Spendor SP3/1 - A Touch Dull

A friend has lent me his Spendor SP3/1 with an option to buy.
They’re truly lovely, only criticism is that snare drums don’t snap, dynamics are a bit soft and cymbals don’t sizzle, but apart from that they are superb. I listen to a lot of rock.

Power amp is a recently serviced NAP200, driven by an Atom. Is there any experience in the group of these and any way of putting a bit of sparkle back?
Many thanks

If the sparkle is not there, the sparkle is not there. For your sort of music they are very likely not your sort of speaker. Give them back to your friend, thank them kindly, and find something with the presentation you are looking for.

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I pretty much feared that that would be the case but worth asking. Its early days, tomorrow I may hear them differently but we’ll see!

Just don’t convince yourself you like them just because they are from a friend. You need to be brutally objective.


I agree, and there won’t be a problem there. I like 90% of what they do…my incumbent speakers are Kralk Audio BC30/2 with PAW stand.

To me that would mean “I don’t like them”. Not happy with 10%. I really think if you have to post here asking - your answer is already known.


I agree with the above, but would add that I would advise against doing business (buying stuff) with a friend. If it’s cheap enough just give it away, if it’s more expensive sell it to / buy it from a stranger where either of you will be happy to curse the other if anything’s amiss. Intentional or not.

My friend runs a high end audio business and he has no problem in me trying gear on a no obligation basis. I have in fact bought some brilliant gear at fair prices from friends over the years. Like wise Ive sold to friends who have been more than happy. Its strangers you need to be more wary of.

I fully realise this is not what you are asking about but I wonder if you would find the sparkle if the Spendors were on the end of NDX2, NAC202, NAPSC, NAP200.


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Those Spendors are wonderfull on string quartets.


A expensive solution would be to keep the BBC speakers and add some real JBL monitors on standby when you require an eargasm moment.

Surely he needs to be brutally subjective?

I’ve got a pair of Spendor SP3/1 speakers. I’ve had them since buying new in 1995. They are very well made. Mine have been used every day since I bought them (and still get used several hours a day), but they have never been serviced and a technician last year said they still don’t need one.

When I tried them out (as a 20 year old), I wanted them mostly for acoustic music, acoustic folk, country, blues, etc. They were then and remain sublime at that. Acoustic guitar, vocals they are fabulous at. Bass is very articulate and accurate but certainly lacks oomph.

Last year I bought completely different speakers asking with a whole system and I’ve finally got the dynamic range I always wanted.

If you want big driving rock, I’d say the SP3/1s can be bettered.

I backed into Spendor SP 3/1 R2 ownership recently in a quest to find partners for my Croft separates which replaced Naim Olive 72/Hicap/140. I’m a Spendor fanboy as have owned 3/5’s, 2/3Es and SA1s but the 3/1s were much more difficult to drive than any other Spendor I’ve owned.

Upon arrival they sounded shut-in, dark and very much without sparkle. Cant recall if original 3/1s were biwireable but immediately replaced with some K20 jumpers and based on the positive change splurged on a Furutech Jumperflux. Went a long way to eliminating dark and shut-in character. I could tell the Croft’s were not owning the Spendor’s and was able to obtain a Belles Aria from an acquaintance and they absolutely owned the Spendor’s. I broke my cardinal rule of only buying used and purchased a new Aria.

My musical diet includes a range of music but amongst the essentials is Richard Thompson, Wilco, Patti Smith and company so they wouldn’t stay if they didn’t rock. From my experience this particular Spendor needed more TLC than the other models owned but are by far the best of the bunch.

I would be surprised if the 200 would not meet the bare minimum power requirement for a 3/1 having owned a 180 for many years but the Aria is the epitome of the iron fist in a velvet glove.

Never ever heard of Spendor not being a rock speaker as typically defined as a speaker for the music lover although if my musical diet was 90% rock I might look towards some JBL’s to run with my Nait 1…

Yes, they have two sets of terminals

Thats very useful. The jumpers on my loan pair appear to be a single thin gauge wire. I have some alternative jumpers I can pop in as a start…
thanks again

Sorry I don’t post often and not certain what your current speaker or your speaker history is…

I would never argue with someone who described the Spendor Classic line as being polite on the top-end especially compared to KEF LS50, AE1’s, Totem Model 1’s and a bunch of others I’ve owned. But I’ve never felt the critical musical information is not present and the coherence of the Spendor sound is what I love compared to most others.

I find a number of the Spendor’s do like a kick in the pants with a powerful and fruity amplifier to bring them to life as run my 3/5’s with a 180 for many years to great effect. The specs would indicate the 3/5 and 3/1 would be in same ballpark for overall efficiency but wasn’t my experience as 3/1’s crave current. Based on my experience with upgrading jumpers would seem to indicate the crossover is the power sink.

Currently am using an Audiosector CD transport, Naim nDac and bunch of different cables including NACA5.

…and keep them away from high mass stands such as Target R’s as suck the life out of sound due to the lossy design cabinets…

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