Table of Contents
Since its formation in 1977 legendary British loudspeaker manufacturer Mission has been famedfor delivering compelling musicality at affordable prices. The companys LX Series continued thislegacy when it launched in 2016 earning excellent reviews and an impressive collection of awardsin the UK and around the world.
Four years on and Mission is ready to unleash a new improved LX range the LX MkII Series. Thenew line-up utilises design elements evolved from the upmarket QX Series to build on theaward-winning formula of the first-generation LX speakers sporting a range of improvements thatspan the drive units crossover and cabinet. With enhanced midrange and treble clarity andimproved resolution of micro-dynamics the Mission LX MkII Series delivers an even more thrillinglistener experience.
The first thing to note is that the range has been extended. Whereas the original LX Seriesconsisted of six models two standmount speakers three floorstanders and a centre speaker forhome cinema systems the LX MkII range comprises nine. There is an additional standmountmodel a choice of two centre speakers instead of one and a dedicated surround speaker that can be wall mounted or sited on top of the floorstanding models as an upward-firing effects speaker.
Every speaker within the LX MkII Series is carefully designed to deliver maximum sonicexpression with minimum compromise despite the budget price tags. The design team has fullyoptimised the performance of each model using sophisticated modelling tools and software yetMissions original slogan Music is the Master Technology is the Slave has never been more apt.Months of fine-tuning and rigorous listening tests have ensured that these speakers communicatewith engaging energy and detail bringing music to life with all the vibrancy and finesse oneexpects of Mission speakers.
The art of compromise
By its very nature speaker design is about balancing variables and finding the best possiblecompromise. At entry-level price points where the cost of production is most constrained by theneed to hit a specific retail price the necessity of compromise is at its greatest. But does one haveto accept that a budget speaker will always deliver a budget performance? Missions designersare not the easily accepting kind. They push for greatness in design whereas most would behappy to stop at good.
What makes a great loudspeaker? What makes it sing? For Mission the answer is simple: in awell-matched system the speakers have to allow the performance of the music to shine through.Its not a group of notes; its a performance. Its not all about frequency response impedancesensitivity and directivity although they all play a part. To paraphrase a famous expression its themusic the whole music and nothing but the music and that in a nutshell is Missions philosophy.
Feel the high
High-frequency drive units require extremely consistent parts and manufacturing in order to beselected for a Mission speaker. Given the tiny moving masses involved one micro-drop extra ofhigh-tech adhesive can destroy the balance of the design thus affecting sensitivity andfrequency response. For the LX MkII Series Mission has meticulously designed a tweeter witha neodymium magnet selected for maximum magnetic force in a small space and a 25mmmicrofibre dome chosen for its light weight and consistency in manufacture. It delivers sweetlyincisive high frequencies crisp and detailed with impressive transient attack.
The LX MkII Series features a new version of Missions DiaDrive bass/midrange drive unit wherethe usual cone and dust cap arrangement is replaced by a seamless curvilinear diaphragm. Thisis directly driven by a secondary sub-cone connected to the voice coil improving the efficiencyof drive and providing superior control of the smoothly dished diaphragm.
The diaphragm itself is fashioned from an advanced dual-layer fibre formulation selected for itsreduced susceptibility to hygroscopy as well as being very stiff for its mass with excellentself-damping. A high-strength ferrite magnet ensures that the magnetic field is directed preciselywithin the area of voice coil excursion enabling an ultra-linear performance and excellenttransient response.
Sound with teeth
One of the critical areas highlighted by the development of Missions upmarket QX speakers is theuse of comb-tooth serrations in the driver surrounds to help scatter interfering reflections fromlocalised surfaces to the bass/mid cones. The LX MkII Series incorporates similar serrations in themain driver surrounds as well as indentations around the tweeter adding further finesse to thedrive unit outputs and providing a smoother frequency response than the previous generation ofLX speakers.
With minor perturbations in the driver response ironed out each models crossover network hasbeen optimised to take advantage of the improved performance. The LX MkII Series uses a 4thorder (24dB per octave acoustic) Linkwitz-Riley network developed with advanced computermodeling and many hours of listening tests to knit the drivers together seamlessly. It is particularlynotable for its ability to balance excellent off-axis performance with a flatter on-axis result.
Driver inversion for musical immersion
The three standmount models in the range feature DiaDrive units positioned according toMissions Inverted Driver Geometry (IDG) with the bass/mid driver sited above the treble unitrather than below to aid time-alignment a Mission trademark since the 1980s. Placing thebass/mid driver closer to ear level with the treble unit positioned beneath helps to equalise thepath lengths from the two drivers acoustic centres so that the sound waves coincide at thelisteners head height.
The two-way LX-4 MkII and LX-5 MkII floorsanders extend IDG to a full DAppolito array sitingthe treble unit between a pair of DiaDrive bass/mid units one above one below. The largestmodel in the range the LX-6 MkII is a three-way deign with a dedicated midrange driverpositioned above the tweeter and a pair of bass drivers stationed below.
The cabinet is as critical as the drive units and crossover to the overall performance of anyloudspeaker system. Designing an effective low-cost box is tricky as budget dictates that thedesigner cannot use expensive materials or high mass to create an inert structure.
With the help of 3D Computer Aided Design finite element analysis and laser interferometrycoupled with a great deal of experience a budget cabinet can be designed that delivers betterrigidity with lower radiated noise than many would believe achievable at such low material cost.As part of the critical fine tuning of the new models judicious placement of extra internaldamping fibre inside the rear-ported cabinet has reduced the level of midrange coloration andimproved the bass transient attack.
As the Mission LX MkII Series emphatically proves like many Mission designs before it budgetloudspeakers can truly sing whilst also being smart practical and unfussy in terms ofpositioning.
Mission loudspeakers have been thrilling music lovers with powers of communication that farexceed their affordable prices for more than 40 years said peter Comeau Missions Director ofAcoustic Design. Im proud to have been involved in the design of many of these speakerssince my first association with Mission in 1999. Weve won many awards over the years butnothing Mission has produced can eclipse the sheer value-for-money offered by theLX MkII Series weve worked tirelessly to improve upon the already excellent LX Seriesensuring these speakers reward the modest investment required to own a pair with athoroughly engrossing musical experience.