Acoustic Energy AE300 Series. Great Sound. Great Look. Great Price!

Over the past week we have been playing with some new speakers from Acoustic Energy. The AE300 stand mount and the AE309 floor standing loudspeakers. They are available in three high standard finishes a Black or White Gloss finish and a Satin real wood Walnut veneer. There is also a centre speaker available, the AE307 for home cinema use.

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The new 300 series offers some big upgrades from the entry level 100 series in both performance and aesthetics. The new mid bass drive units have been designed together to achieve a seamless tonal balance and the aluminium dome tweeter features wide dispersion technology which provides a greater sweet spot in your room making placement within a room easier.

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Internal bracing inside the cabinet improves rigidity and reduces colouration of sound, and in the case of the AE309 (Gloss Finish and £1099 for walnut) they come mass filled which greatly improves stability and gives solidity allowing for a cleaner and more open performance. There is also a slot shaped port at the rear as found in the 100 series which allows for greater bass control and the ability to position them closer to a wall than most rear ported loudspeaker designs.

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We thought we would use the same electronics for both speakers to keep a level playing field and we opted for the Rega Planar 3 with the Rega Elex-R integrated amp. Of course the AE300 at £599 for the Gloss finishes and £649 for the walnut are not strictly the right speakers within that system but we wanted to see just what they could do so we put them on the Custom Design FS104 stands mass filled and dug out a record. We kicked of with the second album from London Grammar, ‘‘Truth Is A Beautiful Thing’’ and played it all the way through side one. Impressed… they handled Hannahs powerful vocals and the some time ridiculous bass London Grammar like to employ. They sounded very present in the room without being forced and still allowing plenty of space around the vocal, giving loads of depth to the soundstage an offering a really enjoyable listen. I have a feeling that the AE300’s will work really well with anything within reason.

Next of course we moved up to the AE309. The extra drive unit and cabinet provided far greater bass extension and presence. In some cases when a stand mounted speaker sounds so good the first floor stander in a range can sound a little bloated, uncontrolled and can lose clarity. Not a bit of it. The AE309 just sounded bigger, as you might expect, all the improvements you would hope for when moving up in a range were apparent. We have since had them running in the foyer of the shop, a far bigger area, and they do not shy away.

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In short they are hugely versatile and fun to listen to, We really cannot fault them at their price point and we look forward to playing with them in the future.

Remember, if you would like to borrow them for a home demonstration we can arrange that or simply get in touch with us and we will set them up in store for you.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

Nick Joe and James - Audio T Portsmouth

Acoustic Energy loudspeakers are available from the following branches of Audio T:

BrentwoodBristolCheltenhamOnlinePortsmouthPrestonReadingSwindon

ATC Entry Series Loudspeaker Range At Audio T Bristol

ATC have been involved in professional and later domestic loudspeakers for nigh on 50 years. Based locally near Stroud, they set up to make drive units in 1974. They were instantly successful as their 12” drive unit (PA75-314) were able to produce sound with less distortion at higher sound pressure levels than the competition.

Two years later they started to produce their very special soft dome mid-range unit which was used by many third party professional monitor manufacturers. A decade later they started making complete speaker systems, which are used widely in the professional world by engineers producers composers and artist including Pink Floyd, Kate Bush, The Killers, Lenny Kravitz, The Rolling Stones, Calvin Harris, Beck. The list goes on and is pretty much a who’s who of music industry icons.

Taken at our recent trip to the ATC factory

Taken at our recent trip to the ATC factory

So why would you consider an ATC speaker? Well ATC seem to have found the right balance between what is required by the professional world, such as accuracy and reliability, and what is required from a domestic speaker which is totally beguiling sound. When listening, you can immediately get why they are so popular with musicians and engineers as the detail especially in the mids is extraordinary.

