Spendor s8e Imaging/Soundstage?

Can anyone comment on the soundstaging and imaging capabilities of this speaker? How does it compare to the Spica TC-60 (my current speaker)?


Steve O.
I've owned the S8e's,and many years ago, Spica TC-50's. I thought the S8e's threw a nice lateral soundstage, particularly when I paired them with a Musical Fidelity KW-500 integrated. They were average in terms of depth. I would expect your Spicas to beat them handily in terms of holographic imaging.

These are very different speakers, however. There is no comparison in terms of the S8e's ability on the bottom end. The midrange is gorgeous. They are much more refined, but ultimately a bit too polite for me. I was much happier with Reynaud Trentes, which embody the best qualities of the S8e's and TC-50's, and now, even more so, my Reynaud Offrandes (although more expensive than the Trentes or S8e's).
You'll have to do your DD. i posted some comments on my experience of the S8SE.
Also my friend had a pr of spica 50.s Good in their day.
I currently own the S8e. Just let me tell you its phemnomenal!

I never bought the S8e for soundstaging and imaging but it was an added bonus and surprise on how well it did this area.

With my equipment I have the deepest layered soundstage I have ever heard in my room. This speaker resolves ambient cues along with only a few others that I know of. Width is as good as most speakers and resolves height if the info is there. Only on hard panned sounds in left or right channels can you indentify the sound coming from the speakers but again few speakers can past this test. So generally, the sound hovers around the speaker slighlt behind the plane and goes waaay back. Properly set up you should be able to see "around the sound" too as reviewers say, as oppose to flat images with no body.

Good Luck!*>)
Garyralph: would you consider the sound of the Spicas "polite"?

Bartok: I have read your old posts re. the Spendors. As I recall you were not terribly impressed.

Kw6: You seem to have had a different experience than Garyralph with respect to the Spendors soundstage. Hmmm...

About the Spicas and soundstage I had a curious and interesting thing happen. In my listening room I have the tc-60's about 8 ft. apart, 3 ft. from walls and back wall. But the back wall has old pocket doors (7 ft. wide), which are left open when I listen. So I see the adjacent room, about 16 ft. deep, as I'm listening. Soundstage depth seems to go all the way back to the far wall of adjacent room. But when I close the doors, the depth seems to collapse. Don't know if this is psychological or physical, maybe a comb. of both.

My search for a new speaker will be slow and deliberate, and there is not much chance of auditioning. But whatever I choose, I do NOT want to give up the tc-60's wonderful s.s. and imaging. From what I've read, the S8e's sound like they might fit the bill. I listen exclusively to classical.

Steve O.
I also listen exclusively to classical. Give us a review when you get the S8"SE". Whats the asking price?
Bartokfan: I haven't decided on this speaker, and it will be a while before I get any; will have to upgrade my amp, too, and a new bathroom is in the offing :( But if/when I do decide on these, will give a full-blown review here.
I have seen fairly new S8e's on AGon for as little as $2000.00.

Steve O.
Steve, not exactly apples and apples, but .....

I used to own, and like, Spica Angelus. Like the TC60s the imaging was very good. I borrowed some spendor S3/5s from a friend, expecting that they would beat the spicas (since they get such rave reviews) and I was extremely disappointed. The S3/5s were extremely vague in imaging compared to the spicas, and were no better in terms of frequency balance.

I would be very wary of moving to spendors if imaging is important to you. Anyone who says that S3/5s can image has never heard a speaker that throws a true stereo image.

I ended up with Green Mountain Audio Europas, which, in my opinion, slightly exceed the imaging of the Spicas, greatly improve on the bass and dynamics of the spicas, but are a little brighter in overall tonal balance.
Thanks Sean for that review of the Spendor. That was the same impression I had with the 8's. From Sally Renoylds comment on the S8 in her Tyler review, I was expecting alot in the audition, but got little.
Hi Steve:

The Spicas are not what I would consider polite. To my ears, the S8e's are a bit rolled off on top. This was particularly the case when I had them paired with a Cary V12r amp and copper Kimber Bifocal XL cables. Switching to the MF KW-500 integrated and Kimber Select KS-3035 Silver/copper cables worked alot better, but at a price. Although I like my current system better, I could have lived quite hapily with the S8e's.

