If you judge value for money on a purely physical basis, then the Tannoy Mercury F2s could well be for you. Not many speakers at this level stand as tall as the Tannoys – this cabinet size might have become a bit of an anachronism lately but, as many motoring enthusiasts will tell you, there's no substitute for cubic inches.
Fire them up, in this instance using Billy Paul's Am I Black Enough For You?, and the advantages of that big cabinet are immediately apparent. The out-and-out scale of the presentation is impressive, and the soundstage expansive.
Of course, without decent focus and timing those wide open spaces count for nothing, but here too the Tannoys offer robust ability: the sound is nicely balanced and integrated well. Treble frequencies, especially, are easily differentiated and shine without any shrillness.
Scotch the scuzzFor such imposing cabinets, though, the Mercury F2s are strangely reticent when it comes to the scuzzier and more libidinous aspects of music-making. There's no doubt that refinement is a prerequisite of any loudspeaker, but the Tannoys overdo the gentility, and too often will merely perambulate when they should career.
They just don't have the gusto of the best designs in the sub-£200 arena, despite the promise of that gaping bass-tuning port.
More after the break
Some people enjoy extreme sports; some people go on Saga holidays. You know who you are. If you prefer cruising to sky diving, then you could do much worse than investigate the F2s.