ATC SCM7

ATC SCM7

The ATC SCM7 is the smallest of the range. Small it may be but pick one up and you might raise an eyebrow as each weighs 7.5kg. Listening to them you will hear that they are very agile. They keep pace with the music really well, never tripping up and allowing, exactly what we want, musical engagement. The bass, whilst not going deep, is very accurately reproduced with no overhang whatsoever.

The next speaker in the range is the SCM11. It’s a bigger monitor than the SCM7 incorporating a 150mm bass/mid rather than 125mm of the SCM7. It is also heavier at almost 11kg. It pretty much performs the same as the SCM7 except that the scale of the music you are listening to gets larger. They will also go louder than the SCM7 (108db rather than 103db).

Up next comes the SCM19. It is the biggest stand mount in the range and weighs a hefty 17.5kg, 9kg of that comes from the bass/mid which features a short-coil/long gap motor assembly and integrated 75mm soft dome mid. The SCM19 is the only speaker in the entry range to have ATC’s coveted SL driver technology. SL stands for Super linear and drive units built to the SL standard reduces 3rd harmonic distortion between 10 and 15db. The results are obvious as the midrange gains extra clarity giving even more insight into the music.

This is the first speaker in ATC’s range of speakers where they offer a passive and active version. The active version becomes a floor stander with active filters and a class a/b 182 watt bi-amplifier and retails at £4990. Just add a pre-amp and away you go.

The final speaker in the entry range is the SCM40. It is the first passive floor stander in ATC’s range and just like the 19 is also is available as an active speaker. It is the only speaker in this range that has a dedicated soft dome mid. The hype about ATC’s mid range unit is completely justified and is evident as soon as you listen. The mid range clarity is astounding and leaves you in no doubt about the quality of ATC speakers.

ATC SCM40 and SCM7s

ATC SCM40 and SCM7s

We have tried all the ATC speakers with many amplifiers. As long as it is quality amplification you won’t have any issues, but as we always recommend try before you buy, so come on in and have a listen. In store now but please call us to book a demo as they are in high demand.

Thanks for reading. Martin, Max, and James - Audio T Bristol

ATC Loudspeakers are available at the following branches of Audio T: BrightonBristolCheltenhamPortsmouth

The New Bowers & Wilkins 600 Series Range Of Loudspeakers Arrive At Audio T Preston

We love it when new products arrive, so we couldn't help but get a little excited when the new Bowers & Wilkins 600 Series speakers were delivered. What will the 6th generation of this multi- award winning speaker range be like? We are about to find out…

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First we opened the B&W 606's, and were immediately drawn to the new look facia. B&W have removed the speaker grill pegs and replaced them with magnetic anchor points. They have also moved the bass port to the rear of the cabinet, giving the speakers a much cleaner and stylish appearance.

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Another shocker is that after 40 years of service the iconic yellow Aramid Fibre driver units have been retired. They have been replaced with cutting edge continuum cone technology, a driver that was eight years in development and first used in the 800 series Diamond models.

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The new silver driver units look great with the brushed silver finish surrounding the decoupled double dome tweeter.

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Next, we unboxed the mighty 603 floor standers, standing at just over 40” high this is a speaker well suited for the larger listening room, while supplying that tight controlled bass Bowers & Wilkins always produce.

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We have the full range in-store 603/607/606/ & HTM6 all ready to demo, straight out of the box this new range from Bowers & Wilkins does not disappoint and will continue to improve the more we play them.

We look forward to playing them for you soon.

Thanks for reading. Ian, Gavin and Andy. - Audio T Preston

Bowers & Wilkins loudspeakers are available at the following branches of Audio T: BrentwoodBrightonBristolCardiffEnfieldManchesterOxfordPortsmouthPrestonSouthamptonSwanseaSwindon

ATC Loudspeakers Come On Song At Brighton

We are very pleased to have added ATC loudspeakers to our range as they are extremely good and complement our existing equipment perfectly. The Entry Series comprise six models and we have chosen to begin with the four passive loudspeakers.

All Entry Series loudspeakers use the New ATC designed and built 25mm soft dome HF unit with precision alloy wave guide. A sophisticated and beguiling high frequency driver whilst being revealing too.

