Mission 752 Review

In a world of hard, harsh, and spitty budget boxes, the Mission 752 was one of the loveliest and most fascinating economical floorstanding loudspeakers of the nineties, with a beautifully smooth, open, and easy sound. One of the reasons for this was its (at the time) cutting-edge HDA (High Definition Aerogel) mid/bass driver, which provided a lot of the speed and sensitivity of pricey paper cones without the cost. It was paired with an unusually well-behaved metal dome tweeter that blended in well.

It featured a gently sloping upper front baffle with conventional driver geometry, rather than Mission’s customary inverted driver architecture, and was designed by the genius Henry Azima – the man behind the first Cyrus amplifiers, 770 loudspeakers, and a number of other legendary transducers. Three modest front-firing reflex ports let the 880x200x250mm cabinet to breathe without overpowering smaller listening areas. The 150mm mid/bass driver allowed for a short front baffle and, more significantly, a modest footprint. Many famous speaker designers today deny the premise that this provided greater stereo imaging at the time. The set was completed with a 25mm metal dome tweeter that worked nicely with the mid/bass driver.

Unlike many nineties speakers, these are unexpectedly warm and cozy sounding boxes, considerably more efficient than most – and hence, even now, make a terrific partner for valve amplifiers. They feature a quick but full sound, excellent imaging, and function well in most settings without requiring weeks of tuning. Their worst flaw, in my opinion, is a slightly boxy cabinet that is lively around 80 to 100Hz, although this may be mitigated by positioning them a good meter out into the room, away from walls. The Q Acoustics 2050i is the closest speaker on the market in terms of sound quality in 2014.

A nice pair of 752s used to cost around £500 when new, but now sell for £100 or less. The 752 was replaced by the 752 Freedom two years later, with a few improvements including a better silk dome tweeter – but it didn’t work as well as a package, and the model sold less well. Even yet, a well-preserved pair is unlikely to cost more than £150, making them an excellent secondhand investment.