Spendor D7 Speakers?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by avanti1960, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    The attractive tower speaker is listed as a Stereophile Class A rating. Yet there is some chatter about not being compatible with certain amplifiers and meeting with harsh, hard sounding results.

    Anyone heard them?
     
  2. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eagle, Idaho
    I haven't but someone whose opinion I respect a lot has and says they can be bright.
     
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  3. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    You've done some research and therefore exercising caution. (and should be) Also consider your preferences, maybe a particular preference for efficient and dynamic response, or liveliness (brightness) such as the Klipsch Heresey... such that a warmer amp may complement and in a more acoustically deadened room. The Spendors if bright as suspected, could sound superb under these conditions. Personally I have a great affinity for crisp sounding hi hats, cymbals, bite in the brass. For example, Stan Getz/ Astrud Gilberto recordings are highly dynamic, so as the drummer may go to the ride during a segment, or a tambourine inserted for a few measures, those instruments really come forward in the mix, and should be reproduced in the room as dominant and directional (as intended) with perception of location and depth. The term "hardness" of sound by my definition would be emphasis in the 2 kHz to 6 kHz range... exactly the emphasis in a reflective room.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
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  4. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.
    I believe @WiredChuck owns a pair. I've also been told they can be bright. From knowing my opinion of other speakers, the local dealer basically refused to let me demo them.
     
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  5. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    Here's a review from Stereophile Spendor D7 loudspeaker Measurements

    Looking at the on axis curve, I see a slight dip in the mid-bass area, followed by a small resonant peak at about 2.5 kHz (this may be an anomaly of the mic or its placement) and a more broadband emphasis at about 10 kHz. This translates to "brighter" but not to excess in my opinion.... according to the plot. The 2.5 kHz resonant peak (if real) could impose a sense of hardness to certain program, but the slight rise at 10 kHz really doesn't bother me. The off-axis measurement reveals a pronounced dip at 3 kHz followed by a "flare" from 5 kHz to 8 kHz. Even slightly off axis could lend to a sense of brightness. This seems to indicate the speakers need to be toed in precisely, and perhaps their reflected energy controlled by room treatment.

    British speakers are classically more subdued, but this one I gather very fast and detailed.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
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  6. murphythecat

    murphythecat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    kinda liked them when I heard them. worth a audition
    but when I auditioned them I preferred the harbeth sound for some reason

    Id suggest to try them, as well as graham ls59
     
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  7. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Agreed, the brightness in the plot does not seem excessive. A few years ago I put out a thread requesting a floor standing speaker that was voiced like the KEF LS50s. The KEF R -series are not, the reference series are but they are $$$. Really none others existed from what I and others were able to find.
    These Spendors might be the ticket at a much more affordable price point.
    I can handle bright / neurtral as long as the sound is clean and free from harmonic distortion.
     
  8. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.
    I've been doing some back to back comparisons with some LS50s and my Spendor SP2/3R2s. I am surprised by their similarity in tone. If I walked into the room blindfolded, it'd be difficult to pick them out if playing at moderate volumes. The KEFs are hardly broke-in but so far, they're slightly more refined in the midrange. They also have similar imaging. Last night, I thought the Spendors were just a tad brighter overall. Of course, the Spendors sound larger.

    LS50s are on litter & shot filled B&W stands. Cable for both pairs is basic 12 gauge OFC.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    nice setup! thanks for the comparison, i loved the sound of the LS50s when I had them.
    how is the bass and dynamic impact of the spendors?
     
  10. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.
    Bass and dynamics are quite similar to the LS50s, despite the size difference. The Spendors reach lower, but at moderate volumes, they're basically equals in the upper bass. The Spendor's dynamics are not what I consider attention grabbing. They can handle rock well enough for me, but they're really best suited for blues, orchestra, and jazz.

    I think the What Hi-Fi review is accurate.
     
  11. murphythecat

    murphythecat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    I compared the kef R series to the D7. I preffered the D7. they had a lot of good things to them.
    Personally, i find at this level of performance, you cannot make a bad choice. Do try to audition the Graham ls59. easily some of the best speaker ive ever heard, perhaps the favorite speaker Ive ever owned. I can officially say im off the merry go round. Im keeping the graham and the small P3's + sub.
     
