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Thread: Spendor BC1 - Thoughts and impressions wanted

  1. #11
    Join Date: Feb 2011

    Location: glasgow

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    I'm tony.

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    I have SP1s OR should I say my son now has. Lovely speaker on original castor stands. Would happily recommend them-they are keepers.

  2. #12
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: A Strangely Isolated Place in Suffolk with far away trains passing by...

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    I'm David.

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    Bottom line is this, and I think Martyn Miles would possibly agree - well sort of...

    The following is from a realist BC2 owner (BC2's with replacement later (better) SA2 drivers from Terry Miles, Spendor's current designer I believe.


    BC1's are ancient, with VERY talkative boxes which resonate badly on anything over a lowish volume. Power handling is pretty pathetic and these boxes sound as if they're going to shake to bits with modern wideband music played at anything over modest levels - bass is pretty awful in any BC1 form unless the boxes are several feet off the ground as the BBC often used them. The BC2 has a far better bass at the expense of a good, but less than perfect integration at the crossover due to the larger voice coil diameter, although I understand that removing the dust cap and fitting a 'phase plug' a la current Spendors helps here with this driver.

    The other thing is that BC1's, especially knackered old white-surround and out of spec alnico drivers samples, are the domain of collectors and fetch prices now which are way outside of their actual full frequency range ability these days..

    Ah now, abilities... When designed and bought by the Beeb in huge numbers (the LS3/6 never sold in any real quantities according to a letter from Spen Hughes published on the Yahoo Spendor Group and the mid bass was boxy and tuneless with a fragile wobbly cone setup I remember), the BC1 was regarded as an adequate quality general 'box' but nowhere near the proper monitors they used (largest being the LS5/5 I think). In our large dem room, BC1's always sounded small and box-bound in comparison with bigger speakers like the BC3 and IMF's we used to sell, which sounded so much 'free-er' and out of the box... The BC1's nador was in 76 or so, where the suspension was incorrectly supplied to Spendor and sonics suffered. A totally new driver followed (longer lived spec-wise ceramic magnet) and power handling increased to then acceptable levels.

    Towards the early 80's, the Rogers Studio 1 was thought to out-perform the BC1 and became very popular and it wasn't until 1983 or so when the SP1 came along. It's my personal view that the SP1 is as good as a *typical* BC1 where the latter excels in a narrow part of the midrange, but trounces it everywhere else in terms of sweet treble consistency and bass quality. I think the SP1 looks far better too.

    At the end of the day, it depends on the music you play. If it's 'rock' in any shape or form, I respectfully say you'd be better off looking elsewhere (Rogers LS7's or Studio 1a's/SP1's or summat). Alex_UK here has a great pair of SP1's which are fine for his room and listening levels. I dare say a modern pair of larger KEF Q series' speakers would comfortably out-perform them, although I haven't done this comparison. The odd great pair of BC1's do exist (Martyn's current pair are, I think he told me, better than his previous long-term ones), but I honestly believe rose-tinted specs are being used all over here, but me as well..

    Sorry Chaps, I can't rave over BC1's, despite looking back very fondly on my times with them. They're just too flawed on wide-band digitally sourced material and don't go loud enough for many younger listeners.. I'm terrified of blowing my BC2's, so they're never let loose and they're used with an amp that self protects all its gain stages internally...
    Tear down these walls; Cut the ties that held me
    Crying out at the top of my voice; Tell me now if you can hear me

  3. #13
    Join Date: Aug 2013

    Location: London

    Posts: 1,500
    I'm Sam.

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    Quote Originally Posted by REXTON View Post
    Thanks so far, so do I plump for passive or active?
    In my experience, the amplified ones (they are not active) go for less. That's because you have to modify them to use them as normal passive speakers (drill holes to put binding posts on and disconnect the amp or add a switch). Amps are nothing special though even if they sound ok - just a small amp board with a single transistor but via a balanced to single ended transformer and a cheap variable resistor.


