Spendor's first loudspeaker, the BC1 broadcast monitor, set entirely new standards for sound accuracy, and technical performance. It had a revolutionary 8 inch driver with a plastic cone and natural rubber surround. Our new Spendor S8e is based entirely on modern technology but like the BC1 it also has an 8 inch (210mm) plastic coned bass-midrange driver with an exceptionally smooth extended response. The large cone radiating area and freedom from resonance and breakup (thanks to our new ep38 polymer cone and high damping synthetic rubber surround) delivers a brilliantly detailed and vibrant sound. 3D linear flow reflex loading gives the bass real authority and depth, even when the cabinet is located close to a wall. Sound from the S8e is supremely effortless and enjoyable and it handles all types of music with ease. From Dance to Dvorák the S8e delivers.
I first heard the S8e together with a musical fidelity combo and was blown away. There was to quote a previous reviewer truly great accuracy in timbre and luchness. Female voices, Alison Krauss and Sophie Millman in particular, sounded excellent. This was at my dealer a little over a year ago. Sitting there I had some radical thoughts; 10 minutes into the listening session I was seriously thinking of changing my whole system for this one and started writing down every component and cable used there and then leaving nothing up to chance. Once I got home and had some time to reflect on things I called my dealer and said I would start by giving the S8e:s a real listening on the system I owned (and still do) because after all the Densen electronics (B-130 and B-420) are great partners and were also more expensive then the musical fidelity combo I had first heard the speakers on. Though I must say I did not expect the S8e:e to be such a good match to Densen, but I was wrong. I eventually also borrowed the musical fidelity combo from my delar and compared it with Densen and there was no doubt that the my own set up was better, more entertaining not necessarily more correct. It has been a bit tricky finding the right power chord to the Densen electronics and speaker cable to the S8e:s, to get the right timbre and not too much base - the S8e can be a bit to heavy in the base with some - but now I am very pleased with what I got. With regard to the latter I found Chords epic and odyssey cable to be very suiting giving excellent articulation to the base. The S8e:s are fantasic allround music communicators, which I have found generally respond well in upgrades of the rest of the system.
Current system: Densen B-420; B-130; Abbey Road power chord; Abbey Road monitor low level; Chord odyssey 2; soundcare super spikes.
I had numerous speakers before: B$W, Proac, Monitor Audio, Quad with a full Naim system.
I had also the huge classic SP100 from Spendor. What a beautiful sound. But, I moved in a condo and it was too big. Following the recommendations of my dealer I have try the S8e; they were incredible. But as I was reading the speacialised press, they were saying that the A6 was a top rated speaker. So, I bought the A6.
It'a s wonderful speaker in any condition and any type of sound; I would say as precise as the B&W could be. But I needed more punch. Finally I have sold my A6 and bought the S8e. Wow ! What a difference; exactly the same feeling I had the first time I have listend to it at my dealer place.
Thay are absolutely fabulous. I think that Spendor are an underated company. They have enormous experience; they have herited a lot of knowledge from the BBC. I'm always impressed by their products.
How good are these speakers, better yet, who did they better?
They bettered by B&W 805 Nautilus, monitors, Spendor 3/5 monitors, Dali Helicon 400s, and Dynaudios Focus 220 floorstanders. How so you say?
Though beautiful and extended, the B&W 805s were hard to live with, as I found the highs downright fatiging and annoying after prolonged listening. Back to the dealer they went. The Spendor 3/5 monitors had wonderful tone, but I would only recommend them for a small den or bedroom, as they had to work hard and sounded constrained and couldn't begin to touch the bass compared to the Spendor S8e floorstanders. Interestingly, my amp had to work harder with both monitors to produce the same level of sound as the Spendor floorstanders.
I found the Dalis slightly bright on top and slightly recessed in the mids and absolutely beautifulI cosmically. I found the Dynaudios dynamic and well balanced. However, I found the Spendors to have more midrange timbre and texture and far better bass than either. The highs on the Spendors S8e's are clear, open, and extended without harshness. Although I give the Spendors the edge, the Dynaudios sounded similar in the highs, except with just a little midrange compression. However, although the Dynaudios were a little more dynamic for hard rock (the Spendors can rock also), I found the Dyanudios to have just a little upper midrange compression compared to the Spendors which did not.
Aside from world class midrange and bass, and beautiful non-fatiging highs, the fairly efficient Spendors have a sense of ease in how they project and image music into the room. While the Dynaudios and Dalis played well at higher volume, the Spendors seemed to do it with ease and power. Comparing that ease of flow with the music, is a little like comparing the effect of beautiful beach breeze with the Spendors, to a high velocity fan with the others.
Accuracy of timbre and lushness in the mids are hallmarks of the Spendors 8 inch two way woofer which carried its tight yet room filling bass well up into a full midrange (an audiophile friend kept asking if I had a subwoofer connected). Clearness and non fatiging highs are what these silk dome tweeters are all about (no B&W metal dome harshness here). If you lust for a rich textured midrange and natural timbre the Spendor S8e is for you.
The MSRP listed must be from when the series was first introduced. Last year when I bought mine, the list was $3,400 and a few months later the price went over the four grand mark with the weakening dollar and a new US distributer's new price list. Used from $1,850 to $2100 though would be a good and recently price for these wonderful speakers if in great condition.
I found my Spendor S8e floorstanders to be more efficient than not just the other floorstanders, but also the B&W 805 monitors or some Spendor 3/5 monitors. The same volume setting yielded more volume and ease of output from the Spendors.
