Eagle-eyed readers will notice that it’s been years since we’ve tested budget floorstanders we could recommend without hesitation. Most of them just sound bloated and unwieldy next to their smaller, standmount siblings.
They invariably offer lots more bass, but that’s only worth having if articulate and well integrated. Usually it’s not.
So, we’re pleased to report Tannoy’s new Eclipse Three bucks that trend, turning in a musically engaging performance that compares to the best standmounters at the price.
Once out of their packaging you’d be hard pushed to find anything in these Tannoys to indicate a class-leading performance.
These are very much budget boxes built down to a price, but within those restrictions they’re relatively solid and nicely finished. The price point also limits the choice of finishes – in this case there’s just one and that’s Black Oak.
There may be three drivers on show, but from an electrical point of view these are two-way speakers. The pair of 13-cm coated pulp mid/bass units crossover to the 28mm woven polyester dome tweeter at 3.2kHz – a little higher than we normally see.
Once you’ve attached the plinths – which give the 96cm tall speakers greater stability – it doesn’t take much to get them singing.
The plinths are essentially two plastic bars held on by a pair of screws each. It’s the work of a couple of minutes to attach them and screw in the floor spikes.
We positioned the Eclipses almost a metre out into our listening room with just a touch of toe-in to solidify the stereo imaging. Depending on your room you can go as close as 50cm to the rear wall without issue.
But make sure you stay away from corners and sidewalls or the bass end becomes a bit boomy.
While these towers aren’t unduly fussy when it comes to partnering kit, it pays to use a good quality source and amplification. Something like Marantz’s CD6005 CD player (£300) coupled to Onkyo’s A-9010 amplifier (£200) is a good choice.
Sound and compatibitlity
Once properly run-in – we leave them running over a weekend – these speakers turn in a fine performance.
They’re agile, articulate and well... just fun. Listen to Prince’s 1999 and it’s obvious that the Eclipses have no problem when it comes to having a good time.
There’s plenty of snap to the rhythm track, a good dose of attack and enough refinement at the top-end to prevent things turning overly harsh. Prince’s vocals are as quirky as ever with the Tannoy’s fluid and articulate midrange coming to the fore.
MORE: Best hi-fi speakers 2016
We switch to Holst’s Jupiter and the Tannoys continue to impress. They deliver a good dose of scale and deliver the music’s huge dynamic swings with plenty of conviction.
Spend more to buy the likes of the award-winning Q Acoustics 3050 (£500) and you’ll much more in the way of low-end reach, insight and authority, but at £300, we haven’t heard any rival do better.
Tonally these speakers don’t sound particularly pure, but that’s not unexpected. At least they’re well balanced and smooth enough to work well with a wide range of kit. This kind of unfussy nature is essential for budget speakers.
We’re pleased by the Tannoy’s ability to organise detail too, and their refusal to get messy when things take a turn for the complex. They hold onto instrumental strands firmly and keep things composed even as volume levels rise.
These towers aren’t perfect – no rival we’ve heard is either – but they’re enjoyable and informative while being easy to set-up and partner.
These things count for a lot at these price levels. As far as budget floorstanders go these are the best we’ve heard in recent years. Well done Tannoy.
Buy the Tannoy Eclipse Three speakers here (opens in new tab)
See all our floorstanding speaker reviews