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  12. WiredChuck

    WiredChuck Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bay Area
    I have a pair and quite like them. I upgraded from a pair of Golden Ear Triton 7. I paired them with a Croft Acoustics Phono Integrated and now with a Rogue Audio Sphinx with Signal Cable Silver Resolution cables and wiring. I don't find them bright or fatiguing; to the contrary, I can happily listen to them for hours. I listen to jazz, rock, and metal, and to my ears they do it all well.

    Of course, your amplifier and mileage may vary, but IMHO they're definitely worth a listen if you get the opportunity.
     
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  13. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    shoot if they arent bright or fatiguing with a sphinx then they should be fine. how is the bass ?
     
  14. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    I auditioned them for five days last Spring. They may be one of the top ten floor standers ever made - a real achievement from Spendor. FWIW, I have not auditioned the newer D9.

    The D7 was amazing. People who post about the D7 being troublesome for some amps simply haven’t actually had a chance to audition the D7 for themselves - they’re just repeating theories and supposition.

    I tried the D7 in my main listening room - 12’ x 16’. I drove them with, in order, a Teac AI-501DA, Arcam A49, LFD NCSE MK II, Naim Supernait 2/HiCap, vintage Yamaha CR 2040, vintage Sansui 8080, vintage Yamaha CA-810, and a Hegel 80, and a little 30W per channel Synthesis Flame valve integrated. In every setup, the D7s sounded nothing less than very good.

    The Teac was a little dry, but drove the D7s nicely. The AI-501DA is a surprisingly good integrated. The sound was balanced but dry, and had a lot of energy. It’s not the last word in audiophilia, but the Teac is delightful. The D7s responded accordingly.

    The Arcam A49 is a completely neutral sounding integrated. To my ears, the integrated has no sound of its own. It passed to the D7s every single tiny detail that was on vinyl, CD or stream. With all its enormous power on tap, I was able to easily drive the D7s to ear-splitting levels. Ear plugs were used. The Arcam was never my favorite integrated amp - I never got used to it, and ended up trading it last August.

    The LFD was the best of the bunch, no doubt, but that’s LFD for you. Again, the D7s simply did what they were told to do by the NCSE MKII. The NCSE is a stellar design that can really give the D7s a detail and nuance and speed workout. The D7s rose to the occasion easily.

    When driven by any of the vintage receivers or the Yamaha integrated, the D7s simply took on the warmth of those 70s designs. The Yamaha CR2040 receiver driving the D7s was a seriously wonderful match. No signs of strain or anything else except good music from the vintage gear.

    The Hegel 80 was the only disappointment, but then again the Hegel in my main room and with a pair of Harbeth Monitor 30.1 or KEF 104aB or Kudos Cardea Super 10 or Spendor A5r just didn’t do it for me personally either. I recently sold the Hegel 80.

    The little Synthesis Flame was unable to drive the D7s to particularly loud levels (which was inconsequential to me because I don’t normally listen to music much above 80dbC SPL (as measured at 8.5’). Again though, the D7s just took on the character of the Flame and precisely reproduced whatever excitement or dullness or energy or lack thereof was in the recording. Mostly, it was a very enjoyable listen. The Flame is a very good integrated.

    The D7s are superb speakers - end-game speakers for most music-loving audiophiles I think. I also think the speakers are a home run for Spendor just as definitively as the SHL5 Plus is a home run for Harbeth, and so on. I did not find an amp that couldn’t easily drive the speakers.

    The criticisms I have about the D7 are minutely trivial - nitpicking because I feel as though I have to find some little issue or else I’m not being objective enough in my appraisal. The fact remains that, to my ears, the D7 is one of the best loudspeakers on the market today. In my opinion, the speakers are superb music makers - no matter what music the listeners happen to like.

    Other equipment used during the audition week included a North Star Design Supremo DAC being fed by an Auralic Aries network player, a Rega RP6 (with Groovetracer subplatter & bearing, Rega tungsten counterweight, Rega white belt, Dynavector Karat 17D3 cart, all on an HRS platform), TIDAL HiFi stream, Magnum Dynalab MD108T FM tuner, and a NAS loaded with DSD files. The audition music list was very long - a lot of jazz (bop, post-bop, bebop, new age, etc.), classical orchestra and opera, John Darko’s electronica recommendations, Tool, a lot of hard rock, and you-name-it. The D7 speakers can handle everything beautifully.

