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Spendor A5 - opinions and setups

All,

 

Just wondering who is running Spendor A5's out there and what your thoughts are, good or bad in your current set up.  I have Spendor A5's teamed up with Leema Pulse and whilst the system has grown on me over the last few months some more 'punch' to the sound wouldn't go a miss - a bit too neutral/balanced maybe - would like bit more sparkle, punch.  I'm still running this set up with an Arcam R-DAC which general consensus points to as the weak link.

I've a friend who owns a Roksan Kandy K2 amp which I note on What hi-hi fi is a 'recommended' partner to the A5's - I'd have thought the Leema to be a league up from the Roksan?  I read that Spendors are not very efficient at 85db and need some driving (Roksan seems to pack a punch) - what does 'not very efficient' mean and is the Leema of sufficient sensitivity to 'drive' the Spendors?

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RE: Spendor A5 - opinions and setups

I'm using an older Roksan Kandy and am very pleased with the Spendors.  I have them closer together than is ideal and only 20cm out from the wall, but there's nothing I can do about that.

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RE: Spendor A5 - opinions and setups

for info I'm streaming wirelessly from iMac to airport express.  23cm from wall angled in and approx 2m apart from each other.

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RE: Spendor A5 - opinions and setups

BluePotato wrote:

All,

 

Just wondering who is running Spendor A5's out there and what your thoughts are, good or bad in your current set up.  I have Spendor A5's teamed up with Leema Pulse and whilst the system has grown on me over the last few months some more 'punch' to the sound wouldn't go a miss - a bit too neutral/balanced maybe - would like bit more sparkle, punch.  I'm still running this set up with an Arcam R-DAC which general consensus points to as the weak link.

I've a friend who owns a Roksan Kandy K2 amp which I note on What hi-hi fi is a 'recommended' partner to the A5's - I'd have thought the Leema to be a league up from the Roksan?  I read that Spendors are not very efficient at 85db and need some driving (Roksan seems to pack a punch) - what does 'not very efficient' mean and is the Leema of sufficient sensitivity to 'drive' the Spendors?

They don't come more sparkly than a Leema below £1500 mark. The Kandy K2 is a fabulous amp for the money but does not compare to the Pulse, in terms of shear realism and neutrality.

I would say the Spendors are a little too dark for your taste. Listen to PMCs, Totems or MAs with the Leema I'm sure your view would change.

The only amp I know (or heard) that's more sparkly or neutral or brighter than the Leema is Cyrus. Also, Naim XS and Roksan Caspian may give you the sound you're looking for. I bet the speakers aren't the best for the Pulse.

*EDIT* I would suggest with the budget you had at the time, literally nothing will compare with the Pulse. Are you sure you're not mistaking punch for bass depth? The Kandy K2 will give you a little extra power and, perhaps, bottom end. However, the Kandy is smoother or warmer than the Pulse.

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RE: Spendor A5 - opinions and setups

I run Spendor A5's in a Naim system.  There is plenty of punch and sparkle to my ears but I can undersatand your concerns having lived with these through a recent bout of upgrades.

When I auditioned I found them slow and lifeless, this was with my previous amp and CD player (Morgan Audio Systems) but in the dealers dem room.  As they were ex demo I was able to buy on sale or return and much preferred them in my own home.  

I'm now using an Naim NDX, Nac 282/Hicap DR/Nap 200.  The Spendors have responded well to each upgrade, in particular to bass control and sparkle.  Last year I upgraded the pre from a Nac 200 to the 282 and this made a fundamental difference to the control and vividness of the system.  There is now considerable slam, and the system is very engaging (it should be for £12k!)

I think their weak points are with bass control and speed, they can boom in the wrong room/system.  I have found that as I have upgraded this becomes less of an issue.

Mine are closer to the back wall than I would like (about 8 inches), no toe in and about 6 feet apart.  I listen off axis and they seem to image well.

I listen to a variety of music from Jazz, Blues pop and Classical.  My mainstay is modern Jazz which suits these well.  Real instruments sound very real and they are excellent with vocals, occasionally they boom on bass heavy double bass but I can live with that.

I don't know any of your other gear, so cannot really comment on what to do to improve but I have always found that upgrading the source is a good place to start and I would suggest that you do some comparisons substituting the Arcam Dac for something else.  If you fancy a complete change then the Naim Uniti range may suit you

All the best

 

Richard

 

 

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RE: Spendor A5 - opinions and setups

i got my A5s to build a second system in my attic, where the room is smalller than my ling room where i will keep the Jade 5.

