The Tannoy Highline Arena 500 5.1-Channel Speaker System Measurements
From the midbass up the results shown are pseudo anechoic, taken in a real room at one meter using the LMS measurement system from LinearX Systems, gated to minimize the effects of the room. This pseudo-anechoic response is then combined with the nearfield measurements of the woofers.
The measurements were taken with the Tannoys' non-removable grilles in place. The nominal impedance and sensitivity are estimates derived from the test graphs. The effective bass limit is, by convention, estimated to be the minus 10dB point in the response (relative to the level at 1kHz). In a real room this falling response will be enhanced by room gain. The gain, and therefore the actual response, however, will vary with the room.
Both the Tannoy Highline Arena 500 Tower and 500 Center should be very easy loads to drive. Any modern, properly functioning amplifier or receiver should have no problem with them.
Their measured responses are only fair, however, with limited bass extension that demands they be used with a subwoofer. Their off-axis measurements suggest that the woofer of the coaxial driver and the supplemental woofer in both units operate over the same range. Off-axis this produces, the sort of comb filtering interference patterns that coaxial drivers are designed to avoid. It isn't a serious problem with the vertical 500 Tower, but the horizontal 500 Center has off-axis horizontal response no better than a typical, horizontally-configured two-way center speaker with a single tweeter flanked by two separate woofers.
However, like most such units, the Tannoy's off-axis response dips should be audibly innocuous as long as you sit less no more than 15 degrees beyond the tweeter axis.
Details: Highline Arena 500 Tower
Sealed cabinet tuning: 111Hz
Minimum impedance (below 5kHz): 8.2Ω at 3.6kHz
Minimum Impedance (above 5kHz): 3.4Ω at 15kHz
Estimated nominal impedance: 12Ω
Effective bass limit (-10dB): 93Hz
Estimated difficulty to drive: Easy
Discussion: Highline Arena 500 Tower
The horizontal response (Fig.1) is uneven above 1.5kHz, but is still within +/- 3dB from 200Hz-12kHz. The response at 15 degrees off-axis (not shown) is virtually identical to the averaged front axis response. In either case the response falls off rapidly above about 12kHz. The 54kHz high frequency limit in the specifications appears to be wishful thinking. But the higher the frequency the more critical the measurement axis becomes (something to consider, along with the ear's non-response at such frequencies, when you judge the usefulness of such claims, whether they are realized or not). In any event, we don't measure above 20kHz.
Fig.1: Tannoy Highline Arena 500 Tower, pseudo-anechoic response off the horizontal axis at 45° (red) and 60° (blue).
The close-miked bass response of the 500 Tower rolls off significantly below 200Hz, but room gain should provide reasonable response to about 100Hz. Below that it's strictly subwoofer city. I wouldn't use this speaker without a subwoofer under any circumstances.
The horizontal off-axis response falls off relatively smoothly at higher frequencies. Note the off-axis suckout just above 3kHz in the vertical response, however (Fig.2). It's most serious below the tweeter axis (blue curve). You don't want to do any serious listening to the 500 Tower while sitting on the floor.
Fig.2: Tannoy Highline Arena 500 Tower, pseudo-anechoic response at 15° above (red) and 15° below (blue) the tweeter axis.
Details: Highline Arena 500 Center
Sealed cabinet tuning: 117Hz
Minimum impedance (below 5kHz): 8.4Ω at 3.5kHz
Minimum impedance (above 5kHz): 3.4Ω at 14kHz
Estimated nominal impedance: 12Ω
Effective bass limit (-10dB): 84Hz
Estimated difficulty to drive: Easy
Discussion: Highline Arena 500 Center
There are two horizontal response graphs shown here. In addition to the coaxial driver, the 500 Center, like the 500 Tower, has a second 4" woofer. It's mounted off-center. Fig.3a is the response on the side opposite the second woofer, and Fig.3b is the response on the same side as the second woofer.
The front averaged response of the 500 Center is more uneven than the response of the 500 Tower, although it has many similar characteristics, particularly at the frequency extremes. The 15-degree off-axis response (not shown) isn't quite identical to the averaged response, but it's very close. The response curves further off-axis in either direction, however, show severe suckouts. The result is very similar to the sort of response we often see from horizontal center channel speakers with separate drivers. It's disappointing to see it in a speaker using a coaxial drive unit, which should prevent such a problem.
It seems unlikely that the suckouts in the off-axis curves in Figs. 3a and 3b are caused by the coaxial driver itself. But the specifications suggest the same crossover frequency is used for both the coaxial woofer and the 4" supplemental woofer. The fact that the curves in Figs. 3a and 3b are different (taken from both the far left and the far right) suggests that the culprit is, indeed, comb filtering of the overlapping responses between the two non-coincident woofers and also between the second woofer and the tweeter in the coaxial driver.
Fig.3a: Tannoy Highline Arena 500 Center, pseudo-anechoic response off the horizontal axis at 45° (red) and 60° (blue).
Fig.3b: Tannoy Highline Arena 500 Center, pseudo-anechoic response off the horizontal axis at 45° (red) and 60° (blue).
The wide off-axis responses shown in the curves do present, as is our standard practice, a worst-case scenario, taken at 45 and 60 degrees. But the suckouts in the 500 Center's response do increase rapidly as you move beyond 15 degrees off-axis in the direction away from the supplementary woofer. They are quite pronounced by the time you reach 30 degrees off-axis (not shown).
The same situation is likely the cause of the response dip discussed earlier in the 500 Tower when you're positioned below the tweeter (Fig.2). But the problem is less audibly significant in a L/R speaker with vertically positioned drive units than in a horizontal center.
The bass response of the 500 Center falls-off rapidly below 200Hz. Room gain should provide a reasonable response to about 100Hz, but as with the 500 Tower this speaker must be used with a subwoofer.
Fig.4: Tannoy Highline Arena 500 Center, pseudo-anechoic response at 15° above (red) and 15° below (blue) the tweeter axis.
The vertical response of the 500 Center indicates that the listening height is relatively non-critical within the +/-15-degree range of the measurements.
All figures: Violet curve: pseudo-anechoic response averaged across a 30° horizontal window centered on the tweeter, combined with nearfield responses of the woofers. All measurements taken at 1-meter.