Spendor D7 Loudspeaker

British Refinement

Equipment report
Spendor D7
Spendor D7 Loudspeaker

Everyone hates to admit it, but first impressions count. So, call me superficial, but I became an admirer of the Spendor D7 straight out of the box. Here was a neo-classic 38" tower that was superbly finished and elegantly accented with a black lacquered plinth, and wild, dark bands of grain coursing through the black walnut matte finish. It gave this otherwise sedate-appearing floorstander a sense of presence and potency that later seemed to exemplify the speaker’s sonic temperament and spirit.

The D7 is a three-transducer floorstander in a bass-reflex box. The 7" mid/bass drive unit uses a newly minted polymer cone, while the 7" low-frequency drive unit sports a bonded Kevlar composite cone. These drivers feature cast magnesium alloy chassis, high-efficiency motor systems, optimized damping and thermal dissipation, plus a new, highly stable polymer surround that reduces break-in time. Configured as a 2.5-way, the woofer rolls off acoustically around 900Hz while the mid/bass driver extends out to a relatively high 3.2kHz before it hands off to the tweeter.

 The technology behind Spendor’s LPZ tweeter is interesting. The LPZ (or Linear Pressure Zone) is a 22mm soft-dome with a wide “roll” surround that effectively extends the radiating area to about 27mm. In Spendor’s view, this offers the best of two worlds: extended bandwidth response and uncompressed, low-distortion output. However, forward of the tweeter dome is a stainless-steel front plate with a “phase correcting” microfoil that forms a damped acoustic chamber directly in front of the tweeter’s lightweight, woven-polyamide diaphragm. The microfoil (which kind of resembles the world’s tiniest strainer) equalizes the soundwave path lengths across the diaphragm surface, all the while generating a symmetrical pressure environment so the tweeter operates in a balanced linear mode. As a fringe benefit, the front plate also appears to offer the delicate dome excellent protection from curiosity seekers. I asked about the “dot” in the center of the microfoil, and Spendor’s Philip Swift replied that it “does play an active role; it diffracts soundwaves emitted from the very central area of the tweeter dome—this eliminates the ‘hot-spot,’ or on-axis extra brightness and glare effect, that you get with a conventional tweeter.”

The D7 enclosure is crafted from 18mm MDF, but you’d have to crawl inside to understand its rigidity. There you’d find Spendor’s “asymmetric aperture bracing” technology. In this instance, asymmetric means that each brace has a different cut-out, whereby the variable spacing between braces maximizes the asymmetry. The arrangement prevents the generation of internal acoustic standing waves and has allowed Spendor to avoid the use of low-frequency damping, thus reducing internal resonances and eliminating a significant source of sound coloration. For mid- and treble-band vibrations, Spendor uses a form of dynamic damping—constrained polymer dampers “at key energy interface points”—to convert these unwanted resonances into heat. The D7 also features the latest iteration of Spendor’s Linear Flow port, a twin-venturi, tapered baffle element, located behind the speaker terminal plate just above the plinth.

Sonically, the Spendor conveyed a full-throated presence, an upfront energy, and near full-range frequency and dynamic potency. Its midband was well-balanced tonally with some classic British speaker warmth ripening the lower mids and bass. Any semblance of British reserve, however, has gone the way of Downton Abbey. Indeed, this is not a speaker with a stick up its port. In fact, the overall character the D7 conveyed was a distinctly forward-leaning, emotion-filled presentation. To use the example of audience perspective, I found myself a couple of rows closer to symphony orchestras, which allowed a slightly heightened intimacy and sharper image focus and inner detail (though perhaps a little less soundstage depth and ambience). This bolder style of presentation I find preferable to the aloof, tranquilized alternative, which tends to manifest an artificially induced dimensionality that pockets images so deeply in a soundfield that they seem to melt into the surroundings. In many cases, this has been due to midrange suckout of some magnitude. At any rate, these sort of amorphous spatial effects are not part of the D7 portfolio. So if you’re in the market for something sleepy or slack, that doses out music like Ambien, the D7 will not be for you.