Home demo. ProAc D48R and Spendor D9


I am in the process of a home demo. of the ProAc D48R and Spendor D9 from different dealers.
The ProAc guy says it is well run in and the Spendor guy says only about 90 hours on them.

First off, love the D48R so far, midrange to die for & the bass, lots of bass, perhaps a tad too much. Not sure yet, vocals , treble from that ribbon is exceptional.
The Spendor in comparison is not bad at all, I think a bit better definition in the bass, not as full as D48R , seems just as deep, but more tuneful to me. The midrange is OK , it seems to lag behind the ProAc only just. The upper midrange/treble to me is a bit of a let down. For example acoustic guitar seems slightly less crisp, less involving compared to the ProAc.

Question for any D9 owners out there, how long did they take to fully run in ? I assume I am not hearing now what their final run in sound will be like. Will the midrange/ treble open up more, like D48R more, or is the ProAc ribbon tweeter that much better ?
seadog77
Proac ribbon twitter is one of the best I ever heard I think is better than the D9. Proac innovative pulp & mica driver deliver excellent mid but the bass of the D48 can be too powerful and a little bit out of control especially on mid/small size rooms this is why I given up the D48 and bought the D30 instead which its bass is more tuneful and controlled(IMO the driver of the D30 is better than the drivers of the D48 and Proac will probably implement it on the successor of the D48 in the future). I think 90 hours of running in of the D9 can give you reliable definition of their performance ,on mid/small size room their bass can be overhang and out of control however on the right size room their bass should be fine. Can’t say that one is better than another they are both excellent speakers it’s really a matter of personal taste and right synergy with your system and listening space.
Thank you for that. Did not think about the D30, perhaps I should have. I can only give any speaker about 16-19 inches behind the speaker and a solid brick wall.

Perhas this is why the D48 is a bit out of control bass wise and the bass definition is suffering because of it.
Put on Pink Floyd on the Proacs Comfortably Numb
 Listen to the guitar riffs
 I think you will hear why they are so loved.
 Best JohnnyR
 Proac dealer
@seadog77,You are doing the right thing. I recollect that you were struggling with this in Dec last year. Great move to audition the speakers in your home. I envy you :-)The problem with opinions is they could bias your thoughts. So I had listened to Spendor 7 and ProAc D30RS. They had their own strong points. But in the end the ProAcs won me over with their midrange and vocal clarity. I say, pick a genre of music that you most frequently listen to. Depending on the medium, pick a well recorded CD/LP and play it on the loudspeakers and see what YOU prefer. In my case I value the vocals a lot and a person standing in front of me is very important. You should decide what is important to you.One more thing I note is that you cannot give more than 16-19 behind the speakers. Alright. But do you plan to do plenty of bass trapping? If not, then reconsider your decision regarding the D48R and D9. It is not that the bass is out of control for these speakers, but you have put a lion inside a dog kennel. I am able to give 72 inches behind them and almost 42 inches on the sides. With this placement the bass sounds nice and tight. Hence I know.Also there is a gentleman on this forum who had the D9s and sold them because he was not happy with how they sounded in his 12X13 room. Same goes for D48. Look at the D30RS or Spendor D7.Hope this helps. I say take your own sweet time to decide. Good luck in making your final decision.
Thank you for your thoughts Milpai. The thing is I can only have them 16-19 “ from a back wall and from speaker to my listening chair is 8’. However my total room area is 26’ x 13’ x 14’. Hence my initial demo. of the larger speakers. I guess I should have thought don’t worry too much about total room size, go off distance to back wall and listening distance to speakers as more important factors than room size.
The D30RS won’t sound “small” in my room ?
download the free Vandersteen setup manuals and use a math based approach to laying out distances from wall. You might get those woofers to sing.
me? I like the ProAc between the two, but as others have astutely said, how wonderful you have them both at home to make a studied choice.

