FOR Articulate and expressive sound; excellent build AGAINST Nothing of note
Spendor’s A4s could be the pair of compact premium floorstanders you’re after. They’re beautifully engineered, smartly finished and sound great. At just over 80cm tall they’re unlikely to dominate, even in smaller rooms.
The general styling and cabinet dimensions suggest these speakers are a development of the company’s A5 model, but they are quite different. These are a two-way design, rather than the 2.5-way of the A5 – the change marked with a move from two 15cm drivers to a single 18cm mid/bass unit.
The low frequencies are tuned by a rear-firing reflex port on the new model – the older one had a sealed cabinet. High frequencies are delivered by Spendor’s favoured 22mm wide-surround tweeter, which is claimed to produce a wider frequency range and lower distortion than traditional dome designs.
The change in drive-unit configuration doesn’t alter the underlying specs much. Claimed sensitivity is 86db/w/m (just one db down from the A5) and nominal impedance remains at 8ohms.
We’re impressed by the build quality. The cabinet feels rigid, with carefully designed internal bracing combined with the clever use of low-mass constrained polymer damping. The finish is pleasing too, with crisp edges, neat detailing and smart real-wood veneers in black ash, dark walnut and natural oak options.
Connection is through a high quality pair of single-wire terminals. Spendor has moved away from biwiring with its A models in a bid to keep things simple. We’re fine with that. It’s always better to use a single run of quality cable over twin runs of an inferior alternative.
Once they’re up and running, it doesn’t take long to realise that the A4s are talented. They have a more outgoing and friendly character than the older model. They’re expressive, entertaining and, perhaps surprisingly for a Spendor, fun.
We play Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and they revel in the music’s wideranging dynamics and complex arrangement. There’s plenty of insight, with the A4s able to track multiple
“Deliver analysis and entertainment with ease”
instrumental strands while presenting them as a cohesive and musical whole.
Clean and wonderfully balanced, these floorstanders replace the A5s’ slightly sterile presentation with an appealing sense of life and articulation.
Once properly positioned, they render an expansive soundstage populated with precisely located instruments. The imaging stays stable even when the music becomes demanding, which is no easy feat. Importantly they stay refined and composed when pushed, avoiding the slight edge of their predecessors.
Rhythms are handled in a surefooted manner and delivered with plenty of snap and drive. Voices come through with a class-leading level of subtlety.
There’s all the insight and analysis we’d expect from Spendor, but also a sense of enthusiasm that the brand hasn’t always managed. Some of its more affordable models have tended to prioritise analysis over entertainment, but the A4s deliver both with ease. In recent years, PMC’S Twenty 23s have been our go-to compact floorstanders at this price level. You can safely add the Spendor A4s to that very short shortlist.