Spendor’s speakers tend to resemble each other so closely, it might be possible to copy-and-paste our review of the former Award-winning A4 here, with just a few tweaks to some key details.
But the Spendor A7 more than deserve their time in the spotlight and to receive plaudits of their own.
The big brothers of the A-Line, these A7 are superb floorstanders that sound great, look great and are compact enough to fit into most homes. And that's why they're What Hi-Fi? award winners.
The Spendor A7 are elegant in their simplicity.
Build quality is of a high standard, with crisp edges and impeccably smart wood veneer finishes in either black ash, dark walnut or natural oak – there’s also a satin white option at a premium.
Spendor is unique in having its own cabinet-making plant in the UK, and the company also supplies cabinets to other British speaker brands – including some of its direct rivals.
Just like the A4, the A7 are two-way speakers. Each speaker has an 18cm mid/bass driver and a 22mm tweeter with a wide surround, which help disperse the sound even further.
The main difference is, of course, cabinet size. The A7 head Spendor’s A-Line range (they’re about 7cm taller than the A4, and 2kg heavier), but their relatively slim and compact dimensions (for floorstanders) mean they will fit neatly into most homes.
Position them correctly, around 20-30cm away from a wall or corners, and you'll reap the rewards. The Spendors have rear-firing slot-shaped reflex ports to reduce noise and distortion, and to give better grip on bass than a conventional tube-shaped port can generally manage.
Don’t push them up against a wall or you’ll lose a lot of that open character. We’d also toe the speakers in slightly towards the listening position to get that gorgeous stereo imaging and solid focus for vocals.
Apart from that, they’re relatively simple to set up. Screw four spikes into the metal discs on each plinth, which are claimed to provide better contact and aid the cabinet’s rigidity, plug cables into the single-pair speaker terminals and you’re ready to go.
We’re fully expecting the A7 to sound like the A4, but bigger. And that’s exactly what the A7 are – but with even greater insight and dynamics accompanying the grander scale.
Detail levels are fantastic, with each instrumental strand and vocal quirk laid bare. The sound is terrifically clean and organised, but where other Spendors (such as the previous generation A5) prioritised refinement, these A7 also pack in bags of punch to keep things sounding lively.
Vocals are a particular highlight. We play Liability by Lorde and the emotionally laden vocals sound gorgeous – focused, tangible and intimate. It’s a wonderful performance, and one that inspires us to search for more vocal-heavy tracks to see just how talented these A7 are.
They time with pinpoint accuracy and are immensely transparent too, highlighting any differences in recording qualities.
Such qualities could easily nudge the Spendors over into 'clinical-sounding' territory, but instead they’re full of expressive melodies and undulating dynamics.
From sparse, mournful Ólufar Arnalds compositions to the chirpy hip-hop of Salt-N-Pepa, the A7 masterfully weave their way through whatever rhythm they’re confronted with, engrossing us with their performance along the way.
Despite their relatively compact size, these speakers go satisfyingly deep and keep a firm grip on the bassline of Massive Attack’s Angel. Each note is pulled taut, and the edges are precise but wrapped in layers of texture.
The song’s relentless, brooding momentum never lets up, and the Spendors remain agile and controlled throughout, handling each musical strand like a veteran puppet-master.
The Spendor A7 retain a slightly lean character even after many days of running in but, though some might prefer more muscle, they never sound bright or insubstantial.
The rattling snare drums in Major Lazer’s Pon de Floor are snappy and have crisp highs, but this raucous tune needs just a bit more brawn behind it.
Though they never quite fully engage party mode, we can’t fault the way these articulate Spendors hold their composure, remaining endlessly listenable even when things get intense.
It’s worth taking care with partnering equipment. While the A7 will work happily with most capable amplifiers, something like the powerful-yet-poised Naim SuperNait 3 helps fill out that leanness with a touch more warmth.
Refined yet entertaining, the top-of-the-line A7 continue Spendor’s knack for combining stunning precision, clarity and subtlety with hugely enjoyable dynamics and rhythm.
If you’re in the market for a new pair of speakers, these elegant Spendor A7 should make their way to the top of your list.
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