Tannoy Reveal 402
Input: RCA, XLR, 3.5mm analog
Dimensions (H x W x D): 9.5 x 5.8 x 8.4"
Availability: online and through Authorized Dealers
The Tannoy Reval 402's sport a ¾" soft-dome "Poke-Resistant" tweeter and a 4" custom high-efficiency LF woofer for a claimed frequency response of 56 Hz -48 kHz. I cannot tell you how badly I wanted to poke that "Poke-Resistant" tweeter it being the most poke provoking tweeter I've ever seen since it claims otherwise. But I didn't. I resisted the temptation largely because the Tannoy's enticed with other traits, namely what they're made for.
The Reveal lineup includes the 402s, 502s, and 802s with corresponding 4-inch, 5-inch and 8-inch woofer/midrange drivers respectively. For the 402s, each driver gets its own 25W amp and there's an adjustable EQ setting (-1.5 dB HF Cut / Neutral / +1.5 dB HF Boost) around back along with the RCA and XLR inputs. There's also a volume control which I left maxed and a mini jack for connecting your phone or portable player. When using this minijack, you'll want to set the "Speaker Position" switch, telling each speaker which side of your desk its on since you have to connect the two 402's together with the included stereolink cable when using the minijack input. An IEC inlet for the included power cords, and on/off switch and associated blue power LED fills out the backside.
The Tannoy's black cabinets are constructed from "an acoustically optimised injection moulded baffle utilising dense material for maximum acoustic performance. The baffle is mechanically secured to a vinyl laminated MDF cabinet construction which has a closed cell acoustic foam base." Around front are the aforementioned drivers and a slotted port below them allowing for near back wall placement. The active cross-overs were custom tweaked by Tannoy’s in-house speaker guru, Dr. Paul Mills, according to Tannoy. I sat the Tannoy's atop the IsoAcoustic stands (see review) and leashed them to the Mytek Stereo192-DSD DAC that serves as my desktop DAC of choice via XRL. Let's play.
They Sound Like More
Big they aren't but the little Tannoy's throw out a convincingly big sound. The presentation is at once crisp, well controlled, splashy, and on the wet sounding side. Not dry. The 402's also throw out a nice big rock solid sound image and vocals in particular stand out as physical things hovering over your desktop. Tom Waits' gravely growl on Blue Valentine was spittingly close and breathlessly present. Just how I like him.
Having just come off the Focal Alpha 50 review, their extra size allowed for a more physically imposing sound but I'd give the Tannoy's the upper hand in all around coherence. They jive. They boogie, they rock and roll. Of course there's only so much air a 4" driver can move, Tannoy claims a max SPL of 101 dB, plenty for a few feet from your ears. As a matter of fact I found myself listening to the little 402's louder than I normally listen. They seemed to gell with me better when being pushed a bit.
Compared to my ADAM A3Xs, the ADAMs win the refinement race and also the in-your-head sound imparted by their ribbon tweeter. But, the Tannoy's are damn fun to listen to and really do sound of a piece, their drivers working in perfect unison for a believable sound image. Considering their street price, I'd say they are damn fine speakers and fall short in insignificant areas all things considered. They may be a tad flatter, front-to-back, than other speakers, but their horizontal dispersion makes up for that shortcoming. The 402's also operate near silently which is a must have feature for a desktop speaker in my book. Only a very slight hiss is audible from the tweeters from a few inches away at full volume.
The 402's also acquitted themselves very nicely to higher resolution recordings up to and including DSD. They are able to capture and portray finely nuanced and finely recorded acoustic music expertly endowing instruments with a healthy helping of their individual voices. Something like the big (and more expensive) Focal Solo6 Be's offered up a broader range, the fuller rainbow, but again considering the Tannoy's price what they do deliver is impressive to say the least.
During the review period I awoke to find one of the Tannoy's had gone to sleep and refused to wake up. The right speaker simply stopped working and would not power on. I informed my contact at Tannoy and they sent a new pair which worked just fine.
If you're looking for active desktop speakers in the Tannoy's price range, I would highly recommend adding the Reveal 402s to your shortest of lists. At their price they strike me as a veritable steal.
Also on hand and in use during the Reveal 402 review: ADAM A3X