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I received some lovely speakers from the UK yesterday.

Discussion in 'British Audio' started by beatcomber, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. beatcomber

    beatcomber AK Member

    Messages:
    17,970
    Location:
    Lexington, Massachusetts
    A number of years ago, the first hifi system that got me interested in "good" sound was a friend's rig, which had a pair of '90s Spendor SP2/1's. Those speakers always represented kind of an aspirational benchmark for me.

    I recently came into a bit of cash after receiving an insurance settlement, so I decided it was time to upgrade from the Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary speakers I'd been using. I've enjoyed the Dentons quite a bit - they definitely have that classic British sound - but, you know, they're still $499 speakers ($399 on sale), made in China. I wanted some real British speakers.

    A London-based member on another forum suggested looking at secondhand offerings from UK dealers, which I hadn't considered, figuring that the cost of shipping would be impractical. He pointed me towards a pair of "B grade ex-demo" Spendor SP3/1R2's at Analogue Seduction in Whittlesey, offered for £915.83 (minus VAT) plus £166.67 for shipping (£1,082.50 total). So for approximately $1400 shipped, I bought a pair of speakers that typically retails new for $3195 in the US!

    The package arrived yesterday. To the credit of Analogue Seduction, the box was very carefully prepared for the long journey across the sea, with an extra layer of bubble wrap on the outside of the carton! Knowing that these were demos, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but I was very happy to find that there isn't a single mar to be found, they look brand new.

    It was mentioned to me that Spendors need a little bit of running in if they've been sitting unused for a while, and that matches my experience last night. At first listen, I was disappointed to say the least. They sounded rather dry and flat, but by around the first hour mark, they sounded noticeably better. By the second hour, they sounded spectacular, delicately nuanced, rich and detailed. Although the are some shared characteristics, the Spendors are quite a few notches better than the Wharfedales, as one would expect.

    The SP3/1R2's are only rated down to about 55hz, but I've switched off my subwoofer. In my 8' x 12' room, the Spendors provide more than ample bass, and frankly I don't think my RBH subwoofer is good enough to use with these fine speakers. To be sure, the Spendors' real strength is their natural, realistic midband, so the loss of some bass extension is a worthwhile trade-off.


    I really need to tidy up my music room, but here are some images...


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    Last edited: Aug 4, 2018

     

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  2. jcamero

    jcamero Wake Up to Find Out Subscriber

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    Beautiful!
     
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  3. rickb119

    rickb119 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    In football parlance, I'd call that a nicely executed end run. Congrats! :thumbsup:
     
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  4. Mr.Jim

    Mr.Jim President of nothing Subscriber

    Messages:
    545
    Location:
    Summerville, South Carolina
    Sometimes you can find good prices in the UK. I have had a few triumph sports cars over the years and it was often cheaper to buy parts etc. over there, so why not audio gear?
     
    beatcomber likes this.
  5. FauxHall

    FauxHall Super Member

    Messages:
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    Are you driving them with the Fisher tubes or the Rotel transistors?
     
  6. Mystic

    Mystic We're all born mad

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    I am a confirmed Brit Hi-Fi speaker lover (and owner), i.e., two pairs of KEF 104s, an old pair of Rogers, and an old pair of Harbeths, none of which matches the beauty of your Spendor monitors, and this includes a pair of mint-condition 104.2 in the rosewood finish. Your Spendors are wow, just wow. Bet they sound great, too.
     
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  7. beatcomber

    beatcomber AK Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    '59 Fisher X-100 with EL84s! Only around 14 wpc, but they seem to be driving the Spendors wonderfully.

    (The Rotel is my CD player.)

    Aw shucks. Thanks so much.

    You have a really nice collection of speakers. These are my first pair of genuine British monitors, and I feel fortunate to finally have the opportunity to own a set of the "real thing."
     
  8. Mystic

    Mystic We're all born mad

    Messages:
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    Be proud they are gorgeous and I bet they sound spectacular.
     
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  9. Fairlane

    Fairlane AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    The Bobs Big Boy brings back a lot of childhood memories too.

    The Brits do speakers well, those are lovely!
     
  10. beatcomber

    beatcomber AK Member

    Messages:
    17,970
    Location:
    Lexington, Massachusetts
    I bought that in 2005 at the Big Boy in Paw Paw, Michigan, while en route from San Francisco to my new home here in Massachusetts.

    [​IMG]

    As a Californian, you'll appreciate that I came out here with a 76 antenna topper on my car, and it stayed there for many years. Every once in a while someone would stop me in a parking lot and somewhat wistfully ask me if I was from California. :D

    download.jpeg

    Many thanks!
     
  11. onwardjames

    onwardjames Hoardimus Maximus Subscriber

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    Some lovely speakers, sir! I'd sure love to hear those. Harbeths and Rogers are both on my list as well.
     
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  12. Fairlane

    Fairlane AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Still see them around but not as much since newer cars really don't have an antenna you could put one on.

    And man thats a lot of Big Boys!
     
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  13. DOBIEGUY

    DOBIEGUY AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    694
    Location:
    Woodhaven N.Y.
    Congratulations are in order. A few notches above your Wharfies? Night and day above. Black and white above.
    Experiment with placement. Resist the urge to use that sub. After a few hours you'll 'get' just what us Spendor (and other British speakers) owners are so passionate about.
    Happy listening.
    Jimmy
     
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  14. beatcomber

    beatcomber AK Member

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    17,970
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    The sub was switched off within an hour, and now it's stashed away in the basement. :D
     
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  15. guiller

    guiller Toscaninichus Australis

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    Wonderful pair, congratulations!!
     
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  16. beatcomber

    beatcomber AK Member

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    17,970
    Location:
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    ¡Muchas gracias!
     
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  17. beatcomber

    beatcomber AK Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    I've been reading up on the benefits of biwiring, so I just ordered a pair of Canare 4S11's.

    Will they be better than the much more expensive Kimber 4TC's I'm using now? We'll soon find out.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. beatcomber

    beatcomber AK Member

    Messages:
    17,970
    Location:
    Lexington, Massachusetts
    Bi-wired with the Canares is night and day better than with the single run of Kimbers, in pretty much every way!
     
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  19. beatcomber

    beatcomber AK Member

    Messages:
    17,970
    Location:
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    For the heck of it, last night I swapped my Rega Brio-R in place of the Fisher X-100 tubes, to see if the Spendors prefer a little more power from solid state and, you know, if British speakers prefers British amplification.

    I'm actually kind of digging the combination. The presentation is slightly more fulsome (the Rega is a pretty warm-sounding amp), but the tonality is not that different from my Fisher X-100. The difference in imaging vividness is not as pronounced as I expected, and that's offset by finer detail and overall rhythmic tightness. Oh, and I had forgotten how quiet backgrounds are with solid state.

    As much as I loath the expression, the Brio-R does have a reasonably tube-like character, in that it doesn't have any hint of a hard edge, and it is capable of producing much of the midrange bloom that makes tubes so inviting.

    I'm gonna live with this pairing for a little while and see if prefer it. The Fisher will likewise go upstairs to the bedroom system, and be paired with the Dentons.
     
  20. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    3,073
    Beautiful speakers! I bet that system, and that listening room sound amazing.

    Beyond my budget, though. If I were shopping for British speakers, I'd have to flag down a White Lorry carrying the cheapie knock-offs.
     
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