Have fun and enjoy the music...


total room area of 26’ x 13’ x 14’ can accommodate the D9 and D48 just fine, bass trapping solutions can tune the bass of the D48 but if you’re filling the bass of D48 is too much for your taste try the D30 .you should take into consideration that by choosing the D30 you are getting more controlled bass but loosing some of the great dynamics and huge soundstage of the D48 .
An honest question from someone who has never owned a speaker with a ribbon tweeter, but has never had a problem with soft dome tweeter. Is there a concern that a ribbon tweeter is so fragile that one should consider purchasing the D48 with the soft dome tweeter instead?

Is the difference in sound that pronounced?
You are right ribbon twitters are much more sensitive than dome ones but they are much better , the differences are substantial : more details every small naunce is comming to life ,voices are liflike natural . ribbons are suppirier at every aspect.
For my own I always prefer soft dome on hybrid Proac (and I have ribbon tweeter at that time in my Analysis Audio) because of better coherence  between dynamic medium and ribbon tweeter. Even if ribbon tweeter is better.
But that’s only me. 
@seagod77,I am slightly perplexed - you have a bigger room size than me. Is there a limitation as to why you cannot pull the speakers more than the distance you specified? While true that overall room size is bigger, the distance to back and side matters for imaging and depth of sound stage. If you don't allow the speakers to "breath", then you will have lot of smearing in the imaging area and depth will be shallow and you will end up blaming the speakers for being "in your face". One thing that will favor the D48 overt the D9 is that they are downward ported instead of being back ported.
As far as ribbons are concerned, yes they are sensitive and placement is important. But ProAc's approach to ribbons is pretty good and even when I sway my head a few inches in any direction, the change is not drastic as some other designs I have heard. When you take the time to properly position the speakers, the imaging, midrange and vocals are breathtaking.
@jetter,While the ribbon is delicate, it is protected by a grill. If you check my system, I have a close up pic of the D48's ribbon tweeter. That should give you an idea about the ProAc's ribbon.
I have the D9s in a ~ 13x17 well-damped room with 26" behind them and ~ 20" to the sides.  I get great bass from them; it is deep and musical but not overpowering.  I went to the D9s from sealed Magicos so I definitely would have been aware and annoyed of a boomy sound after making the speaker switch.    I was concerned after hearing the D9s at the dealer's slightly larger room that their bass would overpower my room and was going to try the D7s, but in the end I feel the D9s work fine in my room.
Hi Milpai, the reason is my room is open plan shared lounge room, dinning room area. 

My hi fi system is set up on the left half of this room. Speakers are set up on the long wall, so very restricted in regards how much space behind them. Unfortunately this is the only area I have to work with.
 
I am starting to realise perhaps the well designed 3 way Spendor is going to work out a bit better for me. The flow port design of this is pure genius, no boom whatsoever. Only the very deep bass is coming through, and it is so very tight and tuneful like a sealed box design.

The ProAc has to be moved out from the wall way too much to stop the excessive bass. I am seeing that in comparison it struggles a bit in comparison with deep bass vs tunefully bass. Not so with the  D9. 

And I am starting to feel like the Spendor is still in the running in phase,  given them another 20 hours or so since I get them. The treble is now starting to open up and rival the D48R in detail. Perhaps not as fast though, midrange , vocals seem to be a tie on both now, Although the soundstage is better on the D48R. But the deep bass is not as bloated and is more tuneful on the D9.

Whichever way I decide, neither will be a bad option and I am surprised how great both are with my system, taste and the build quality is superb on both.
There is no perfect speakers ,there are some strengths points for D48 that are better than the D9 and there are some strengths for the D9 that are better than the D48 , There's always compromise when choosing the right speakers for you.
From what you are describing I think the D9 integrated better than the D48 in your listening space.
I’ll be purchasing the Spendor D9.
It is just a better speaker in my room, with my system and my music taste. 