Other Equipment: By the way, I drive my fairly efficient Spendor S8e floorstanders quite easily with my Cayin A-88T tube amplifier decked out with Mullard CV569/ECC35 6SL7s, RCA VT-231 round plates, and SED KT88 power tubes. (the Cayin, another midrange lovers piece, is under rated at 45 Watts per channel and a great bargain used or at any price). In line also is a Monarch M24 DAC with Amperex PQ 7308 tubes, another nice piece. My very musical REL like MJ acoustics Ref 150 10" compact sub, blend in well and make my Spendors sound even larger (as if the Spendors also came with a included 12 inch woofer). Fleetwood Mac comes alive with thunderering rolling bass like it was meant to be heard).
I acquired these speakers in December of '05. I had upgraded a pair of Spendor S5e's, which were fantastic but a bit lacking in bass or in need of a sub. I had just sold my sub because we no longer have room for it.
My dealer told me that while the S8e's sound decent out of the box, they really reach their potential after about 200 hours use, and I'd have to agree. It's taken me a long time to do that, as my listening has been severely curtailed by our infant daughter. However, even after break-in, while I was happy with the voicing and overall sound of the S8e's, I felt they were lacking in their ability to produce a soundstage. I had experimented with positioining early on in the break-in period, and found something I thought was acceptable. Well, as they broke in, the image didn't seem to be coming around, so I just wrote it off as the S8e's not being particularly capable of providing a 3-D image. I had heard that an 8 inch woofer crossed over at 4khz could produce "beeming" effects, which is to say they might sound more directional than speakers with smaller woofers crossed over at lower frequencies. Also, they seemed to be lacking in center fill as well as not being able to extend their image much beyond the sides of the speaker. I was disappointed, as this is, for me, a big part of the listening experience. I'm kind of an "image freak". I went back to my dealer and asked to audition the Totem Hawk (unfortunately the popularity of the Spendors didn't allow for an audition). The Totem seemed to be the answer to my issues with the Spendors- they provided for a tremendous soundstage/image, while still being capable of providing deep enough and articulate enough bass to satisfy me (quite a feat with a 5 and 1/2 inch woofer!). Nevertheless, with money being a bit tight, I decided to wait on making a trade or selling my Spendors.
The upside to all of this was I was encouraged to experiment anew with speaker placement. I'm glad I did, because in the course of the first attempts at positoining the Spendors, I was able to effect seemingly little change in the overall presentation. I had not tried this more recently after the speakers were broken in. Had I, I would have realized that the Spendors can provide a more than acceptalbe image, in both width and depth, as well as very precise instrument placemnet. They are now every bit as good as I hoped they would be when I purchased them sound-unheard. It required that they be positioned further out from the wall than what I was first willing to try (now about 3 feet). I experimented with toe-in as well, and a couple of degrees improved the image even more. All of this experimenting ended up curing another problem that I haven't mentioned- over-emphasis in the mid-bass region. No fault of the speaker, just the listening room. Also, the feeling that the sound stage would collapse when lowering the volume was significantly mitigated (where I previously had the speakers positioned made them sound as if I were listening to two boxes when I had the volume turned down. Now that's not the case).
I listen to all sorts of music- classical, rock/pop, latin, bluegrass, blues, new age. It all comes across with such clarity and dynamics coupled with a wonderful soundstage. I would say that its image is not quite as expansive as what the Totem Hawks were capable of providing, but they still are able to produce a very pleasant sound scape. Where the Spendors exceed the Totems is in their ability to delineate bass. The Totems do this too, but not to the degree the Spendors can. Also, the impression is that the Spendors can move a bit more air, which is to be expected with its 8-inch woofer. I'm driving the Spendors with a Musical Fidelity A308 integrated amp, which happily is an excellent combination. The highs are so sweet and airy, but there is still plenty of bass slam, impact and control. Plus it's got a very nice phono section.
Anyway, if your new Spendors don't seem to image well, don't dispair. Give them time, and experiment with placement. A truly excellent loudspeaker!
I have a pair of original Snell E type speakers that are at least 14 years old. I recently replaced my power amp with a Jadis Orchestra Reference tube amp - 55 watts of the sweetest amp you have ever heard. My dilema was to find a pair of speakers that would better the Snell E's without mortaging the house.
I had read good things about Spendor and when Jeffs Sound Values offered the S8's last year model at 44% off - it seemed like a good deal. The problem was that the Snells were truly great speakers - it was going to be hard to beat them.
A little background - I have a degree in music from Berklee - played woodwinds for years professionally - so I know what music actually sounds like and I am very critical of hi fi equipment.
The Spendor S8's answered all my needs and then some. Out of the box they were a little tight and the bass was a little boomy - however after about 50 hours of playing them they opened up substantially and surpassed my desires. The midrange will bring tears to your eyes. Dianna Krall and Pat Barber will knock your socks off. AND surprisingly enough -these play Reggai correctly - There is enough bass and slam to hold a dance party. Most of the music I listen to is jazz and they are the best I have ever heard anywhere with this music. Once I got the placement right the bass was tight and controled. Playing some of my older CD's revealed music I didn't know was there - Joe Henderson "Lush Life" cut #8 amazes anyone how listens to my system. The highs are liquid smooth - a midrange like tupelo honey (yet still has an edge) and bass control that lets you hear the wood of the instrument. If you get a chance to audition these speakers -do it.