Friday, August 3, 2012
I don't really know what to call these, and neither, apparently, did Mission. The hammertone grey baffle dates them around 1985, and they use the same stand as the 737, 770 Freedom 4 and 780 Argonaut in the 1985 speaker catalogue. They're the same form factor as the 780, but the drivers are all different. They're made in France by Sierre, a high end OEM manufacturer, later bought by, and absorbed into, Audax. In researching these speakers, I found a complete set of photos of an identical pair in eastern Europe, but no model number. A gentleman in Alberta, who called them Argonaut Reference speakers, was trying to find a single woofer for his. I've seen one other speaker from Mission with the same ribbed woofer. It was designated 770S, and had a standard 770 Freedom 4 Vifa tweeter, with one ribbed woofer. Frank Fabian, at The Speaker Shop (where Fernando installed new surrounds on the tweeters, a very, very difficult process), was very surprised to see a pair on this continent. Perhaps they're prototypes (maybe even in conjunction with CYRUS, who used Sierre drivers in demonstrations at european hifi shows), perhaps a limited edition.
So, how do they sound? I'm a big Mission fan, and know the 770 in all it's versions pretty well. I've never heard a made in England Mission that I didn't like, especially the 70s and early 80s products. These sound bigger in every way, and add to the traditional Mission strengths in subtle and not so subtle ways. There is nothing subtle about the bass response of these speakers. Subjectively, I've only enjoyed bass of this depth once before in my apartment, from a pair of ESS AMT3 Rock Monitors, but not with the same speed. The bass is fast, tight and extended, but very tuneful. The mids are beautiful, as is the top. They're very revealing, never hard though.
These are some of the coolest speakers I've ever owned.