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Reviews

Spendor
Loudspeakers

    Pick a speaker, any speaker, and I guarantee you’ll be able to find those who love it and those who hate it. It’s easy to get into trouble when recommending a speaker. The plethora of brands and models multiplied by the vast range of personal references, virtually insure you will offend some and befriend others.

     A very few speakers that I have come across in my thirty years in this business, have possessed the ability to fall into the graces of most all who listen. I’m not exactly sure why, maybe it’s an even handed tonal presentation, maybe it’s low distortion, or possibly a specific frequency response curve. Who knows, maybe all of the above. For whatever reason, there are indeed a very few speakers that seem to be almost universally accepted.

      As you might have guessed by now, I think Spendor fit’s into that exclusive club. Yet more than just being non-offensive, the Spendor’s have a genuinely likeable quality along with some real performance attributes. These designs are well respected for their superb recreation of all things spatial; they do the sound staging thing to a T. Resolution of lo-level detail is sparkling and, above all, a tonal palette that is musically satisfying. Oh yes, they do the rhythm and pace thing too.

       Spendor has been around for thirty-odd years. Founded back in the 1960’s by Spencer and Dorothy Hughes, it grew out of expertise gained in the engineering department of the BBC. The company has designed and marketed a number of outstanding speakers over the years, gaining a worldwide reputation for quality with models like the classic LS3/5.

      In 2001 the company was acquired by Philip Swift, founder of the renowned Audiolab brand, with the intention of modernizing the designs to meet with contemporary expectations. Many of us long-time Spendor fans were apprehensive, feeling that the so-called modernization meant discarding the qualities so prized in their past designs. That turned out not be the case, and Mr. Swift has done an excellent job of melding the past strengths with new innovation. The Spendor “S” Series speakers are an extension of past superb designs; and carry forth the philosophy and performance that have made this brand so popular.

       The "S" Series models employ the unique Linear Flow port technology to eliminate turbulence of port "chuffing," and predictable low frequency response. The Spendor drive units feature stiff, light polymer cones with proprietary damping to reduce coloration. The dynamically damped enclosures dramatically reduce cabinet re-radiation levels. 

           Each model delivers a balanced energy output to guarantee a consistent sound and a vivid seamless sound stage in a diversity of living environments. This technology is complemented by elegant modern styling. Whether you listen to music or film, stereo or surround sound, there is a Spendor loudspeaker system to match your individual lifestyle. Each model is calibrated and matched to broadcast reference standards + 1.0dB. 


SA-1

       This entirely new design utilizes the latest innovations in engineering and materials to advance the classic British loudspeaker to the absolute limits of performance.
       The new SA1 will captivate listeners with its charming sound, surprising clarity and outstanding bass definition. It is simply the most advanced and best small loudspeaker Spendor has ever built.
       This 2-way infinite baffle design has a new 15cm Spendor bass-mid drive unit and a new 22mm wide-surround hybrid tweeter. A meticulously refined crossover network with hi-grade electrical components and gold plated conductors integrates the drivers seamlessly.
        Internal cables are silver plated pure copper with halogen free dielectric. Single wiring to an amplifier via a pair of WBT binding posts ensures uncompromised performance and consistent sound.
        Structurally the SA1 combines the virtues of the ‘Classic’ Spendor thin-wall damped panel design with the considerable
benefits of controlled, rigid bracing. The cabinet is constructed using three different panel thicknesses. Each panel is designed to have a specific resonant characteristic and the different natural resonances combine evenly to dissipate any vibration.

"If you simply want the greatest musical insight into the widest possible range of different genres and performances then that is exactly what this speaker delivers. It gets the fundamentals spot on and if you can't afford or accommodate a full-range loudspeaker system of this quality, (and make no mistake, that's going to cost you - plenty), then the SA1 is an enticingly affordable alternative. Don't be fooled by its diminutive dimensions - it's a wider window on the world than any floorstander at this price."  - Roy Gregory, HiFi+ September 2008.

"Overall, Spendor's SA1 offers superbly musical reproduction from a surprisingly small package. I strongly recommend it, particularly to those who have small rooms and high expectations." John Atkinson, Stereophile

Customer Comment: "Hello Galen:  I am sure many of your happy customers tell you this all the time:  "I love this or that piece of equipment I purchased from you."  Well, it goes without saying that "I just love these Spendor SA1s!"  I think what really gets to me whenever I listen to music is how "true" to the real sound of the instrument or voice they are.  I know Spendor has always taken pride in the "voicing " of the mid-range (I have owned Spendor SP1s for close to 24 years, so I have a wonderful history of this.   But, somehow, the designers really hit the nail on the head with this speaker." E.B.

