When we talk about putting together audio systems and matching components to speakers, the goal often comes down to accurate and truthful reproduction of the recording. While some may want to "feel like they're there" listening to the music live, the goal of the audio engineer mixing the recording is present the music for the best listening experience. Speaking from experience, Robert Greene notes that the way different sound systems play the same recording can be very disconcerting to the audio engineer. That's why he prefers speakers that are consistent, accurate, and truthful in their reproduction. This preferences gravitates him toward British loudspeakers, and Spendor speakers above all else.
While Spendor's BC-1 made the brand famous and brought truthful speakers into popularity back in the late 60s and early 70s, Spendor has grown and evolved in the intervening decades. However, despite no longer offering that BC-1, Spendor continues their mission in producing accurate and transparent speakers, including in their A4 floorstander. Robert Greene recently sought out the A4 for a review in The Absolute Sound, wanting to see just how flat the response curve actually was in the A-series speaker.
As it turned out, the A4 needed a little help in the EQ pattern, but the smoothness of the response pattern makes any correction and balancing a cinch. While Greene notes that the A4's sonic profile isn't necessarily consistent with live music, the unique curve allows for a spectacular playback experience:
The results of all this can be quite startling. A well-done Telarc can sound surprisingly much like a real orchestra in concert, for example. I would not go so far as to say that the bounds between the reproduced and the real were obliterated. Reproducing an orchestra in a room of domestic size always involves some loss of scale and spatial impression. But the overall character of the sound was preserved well, indeed. And one surely got the idea that the speaker was telling a good deal of the sonic truth of what was recorded. This impression was aided by the sense of resolution. The Spendor people have, according to their own description, worked hard to damp down the otherwise conventional-looking cabinet. What they have done is all inside. But it seems to work. Inner details—harpsichord parts in Baroque ensembles, for instance—come out cleanly without any sense of being overemphasized. One can tell a lot about what is going on. And sound bouncing off the walls of the hall are clearly represented (in recordings where this is relevant). This is a well-behaved speaker, outside the tonal balance questions.
While the Spendor A4 may need some equalization to fit some listener's preferences, overall Greene was very impressed by the speaker and sure that others will also fall in love with floorstanders. Retailing for $3,795 per pair, the A4 makes for a perfect companion to many systems, and their size (standing just under 3 feet in height) allow to easily integrate into most rooms. If your quest is to find a pair of speakers that offer a truthful and transparent reproduction of the source material, make sure the Spendor A4 loudspeakers are on your audition list!