have a set of XT6F’s if anything they were a bit laid back for me. Certainly not harsh in the highs. Its great that we all hear things differently😀

Have you considered room treatment especially at the 1st reflection point? It may be room treatment or just moving the speakers will solve your problem rather than replacing.

Not SHL5 though. That’s the more forward speaker in their range. Or other speakers in Tannoys range such as Eaton, Cheviot or Arden.

Generally Tannoy are associated with tubes amps. So maybe Naim is not an ideal partner. Maybe.

No idea why that would be the case. My Legacy Eaton sounds glorious in my Naim system. I believe it’s about which range you pick within different brands. There’s rarely “this is how all their speakers, electronics etc” sound. Most of them have different target groups with different needs and preferences. So do Harbeth, so do Tannoy, so do Naim :slightly_smiling_face:

You may or may not need to consider domestic harmony. If the appearance is of no concern, read no further.

The Tannoy and Focals are at extreme ends of a visual scale. Tannoys look like speakers you stole from from someone’s grandad. The ornate wood trim is certainly of a certain era and not particularly neutral. The Focals are ultra modern in appearance and likewise will stick out in certain rooms.

Almost anything else is easier to blend with a wider range of decors than these two brands. Of course, if your decor is old worldy or modern chic, one of them could be just the ticket.

If these were cars it would be like wondering whether you like a Caterham more than Rimac. A strange pair to ponder indeed.


At least each time I could see Tannoy speakers at dealers places or in reviews, they were generally associated with tubes. Maybe I encountered the high sensitivity Tannoys, not others from the range.

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They definitely have a house sound, ive had a few of their lower end speakers on my hi fi journey paired with similar priced amplification. In terms of speakers with the tweeter in the middle of the mid driver i preferred Kef. Nothing wrong with the Tannoys just didn’t light my fires!

Anyway thats off topic! I would seriously look at a few quids worth of room treatment before spending thousands on new speakers, if after that you are still not happy, well you have a nicely treated room for them to live in!

Of course you might just want new speakers but your conscious brain hasnt realised yet. Happens a lot, my brain normally catches up as i leave the shop with a new box under my arm and a light wallet!

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Decent size room you have and I would imagine Focal’s would sound good in a room that size. I had / have Kanta 2’s in a 5m x 5m room and they sounded wonderful. Post a house move with smaller rooms I’m having to rethink as the Kanta’s put too much energy into my smaller rooms……

No experience with tannoys I’m afraid.


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I have some room treatment and a lot of soft furnishings , I have Gaia 3 under the tannoys 2.4 metres apart and at least 8ft to listening position. They have an amazing soundstage and are great with electronic music but plating rock they start to sound thin and can be unbearable at normal listening levels. Constantly tried new speaker positions but I’m afraid it never remedies the problem. I have heard the focal arias and they sounded great , seemed to have plenty low end and the mids were just as good as the tannoys, the highs seemed to be very controlled and smooth , mind they were partnered with the Cambridge audio edge amp .

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That sounds a fair description of focal’s gutted to have to be selling my Kanta’s but house move and smaller room mean they just put too much energy in a small space.

Speakers and matching room is king in my experience so would prob recommend a home demo.

Why restrict to two brands ?


Hi Gary, have you tried toe-ing in a bit more and plugging the rear ports?

Hi James, it’s a dedicated room so I have complete flexibility, tried everything from small movements, to firing across the room, down the room acoustic treatment, Linn’s room correction….

I really could not believe how much the room impacts the sound until I experienced it my self.

Very frustrating


I already have the tannoy , was asking advice if a change to focal

I’ve decided after listening again to the focal to purchase the 926, the bigger 936 would be far too big for my room . Got a great deal on a white gloss pair brand new nearly half price . A month turn around before I receive them but looking forward already . Looks like there’s a perfect as new pair of tannoy xt8f hitting the market soon . Thanks to everyone for there input and advice , nice to have people views on subjects

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