PROFILE: The tale of Tannoy

"We are at the forefront of loudspeaker technology." Those were the words of Tannoy MD Andrzej Sosna, speaking at Prolight + Sound earlier this year.

It’s the sort of statement you might expect from any large audio company exec, but when it comes from the man heading up an historic firm like Tannoy, it’s difficult to argue against such a claim.

Founded as the Tulsemere Manufacturing Company back in 1926, the Tannoy name quickly became a generic term for all public address systems – one that is still used today. It even has its own listing in the Oxford Dictionary – something that only a handful of brands can boast.

The company – part of the TC Group since 2002 – remains one of the major manufacturers of PA and audio equipment for large-scale installation projects, in locations such as Sydney Opera House, the London Palladium and Hong Kong Convention Centre, as well as studio and home environments. It has also successfully maintained its reputation as a true innovator.

One of its many triumphs over the years was the introduction of true point source symmetrical dispersion technology, a unique feature that is still present in its latest product lines, as Sosna explains:

“We are one of the world’s leading manufacturers of loudspeakers first and foremost. We have point source technology, which we have been championing since 1947 and we’re still developing that technology.

“Our passion for innovation is something that runs through every product that we ship to a genuinely global customer base. On the commercial front, Tannoy has been involved in some of the most prestigious installations in the world, and the reason for that is simple; we make expertly designed and constructed loudspeakers products, that as well as sounding and looking great, also represent excellent value.”

It certainly has the history, but research and development is another area in which Tannoy excels. Leading the company’s efforts in the R&D field is director of engineering and pro audio veteran Philippe Robineau, who was largely responsible for designing the firm’s acclaimed QFlex digital beam-steering array loudspeakers, along with its new VLS Series passive column array loudspeaker system (pictured).

“VLS is one of our architectural products and it follows on from QFlex,” said Sosna. “The VLS allows us to have a passive, lower cost option for customers who don’t necessarily need the complexity of QFlex. QFlex has some developments coming that are quite exciting for the future.”

Speaking of the future, what can we expect to see from the company in the next few years? Like virtually every other global manufacturer, the firm has noticed the effect of the difficult economic climate on the industry, but it looks like things could be on the up, and some big plans are in place at Tannoy HQ.

“The key growth areas for Tannoy is a large focus on the installed sound market, and we see the potential as very strong,” Sosna added. “The economy has been a little tougher the last few years, but we are now starting to see action in that part of the market.”

Tannoy has the advantage of being a well-established brand in a highly competitive marketplace, but it’s not the sort of company to rely too heavily on its prestigious name alone. An ongoing dedication to advancement in its chosen sectors, which shows no sign of slowing down, is one of the many reasons why it has stayed strong for so long.

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