Tannoy Mercury V1 Bookshelf speakers

The Mercury V1s take over from the previous F1 series, boasting slightly bigger cabinets than the previous models, new 13cm pulp fibre bass/mid cones and a 25mm soft dome tweeter. Inside the cabinets have extra bracing and silver-plated wiring. The capacitors in the high frequency part of the crossovers are damped with what is described as 'Differential Material Technology'. Two finishes are available, Dark Walnut or the Sugar Maple pictured. They're the smallest here, measuring 300x170x254.5mm (h x w x d) and weighing 4.5kg.


I was immediately impressed by the size of their delivery; the sound was projected out well and extended several feet backwards. Playing the Beethoven (a mono recording), the orchestra was placed across the centre two thirds of the area between the speakers. I did not expect floor shaking bass from such small cabinets, but was surprised to find reasonable extension of some tunefulness. Piano was handled well, avoiding nasty jangles and clangs, but things got less defined when the full orchestra joined in. At this point things started to get a bit crowded and definition fell away somewhat.

Moving to the Mamas and the Papas LP, and things were less satisfactory. It's a difficult recording, with a very questionable balance to the sound. Given such source material the little Tannoys did their best but were tonally thinner than hoped. Meanwhile, stereo placement was good, with the musicians located well within the soundstage, but there was little sense of space between them.

With Morcheeba's 'Big Calm' things improved; fed with well recorded material the Mercury V1s sounded altogether happier and made a fine job of relaying the music. Skye's voice had its trademark smooth velvety sound, although it still felt a little shallow compared to the almost tactile depths that I am used to hearing from this recording. Still, a surprisingly even and competent performance from such small units, especially considering the price.

Tannoy Mercury V1 Bookshelf speakers photo