Mission 752

Mission 752One of the nicest and most interesting affordable floorstanding loudspeakers of the nineteen nineties, the Mission 752 had a wonderfully smooth, open and easy sound in a world of hard, harsh and spitty budget boxes. One of the reasons for this was its (then) very advanced HDA (High Definition Aerogel) mid/bass driver, which delivered much of the speed and sensitivity of expensive paper cones without their expense. It was partnered with a unusually well behaved metal dome tweeter, which integrated seamlessly.

Designed by the talented Henry Azima – the man behind the original Cyrus amplifiers, 770 loudspeakers and a host of other classic transducers – it sported a gently sloping upper front baffle with conventional driver geometry, instead of Mission’s generally preferred inverted driver layout. Three small front-firing reflex ports let the 880x200x250mm cabinet breathe without inducing too much boom in less spacious listening rooms. The 150mm mid/bass driver allowed a relatively small footprint and more importantly a narrow front baffle. At the time it was claimed that this gave better stereo imaging, but this is refuted by many respected speaker designers today. A 25mm metal dome tweeter completed the package, and integrated well with the mid/bass driver.

Unlike many nineties speakers, these are surprisingly warm and cosseting sounding boxes, ones which are far more efficient than most – and thus make a great partner for valve amplifiers, even today. They have a fast but full sound, fine imaging and work well in most rooms without needing weeks spending tweaking them. To my ears, their worst sin is a slightly boxy cabinet which is lively around 80 to 100Hz, but this can be helped by placing them a good metre out into the room, away from boundaries. In 2014, the closest speaker on sale in sound quality terms is the Q Acoustics 2050i.

Costing around £500 when new some twenty years ago, a good pair of 752s now go for £100 or less. Two years later the 752 was replaced by the 752 Freedom, which offered a few tweaks including a better silk dome tweeter – but somehow it didn’t work as convincingly as a package, and the model sold less well. Still, a well preserved pair is unlikely to cost more than £150, making them a fine secondhand buy.

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