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Thread: Spendor BC1 - Thoughts and impressions wanted

  1. #21
    Join Date: Mar 2010

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    Andy they are OK for quiet listening, quite fun in the mids nut they aren't hifi. Joe round the corner from me owns many bc1 and early sp1, neither of them are a patch on modern.

    Try the larger Harbeth or Rogers monitors if you want a decent old school big speaker.
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  2. #22
    Join Date: Oct 2011

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    Quote Originally Posted by sq225917 View Post
    Andy they are OK for quiet listening, quite fun in the mids nut they aren't hifi. Joe round the corner from me owns many bc1 and early sp1, neither of them are a patch on modern.

    Try the larger Harbeth or Rogers monitors if you want a decent old school big speaker.
    Couldn't disagree more. Like many other speakers, they have their strengths and weaknesses. I have heard very few modern speakers that I prefer, most are all boom and tizz and maybe that is what you mean by 'hi-fi'. I prefer mine to make music make sense. Perhaps they are not hi-fi in the same way that my Quad ESLs are not hi-fi.

  3. #23
    Join Date: Jan 2009

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Steadman View Post
    Couldn't disagree more. Like many other speakers, they have their strengths and weaknesses. I have heard very few modern speakers that I prefer, most are all boom and tizz and maybe that is what you mean by 'hi-fi'. I prefer mine to make music make sense. Perhaps they are not hi-fi in the same way that my Quad ESLs are not hi-fi.
    Good post Gordon!
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  4. #24
    Join Date: Jan 2008

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    I'm Martyn.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DSJR View Post
    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...
    Hello Dave,
    Hello Martyn Miles does agree, sort of...

    I read this comprehensive post again and I'll put up my two pennyworth.

    My BC1s are later models ( Serial Numbers 10203/4 ) and are a definite improvement on my early ones.
    ( Serial numbers 6704/4 )

    A lot of what DJSR writes is spot on, but I felt a personal experience might put a different perspective
    on the Spendors.
    I don't do 'rock' music, only Folk, Female Singers and some light 'pop' ( Beatles. etc. ) music, plus classical music.

    Dave mentions Digital recoding.
    I record with high quality mics, and a prof. Tascam Minidisc player/recorder. and use the BC1 for playback.
    ( My recording monitor speakers are modified B & W D5s )
    The BC1s do the job beautifully.

    As an aside, my brother belonged to a Folk Group in the '70s.
    They recorded an album at Stonesfield Studio in Oxfordshire.

    I listened in the Control Room and they were using Spendor BC3s as Studio playback monitors.
    Hearing them in 1974 set me on the road to buying my first pair of BC1s in 1976,

    Martyn.

    At this moment I am listening to Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.'
    It sounds superb through the BC1s
    Last edited by Martyn Miles; 26-05-2017 at 07:04. Reason: Added a sentence

  5. #25
    Join Date: Feb 2011

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    I'm tony.

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    I have SP1s and love them to bits. They make music,non fatiguing and utterly enjoyable. Very similar to 57s and 63s in presentation-natural!!!

    I listen to cans a lot-if you want your music to sound beautiful and engrossing they are spot on.....if you want your trousers flapped and to attract bats then look elsewhere.

    I do wonder what over and above what headphones can do people crave sonically....all the aforementioned can do that in your front room-wonderful.

    Horses for courses methinks...

  6. #26
    Join Date: May 2008

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    I posted the above ages ago to try to put modern rock music peeps buying BC1's at currently outrageous used prices and being severely disappointed. I have ongoing fond memories of the pair I had in the late 70's, fitted with the then latest ceramic magnet drivers which sorted the mid-70's surround issues. In a smaller domestic room and placed well off the floor (I know the trolleys are easy to use, but the HF1300 main tweeters are then firing almost into one's knees or at least one's chest ) they're enchanting on simpler music in a way many modern bling-boxes aren't!

    At the time, we used to 'demonstrate' BC1's sat on top of big IMF transmission line models and sometimes upside down as well, to get the main driver as clear from walls and floors as possible. The BBC bought hundreds of BC1's as general boxes and I believe most were hanging from the ceiling angled downwards to the desk unless I'm very much mistaken. At the time, anything higher than a spirited volume made them sound as if they were falling apart, due to lack of cone excursion and buzzing boxes. My own BC2's are driving me mad when I'm able to let rip for exactly the same reason and that's irrespective of the amp used - and I have a few including a Quad 303, the model used when they were designed.