I got my Spendors a month ago and installed them in the living room for running in. I run them through Audiolab 8200CDQ and 2 x 8200M amps. Speakers are about 3.5 m apart and roughly the same to my listening position. about 40 cm to the rear wall, 10 cm to the side wall for the right one and about 40 cm to the side for the left one. Far from perfect but i will modify the furniture a bit anyway to accommodate the big Jades.

But, the sound this combo makes is very sweet and has everything I could wish for. I bought them with the idea of getting a Roksan Caspian amp-cd at a later date. I will buy a different amp/cd for them but just because it would be stupid having an identical second system. Plus, i can play and try various combinations of sound with another gear.

However, if i would have only had this Audiolab package going with A5s I would have been very, very happy. It drives them very well, very musical, plenty of power in reserve. volume usually stays between -40db and -30 dB, ocasionally going louder if I am in the mood for that.

even at -40 it feels my big living room with ease. 7m x 4 m x 3.5 m.

there is sweet midrange, bass is plenty and very we

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RE: Spendor A5 - opinions and setups

sorry, writing from a stupid smart phone Smile

saying that the midrange is sweet, bass is strong, alive and articulate. But it depends of the music. If the record doesnt have too much the Spendors will not add anything to enhance. But try listening this track: Better be home soon - Andrea Zonn. Try downloading and you will hear a big, heavy natural bass. Or try some tracks from Massive Attack-Protection. Other genres sound very good too. Last night was Tom Petty. I can telly that Breakdown or Mary Jane,s last dance sounded great. I also tried recently some Michael Jackson and Pink Martini. All of them sounded fantastic, musical and sweet. Although you can always follow any instrument you may wish if you feel like a hifi reviewer.

i can recommend this set up to anyone. I was afraid that Audiolab might not suit the Spendors as the Spendors seem to be considered a bit aristocratic.

I am also sure there might be better suited setups out there. Now my question is what amp-cd to get for my Spendors.

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RE: Spendor A5 - opinions and setups

I have an rDac and am very pleased with it - certainly not a weak link in my system (Mac Mini, Audivarna, Ayre AX-7e, Harbeth 7/2's). Although I'm not looking for a punchy sound, so perhaps we have slightly different priorities.

Main reason for posting is to suggest a cheap upgrade for the rDac - get a VN10L power supply from Maplins for £15, it's well worth the difference (and will take you in the direction you want to go I think). Link below, just remember to set it to the 6V that the rDac needs

http://www.maplin.co.uk/low-power-multi-voltage-desktop-power-supply-492134

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RE: Spendor A5 - opinions and setups

Thanks for this - no probs spending £15 - might be a bit naive here but what does a different power supply give?

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RE: Spendor A5 - opinions and setups

bebelacus wrote:

sorry, writing from a stupid smart phone Smile

saying that the midrange is sweet, bass is strong, alive and articulate. But it depends of the music. If the record doesnt have too much the Spendors will not add anything to enhance. But try listening this track: Better be home soon - Andrea Zonn. Try downloading and you will hear a big, heavy natural bass. Or try some tracks from Massive Attack-Protection. Other genres sound very good too. Last night was Tom Petty. I can telly that Breakdown or Mary Jane,s last dance sounded great. I also tried recently some Michael Jackson and Pink Martini. All of them sounded fantastic, musical and sweet. Although you can always follow any instrument you may wish if you feel like a hifi reviewer.

i can recommend this set up to anyone. I was afraid that Audiolab might not suit the Spendors as the Spendors seem to be considered a bit aristocratic.

I am also sure there might be better suited setups out there. Now my question is what amp-cd to get for my Spendors.

 

thanks for this - tried those songs - whilst I like that kind of music and would say they sound good with my set up they didn't light up the room so to speak.  The stuff that does come across well is Dire Straits - where do you think you're going for example, a lot of Bowie stuff seems well recorded and comes across well.  Weller (by the waters, most of Stanley Road), Ryan Adams sound v.good generally, Johnny Cash.   Just wanting a bit more 'life' and energy - think this may just be the Spendor sound  - was originally looking at B&W CM8's - would be interesting to compare them in my room for sure.

I've just adjusted the speakers to point straight ahead - just short of 7inch from the wall - think that's slightly better as i listen off centre - marginal though.  