       The SA1 is offered in three luxurious modern finishes; Gloss Zebrano, Piano Black and Satin Wenge (pictured).

Specifications:

  • Enclosure type: Sealed 2 way stand/bookshelf loudspeaker
  • Drive units HF: 22mm wide-surround dome with fluid cooling
  • Drive units LF/MF: 150mm (6 in.) ep38 polymer cone
  • Frequency response: 75Hz-20kHz ± 3dB anechoic on reference axis
  • Frequency range:   -6dB at 60Hz anechoic
  • Sensitivity for 1W @ 1m:   85dB
  • Impedance nominal:   8 ohms
  • Impedance minimum:   6.3 ohms
  • Power handling:   125 watts unclipped program
  • Harmonic distortion:   <1%  100Hz – 20kHz  90 dB @ 1m
  • Connections: 4 way WBT binding posts
  • Price: $2595pr
  • Custom Stands: $895pr


A3

The ultra-compact Spendor A3 delivers clear natural sound with real low frequency power and scale. Drive units based on technology developed for the Spendor SA1 and other A-Line models ensure clear and natural mid-range and a beautifully open treble.

The 15cm mid-bass drive unit has a magnesium alloy chassis to support the long throw motor system which helps to give these loudspeakers a remarkably big and powerful sound. The fluid cooled 22mm wide-surround tweeter completes the driver array.

The rear mounted reflex port allows the A3 to be placed in relatively close proximity to rear walls with minimal interaction, and the structural spike support system provides solid clean bass response.

Reviews:

"Timing was spot-on and the relatively high 4.2kHz crossover means the drive units combine seamlessly to give a precise soundstage rich with mid-level detail. Voices were particularly well defined. I could have easily believed I was listening to something substantially bigger.  

 

There is something undeniably right about these little Spendors. They do indeed produce a big, smooth sound from a small enclosure, one with a silky midband.   

 

A large, civilized sound from a small enclosure, the A3 majors on midband smoothness, clarity and detail. It's an ideal loudspeaker for those looking for a natural, easy sound in a small space.

 

The Spendors are speakers you could probably live with for years when other, seemingly more exciting products have begun to wear you down. You are looking at a domestically-friendly floorstander that can paint a convincing musical portrait and is well worth a listen. 

 

Add in quality construction and there's little doubt Spendor has a winner on its hands with the smallest of its floorstanding range." - Hi-Fi World, October 2012

Specifications:

  • 70 Hz to 20 kHz ± 3dB anechoic. Typical in-room response-6dB at 45 Hz

  • 86 dB sensitivity

  • 8 Ohm nominal, 6.2 Ohm minimum impedance

  • Linear Flow Reflex rear porting

  • WBT Binding Posts

  • 6.6" W x 10" D x 30" H

  • Cherry or Wenge real wood veneer

  • $2495pr


 


A5

      The Spendor A5 offers exceptional performance in relation to its compact dimensions. New drive units based on technology developed for the recently launched Spendor SA1 ensure clear and natural mid-range and beautifully open treble.
       The refined internal bracing structure makes the cabinet extremely rigid and works in conjunction with new integral spike mounting plates to give a clean, tight, powerful bass response while harmlessly dissipating any excess vibration.

        "Startling scale and punch, endlessly listenable, accomplished beyond their price... the superb Spendors take the laurels in this test."
        "The Spendors summon unlikely low-end punch, extension and control, and deliver great texture too. The midrange is alive with immediacy and detail - vocalists seldom sound more engaged - and the top of the frequency range is attacked boldly.
        "There's ample speed and drive, though the Spendors are just as capable of describing barely-there nuances as the broad strokes of a recording. Their timing is sweetly precise, loading the leading edge of notes with information and offering a natural and unforced tonality.
        "The soundstage they generate is sizeable, and their stereo focus unquestionable. Startling scale and punch; endlessly listenable, these are accomplished beyond their price. They are
terrific all-rounders that revel in any type of music. The Spendors could be all the speaker you'll ever need."
- What HiFi Group Test Winner, March 2011

       "In a group test with not one bum note, it's the all new Spendor's that take the glory. We can't praise them enough." - Group test winner, What Hi-Fi 2009 (beating out the likes of Dali and Dynaudio).

