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Since my pair was a traveling demonstrator, I got serious straight out of the carton only to feel seriously disturbed. Tonally imbalanced—too fat down low, too sharp on high—even the dynamics felt lazy. Our distributor did mention that longer transportation sets the Brits back by a few hours before they're at their best again. Given that it was after hours by now, the jet-lagged sensitives got a night of recovery. Playing non-stop through the wee hours was good form as it turned out. Where first impressions suggested against a formal review, tonality had clearly evened out by now. Treble aggression had evaporated and timing was better. I could already tell that the midband would be a true winner. Before I got down to nuts and bolts however, I still had itchy fingers to tighten certain screws because relative to its price class the staging lacked finesse, there was a shortage of teased-out transparency and the somewhat portly bass band still didn't integrate seamlessly.

This also had to with me thoughtlessly imposing upon the biwire terminals a pair of supposedly superior Kimber Kable bridges whilst popping the stock jumpers into a crap drawer. Well, costly aftermarket extras don't always cash out. In this case extra was decidedly paler and less energetic. On the general subject of metal jumpers, always loosen and move them around a bit. In many cases they'll turn out to be virtually stuck together. This causes higher and higher contact resistance which you might already know as a bad thing from batteries in remotes and calculators. It's why in a quickie audition a jumper swap routinely seems so much better .

It was surprising how much such little details would matter. Stock jumpers back in and my HMS Fortissimo cables leashed to the lower terminals (the higher ones sounded a tad more nervous and bright), the presentation had become notably more game and agile whilst still being a tad too laid back. No real advance nor real surprise, trying biwire drive with Real Cable BW OFC 400 was a bust. It suggested that fundamental cable differences trumped connection schemes. A real step forward came after finessing placement with a bit of fingering effort. The included stands built by our domestic importer (Spendor meanwhile has their own) allow for both 3 and 4-patch coupling with an extra threaded hole in front. At first and perhaps laziness on my part, I'd mounted just three Audioplan Antispikes. Later in the day colleague Martin Mertens joined in and we came upon going four square. Now both of us guffawed a bit. Gains in dynamics, quickness and tauter focus were quite obvious with my wooden parquet floor. Bass integrated better on both timing and amplitude too. With soundstaging the Brits literally made a forward step and also sorted better to feel less diffusive.

The upshot? The SP100R² is far from cavalier about what it sits on - logical when dealing with a vibrationally active box. I might also mention that this speaker benefits from stronger toe-in. Aimed directly at the ear staged and trebled best. At least 70cm of clearance from the front wall is good too. Once that's handled, one wonders (hopefully for the last time) just how far the R² might go. Relative to my nearly twice-priced Thiel CS 3.7 there was no talk of a different class. Which didn't imply they sounded alike. Clearly the Brits had their very own style. Let's begin with the famous mids which belonged to the best (most natural) I've yet heard, cost no object. They cohered so seamlessly with the upper registers that I hate discussing them separately. Spendor's SP100R² has a real flair to present acoustic instruments and voices with impact and authentic tone. Even Peter Gabriel's voice which on the 1980's back street hit “Sledgehammer” from So was mastered somewhat sterile and constricted at least for CD had me sit up. I couldn't recall hearing "You could have a steam train if you'd just lay down your tracks" sound this organic and rich before.

A clear forté were timbres. This coupled to the impression that individual sounds were worked out with deeper substance and thus more complete than many often costlier transducers manage. My Thiel CS 3.7 for example focus more on transient rise than bodilicous sustain. Since tone and decay are joined at the hip, the American's dynamic angularity meant that by contrast tone colors were plainer and more faded. This was demonstrated by Einstürzende Neubauten's "Für wen sind die Blumen?" [Strategies Against Architecture 3] whose metal percussions suggest a clanging welding shop. With the Spendors this sounded not merely metallic but each ring-out howsoever brief was tracked so carefully, color-true and intelligible that I stopped thinking these were reproduced sounds.

Delicious it was too how jaggedly brief tom hits, rim shots and cymbal crashes on Pelaton's "Constantinople" [chilled experimental Norwegian Jazz from The Early Years] gained in highly defined 'facial' profiles. It's really surprising just how much data live inside such micro-duration noises.

I know few speakers and certainly none at this price which are as capable of divulging this fact so realistically. Here I fondly remember the far dearer Stereokonzept 3.0 I hosted in early 2012. My highly resolving Thiel CS 3.7 play it narrower and more compressed. Cevin Key's "Dr. Seymour" from The Dragon Experience sports a right-channel beat which only with the Spendor turned out to not be completely synthetic but created by mouth, then sampled and relooped.