I've just spent over £10K on new speakers + Subs!

Derek S-H

Distinguished Member
10,000 bloody pounds!:eek:

How the hell did that happen?

I still remember buying my first-ever system in 1987 and I worked for a year in a job I didn't like to save up a whopping £1000 to buy the following:

NAD 3155 amp
AR EB101 turntable
A tape deck (can't remember now)
Tannoy M20 Gold speakers

I thought it was wonderful and the best thing ever. I happily carted it round the country as I moved about but, fatally, I started to read Hi-Fi magazines and realised that, actually, there were alternatives that might sound better.

Years of gradual upgrades followed until I had a system I was very happy with, then two things struck:

1. Home Cinema - I realised what a difference Room EQ could make to a sound, how much it could improve it.
2. A friend inherited some money and very kindly gave some of it to me.

I could've done the sensible thing and put it away safely, or I could blow it on a cracking Hi-Fi amp with EQ. So of course I did the latter! And that's when the problems started.

Lesson Number 1: never assume that changing part of your system will automatically improve it, because what can happen instead is that it can change the synergy irreparably and expose the limitations of any links in the chain. And in my case, it was the speakers. I'd been previously using an Arcam A32 + 2 x P35's in a tri-amped configuration to drive a pair of PMC 20.26, but swopping out the Arcams for a Lyngdorf TDAI 3400 made the PMC's sound smaller, less dynamic and the Bass now was plodding and slow, almost like it was constantly playing catch up with the rest of the music.

I was recently on holiday in Glasgow with a friend and decided to set up a demo of the GoldenEar Triton Reference in advance as the reviews were so positive, and a shop in Edinburgh called Hi-Fi Corner stocked the brand. Unfortunately, they didn't have a pair I could listen to, nor the Focal Sopra No. 2, but I did manage to set up a demo of the following floorstanders:

ATC SCM50 PSLT
B&W 804 D4
Spendor D7.2 (the D9.2 didn't arrive in time, alas)

Joe at Hi-Fi Corner had planned to partner the speakers with a Yamaha CD-S3000 and a Lyngdorf 3400, but whilst he was away on holiday the Lyngdorf was sold behind his back! So he sourced a 2170 instead and emphasised that though its sound signature would be familiar to me, its performance would be inferior as it's rated at 170 watts per channel, whereas the 3400 is 400 watts - big difference when it comes to power, output and control, especially with Bass frequencies.

I know you're not supposed to have any preconceptions nor expectations before demos, but you wouldn't be a flawed human being if you didn't, especially if you regularly read online reviews like I do! So I did have the germ of an idea in my head that my final preference might be:

1. B&W
2. ATC
3. Spendor

As it turned out, Joe had set up a running order of the most expensive to the cheapest, so it was the ATC (£11,800) up first. And they sounded wonderfully clear, detailed and neutral to me; all you heard was the music, not the speakers. They were miles better than my PMC's apart from one key area - Bass. They were fast and accurate in the lower frequencies, but there just wasn't the impact and extension that I'm used to and enjoy with Transmission Line so, to me, they weren't true full range speakers but did set a very high bar.

Next up were the B&W (£11,000) - now these had the Bass I was looking for and they were also more lively and energetic, which was the sound characteristic I was seeking. However, the Diamond tweeter seemed to dominate everything and was nowhere near as refined as the ATC's soft dome. It was much more sharp and shrill and I could definitely see that being fatiguing on long listening sessions, especially with electronic music or high female vocals.

Finally, the Spendor (£5,650). Now I must say that it took two of them to move the ATC out and the B&W in then out of the room, so when Joe picked up the Spendors one-by-one and brought them in on his own, I immediately expected very little from them. They also appeared so small and insignificant in physical presence compared to the two giants we'd just been listening to, plus they weren't genuine 3-ways but 2.5 (the D9.2 is a 3-way).

