Skip to main content

Tannoy Mercury 7.2 review

Compact shelf speakers could do with better dynamics Tested at £230

Our Verdict

While the Tannoy Mercury 7.2 speakers have their talents, there’s little to write home about

For

  • Decent amount of detail
  • Easy to listen to
  • Easy to accommodate

Against

  • Poor balance
  • Lacks any significant expression
  • Poor timing

For those versed in Roman mythology, the name Mercury may bring to mind the God of communication, so on the face of it, a good name for a pair of speakers.

Unfortunately, more relevant to these Tannoys is the planet named after him, in so much as it’s far from the best hi-fi on Earth.

That’s perhaps a tad harsh but given our admiration for the company’s usual output - such as the Award-winning Eclipse 3 speakers - the Mercury 7.2s are disappointing, mainly because we’d expect so much more.

Build and compatibility

They’re an attractive unit; a diminutive, 9.4-litre wooden box finished in walnut (our review pair and personal preference too), light oak or black oak, each flaunting a 28mm soft dome tweeter and 15cm midrange driver to the front and passive reflex port to the rear.

The Mercury 7.2s are unassuming but smart at the same time: a magic combination for budget bookshelf speakers.

The build quality doesn’t entirely match, however.

MORE: How to build the perfect speaker

At this price the Mercury 7.2s could feasibly be a component in your first hi-fi setup, but £230 isn’t by any stretch a trivial amount, and the first impressions are that it doesn’t feel like you’re getting a steal.

The reflex ports, for example, already feel loose as we’re picking the speakers up out of the box.

There are speakers such as the Monitor Audio Bronze 2 or Q Acoustics 3020 that feel higher-end than this.

MORE: How to choose the right speakers

Sound

But that doesn’t necessarily amount to poor sound, which is, after all, what matters most.

And when we plug these Tannoys in to feed them Explosions In The Sky’s The Wilderness, we are somewhat comforted by the relatively detailed, easy to listen to performance with which we’re presented.

There isn’t oceans of space, though that’s neither a surprise nor a major criticism given the Mercury 7.2s’ stature, but the detail is enough that we can pick out the instruments as textures build and don’t feel we’re lacking any parts.

MORE: Best speaker deals - hi-fi, Bluetooth, wireless

It’s easy on our ears, as well; we don’t pick out any coarseness that would make listening strenuous, even when arrangements reach their crescendo.

The balance in general is a bit off, though. There’s a fair bit of bass, though it isn’t extremely taut, and the treble is equally prominent, but it creates a crevice in which the mid-range tends to hide somewhat.

It’s more noticeable when switching to an album with vocals, such as Fleet Foxes’ Helplessness Blues; where we ought be experiencing luscious harmonies, the feeling is that they’re lost, shadowed by upper and lower frequencies.

MORE: Best hi-fi speakers 2016

Most disappointing, though, is the Mercury 7.2s’ sense of timing and dynamics. It isn’t confusing, nor does it make rhythms difficult to track, but it’s flat.

There’s little real momentum or expression, which leaves the performance feeling quite cold; there are no swells, no impetus on beats or picking patterns.

If you’re after a pair of speakers to power a party, these probably aren’t them.

MORE: Best budget speakers 2016

Verdict

We’ve been reasonably satisfied listening to the Tannoy Mercury 7.2s, and while there are aspects of their performance we admire, we’re not moved to finger through our music library as we would be if we were really enthused by what we were hearing.

If you want something small for some easy listening, there might be a place for these Tannoys on your shelf.

Otherwise, there are plenty more talented options on the market - and plenty that’ll save you a bit of cash to boot.

See all our Tannoy reviews

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, New York and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


Read more about how we test