    The D7 is not meant to rattle walls. It’s meant to play music. The soundstage is wonderfully realistic whenever recordings permit it. Detail, vocal realism, musicality, bass weight and clarity, and an extended treble that seems to soar are all there. Obviously, I really liked the D7.
     
  15. WiredChuck

    WiredChuck Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bay Area
    I'm quite happy with it. It doesn't rattle the house, but I also don't feel that I am missing anything.

    I have for a few years now been considering an LFD. This post only deepens my interest in getting one...
     
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  16. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    In every way I can tell, the chatter is completely wrong. Problems lie elsewhere in their systems.
     
  17. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    I think that LFD is a boutique that has resisted, for a variety of good reasons, the trends and tendencies in the marketplace sufficiently well to have developed, maintained and continuously improved distinctive amplifier designs that stand with the very best we can buy. No remote control. No digital switching. No microprocessor control. Conservatively industrial-ish, extremely robust casework, extremely high quality mechanical switches, and an extremely high quality volume control. After that, it’s just music, music and more music.

    I’ve had my NCSE MK II for over a year now, but I still can’t get enough of it.

    The only criticisms I have are non-music and non-electronic related. For example, as of my model, LFD doesn’t label any controls or speaker outputs. You’re left to figure out on your own which pair of binding posts is for the left speaker and which one is for the right speaker. The input selector switch is not labeled. The sparse, printed user manual is no help. Anyway, the lack of front panel labeling makes for a very clean looking front panel. And because you do have to physically get up to switch inputs, doing so by positional feel quickly becomes second nature. But, labeling left and right speaker outputs at a minimum should be done during final assembly and testing.

    If you have a chance to audition a Zero LE MK IV or an NCSE MK II, it’s very well worthwhile.
     
  18. ashulman

    ashulman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Utica, NY
    Auditioned this weekend. As I say in another thread they sounded dark and rolled off compared to my Martin Logan esls. But that may be Apples and oranges. They were rich and detailed but I detected some harshness that I wrote off to digital files. I'm a vinyl person. But maybe it was the speakers. Not sure
     
  19. Shoalcove

    Shoalcove Forum Resident

    s

    Very interesting to here your comments on the D7 with LFD. I have a Sonneteer Alabaster and have wondered about how it would match up with the Spendor. I’m very happy with my PSB T2’s but it’s hard not to find myself wondering what if.... My Alabaster is 50wpc but seems to do well with the T2’s. My room is about 12x21. Any thoughts on the subject? I don’t want to derail the thread, I’m just curious if the D7 would be happy with 50/wpc. Thanks!
     
  20. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    I drove the D7s easily with a 30wpc Synthesis Flame valve integrated, albeit not to really loud levels. The litte Teac AI-501DA is a low-power Class D integrated that also seems to have more than enough oomph for the D7s. The D7 efficency rating is 90dB. I’d say your fine Soneteer Alabaster (which I’d definitely rate notably higher than the the Synthesis Flame and the Teac) would do a great job with a pair of D7s.
     
  21. Shoalcove

    Shoalcove Forum Resident

    Thanks! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. I’ve not heard a LFD amp but would be curious to compare them. My Alabaster is also lacking most of the creature comforts that come on modern amps but it does at least label a few things! Thanks again!
     
  22. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Agitater what an exceptionally thorough summary, thank you. I can almost hear them playing because of your descriptions and would have no concerns about them being too bright.
    I'm glad you mentioned the Harbeth SHL5+ because those are another speaker I would be considering if I upgraded. I have heard them many times and really love their clarity and punch.
    The D7s appeal to me because I believe they would have similar clarity but be even more dynamic and with more punch than the Harbeths. Does that sound about right?
     
