What do flatscreen TVs give us? Thin, reedy sound with little or no bass weight (usually).
What does the Tannoy BaseStation One give us? A big, chunky sound with oodles of bass and a smooth treble. If that sounds like Tannoy has hit the jackpot with its first ever soundbase, then you’re right – almost.
The BaseStation One certainly has the essentials: sturdy build, easy set-up, and fine TV-sound-boosting performance. It’s even got aptX Bluetooth for streaming music, too.
But let’s focus on that big, hearty character first. It’s rich, expansive and easily fills up a room with dynamic sound. We love how much weight there is.
Play Rush on Blu-ray and the changing of gears has a satisfying clunk to it, while the roar of engines sounds meaty and powerful. It’s a fun and energetic sound.
We just wish it were a touch clearer. While the warmth of that bass is a joy (there’s lashings of it), it’s a little soft-edged and that has a knock-on effect in other areas.
The deeper Tannoy plate allows bigger forward-firing speakers
Voices in particular sound a touch muffled, a trait that can occasionally mask the finer nuances in dialogue.
Turn the bass down a little and the midrange becomes more focused. The treble is also rolled off in favour of a smooth presentation.
On the plus side, this means we’re in no danger of hearing any bright or hard edges to the top end, but it also leaves us feeling there’s a dab of sparkle and attack missing.
Turning down the subwoofer level helps, and it also stops the bass from overwhelming the midrange.
More after the break
Build & design
The Tannoy BaseStation’s endearing way with movies is replicated when we stream Spotify tunes from a smartphone.
The deep, dirty bassline in SBTRKT’s Wildfire sounds lush and inviting, even if we can’t help feeling the precise rhythms should sound a little more agile.
Activating the ‘3D surround’ mode spreads the sound around a little bit more, but it also weakens the midrange and so compromises the Tannoy’s naturally solid and entertaining sound.
The BaseStation One is a solidly built block that’s well finished, and is sturdy enough to hold a TV weighing up to 45kg. Tannoy recommends the TV’s stand size shouldn’t exceed 64 x 33cm.
Of course, you can always place the soundbase on your AV rack – just make sure it’s on the shelf directly under the TV so that the dialogue is closely connected to the on-screen action.
Connectivity is limited but practical, with a single digital optical input and a pair of RCA plugs for connecting analogue sources.
It would be useful to have a couple of HDMI inputs, but as things stand you’ll have to connect using optical. A 3.5mm input would be nice too. We’re not sure the BaseStation needs it, but Tannoy is working on a matching subwoofer (at around £200), which is why you’ll find a sub output in the back panel.