In the past few months we’ve sampled a variety of dishes from Tannoy’s speaker menu, from the deliciously high-end Revolution and Arena Highline 300 systems to compact hors d’oeuvres like the tasty TFX and HTS 101. All of these systems served up exceptionally sweet sound quality at their respective price points, so it’s with hungry anticipation that we tuck into the company's latest 5.1-channel delicacy – the Tannoy Mercury V system.
This fifth-generation Mercury range is an evolution of the Mercury F Custom range, packed with technology filtered down from the Scottish-based company’s high-end designs – and this is the UK’s first review of the 5.1 system.
Its ethos is simple – to offer a high-performance 5.1 system including full-size floorstanders without leaving an astronomical dent in your bank balance. We like the sound of that.
When bought as a system the price tag just nudges over a grand and you get a lot of box for your money. Taking pride of place at the front of the system is a pair of Mercury V4 floorstanders (£380 a pair), ably supported by the £130 Mercury VC centre speaker and a pair of V1 standmount speakers (£150) for the rear channels.
Also part of the latest Mercury range are the VR rear speakers, which are designed to be wall-mounted – but for the sake of keeping our paintwork unblemished Tannoy sent us the V1s instead.
Completing the system is the brand spanking new Tannoy TS2.10 subwoofer, which is also getting its first review here. In fact this £430 bass-box doesn’t officially launch until the Bristol Show later this month, so it’s quite an coup to have it in front of us.
The design of the V4 floorstanders is simple and unfussy, with straight-lined cabinets styled in a classy sugar maple finish (dark walnut is the alternative colour option). The grilles are held on by plugs and when removed reveal a gorgeous brushed aluminium trim around the drivers.
Although they’re unlikely to have other halves swooning in their presence, the look is certainly living-room friendly and build quality is outstanding – these 970mm-high cabinets are a lot heftier than you might expect for the money. Two pairs of high quality gold-plated binding posts adorn the rear, making it possible to bi-wire them.
The VC centre and V1 rears use similarly unadventurous but suave-looking cabinets, sharing the sturdy construction and sugar maple finish. The VC isn’t exactly compact so make sure there’s plenty of room in front of your TV. Likewise the V1 rears, which aren’t the sort of speakers you can just plonk on shelves or furniture – floorstands are a must.
The TS2.10 subwoofer is more ‘modern-looking’ than the rest of the system, but it’s an attractive and surprisingly compact unit available in a choice of dark grey satin, high-gloss black and high-gloss white finishes. Its size makes placement a cinch, and Tannoy hasn’t skimped on the build quality.
Crucially it houses two opposing drivers, and to make the cabinet sturdy enough to contain their combined clout Tannoy has crafted it from 25mm MDF as opposed to the 18mm typically used at this price.