Spendor D7 Speakers?

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

  1. Seafinch

    Seafinch Preferred Patron

    Location:
    Utah
    Was it you that said before that you prefer the C7 with a well integrated sub more than the SHL5+? I might be misremembering, but if I'm not, what changed?
     
  2. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    I hope not :) But what I did say was that the C7s and the sub has better sounding bass than the monitor 40.2s (which are bloated and wooley from what I have heard on several occasions).
    I love the sound of the C7s with the sub combo but the HL5 has a special kind of clarity and transparency and the bass is tighter / punchy enough to lose the sub.
     
    Seafinch likes this.
  3. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    I’m glad you asked!

    The Super HL5 Plus is quite a loudspeaker. Reference class in every way that matters.

    The other 10 speakers I was referring to are (in no particular order):

    1. Focal Sopra No. 1 - remarkable in almost any size room, from small to large. Bass and midrange power will be down slightly in bigger rooms. Keep them out of very small rooms because they’ll overload the space easily.

    2. Vienna Acoustics Beethoven Baby Grand SE - it’s a remarkable all-around performer that is hard to walk away from. Medium size rooms or larger. Like all the speakers on this list, it seems to transparent to the source that really good recordings put you right in the studio or venue. Keep them out of small rooms.

    3. Audio Physic Classic 30 - I’ve heard this one repeatedly driven by everything from a low-power valve integrated to big, fat McIntosh amps. The speakers transcend recordings. Like chameleons, they take on whatever character is in the music. Small-ish rooms can work, but medium size rooms are much better.

    4. Totem Acoustics Forest Signature - this is probably the most fun speaker on this list. Vince Bruzzese designed these things a number of years ago and they still merit inclusion on this list. It’s another chameleon, but Bruzzese’s magic is alway in his crossovers and the way in which he matches drivers to crossovers (and each other) and puts together the perfect cabinet for them. Keep them out of small rooms.

    5. PMC Fact.8 - another speaker that is scary-good because of so many things it does well. At first glance, the drivers look too small. As soon as you start playing music through these things though, they immediately take on the character and power of whatever is being played. The Fact.8 actually does quite well in small-ish rooms, but sings in medium size or larger rooms.

    6. Vandersteen Treo CT - in my opinion and to my ears, the Treo CT is the best speaker Vandersteen makes. It’s as amazing an accomplishment as any of the others on this list. It has a bass weight that seems so well controlled and so clear, like the Audio Physic and the Vienna Acoustics, that you feel as though you’re at the recording. Medium size listening rooms or larger.

    7. B&W 805 D3 - one of the best standmount speakers, alongside the Kudos Cardea Super 10 and the Focal Sopra No. 1, that I’ve ever heard. You could add the Harbeth 7ES3, Harbeth Monitor 30.1, Raidho XT-1, Audio Note AN-J/E, KEF Reference 1 and a couple of others here too. Keep them out of very small listening rooms, and keep them out of large listening rooms.

    8. ATC SCM19A - another remarkable speaker from a company that has been doing well for a long time. Like the other speakers here, it does the most important thing a speaker can do for me personally - get out of the way of the music.

    9. Proac Response D30R - the company - like Focal, Dynaudio and a few other notables in the pro studio monitor business - has taken many of the things it learned in the studio and modified them beautifully for the home. All the right things are here, but the tweeter is the cherry on the icing. Keep them out of small rooms.

    10. Kudos Cardea Super 10 - as one notable reviewer wrote, “standmount speakers don’t get much better than this.” Designer Derek Gilligan has done a truly remarkable job. These speakers perform out of all proportion to their size. Small rooms not advised because they can overload bass. They excel in medium size rooms, not so much in large rooms. I own a pair of these.

    11. Diapason Adamantes III - a work of art, and probably the most expensive speaker on this list. I own a pair of Diapason Micra speakers, in use in a small room, and they’re truly remarkable in every way. Technically, artistically and aurally they set a standard - from the Micra up to the Adamantes - that all the other speakers on this list hit right on the nose. But there’s just something special about the Adamantes. Of course I can say almost identical words about the others on this list as well.

