Modern-retro Mission 770 gatecrash the What Hi-Fi? Awards speaker category

Standmounted speakers: Mission 770
(Image credit: Future)

Reanimating things that have long been dead may be a common horror trope, but there is nothing scary about Mission's reborn 770 speakers – bar perhaps the fact that they perform so well.

The originals were introduced in the late '70s and cemented their place in the company's history by becoming a massive success. It was this success that firmly established the brand in those early years. 

The new 770 are great and, despite appearances, every inch a cutting-edge design, with bang-up-to-date drive units and thoroughly modern cabinet construction. Add to that excellent sound performance and it is no wonder that they win a Best Buy as the 'best standmount speaker over £1500'.

But you don't need to spend thousands to get a great sound, as proved emphatically by our entry-level winners, the Elac Debut B5.2. For around the price of two tanks of petrol, you get a balanced and insightful sound that's delivered with a maturity that belies the Elac's place in the market.

Move up the price points and you'll find not one but two Bowers & Wilkins models, the 607 S2 and the 606 S2. These siblings share the same outgoing and informative sonic presentation, but the larger (and pricier) 606 S2 delivers even more in the way of dynamic punch and bass reach to justify their price premium. 

KEF LS50 Meta

(Image credit: KEF)

It'll surprise absolutely no one that our next winner is the KEF LS50 Meta. These compact monitors have wowed us in recent years and nothing we've heard at their mid-price level has come close to matching their resolution, stereo imaging or overall balance. If you're looking for a high-end sound at reasonable money, buy these.

The large difference in price between the KEFs and the Mission 770 that sit above them shows just how talented this pairing is. During the awards judging, we came across little else, bar last year's award-winning ProAc Response D2R, that made a strong case for inclusion.

If you prefer floorstanders, then fear not; we have some excellent options for you. Our go-to affordable towers remain the Wharfedale Diamond 12.3. They continue to set the standard by sounding remarkably balanced and refined for speakers of this type. They are built well too, in a classy and understated way.

Digital hi-fi system

Wharfedale Diamond 12.3 (Image credit: Future)

If you have a larger room then it is worth moving up to Triangle's muscular Borea BR08. They're fast and entertaining, combining plenty of low-end punch with a surprising amount of sonic finesse. We have no doubt that it is possible to find more glamourous looking alternatives at the money, but nothing we've come across is so much fun to listen to.

Move up in price and Wharfedale proves it can do business at more premium levels too with the sophisticated Evo 4.4. The Evo's dome midrange and AMT (Air Motion Transformer) tweeter are things usually found in higher-priced products, and they are put to great use here. If you are after a mature and transparent presentation, we can't think of a more capable alternative.

Above this level, we have two repeat winners in the form of ProAc's distinctive Response DT8 and the ever-so-classy Spendor A7. The ProAc is a hugely entertaining listen that's able to fill larger rooms effortlessly with a dramatic and lively sound, while the Spendor speakers are more of a slow burner that impress greatly after a longer, more considered listen. Either way, both of these floorstanders are hugely deserving of their awards victories.

So which two pairs best deserve the esteemed Product of the Year accolades in the standmount speaker and floorstanding speaker categories? That's for us to know and for you to find out on the 9th November, when we hold our What Hi-Fi? Awards 2022 celebratory dinner.


See all the What Hi-Fi? Awards 2022 winners

See our long list of the best speakers you can buy

Rega and Pro-Ject are the big turntable winners in the 2022 What Hi-Fi? Awards

Ketan Bharadia
Technical Editor

Ketan Bharadia is the Technical Editor of What Hi-Fi? He's been been reviewing hi-fi, TV and home cinema equipment for over two decades, and over that time has covered thousands of products. Ketan works across the What Hi-Fi? brand including the website and magazine. His background is based in electronic and mechanical engineering.