I’ve been in the market for a new pair of Hi-Fi speakers for a while. My neighbours have a tendency to slam doors late at night, and I’ve decided the best way to cope – is to drown them out with loud TV, games, movies and music. I needed something affordable, yet monstrous on volume.
While researching my next purchase, I decided I quite liked the look of the Mission MV8. Not many people realise, that Mission, Wharfedale, Audiolab, Castle, Luxman and Quad are all owned by the International Audio Group (IAG). You can usually expect good products from most of these manufacturers.
My first impressions of the Mission MV8 was that they looked the part. I googled a bit more and I found a couple of reasonable reviews on shopping comparison sites. The frequency responses seemed good for a speaker of it’s £200-£300 price range. This was looking like an interesting pair of speakers.
Frustratingly, I couldn’t find much information available anywhere on the internet. I visited a local retailer, and sampled the delights on offer. The first thing I noticed about the Mission MV8 was the size. They weren’t huge ugly boxes, like the cheaper but powerful Wharfedale XARUS 5000. They didn’t cost £600 like some weaker “posh audio” products. Yet, the Mission MV8 didn’t look cheap at all. In fact, I’d go as far as to say the build quality was better than some speakers that cost twice its price. I was quite impressed with this quality pair of entry-level Hi-Fi speakers. I reached in to the wallet, and arranged delivery.
Quite a few online retailers are selling this product, but a few list the specifications incorrectly. I’m here to correct these oversights, take a few photos – and reveal my opinion on the MV8. Don’t expect any graphs -I’m going to try and keep the audiophile jargon to a minimum.
First, let’s have a look at the true specifications taken from the Mission MV series data sheet.
|Recommended amp power:||25 – 200w|
|Nominal impedance:||8Ω (4.6Ω minimum)|
|W x H x D:||188mm x 915mm (940mm with spikes) x 290mm|
|Frequency response:||35 – 20,000 Hz|
|Connections:||Binding posts (Pop-off caps reveal banana plug sockets)|
|Bass port||Rear bass port|
|Drivers:||LF/MF: 2 x 150mm Mission ‘Pyramid’ aramid polymer fibre/paper pulp woofer
HF: 25mm Viscous laminated dome tweeter
Inverted driver geometry for time alignment and Neodymium magnets
|Supplied accessories:||Removable front grilles, spike feet|
|Finish Available:||Black or silver|
|Extras:||Ferro-fluid cooled voice coils.|
Here’s some photos of the speakers and packaging.
Everything else here in the test setup is relatively cheap. I’ve done this for two reasons; If the setup sounds good – the speakers are managing well with minimum requirements. The second reason? I’m not made of money – I’m a cheapskate.
I’m sure QE2 speaker cables, a more powerful amplifier and a £500 CD player would sound better. …but not everyone here is going to be using those types of components. I’m aiming for average, if not minimum capability test. Let’s face it, the speakers only cost £250. The speakers aren’t broken-in yet either, which I believe takes two hundred hours to achieve. Think of this review as a worst case scenario, with plenty of room for improvements.
All tests will be conducted in a 22′² room with wooden flooring. I’ll be sitting 4m away from the units, and testing with the amplifier set to -10dB. I’ll test PC audio formats, DAB and CD audio on the following components.
- Receiver: Yamaha RX-V461DAB (6Ω optimal, 100w per channel)
- CD Player: Cheap non descriptive model, via optical TosLink from eBay China.
- Speaker Wires: Cheap bell wire, from Wilkinsons.
- PC Audio: Creative X-Fi
First Test: CD Audio
I’ve heard this tune thousands of times. It’s one of my favourite Ti2bs tracks. Some fair bass, record pops and both male and female vocals. FDS, Mr. Ti2bs!
With the MV8 attached, I have a serious bass thumps. The vocals sound way more natural than before. Serena’s chorus sounds heavenly. The MV8 like this track too. OMG I love this tune.
Another laid-back track here. Lots of varied vocals to be sampled on this track. There’s a bit of bass, hands clapping but not a great deal of instruments going on.
Wow. The bass is really intense now. Every time I’ve previously listened to this tune, it sounded quite heavy. Now the bass is punching out the windows. The vocals aren’t obscured and sound crisper than ever. The finger clicking sounds do sound a little raspy though. In general, very nice bass and vocal tone.
I’m not a fan of Janet Jackson, but this track is mellow. A very musical piece of music. There’s super high “fairy dust” sounds, bells and a wide range of percussion.
Now the MV8 really deliver here too. The bass is quite fantastic for starters. It’s quite a complex bass line, but it doesn’t distort or vibrate. My last set of speakers sounded too flimsy when confronted by bass this rich. Janet’s vocals are very clear too. The “fairy dust” sounds are a lot more high-pitched now. The speakers do a nice job of reproduction here – especially with the bell sounds. Again the fingers clicking and hands clapping sound a little too sharp.
Factions soundtrack is a classical symphony by top UK composer Jeremy Soule. It’s got a huge variety of instruments. Lots of strings, bells and some mighty deep bass.
Now playing this album through the Mission MV8 is quite a pleasant experience. The music sounds so rich, you could almost imagine the orchestra are in the same room as yourself. This has to be one of the best CD to show off the MV8′s soundstage potential. I’ve heard the Luxon Theme thousands of times, but never have I heard it with such a wide spectrum of sounds. It’s truly enthralling to listen to. Even the softer, calmer instruments delivered a stunning audio sensation. There was no blending of instruments – everything sounded clear and separate.