It appears tha Kw6 did have a different experience of the S8e's depth of imaging capabilities. Perhaps this is room dependent. Over the years I've owned various Spendor, Spica, Snell, Epos, Totem, Thiel and Reynaud speakers. My floorstanders have never had the same imaging magic as the monitors. By the same token, my floorstanders have mostly added a sense of fullness that most of the monitors couldn't match (Offrandes excepted). Why not keep both, if you can? Or seriously, look for a pair of used Trente's.
Hi Steve,

I still own the S3/5 and the S8e is more open and less boxy sounding.

I am getting more depth than probably Gary as my S8es are in a dedicated room with Argent Room Lenses, ASC tube traps and RPG diffusers. I can assure you this speaker's soundstage is deep (twice as deep as m Maggies), discreetly layered, holographic and able to resolve the sound of the hall.

Also my associated equipment I use helps in creating a vast soundstage: Cardas GC cables, Linn Ikemi, c-j 17LS2, c-j MV-60 (soon to be LP70S).

To beat this speaker for musicality and resolution you literally have to shop in the $20K and up market. When I move into my new digs I'll probably get another speaker but will always keep the Spendors for reference and haven't found one yet as well balanced as the S8e. Spendors are more about the musical performance and renderig authenic textures of voices and instruments. Without texture you have hi-fi which many uber high resoluton speakers can do.

I have one test for you as I have never heard the Spicas. If you play the Chesky ultimate demo disc using Sara K's track the trumpet that opens up in right channel should be at least 20ft back from the plane of the speaker with sounds of the trumpet reflecting off the studio walls. Sara's voice is warm and articulate.
This will give you an idea what the S8e can do. My guess is that the Spicas will not be able to resolve the studio refelections as well or if at all.

Bartokfan really likes his Tylers which I can't comment on because I haven't heard them. The Tylers use excellent parts but a excellent speaker is more than that. And as to the TAS review by Sally I would side with her. I think she comments on the high resolution of the Tylers but still prefer the magic of the Spendors. I can understand why because one of my friends tried to build a two way using the Seas excel driver used in the Tylers along with the Focal tweeter used in the $75,000 Khrama speakers with Alpha Core inductors and Infinicaps, etc.. and he has sophiscated measuring equipment too and he could not get a musical sound like the Spendor S3/5 which he also bought after listining to mine. Building a speaker is an Art which Spendor has a great heritage in as with Harbeth. Heard good things about JM Reynauds too.

Good Luck!*>)

BTW if you interested in speakers using the Seas Excel drivers do a search for Salk Audio. I beieve their crosssover implementation is more sophisticated than the Tylers.
Yes, Gary is correct the room is very important!

Also The S8e has more layers in the depth plane than most speakers. Most have the front middle and back, basically three. The S8e has about five or six and generally double the depth of most speakers.

Another example I can offer is track 16 on the Opus 3 test disk, "The House of the Rising Sun". I sometimes use this track for demoing speakers and I assuming most of us own this disk. On the Sax solo near the end coming from the left channel, almost all box speakers, have the sound coming forward from the speaker and planar speakers (Maggie) have the sound stuck on the panel. The S8e, when set up optimally, you should hear & SEE this image floating above the cabinet top and slightly behind the speaker in free space totally detached from the speaker, thus creating a better illusion of a musical performance and not being reminded that we're listening to a speaker.

You know what. All speakers should be able to do that if set up right for a particular room. If you don't hear what you described then maybe the speakers need to be moved around some more. I know I'm not happy untill I do get that holigrahic floating image hanging out in the middle. That Iron Chef speaker placement method describes how to setup any speaker correctly in a room to get that effect.
My Usher CP-6371 does that trick with no problem at all. :)

That said, yeah, differant speakers do that trick better than others. Bigger, wider, deeper and more solid.
Kw6, I like what hear from you re. the S8e. I'm afraid the only thing that is "dedicated" about my listening room is that one has to be dedicated enough not to mind scooting the coffee table out of the way and sliding the chair down in order to listen at the proper place between the speakers! I will get and try those test cd's that you mention on my Spicas.

Everybody: thanks for the input; I have a lot to mull over. But that's part of the fun.

Steve O.
Hi Steve,

Yes, the Spendor S8e in a living room setting will not be as good as what I'm getting but because of their coherence, crossover implementation and driver matching the will image better than most. Do you remember the Stereophile rave of the Proac 1SC for its imaging prowess, well I've have own it as well as the 2S and the S8e is better.

Have fun!*>)