New Speakers (and a New Tweeter) From Spendor

by Roy Gregory | January 27, 2013

pendor launched two new compact floorstanding loudspeakers at the recent Bristol show, a revised version of the well-established A6 and the all-new D7. The A6R features an entirely new bass-mid driver, featuring Spendor's proprietary EP77 polymer cone material. The change in material, identifiable by the switch from a clear to a black cone, also necessitated a change in the surround and a completely revised crossover. The result is a modest increase in price to 2495 per pair, but a claimed substantial improvement in performance. Certainly, the pair playing at the show displayed the Spendor hallmark of easy-going, unobtrusive musical communication, although final judgment rests on a more controllable listening experience. Having said that, whilst I won’t dismiss any product for sounding indifferent (or worse) at a show, those that give a good account of themselves definitely get a gold star on their weekly report card. It will be interesting to see how the A6Rs do come the end of term.

But the bigger news is built into the D7, a slightly larger two-and-a-half way design that incorporates three new in-house drivers and a revised/evolved port design -- that’s almost a cataclysmic revolution for this most conservative of UK companies. The results, however, speak for themselves. Whilst I’ve never been totally convinced by the Devialet amplifier, its use with the D7 produced the most convincing and enjoyable results I’ve ever experienced from the compact digital device -- and that’s under show conditions. That makes the D7 a very interesting prospect indeed.

So what’s its secret? The bass-mid driver is another new EP77-based design, this time built onto a 180mm basket. It is teamed with a bonded Kevlar-coned bass unit, both drivers employing a new polymer surround material that, as well as providing superior termination for the cones, apparently also significantly reduces the break-in period, and that’s got to be a good thing. The low frequencies are loaded by a floor-level, rear-facing port, a new twin-Venturi design that incorporates a wing-shaped center section, effectively creating two vertical slots. The flared egress is said to offer a more even pressure and air flow within the port, leading to a more controlled and better behaved air mass and lower port noise. The increase in control also allows Spendor to dispense with low-frequency damping materials that otherwise slow and slur the bass response. The end result is tighter, cleaner but also more natural bass, with better integration and a more agile, tactile response.

Which brings us, finally, to the highlight of this particular story, the new LPZ tweeter. The acronym stands for Linear Pressure Zone and refers to the creation of a pressure zone in front of the soft dome, to balance the pressure caused by the enclosed air mass behind it. Any tweeter with a sealed chamber behind its dome will suffer from compressive effects as a result. As the tweeter excursion increases, the pressure will resist the motion. By incorporating a carefully calculated grille in front of the dome, Spendor have created a balancing force that, whilst it's less powerful than the pressure behind the dome, acts as a transition or stepping-stone between the dome and the listening room, simultaneously equalizing sound-wave paths across the diaphragm. The result is almost like snapping the treble into focus, with a purity and concerted energy that is both clearly apparent and very welcome. A small disc in the center of the grille acts to cancel dome center break-up effects, further refining the sound.

Combined with the improvements in the clarity and naturalness of the bottom end, the new tweeter elevates the D7’s performance to an impressive level, especially given the modest dimensions and price tag -- around 4000 per pair. If you want speakers that let your music breathe, that let you hear the recorded performance rather than drawing attention to themselves, these new Spendors could be just the ticket. Expect a review as soon as I can lay my hands on a pair.

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