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Mission 770 driven by Quad 405?

Discussion in 'classic' started by Musiciseverything, Mar 24, 2021.

  1. Musiciseverything

    Musiciseverything pfm Member


    Does anyone have much opinion on what this might sound like?

    There’s a pair for sale locally in really good fully working condition for £150, and the descriptions I’ve read including superlatives such as “dynamic, punchy, detailed, open” make them sound really appealing to me. I like the early eighties white face look too.

    As we all know, speakers can be such different beasts on the end of different electronics, so I was wondering if there was anyone who had experience of these that would have an opinion of what a quad 405 would do to them. Actually it’s a Baldwin 405c, built from 405 pcbs with quality modern components and a redesigned power supply in a separate box.

    Thanks in advance, Dave
  2. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Nothing hard to drive about the 770, it’s a fairly efficient speaker as I recall. I rather liked the original white-face variant though haven’t heard many of the later versions. A good condition fully working pair have to be worth £150 of anyone’s money.
  3. david ellwood

    david ellwood Kirabosi Kognoscente

    The original 770 can be a bit bright so the 405 is probably a good match
    Musiciseverything likes this.
  4. Musiciseverything

    Musiciseverything pfm Member

    Thanks Tony. Aye, I knew they’d be efficient, was just wondering about the sound. You liked them then did you? Are they quite fun and lively right enough?
  5. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    A friend had a pair and I borrowed them for a while. They didn’t work in my room (fairly small flat at the time) as they needed to be further away from the wall than I could achieve, but I liked them in his system (DM101/Syrinx, Naim), though not as much as his usual Gale 401s. I guess think of them as a punchier but less tonally refined BC1 type speaker, maybe a precursor to the ES14. All those 2’x1’ ported boxes with 8” drivers have much in common to my ears.

    Assuming they are a really nice pair they are a no-brainer at £150. They were not a cheap speaker at all, e.g. some people changed from Isobariks to them back in the day. I don’t know how they have faired with age, but IIRC they had a rubber driver surround so hopefully it’s still ok. They seem not to hold a high value, which surprises me, but may indicate reliability issues I’m unaware of. I really like the look of the white-face ones too, an iconic piece of late-70s early-80s design (I can’t remember exactly when they came out!). If they are working exactly as they should you are looking at a speaker in the general ballpark of say a Harbeth Compact 7, which is astonishing for £150!
  6. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    As always pretty much any high feedback SS amp will work fine with pretty much any "conventional" speaker.

    I still have a pair of 770's and I have used them with a Quad 405 with no problems. A 405 is not dull sounding and yes 770's are slightly bright. The bottom end is where the 405 is more lacking. 770's have no foam surround to rot plus there are no electrolytics in the very simple crossover so it needs no attention. I dug mine out after about 15 years of no use, some of that time in the loft, not long ago and they still worked fine.
    The tweeters are where problems will likely lay. The original Seas H211 are ferrofluid type and will likely be faulty by now. They are not a particularly brilliant tweeter anyway and i replaced the ones in mine with Son Audax soft dome units and added series/parallel resistor combinations to get the correct balance.

    770's are dynamic and punchy and will go amazingly loud without complaint. I used them as my main speakers for many years and they saw off all sorts of contenders before being beaten by my present Spendor BC2's which are just better in pretty much every way except punch and dynamics...

    They first came out in 1979 but there were many variants of the white fronted ones with different takes on the 770 sound. Very early ones used Chartwell woofer IIRC but later versions used a Seas woofer supposedly made to Mission's specs.

    It's surprising how cheap they go for as they were expensive when new and got many rave reviews plus they're a bit of an early 80's hi fi style icon I guess and many must have yearned after a pair when they were 17 and couldn't afford them...

    Vivid memories of having just moved into a new gaff and got the hi fi set up before anything else of course and The Police "Roxanne" at stupidly high volume with Musical Fidelity A370 driving the 770's and some mates being completely gobsmacked at the dynamics!
    torstoi likes this.
  7. Darmok

    Darmok "Didactic Prophylaxes"

    ^^ I auditioned a pair of 770s in a showroom, not bad but light on bass iirc.

