We look back to 2008 and a review of Tannoy's Mercury M3's, a pair of budget floorstanders that set the bar for the company's later efforts...

Tannoy is best known for its proudly retro yet truly charismatic Prestige speaker range. Rightly so, as these products have long offered qualities sorely lacking in most modern rivals.

But that affinity for top-end products hasn’t stopped the brand from trying to compete at budget price points too.

It hasn’t always succeeded – the cut-price world of budget speakers doesn’t lend itself easily to Tannoy’s quality-led ethos, or allow the use of its clever dual-concentric driver technology.

Take away this trademark tech and it becomes hard for the company to stand out.

Tannoy’s Eclipse Threes are brilliant descendents of the budget Mercury M3

That doesn’t mean Tannoy can’t challenge. The brand new Eclipse 3s are excellent, delivering a combination of brute force and subtlety most rivals struggle to match.

This isn’t the first time Tannoy has come up with brilliant budget floorstanders, though. Back in 1997, the Mercury M3s were taller versions of the highly rated M2 standmounters, using slightly tweaked drivers and crossovers in taller cabinets.

MORE: Tannoy Eclipse 3 review

The results were excellent. Those M3s were refined and unfussy performers – ideal qualities for speakers likely to be partnered with less-than-sophisticated budget electronics. But partnered with care they could deliver a sweet, informative sound that brimmed with dynamic expression and cohesion.

The current Eclipse Threes strike an even more convincing balance. Punchier and more insightful, they latch onto a rhythm with more conviction than their ancestors.

Consider the Eclipses cost just £70 more than the M3s did in 1997 and Tannoy’s achievement is all the more impressive.

See all our Tannoy reviews

MORE: Best budget stereo speakers 2016

Products featured in this story