Spen­dor A7 £2995

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Awards 2018 -

Ear­lier this year, Spen­dor ex­panded its A-line speaker range with these su­perb floor­standers. They sound great, they look great and they’re com­pact enough to fit into most homes.

There’s noth­ing flash about these speak­ers; stand­ing 93cm tall they just ex­ude a sim­ple el­e­gance. Build qual­ity is first-rate, and you can choose Black Ash, Dark Wal­nut or Nat­u­ral Oak for the wood ve­neer fin­ish, with a Satin White op­tion cost­ing an ex­tra £300.

These are two-way speak­ers. Each has an 18cm mid/bass driver and a 22mm tweeter with a wide sur­round which helps dis­perse the sound fur­ther.

Po­si­tion them cor­rectly – around 20-30cm away from a wall or cor­ners – and you’ll reap the re­wards. The Spen­dors have rear-fir­ing slot-shaped re­flex ports to re­duce noise and dis­tor­tion, and to give bet­ter grip on bass than a con­ven­tional tube-shaped port can gen­er­ally man­age.

Don’t push them up against a wall or you’ll lose a lot of that open char­ac­ter. We’d also toe the speak­ers in slightly to­wards the lis­ten­ing po­si­tion to get that gor­geous stereo imag­ing and solid fo­cus for vo­cals.

This is a big sound, packed with in­sight and great dy­nam­ics. De­tail lev­els are fan­tas­tic, with each in­stru­men­tal strand and vo­cal quirk laid bare. The sound is ter­rif­i­cally clean and or­gan­ised, but where other Spen­dors pri­ori­tised re­fine­ment, these A7s also pack in bags of punch to keep things sound­ing lively.

A flair for rhythm

In case you’re wor­ried that this all sounds a bit clin­i­cal, re­lax. These Spen­dors are won­der­fully ex­pres­sive. Vo­cals are a par­tic­u­lar high­light. We play

Li­a­bil­ity by Lorde and that emo­tion­ally laden voice sounds gor­geous – fo­cused, tan­gi­ble and in­ti­mate.

De­spite their rel­a­tively com­pact size, these speak­ers also go sat­is­fy­ingly deep, and keep a firm grip on the bassline of Mas­sive At­tack’s An­gel. Each note is pulled taut, and the edges are pre­cise but wrapped in lay­ers of tex­ture.

The song’s re­lent­less, brood­ing mo­men­tum never lets up, and the Spen­dors re­main ag­ile and con­trolled through­out, han­dling each mu­si­cal strand like a vet­eran pup­pet mas­ter.

If we’re look­ing for even the tini­est flaw, more rau­cous tunes could do with a bit more brawn be­hind them, but that’s a tri­fling con­cern against the A7s’ stun­ning pre­ci­sion, clar­ity and sub­tlety.

Fac­tor in their hugely en­joy­able dy­nam­ics and flair for rhythm and we’re sold on them as our top premium speaker choice.

Spen­dor’s A7s ex­ude a sim­ple el­e­gance and a sound wor­thy of our premium prize

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