Review: Spendor SP-2.3 Speaker

Category: Speakers

I listen primarily to jazz music, although I also listen to modern pop/alternative rock on occasion. I use various recordings for testing, but almost always use Patricia Barber's "Cafe Blue" (audiophile pressing) since it is so well recorded.

I have had the Spendors now for about 4 months, and they replaced Thiel CS2.3 speakers. I find the Spendors invite me to listen to more music than any other speaker I can name. No, they do not create the largest soundstage, nor offer the most detail, nor have the widest frequency response (although they are in no way "thin" sounding), but they present music in such an enticing fashion with no apparent frequency anomolies that they reward earnest listeners with a reproduction of music most true. Perhaps because its designer did not focus on designing a speaker that does all the audiophile "stuff",like create an airy soundstage or pinpoint instrument locations, hat the focus remained on creating music in an exciting, but accurate manner.

In the end, what I think the Spendors do so well is reproduce instrument tone and create a coherent soundfield in which instruments do not sound hollow, distant or shrill.

Although I have sold much audio equipment over the past few years, the Spendors are keepers in my book because they do what all great gear should do: make you want to explore more music each time you sit down to listen.

Associated gear
LFD Mistral LE Integrated Amp; Meridian 507 CD Player; LAT cables

Similar products
Thiel CS 2.3; Reference 3A; Paradigm Reference 20
Nice review Tasos1, I think your description captures the essence of the "Classic" pieces of the Spendor line.
Thanks for a very informative review.
While I have not heard them in a while I have always liked the sound of every Spendor speaker I have heard. They are not exactly sold at bargain basement prices and their prices have escalated a lot over the years, but I guess to get the midrange they offer in a cone speaker with a nice cabinent, you do not have too many other options.
While I have never owned Spendors, I am now at a point where I would like to audition them again.
Due to downsizing my system and other lifestyle considerations I need a speaker that must be placed close to the rear wall. Is it true that the SP2/3 is probably the only Spendor speaker that will work best is this regard? Also, did you happen to audition any speakers by Vienna Acoustics or Proac before deciding on the Spendors?
Did the Thiel 2.3 work with LFD Mistral LE? I'd think that power marginal for the 2.3. Might result in thin sound.
The LFD is better mated to less current hungry speakers than the Thiel 2.3s.
Joe, try the 'lil S3 up against the wall, as it's sealed, and its light bottom benefits from boundary support. In free space I LOVE my SP3/1p...especially at only $800 used!
Thanks for the tip. Just purchased a slightly used pair of S3/5's and got them last night. They may be too small for my living room but initial impressions in my "2nd" system in a small (9 x 11) room are very favorable. Midrange seems like it's as good as I've ever heard.
One of the best bargins used in the Spendor line are the 7/1's. They can be had for $1000 to $1400. They sound much better than any of the small stand mounted Classic series. They sold new in England for more money than in the states. Spendor discontinued them because it was too costly to build the cabinets. I drive them with a 30 watt tube integrated amp and this is some of the best sound I have heard regardless of price. I have owned just about every speaker under $3500 and nothing satisfies as much in the long run as the Spendors. These will be the last speakers you will own.
I have always liked Spendors (this only applies to the "legacy" models). The last one that I owned was the S-100. Although I have since owned and sold Genesis 5s, Maggies, and others, I have never got what the S-100 gave me until I heard the PMC IB-1. Folks, these are the new large BBC type monitors with improved sensitivty, bass extension and control-particularly in the articulation of rhythm and pace. Most of all, I am totally impressed by PMC IB-1's midrange. The lack of distortion is uncanny and can be appreciated immediately. Unfortunately, I think the bass extension of the bigger PMC BB5 would overload my listening area. So I have settled for the IB1s.
I purchased my SP2/3s in 1999 after having owned Martin-Logan Aeriuses for one painful year. Within 2 weeks, my CD collection grew more than it had in 2 years, and it has grown ever since, expanding to genres I would never have explored with other speakers. These are truly great loudspeakers that will compell you to listen. A quick word on the new "S" series: they are wholly different speakers than the Classics and sound it. My advice is to grab a pair of Classics while you can.