  4. #14
    Join Date: Feb 2008

    Location: Middlesex, UK

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    I'm Alex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Audio Advent View Post
    In my experience, the amplified ones (they are not active) go for less. That's because you have to modify them to use them as normal passive speakers (drill holes to put binding posts on and disconnect the amp or add a switch). Amps are nothing special though even if they sound ok - just a small amp board with a single transistor but via a balanced to single ended transformer and a cheap variable resistor.

    The large single power transistor is just for the power supply regulator, there are complementary transistors MJE 3055 and MJE 2955 used as output transistors.
    Spendorman

  5. #15
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: A Strangely Isolated Place in Suffolk with far away trains passing by...

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    I'm David.

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    Replacing the amp caps with good modern equivalent helps a lot I understand - Panasonic were recommended by Derek Hughes, designer of the SP1/2 and current LS3/6.
    Tear down these walls; Cut the ties that held me
    Crying out at the top of my voice; Tell me now if you can hear me

  6. #16
    Join Date: Feb 2008

    Location: Middlesex, UK

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    I'm Alex.

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    My early BC1a a has the less powerful M25 amp, still sounds pretty good to me.
    Spendorman

  7. #17
    Join Date: Aug 2013

    Location: London

    Posts: 1,500
    I'm Sam.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spendorman View Post
    The large single power transistor is just for the power supply regulator, there are complementary transistors MJE 3055 and MJE 2955 used as output transistors.
    Duh.. that would make a lot more sense! I did google the 2955 and saw it is part of a complementary pair but didn't edit the post.

    I wouldn't deny that they sound good... but I'm not sure that the amp does anything more than say a good, cheap and forgotten 90s integrated amp would do.

    Most people will end up using a single ended rca phono to balanced XLR convertor cable only for it to be converted back to single ended by the transformer. Plus most will be driving it from a preamp with a volume control. IMO, both the pot and the transformer could be bypassed (although don't know what impedence the amp needs to see, which would be matched by the transformer I suppose and it is a quality Sowter one).

    Personally, I'd take advantage of the usually lower price and remove the amp and replace it with a plate with normal binding posts. Can be converted back with no damage if need be. Afterall, most people on these forums prefer to discover good synergy between different amps and speakers as part of the fun of hifi..

  8. #18
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: A Strangely Isolated Place in Suffolk with far away trains passing by...

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    I'm David.

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    Those two old output transistors can make VERY sweet toned amps - the original NAD 3020 series and A&R A60 used them to very good effect.

    Seriously chaps, the BC1's are now beyond audiophool messing around with different suspect amps. Their power handling is too low, they can't be repaired if they're blown up 'cos Spendor chucked away all the tooling around when the buyout happened I believe (and won't invest in making new) and they need 18" stands at least for typical UK rooms.
    Tear down these walls; Cut the ties that held me
    Crying out at the top of my voice; Tell me now if you can hear me

  9. #19
    Join Date: May 2009

    Location: Southampton

    Posts: 316
    I'm Rob.

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    Lucky me just been given a pair - think they're quite good well enough for me to build some stands to evaluate and make better, will prob give the cabs a refurb and rewire with some Hitachi 102 LC-OFC but keeping the binding posts,like to keep 'em as original as possible but updateing them sympathetically
    Creek 4040 powering them

    Last edited by RobsterD; 06-06-2015 at 22:47.

  10. #20
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 28,479
    I'm Geoff.

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    Very nice. They look like a later pair. I reckon the Creek is likely to match them rather well.
    Mr. Tact!

    Main system: MMs/ADCs/Low output MC's/One rare Japanese SUT/One scarce British phono stage/various tonearms/hefty Japanese DD TT and hefty Japanese BD TT and small British BD TT. 4 CD players/2 jitter buster/2 DACs/Valve buffer. TVC stepped attenuator or valve pre-amp or solid state pre-amp. Current dumping power-amp or either of two Class A SS power-amp or Class A EL34 valve monos or big Japanese (part Class A) integrated. Big dual concentric speakers/Smaller dual concentric speakers/Two way British compacts and full range speakers, amongst others. And too much more to list!

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