Specifications:

  • 60 Hz to 20 kHz +/- 3dB (-6dB at 45 Hz)

  • 86 dB sensitivity

  • 8 Ohm nominal, 5 Ohm minimum impedance

  • Linear Flow Reflex porting

  • WBT Binding Posts

  • 6.5" W x 9.8" D x 31" H

  • Cherry or Wenge real wood veneer

  • $3195pr

  • Click here for What Hi-Fi Review (pdf)


A6

         The A6 utilizes technology developed while developing the Spendor ST loudspeaker with its symmetrically sculptured tweeter faceplate and refined 7” bass/mid driver. The new 6” and 7”drive units have a magnesium alloy chassis to support the long throw motor systems which helps to give these loudspeakers a remarkably big and powerful sound. The 22 mm and 29 mm wide-surround tweeters complete the driver array. The linear flow reflex port allows A6 to be placed in relative close proximity to rear walls with minimal interaction.
        A meticulously refined crossover network with hi-grade electrical components and gold plated conductors integrates the drivers seamlessly. Internal cables are silver plated pure copper with halogen free dielectric. Single wiring to your amplifier via a pair of WBT binding posts ensures uncompromised performance and consistent sound.
         The refined internal bracing structure makes the cabinet extremely rigid and works in conjunction with new integral spike mounting plates to give a clean, tight, powerful bass response while harmlessly dissipating any excess vibration.
         
The respected Roy Gregory writes for Hi-Fi+: "...these speakers will bring real, live, breathing music into your home, just like hi-fi is supposed to." "Easy to use, easy to drive and easy to get the best out of, I love the A6s. They're GRRREAT!"

"The A6 may look ordinary, but the performance is anything but that. These are brilliant speakers for the money. Their sound is a class-leading combination of insight and naturalness. A fast, detailed and dynamic sound, natural sonic balance, transparency, sturdy build. The A6's are stunning."
- What HiFi 5 Star Winner, February 2009

Specifications:

  • 53 Hz to 20 kHz +/- 3dB (-6dB at 43 Hz)

  • 88 dB sensitivity

  • 8 Ohm nominal, 6 Ohm minimum impedance

  • Linear Flow Reflex porting

  • WBT Binding posts

  • 7.6" W x 11" D x 34.4" H

  • Cherry or Wenge real wood veneer

  • $4295pr

  • Click here for Hi-Fi+ Review (pdf)


A9

The Spendor A9 is a full-size 3-way floor standing loudspeaker. It has the resolution, dynamic range, and low frequency extension to realize the breathtaking detail which the finest digital media servers can now deliver from well-recorded hi-resolution uncompressed audio source material.

The wide-surround tweeter with bi-elliptical acoustic lens technology is combined with a new Spendor 15cm mid-range driver and two specifically designed 18cmKevlar® composite cone bass drivers with magnesium alloy chassis and advanced motor systems.

Spendor’s proven dynamic damping system reduces cabinet resonance to a minimum, whilst the fourth generation Spendor linear flow port guarantees consistent high quality bass in almost any room.

Reviews:

"The A9s can make the walls of your listening room disappear and replace them with the inside of the grand church where the recording was made. The sense of space is palpable, as is the precise positioning of each of the instruments used. It'll make the hairs on your neck stand up.
         This might be a three-way speaker, but you'd never know the frequency range was divided between so many drivers, so smooth is the transition from bass to treble. A convincingly even tonal balance confirms Spendor's skill at merging and balancing drivers. These speakers are wholly transparent to the source and recording. Listen to something gentle and they'll sound suitably polite, move to something aggressive and they'll oblige.
         The
A9s are more than capable of kicking out basslines. They're taut, fast and punchy. The Spendor A9s are an awful lot of talented speaker." 
- What Hi-Fi 2010 Product of the Year Awards, Best Stereo Speaker £3,000+
"What the A9 does so well is to combine that BBC-speaker neutrality with a more exciting and dynamic presentation that modern audio demands. The A9 sails between these two waypoints beautifully. This makes it a speaker for all seasons.
         The dynamic range was especially impressive. On the
A9 the scale of the music snaps at your attention gland and you are in there with the music. The level of detail is fine enough to pull hidden glories out of those grooves or digits, but not at the expense of a pinched, etched or toppy sound quality. If you come away from the last two paragraphs with the word 'balance', well done. Now add the word 'bass'. The A9 has quite a lot of it; not in a dubstep, wall-of-bass, gut-mangling onslaught way, but in a controlled deep and precise manner.
        That might just make it the best investment in audio around today; not just in future resale value, but because these are the sort of loudspeakers that get handed down from father to son. That's how good they are."
- Alan Sircom, HiFi+, January 2011
"Spendor talk about the A9s sounding 'fast' - not a phrase Spencer or Dorothy would have used methinks! - and this they do. The easy clarity of the ep38 polymer midrange unit gives vocals a naturalness that I love and strong treble seemingly lifts speed and incision.
         The midrange unit resolves timbre with a magnificence that did justice to the instrument in Nigel Kennedy's hands, giving it a lovely, full bodied character... the Spendor's sounded like few others, falling back to their roots with satisfying honesty. Spendor's midrange unit is nothing other than superb.
         Where Spendor have scored a big hit with the
A9 is bass quality. They have obvious bass power and are as tight and controlled as anything on the market today. The A9s run low but keep the lows under good control so there's no waffle. Always grippy, they beat out Led Zeppelin's 'Heartbreaker' with an insight I am unused to. It was breathtaking to hear those classic guitar riffs thrust out so clearly.
         Spendor's new
A9 is one impressive loudspeaker. It offers a more modern take on sound quality than Spencer or Dorothy would recognize, yet it still has a wonderful midband and some of the best bass you'll hear from a loudspeaker of this type.
         The
A9 is a very well developed loudspeaker with impressive ability, and proves well worth auditioning, whether you like classical music like Spencer and Dorothy, or prefer Lady GaGa instead."
 - Five Globe Winner, HiFi World, March 2011