    Instead I bought a pair of used Celef SPTs, they obliterated the Missions in every area.

    There is a nice looking pair for sale on epray for 399.99ukp, located in Scotland.

    A great mid sized floor stander c/w original metal stands.



    I drove them with a Quad 44/405.
    torstoi and Musiciseverything like this.
  8. Musiciseverything

    Musiciseverything pfm Member

    They are indeed great speakers. I’m listening to a pair as I write! Haha.

    Not often I find another appreciator of the SPTs. There were apparently only ten pairs made so no wonder. Considering this, I was surprised when I became aware of these being advertised on eBay a couple of months ago in that there location is a few miles away from mine!

    the trouble with these is that they use an what I’m led to believe is an early iteration of the Audax hd20 b25 for their mids. They have surrounds that were made of something that shrinks as can be seen on the ones in this ad - instead of being concave or convex, the surrounds are completely flat. I’ve tried and tried, and I can’t find anyone who knows where suitable replacement surrounds can be bought. Although they sound great as is, it is very likely that the shrunken and taught surrounds will be impeding the cone movement to some extent and so these will not be sounding as they should.

    I recapped mine with ansar supersounds, which made a huge difference since the old alcaps were way off spec. I’m yet to replace the tweeters with the new replacements from flacon. I’ll no doubt be posting for some advice and help on resister values for the Lpad for them as they are supposedly 5db louder than the originals.

    But anyway, I really enjoy these. Even at the asking price of £399 of the guy on eBay these are a lot of speaker for the money. Nobody knows what they are though, so I can see him ending up lowering his price. I payed 150 for mine after watching them come down from originally being advertised for 300! I believe that these were Stuart Tyler’s top of the line Celef offering at the time, mad cost £360 plus vat in 1976 which is around £2500 in today’s money.

    Very nice, extremely transparent and revealing of electronics. Designed as studio monitors and they work well for that. Perhaps a bit fussy and revealing if recording quality etc for ultimate all round general purpose speakers. I’m really hoping one day I can restore the 8 inch mids. They certainly arnt going anywhere soon. I feel privileged to have found them.

    the missions, I saw advertised locally for what looked like a decent price, and a quick read online mad them seem like they might be fun. Being born in 77, the look of them is very nostalgic for me, and there’s some birthday money coming my way, so just got curious about them. I didn’t expect them to better the celefs, but thought they might be a fun and engaging listen in their own kind of way.

    so what did you better your SPTS with?
    Darmok likes this.
  9. Darmok

    Darmok "Didactic Prophylaxes"

    I didn't. :(

    Fell on hard times.

    I bought the SPTs blind for 150 ukp out of Exchange & Mart, a dear friend picked them up for me as I was at work .

    He himself used IMF Pro Monitors, when he delivered them he said,"I could live with these, they're really good."

    Came with original Celef packaging.

    He bought them from me when I needed some cash to settle a dept.

    I bought some cheap Richard Allen RA 82Ls in home made enclosures just to have some sounds.

    I then went vintage, Leak Valve amps then Radford, Tannoy Golds now Celestion Ditton 66s.

    I never knew Steve Tyler only made 10 pairs, I spoke to him a few times on the phone, nice fellow.

    My SPTs serial numbers were 177/178.

    I think it was you who had serial numbers in sequence 175/176, iirc. ;)
  10. worz

    worz pfm Member

    I loved the original 770 back in the day ,mainly driven by a a6o or nytece amp at Midland hifi studio in Wolvo
    Ove coarse supertramp and the like were playing on a thorens 160 or linn lp12 ,happy days when dealers had a large settee and you could spend ages just for fun
  11. wow&flutter

    wow&flutter pfm Member

    I remember the 770 coming out. I really liked the white baffle, such a contrast to the cabinets available at the time!

    The first pair were £365 if I remember correctly and came with the thin wooden stands flat packed in the box (nightmare to build!). They went up to £379 and £399 I think then morphed into the grey baffle versions.

