Mission 770 Loudspeaker Page 2

Included in the 770's £3500 price and increasing the sense of value for money is a pair of dedicated open-framed steel stands [not pictured]. Manufactured, like the speakers themselves, in the UK, these are impressively sturdy, with heavy top-plates and supplied studs to stop their spiked feet leaving Nazca Lines on your wooden floor. Assembly is a bit long-winded, but once done and with the cabinets in situ, the overall height of the 770 becomes about 103cm, raising that treble unit where it needs to be.

sqnote Real Heft
The booklet that accompanies the speakers (which continues the retro feel by referring to 6.1 movie soundtracks, not really a 'thing' since around 2005) offers the following placement recommendations: on stands (of course), clear of corners, and more than 50mm from the rear wall. The latter measurement seems impressively tight to me, yet Mission is eager to stress that positioning the speakers too far from walls could yield a bass that's 'too light and lacking in warmth'. That's what the manual says, but I began with the speakers nearly 40cm into the room and was surprised – perhaps foolishly, given the cabinet size, the front port and the radius of the bass/mid driver – by their weighty demeanour.

Plump It Up
The 770 tore into AC/DC's 'Jailbreak' ['74 Jailbreak; Epic 510758 2] with enthusiasm, giving the track's infectious, bouncing bassline a plump, well-rounded feel. It sounded even more purposeful during the ominous middle section where bass strings are hit hard to mimic a heartbeat. This performance was big and, for a low-end lover like me, just what I'd hoped for.

Bon Scott's vocals carried a serrated edge, as did the tight riffs from Malcolm Young – make no mistake, these speakers like to rock out, with a midrange that can cut through those powerful lower frequencies. Certainly helping here is the 770's relatively easy-going nature regards amplification and so I found it simple to provoke a room full of sound with a scale that would make many standmount models green with envy.


With key manufacturing, assembly and finishing in IAG’s 25,0002ft Cambs facility, the 770 qualifies as ‘Made in the UK’

These positive attributes – that bass weight, soundstage scale and energetic presentation – go a long way to making up for the 770's slight lack of detail and precision. During the climax of the AC/DC piece, I felt the sound was thickened to the point that certain details were obscured, and there was a similar feel with Justin Hayward's new recording of Jeff Wayne's 'Forever Autumn' [Ollie Records; Tidal Master]. Elements of this HG Wells tie-in sounded magnificent – the mellifluous nature of the multitracked vocals, and the fulsome, inviting synth tone. But what was missing was an extra helping of crispness and delicacy to minor parts, such as the hi-hats and acoustic guitar accompaniment.

Grand Design
I had far less concerns with Mary J Blige's 'Family Affair' [No More Drama; MCA 112 846-2]. The 770s made this early noughties R&B hit feel lively and large, with a forceful punch to the rhythm section. Chorused backing vocals spread across the soundfield, while the singer herself occupied a central position, the two components dovetailing perfectly.

The imaging here – easy to accomplish without a by-the-millimetre approach to toe-in – delivered a well-mannered stage that didn't sound too forward. (With this track I did start with the speakers sat much closer to my rear wall, but realised I preferred their sound with a bit more breathing space, and moved them back again).

Instruments and vocals occupy a midband with some warmth of its own, supplementing the 770's rich bass tones. 'Glassworks: VI. Closing', from Philip Glass's moody 1982 'popular classical' album [Glassworks, Sony Classical; 96kHz/24-bit] features flute, oboe, clarinet, strings and piano, all battling for space and attention.

A little separation here, a little more distinction to the varied textures, would make it more of an involving listen, but there was still enjoyment to be had in the smoothness of the speaker's delivery, particularly when it came to the lilting piano. 'You Can't Lose What You Never Had', from Muddy Waters' Folk Singer set [Geffen; 96kHz/24-bit], found the 770s really capturing the mood of this languid blues jam – Waters' singing and his slide guitar enjoying a dramatic reverb, if not some of the nuances of its acoustic players.

So maybe delicate and detailed isn't this speaker's raison d'etre. Rather, the 770 earns its stripes with its ability to bring a grand scale to your music listening, ensuring the bass and percussion of a rock and blues collection is in safe hands. There's a low-end punch and fluency here that, after some placement experimentation, doesn't overshadow its work in the upper registers, where the body and tone the speaker brings to instruments and vocals is frequently fabulous.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
Mission's reborn 770 presents an almost floorstander-style listening experience from a more 'compact' cabinet that, thanks to adhering to the aesthetics of the 1978 original, will likely find plenty of admirers. So, too, should this loudspeaker's sonic signature, which seems tailor-made for those who crave rich, warm bass and mids, while its easy-to-drive nature is another feather in its very polished 'classic' cap.

Huntingdon, Cambs
Supplied by: Mission, IAG House, Cambs
01480 452561