Audition Spendor D7 and A7 in/near Texas (Houston)


I'm looking at a new set of speakers and would love to audition the Spendor D7 and A7, however for the life of me I can't find a dealer that has them both. The two dealers I know of near Houston is GCaudio on San Antonio which only has the D7, and then Wilson Audio in Louisiana that only has the classic line. Any ideas on how I could audition both within a 6 hour drive?
divertiti
Any Spendor owners in Texas?
Not a single Spendor owner in Texas can shed some light?
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I can’t help you with audition ideas in TX, but I can give you my impressions after spending an hour listening to A7 and several hours listening to D7, which I eventually purchased that exact demo pair.

I went in with 5k budget. A7 was good. I liked it better than $5k speakers from Bowers/Wilkins, Focal, Paradigm, Goldenear, ML, Rega, Maggie, Dynaudio, and others I had listened to. Electronics I believe were Ayre integrated and a CD player that I forget, perhaps Rega.

Then I heard the D7 in same setup and it was immensely better in every possible way. I knew instantly my budget could not remain 5k after hearing the D7. I waited 6 months, saved up, and along the way auditioned everything I could under 7.5k and even some up to 10k (804d3), but I kept coming back to d7. I own that demo pair now and every day I listen to them I think, damn these things are sooo good.

To be honest, at 5k the A7s would not have been a runaway winner for me. Focal and Dynaudio were right there and I can’t say for sure which I’d have gone with. I didn’t need to make that decision because the instant I heard D7 in side by side I knew I could no longer restrict myself to that budget.
At the 6.5k level the D7’s were runaway winners for me. Dynaudio and Vandersteen were runners up for me. And as I say I dared listen to things up to 10k (BW, Paradigm, others) but D7 was the bomb.
As to what differentiates it for me, I feel it was the proprietary LPZ tweeter. Make sure what you hear is broken in because new they can sound a bit hot but once broken in oh my gosh it brings the laidback reputation of Spendor and kicks it into the ditch and for me it is the magical perfect balance of amazing mids, excellent base, and airy sparkling highs.

Yeah I love D7 : )
To give a sense of my preferences (though you can probably figure it out from list above), I prefer a neutral speaker, and if I have to slide toward warm or bright I’ll slide toward warm.

By comparison, Paradigm and Bowers/Wilkins (to list just two examples) sound more forward than Spendor D7, and Vandersteen (to list just one example) sounds more laid back. I suppose the A7 sounds just a touch more laid back than D7 as well.

Goes without saying these are just my impressions.  Some others would no doubt disagree.
@kren0006 Thanks very much for your detailed thoughts, it's helpful to hear from someone with first hand experience. What amplifier did you use when comparing the two? In your 6 months quest to hear everything you can, did you hear Proac or Tektons? If so, I'm really interested in how you thought they compared.

I'm also surprised that Dynaudio was so close in the comparison, I have had the Focus 380s before and they sounded box in and constrained, maybe it was just that one model. Which model impressed you on the Dynaudio side?

@divertiti The amp (*I think*) used during the comparison between A7 and D7 was the lowest-priced Ayre integrated - I forget the model number but probably a $5k or so integrated?? That was the only time I compared them head to head because I had made my mind up as between the two from that point on.

I heard the D7’s on a few different amps over the intervening 6 months, whatever they happened to be hooked up to each time I went back in. Audio Research, Bryston, Bel Canto, probably some others that I’m forgetting now. Always liked how they sounded. I liked Audio Research the best and also ended up buying that ARC demo integrated amp (this one was solid state, not tube).

No I have not heard either Proac or Tekton so I cannot comment on either.

The Dynaudio was in the Excite Series, either X38 or X44 (if such a model exists, I can’t really remember). Dyn was more under consideration when I was focused on A7 price point; I don’t think the Dyn dealer at time had series above the Excite series in stock to listen to. So as far as being "so close," not really that close but nevertheless the #2 at the time I guess you could say. Surprisingly in the $5k range I also liked the B&W 702s2 though I didn’t like other BW speakers as much, but in the 5k range I thought they were pretty good.  I found the competition among speakers at the 5k pricepoint to be very strong - lots of good options.  But for me the D7's stood well above that fray, and I guess I didn't have access to listen to as many speakers in the under 7k range (harder to find dealers that stocked, but I listened to whatever I had access to).

Other speakers that I listened to during the time were several Kef models, a Linn model, a Sonus Faber model, and I’m sure a few others that I’m forgetting. I didn’t really keep detailed notes on everything, it was more like I kept track of the current leader (which after I heard D7 never changed) and the one or two right behind it (though I didn’t bother going back and relistening to those much). But yeah I tried to hear everything that I could in price range during those 6-8 months total (the few months before I heard A7 and D7 together and the 6 thereafter until I bought the D7’s).

I’ve talked more about my search in my other posts that you can read if you like - hopefully it’s consistent, haha, just going off memory.
All that said, just one person’s opinion. There is at least one other poster on the forums who home-demo’d both A7 and D7 and chose A7, so just goes to show everyone has different tastes