    You’re in New Brunswick? Prices in Canada range from CAN$5,500 up to CAN$11,000; 25% lower in the U.S.

    All of the speakers on this list are models I consider standards against which all other speakers at their price points should be compared. That’s not to say that some competing models won’t sound better to some audiophiles. But this is the list I’ve established that works for me.

    A word of warning too. To get the best out of these speakers (or any others, no matter how costly or how inexpensive they happen to be), the listening room in which they’re set up has to be right. Bookshelves, area rugs over hardwood or laminate flooring, curtains/drapes in front of the windows, posters or artwork on the walls, plenty of upholstered armchairs, LPs on shelves, CDs on shelves, etc., etc. Rooms need to be broken up. If an audiophile doesn’t break up the listening room, he’ll have to start messing around with bass traps and baffles and other aggravations.

    All of these speakers need to be a minimum of 14” from the wall behind them and a minimum of 24” from the walls on either side. If any of these speakers are 6’-9’ apart and 7’ or more from the main listening positions, very little toe-in is needed. Many audiophiles make what sounds to me like the mistake of overtoeing their speakers right off the bat, and then never really get things correctly set up and end up inadvertently settling for a second-rate system. Less toe-in (and literally no toe-in for some rooms and setups). Anyway, after that, in a nicely broken up room, all you have to do is sit back and listen.

    Why do I use the Harbeth Monitor 30.1 and Kudos Cardea Super 10 speakers in my main systems, rather than one of the models on this list? The reason is simple - my main system speaker choices are fantastic and they suit my main listening room perfectly. Make them #12 and #13 on this list.
     
  4. Seafinch

    Seafinch Preferred Patron

    Location:
    Utah
    Ah! That makes more sense :) Good luck with your search.
     
    avanti1960 likes this.
  5. Shoalcove

    Shoalcove Forum Resident

    Agitater,
    Thank you very much for such a detailed and thoughtful reply! I have heard a couple on your list but you have certainly added to my list of speakers to listen to. I don’t want to further hijack the thread but do appreciate you sharing your experiences. Back to the D7’s...
     
  6. Glockers

    Glockers New Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Has any one who knows the D7's had a chance to try the KEF R7's (2018)? I have had Spendor A9's in the past and felt that they were great but lacked bass especially at lower volumes (using a Bladelius Thor 2 amp). Unfortunately the only D7 dealer is about 2000kms from me so I cant get to hear them but he and others have said that the D7 addresses those areas. Have always wanted to get back to Spendor after a brief flirtation with some Linn 109's.

    But I have listened to the KEF R7's and found them to be very good. Both are at the same price point over here.

    Am now officially in a quandary.

    Any one especially Agitater have any thoughts.
     
  7. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.
    I'd suggest you consult with Acoustic Sounds but that might be difficult from down under. Even if I had $7K to purchase D7s, I'd go with A7s.
     
  8. Glockers

    Glockers New Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Re-A7 - any particular reasons you suggest A7's over the D7's?
     
  9. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    There are very few of the new R-series in the retail channels in my part of the world right now, but I auditioned them in Toronto a short while ago. All I can say is that the R5 and R7 are noticeably better-sounding than the R500 and R700 they replaced. The midrange congestion I heard from the R500 is completely gone, highs aren’t lost like there were in the R500 and R700 in some nether-region created by a decent Uni-Q driver and what sounded to me like a reluctant crossover, and bass produced by the R7 is better defined and with more realistic timbres that the older R-series.

    All that praise for the new R7 and I personally still like the Spendor D7 better. That said, I know two people who’ve auditioned the D7 several times (at Audio Eden in Aurora, north of Toronto) and don’t like the speakers.

    The Spendor D7 is a completely different design from the A9. The A series is very good, but it’s not in the same class of accuracy, presence or resolution as the D7 or D9.

    Again though, the superb D7 is not all things to all people, despite my effusive praise for the speakers. Only an audition will tell the tale for you personally, but 2,000 kilometres seems more than a bit too far to travel. The thing is, the new R7 is very good. If you like the R7. after an audition at a shop, and if a home audition is available so that you can hear what the speakers sound like in your listening with your amp and that works out well, then you’ve got your speakers.