The ProAc is still clearly a very fine speaker, however I just preferred the D9 for my needs.
Sorry if I missed it but what preamp/amp are you using during the comparison?
Naim Audio 252/300.
And I think I was premature with the recent post. The D9 is still running in, today it sounded pretty thin and all bass/ treble. Today the D48R was clearly better.

Very frustrating to try and get a take on which will suit my needs better in the long run.
I personally prefer the D48 with the correct acustic treatment you can tune the bass properly . it’s clear that the D9 integrated better in your space but you prefer the D48 sound. Very frostrated indeed...
Maybe the D30 would be the best of all worlds for you?
I currently own the D30RS wonderful speakers but my listening space is half of the OP I am not sure if the D30RS can fill this kind of large space but it will be interesting experiment if the OP will try this option and advise us his impressions.
I did think about the D30 from an earlier reply from Itzhak. It is not totally off the cards, just worried I’ll not get the “scale of sound” from this one.

Some days the D9 is breathtaking with the transparency this speaker can dig up. Then I put on a less than well recorded song and it is disappointing.

Almost every song sounds great on the D48R, so a bit more of a colored speaker I guess, but still excellent.
If every song sounds great with the Proac why would you choose the Spendor? My friend has those Proacs with a JL subwoofer and they are outstanding!!
The last thing the D48 needs is additional subwoofer to the system...
I think a small aqustic treatment and the D48 
will be excellent .If I had the space to accommodate them I certainly would take the D48 since I don't I compromise on D30 which are wonderful for medium/small space.
Have you auditioned the K6?
If it’s of any help, I have similar bass issue with my Proac response 2.5’s in a similar kind of room layout.  I have them about 20” from wall which is certainly not optimal. I have bass traps which help a little but on some tracks the bass is bloated. How did I more or less fix it? An inexpensive  Schiit Loki tone control. I have not heard the d48 but the issue and context sounds similar. I suspect a speaker like Larsen which are made for very compromised positioning and close to wall placement, might be an alternative choice. I haven’t heard the Larsen’s. (Went to audition them in NYC once and the dealer was so shockingly rude I never got to hear them, another story!).. in most respects Proacs when driven with good power are sublime speakers.
good luck.
I am an unabashed Proac fan. I love Stewart Tylers emphasis on midrange and find them to be unfailingly natural sounding from lower midrange through upper midrange. I am not compelled to have ultimate high frequency extension so I am completely satisfied with the soft dome tweeters and I think that the ribbon tweeters on current models positively extend the highs for those that feel this is really important. I have owned: Response 3, 2.5 and currently own Response 5. (also Response CC1, CC2 center channels and ERB1 subwoofer). A very close friend of mine owns D30R.

Regarding bass response. The traditional Response ProAcs (which were normally rear ported) are quite sensitive to placement in the room, especially to the back wall. My friend’s experience with the D30R which is bottom/side firing ported was very sensitive to being placed near a corner which excited a significant room issue right around 40-45 Hz. With his room layout, it was just unreasonable to move them far enough away from the corner to solve. When we did move them temporarily out, the issues were nearly completely eliminated. In his case, because of the room layout, he had to move to a non-ported speaker (YG Carmel II) to satisfactorily solve this problem. Of course this speaker also costs 3x!

