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The Mission M74's are a pair of tall free-standing speakers designed for a sophisticated looking sound system. I'll go through this review systematically, looking at Sound Quality, Features, Price and Value, Durability, and finally a list of official Specifications.
-------------------------------------------- SOUND QUALITY I've been using these speakers for a few years now, and the sound quality is incredible. Wired simply (I'll come to this later) as I have it, these speakers deliver fantastic tone and clarity throughout the entire frequency spectrum.
The bass given out won't shake your walls, but then again these speakers are hardly designed for that kind of use. Bass frequencies are delivered at suitable levels, with immense clarity and no distortion whatsoever (although you might think you should expect this from an expensive pair of speakers, I've had experiences where low bass notes have caused a certain amount of rattling, which if you're a pedantic music lover like me, can cause great annoyance).
High frequencies are not really a problem to consider; all speakers that produce a noise will have fairly good high-frequency performance. However, if you wish me to specify, the high frequency performance is good! I suppose a point to mention, for the sake of those readers who are not used to speakers of this kind, is that these speakers do not produce the horrible 'tinny' sound that can be painful to listen to, when the high-freq EQ is turned up. This I've found can be a problem with everything from large studio/computer speakers down to earphones.
The all-important mid-frequencies are what's worth analysing when it comes to speakers. The M74's produce a beautiful, clean and clear sound throughout the freq spectrum. I myself have a very varied taste in music, so I guess I've given these speakers a good test over time. In classical music, the quality is most notable in the clarity of each instrument; if you listen you can pick out individual channels that may not be obvious on other speakers, many of which will turn an orchestral piece in a mass of resonant sound, where as much as it stays faithful to the piece of music, it just doesn't capture the imagination of the composer, of the atmosphere intended in the music. In rock music, unfortunately a lot of the sound quality depends on the actual mixing of the piece, however the speakers still make a difference. I would much prefer dig up a Led Zeppelin vinyl and play it through the M74's, than stick Black Dog on my iPod and click play. (That being said, I've recently re-wired my amplifier so I can play my iPod through these speakers...) In rap and hip-hop, although I rarely listen to them any more, I used to be a fan and chose again to listen through these speakers, because of the good bass response and clarity of each track, which is useful for fast moving songs. Even in death metal, my Cannibal Corpse CD's often find themselves playing through my sound system with the M74's, not through my computer which is much more convenient. Good stereo sound, great clarity, and a huge range of high performance frequencies make it an entirely different experience.
-------------------------------------------- FEATURES As these are just speakers, they are not meant to have many 'features' or changeable attributes, as these are provided by the source of the audio and the pre-amp. However, there are some things worth mentioning.
First of all, in the instruction manual they give you some options of how to wire the speakers up to your sound system, which apparently can improve the quality of the sound even more. I won't go into the details, because I don't really understand them (!) but it involves doubling or tripling the wired circuits between the amplifier and the speaker. The wiring options are changeable, because on the back of each speaker theres four options for I/O wires.
Secondly, the two 'added bits' that are both useful, are the floor spikes to attach to underneath; four very sharp spikes that screw onto the bottom of each speaker to hold them firmly in place. These can be adjusted individually as well, in case your floor isn't completely flat. Also there is a front grill to cover the speakers. Although in my opinion, they look much cooler without it, I still keep it on as it offers protection to the speakers.
-------------------------------------------- PRICE AND VALUE I can't remember for the life of me how much I bought these for, but I have reason to believe it was well into the hundreds, but you can get them now at high-street shops and online, for various prices between £50 and £100. I would say this is a fairly reasonable price, as they are fantastic speakers, and this style of product is rarely any cheaper if the product is of similar quality.
-------------------------------------------- DURABILITY The fact that these speakers have lasted me for years shows that they are well built units. They are built far beyond the high standard of quality that you should expect from every speaker made, (which unfortunately is not the case) placing them above many other products in my opinion.
However, they are designed to be left alone, they are not the most durable things if they get knocked around or dropped, etc.
I think I should also mention, that at a party I had them turned up fairly high; probably higher than they are intended to go, as I have a powerful amplifier; and I think I may have slightly damaged one of the speakers, as under normal circumstances they sound fine, but there's a certain frequency that comes up in some songs that sounds quite distorted. Still, it's lasted enough for me to justify saying that they are very durable!
Damned-good review, that man! Mind you, I suspect that the days of having large speakers like these taking up space in a room are probably on the way out when you hear what some manufacturers can squeeze out of a box the size of a milk carton these days... (two of them, or more, obviously!)
Morning_Becomes_Electra 18.01.2008 00:39
They look stylish, and they sound a good buy. Well reviewed. Electra.
Chouchinciao 11.01.2008 19:05
Good comprehensive review. They certainly look good.