First Mission in 40 years
Mission has launched an integrated stereo amplifier. That might not seem like a big deal… until you realise that its last one was released nearly 40 years ago, in 1983 — the same year that saw Return of the Jedi hit cinemas, if you really needed that hit home.
The original 778, which launched six years after Mission was formed, combined decent build quality, simple controls and a broad range of inputs in a relatively affordable package. Mission didn’t stop making amps after the 778; it just did so under its then-new Cyrus brand offshoot. Now, though, we have a new model under the Mission brand.
The 778X promises similar benefits to the original 778 but has been updated to meet today’s feature and performance standards. After all, unlike the original, a modern-day amplifier has to do much more than accommodate vinyl records and cassette tapes!
The amplifier will play nicely with all your digital and analogue music sources thanks to a range of inputs — asynchronous USB Type B, three S/PDIFs (one coaxial and two optical) and a trio of stereo RCA inputs (two line-level and an MM phono). Bluetooth is onboard for wireless playback from a computer or mobile device, in aptX and AAC flavours. Outputs, meanwhile, come in optical and coaxial varieties while pre-out sockets allow you to hook the 778X up to an external power amplifier if you wish.
Feeding those digital outputs is a hi-res DAC based around the ES9018K2M chipset from the Sabre32 Reference family. This uses ESS Technology’s 32-bit HyperStream architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator, both of which promise great dynamic range and low distortion. PCM 32-bit/384kHz and DSD to 11.2 MHz (DSD256) hi-res files are supported. As for power, the 778X has a class AB design that can drive 45W into eight ohms or 65W into four ohms, though Missions says these are conservative ratings.
The Mission 778X retains the half-width casing of its predecessor — a design which Cyrus then became renowned for, of course — though there are two as opposed to three front-panel knobs this time. One dial adjusts source selection while the other handles volume, and their white LED rings display current settings. There is also a power button, an IR sensor and a 6.3mm headphone port on the front.
The Mission 778X will be available early this year in black or silver for a cost of $1,199 – not bad at all considering the 778 sold for £240 at the time of launch, which is about £745 (or $1,350) in today’s money.