My experience is that with ProAcs, 3’ or more is really ideal on all sides. As other posters have indicated, there are tradeoffs with every design. The design has much in common with my previous Response 3.  The tricks that Tyler uses to provide robust bass with such small enclosures and drivers trade off some definition in the bass region. The gain of these smallish drivers and enclosures is magical midrange and fantastic imaging. Even 6 more inches of "air" on front and sides may mitigate your issues. Keep playing with positioning. Perhaps look at getting some room analyzing equipment (like XTZ room analyzer). Fractions of an inch can matter with this speaker (maybe with all speakers...). When placed correctly, bass response on the D48s should be exceptional -- well balanced between extension and control but from a musicality standpoint, the overall sound presentation should be amazing.  Good luck!  
Spendor D9 is amazing. As the sales director for an audio store that has been in business for 31 years the world of speakers are at our feet. With anything available, I have not found anything as wonderful to listen to as the Spendor D9. That's what sits in my living room at home.
Thank you for that. How long did you find the D9’s needed to be run in for ? I have about 140 hours on the so far. Getting better, but not as smooth as the D48R.
It’s not only a matter of break in but also a synergy with your system. the D48 can sound better with your system but the D9 can sound better than the D48 on other system. Don’t except mirracales to happen after full break in of the D9.
hifiandmore, do you mind sharing the amp and preamp you are using with your Spendor D9s?
Demo'd D7's and Classic 100's last year, same day, same room, same system, and--sorry--the 100's blew the D7's out of the water.
@seadog77,Did you make a decision yet? Since you mentioned that you cannot place the D48Rs away from the wall, I suggest that you play the "Thanks To You" song by Boz Scaggs on both the loudspeakers and decide which loudspeaker you should buy. Try if you can play this using Tidal. If not, then use Spotify or Amazon music. The bass is pretty deep on this and this should be a very good test of the bass performance in your room. No point in going for the D48R for it's midrange and vocals, if the bass overpowers the room and ultimately the clarity of the loudspeaker.Hope this helps.
Really, really not sure where to go from here.

D9, love the speed, bass depth and definition, midrange. 
Not so much treble and still slight hot at very high volume.

D48R , love the treble , sweet detailed and fast. Bass is full, perhaps too full , and not as fast as the D9.  Midrange is almost a tie, but slight nod to the D9. 
However the D48R wins hands down on soundstage width, height and pinpoint accuracy of vocals etc. Just marvellous.

It is a tough choice in which way to go.
Even thought about D30RS and save some money, or ATC SCM40 (liked, but not loved these when I did a home demo.) Might revisit them.
Based on your last post, it looks like you have more praises on the ProAc than the D9. But if the bass does not work for you, then go with the D9. Did you try the song I suggested? That should be a good test of what is "listenable" in your environment.Despite being a ProAc D48R, I would suggest that you have at least 24-36 inches behind these loudspeakers to breath, and at least 18 inches from side walls. If you cannot give them this much space, simply go with the D9. Think of your "best 4-5 albums" of all time and take time to play them on both the speakers. If the bass on the D48 is too much, you should give them up. If you are able to live with the bass that they provide, you can go with them.It would be a disservice on my part to misguide a fellow audiogoner into buying the ProAc D48 just because I love them. You can also talk to your dealer to lend the D30RS and Spendor D7, since you are going to give him our business.
Good luck and hope you are able to take a decision soon.
The D30RS has one of the best bass I ever heard ; fast, taught , controlled and very deep.
Below a thread how good this speakers are compared to the old version 30R and the ATC SCM40 :

https://hifiwigwam.com/forum/topic/129233-even-briefer-review-of-atc-scm40-vs-proac-d30r-vs-proac-d3...
Have several friends who own Spendors and always found them lacking that midrange fullness and just to hot on top. Just not my flavor in a speaker YMMV. 
@rsf507 ,
Very strange because I did listen to the Spendor D7 and they did not seem to lack in midrange or fullness. I am assuming that equipment makes a difference. The D7 I listened to had $$$$ MBL amp, preamp and CD player feeding them. In real life no one would make this kind of a combination; but it showed what the speakers were capable of.
@seadog77

I’m currently doing an accelerated break in of a new pair of D7s. These need LOTS of time. I am approaching 200 hours and they are still changing for the better. The slightly hot upper midrange is gone. The vocals are full and just incredible. The upper treble is softer and still detailed. But the speed and dynamics are what you stay for. Musical notes really pop like no tomorrow!
However I am coming from Harbeth where I do miss a few things they did well- but I would most likely miss the energy of the D7s even more. Almost ready to commit to them. This close...
What amp are you using?
Avanti1960, yes, yes, I do agree with your findings. I had to return the D9’s. I must have added another 100 hours on them & I have never seen a speaker change so much. More bass, deeper bass, and the nasty mid/treble knocked right off.

