The British hi-fi heritage revival remains strong, with Mission’s 770 being the latest reimagined classic.
Mission’s new 770 loudspeakers have been re-engineering to retain the unmistakably 70s vintage style while benefitting from cutting-edge performance. Best of all, these new Missions are designed and made in the UK as part of a new initiative from IAG!
The Mission 770 were released a year after the late Farad Azima established the brand on 07/07/1977. Now, 44 years on from its debut, it returns anew.
The original was said to be a labour of love for Farad Azima, whose intention was to deliver the BBC-influenced midrange accuracy and transparency of a speaker like the Spendor BC1 while also achieving tighter bass and a more propulsive and engaging sound.
Mission is assured that the sonic spirit of the original is intact, whereas its sound and build quality have evolved to deliver a speaker that meets and exceeds customer expectations in 2022.
The project’s design and engineering team was led by Peter Comeau, Mission’s current Director of Acoustic Design, who recognised that part of the 770’s character was due to its polypropylene cone – claimed to be unique in a consumer product at the time. Additionally, the impressive resonance control of the cabinet.
To that end, a new 20cm polypropylene mid/bass driver was developed for the re-engineered 770, mimicking the extended response and low colouration of the original while upgrading the motor system to take account of modern power handling and dynamic requirements.
Following the original design, the new driver is built onto a die-cast chassis with large rear ‘windows’ to reduce early reflections back through the cone. Furthermore, a low-density nitrile surround has been added to the cone to match its impedance and reduce reflections from the cone edge.
We are also informed that the new polypropylene cone is loaded with minerals to make it stiffer than the original, resulting in fast, tight bass. This is further balanced by tuning the cabinet and reflex port to a very low frequency, avoiding the ‘one-note bass’. In addition, the port is flared at both inlet and outlet to smooth airflow and eradicate distortion. As a result, we are told that bass extends powerfully and cleanly to below 30Hz (-6 dB) in room.
The new 770’s treble unit uses a 28mm lightweight, damped microfibre dome with an ultra-smooth response, backed by a damped rear chamber that pushes the fundamental resonance well below the crossover region, says Mission. The resulting claimed frequency response is listed as (+/-3dB) 42Hz-20kHz.
Even with today’s advanced software crossover mapping and measuring techniques, the manufacturer states that the choice of EQ and crossover for the new 770 involved hundreds of hours of listening sessions using a wide variety of music. Additionally, more than 170 circuit iterations were apparently tried before the final crossover was settled upon.
The crossover is mapped across separate bass and treble PCBs using very short signal paths and accommodating high-quality components such as super-transparent polypropylene capacitors and air-core inductors.
Everything is then housed in a real-wood veneered cabinet, measuring 59x30x30cm (HxWxD), with a white laminated front baffle echoing the style that made the Mission 770 a stand-out hi-fi product in the 1970s and ’80s.
While the original 770 reduced midrange colouration using the BBC-influenced technique of a thin-wall cabinet damped by mass loading with bitumen pads, the new 770 features a twin-wall sandwich of high-density MDF and particleboard bonded by a layer of high-damping adhesive.
Internal bracing adds strength to the front baffle and braces the drive unit to the cabinet, creating a mechanical support that aids the dynamic performance of the bass unit and reveals the micro-dynamics of the musical performance. Finally, a layer of acoustic foam and damping fibre is strategically placed to absorb reflections inside the cabinet without overdamping the bass quality.
Peter Comeau told: To repeat the original 770 brochure’s claims of ‘staggering bass definition and response; lack of colouration; uncanny imaging; information retrieval; transient attack; depth and perspective; accuracy and linearity; speed and dynamic range is only to hint at the true capabilities of the new 770. Instead, we prefer to focus on its uncanny ability to reveal the true depth, emotion and drama of whatever music you care to feed to it. A much-loved British hi-fi classic has been emphatically reborn.
The new Mission 770 is not only designed and engineered in the UK; it is made here too, thanks to Mission’s parent company, IAG, expanding its facilities in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. A 9,000ft2 production facility has been added to the existing building in Huntingdon, including a new anechoic chamber, making a total of 25,000ft2 of office, lab and manufacturing space.
IAG’s new Made in the UK initiative has been devised to enable the manufacture of specific products to be brought back to the UK without skyrocketing costs.
The new Mission 770 will be available to purchase from the end of March, in a choice of walnut or black wood veneers, at an RRP of £3,500 per pair.
The price includes a pair of dedicated floor stands, custom made in the UK to ensure each speaker is positioned at the perfect height, with a damped carbon steel frame and large stainless steel spikes to prevent unwanted vibrations.
The package is completed by a set of stainless steel spike seats for hard floors and a pair of handling gloves.
Link to product: Mission 770