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There are three stand mount models, SCM7, SCM11 and SCM19 and a three way floor stander SCM40, all offering refinement and energy and a rather more interesting shape than is usual.

Well worth coming along and having a listen to.

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Available in Cherry, Black or White finishes.

For our Naim ND555 roadshow we chose to use the ATC SCM50 from the Classic Series and they were extremely well received. Part of a pretty serious Naim 500 Series Hi-Fi system that performed admirably.

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Call 01273 609431 or email brighton@audio-t.co.uk and come and have a listen.

ATC loudspeakers are available at the following branches of Audio T:
BrightonBristolCheltenhamPortsmouth

The Latest News From Audio T Cheltenham

This is a bit of a break from the normal specific product related blog as we're not blogging on one particular Hi-Fi topic! This time around the intention is to keep you up to date with a number of things that are new or about to happen.

The first thing is...........

Naim 555 Network Player Summer Roadshow

We are very excited to have the opportunity (alongside our Bristol store) to host one of the Naim summer roadshows to launch the amazing new ND555 Network Player/Streamer. Tickets are available to book from the We Got Tickets website and they are FREE!!

A not to be missed opportunity to hear what is being hailed as the best streamer in the world being put through it's paces by the guys from Naim in person! If you have any Naim type questions of your own this will be the place to be!

The event takes place at the Gables Hotel in Falfield on Thursday 6th of September at 7:00 pm which is just off Junction 14 on the M5.......it's got to be a fun evening!! I will not add any more except to advise you to read the previous two blogs from the Brighton and Oxford stores for lots of in depth stuff to whet your appetite. 

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The second thing is...........

We now have the rather lovely Spendor A7 floorstanding loudspeakers in store and available for demonstration. We think they are the best thing Spendor have made for a while and that's really saying something!

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The third thing is...........

We are rather proud to announce that we now have ATC loudspeakers in store! 

We have three models in total the little SCM7 the slightly bigger SCM11 and the floorstanding SCM40 all of which sound great and are running in nicely.... see the picture below....

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The fourth thing is...........

We have totally redecorated our AV demo room and given the shop a fresh coat of paint. Our AV demo room now has a 9ft fixed frame screen and an Optoma UHD65 4K projector looking rather lovely, in fact the best picture we have ever had in our dem room! Come and see!! There is always something playing and it always looks great and sounds even better!!! By now you'll probably have noticed that I like exclamation marks!!!

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And fifth and finally...........

One of those "you really must listen to this" moments. 

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This is a fairly recent album by the Yes legend Jon Anderson and Flower Kings Guitar maestro Roine Stolte. It sounds more like Yes than Yes have done since the 1970's and I'm not making that up .......it's true!! This comes across as a companion piece to the work of genius that is Tales From Topographic Oceans and if that was ever your fave Yes LP then you will adore this one.  It is called Invention Of Knowledge and does not have a dull second on it. If you thought Yes were no more then think again!! There go those exclamation marks again!!! 

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Well that's it for this blog ....I'm off to play this on the new ATC SCM40 floorstanders to put them through their paces properly. You are always welcome to bring in some of your favourite music too and do the same .... you will be forever smitten!!

ATC Loudspeakers are available from the following branches of Audio T: BrightonBristolCheltenhamPortsmouth

Spendor loudspeakers are available from the following branches of Audio T: CardiffCheltenhamPortsmouthSwindon

Neat Iota Xplorer - Preston Explores The Latest Loudspeakers From Neat Acoustics

Brand new into the Preston store, we have the new Neat Acoustics Iota XPLORER, and we have to say we love them.

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The bigger brother of the award winning and ever popular Iota Alpha, the Xplorer's are twice the size but use the same basic configuration as the Alpha's. The top section is sealed off from the lower and acts as a two way infinite baffle loudspeaker.

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Situated in the base of the cabinet is an Iso-baric subwoofer to give this speaker some real depth with the lower frequencies.