    Are you considering any other speakers besides KEF and Spendor? I’m asking because you’ve got some stellar quality loudspeaker makers in Australia. I heard the VAF Signature i66 MKII last year, and I was deeply impressed. Personally, I think they’re an all-around better sounding speaker than the KEF R7. Something else to audition seriously, I think.
     
  10. Glockers

    Glockers New Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Thanks for the response.

    I've been trying lots of different speakers so far including PMC's, Montor Audio Gold 300 and 200, Proacs, B&W's, Linn 140's etc etc and am running out of steam. The first few seemed to have a bit too much bass for my liking. I just had a quick look at the VAF's and they lack a certain WAF which is important in my household.

    Unfortunately we don't really do home auditions much in Australia and the 2000 km's would ensure that. The chap who was the distributor has lost it to someone new who hasn't yet got their floor samples in and wont have for a couple more months - and because of this I can get a pretty good price on the D7's - US$3500 - but only if I am prepared to make the leap of faith... I'm just concerned that they might be overly "bright" ie too much or abrasive high end. Opinions seem to be all over the place.

    I listen to all sorts of music, from Boz Scaggs to Quincy Jones, Kem'Mo to Thundercat, Steely Dan to The Who, Yo Yo Ma to Fabrizio De Andre. All over the park but usually at lower volumes so I need a speaker that deals with that especially the latter. R7's seemed to play well at lower volumes and in large rooms. But I do have a thing about Spendor...
     
  11. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.
    A7s are closer in tone to SP100s, which to my ears are about perfect. My dealer said he couldn't get the D7s to sound non-fatiguing - claimed the treble was too hot regardless of anything he tried. I still have yet to hear them myself, but I trust his assessment. The A4s have perfectly neutral tone to my ears - plenty of resolution with zero fatigue. Dealer said the A7s are just A4s but better, and with scale remarkably close to SP100s. Keep in mind that all their speakers use the same level of driver quality. The same wide surround tweeter in the A2/4/7 is in their $25k Classic 200s. They all get silver plated wiring and high grade crossover parts. The difference in price mostly comes down to cabinet size and driver compliment.

    If I had $8K to spend, I'd go straight for the new Classic 1/2s.
     
  12. Glockers

    Glockers New Member

    Location:
    Australia
    q
    Unfortunately I dont have $8k to spend! D7's as mentioned are on a special at US$3500 which is about A$4900.

    Still worried about the "bright" "non-fatiguing" D7 rep though... Maybe the R7's are the go. They did sound rather good playing Love Supreme...
     
  13. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    To my ears, the D7 is a superb speaker. Accurate at all reasonable volume levels, gorgeous instrument timbres, power or delicacy as needed, with presence and weight. The D7 imposes little of itself on recordings, rather taking on the character of whatever is playing. To my ears, the D7 stands even with the best floorstanders in its price class.

    Only an audition can determine if your hearing and mine are similar enough for you to feel the same way. I think it’s smart to choose the R7 that you’ve actually heard and really liked over a speaker that you can’t audition.
     
  14. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.
    Not exactly a torture test of a speaker.

    For the price you can snag those D7s, I imagine you could probably rehome them for little or zero loss if they don't work out.
     
  15. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    its hard to grasp that the KEF R7 and spendor D7 are the same price in Australia. is the R7 inflated, the D7 deflated or a combination of the two compared to UK retail?
    the D7s are just about twice the price of the R7s in the US.
    If the D7s dropped to the R7 retail i would run, not walk to the dealer and pick up a pair.
    i heard the R11 extensively and while good, are more competent than special. i would assume the R7s are similar. the D7s are stereophile class A and the review is quite complimentary as are other reviews and reports.
     
