Mission 778X Integrated Amplifier Company’s First Since 80s
Mission's 778X is its first integrated amplifier in forty years and features everything expected from a 21st century component.
As Mission's 778X integrated's name might suggest, the company is looking fondly back to 1983 when it introduced its 778 amp before creating Cyrus, allowing Mission to concentrate on loudspeakers with Cyrus focussing on electronics.
Indeed, the 778X retains the DNA of the original in its compact, half-width design that Cyrus later became famous for. The new Mission exudes elegant simplicity and promises to deliver a sound that belies its diminutive footprint. Mission says it has also kept things affordable at less than £550. In fact, the 778 retailed for £240, and when adjusted for inflation, that translates to around £745 - so the company's second integrated is even more attainable.
While forty years is a long time to wait for Mission's follow-up integrated amplifier, the 778X certainly looks up-to-date with asynchronous USB Type B and three S/PDIF sockets (one coaxial and two optical) alongside optical and coaxial digital outs. In addition, analogue signals are accommodated via three stereo RCA inputs – two line-level plus an MM phono input for turntables. The phono stage is said to be a “high-quality, low-noise, JFET-based circuit” that provides precise RIAA equalisation. Finally, pre-out sockets offer the option to add an external power amplifier.
Wireless streaming comes by way of Bluetooth for audio streaming from smartphones, tablets and the like, with support for multiple codecs, including aptX and AAC.
Digital sources benefit from the 778X's internal DAC built around the ES9018K2M chipset from the Sabre32 Reference family. This hands the new amp ESS Technology's 32-bit HyperStream architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator to deliver excellent dynamic range and ultra-low distortion. Furthermore, hi-res PCM is supported to 32-bit/384kHz, alongside DSD to 11.2 MHz (DSD256). We are told that care has been taken to partner the ESS chip with complimentary circuitry, including a post-DAC active filter. Mission says its design team paid great attention to this circuit, using op-amps chosen explicitly for their synergy with the ES9018K2M.
The 778X's power amp stage is a Class AB design incorporating a low-noise 200VA toroidal transformer, followed by a 2x15000uF reservoir capacity (30000uF in total). The amp's output is “conservatively rated” at 45W into eight ohms and 65W into four ohms.
Mission states that the preamp section is kept as simple as possible to maintain signal purity, with line input signals passing to a precision, microprocessor-controlled analogue volume stage. This is partnered with carefully planned preamp circuitry, protecting it from noise interference in concert with independent low-noise power supplies for all critical stages.
The front of the amp sports a pair of rotary controls – one for source selection, the other for volume. These are surrounded by white LEDs to show current settings. Between these controls are the IR sensor, power button and 6.3mm headphone output for late-night listening. The headamp sports a current feedback design and high slew rate, promising a dynamic and detailed performance with all headphones.
The Mission 778X integrated stereo amplifier is available from December 2022 in silver or black at an RRP of £549.
The 778X will also be available bundled with Mission's fine speakers. The amp and a pair of Mission LX-2 MkII are offered at £649, saving £130 on the individual RRPs. Alternatively, upgrade to the 778X and a set of Mission QX-2 MkII at a package price of £799, saving a total of £150.
StereoNET UK’s Editor, bass player, and resident rock star! Jay’s passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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