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.
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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.
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.
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.
We’re more used to seeing Tannoy populate the speakers category, but its first foray into the soundbase realm has started out on the right foot.
It might not quite deliver the all-round brilliance of some rivals, but we like its big hearty sound.