So I anticipated a straight shootout between the ATC and B&W, the Spendor was just there to confirm this. Boy, was I wrong! The Spendor was simply astonishing - we couldn't believe what we were hearing, that something so relatively small could sound so huge. It had all the clarity and detail of the ATC plus the energy and Bass of the B&W. Its Midrange and Treble was the equal of the ATC, and its Bass performance easily matched the B&W in output and extension - they were true full range speakers and were actually better overall than both speakers that were twice its price.

They were just so beautifully judged tonally and I could imagine listening to music for hours with them, and that's on a lower powered amp than my own and without Room Perfect engaged. I can absolutely see why Ed Selley was so effusive in his review and gave them a 10 for Sound Quality.

My friend, who listens to music on her tablet (!) said that she was going by my facial expressions:

ATC - smiling in respectful appreciation
B&W - grimacing a bit at the bright Treble
Spendor - mouth open in shock and laughing in disbelief!

For those of you who like scores, I would say (using my old PMC's as a reference):

PMC
Treble: 8
Midrange: 8
Bass: 8

ATC
Treble: 9
Midrange: 9
Bass: 7

B&W
Treble: 7
Midrange: 9
Bass: 9

Spendor
Treble: 9
Midrange: 9
Bass: 9

Even my tablet-listening friend felt that the ATC had better Treble, the B&W better Bass, but the Spendor had the best qualities of both. So, unsurprisingly, I put in an order for the Spendor D9.2 in Oak immediately and they have a lead time of 6-8 weeks.

I think I was always looking for a balanced sound, but also one that was as full range as possible within one box. Also, a speaker that was suitably well-engineered and voiced whereby delicate Treble sounds are not drowned out by heavy Bass sounds. I felt the Spendor achieved that balance more successfully than the ATC, and particularly, the B&W, despite being half their price. The ATC was very impressive, though, if a bit too neutral for my tastes - I definitely prefer something with a bit more character and personality, even if it isn't completely accurate sonically. For me, a system doesn't have to be the last word in transparency or resolution, I'm much more interested in engaging with music emotionally and I like something that captures its energy and spirit.

And after having further conversations on here with @DT79 about the merits of adding Subwoofers to Hi-Fi speakers (something I'd never considered before) to take the heavy lifting off your amp and open up the sound even further (similar to adding a power amp to your Home Cinema receiver), I recently invested in 2 x Lyngdorf BW-2's. Total cost of all this kit = around £10,300.

Which leads into Lesson Number 2: it doesn't matter whether you're spending £10,000 or 1/10 of that, always get a demo if you can. It doesn't matter what a professional review or even other owners say, you'll never know if something is right for you until you hear it yourself with your own music. I appreciate that hearing something in a large, acoustically-treated room at a dealer will probably not replicate what you have at home, but it will at least give you a taste of what you can expect.

Thank you to Joe at Hi-Fi Corner for his hard work on the day, Tom at Cinehome for his service regarding the Subwoofers, and both @gava and @DT79 for their support about spending such a terrifying amount of money!

Apologies this has been such a long post, but thanks for reading. Any questions, just ask.
 
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Derek S-H

Distinguished Member
Follow up post: because my original post was so long, I thought I'd mention the music I listened to in my demo here:

Kraftwerk - Computer Love ("The Mix" remix) - fast, overlapping high keyboard lines.
LFO - LFO - sub-bassline.
Together - Hardcore Uproar - quite a scrappy recording, but features deep Bass and high Treble.
The Cardigans - My Favourite Game - deliberately distorted deep Bass with delicate panning cymbals on top.
The Specials - Nite Klub - fast, virtuoso Bass playing.
Kid Creole & The Coconuts - Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy - tons of high percussion sounds and sharp cymbal splashes.
Fleetwood Mac - Everywhere - vocals and soaring harmonies.

None of the speakers could fully reproduce the bassline of "LFO", but I didn't expect them to, I just wanted to see how close they could get.

And once I'd decided on the Spendor, we listened to "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" in full as we're both big Jim Steinman fans!:D
 
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davidf

Well-known Member
A couple of things I’d like to point out. Firstly, loudspeakers should always be auditioned with the amplifier they’re going to be used with. And secondly, not all loudspeaker manufacturers are consistent throughout their ranges, and can vary quite a lot between models. Auditioning one model and buying another model in the range based on that audition could potentially lead to disappointment.
 