    I have to disagree with SQ's comments about the SP1 though. It may be said to lose a tiny touch of the BC1 midrange magic, but the mk1 SP1 is a significantly more modern design which holds up well today. The SP1/2 suffers driver issues now (hardening surrounds) which can be treated with brake fluid to soften it with variable results, but by this time, the then new SP1/2 stood alone in a range of increasingly 'slushy sounding boxes' as I remember. Modern Spendors have been livened up, but current new-model Harbeths do seem to have the edge in terms of integration, although the tauter tones of recent models NEED loads of power now to make them 'do' dynamics properly - in my opinion anyway. I know I've had loads of fun using the cute and sonically delightful Quad VA1 into SHL5+'s, but I don't think it could be a permanent setup
    Last edited by DSJR; 27-05-2017 at 14:03. Reason: typos again
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  7. #27
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Witney Oxon

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    I'm Martyn.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DSJR View Post
    I posted the above ages ago to try to put modern rock music peeps buying BC1's at currently outrageous used prices and being severely disappointed. I have ongoing fond memories of the pair I had in the late 70's, fitted with the then latest ceramic magnet drivers which sorted the mid-70'd surround issues. In a smaller domestic room and placed well off the floor (I know the trolleys are easy to use, but the HF1300 main tweeters are then firing almost into one's knees or at least one's chest ).


    At the time, we used to 'demonstrate' BC1's sat on top of big IMF transmission line models and sometimes upside down as well, to get the main driver as clear from walls and floors as possible. The BBC bought hundreds of BC1's as general boxes and I believe most were hanging from the ceiling angled downwards to the desk unless I'm very much mistaken. At the time, anything higher than a spirited volume made them sound as if they were falling apart, due to lack of cone excursion and buzzing boxes. My own BC2's are driving me mad when I'm able to let rip for exactly the same reason and that's irrespective of the amp used - and I have a few including a Quad 303, the model used when they were designed.

    I have to disagree with SQ's comments about the SP1 though. It may be said to lose a tiny touch of the BC1 midrange magic, but the mk1 SP1 is a significantly more modern design which holds up well today. The SP1/2 suffers driver issues now (hardening surrounds) which can be treated with brake fluid to soften it with variable results, but by this time, the then new SP1/2 stood alone in a range of increasingly 'slushy sounding boxes' as I remember. Modern Spendors have been livened up, but current new-model Harbeths do seem to have the edge in terms of integration, although the tauter tones of recent models NEED loads of power now to make them 'do' dynamics properly - in my opinion anyway. I know I've had loads of fun using the cute and sonically delightful Quad VA1 into SHL5+'s, but I don't think it could be a permanent setup
    Dave.
    Point taken, but for us who are using our BC1s for Classical Music, Folk and 'The Like' the BC1s are perfect.
    Radio is BIG in my house.
    I'm currently listening to Any Questions on Radio 4 are they are PERFECT for that.

    If I wanted to play 'Rock Type' music I would have something like ATC speakers in my front room

    Dave. Your great guy and much of what you say about the BC1 is correct.

    All the best.
    Martyn.

  8. #28
    Join Date: Oct 2012

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    I'm Jez.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Martyn Miles View Post
    Dave.
    Point taken, but for us who are using our BC1s for Classical Music, Folk and 'The Like' the BC1s are perfect.
    Radio is BIG in my house.
    I'm currently listening to Any Questions on Radio 4 are they are PERFECT for that.

    If I wanted to play 'Rock Type' music I would have something like ATC speakers in my front room

    Dave. Your great guy and much of what you say about the BC1 is correct.

    All the best.
    Martyn.
    I'm a big fan of Spendor speakers and especially this series. SP1 is amongst my favourite ever speakers. Currently using BCII's here whilst my beloved KEF R105/3's are (temporarily I hope!) out of action.

    P.s. I take it you found the "Pre Out" sockets OK?
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  9. #29
    Join Date: May 2008

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    I miss the ATC 100A's I once had more and more each passing year (and shed real tears when they went as I was moving in with my then fiancé and there was absolutely no room for them), but they were very heavy and not easy to move, despite the awesome sonics if they were stretched a bit - no good in pre 'SL' trim for low level night-time listening. The BC2's don't integrate quite as well as BC1's do and as you (all?) know, mine have replacement later SA2 drivers in, which were similar but updated I gather. This room I have here is crap I now realise, my better half won't have smaller 'Boxes On Stalks' in this room and for speakers of this size to begin to work, they've got to be 18" off the floor and nigh on a metre out from the back wall in a near-field perspective, which I can't maintain in day-to-day life.

    Hey Ho...
    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.....................

  10. #30
    Join Date: May 2016

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    I'm Andrew.

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    I couldn't move them on quick enough


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