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RE: Spendor A5 - opinions and setups

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RE: Spendor A5 - opinions and setups

plastic penguin wrote:

This might be of interest. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ROKSAN-KANDY-K2-INTERGRATED-AMP-BRAND-NEW-BOXED-/160974387170?pt=UK_AudioTVElectronics_HomeAudioHiFi_Amplifiers&hash=item257ad237e2

 

thanks PP.  I've got a friend who has a Roksan Kandy - going to try get him to bring it round at some point to do a comparison - will be interesting to see difference.  Might try this £15 power pack from Maplin too as per above for a shot to nothing too - bit unclear as to why that improves things although I recall hearing similar stories before - are power packs distributed with kit not of the right quality?

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RE: Spendor A5 - opinions and setups

BluePotato wrote:

plastic penguin wrote:

This might be of interest. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ROKSAN-KANDY-K2-INTERGRATED-AMP-BRAND-NEW-BOXED-/160974387170?pt=UK_AudioTVElectronics_HomeAudioHiFi_Amplifiers&hash=item257ad237e2

 

thanks PP.  I've got a friend who has a Roksan Kandy - going to try get him to bring it round at some point to do a comparison - will be interesting to see difference.  Might try this £15 power pack from Maplin too as per above for a shot to nothing too - bit unclear as to why that improves things although I recall hearing similar stories before - are power packs distributed with kit not of the right quality?

Probably the best thing: Having heard Roksan kandy LIII, K2 and Caspian they sure know how to produce high quality amps. In the two year quest for a new amp, the Kandy, along with Creek Evo2, were very much front-runners - until I heard the Leema. It blew me away.

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RE: Spendor A5 - opinions and setups

philipjohnwright wrote:

I have an rDac and am very pleased with it - certainly not a weak link in my system (Mac Mini, Audivarna, Ayre AX-7e, Harbeth 7/2's). Although I'm not looking for a punchy sound, so perhaps we have slightly different priorities.

Main reason for posting is to suggest a cheap upgrade for the rDac - get a VN10L power supply from Maplins for £15, it's well worth the difference (and will take you in the direction you want to go I think). Link below, just remember to set it to the 6V that the rDac needs

http://www.maplin.co.uk/low-power-multi-voltage-desktop-power-supply-492134

 

Well, well.  Bought said item tonight - inititally wasn't sure I could tell a difference but playing the first 30seconds or so of Stevie Wonder Superstition I think the start up is just that little more prickly.  I did I bling test on the Missus (who said romance is dead) to see if she preferred one to the other or couldn't tell difference - fully expected she wouldn't be able to tell but she clearly pointed the the Maplin power supply - bizarre, not sure why but as you say worth the £15.  

 

Happier with the speakers facing straight on rather than shoe in - seems to image a bit better.   Would be interested in hearing the jump with a Rega DAC, M DAC or a Musical Fidelity.

 

Whats the thoughts on cabling?  I'm just running Chord Silverscreen speaker cable but I've been recommended to upgrade to Chord Rumour to 'really make the Spendors sing' to quote?

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RE: Spendor A5 - opinions and setups

BluePotato wrote:

philipjohnwright wrote:

I have an rDac and am very pleased with it - certainly not a weak link in my system (Mac Mini, Audivarna, Ayre AX-7e, Harbeth 7/2's). Although I'm not looking for a punchy sound, so perhaps we have slightly different priorities.

Main reason for posting is to suggest a cheap upgrade for the rDac - get a VN10L power supply from Maplins for £15, it's well worth the difference (and will take you in the direction you want to go I think). Link below, just remember to set it to the 6V that the rDac needs

http://www.maplin.co.uk/low-power-multi-voltage-desktop-power-supply-492134

 

Well, well.  Bought said item tonight - inititally wasn't sure I could tell a difference but playing the first 30seconds or so of Stevie Wonder Superstition I think the start up is just that little more prickly.  I did I bling test on the Missus (who said romance is dead) to see if she preferred one to the other or couldn't tell difference - fully expected she wouldn't be able to tell but she clearly pointed the the Maplin power supply - bizarre, not sure why but as you say worth the £15.  

 

Happier with the speakers facing straight on rather than shoe in - seems to image a bit better.   Would be interested in hearing the jump with a Rega DAC, M DAC or a Musical Fidelity.

 

Whats the thoughts on cabling?  I'm just running Chord Silverscreen speaker cable but I've been recommended to upgrade to Chord Rumour to 'really make the Spendors sing' to quote?

 

thats a 'blind' test on the missus rather than bling!

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RE: Spendor A5 - opinions and setups

Chord Odyssey 2 speaker cables.

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