Tannoy Arena Lite review

This system boasts many of the good points of its Award-winning siblings Tested at £800.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

The Lite is a well-made, good-looking package at a very sensible price


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    Great build

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    sound shows good integration and detail…


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    ...but lacks the slam of the best packages

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This is the entry-level offering in Tannoy's well-established Arena range, using similar, distinctive-looking satellites to the higher-end Arenas – basically, if you think owls look cool, you'll love these.

The major difference between this and the standard Arena system is the subwoofer, with this system supplied with the 300w TS10 bassbin. This is a four-star product in its own right, offering very decent value for money. The build of the sub is impressive, though not quite up to the fit and finish of the sats – some feat considering the price.

In action, the performance of the system mostly lives up to expectations. The system offers an incredible degree of refinement and clarity when fed the right sonic stream. Indeed, there's a vast reservoir of detail available to the keen listener, and it's a doddle to pick out the subtleties on the Blu-ray disc of Ratatouille.

Can sound a little thin
If there is a problem with the system, it's that it sounds a little thin, lacking the punch and slam of the best – we blame the sub for this. Other than this weakness, this system boasts many of the good points of its Award-winning siblings, with good integration across the broad soundfield, and a decent room-filling experience.

The centre unit might be a different size to the four corner sats, but shares the same sonic characteristics as its sibling, but with just enough extra body to give dialogue the right gravitas.

Tannoy's past mastery with music is very much in evidence here, and the Arena Lite is good with tunes. The previously mentioned amounts of detail are much in evidence with the Dolby 5.1 soundtrack of Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense. Again, though, the sub fails to match the best.

Overall, apart from the slightly iffy upper bass, this is a great system, but one calling out for a better sub. When it comes to styling, build and affordability, it's well worth a proper audition.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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