Classic British Brand Mission Unveils First Amplifier In 40 Years

The Mission 778X is the first amplifier produced by the company in 40 years.


In 1983, six years after the creation of Mission, the British loudspeaker manufacturer launched its first integrated stereo amplifier. The 778’s cabinet was narrower than most hi-fi amps of the day, and it won acclaim for its build quality and circuitry. Users loved its simple controls and appreciated the good range of inputs. The price was relatively affordable and the sound matched Mission’s speakers perfectly.

A year later, Mission launched the Cyrus sub-brand for its amps and eventually other audio electronics so Mission could focus solely on speakers. Therefore, the 778 was the only integrated amp marked as a Mission product…until now.

Mission is ready to release another integrated amp under its own brand. The new 778X shares a lot in common with its 40-year-old ancestor. It still features a compact, half-width design with sound that belies its compact footprint. Like the original model, it has a useful range of inputs, albeit updated to adapt to today’s digital age. And while the circuitry has been completely redesigned to match and exceed contemporary standards, the company says it’s a great sonic match for Mission’s current line of speakers.

Mission’s 778X is a stereo integrated amplifier with plenty of inputs and 45W at 8Ω output.


When the original 778 amplifier was launched, most people listened to vinyl records, cassette tapes and FM radio. The state-of-the-art CD had just hit the scene, offering a glimpse into the future of digital audio. Four decades later, the audio sources we use for music, whether digital or analog, are much more varied, including smartphones, computers, CD players and the good old turntable. Mission says the new 778X amplifier is designed to cater for all.

Inputs for digital sources include an asynchronous USB Type B and three S/PDIF sockets (one coaxial and two optical), while digital outputs are available in optical and coaxial versions. Analog signals are supported with three stereo RCA inputs – two at line level and one as an MM phono input for turntables. Three pre-out jacks allow connection of an external power amplifier so the 778X can be used as a preamp. A Bluetooth receiver is also included to stream music from smartphones and tablets with support for aptX and AAC audio codecs.

The front of the 778X features a pair of smooth-action rotary controls. One is for source selection, while the other adjusts volume levels. Each control is surrounded by white LEDs that indicate levels. There’s an IR sensor, power button, and 6.3mm headphone output between the two controls.

TO launch the Mission 778X, the amplifier is offered as an economy package with Mission… [+] speakers.


Digital sources connected via the USB, coaxial, optical and Bluetooth inputs feed the 778X’s DAC based on the ES9018K2M chipset from the Sabre32 Reference family. The DAC allows the amplifier to access ESS Technology’s 32-bit HyperStream architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator to deliver exceptional sound and ultra-low distortion. Hi-Res PCM is supported up to 32-bit/384 kHz, as well as DSD up to 11.2 MHz (DSD256).

Although high spec, the Sabre32 Reference DAC chips aren’t the easiest to implement. The sound can sound harsh and too bright if the amplifier circuitry is not good enough. If the DAC is paired well, the level of detail and musicality of the Sabre32 chips can be captivating. A critical element is the active post-DAC filter. Mission says its design team paid great attention to this part of the circuit, using op-amps chosen for their ability to match the ES9018K2M.

The 778X’s power amplifier stage is a Class AB design rather than a digital one. It incorporates a 200 VA toroidal transformer. Next is a tank capacity of two 15,000 uF (30,000 uF total). Capacitors keep the music in control while providing excellent dynamic range. The output of the 778X is 45 W into 8 Ω and 65 W into 4 Ω; that’s a lot of power to drive all the speakers the amp is likely to use.

The 778X amplifier resembles the Cyrus line of amps but is the first purely … [+] Mission brand amp in 40 years.


The preamp section has been deliberately kept simple to maintain signal purity. Line-in signals are fed to a microprocessor-controlled precision analog volume stage. Mission has put a lot of effort into the physical circuitry layout of the 778X, protecting the sensitive preamp section from any possible noise interference. Due to the use of independent low-noise power supplies for all critical stages, Mission claims the 778X excels with all digital and analog sources.

Vinyl enthusiasts will appreciate the inclusion of a phono stage for relocating magnetic cartridges. The phono stage is a high-quality, low-noise JFET-based circuit with precise RIAA equalization. Meanwhile, the 778X features a dedicated headphone amp that delivers a dynamic and detailed performance regardless of the headphones used.

The 778X can work with a wide range of loudspeakers, from budget models to exclusive designs costing a small fortune. The amp is also explicitly designed to perfectly match Mission speakers. To prove the point, Mission is promoting two bundles that combine the 778X with popular floorstanding models from its lineup, delivering great value, high-quality sound systems.

The 778X is available in black and silver finishes to match most decors.


The first package includes a pair of Mission LX-2 MkII speakers priced at £649, a saving of £130. The second package upgrades the speakers to the Mission QX-2 MkII for £799, saving £150. Either way, the speakers are available in matte black, matte white, or walnut.

Mission’s 778X looks like a traditional hi-fi amplifier with its simple front-mounted controls and simple remote control. However, the specification is suitable for listening to modern music. Mission describes the sound as fluid with fluid control to fully engage the listener. The 778X has perfectly defined details that bring out the character of vocals and instruments. The amp’s transient capability keeps the listener’s feet tapping along with rhythmic music.

Price and availability: The Mission 778X Integrated Stereo Amplifier is available from December 2022 in a choice of silver or black and costs $799 / £549 / €799, which is considerably less than the original 778 amplifier that was selling £240 at the time, which equates to £745 after adjusting for inflation.

More information: www.mission.co.uk

Source: www.forbes.com


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