Question for Mr 'Topspeed'..! [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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01-15-2009, 12:19 PM
Hi sir, tried to pm you but forum won't allow me..!?
I see you are a MIssion Argonaut owner, a friend has recently bought a pair, he considers them a tad bass-light ( I DON'T agree!) and wonders why unlike my 770 Freedoms with the same drivers.. there is no vent port..?
Would really appreciate your thoughts, and indeed any info on these,
Thanking you,

01-16-2009, 12:14 AM
Hi Paul,

There were two versions of the 780, the first is was an acoustic suspension (sealed) design with a semi-horn loaded tweeter mounted above the two mid-bass drivers. The second iteration was a bass reflex (ported) design in a d'Appolito arrangement with the tweeter sitting between the two drivers that were placed forward off the main baffle for time alignment. I own the former and it sounds like your friend does as well.

Mission moved to the bass reflex design to address your friend's very complaint, so clearly he is not alone is his assessment. The unfortunate by-product was that the bass became somewhat boomy and lacked the control and speed of the previous generation. Extension was improved, but at what cost? I was able to audition both side by side and obviously preferred the original.

The good news is the speaker scales up nicely with the front end. I've had my best results when pairing the speakers with a front end that leans to the warmer side of neutral. While I've never really had complaints about the bass, or lack thereof, I have noticed the tweeter can be a bit bright if paired with the wrong electronics. My original audition was with a Counterpoint amp, which is a tube/ss hybrid. Not wanting to fuss with tubes, I elected to drive them with a B&K ST140 (the original giant killer) and PS Audio 4.6 preamp. The B&K had the balls to drive the bass with a slightly soft top end to tame that hot tweeter. When I (quite stupidly) sold the front end in a misguided move to multi-channel, I paired the Missions with a Denon AVR. Now, as AVR's go, Denon is one of the most musical IMO. However, coming off separates, there was a distinct drop off in performance, especially in the bass. Today, I've got them paired with a Cambridge Audio 540a, a combination that creates fantastic synergy. Remember, the 780's are supremely efficient, to the tune of 98dB's IIRC, so you don't need a ton of horsepower to get these babies rockin'. What is your friend driving them with?

01-17-2009, 12:06 PM
Hi Topspeed, great to learn some more about these Missions from what I felt was a halcyon era for the company!
The voice, tonal neutrality, timing, detail, bass definition etc of the 770F and 780A just do it for me, love 'em!
My own recently purchased 770 Freedoms are from '87 and have that forward mounting for the bass drivers, bass extension is markedly superior to my previous 737 Renaissance.
I took these Freedoms to Mission service as they were out of phase,I have bit the bullet and asked them to replace bass drivers and tweeter diaphrams, crossovers checked, I intend keeping them forever!
The 780 A.. my friend has been auditioning various amps since buying these speakers, Cambridge 840 and Naim Nait 5i have impressed, your comments re warmth as opposed to brightness interested me, the Nait IS very detailed but possibly (and shockingly!) my old NAD 3150 from 1984 showed off the Argonauts' l/f capability better than the current Nait..
We are using the original 'screw in' Mission stands, are you; or do you feel there are better aftermarket stands out there now,
Thanks for your posts, all info very much appreciated!

01-18-2009, 05:23 PM
I've owned my 780a's since new, so it's pretty clear how I feel about 'em. :)

I'm not surprised at all that the NAD had better extension than the Nait. First, NAD's have always been very ballsy. I auditioned the C320bee with the Missions and the bottom end was expectedly robust. A really smooth operator, the only reason I chose the CA was its surperior low level retrieval and since my speakers are in my office, that's was extremely important. Secondly, you have to remember Naim designs all of their components to work synergistically. When paired with Naim speakers and a Naim source, the Nait is one of the very best integrateds on the market, regardless of price.

My stands are the same that you have. I mass loaded them and have them spiked. While I agree that they pale in comparison to today's best stands, like SoundAnchors, they've capably done the job for 20 years so I see no reason to change now!

If you can, try auditioning the NAD Master Series M3 integrated or the PS Audio Trio C100. Both will have your friend forgetting about adding a sub. The PSA has astonishing speed, a sweet top end, and a serious bottom end that should work beautifully with the Missions. If it was available when I bought the CA, I would have a Trio powering the Argonauts, not the 540a.

01-21-2009, 01:48 PM
Funnily enough Naim have now launched a 'Nait XS' with much of the bigger SuperNait internals, in a stripped out package costing 500 GBP more than the normal Nait 5i,(but half the cost of the SuperNait) bigger transformer giving claimed 60w @ 8 ohms, 90w @ 4 ohms.
Much more 'wallop' and very detailed, apparently, I envisage putting that back to back against the NAD, and their CD5i player up against my Cambridge 640C v2, which has impressed me sonically but has variable build quality (I'm on my third..!)
The PS sounds interesting but might be hard to find..?
Collecting the 770Fs from Mission Service tomorrow, I've missed 'em!
Surprised that today's aftermarket stands do not 'lock in' for rigidity like the originals.. ?