Features:

*  Fourth generation 'linear flow' port gives clean articulate bass
*  New Spendor 18cm drive units with large excursion motors
*  New Spendor 15cm mid-range unit with ep38 cone
*  New 29mm wide surround tweeter for extended response
*  High grade crossover network with gold conductors
*  Silver plated pure copper internal cables throughout
*  WBT high copper alloy binding posts on the rear
*  Spendor 'dynamic damping' to minimize cabinet resonances
*  High rigidity stabilizer plate system for solid floor mounting
*  Modern finishes including Oak and Wenge

Specifications:

*  Description: 3-way floor standing loudspeaker
*  Enclosure type: Spendor linear flow reflex  
*  HF drive unit: 29mm wide-surround dome with fluid cooling
*  MF drive unit: Spendor 150mm ep38 cone
*  LF drive units: Spendor 180mm Kevlar® composite cone
*  Sensitivity: 90dB for 1 watt at 1 meter
*  Crossover point: 500 Hz and 5.0 kHz
*  Frequency response: 50 Hz to 20 kHz ± 3dB anechoic
*  Typical in-room response: -6dB at 28 Hz anechoic
*  Impedance: 8 ohms nominal
*  Impedance minimum: 6.2 ohms
*  Power handling: 250 watts unclipped program
*  Terminals: WBT 4 way binding posts single-wired
*  Cabinet Dimensions (HxWxD): 41.2” x 8.2” x 14.4”
*  Finish options: Black Ash, Cherry, Light Oak, Wenge, Dark Walnut
*  Weight: 27 kg each
*  7995 pr


ST 

The new ST is Spendor's flagship speaker. The 2.5-way design utilizes newly developed drivers, including a 180 mm (7”) Kevlar composite bass driver, a 180 mm polymer cone mid-bass driver, and a wide-surround 29 mm tweeter with a bi-elliptical acoustic front plate. The ST features high-quality electrical components throughout, 630V capacitors, and WBT Next-Gen terminals. The gorgeous cabinet is available in a piano black lacquer finish with exotic ebony, zebrano, or aluminum fascia inlays.

  • Description: 2.5 way floor standing loudspeaker
  • Enclosure type: Spendor linear flow reflex
  • HF drive unit: 29 mm wide-surround dome with fluid cooling
  • MF/LF drive unit: Spendor 180 mm (7”) ep39 cone
  • LF drive unit: Spendor 180 mm Kevlar composite cone with elastomeric damping
  • Sensitivity: 87dB for 1 watt at 1 meter
  • Crossover point: 4.8 kHz
  • Frequency response: 58 Hz to 20 kHz ± 3dB anechoic
  • Frequency range: -6dB at 40Hz anechoic
  • Impedance: 8 ohms nominal
  • Impedance minimum:  4.2 ohms
  • Power handling: 200 watts unclipped program
  • Terminals: WBT Next-Gen 4 way binding posts single-wired
  • Dimensions: 38"H x 8"W x 13"D (excluding feet and rear terminals)
  • Finish: Piano black lacquer cabinet with exotic ebony, zebrano or aluminum inlays
  • Weight: 62 lbs
  • Accessories: Adjustable height spike feet, magnetic drive unit protection grilles
  • $11995

A Series Finish Options

SA-1, ST Finish Options

 

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