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We have found them to be a well balanced speaker that works well with a wide variety of electronics and are equally as forgiving with placement in any room environment to get a stunning sound.

The offset tweeter enables you to place the speakers with the tweeters either further apart from each other for a wide open soundstage or for a more concentrated image you can place the speakers in the room with the tweeters situated closer together.

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We tried various types of music on them using the Naim  Nova , Rega Elicit and Quad Artera electronics and all worked well but all giving a different presentation. The Neat Iota Xplorer's give fast and accurate soundstage but the separation between instruments has to be heard to be believed, they certainly brought a smile to our faces.

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Supplied in the box are instructions, floor spikes, floor protection discs and a pair of magnetic grilles, we chose the American walnut finish but they are also available in Natural Oak, Black Oak and Satin White.

We look forward to playing them for you.

Ian, Gavin & Andy - Audio T Preston

Neat Acoustic loudspeakers are available from the following branches of Audio T:
BrightonCheltenhamOxfordPortsmouthPrestonReading

Award Winning KEF LS50 Wireless Speakers Have Arrived At Audio T Swindon

The KEF LS50 wireless speakers are based on the legendary KEF LS50 passive studio monitor speakers. The difference between them is that that the LS50 wireless are active speakers, which means that you don't need a separate amplifier as they have amplification built in.

Many people think of lots of separate boxes and cables when they think of Hi-Fi systems and many years ago this is exactly what is was - and many people still want that. However, what if we could combine speakers with built-in amplifiers, a music streamer and a pre-amplifier to plug in a turntable or a digital source like a TV or a set-top box? This is what the LS50 Wireless can offer, a complete, neat and most importantly an amazing sounding music system.

Lets have a look at them and see what is supplied in the box.

KEF LS50 Wireless

KEF LS50 Wireless

KEF LS50 Wireless

KEF LS50 Wireless

In the box you'll find a quick start guide, a remote control, 2 power leads, 2 Ethernet leads and a USV cable (USB A to USB B).

The LS50 Wireless loudspeakers are available in three finishes, gloss black with blue drive units, titanium grey with red drive units and gloss white with copper drive units .

The idea to call them wireless doesn't mean that you don't need wires to connect them mind you! The difference is that you don't need as many cables in a system with separate components. I will explain that now.

The speakers are arranged in a master and slave configuration. Your sources connect to the master speaker, which is then connected to the other speaker with a supplied ethernet cable. Connect a power cable to each of the speakers and for greater stability, we hardwired the master speaker to our network via another ethernet cable. There is also a wireless set-up option available.

There are controls on the back of the master speaker for different speaker placements, like close-to a wall or free space positioning, desk or stand support.

Master Speaker

Master Speaker

On the back there is one set of analogue inputs, a digital optical input, a USB B input and a subwoofer output. The Network socket allows you to connect the master speaker to your router/switch and the output socket to connect the master speaker to the second speaker.

Slave Speaker

Slave Speaker

Music can be selected from services like Spotify, Tidal or Qobuz and any music stored on a NAS using the IOS/Android control app . Bluetooth support makes life easy if you want to play music directly from your phone or tablet.

Let's have a listen!

KEF LS50 Wireless on Kef Stands

KEF LS50 Wireless on Kef Stands

We started streaming with electronic music from Tipper's Album "Forward Escape" and the LS50 Wireless offer impressive bass performance. This is not a big speaker but you will be surprised what they are sonically capable of. All clicks and pops are so clean and crisp, these speakers really draw you in.

We then listened to London Grammar's Album "If You Wait" and we were impressed by the big sound stage and clarity of the vocals.

Another great Album is Felix Laband's "Dark Days Exit". The track "Red Handed" is a good system tester and we were blown away again. Huge sound from such a small speaker.

As a bonus the LS50 wireless are Roon ready and can be selected from the Roon app as an endpoint (player).