    At £150 you’ll be fine just make sure they are working correctly. If there’s no sound remember there is a fuse in the terminal panel on the base.
  12. Robn

    Robn pfm Member

    Love the first iteration with the speaker terminals under the base. Have heard them with many amps, I think they are unfussy.
  13. Darmok

    Darmok "Didactic Prophylaxes"

    I might have bought a new pair of 770's if I had heard them in a domestic setting, a bit of a underwhelming audition in a hi-fi showroom.

    So glad I didn't, the Celef SPTs ticked all the boxes for the princely sum of 150 ukp, less than half the cost of the new pair of Mission 770s.
  14. trick cyclist

    trick cyclist pfm Member

    @Musiciseverything out of interest, have you compared your Baldwin amps to some standard 405s, and if so, what do you feel the differences or strengths over the originals are? He is just up the road from me, and I'm feeling tempted to try some.
  15. Musiciseverything

    Musiciseverything pfm Member

    Hi. I wish I could give you an in depth report on the differences, but I’m yet to hear an original 405! I was looking for a 405, because they’re relatively affordable vintage power, and easy to work on given they’d likely need it. That’s what led me to discover the Baldwin versions. I got mine because there was one on eBay and because nobody knows what they are, everyone’s a sucker for known brand names, I got mine for the starting bid of £280. Given Paul makes them in his house, with no factory overheads, her department to pay, advertising, distribution to add to the product price before profit, his amps are huge value at the price they are new. I figured getting mine for the price of an original old 405, that hadn’t had any work done was a no brainier. I’m a musician, so value for money is really important to me, and leads me to all kinds of great finds. That’s what brought me to vintage hifi!

    my friend in Glasgow has a 405 in original condition in his studio, which he says he loves, so I’m looking forward to the rules permitting him to bring it round to mine for an AB comparison. I can’t imagine it will sound better than Paul’s. surely. Paul’s are the same pcb design, built up with components superior to the original, and then throw in the improved redesigned power supply in separate box, on paper it has everything gong for it. I do prefer the look of the original though. If I had the money I’d maybe get the original and give it to one of these companies that rebuilds and upgrades them.

    other than the comparison though, I can report that it sounds very good. It’s doing what I got it for in that my upgraded A60, while being such a champ at imaging, didn’t have the grunt to control the low end of my big Celefs. The 405c does this admirably, nice tight punchy textured bass, and plenty of extension. Running a signal generator, there’s sound output down at 20hz although fairly rolled off by then. I might commit the gravest of Audiophile crimes, and employ an eq to boost the extremities of the frequency output.

    Im driving the 405c with a little bear p8 valve preamp. Very good value for money! Do away with the Chinese tubes that come with it, and replace them for General Electric or something like that, and it sounds incredible for the money. I’m yet to replace its cheap Chinese caps, and even still, it sounds great. Has a similar looking black case as the 405c too.
    trick cyclist likes this.
  16. Musiciseverything

    Musiciseverything pfm Member

    I fully sympathise. The things I too regret selling when I’ve been a bit hard up. I don’t know where I can find the serial numbers on mine though I’ve looked. If you could point me in the right direction I’ll investigate further and let you know. That would be funny if ours were made consecutively.
  17. Darmok

    Darmok "Didactic Prophylaxes"

    Serial Number listed on the lower label adhered to the rear cabinet just below the rear straw loaded exit port, see below...

  18. Musiciseverything

    Musiciseverything pfm Member


    We I see now why I couldn't see it, the suwsjer I was looking on is missing that corner of that label.

    The other one says 135.

    Maybe then there was more than ten pairs made. Haha
  19. Musiciseverything

    Musiciseverything pfm Member

    Steering things back to the original thread of this thread, it dawned on me that the Mission 770s might be a fairly similar sounding speaker to these Tannoy Jupiter Mk2s of mine. I’ve not yet heard them as I bought them as tweeters not working and they’ve been awaiting a repair for a bit too long now.

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