Tannoy's silver SFX 5.1 speakers may not be much to look at but they're great value, with fantastic audio quality.
Tannoy is one of the great names in British speaker production and is synonymous with public address speaker systems, so we were surprised by how little the SFX 5.1 set costs.
Admittedly they don’t look very stylish or expensively finished. They’re well built, but we noticed slight gaps between the satellites’ silver plastic casing and the speakers inside. The silver-grey finish on the subwoofer also looks cheap. They look better in black, but you’ll have to pay around £60 more for the privilege.
The compact satellites look inconspicuous enough, though, and it’s the sound that counts. Treble and mid-range sounds were sharp, clear and precise. Crackling fireworks sizzled past our ears with intense realism as they moved across the screen. Subtle nuances of background sounds were brought into perfect clarity and bass tones were punchy and powerful. Movie explosions produced a well-rounded rumble and music was pulsing and vibrant. Like many speaker systems with compact satellites, the lower mid-range is slightly underpowered, but this isn’t noticeable under normal conditions.
Like any 5.1 system, you’ll have to position your speakers carefully and use your AV receiver’s configuration tools to ensure optimal sound quality. The subwoofer must be raised off the floor using the provided feet, otherwise you’ll get a very muted bass sound.
If you have an amplifier that doesn’t have a subwoofer output, the SFX 5.1’s sub has stereo phono inputs to which you can connect your amplifier’s line-out, or you can use the binding posts to wire the subwoofer into your amp’s speaker outputs. The subwoofer will then filter out the high-frequency sounds and play only low-frequency effects.
The speakers come with everything you’ll need to set them up, including a full set of wall brackets and 26 metres of speaker wire. Connected to a decent amp, these speakers brought our films to life and reproduced music with enough power and subtlety to make them good for more than simply watching TV. This phenomenal audio quality at an incredibly low price makes them our Best Buy.
|RMS power output
|Power consumption standby
|Power consumption on
|satellites: stereo binding posts, subwoofer: stereo binding posts, stereo phono
|Satellite cable lengths
|subwoofer controls: crossover, level