I am almost ready to jump on a new pair of D9’s, the Dark Walnut looks nice. Thank you all for comments, there is not any "poor cousin" speaker choice between these  . Just personal likes/dislikes etc. I have total respect now for the ProAc brand after my demo. and I can totaly see why they have so many fans !

The D9 just floats my boat a bit more.
Not sure if I follow. You are returning the D9s after you broke them in just to get a pair of new ones?
These were a dealer demonstration pair.
So back to the dealer & he will order me a brand new pair in my colour choice.
@keithr 
If you were asking me I am running a Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum II all NOS tubes with my Spendor D7s.  Fantastic combination.  
@seadog77,
Congratulations on finalizing your choice :-)
Please do post some pics of your system once you receive those D9s.
Have fun.
Avanti1960, yes, yes, I do agree with your findings. I had to return the D9’s. I must have added another 100 hours on them & I have never seen a speaker change so much. More bass, deeper bass, and the nasty mid/treble knocked right off.

I am almost ready to jump on a new pair of D9’s, the Dark Walnut looks nice. Thank you all for comments, there is not any "poor cousin" speaker choice between these . Just personal likes/dislikes etc. I have total respect now for the ProAc brand after my demo. and I can totaly see why they have so many fans ! The D9 just floats my boat a bit more.

Dude.  From what I see the thing that put you off the D48 was too much bass but you pretty much preferred everything else from the ProAc.  You have a D9 in your house and it doesn't work for you, but you think changing the cabinet color will make everything all right?  What???  Why not just dial down the D48, which does everything else better except bass, and others have told you have tighter bass, and do that?  What are you thinking??? This makes no sense!
"However the D48R wins hands down on soundstage width, height and pinpoint accuracy of vocals etc. Just marvellous."
A quotation from the OP .
I don’t understand his choice either ,if everything is better with the D48 except the bass (that can be tuned easily with proper acustic treatment) why choose the D9 make no sense to me.
@itzhak1969,
I have a feeling that OP was always gravitated towards the D9 because the D48R caused issues in his room. Note the following question he is asking:

Question for any D9 owners out there, how long did they take to fully run in ? I assume I am not hearing now what their final run in sound will be like. Will the midrange/ treble open up more, like D48R more, or is the ProAc ribbon tweeter that much better ?
So this is basically question to D9 owners and not ProAc owners. My guess is OP's mind was already made up for the D9 and just wanted some validations from existing owners. While you are correct that a couple of corner bass busters would have solved the bass issue, maybe OP thought of not to take chances with bass issue in his room with the ProAc. Of course the D48s are magic when setup correctly :-)
@milpai 

Yes I agree with you many here who search for advice have a fixation on what they want to buy and they tend to listen only to comments that favour the gear they wanted to buy in the first place and ignore recommendations for other brands. 
Seadog: Coming in at the end of this and maybe you have already made your choice but from the perspective of somebody just picking up the thread and reading from the top it seems clear to me that neither of these speakers are really the whole package for you. I wonder whether you will find yourself back on the merry-go-round in a year or so when the things you did not like about the speaker you settled for have you looking elsewhere. Can I ask: Why are you limiting yourself to just these two models? Both come from well regarded families but neither may be right for you. What else have you heard besides these two models? You are doing something that everyone would love to do--listening to them IN YOUR ROOM. If they are not doing it for you there you might want to continue the search. Most people are forced to make a decision in the dealer showroom and then get them home and find out that things sound very different--usually not in a good way. Anyway, I'm hearing a little voice inside your head that is telling you that you should continue the search. Just my two cents.
Excellent post dodgealum!

Oz