Derek S-H

Distinguished Member
A couple of things I’d like to point out. Firstly, loudspeakers should always be auditioned with the amplifier they’re going to be used with. And secondly, not all loudspeaker manufacturers are consistent throughout their ranges, and can vary quite a lot between models. Auditioning one model and buying another model in the range based on that audition could potentially lead to disappointment.
1. I didn't have a choice on the amp - the 3400 wasn't available on the day and the 2170 was the nearest equivalent. I take your point, but sometimes these things are beyond your control.

2. It was always the D9.2 I wanted to hear because of its dedicated Midrange driver. I thought the Mid/Bass unit of the D7.2 was tremendous, but here's no way it should sound better than the D9.2. Again, I take your point about differences, but I am anticipating a similarity, as well as an improvement, on what I heard in my demo.

Of course, it will be in my room, with my equipment and an 8 week time gap - I can't even remember what I did last week let alone remember accurately what something sounded like in a demo room!

All I'm hoping for is an improvement on my existing PMC's and a better system synergy, if that is achieved then I'll be happy enough.
 

Flobs

Active Member
I thought the Mid/Bass unit of the D7.2 was tremendous, but here's no way it should sound better than the D9.2.
That's not given, I always go 2 way and will try 2.5 way speakers but I don't go near 3 way as every time I have they just had a horrible lack of tonal balance. There are many things that can go wrong with 3 way speakers, probably the most frequent is the crossovers often being 3rd and 4th order.
If you want the 9.2 I think you must audition them with you amp if possible. It wouldn't surprise me if you prefered the 7.2s in the end.
 

DT79

Distinguished Member
Nice write-up Derek! Now the hard part…waiting :mad:
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Well, all you’ve done now is make me polish my car for a faster getaway from the bank job I’ll need to do for the D9.2s to be mine 🤨
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I’d also expect an even better overall sound quality as the 9s are a proper three way speaker with the mid driver covering a whopping range (500hz-4200hz) and a pair of bass drivers in a bigger cabinet.

Can’t beat a properly engineered three way speaker.

I’m looking forward to hearing what you think.

And I’m now looking for a friend with too much money👌
 

Derek S-H

Distinguished Member
I’d also expect an even better overall sound quality as the 9s are a proper three way speaker with the mid driver covering a whopping range (500hz-4200hz) and a pair of bass drivers in a bigger cabinet.

Can’t beat a properly engineered three way speaker.

I’m looking forward to hearing what you think.

And I’m now looking for a friend with too much money👌
By the time they arrive and have been run in, this Thread would have moved a long way back, so I'll create a new one specifically addressing my new set up compared to the old one.

And @Ruffuz - why the angry face? Have I upset you in some way? If so, it wasn't intentional.
 

JustinT350

Active Member
Great read and completely agree with what you said about listening before buying! That'll be a long wait :)
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Wonderful speakers. I bet they sound silky smooth and dynamic. Speakers you can listen to for hours.

I am keeping my eye on pair of A2. Alas, they are too expensive😞😞
 

Derek S-H

Distinguished Member
Wonderful speakers. I bet they sound silky smooth and dynamic. Speakers you can listen to for hours.

I am keeping my eye on pair of A2. Alas, they are too expensive😞😞
The D7.2 really was outstanding in such company. Of course if you spend more you can get better, and it is a shame they've increased in price so much (up by £1000, I believe), but the fact that they weren't outclassed at all by speakers that were twice their price is hugely impressive.

Having said that, it is remarkable how the ATC SCM40 is still £4000, because adding 2 x £500 Subs from, say, BK will easily take it up to the level of the Spendor. Maybe even surpass it if you like its particular sonic signature of neutrality and analysis.

I know that this is the path that @gava has gone down, partnering SCM40 with 2 x Arendal Subwoofers. He's still waiting for delivery of his speakers, but I look forward to reading his thoughts once they're in place and been run in.:)
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
It is this speakers? I must say the female vocals sound wonderful even trough YouTube.https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=r5QsEu5_L6E
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Well. I listened to the first minute through airplay and the Lyngdorf and Trios.

