Mordaunt-Short Avant 902i review

Beyond their sheer, exuberant musicality, the 902is are more-than-adequately made and daintily attractive Tested at £150.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Not as adaptable as some, but our pick nonetheless. Your budget system deserves speakers this good


  • +

    Convincingly dynamic and confident, properly musical

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  • -

    Top end can be problematic if system-matching is poor

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

If you want to buy really capable budget standmounting speakers with the absolute minimum of fuss, you might decide to avoid the 902is.

This is one of the best value-for-money speaker designs around, but there's just a little bit more care needed when matching your system to these dynamic, musical Mordaunt-Shorts than is the case with their obvious rivals.

Let's deal with that caveat. The brilliantly crisp, assertive top end sparkles and shines, but doesn't take too much encouragement to cross the line into hard/bright territory. If you have an amplifier that isn't shy about dealing with the high stuff, the Avant 902is are undoubtedly to be avoided. However, everyone else should dive in, because they're fab.

Proof is in the pudding
With Scott Walker's 30th Century Man playing, the 902is time really well, marshalling a natural tempo, and integrating voices and instruments pretty seamlessly. Plenty of fine detail is on display, with the 902is confident, assertive voice being beautifully judged.
Bass frequencies are robust, solid and straight-edged, and manfully resist blooming even when parked too close to a rear wall. Never tiring, and always engaging, the Avants relish recordings of all kinds.

There's an ocean of space around Nina Simone's sultry voice during That's Him Over There, and if you choose to spin a rather more energetic tune, such as Bloc Party's Little Thoughts, they display a more playful side, with a spirited and sparkling performance. Dynamically and rhythmically, you'll be hard-pressed to find fault.

If pushed, they could be criticised for their slightly enthusiastic treble, but this wouldn't be a problem unless you matched them with electronics in a similar vein.

Beyond their sheer, exuberant musicality, the 902is are more-than-adequately made and daintily attractive. Spend the extra few minutes to match them carefully and they won't disappoint you.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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