  23. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    I can’t decide between the two. I own the Harbeth Monitor 30.1 speakers now, among others. I’m delighted with them. Can’t get enough of them. After more than a year with them, the speakers continue to surprise me. The most important thing for me is that I’ve achieved a system synergy that I’m not going to mess with until my main listening room grows a bit larger in volume sometime in May or June (depending on when I decide to close on a new place). If it’s a house that I close on, the D7 will get the nod because I’ll have the additional room they need to get into full voice. If it’s a large-ish condo I close on, the SHL5 Plus will get the nod.

    I have no idea why I just wrote that. Either pair of speakers will do in either place I’m considering. But I need some way of choosing between the two speakers.

    To my ears, there is no choice between the D7 and SHL5 Plus - they’re both reference class products that are effectively end game speakers for most people with at least a medium size listening room. If someone has a small listening room (e.g., 10’x12’ or smaller) neither of these speakers will sound their best. They need more space to prevent them from overpowering the room. They’ll do brilliantly in rooms anywhere from 12’x14’ up to 16’x24’ or even slightly larger still.

    There are at least ten other speakers models I can rattle off that can look the D7 and the SHL5 Plus straight in the ‘eye’ and not flinch a bit. While each speaker sounds a bit different from its competitors, their vast overlapping qualities, to my ears, excel at fundamentally beautiful and clear bass, midrange that is wholly realistic and lifelike when that is called for, handle complex orchestral works naturally, handle complex electronica perfectly, and have extended treble that is effortless. Beyond those things, the unique qualities or quirks or what-have-you that each of the speakers offers or features are irrelevant to me.

    There are so many great speakers out there - it’s astonishing.

    Anyway, I’ve found the SHL5 Plus and the D7 to be more than capable of dramatic punch - the sort of thing that stops conversations and makes people listen to the music. In the time I’ve spent with both speakers, I found the the SHL5 Plus responded better (especially when listening at lower volume) to amps and integrated amps capable of delivering somewhat greater than average current.

    Then again, a friend who purchased an early pair of SHL5 Plus a few months after the model landed in Toronto has been driving them ever since he got them with a Naim Nait 5SI 60wpc integrated. They sound wonderful. He and his wife have a great listening room - persian rugs on top of old hardwood plank floors, plaster walls, small ceiling beams, bookshelves on parts of three walls, part of their art collection hanging, four comfortable leather upholstered arm chairs for listening, end tables, coffee table, a couple of footstools. You get the idea - the room is well broken up and the sound is superb. Stereo imaging and instrument placement and whatnot in that sort of room cease to have any great relevance because every recording sounds like you’re at the session in the studio or at the venue for the performance (where there is no left/right or placement because you can see the individual musicians playing and that fact provides positioning in the sound field no matter where in the venue you’re sitting). That’s with a Naim-basic Nait 5SI. He feeds everything from high-res files from his NAS (via an OPPO 105D to a Naim DAC V1) to vinyl spun on an aging (18 year old) but still rock steady Linn LP12 with a couple of upgrades, to CDs on the OPPO. Music just materializes in the room and you get swept away by it no matter what music it happens to be.

    In my own time with the D7, friends and I frequently lost the thread of conversation as the speakers presented yet another remarkable performance. Hank Crawford’s long out-of-print LP,. Low Flame High Heat, was a case in point. When I put the album on we were talking about whether or not we’d be getting together for Nuit Blanche months later in the Fall. Halfway into the first track we’d gone silent, the three of us were tapping a hand or foot, we were all smiling, and the music was just spilling across the room. Great stuff. Felt like we were at the recording sessions.

    I can’t choose between the two speakers. Maybe just consider the room criteria I suggested? Or maybe just flip a coin? What a decision!
     
  24. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    nicely said, thanks again. I have the Harbeth c7ES3 and really like them but appreciate the extra bass weight and clarity that the SHL5+ offer and likely the Spendors too.
     
  25. Shoalcove

    Shoalcove Forum Resident

    Agitater,
    I’d like to know what the other 10 speakers are that you feel are comparable! You get to hear far greater variety of audio equipment than I ever will so I’m always interested in hearing your views on what is out there. Brand selection is limited around here so more options is always a plus. I have heard Harbeth SHL-5’s quite a bit but not the “plus”. I was less enthralled with the Harbeths than I expected. I have heard the “plus” is a significant change.
     
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