Spendor are one of the oldest brands in the UK audio industry and have a reputation for high performance neutral speakers. The heritage of the company was two BBC recording engineers who wanted high quality loudspeakers that had the ability of monitor recordings and reproduce them with great accuracy.
More recently Spendor was taken over by Philip Swift (once of Audiolab) and the resulting investment has produced products far from old-fashioned.
The A- and D-Line products, whose slim cabinets are themselves anything but ‘me-too’ versions of modern thinking. You don’t have to look too far before you find the evidence that Spendor may build on the solid foundations that made speakers like the BC1 world famous, but it is only too ready to invest in modern technology and investigate practical solutions to modern concerns. The A4, a slim, floorstanding two-way that looks remarkably conventional is anything but, at least in musical terms. Instead it manages to offer all the advantages of two-way operation in a compact enclosure that (in stark contrast to the competition) doesn’t sing along with the music. Then there’s the D1, a compact standmount of such remarkable musical coherence that it’s capable of challenging all those high-end miniatures that cost many, many times its modest price. And that’s the thing: it’s not just what these speakers do (which is impressive enough), but how they do it for the price that is the burning question.
Spendor have always invested in components and their drive unit technology is matched to perfection for the purpose it is intended. Nothing is left to chance and careful listening is done at every stage of the R&D process.
Spendor also employ trickle-down tech from their high end products so that once they’ve discovered a superb new treble unit (for example) they will try and extend it’s benefits to as many loudspeakers as they can.
The arrival of the D9, a new flagship for the line, neatly encapsulates current thinking at Spendor, offering the opportunity to dig a little deeper into what makes these products not just perform, but exceed expectations.
Quoted from Hi-Fi World Oct 24 2017 by Roy Gregory
“To understand why that is, it’s necessary to dig a little deeper and take a look at the D9’s constituent elements – and what’s been done with them. The 180mm Kevlar-coned bass drivers were developed specifically for the D9, their physical and electrical characteristics tuned specifically to match the requirements of the bass enclosure. So what we have here is a bass system, in which the various parts are designed in tandem to create a coherent whole. That’s not unique, but it’s the rest of the box that makes the D9 stand out from the crowd, both in terms of what’s in it and how it sounds. The box itself is constructed from specially selected HDF, and the walls are thinner than those on much of the competition. Instead, resonance in the structure is dealt with by strategically sited low-mass resonators, small, constrained layer slabs placed at vibrational nodes to absorb energy and dissipate it as heat. The result is a cabinet structure that’s both better behaved and stores significantly less energy than conventional constructions. Add to that the lack of internal wadding and the use of Spendor’s Linear Flow port technology, and you have an incredibly quiet cabinet that prevents stored energy belatedly finding its way back into the enclosed air-mass to muddy the output and limits spurious output from the port itself polluting the room.
With all that attention paid to low-frequency linearity (and it’s a lot easier to describe than it is to achieve) you might well think that Spendor would want to provide the most stable footing possible – and you’d be right. So what’s with the diminutive plinth that barely extends beyond the cabinet edges? Look underneath and you’ll find that each corner of the solid plinth is supported on a substantial steel disc, 45mm in diameter. On the outer edge of each disc is the threaded hole for the M8 spike. It’s an arrangement that combines a narrower plinth with the wider footprint associated with much more obtrusive structures, a happy match of aesthetic, domestic, and mechanical requirements. The discs deliver a strong, stable, precision coupling of spike to cabinet, making for easy attitude adjustment and good energy transfer. Best of all, the mechanical stability allows the use of nice, long spikes, which allow easy adjustment in the crucial vertical dimension. The end result is both more discrete and more effective than many far more obvious (for which read ‘ugly’ or ‘intrusive’) arrangements.
At the other end of the range, we find Spendor’s innovative LPZ tweeter. This soft dome, coupled-cavity driver is familiar from both the D1 and D7, but it should still be noted just how effective and musically accomplished this apparently simple design really is. The perforated face plate acts to equalize phase and pressure across the face of the driver, producing time- and phase-coherent output, while the equivalent cavities in front of and behind the diaphragm means that the moving parts constitute a linear, balanced-mode generator: simple but effective
Put those attributes together and what you have on the one hand is a classic British speaker, pace, rhythm, and timing all present and correct. On the other – you have a classic British speaker, tonally neutral, linear, and musically coherent. In a very real sense the D9 combines the two great traditions of UK speaker design, without diminishing either. It delivers the superbly open and communicative mid-band of a model like the D1, but succeeds in grafting on a bottom end that is as impressive as it is effective. Does that mean you can have your cake and eat it? Yes it does – and you can enjoy it with a surprisingly wide range of partnering amps too. In fact, the D9 is so system and room friendly that in many cases it might well be the best speaker you’ve ever heard, especially at the price – simply because it works more readily than the competition. With elegant lines to match its thoughtful engineering, and a range of attractive finishes, both modern and traditional, to match its room friendly bass voicing, the D9 really hits the sweet spot of attainable price, achievable performance, and acceptable domestic impact. Indeed, it’s so unmistakably English and so precisely suited to the English market that it probably needs a passport to travel. But when it arrives, I suspect it’s going to shake up more than a few of the locals. Tall, slim, and innately understated, this English gentleman might not shout, but the message is still delivered with purpose, clarity and where necessary, definite intent. A superbly balanced and beautifully judged design, this is the best Spendor yet – and that’s no mean feat.
Type: Three-way rear-reflex loaded loudspeaker
Driver Complement: 2× 180mm Kevlar coned LF, 1× 180mm EP77 polymer MF, 1× 22mm Spendor LPZ HF
Bandwidth: 27Hz–25kHz ±3dB in-room
Load: 8 Ohms
Weight: 35kg ea.
222 × 1125 × 409mm
Finishes: Natural wood veneers, satin white, Spendor dark high gloss or slate grey high gloss”
The D9 will join our demo stock in September 2018.