- Clear, neutral sound
- Weighty bass
- Classy design and robust build
- Could be more insightful
- Vinyl finish lacks luxury
- 1-inch multi-fibre coated paper mid/bass drivers
- 1.1-inch soft dome tweeters
- Walnut, Light Oak and Black Oak finishes
- Removable “dark weave” cloth grilles
- Gold-plated, banana plug-compatible binding posts
- Manufacturer: Tannoy
WHAT IS THE TANNOY MERCURY 7.2?
This standmount speaker hails from Tannoy’s seventh-generation Mercury range and follows in the footsteps of the Mercury Vi, which we reviewed as a 5.1 system in 2014. It’s one of two standmounts in the range, costing around £40/$60 more than the smaller Mercury 7.1 bookshelf speaker. Completing the range is the new Mercury 7.4 floorstander and Mercury 7C centre speaker.
At just £169 /$253per pair, the Mercury 7.2 could be a good bet if you want audiophile sound on a tight budget.
DESIGN AND CONNECTIONS
Mercury 7.2 is a fine-looking speaker with a timeless, traditional design. Like all the speakers in the range, 7.2 comes in a choice of Walnut, Light Oak or Black Oak finishes. The wood-grain effect on the Walnut version looks utterly classy, particularly in rooms with wooden fixtures and period decor, although the vinyl veneer lacks the luxury of lacquer-coated systems when you run your hand over it.
Good-quality stands are advised, since the 7.2 is a little too chunky to perch on shelves or furniture – try the 7.1 if that’s what you want to do. But the benefit of the larger, 9.4-litre cabinets is increased bass oomph, making them more suitable for use in larger rooms. You can use them as a stereo pair for music, or as surround/rear speakers in a 5.1 or 7.1 setup.
The entire front baffle is hidden behind a dark-weave cloth grille, which attaches using plug fixings; not magnets. Pull them off and what lies beneath is best described as “industrial chic”. It looks the business.
Both the tweeter and woofer are bonded to the baffle using chrome bolts, while the black, rubberised long-throw surrounds contrast stylishly with the silver trim. The tweeter lens at the top bears a subtly embossed Tannoy logo.
The heavy, robust cabinets have a more luxurious air than you might expect for the money. Internally, the braced fibreboard construction is bolstered by Tannoy’s Differential Materials Technology, achieving what the company describes as its most acoustically neutral cabinets to date. Out to use in Tannoy’s top-end Prestige range, DMT is used in critical areas across the cabinet to damp unwanted vibrations and further reduce colouration.
On the rear you’ll find a single pair of gold-plated binding posts, encased in chunky transparent plastic to improve your grip when tightening them. They’re banana plug-compatible for easy cable connection.
The Mercury 7.2 boasts brand-new drive units, namely a 6-inch mid/bass driver with a “smooth profile” cone and a 1.1-inch soft dome tweeter.
The mid/bass cone is made from Tannoy’s proprietary multi-fibre-coated paper, the lightness and stiffness of which helps to deliver fast bass notes, while the smoothly sculpted profile aids dispersion and mid-range accuracy.
It’s housed in a new, long-throw rubber surround, which gives the cone ample room to move without over-damping it. The motor assembly behind is larger than previous models in order to handle the increased power.
Meanwhile, the polyester tweeter is laminated with a micro layer of nitro urethane, which damps the dome and pushes break-up frequencies beyond the audible range. Behind it lurks a revised neodymium magnet system.
Speakers always look good on paper, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating – thankfully, the Mercury 7.2s are delicious.
They deliver a highly musical performance with terrific dynamics, detail and timing. Their presentation is refined and easy on the ear, but with enough bite to keep excitement high when the music demands it. They’re not aggressive by any stretch, but you certainly won’t be bored.
The balance is well judged – not too rich, not too bright. It’s simply a clean, neutral sound that lets the music do the talking. Such neutrality might not impress those who like warmth and richness, but it allows the speakers to paint a clear sonic picture with excellent dynamics.
They’re not hugely fussy about the calibre of your amp either – they were as happy being driven by a mini-Bluetooth amplifier I had kicking around as they were by my powerful Onkyo AVR.
The 6-inch woofers offer fabulous bass reproduction, extending deep into the low frequencies while remaining quick and agile. This lays the foundation for a big, weighty sound with plenty of puff – you can really hear the benefit of those large cabinets.
The Tannoys are equally confident in the mid-range. Vocals are clearly projected and laced with detail. Play “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye and his plaintive voice sounds like velvet, while the strings and saxophone solos soar with clarity and confidence.
In terms of high-frequency reproduction, they’re not the most insightful standmounts I’ve heard, but the tweeters generate impressive air and openness for the money. And in any case, their boundless energy means you’ll be too entertained to fret over the very finest musical details. Seamless driver integration and excellent stereo imaging seal the deal.
Crank up the volume and they show decent composure, refusing to sound hard. They lose their grip on basslines a touch when you go really loud, but it’s not a major problem.
SHOULD I BUY THE TANNOY MERCURY 7.2?
In short, the Mercury 7.2s are great-sounding standmount speakers at a great price. Their sound is clean and well balanced, but exciting when you need them to be – and it’s backed by deep, agile bass. There’s plenty of detail and finesse for the money, despite lacking the insight of bigger-budget standmounts.
Combine this pleasing performance with a timeless design and robust build quality and the Mercury 7.2 makes a worthy addition to any hi-fi system. Give them an audition.
Tannoy’s terrific standmount speakers deliver wonderful sonics at a great price, bringing you audiophile performance without breaking the bank.