The critical midrange was the D7’s strongest suit. Male vocals such as Tom Waits singing “Georgia Lee” possessed solid chest tones, and remained coherent and of a piece even into his raspy upper register [Mule Variations]. Lower-register mids, as conveyed by cello and bass viol, had a welcoming, darkly burnished resonance that I’ve come to expect from the almost human “voices” of these instruments. Baritone sax was reproduced with the power, weight, and body the instrument is known for. Midrange and top-end dynamics—the lifeblood of the live-music experience—were also lively with an abundance of finely expressed gradients. I’m in equal admiration of the D7’s transient abilities. As I listened to neo-Bluegrass trio Nickel Creek, the exchanges between mandolin and acoustic guitar—the definition of the flat-picks and resonant structure from the soundboards of these very different instruments—were fully revealed. The transients and micro-dynamic interplay were so fast and lively they were like tiny fireworks going off.
The Spendor was not a sweetspot speaker in the sense of requiring you to clamp your head in a vise to hear the full measure of its response and staging. Some credit must go to the generous dispersion of the LPZ tweeter. Earlier I alluded to the forward presentation of the D7. And there were times when I felt the voicing between mid and treble was slightly tipped in the direction of the tweeter. Not a continuously rising upper range as such, but a prominence in the lower treble that illuminates the leading edge of cymbals, vocal air, or string transients (like the etch of a well-rosined bow gliding along a cello string). For example during Elton John’s “Someone Saved My Life Tonight,” there was an added dusting of silver air on top of the cymbal that opens the track. And during the Manhattan Jazz Quintet’s “Autumn Leaves” a bit of extra coolness overlaid the trumpet solo. Oh, maybe it’s just an added dB or two, but honestly my listening biases tend to lean in the other direction, so I felt the D7 pushed a little more detail that way than was strictly accurate.
Low-frequency extension plummeted forcefully into the 30-cycle range in my room. During Copland’s Fanfare percussion, timpani, and bass drum cues were extended and well defined. Dynamic energy in these octaves was also impressive, and never failed to shore up the initial transient impact of those big drums with a solid, trailing punch. The bass bloom factor—the sense of low-frequency air being launched into the soundspace—was very good for this combination of speaker volume and driver size. And port noise was all but “invisible” to the ear. Only as the D7 reached its lower bass limits did it suggest some editorializing. In such instances, the bass drum impacts or electric bass energy would loosen slightly, with the ultimate slam softening and dispersing into the soundspace without decisive focus. On balance, however, and to the D7’s credit, it performed much closer to a true three-way than a 2.5-way design. In this, it maintains a near-constant level of tonal stability and dynamic drive through the midband that most 2.5-ways struggle to achieve.
In the last few months, my listening room has welcomed a bonanza of medium-sized floorstanders from the Wilson Sabrina and Dali Rubicon 6 to the Vandersteen Treo CT. It’s a tribute to the Spendor D7 that it competes aggressively in this vaunted company. Indeed it’s the rare loudspeaker at any price that touches all the bases for every set of ears. But the reasonably priced D7 came very close in many areas. I’ve always liked high-end gear that wears its musicality on its sleeve, and the Spendor D7 doesn’t hold back—not a whit. It’s a speaker that should be high on everyone’s short list to audition.
SPECS & PRICING
Type: 2.5-way, bass-reflex floorstanding loudspeaker
Driver complement: 2.5-way; 1" tweeter, 7" mid/bass, 7" woofer
Frequency response: 29-20kHz +/-3dB
Impedance: 8 ohms (4 ohms minimum)
Dimensions: 8" x 38" x 14"
Weight: 48.5 lbs.