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Thread: Spendor S8 (not S8e): to buy or to wait?

  1. #1
    Join Date: Oct 2016

    Location: Switzerland

    Posts: 17
    I'm Marco.

    Default Spendor S8 (not S8e): to buy or to wait?

    Good morning everyone!

    I didn't post here for a while, but I've been reading and searching the forum from time to time. My general knowledge and experience about hi-fi is not as extended as it would need to contribute actively (and with some real content) to the discussion... But with time and with your (direct or indirect) advice this is going to change!

    I've been listening for around two years with my recently recapped ION Obelisk 3X (with the X-Pak 1) driving my old Onkyo Q-1 loudspeakers (bought second hand in Italy in 1999 or 2000...), but I was starting to feel quite unsatisfied about the speakers because of their tendency to sound harsh on certain recordings, often somehow not organic (plenty of "detail", but all in the high frequencies) and being quickly on their limit (in terms of dynamic and clarity) with any orchestral recording. So I decided to look for alternatives, mainly in the second-hand market (no hurry), and in these days I'm trying at home a pair of Spendor S8 (not the S8e).

    I like the Spendor in many many ways: full range extension in the low register (28 Hz: I can hear - or maybe better to say "feel" - them, tried with a test tone generator!), plenty of detail "inside" the recording and not "on top" of it, and a certain ability to produce a sound which allows me to concentrate on the music even with historic recordings and not so wonderful lp pressings. I listen only to classical music, but absolutely all sort of it, so the speakers must manage well a solo violin and a Mahler Symphony.

    My question is... Because of limitations of my room (16 square meters, 4,30 x 4,10 m, but full of bookshelves and with some sound isolation - a grand piano is also in it) I can put the Spendors about 1 m away from the front wall, 1,20 m apart from each other, and my listening position works best at about 2 m from them - 2,50 if I want to hear some resonances of the room almost disappear and the lower register become lighter, which is good with some but not all recordings). The left speaker is about 65 cm from the side wall (with bookshelves). I'm wondering if it would be a significantly better solution to look for a smaller speaker but still with some low register extension, so something like Hartbeth M30 or C7es, or Spendor SP2, or even something like a Harbeth P3esr. They are pretty difficult to find second-hand here, and even if buying them new, it's a bit difficult to try them at home. The Spendors S8 are good, what is not really working in this setup is imaging (they do "disappear" if I sit far enough, but there is only left-right soundstage, no deepness) and on some recordings the low register may be a bit more controlled and a bit "faster" (but definitely not always... some Decca LPs from the 70s sound boomy in the bass, which they did with the Onkyo Q-1 too, some DGG are very "light"...). So, are the S8 "oversize", and I don't really notice it for lack of experience, or are they actually a good solution for my room, as I feel, being so much better than the Onkyo Q-1 on many parameters?

    Thanks for your advice!

    Marco

  2. #2
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: Seaford UK

    Posts: 674
    I'm Dennis.

    Default

    My immediate reaction is to question the separation of the speakers by only 1.2m, especially when 2.5 to 3m is de rigour. Surely imaging will be affected by their closeness.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 21,146
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    Imaging can be an elusive thing and it is affected by so many parameters it is hard to give advice on that. Ideally you want space behind the speakers and space behind your listening position, but I guess your room precludes that option. Sometimes there is no option but to live with the compromise or move house to one with a better room.


    As regards the bass the Spendors are known for being quite full, you might find moving to a smaller speaker a bit of an anti-climax. If they only boom on a few recordings you might be better just putting up with it. Unless you can get a bunch of speakers on trial in your home then you might end up swapping for a long time before finding something that suits. Or you might never find it.


    One final thought is that you could consider different amplification. If the amp is not fully controlling the speaker this can lead to bass bloom. Your amplification is good and well-regarded but pretty much anything can be improved on. Might be worth a try.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200P CD Player * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *


    'This is the sort of music I'd be listening to if I was going shopping for a training bra.'

  4. #4
    Join Date: Apr 2011

    Location: London

    Posts: 3,102
    I'm Robert.

    Default

    Agree with Dennis and Martin.

    Space between speakers is important in respect of imagaing two metres as a minimum in my experience, too much space and the image can be lost.

    S8's will want a bit of power and grip up them to get the best.

    Dont know your amplification but there's some stuf here from a user about feeling not 100% happy with the combo, feeling he had to turn the volume up a bit to get it to come to life.... - might be worth a read https://hifiwigwam.com/forum/topic/4...yneed-advices/

    Good luck sorting things though, Spendor S8 are a very decent speaker
    My System:
    Amplification - Sansui AU-alpha 707 DR
    Turntable - Modified Technics SL1210 MK5G
    Mike New precision bearing, bearing base plate, ETP Platter
    Micro Seiki MA-202 tonearm, rewired, hybrid ceramic bearings
    Ortofon Cadenza Black moving coil cartridge
    Yannis Tome 423.5 Silver-Litz tonearm cable with KLEI Pure Silver Harmony plugs
    Ebony armboard
    Audio Technica MS-8 Magnesium headshell, Ortofon pure silver headshell leads
    Isonoe Isolation Feet
    Paul Hynes SR7EHD PSU (plus regulator modules), DCSXL pure-silver DC lead with Jaegar low impedance connector
    CDP - Pioneer PD-91
    Speakers - Spendor D7
    QED Silver Spiral speaker cable, Airlock plugs - bare wire amp end.
    Mains - Ultra Pure silver plated un-switched socket, Missing link EPS 500 silver plated plugs with Hi-Fi Tuning gold plated silver ceramic 13 amp fuses

  5. #5
    Join Date: Oct 2016

    Location: Switzerland

    Posts: 17
    I'm Marco.

