01 Nov Dinner Discussions #4 with Audio Research & Spendor
Audio Research & Spendor Audio
For the first time ever, in Wilson Audio’s 42 year history, we welcomed representatives from our two best selling companies, Audio Research & Spendor Audio. Jay Rein of Spendor and David Gordon of Audio Research participated in a meet and greet with our customers and provided us with insight into their company’s history, products & future direction. The night culminated with numerous listening sessions featuring ARC’s (Audio Research) Ref 6 Pre Amp, Ref CD-9 and the Ref 150 SE Power Amp. We also showcased Spendor’s SP 200 and the SP100R2.
Both Representatives were delighted with the creole delicacies of Shrimp & Grits and Bread pudding (courtesy of Atchafalaya restaurant). Needless to say, traditional New Orleans cuisine never fails to impress.
Below is a quick recap of the things we learned from each company. If you like, you may also view the Seminar in its entirety on our YouTube channel at the link below.
David Gordon Audio Research: Here’s what we learned:
- Founded by Bill Johnson in 1970. Bill was “old school”. He was a strong willed entrepreneur.
- Bill Johnson founded ARC (Audio Research) during a time when there were no vacuum tube amplifiers made in the United States. Johnson knew that tubes sounded better, period. Tubes are compelling sonically.
- The best tubes are made in Russia.
- ARC currently uses the KT150. These tubes last for at least 3, 000 listening hours and are very consistent.
- When building a new piece of equipment, ARC continues to do things at its facility as it did 46 years ago.
- ARC builds everything from the ground up. They insert all boards and parts by hand. Also, ARC hand solders, hand trims and installs wires by hand.
- All product design is done in-house because it helps with the consistency of sound
- EVERYTHING Audio Research does is for sound!
- Audio Research sources all components locally.
- Every piece of equipment goes through 2 bench tests then is sent to Warren Gehl to listen.
- Warren Gehl listens to EVERY SINGLE piece of equipment before it goes out. This is because little differences can go along way in audio. He can recognize those differences.
- All ARC equipment maintains its value mainly because each piece can be fixed.
- ARC loves and believes in the products they sell. They are true audiophiles. For each employee, their jobs are a means to an end: They make and sell the equipment during the day, but at night they are using that equipment to listen to music.
“Music is our passion, it is what drives us all. Everything we do is for sound. Our jobs are a means to an end. We sell the equipment during the day, but listen to music at night”
“Audio Research only has 44 dealers in the entire U.S. New Orleans is lucky to have one! It is rare to have such a good dealer like Doug Wilson and Wilson Audio.”
–David Gordon, Audio Research
Spendor Audio – Jay Rein
- Recently, there has been resurgence in 2-channel audio and the audio hobby is getting rejuvenation. Retail business in the audio industry has been up around the country for 3 years now.
- Because of complex products such as DACs and music streamers, customers have to go into the stores now and visit so that they understand how the products that they have purchased actually work.
- Younger people are getting into record players because growing up they only heard music on MP3 and when they actually hear their music on record for the first time, its like a slap in the face.
- Source materials such as digital downloads DACS, turntables and phono stages have all gotten better, thus, it is imperative for a speakers to be more transparent & neutral so that you will hear the quality of the source. Spendor speaker line is perfect for that transparent & neutral sound
- Spendor was founded 45 years ago and has always been known for its warm, rich sound.
- Spendor is a true R& D company (research and development)
- Very unique to Spendor is that it has its own machine shop in England where they make their own tools which are used to produce the parts in the Spendor speakers.
- Spendor designs their speakers very differently from other companies. First, they start with the size of the cabinet & from their they decide how big to make the drive units to fit those cabinets.
- Their drivers are not “standard size” therefore it allows them to build drivers to be the right volume for the enclosure.
- Spendor gets a nice articulate mid-range because they wind their own transformers in the factory.
- They do not need resisters in series which eliminates the mudding up of the sound.
- Spendor’s “A” line is often called the more modern design because it is transparent, neutral & keeps the charm of old speakers.
- In every speaker that Spendor makes, it puts the tweeters from their Statement and SA1 line.
- Spendor’s “D” line has a soft dome tweeter which equalizes pressure forward and back and gives more linear, natural sound to show you what is in the recording you are listening to.
- The SP 200, is the newest speaker that Spendor offers. It has 2, 12 “ woofers. There is no substitute for this speaker. It offers an effortless presentation and it disappears sonically like a small bookshelf in the room.