And I can’t see how anyone can ever use an amateur recording, through a video on you tube to listen to anything.

No dynamic range, sibilance, closed in, non existent soundstage and essentially sounds like it’s mono.

Yuk.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Perhaps false statement from me. At least you can see the beautiful design, finish.

I agree. Lovely looking speakers. They have, for want of a better expression, a classic, simple appearance.

And compared to the big Dynaudios next to them, very petite too.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Any opinions on A.4 speakers? Sorry, I know the tread is about the D7.2. But I’ve always wanted to own Spendor.

Legendary BBC speakers I believe. Didn’t they work with Harbeth also?

Edit A.2 I meant.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Sorry, are going to use the Lyngdorf amp with the Spendor speakers? I cannot see what amplifier you are going to use. Probably me who can’t read. ;)

8 weeks, I bet it’s going to be like Christmas. Again congrats 🍾
 

Derek S-H

Distinguished Member
Sorry, are going to use the Lyngdorf amp with the Spendor speakers? I cannot see what amplifier you are going to use. Probably me who can’t read. ;)

8 weeks, I bet it’s going to be like Christmas. Again congrats 🍾
Yes.

A Lyngdorf TDAI 3400 into Spendor D9.2 + 2 x Lyngdorf BW-2 Subwoofers will be my new Hi-Fi set up.

And without wishing to come across as either arrogant or entitled (because I agonised over this decision financially for months prior to my demo, especially with the increased cost of living), I think I deserve it because I patiently and diligently saved for two years to raise the money.

I could have easily gone down the Buy Now, Pay Later route, but I wanted to save slowly as I felt it would make me appreciate my purchase more, the sacrifice I made to get it.

I also wanted to avoid this like the plague:


Lots of people have "Liked" my OP, but you're the first to actually say congratulations directly, so thanks! :)
 

Ruffuz

Well-known Member
By the time they arrive and have been run in, this Thread would have moved a long way back, so I'll create a new one specifically addressing my new set up compared to the old one.

And @Ruffuz - why the angry face? Have I upset you in some way? If so, it wasn't intentional.

Well, you leave me no option but to join @Paul7777x and rob the bank!!! :suicide:


Enjoy sir!
 

Steve356

Distinguished Member
Yes.

A Lyngdorf TDAI 3400 into Spendor D9.2 + 2 x Lyngdorf BW-2 Subwoofers will be my new Hi-Fi set up.

And without wishing to come across as either arrogant or entitled (because I agonised over this decision financially for months prior to my demo, especially with the increased cost of living), I think I deserve it because I patiently and diligently saved for two years to raise the money.

I could have easily gone down the Buy Now, Pay Later route, but I wanted to save slowly as I felt it would make me appreciate my purchase more, the sacrifice I made to get it.

I also wanted to avoid this like the plague:


Lots of people have "Liked" my OP, but you're the first to actually say congratulations directly, so thanks! :)

I owned a pair of D7 Mk1 speakers for a while before and after I got my Lyngdorf 3400. I ran them with a Velodyne DD12 sub at first and then a M&K X10 sub. I've also had a pair of BW2 subs on extended home loan, but that was with my current ATC SCM19 speakers, so not the Spendors. I've heard the D9s, but again that was the Mk1 model and wasn't in my home system.

Reason for the opening statement was just to give some context and personal experience.

I think you are going to be very happy with the D9s when you get them as when paired with your 3400 with RP, you get a combination of a big and open sound, very balanced sound across all frequencies, tight bass and excellent imaging. That's certainly what I found with my D7s once I got my Lyngdorf. The only question that I'd have is whether the BW2s will really add anything to the D9s, but you will find that out for yourself. The advantage you have with the 3400 is that you can run two different speaker set ups, e.g. with or without subs in circuit and go to and fro between them to see if you prefer a certain set up or not.

Do let us know how you get on once you get the Spendors.
 

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