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KEF's LS50 wireless are not only for enthusiasts of digital music. The set of analogue inputs allows you to connect a turntable via a separate phono stage (phono amplifier) - a very nice feature if you play your music on vinyl

Come in and have a listen and bring some of your favourite music on a USB stick, hard drive or vinyl. We will provide tea and coffee. Thanks for reading. Stefan and Andy - Audio T Swindon

KEF Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T:
Brentwood, Bristol, Cardiff, Enfield, Manchester, Online, Portsmouth, Preston, Southampton, Swansea, Swindon

New Monitor Audio Studio Speakers Have Arrived

We've just taken delivery of the new Monitor Audio Studio speakers. These standmount speakers will make a stunning addition to any room. Featuring technologies derived from their range-topping Platinum II series, they offer a truly high-end listening experience.

Hand-crafted and available in a sleek satin black, white or grey finish, these are an elegant pair of speakers. An optional black or white dedicated floor stand is also available.

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The new Monitor Audio Studio is billed as a high-end loudspeaker with a grilleless design with two metallic silver RDT II speaker cones that the company say, deliver an audiophile grade performance. The dual 4” drivers are those used in the flagship Platinum PL500 II speaker and they have been modified to produce bass, as well as mid-range detail. An MPD (Micro Pleated Diaphragm) tweeter has been designed to provide outstanding articulation due to the low mass diaphragm. MPD tweeters work like a super fast accordion by rapidly squeezing the pleats to produce a smooth, wide, naturally fast response.

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Having heard the latest speaker from Monitor Audio at the Bristol Show (which we organise) we were keen to hear them in store. And we are pleased to report that these elegant and beautifully made loudspeakers, sound as good here as they did at the Show.

With a sensitivity of 86db and 4 Ohm nominal impedance, the Monitor Audio Studio are perhaps not the easiest of speakers to drive. Having said that, we got them to really boogie using the Naim Atom.

The sound is clean and open, with a lifelike treble and a fast, articulate, powerful bass and sound at their best at mid to higher volumes.

If you are looking for a high quality, revealing stand mounted loudspeaker, these really should be on your shortlist.

Come and have a listen! Jon, Chris and Dom - Audio T Oxford

Monitor Audio loudspeakers are available from the following branches of Audio T:
BrentwoodCardiffEnfieldManchesterOnlineOxfordPortsmouthSouthamptonSwansea
Swindon

Audio T Swansea Staff Systems - Bluesound Powernode 2 & Bowers & Wilkins 686

Something of a personal blog today. I'm going talk about the Bluesound Powernode 2 and B&W 686 system I use in my kitchen diner. Most of the cooking in our home is done by me and I have to share a lounge with my significant other and the home cinema system. Therefore, most of my home music listening is done whilst I'm slaving away in the galley, so it makes sense to have something enjoyable to use which lets me whistle while I work. I also work in the toy shop, so, ya know...

Bluesound Powernode 2 and B&W 686 System

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I originally used a Sonos Connect (£349) and an old Rega Brio amplifier to drive my Bowers & Wilkins 686S2s (£349) - which sounded great – and lived happily on top of the fridge freezer. Then the packed up; boo!

We bought a shiny new fridge freezer which turned out to be somewhat taller than the old one. Sadly for my diminutive darling honeybun, we discovered she could no longer reach the amplifier controls – cue Grumpyface Emoji.

Something had to be done...

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We've had the Bluesound brand for a little while now in a number of Audio T's, but we hadn't evaluated it here in Swansea, that's until young Kris from Anatech Distribution came down with a few toys for us to play with just before Christmas.

Appraised in our reference system, we immediately thought that the Bluesound Node 2 streamer (£499) was a winner and sonically superior to the Sonos Connect, even when by-passing the on-board DAC and using our favourite* one by Chord Electronics. With 16-bit (CD quality) files the Node 2 was quite a lot better, much less grain, a far more open and solid sound. Switching to 24-bit and MQA (Meridian Quality Assured) files via Tidal Masters and it ate the Connect for breakfast.

