Mordaunt-Short's Mezzo range comprises three stereo pairs, plus partnering centre channel speaker and subwoofer, and this £450 per pair Mezzo 2 sits in the middle of the stereo pairs.

It's a compact two-way stand-mount, port-loaded at the front and using a 165mm bass/mid driver mounted in an enclosure with an estimated volume of around 11 litres.

Either side of this particular model is a somewhat smaller Mezzo 1 stand-mount, with an appropriately smaller 135mm main driver, and a 2.5-way Mezzo 6 with an extra bass-only 165mm driver and floorstanding enclosure.

The Mezzo's drivers

The most interesting feature justifying the Mezzo's premium price is the rear-aspirated 25mm metal dome tweeter.

This is mounted in a large conical lossy rubber mounting nacelle, a third of which protrudes from the top of the enclosure; nine small holes in the top surface terminate different length loading tubes that deliver some decorrelated output from the rear of the tweeter diaphragm.

The main driver has a dish-shaped metal diaphragm 118mm in diameter, with radial rib reinforcement.

Sturdy build

The enclosure, finished in a very convincing vinyl woodprint (since no mention is made of real wood), has curved sides and a very narrow back, which will both increase the overall stiffness and defocus internal standing waves.

However, some vibration could be felt in the flat top surface. Connection is made via twin terminal pairs, and the black front panel uses invisible (magnetic) retention for the optional grille.

Tonal balance

The claimed 89dB sensitivity seems a shade optimistic, as our far-field averaged technique could only just muster 88dB. There's little bass extension below 40Hz either, but the impedance is reasonably benign, only falling below 5 ohms around 8-10kHz.

Mounted on 60cm stands well clear of walls, the in-room tonal balance did tend to favour the midband, 200Hz - 1.3kHz, and showed very gentle rolloffs above and below this band.

The broad bass region is consequently a little dry, indicating that some closer-to-wall reinforcement might be preferred, but if this is adopted the ample output from the c48Hz tuned port tends to be exaggerated at the expense of upper bass output.

Although higher frequencies start to tail off gently and progressively above 1.3kHz, a distinct recovery of around 3dB is visible at 5kHz.

Detailed sound

Finding the best siting for these speakers did prove a little tricky. After some experiment, a gap of about 30cms between speakers and wall seemed to give best overall results.

The Mezzo 2 sounds crisp, clean, spacious, free from obvious boxiness and fundamentally well balanced, especially through the broad midrange. It delivers plenty of detail with fine coherence, respectable agility and a decent dynamic range.

The sound remains clear and impressively explicit, but increasing the volume seems to bring an accompanying increase in hardness that is mildly off-putting. Although this is a likeable speaker, it does seem happiest when not being pushed too hard.