Mission has been making legendary speakers and winning hearts and ears since 1977. The company has now announced its first pair of wireless speakers. The LX Connect combines the convenience of a wireless speaker connection with the sound quality you expect from a high-end hi-fi system. LX Connect is packed with acoustic and electronic engineering, but sells for under Â£ 1,000.
Built around the Mission LX-2 MkII – a pair of speakers launched in 2020 as part of the company’s LX MkII series. – these compact speakers have received numerous awards. The LX-2 MkII are âpassiveâ speakers that normally connect to an amplifier using speaker cables. With the LX Connect, Mission took two LX-2 MkII speakers and added high-performance technology to create a pair of active wireless speakers.
Wireless speakers are great space savers and there are a lot of them coming to the market. Some connect wirelessly to a source device – like a smartphone or computer – but a cable connects the two speakers to a primary active speaker that passes the signal to the passive satellite speaker. Then there are other wireless speakers, like the LX Connect, which offer a âtruly wirelessâ stereo with full wireless transmission without the need for a cable to connect the two speakers.
Many wireless speakers have all the electronics packed into enclosures. But this can lead to some limitations when it comes to positioning. For example, there may be a restriction created by the length of the cable between the speakers. The user may want to plug in a cable from a source device and then run a cable to one of the speakers from where the source device is located.
The Mission LX Connect operates using a âhubâ containing a DAC, a preamp and wireless technology. The audio sources connect to the hub, which then relays the audio wirelessly to the two speakers using an uncompressed Wi-Fi connection. The speakers do not have any cables other than a power cord to connect to power outlets.
The use of a concentrator allowed Mission to optimize the circuits of the LX Connect. The hub can connect to source devices – PC, Mac, Android and iOS devices, music players, media boxes, etc. The hub connects to a computer or smart device on the home network, then uses a preferred streaming app to drive the LX Connect speakers.
The hub measures only 55 x 235 x 231mm and is small enough to fit next to a source device which can be a desktop or a laptop. It can even be a tablet connected to the hub via USB or Bluetooth. Alternatively, the source can be a TV, media box or game console connected to the hub’s HDMI ARC input. The hub also has a line-level RCA stereo analog input for connecting a CD player or even a turntable.
To source a high quality DAC (digital to analog converter) Mission turned to its sister company Audiolab, a manufacturer of award-winning DACs and amplifier components. Audiolab created the hub with a high performance DAC built around an ES9018K2M DAC chip from the Sabre32 Reference family. Proprietary circuitry takes the best of ESS Technology’s 32-bit HyperStream architecture and time domain jitter eliminator for ultra-low noise and high dynamic range.
The hub’s DAC stage supports high-resolution PCM files up to 32-bit / 384kHz via USB and 24-bit / 192kHz via coaxial and optical inputs. It can support DSD files (up to DSD256) via USB. The RCA stereo output has fixed and variable output options, fed by a high quality analog stage which allows the hub to function as an external DAC / preamp which can with an external amplifier or active subwoofer to reinforce the lower end of the unit. the music.
A high quality headphone amplifier is included in the DAC and also comes from Audiolab and uses a current feedback circuit for excellent gain bandwidth and high slew rate. This means the audio is dynamic and has detailed performance when used with all kinds of headphones. Bluetooth reception complies with Bluetooth 5.0 for optimum quality, reliability and range, and supports the standard aptX HD, aptX LL (for AV media), aptX, AAC and SBC audio codecs.
The two LX Connect active speakers can be placed up to 20m from the hub which transmits wirelessly using frequencies between 5.2 GHz and 5.8 GHz, switching automatically to ensure the best connection and avoid 2, 4 GHz more congested. The hub can handle high-resolution audio up to 32-bit / 192kHz to the speakers, which is impressive for wireless speakers at all price points. Fully optimized time alignment provides a perfect stereo soundstage.
The hub’s uncompressed Wi-Fi signal is processed in the speakers by Mission’s Music Connect signal processing technology before being passed to the 60W Class D amp circuit inside each speaker , delivering sound with ultra-low distortion.
Designed to provide high speed, low latency sound, Music Connect allows the user to select optional EQ settings. There are three Bass EQ settings to allow mounting on a stand (0 by default), close to the location of the back wall and / or on a shelf (-6dB) and positioning in free space (+ 6dB), adjusted by a switch on the rear speaker panel. In addition, the user can select Music or Movie mode through the hub. Music mode provides the optimal balance for audiophile listening while Movie slightly enhances bass and mids to bring dialogue and effects to life.
Additional sound customization can be applied using the hub with a choice of three digital filters and four DSD bandwidth settings, left / right channel balance and adjustable delay – to sync a subwoofer with the LX speakers Connect. The hub has an OLED display with adjustable brightness that can be controlled using the included remote control or by touch controls on the unit.
Like the LX-2 MkII passive speakers on which they are based, the LX Connect’s speakers are positioned according to Mission’s inverted pilot geometry (IDG), with the bass / midrange speaker located above treble unit rather than below. This facilitates the time alignment which has been a trademark of Mission since the 1980s.
The 130mm bass / midrange driver is a new take on Mission’s DiaDrive bass / midrange unit, where the usual cone and dust cap layout is replaced by a seamless curvilinear diaphragm. This is driven directly by a secondary sub-cone connected to the voice coil, improving drive efficiency and providing superior control of the smooth domed diaphragm.
The diaphragm is made from an advanced formulation of double-layered fibers, chosen for its reduced sensitivity to humidity for excellent self-cushioning. The speaker surround incorporates “comb-tooth” serrations to help disperse stray reflections, while a high-strength ferrite magnet ensures that the magnetic field is directed precisely into the excursion area of ââthe speaker. voice coil, enabling ultra-linear performance and excellent transient response.
The treble unit uses a neodymium magnet and a 25mm microfiber dome. The result is sharp, detailed and sharp high frequencies. Modeled closely on the acoustic performance of the LX2 MkII, the two drivers are linked by a 2nd order DSP Linkwitz-Riley crossover (12 dB per acoustic octave).
The speakers are housed in a cabinet measuring 305 x 200 x 250 mm (HxWxD), the same size and construction as the LX-2 MkII speakers. At the rear, the LX-2 MkII’s single reflex port has been replaced with two smaller ports above a range of sockets and controls. A switch designates each speaker as left or right in a stereo pair or switches the speaker to mono, allowing the speakers to solo in a simple multi-room setup.
The LX Connect is officially ‘Roon Tested’, which means it has been tested by Roon and certified for use in a Roon audio environment when connected to a PC or Mac running the software. Roon. LX Connect buyers not yet using Roon but wanting to try out the platform can get a 60-day free trial.
The combined skills of Mission and Audiolab have made it possible to bridge the gap between classic hi-fi speakers and contemporary digital technology. The quality of the speakers, with their traditional “bookshelf” dimensions with active wireless convenience, make the LX Connect more of a compact hi-fi system with wireless connectivity than a “simple” pair of wireless speakers. .
Price and availability: The Mission LX Connect wireless speaker system will be available from October for Â£ 999 / $ 1,699 / â¬ 1,299. The speakers are available in soft-touch matte black or white, while the Hub is finished in black.
More information: www.mission.co.uk
- Audio inputs: USB Type-B, HDMI ARC, S / PDIF coaxial, S / PDIF optical, stereo RCA, Bluetooth (aptX HD)
- Amplification: Class D 60W per channel
- Audio outputs: 5.2-5.8 GHz Wi-Fi (to LX Connect speakers) â¢ Analog stereo RCA (fixed / variable)
- Headphones: 6.3mm plug