Spendor A3 loudspeakers (Hi-Fi+ issue 86)

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Spendor A3
Spendor A3 loudspeakers (Hi-Fi+ issue 86)

Spendor has carved a name for itself in recent years. Not content with simply being the custodian of BBC designs, it has also delivered a range of loudspeakers that retain much of the original Spendor clarity and definition, but with a more look and sound that attracts a modern audience.

The A3 is fairly typical of that approach. It’s a short, slim an elegant two-way ported floorstander that owes a lot from previous models like the SA1, as well as bigger fish in the A-series. It’s not at all like the wide-baffle, thin-walled sealed box designs of its classic line, but will instantly appeal to people who look at such designs as preserved in 40 year old aspic.

It features Spendor’s clever wide-surround 22mm tweeter, coupled with a 150mm ep38 cone woofer. The ep38 material is unique to Spendor, even though it looks like the semi-transparent TPX that was all the rage for mid-bass units a decade and a half ago. This driver is deliberately wide-range and rolls off at a healthy 4.2kHz. A set of light foam bungs designed to impede rather than block the output of the rear port are supplied, and the rear panel also features a single set of WBT terminals. Unlike the larger A-Series models, many of which feature a cast metal base that not only houses the port but creates an almost impossibly rigid structure for the spike housings, the rigidity plate baseboard of the A3 is MDF, and the spike housings are small discs designed to hold the spikes in place. It’s effective, but doesn’t give the speaker the same sense of a rooted in the ground solidity of the metal bases.

I can’t help thinking these loudspeakers do all the right things for the typical UK/European audiophile. Better yet, they do all the right things and few of the wrong things. They are small enough to fit into our microscopic living rooms, yet not so small they get lost in larger spaces. They don’t have so much bass that they can set off our solid brick walls, but not so little that they sound like steroid-enhanced tweeters. They are reactive enough to allow you to hear the difference between good and great amplifiers, but resistive enough to mean you don’t have to search out a small power station to drive them. They work comfortably as the most expensive link in the chain, but don’t sound out of place bolted to the end of some seriously esoteric stuff. And yet, despite all this, they aren’t just a safe pair of hands. They sound exciting, detailed and even fun.

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