Review: Spendor S-100 Speaker

Category: Speakers

The S-100 (now the SP-100) comes in near the top of the companys line and as such deserves better upstream components than I've been able to feed them when I had them; but.... A little history on where these have come from is needed. The first speaker they made was the splendid BC-1; a speaker that still is a wonderfully natural sounding unit. It was developed for the BBC as a studio monitor in the mid 70's! The company went on to produce a whole line based on research done with the BBC, including the LS3/5a. The founders son took up the challenge to produce a speaker with the legendary midrange of the BC-1 with much increased dynamics, better extension at both extremes, and much better power handling. Has he succeeded? Oh yes. Make no mistake, the S-100's will deliver on all of his promises. Having owned a few pairs of the BC-1's, I can only marvel that this company has produced yet another classic.
The S-100's will not throw a soundstage like a Martin Logan, will not image like a Thiel, nor will they give you the supernatural detail of a Quad. What they will give you is music. Female vocalists sound like they are in the room with you, jazz comes through with it's rythym, pace, dynamics, naturalness, and soul, all in such a relaxed and dynamic fashion, that listening is often revelatory of the MESSAGE of the artist. Don't get me wrong; they will image, they will wrap themselves around you, and they will certainly give you details in the recording.
They just go about it in such a natural fashion that seem to be hardly trying.
These don't have the audience that they really deserve. Chris Dudley of Listener Magazine has adopted them I hear, so maybe more people will go out of their way to listen to these overlooked but oh so worthy gems. Give them a listen if you have any inclination towards natural sound.
They will rock you out of your shoes! Then they will make you weep with joy as you are seduced by Joni. These speakers flat out make you want to listen to music. Soul, jazz, classical, folk, rap, rock, pop, new age, blues at live levels, these things WILL make you dance, swoon, laugh, reflect, move, think and above all become involved in MUSIC. They're just flat out great. Listen only if you can buy them.

PS. I've heard the SP-9's SP-7's and the SP-2/3's, SP-1/2's and they are also knockout music makers!

Associated gear
Various integrateds in the $2,000 and less range. Arcam cd or Roksan. Kimber
cables all around. Lots and lots of jazz and folk!

Similar products
All the Spendors past and present. Rogers (Ls3/5as, Ls 7's, Ls1's, Ls 2's,
Studio 1's, Studio 1a's, Ls5/9s), Maganapans (various) Acoustats, Quads (57's and 63's) Snell eIII's, Celestion (6, 600, 300's) get the picture.
What do you drive these speakers with? I had them aeons ago & never managed to drive the boxiness out of them; I used triwire with DNM (good speed, but not enough), EAR 519 monos and a big MF. Best results with the 519 + DNM 6 pre. Maybe I should have tried bi/multi-amping.
A very capable speaker I never quite tamed!
I've been getting amazing sound from my Spendor FL-9's. They are a serious cut above the 1/2 and 7/1 both of which I've owned. Hard to go wrong with Spendor though.
dear Gregm,

I use passive mode. I use symphonic Line RG3MKIII which has two pair outputs, and two RG1 MKIII(actually one mkII) for vertical bi-amping.
one handle mid-tweeter and another take care of 12 inch woofer.
Although I am using Virgo now , but I still miss my Spednor S100.
(by using Kimber kable breath life(lively) into Spendor)
good listening.


ps.I miss the great opportuiny to own a Kraft 250 one month ago!!pityful....
I've a set of SP-100's. (One year old)
They take a lonnggg time to break in and just now are reaching their potential.

I'm so pleased with what I'm hearing I doubt they will ever be replaced.

Amp: Threshold T-100
Digitals: Perpetual Technologies P-1A in conjuction with a MSB Gold Link III fed from a Ah4000 into a passive CI Audio (VPC.1) volume control.
The speakers are biwired with Niam speaker cables. Decent innerconnectors complete the loop.