This week we tested the Tannoy Mercury 7.2 bookshelf loudspeaker. Following our previous test of the top-of-the-line Tannoy XT6 loudspeaker, we were curious to see what the brand could offer on one of its entry-level models. Despite the absence of features found on more expensive Tannoy models – coaxial driver, integrated stand, signature Tannoy screws – the Tannoy Mercury 7.2 is no less alluring with its vinyl, faux wood grain finish easily mistaken for the real thing and its tweeter bearing the brand’s logo. Granted, this model’s low price may be eye-catching, but will it be up to the task of satisfying your desire for high-quality sound?
First, a little retrospective on Tannoy’s history – created over 80 years ago, it is an emblematic brand of Scottish hi-fi. Tannoy has made a name for itself by crafting products that are exceptional and often simply breathtaking: just have a look at the Tannoy Canterbury, Westminster Royal and Kingdom Royal. Tannoy has crafted loudspeakers weighing 100 kg, equipped with gigantic coaxial drivers and super-tweeters which, held in place by adjustable mounting brackets, are capable of adapting their sensitivity. Although newcomers can be taken aback by such a model, seasoned audiophiles know that true hi-fi emotion is guaranteed by the most outstanding products. Proving that less is, in fact, more, Tannoy extends the same time-tested craftsmanship it developed for its legendary models to those of more modest stature – right down to its most affordable products. The Tannoy Mercury 7.2 is, as our tests have confirmed, a case in point.
Tannoy Mercury 7.2: presentation
Although aluminum tones visually dominate the front of the loudspeaker, none of its drivers have a metallic membrane. The Mercury 7.2 is a modern model with an old-school design: a 6″ boomer with a multi-fiber coated pulp paper cone whose distinguishing feature is the absence of a dust cap. The driver’s monocoque cone is attached to its basket with a half-roll rubber surround. The basket’s outer edge is lined with a circular rubber strip which absorbs parasitic vibrations. The driver’s enclosure contains nearly 10 liters of air and is equipped with a circular, flared bass-reflex port situated just behind the tweeter. The internal structure of the Mercury 7.2 is lined with acoustic foam and reinforced by sturdy supports in order to further reduce any possible vibration (thereby maximizing energy efficiency).
The tweeter is a polyester and urethane dome model of 1″ in diameter. This choice of materials favors a high resistance to deformations, thereby allowing the tweeter to reach very high frequencies. Yet the natural damping quality of these materials combined with a rather low resonance frequency also enables the tweeter to cover frequencies far below the crossover filter’s cutoff frequency. Undoubtedly a plus. The Tannoy Mercury 7.2’s tweeter covers treble frequencies up to 32 kHz.
The speaker has a nominal impedance of 8 Ohms and a sensitivity of 89 dB at 1kHz. Powering it with any amplifier should be no issue. The screw terminals are easy to handle and tighten due to their large diameter.
Tannoy Mercury 7.2: listening conditions
We listened to the Tannoy Mercury 7.2 bookshelf speakers installed on Jean-Marie Reynaud Magic Stands and connected to a NuPrime IDA-8 amplifier with a Norstone W250 loudspeaker cable. The USB DAC of the amplifier was connected to a Raspberry Pi 2 running on Volumio OS. As usual, we listened to mostly FLAC audio files along with a few DSD files.
Albums we listened to : Protection – Massive Attack (FLAC 16/44), Little Blue Girl – Nina Simone (FLAC 24/96), Folk Singer – Muddy Waters (FLAC 24/192), Chet Baker Sings – Chet Baker (FLAC 16/44), 21 – Norma – Maria Callas (24/96), Celebration Day – Led Zeppelin (24/48), Delta Machine – Depeche Mode (24/96), Hot Buttered Soul – Isaac Hayes (DSD64).
Tannoy Mercury 7.2: listening impressions
The Tannoy Mercury 7.2 bookshelf loudspeaker delivers a lively, slightly bright sound which makes for a pleasing clarity. The tweeter, agile yet accommodating, evenly distributes the musical signal’s energy over a broad spectrum and gives the amplifier an overall neutral quality. The bass driver is largely sufficient and adds vigor to the listening experience. Its range is not sensational, but with a diameter of only 6″ it churns out a steady performance down to 60 Hz. To reach the full dynamic potential of these speakers, we recommend paying close attention to the quality of your listening room.
The depth of the soundstage is proportionate to the loudspeaker’s compact size and Tannoy’s desire to create an up-close, warm and personal listening experience is easily recognizable.
Upon listening to Depeche Mode’s Welcome to My World, the loudspeaker’s sense of scale remains uncompromised and there is no perceivable narrowing of the sound restitution, something which we don’t commonly see on other models sold at this price. The synthesizers sound ethereal. Moving on to Isaac Hayes’ Walk on By, the Tannoy Mercury 7.2 proved capable of surmounting the obstacles presented by a lower recording quality; we appreciated the saturated electric guitar on the left just as much as the organ on the right, despite the inferior volume of the latter. Meanwhile, Maria Callas’s vocal performances fully retain their breadth and depth without any audible harshness.
Tannoy Mercury 7.2: conclusions
What we liked:
- The overall balance
- The 1.1” tweeter combining energy and stability
- The bass delivery, impressive for a compact speaker of this size
- The overall manufacturing quality
What we would have liked:
- A wider soundstage, although this would be a lot to ask from an entry-level loudspeaker
A pleasant surprise. Even though the Tannoy Mercury 7 is a series composed of Tannoy’s entry-level products, the Mercury 7.2 does not disappoint in terms of quality. Offering a high level of performance, it has the distinction of being a reliable product whose enduring vitality will be sure to charm you.French