Spendor Classic 200Ti Loudspeaker Page 2

Mind you, there's no getting away from the sheer physical size of this speaker, but if you're looking for a big box able to move a lot of air yet do it with real authority and control, then the 200Ti deserves to be heard. It packs its almighty punch in a way that's measured and civilised, rather than trying to be the biggest headbanger in town.

Tracks such The Beloved's 'The Sun Rising' [Happiness; WEA 2292-46253-2] showed this to great effect. It features a powerful looped bassline with lower notes that many smaller speakers are simply unable to resolve. However, the 200Ti was meticulous about carrying each and every one, regardless of all else that was going on, such as the synthesiser glides, vocals, percussion and lead keyboards.

At listening levels so high that many rival designs would be breaking up, the 200Ti simply kept pounding out this bassline, largely devoid of cabinet boom or 'time-smear'. There was no sense of any exertion and as every additional layer of sound was added to the mix – building in a dense crescendo – the speaker stayed clean. This is a feat you rarely hear from domestic hi-fi loudspeakers of any type or price.

Big Fun
The 200Ti also has the ability to go very loud, and to do so effortlessly. What's more, it tracks the dynamics of a piece of music faithfully, so one can easily follow the accenting of even relatively quiet instruments. The acoustic guitar on Fourplay's 'Once In The A.M.' [Between The Sheets; Warner Bros WPCP-5506] certainly isn't the loudest instrument in the mix yet the 200Ti followed it brilliantly. And whenever a single string was plucked hard, the sound of it flew from the speakers and into the room with superb attack.

Yet there's a pleasing tonal smoothness to the presentation too. Feed the 200Ti a rough, fuzz-box drenched indie rock track such as Teenage Fanclub's 'What You Do To Me' [Bandwagonesque; Creation Records CRE CD 106] and one is easily able to pick through the mass of layered guitar effects to appreciate that this is in fact a very tidy and well marshalled production.


In fact, here we see Spendor's 'charm' manifest itself. This track has a really grungy feel, but the 200Ti gentrified it slightly, smoothing its rough edges. This didn't detract from the sheer fun, because there was detail to be heard that often lies undiscovered with so many other designs. For example, the drummer's constant pan rolls, right at the back of the mix, were clear to hear.

Silky Ride
The smooth tonal balance extends to the bass, which is smooth and subtly sweet, and there's never the sense that the low end is overpowering the rest of the music. The midband was unfailingly even, never pushing itself to the fore yet still allowing obviously 'well lit' recordings to reveal themselves. For example, The Dolphin Brothers' 'Catch The Fall' from their 1987 album of the same name [Virgin CDV2434] sounded suitably shiny. This production features lots of bright-sounding electronic instruments and the 200Ti duly confirmed this, but even at high volumes it didn't grate or annoy. The track's heavily-processed cymbal sound was delicately handled, confirming my thoughts that the tweeter used here is a classy item, as it had also made an especially silky job of the ride cymbal work in the Teenage Fanclub track.

True, those coming from speakers with premium ribbon tweeters may find a subtle lack of air and space with some recordings. But few of the rivals that better the 200Ti in these terms are a match for its physicality and controlled power.

Indeed, the sheer physical size of this big Spendor seems to have been deployed to deliver a wide bandwidth sound, rather than copious bass. Its size also appears to help with its soundstaging ability, because it is easily able to conjure up a cavernously wide sonic picture when required. Isaac Hayes' 'Cafe Regios' [Shaft: Original Soundtrack; Stax 0025218880220] was hugely expansive, the brass and strings enjoying oodles of space around them, while individual instruments, such as the rhythm guitar, were portrayed with pin-point accuracy.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
Spendor's new 200Ti should raise eyebrows in the high-end loudspeaker market. It's a great all-rounder with an enjoyable, likeable character that is huge fun to listen to. What's more, it will slot right into many rooms and systems with ease. There are 'market watchers' who might regard Spendor's Classic range as being a little too quirky, but this new flagship speaker is both mainstream and highly capable.

Spendor Audio Systems Ltd
East Sussex
Supplied by: Spendor Audio Systems
01323 843474