Second Test: DAB
Classic FM – I’m not a huge fan of most classical music, but the MV8 sound more like a live performance. The pure digital music was crystal clear both at low and high volume levels. The violins sounded perfect, don’t get me started on how good the woodwind sounded. I might have to listen to classical more often.
BBC 1Xtra – This broadcast provided loud bass, crystal clear vocals. Sadly Chipmunk was on at the time of testing. I promptly turned the radio off.
Third Test: PC
- MP3 Used: Paul “Midas Touch” Taylor – Hold Back the Monster 320 kbps
- WMA Lossless: Mr. Ti2bs – My Love Hurts
- Flac: Crooked - Evil Nine feat. Aesop Rock
PC audio was quite lovely. Lossless and FLAC really did sound high quality. MP3 sounded fairly clean, with a bit of loss around the high-end of the sound spectrum. All this was to be expected from compressed music, but was still worth a play.
I couldn’t notice any difference between lossless and CD audio. Though I do have to say, “Crooked” sounded especially louder and more musical. The cowbells really stood out, compared to before. Midas Touch’s “Hold Back The Monster” provided more punch than the last time I heard it. I don’t remember half the instruments being so clear. Around 19 minutes in to the mix, the African drums really sounded authentic.
After 24 hours of loud music, I can conclude that the Mission MV8 were a terrific buy. They drown out everything, from the doorbell to the telephone. They’d be a good choice for social venues too if it weren’t for the flimsy grills. They could easily drown out a crowd of people in a bar or pub.
Some mid-range audio really odd though. I played “Hell Yea” by Dead Prez. The “clapping” sounds were way too sharp at high volume. If you don’t mind tweaking your graphic equalizer – these speakers are for you. I’ve found these speakers too sharp for the Hip-Hop I listen too, and I suspect that’s the problem. Perhaps it’s the recordings.
Classical music sounds fantastic though. The extreme sharpness really pays off with acoustic instrument reproduction. Drum & Bass generally sounds great too, due to serious bass driver power. The bass really shines from these units. Mine are situated too close to the wall, and near furniture. The deep sounds don’t suffer from distortion. I haven’t witnessed anything vibrate unnecessarily.
After 48 hours, the speakers are really portraying different versions of all my audio. The treble has calmed down. If I’m not mistaken, the audio seems to be getting better? I’m convinced it’s not placebo effect.
Even with G550 centre & surrounds, the MV8 boost my 5.1 audio. Oxygene sounds like a different album altogether. I can’t believe all the different sounds that I’ve never heard before. It’s stunning quality. HD video is a much nicer experience. I’ve been hearing so much that wasn’t there before. From just a two speaker upgrade is good work.
Oh shit. I want the centre & surround units now.
The MV8 are as good as I imagined them to be. I haven’t got the world’s best home cinema/Hi-Fi setup. Though, these speakers have improved the system by far. These tests demonstrated to me how much my amplifier was being bottlenecked by the previous 135W PMPO Gigaworks 500 speakers. They’re about twenty times larger, so this was to be expected. What I didn’t expect however, was the ability to surpass the 140w subwoofer too. If I had to sum up these speakers in one word, it would be bass.
The Mission MV8 haven’t got the mammoth capacity of the Wharfedale XARUS 5000. Yet the Mission MV8 still manage to punch out some good low-frequency sound. I imagine these speakers could easily be used without a subwoofer in a home theater environment. The bass drivers really deliver far more than I expected. Stick wet hands near the rear bass duct, and they will soon dry.
The midrange is crisp, perhaps a little on the light side. Nevertheless, the vocals are very pleasing in general. A little adjustment on the amplifier soon corrected the tone to my personal taste. Once the speakers have broken themselves in, I’m hoping this won’t be so much of an issue.
The tweeters are incredibly rich and are capable of reproducing some very high notes indeed. The classical music that I sampled revealed superb clarity of instruments. Bells and pipes especially sound fantastic.
If I had to find fault with the speakers, it would be the front plate design. The Mission MV8 used too much plastic for my personal liking. I’m not expecting them have the build quality of Bang & Olufsen for £250 – but less plastic would have been nice. It’s a very well made box, but I do prefer a solid wood cabinet. Vinyl coating isn’t usually very durable either. They might not be aesthetically appealing to everyone. You don’t need your eyes open to listen, though – do you?
Looks aside, the Mission MV8 really provided a higher quality soundstage than I expected for £250. They’re not the prettiest set of cans in the shop, but they’re possibly one of the best value. At the £200-£300 mark – they’re a winner. I can think of lots of reasons why.
I like the 150mm drivers, the speakers are able to fill most living rooms with ease. I also really enjoy hearing sounds on “old favourites” that were never there before. The clarity is simply spectacular and leaves me quite delighted with my purchase.
They’re growing on me more every day too.
Value for money:
- Stunning audio experience
- Small footprint for a 200w unit
- Sleek & modern design, that’s not ugly. IT’S NOT!
- Good value for the £200-£300 price range.
- Louder than a bomb
- High-quality sound reproduction across all genres
- Perhaps a little expensive for a floorstanding speaker of its size
- Not aesthetically appealing to everyone.
- Not biwirable
- Grilles are flimsy