“Their build and sound quality is, I believe, the very best coming out of the UK,” says Indi Imports’ MD Paul Riachi, as Indi Imports takes over distribution of Spendor, the classic UK hi-fi speaker brand that made its name from the end of the 1960s by championing innovative new materials and gaining a position as the BBC’s ‘house’ speaker.
Now owned by Philip Swift, best known to many as one of the original founders of Audiolab, Spendor continues to design and engineer its loudspeakers entirely in the United Kingdom.
“There is no other speaker brand who can claim that they design, build, manufacture every speaker driver and crossover from the ground up, including the cabinetry, and all in their factory located in Sussex,” says Riachi.
A, D, and Classic lines
Today Spendor offers three main ranges of loudspeakers.
The ‘A-Line’ is a dual-purpose range comprising three floorstanders, one standmount and a centre speaker, so that the range can be used to supply package configurations for surround sound as well as stereo music. They feature Spendor's EP77 Polymer cones, and are notable performers for their price, with both the top floorstanding A7 and second-top A4 having won What Hi-Fi? awards.
The two floorstanders of the D-Line load up on technology and materials science in particular, featuring Spendor’s LPZ high-frequency driver, the EP77 Polymer cones, plus Kevlar composite-cone bass drivers using the fifth-generation of Spendor’s Twin-Venturi Linear-Flow port. You can read What Hi-Fi?'s Spendor D7.2 review here.
The third range, Spendor’s Classic line, is the most extensive, the designs harking back to the age of classic loudspeakers when Spendor was born, yet still equipped with the latest generation of Spendor drive units – the polymer and Kevlar cones, with cast-magnesium alloy chassis, and high-efficiency motor systems. With five standmount Classics plus one floorstander, and titanium-baffled variants of the Classic 100 and 200, there’s plenty on offer for Indi Imports to get its distribution teeth into, after passing their former British speaker brand Q Acoustics to another distributor.
You can read What Hi-FI?'s review of the Spendor Classic 1/2 standmounter here.
“Our decision to distribute Spendor was taken back in 2019,” says Paul Riachi. “The Indi Group’s decision to only sell brands in whom manufacturer and have a true heritage and history in the audio industry is the reason why we took the opportunity with Spendor.
"As far back as the late 60’s, Spendor has produced some of the world’s most iconic speakers and have set the benchmark in studios across the globe. We’re looking forward to working with a very professional company who totally understands build quality, supply and demand with consistency in quality.”
A history of modern materials
Bextrene was the innovative material of choice for the speaker diaphragms in Spendor’s first pair of speakers, the BC1, when they were first built by BBC engineer Spencer Hughes (co-founder with Dorothy Hughes, hence the ‘Spen-Dor’ name) and co-designer Dudley Harwood.
Those BC1 speakers had a three-way design: the 8-inch Bextrene mid/bass driver (the only commercially-available Bextrene driver), a Celestion HF 1300 tweeter (ranging between 3kHz and 13kHz) and a Coles (not that Coles) 4001 G supertweeter (above 13kHz). They were fed by a nine-element crossover, comprising film capacitors for frequency and temperature stability, and radio metal-cored chokes that allowed for high transients and low resonances.
The BC1s hit the market in the late 1960s and found their way into broadcast and recording studios before eventually being available to buy for consumers. Some 600 pairs were supposedly in operation at the BBC at one time (and one of those pairs now resides with the humble Editor of Sound+Image magazine, who loves them still).
Spendor joins the extensive brand list at Indi Imports, with local pricing to be confirmed.