There are certain synergies between this system and its opposite number from Wharfedale. Once they were competitors, but the IAG parent company of Wharfedale has recently completed its takeover of Mission. Interestingly, they both eschew the use of a subwoofer in favour of full bandwidth floor standing main speakers.

In common with the Wharfedale, you can specify a variant of this system with or without full size main speakers, but which does includes a Mission branded subwoofer. Ask your dealer for details.

But there is one significant difference between the two IAG propositions: while the Wharfedale system requires a little more power than usual because the system must rely on its own resources to drive the bass, the Mission main speakers are unusually sensitive, which reduces the power required for any required volume level. At the same time the M30i (responsible here for low frequency reproduction) is capable of handling a substantial amount of power without complaint, a little more perhaps than the maker's specification suggests.

The three speakers included here consist of a conventional centre speaker, equally compact two-way speakers for use as the rear channel, and a pair of largish fl oor standers as the main front left and right speakers. Where the rear and front speakers do differ from convention is that they are inverted, the tweeters mounted below the bass drivers, which is intended to equalise the path length of the two drivers to the listener's ears (when seated at a normal height), which means a more uniform, better focussed result.

The Mission system is very transparent, and this, plus its overall balance, means care is needed if it's going to work well. In particular, avoid small rooms, or rooms which impose a close listening range. Give them room to breathe, and these boxes should sound vital and engaging.

Having established that this system is unusually sensitive, when means that it is less reliant on amplifier power than most, it is also bold and dramatic, with film dialogue rendered in an unusually expressive and articulate way.

Special effects and background music sound vivid and alive, Apocalypse Now sounded more dynamic, yet easier to follow than usual. Soundstaging is excellent, though there is more drama at the front of the system than the back, which by default may help correct a widespread tendency to adjust multichannel systems to give excessive output from the rear channel, even when set up by one of the new fangled breed of receivers with a microphone driven auto setup feature.

This is an exceptional speaker package. Yes, it can sound rather loud, even verging on fiery at times, and, yes, some might find the balance of the system on the lively, bright side of neutral. But there are plenty of compensations, including a vivid tonality, and a way of attacking special effects that can make the competition sound weak at the knees.

It makes some of its competitors sound as though they are lacking in balls, dynamics if you prefer, and seems capable of pulling more useful information out of film soundtracks and music recordings.