I received some lovely speakers from the UK yesterday: Spendor SP3/1R2*

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by action pact, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore Thread Starter

    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.

    @Hifi Kenny 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, 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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  2. Fishoutofwater

    Fishoutofwater Forum Resident

    Lovely. Enjoy. You will be keeping these for many years is my guess
     
    action pact likes this.
  3. Mister Pig

    Mister Pig Reigning Barnyard Animal of the Year

    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    Congratulations on your new speakers! I bet you get many years of audio bliss out of them. Thanks for sharing the story of how some out of the box thinking can stretch our audio dollars.

    Cheers
    Mister Pig
     
    SirMarc, bhazen and action pact like this.
  4. Mintsauce

    Mintsauce Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hertfordshire UK
    I’m planning to visit them for a demo, so it’s nice to hear from a happy customer! Enjoy your new speakers.
     
    Hifi Kenny and action pact like this.
  5. fogalu

    fogalu Forum Resident

    Location:
    Killarney, Ireland
    Hey, big Spendor! Nice setup! :)
     
  6. Bill Mac

    Bill Mac Forum Resident

    Location:
    So. ME USA
    Nice speakers, enjoy! What an incredible deal and a great suggestion by Hifi Kenny.
     
    SandAndGlass and action pact like this.
  7. Jeffreylee

    Jeffreylee Rock 'n' Roll Typist

    Location:
    Louisville
    I'll never get rid of my Spendor SP-1 speakers .They may not have much deep bass but I don't necessarily miss it given how excellent they are in so many other respects.

    But once again I'm compelled to point out that if you insist on making the retail price of speakers a major consideration when comparing different models, and it does seem to be very important to you, then the Wharfedales are $1,000 speakers. They just are. That's their retail price, regardless of discounts.

    You may not think they're worth that much but that's a different conversation. I'm starting to suspect that you just wanted them to be $400 speakers so you could justify upgrading, which is fine. Whatever methodology works in order to get new gear is a good methodology. :agree:
     
    Mugrug12 likes this.
  8. Grower of Mushrooms

    Grower of Mushrooms Omnivorous mammalian bipedal entity.

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Lovely! Are you planning on bi-wiring them?
     
  9. Hifi Kenny

    Hifi Kenny Well-Known Member

    Location:
    London
    I'm delighted, a bit relieved tbh, that Action Pact is enjoying his new speakers. They will probably need at least 100 hours run in and should improve significantly over the coming weeks.

    The cherry finish seems perfect for the listening room - lighting, decor and the rack. There is nothing in the photographs to suggest that the speakers are anything but perfect. They look simply superb and I love the thin walled design. Credit must go to Analogue Seduction for their robust packaging and prompt shipping.

    In recent years, I have seen UK dealers offer excellent deals for B stock or "ex-demo" stock. In some cases, the manufacturers may have been offloading surplus new stock, e.g. Arcam Solo Music. This may be a similar case but the discount was amazing.

    Finally, I noticed that there is no mention of customs duties on the OP! :shh: If so, Action Pact really has snapped up a bargain. American buyers should a take a mental note and learn from his experience. :)
     
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  10. bhazen

    bhazen Infinitely Baffled

    Location:
    Newcastle, WA
    Once you go BBC, you don't go back
    ...
     
  11. Hifi Kenny

    Hifi Kenny Well-Known Member

    Location:
    London
    I forgot to ask Action Pact which speaker cable and stands he is using.
     
  12. Coricama

    Coricama Classic Rocker

    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    Nice! Hope you get years of enjoyment out of them.
     
    action pact likes this.
  13. Whoopycat

    Whoopycat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Des Moines
    Congrats, man! Get those grills off, I want naked photos!
     
    Joe Spivey, action pact and SirMarc like this.
  14. SirMarc

    SirMarc Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    Those are gorgeous man! Good for you :edthumbs:
     
    action pact likes this.
  15. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eagle, Idaho
    Spendors are great. You could just keep this pair forever. I know a guy's been listening to Sp3/1's for 25 years.
     
  16. Hifi Kenny

    Hifi Kenny Well-Known Member

    Location:
    London
    If a bit more bass is required, the Spendors could be moved closer to the side and back walls. Some experimentation with positioning could improve the sound after running them in.
     
    action pact likes this.
  17. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    Congrats! If they have less than 300ish hours on them, they'll just continue to improve.

    Best midrange in the biz IMO.
     
  18. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore Thread Starter

    There was undoubtedly some psychological stuff affecting my perception, but I will agree that the Wharfedale Dentons would be worth paying $1000 for, and for the $399 I paid 18 months ago, they were an absolute steal.

    In fact, now that I have these Spendors here, I can say that the Dentons do a lot of the same things almost as well. In other words, being able to compare them demonstrates that the Dentons are exceptionally good within their class.

    No, amplification is a 1959 Fisher X-100 tube amp.

    No customs duty and no VAT!

    Cables are Kimber 4TC, and the stands are Pangea DS400's (marketed by Audio Advisor), filled with kitty litter and with Dynamat lining the underside of the spiked base. I am considering ordering some Skylans.
     
  19. fortherecord

    fortherecord Forum Resident

    Location:
    Upstate, NY
    Great speakers! They image best without the grills on though.
     
  20. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    I have the larger model and they image a little better with the grills on IME.
     
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  21. Echoes Myron

    Echoes Myron Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Congratulations! That is an awesome buy. I would love to hear these someday. They look great too.
     
    action pact likes this.
  22. sberger

    sberger Grumpy(but grateful) geezer

    Beautiful. Congratulations! I presume the X100 has no trouble driving them?
     
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  23. Hifi Kenny

    Hifi Kenny Well-Known Member

    Location:
    London
    No duties, VAT or sales tax - nice one! :D
     
    action pact likes this.
  24. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore Thread Starter

    No problem that I can detect. :righton:

    Right, I was surprised to find the price drop once I entered my address while ordering. Then I remembered about the VAT... in the US, sales tax is always added to the stated price.
     
  25. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore Thread Starter

    :laughup:

    They look best to me with the grills on, so there's the tiebreaker!
     
    SandAndGlass, Helom and timind like this.

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