Did you know that Tannoy is the oldest loudspeaker company in the world? Tannoy was founded by Guy R. Fountain (above) in 1926 and has been making loudspeakers now for over 84 years. ‘Tannoy’ was trademarked as a name in 1928, and was located in London until 1975, when it relocated to Coatbridge, Scotland, where it still resides (the photo below).
If there is anything that is symbolic of Tannoy it is certainly the Dual Concentric™ speaker drive unit, which is one of the most important advancements in loudspeaker technology ever developed in the history of audio. Ronald Rackham developed the Dual Concentric™ speaker in 1948, called the Monitor Black, which brilliantly integrated a high-frequency compression horn driver unit into the same axis as a fifteen-inch direct radiating low frequency driver on one chassis.
Rackham also designed the Guy R. Fountain (GRF) and Autograph corner horn enclosures (diagram below) for the Dual Concentric™ driver units, which also quickly attained status in the music industry as high-performance designs. If Nobel Prizes were awarded for achievements in audio electronics, then Ronald Rackham would certainly be deserving of one for his contribution of the Dual Concentric™ speaker design – it is a positively brilliant musical device that has been highly revered by generations of music lovers.
The Tannoy series of Dual Concentric™ speakers and enclosures have impressed many music industry luminaries over the years, like Arthur Haddy, the chief recording engineer at Decca, who heard the Monitor Silver (successor to the Monitor Black) in 1951 and ordered it for the Decca studios in London. Dr. Dutton of EMI visited Tannoy in 1951 and heard the Monitor Silvers installed in the GRF enclosures, and was so impressed he ordered the combination for EMI’s Abbey Road recording studios. Kingsway Hall, the BBC, and many others, followed their example and ordered Tannoy Dual Concentrics™ for their recording work. Tannoy’s became so prolific in the music industry that there’s a very good chance that those beloved recordings you’ve treasured all your life were originally mastered using Tannoy Dual Concentric™ monitor speakers, and they will still be at their most authentic best when played back over Tannoys today.