Tan­noy Eclipse Three

FOR Ar­tic­u­late pre­sen­ta­tion; good build and fin­ish AGAINST Need a bit of space to breathe

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Ea­gle-eyed read­ers will no­tice that it’s been a few years since we have tested bud­get floor­standers that we could rec­om­mend with­out hes­i­ta­tion.

Most of the ones we have seen tend to sound bloated and un­wieldy next to their smaller, stand­mounter sib­lings. Floor­standers in­vari­ably of­fer lots more bass, but that’s only worth hav­ing if it’s ar­tic­u­late and well in­te­grated – and in our ex­pe­ri­ence, usu­ally it’s not.

So, we’re pleased to re­port Tan­noy’s Eclipse Three bucks that trend, turn­ing in a mu­si­cally en­gag­ing per­for­mance that com­pares favourably with the best standmounters at the price.

Boxed in

Once out of their pack­ag­ing, you’d be hard pushed to find any­thing in these Tannoys to in­di­cate that you’re about to wit­ness 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 the Black Oak of our re­view sam­ple.

There may be three driv­ers on show, but from an elec­tri­cal point of view, these are two-way speak­ers. The pair of 13cm 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 no more than a cou­ple of min­utes’ work to at­tach them and screw in the floor spikes.

Cut­ting cor­ners

We po­si­tion 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 CD6006UK CD player (£350) cou­pled to Onkyo’s A 9010 am­pli­fier (£200) would be a good choice.

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.

Swing into ac­tion

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. If you are pre­pared to spend a lit­tle more to buy the likes of the Award-win­ning Q Acous­tics 3050 (£500), you’ll re­ceive much more in the way of low-end reach, in­sight and au­thor­ity. How­ever, at this £300 mark, we haven’t heard any ri­val do bet­ter.

Ton­ally, these speak­ers don’t sound par­tic­u­larly pure, but that’s not en­tirely un­ex­pected at this price. 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 pleas­antly sur­prised 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.

Tow­ers of strength

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 some of the best around at the mo­ment. Tan­noy has done a fine job.

“These Tannoys work with a range of kit. This kind of un­fussy na­ture is es­sen­tial for bud­get speak­ers”

These are no-frills bud­get speak­ers, but they’re en­joy­able too

Keep the Eclipse Threes away from cor­ners or side walls

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