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Historically a strong product for us has been the Sonos Connect Amp (£499). Essentially a Connect with on-board amplification, we've used it in a number of multi-room installations to good effect, the only caveat being it's inability to drive large rooms, or zones with outdoor speakers, (it just hasn't got the horsepower) so I was interested to see how the Bluesound Powernode 2 (£799) would perform.

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We connected it up to a pair of B&W 684S2s (compact floorstanding speakers at £799) and let her rip. Wow! You can tell NAD designed the amplifier section – solid, clean, musical, exciting, tons of power and a lovely sense of scale, way more grip than the Sonos Connect Amp and loads more meat on the bone. We like it, we like it very much indeed.

The control interface is similar to Sonos is logical and is easy to use. Volume, Pause Play and Track Forward Back are placed on the top of the unit for convenience, plus analogue and digital inputs appear on the rear, which is very handy for those wishing to squirt the audio from a telly into it. Also you can if you want add a subwoofer. Fortunately m'darlinghoneybun doesn't read Hi-Fi blogs, so I can confirm that I'm planning to sneak a wireless-equipped REL T5i into the system soon. (There's space behind the cat basket, she'll never know...)

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Six months later, Adrian's fridge breaks down...

"...so I don't have to stretch up to turn the amp on any more?"

"No dear."

Cue Smileyface Emoji.

Bluesound Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T:
ManchesterOnlinePortsmouth, SwanseaSwindon

New Spendor A7 Floorstanding Speakers Paired With Naim's NAC -N272 and NAP250 DR Amplifiers

Over the past week we have been putting the new Spendor A7 speakers through their paces, and we are impressed.

Visually they are still in keeping with the traditional design Spendor are known for and come in a range of pleasing finishes such as Black Ash, Dark Walnut, Natural Oak and now for a little extra Satin white.

Classically beautiful A7

Classically beautiful A7

The new A7 is a major revision for the award winning A6R, a tough act to follow. With more dynamic range and resolution with elements of D7 technology and changes to the cross over making the A7s a real step up. For full specifications click here

The A2 looking up to its big brother the A7

The A2 looking up to its big brother the A7

One element of the new A range that is worth mentioning, is that none of the speakers come with grilles. They are now an optional extra at differing prices depending on the model. The A7 is the biggest in the A-line range but is by no means a particularly big speaker. There are two other floorstanders in the range, in decreasing order of size they are the A4 and A2, which is a very compact and competent floor stander indeed. Last but not least is the A1 stand mounted speaker (A-line range).

Spendor A7 rear

Spendor A7 rear

After 5 days of playing the A7s day and night we sat down for good listen. We paired them with a very popular Naim combination, The NAC-N272 streaming pre-amplifier and the NAP 250 DR power amplifier.

 A briliant combination

 A briliant combination

We started of with Nils Lofgren ''Keith Don't Go'' from the brilliant Acoustic Live album. The A7s really brought the performance to life. We were all tapping out feet and would have been singing along but we didn't want to ruin the experience. The bottom end was big, warm and controlled allowing the vocals to soar creating loads of space around Lofgren which brought all of the emotion out of the track. After a few more tracks we changed to ''The Sound of Silence'' by Disturbed from the Immortalised album. An amazing version of the well known Simon and Garfunkel song. The powerful, rich vocals were clean and well nuanced and again with beautifully controlled bass. After a few more snippets of various tracks we were all in agreement that these are a serious competitor at the price and are very much in our top selection of favourite speakers. In short, the A7s like the rest of the A-line range have managed to retain the familiar sound of Spendor, but added so much more giving them greater dynamics and intricacies, a much more spacious and involving performance able to to cope with all kinds of music comfortably.

We love them and we think you will too. Call Nick Joe and James at Audio T Portsmouth to arrange a demonstration or home loan

We look forward to seeing you soon,

Spendor Loudspeakers are available from the following branches of Audio T: 
CardiffCheltenhamPortsmouthSwindon