- Written by Brian Florian
- Published on 30 July 2009
Spendor has a rich history reaching all the way back to work done at/for the BBC in the 1960s. Today they are a dedicated speaker company who manufacture all their own mid/bass drivers (tweeters are made to their spec and design by a 3rd party) and they simply refuse to "go to China" with any of their product.
The subject of our review is the brand new A5 model, billed by Spendor as "compact high performance floor standing loudspeakers". Indeed, at a mere 790mm tall (just shy of 32 inches) they have a distinguished charm about them. The presentation is that of a very traditional speaker, only scaled down.
The A5s are a classic ported 2-1/2 way speaker design with the tweeter crossing over to the mid/bass driver at a rather high 4.5kHz, and the bass driver low-passed at 700Hz. 2-1/2 way is nothing new, in fact its very old, but we've witnessed an increased popularity among speaker manufacturers due in part no doubt to the fact that you get almost all the benefits of a true 3-way design at lower cost and an easier time manufacturing consistent units.
The Spendor spec'ed 22mm tweeter is of the classic "soft" (textile) variety with the usual boast of fluid cooling/damping given. The Spendor built 150mm mid/bass and bass drivers, although similar in their magnesium alloy chassis, do differ in their particular cone material and driver structure, the former employing a true phase cone (as opposed to a cone shaped dust cap) which in my experience has proven to improve a driver's upper end, explaining in part how Spendor gets away with such a high crossover frequency. The cabinets are, for lack of more creative phraseology, perfect. The underlying MDF is, we are told, reinforced with plenty of circumference bracing and seems remarkably solid and inert, yet they are not ridiculously heavy. Our sample was clad in a deep toned Wenge veneer, with Light Oak, Cherry, and the requisite Black Ash offered as well. The craftsmanship is almost too good in that on initial inspection there was question as to whether it was real wood or a textured vinyl wrap: The wave in the grain was perfectly the reciprocal one speaker baffle to the other. The style of the cabinet is simplistic: 6 flat sides, very reminiscent of yesteryear, which to me is a welcome breath of fresh air when the current trend leans towards organic curves and non functional adornments.
The base of the cabinet is comprised of an interesting bottom "plinth" which forms in part the slot-port at the bottom rear, above which are the substantial WBT binding posts. It is in fact delightfully refreshing to see a high end product like this shunning the usual strapped double inputs (the dubious notions of bi-wire and to a lesser extent passive bi-amping clearly and thankfully being close to put to rest at this point).
A quick tangent here to acknowledge that demand for the A5 is apparently exceeding supply at this point, so our sample was one which is being passed around. I mention this only to explain why I'm not giving you my usual photos of drivers pulled from the cabinet (I didn't want to jeopardize the product's integrity for the next recipient). That said, the literature is pretty clear on what you will find inside in terms of crossover components and wiring. Suffice it to say without regurgitating the brochure, all of it simply top-shelf.
One practical note I'd like to make is that the A5s come with excellent spike feet which thread into the plinth... but that's it. If you have hardwood floor (or any other surface you don't feel like impaling) then you are out of luck, or at least on your own to find a solution. Given the popularity of hardwood these days and the fact that, with an area rug of suitable coefficient, it can be part of an acoustically sound room, it seems rather short sighted of Spendor, given the asking price, not to provide a set of alternate rubber feet.