  16. Vinyl Archaeologist

    Vinyl Archaeologist Forum Resident

    I have only heard the kef r500 not the new r7 but the r500s were not in the same class as the Spendor Sp100R2’s that I have now. They were good for there price point but to my ear lacked refinement in timbre and midrange. ymmv
     
  17. chrism1971

    chrism1971 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glos, UK
    Someone in Wales selling D7s at half price on e*a*…. that's half the UK price.
     
  18. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    FYI the D7s are L 5795 in the UK and the R7s are L 2600.
     
  19. Can you get hold of some “Russell K” Red 150s to audition?

    I preferred them to the D7s and I’m also now a very happy Red 150 owner.
     
  20. Glockers

    Glockers New Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Well I took the plunge and bought the D7's. Early days yet but already pretty pleased with the decision. Thanks for everyone's input!

    My next dilemma is that I have a Peachtree Nova 3oo which in itself is not the problem however the sound I get playing the same source - Qobuz - delivers remarkably different results between the following connections.

    1. Sonos Connect with volume bypass via Audioquest Optical to Nova
    2. Bluesound Node 2 via Audioquest Coax to Nova
    3. iPhone via USB on Nova using bog standard Apple lightning to USB cable.

    To my surprise, maybe, 1 and 2 sound remarkably similar (OK) but 3 outshines them by a country mile. Much more detail and openness.

    I am currently playing with Roon as the UI, and ideally would like to avoid having to plug my phone in to play music...

    Any suggestions/ideas of what to tweak please?
     
    Echoes Myron likes this.
  21. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    This is a Spendor D7 thread. You’ve asked an interesting question, in detail, that has nothing to do with your D7s. Start a new thread to avoid a hijack.
     
  22. Glockers

    Glockers New Member

    Location:
    Australia
    OK thanks
     
  23. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Have you thought about adding more acoustic treatment to your room? From this view it seems like it would pay great sonic dividends.
     
  24. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.
    Can't see it in the pics but I have absorption at first reflection points. I've also added a panel on the wall behind and between the speakers - that was a good improvement. The rack has been replaced with a dark oak entertainment console with enough top shelf real-estate for my Cronus, Yamaha and turntable. Luckily, the imaging didn't suffer even though it's still between the speakers. I'd post a pic but can no longer get Imgur to work with this forum.
     
  25. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Listened to the D7s today for a really long enjoyable time at the home / demo room of a local dealer. They were driven by a very nice class A 50 WPC tube amplifier (Jadis) and I have to say I was extremely impressed with the sound of these speakers.
    I kept thinking about the new Stereophile review of the A7, and how the technology of the rear firing slot shaped port gave them deep, detailed bass that is in a class by itself- because the D7s really delivered some impressively deep, clear, powerfully loud, physically sensed, well defined acoustic bass notes that kept up with the music- so quick and life like sounding. Literally amazing bass that exceeded my thoughts going into the demo.
    Sound stage was equally impressive- just huge yet well defined. Trumpet notes burst from the sound stage like exploding 3-D fireworks. Midrange was open window transparent and neutral with not a trace of glare or harshness.
    Dynamics and jump factor were also impressive just like the reviews have mentioned, some saying they rival that of horn loaded speakers. Sensitivity was on full display too, as the 50 WPC tube amp gave us all of the volume we would ever need and then some. They played really loud really well and my Atoms for Peace CD sounded phenomenal. My ears were actually ringing a little after a while it was so loud. The sound of the tweeter was one area where I was let down slightly from admittedly very high expectations after reading the Stereophile review. The sound wasn't bright, harsh or fatiguing and was well detailed and extended, it occasionally sounded a bit off or unnatural as if forced, lacking just a bit of delicacy compared to my Harbeth tweeters but still very nice. My host mentioned that they are very sensitive to cabling and said to avoid using any kind of silver or known bright speaker or interconnect cables. Also that positioning is important as well- to avoid all but just a slight amount of toe-in.
    Would / will I pull the trigger on these? At this point I am undecided. I need some time to think and process. These speakers are extremely technically proficient and demand attention, and you are rewarded of you oblige. They just aren't as "comfortable" or relaxing as my Harbeths- although I did not attempt to put the Spendors into that mode.
     
    Ulises and Joe Spivey like this.

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