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Spendor A3 review: Spendor A3

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The Good Well made. Compact. Excellent mid-range capabilities. Great in-home theatre applications. Seamlessly match with Spendor's centre speaker.

The Bad Distortion at high volumes. Not very capable with bass-driven music.

The Bottom Line The Spendor A3 is a compact floorstander that puts mid-range detail at the top the list — but you should pick partnering components with care, and don't expect hell-raising volumes.

7.7 Overall

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If you're in the market for a new set of speakers, Spendor is a brand that you may not have come across before. Spendor is a British speaker manufacturer, which, unlike more famous rival Bowers and Wilkins (which moved most of its manufacturing to China), still makes its products in the UK.

If you look at pictures of the new Spendor A3 speakers and the more expensive A6 speakers, it's hard to tell the difference; they look identical. But the differences are there: the proper and British A6s are to Austin Powers as the A3s are to Mini Me (dressed as Austin Powers).

The A3 is a small floorstander, which features a proprietary 150mm (5.9-inch) "ep38" woofer and cone and a 22mm tweeter. It stands at a diminutive 750mm tall, and features a rear-mounted reflex port. Meanwhile, the A6 features a larger 7-inch driver and is 875mm high.

The A3 speakers are offered in a number of real wood veneers, including Black Ash, Walnut and Light Oak, while we received a pair in Cherry.

The speaker came to us as part of a surround sound system that included the new Spendor S3/5R² in the rear and the C5.2 centre channel. As Spendor doesn't make a subwoofer, we completed the package with another British product, the REL T5.

In testing these speakers, we threw a mixture of both music and movies at them, and, despite Spendor's reputation for music reproduction, we found that movies were actually the most successful. Why is this? The C5.2 centre channel is an absolute superstar on its own, and it's almost worth buying the A3s just so you can partner them with it.

Both the A3 and the C5.2 are voiced for a natural midrange, and "talkie" movies sound fantastic. Combine this with a punchy sub such as the REL, and you have a fearsome system capable of a wide dynamic range and excellent surround steering.

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