10 days later and with a quite a few hours under their
belt I sat down again for some serious listening.
I plopped Jeff Lang's 'Chimeradour'
into the unique loading 'dock' of the CD5XS
and selected track 8. An incredibly precise, very live sounding version
of the song sprang forth. The A9 offers a sound somewhat less warm and
mellow than many might expect a Spendor to sound but there was
definitely a cleanliness to the sound and a lack of distortion that is
very much now a normal Spendor trait (since the release of the A5 and
A6). In other words Spendor engineers have managed to get more
detail/resolution/information out of the speaker with no introduction
of extra hardness or harshness. I listened on enjoying very much this
focused and dynamic sound.
I then stuck Jennifer Warnes old HiFi shop standard in the
Naim (The Hunter) and enjoyed a level of bass control
and weight not previously available to Spendor fans except to those who
own the S9e. In fact I think I might almost prefer the A9's bass as it
just seems a little more naturally balanced and the very slight
woodiness of the S9e's bass performance in some rooms on some gear was
not present on the A9. The other area that the S9e's performance
stopped it being a perfect loudspeaker was a slight lack of Spendor
warmth in the midrange. It was detailed and had a smooth response but
occasionally seemed a little like most other speakers in that it
hardened up when pushed and sometimes when it wasn't. The A9 in my
brief listening so far showed no signs of this trait. At this stage I
am wishing they had 200 hours on the clock as they show so much promise
of being the great allrounder. A speaker that offers both a big full
range sound but still gets the little things right that speakers like
the SA1 do so well.
To round out this quick listen prior to running the
loudspeakers in further I shut down the Naim XS stack and connected up
the newly arrived Naim Uniti. I popped Jeff Beck's latest effort into the familiar (or is
it 'onto'), uniquely Naim CD loading arrangement and selected track 2.
This track starts off at a medium volume with some vaguely Hendrix
sounding waa waa guitar so I turned it up to 11 (well actually 73 on
the Uniti's display). Crikey! The Uniti held itself together while
producing an enormous sound that had real drive. Small children ran for
the hills, cockroaches flipped onto their backs and the resident parrot
shut the hell up for a change. The S9e and the SP100R2 are the only
other Spendors that can produce this scale of sound. I feel the A9 does
it very nearly as well as the SP100 but in a somewhat more wife
acceptable package and at a useful discount. I have a sneeking
suspicion though that the SP100R2's charm factor in the mid is superior
and I also suggest the amazing SP2/3R2 is a more relaxing listen and is
a definite charmer although at lower resolution than the A9 and SP100,
BUT the A9's are far from run in yet and who knows.
So far they are the speaker that I am happily listening to
in the store and am enjoying their almost full range sound and lack of
issues in the mid that so many 3 way speakers are plagued with and
"running in" cannot fix.
Back soon with properly detailed notes once they are fully