Active pro studio monitors. HF and LF equalization switchable in 1dB steps, preset input gain control (-6 dB to 18 dB) and active filters. Crossover is active, 24 dB/octave; frequency response: 35 to 23k Hz, ±2.5 dB; max SPL: 115dB short term, 123dB peaks with music.
I couldn't disagree more with the last review of these monitors. I have had a pair for over 10 years now in my studio, and they have always performed exceptionally. They are the most complete monitors I have ever heard. They extend extemely low, down to some 35Hz, but there is so much more than just depth. The bass is layered, having amazing definition, and texture, and with so much high quality amplification on tap, they are viceral in a way I have not experienced in a non-sub configured set up. Further up the frequency range, their level of transparency still amazes me to this day. As a tool for evaluating mixes, I genuinely doubt they could be matched for anywhere near their rrp. They let me know exactly what is going on in a mix, enabling me to pick out the smallest of faults, to lay a recording bare, and analyse every single component in isolation. I have been privileged to work in many big name studios in my career, and have worked with equipment worth staggering amounts of money, and yet when returning to my own studio, I have always felt the SA 500s have held their own. I have never felt any need to upgrade them, and fully expect to use them for another 10 years.
The last review cannot be genuine. The SA500s bass driver is extremely tight, dynamic, and fast, which I believe is down to, not only the reflex design, and battleship build, but to the sheer quality, power, and perfect synergy of the amps. They definately do not lack cohesion, and once configured PROPERLY, they blend seemlessly. The other reviewer suggests the three way design is a negative, but again I disagree. When properly executed, as in the Spendors, the ability to allocate bass, midrange, and treble frequencies, to their own driver, driven by their own individual amp, is ideal. All three drivers and amps are independently adjustable, allowing me to set them up perfectly for their placement. No 2-way design can offer that flexibility, or be anywhere near as customisable. Voicing, both male and female is exceptional, and the level of 'unearthed detail' staggering. If you feed them a quality signal, they will reproduce it, without adding or taking anything away. If your partnering equipment is good enough, and you spend the time to set them up correctly, they will amaze, simple as that.
Spendor don't offer any support for the amps now, true, but there are many pro engineers that I would trust to repair them to the original spec, and to be honest I am surprised the mentioned amp failed in the first place. They are built to last, and my pair have been used, or at least powered up, usually for at least five days a week, for between 6 and 8 hour periods, for the last 10 years. I have had zero faults during this time, and they perform as well today as they have ever done. They are not as rare as suggested by the way. I have two friends who have moved over to them since working wih me in my studio, and I have seen them installed in numerous top studios, in both stereo, and multichannel setups. Had Spendor promoted them more robustly, I truly believe that they would be an industry standard.
I have some experience of the SA200, and SA300 models by the way. The are both very good, but in truth they cannot compete with the 500's in terms of dynamics, depth, power handling, and sheer flexibility. I tested all three models in my studio, when auditioning for new monitors, and the final decision was easy.
Although these were designed as studio monitors, they could also be used in a conventional hi-fi, or home cinema system, as long as you can accomodate them. They are not in the least bit fatiguing, when listened to over long periods, and as long as you feed them a top quality signal they will have you grinning from ear to ear. Be warned though, women will not like them!! Overall, I cannot rate them as anything less than a genuine five star product, both in terms of performance, and value.
I has the use of a pair of these monitors for a little over 12 months recently. I tested them against a number of other actives, notably ATC SCM20ASL's, Genelec 1031's and Dynaudio BM6a's, and I was repeatedly disappointed. They are capable of going loud, but I found their lower end nowhere near tight enough, and there was a lack of cohesion across the audio spectrum, when compared to the other, far cheaper models. The monitor seemed to struggle with its three-way design, something which I have encountered in such speakers before. The midrange was fairly well voiced, but unexceptional, and the level of detail unearthed no more than average. In the end I passed them onto a friend, at a loss. He has since had one of the amps fail, and is now stuck, as Spendor no longer carries replacements/spares for electronics, having pulled out of the market some time ago, to concentrate solely on passive speakers. Overall I would rate the Spendor's as an average monitor. They failed to impress me in any area, SPL's aside, when compared to other actives from their generation, and are further off the pace when pitted against more modern alternatives. What I found hardest to stomach though was their retail price. Spendor make some exceptional speakers, but this was not one of their greatest efforts. Rare for a reason.