    Default

    Thanks for your answers!

    It's really like this, that it's almost impossible to imagine any solution to put the speakers more than 1.2m apart from each other. The space behind is not a problem (currently about 1m) and behind the listening spot I have between 80cm and 150cm, depending on how far from the speakers I choose to sit. Different distances from them do produce a different balance, probably a mixture of cancellation and reinforcing effects due to the room, and better or worse integration of woofer and tweeter (getting better with a bit more distance, which in turn makes you feel less "inside" the recording - which actually I think is not a problem, it's like choosing a different but still good seat in a concert hall).

    I've also been wondering if there has been a significant improvement for example with the the newer Spendor designs (A-series, new classic series), or if it's more a slight variation.

  6. #6
    Join Date: Apr 2011

    Location: London

    Posts: 3,102
    I'm Robert.

    Default

    It's a real shame you cant get them apart more than 1.2m as thats pretty close especially for such a big floorstander, not sure what the solution can be to be honest.

    With regard to the newer Spendors, I have the D7's and the imaging is very good at a bit over 2mtrs apart. I doubt very much that they would image any better than your S8's at 1.2mtrs apart.
    My System:
    Amplification - Sansui AU-alpha 707 DR
    Turntable - Modified Technics SL1210 MK5G
    Mike New precision bearing, bearing base plate, ETP Platter
    Micro Seiki MA-202 tonearm, rewired, hybrid ceramic bearings
    Ortofon Cadenza Black moving coil cartridge
    Yannis Tome 423.5 Silver-Litz tonearm cable with KLEI Pure Silver Harmony plugs
    Ebony armboard
    Audio Technica MS-8 Magnesium headshell, Ortofon pure silver headshell leads
    Isonoe Isolation Feet
    Paul Hynes SR7EHD PSU (plus regulator modules), DCSXL pure-silver DC lead with Jaegar low impedance connector
    CDP - Pioneer PD-91
    Speakers - Spendor D7
    QED Silver Spiral speaker cable, Airlock plugs - bare wire amp end.
    Mains - Ultra Pure silver plated un-switched socket, Missing link EPS 500 silver plated plugs with Hi-Fi Tuning gold plated silver ceramic 13 amp fuses

  7. #7
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

    Posts: 45,280
    I'm Grant.

    Default

    guess you could try omni's
    Regards,
    Grant ....

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply-doesn't-work
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  8. #8
    Join Date: May 2008

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

    Posts: 14,447
    I'm David.

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    Those Ion amps weren't very good I remember - sorry.. The legacy of the lively but open Nytech era amps had given way to a hard toned and rather harsh kind of sound engineered in from new and we couldn't sell them at the time.

    I sold and loved the S8 when new and can sum them up as a refined and smooth performer, needing a bit of power to get them going and maybe with a preference for silver plated speaker cables (we sold Chord odyssey by the km back then for speakers like this). Apart from that, I wouldn't say the S6 or S8 had much of an 'attitude' in all honesty, unlike the smaller S5e or larger S9 (both versions).

    Can you borrow a bigger amp? My old friend who gave me his then knackered Bc2's (which I've since repaired to full working order) went for some S8's and loves them. He uses a Musical Fidelity amp from the early noughties - the large integrated with a trim ring (lots of 'bolts' around the volume knob) and finds them a good match. of todays affordable amps I'd probably suggest an Emotiva if they still do the integrated, or one of the better Japanese integrateds by Pioneer or Yamaha - something with a bit of 'quality push' to the output. I suggest a perennial favourite such as a Rega or Croft would get a little lost when the volume goes up... Silly money for what they are now, but the Naim separates 'sounded' punchy and dlively with the S8's - but not the underpowered Nait 5 series, as they hard clip as I suspect your amp is doing?

    Sorry if I have it wrong. This series of Spendor are very good if matched right, but they need a helping hand power wise to get them to really disappear from the proceedings.
    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. #9
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: Seaford UK

    Posts: 674
    I'm Dennis.

    Default

    It is rather hard to see what is the restriction on speaker spacing given the size of your room.

    Maybe try compromising by going closer to the side walls, which you could 'curtain' as I have done, or pad with something to reduce reflections from them..

  10. #10
    Join Date: Oct 2016

    Location: Switzerland

    Posts: 17
    I'm Marco.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Pharos View Post
    It is rather hard to see what is the restriction on speaker spacing given the size of your room.
    Well, I didn't mention it yet, but the main space restriction is... A Steinway baby grand... And the fact that this is the only room I have, besides the kitchen and the bathroom, so plenty of books, records, CDs, music scores must have a place in it. Being a musician makes your life wonderful in many ways, but it doesn't allow to pay the rent of a bigger flat - or let's say it doesn't allow it yet.

    Thanks DSJR for the very detailed answer, which confirms to me that the S8 may be a good choice. If a more powerful amplifier (and maybe a different one anyway) can improve the situation, this is actually in a way good news - I didn't think that the ION might be a limiting factor at the moment, but I may definitely try something else in the future. It's clear that these loudspeakers like some "good force", and the 40 W on 8 Ohms (70 on 4 Ohms) of the Obelist 3X is not that much. Thanks for your suggestions, I'll keep an eye open and see if something interesting becomes available.

    The limitations in the soundstage may actually be just an unavoidable consequence of the situation in the room, but I must say that even like this the reproduction is very enjoyable, and in a way almost more "concert-like" compared to some "incredible" setups, which sound wonderful, but project a stage in a way which you never experience in reality (simply because you never listen to a concert suspended 5 metres on top of the firs rows of the concert hall...

    So, putting together all your suggestions I get the idea that it may be good to say "yes" to the Spendor S8...

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