Its been a while since I was last at Spendor. With their recent move into a new custom built factory I felt it was time to visit again and document the improvements that have been made to the way these almost unique loudspeakers are designed and constructed.
Click for bigger image of Philip Swift When I say almost unique (above) I am alluding to both the very natural and easy to listen to sound that they produce and also the now very rare concept of actually designing and manufacturing ones own drive units as well as the loudspeaker 'system'. Not only that but doing it all in the UK! Of course Spendor have always done this (since the 1960's) but it is something that has become increasingly rare in a time when there appears to be a race to move manufacturing to China and outsource everything else. Spendor, in their move to new premises (early 2011) have made a move for the long term and are obviously committed not just to UK manufacture but also building the best sounding loudspeaker they possibly can.
Click for bigger image of Terry Miles. This process all starts with a smart idea. This smart and original thinking comes from owner Philip Swift and his long term engineering right hand, Terry Miles. Both have such an intimate knowledge of how sound propagates, resonance, vibration, dispersion, materials, how listeners percieve these nuances etc, that by applying this understanding to all aspects of the various designs it is little surprise Spendor's make music in such an enjoyable way.

Terry is pictured at left and Philip above. Terry appears to be just a head. In fact he does have a body. He is pictured below in the new but not quite finished Spendor listening room.

Click for bigger image of Spendor factory. iPerhaps the one thing I noticed the most on my latest visit to Spendor HQ is really how little has changed. All the same techniques are being employed for cone manufacture, driver assembly, crossover construction, finished system assembly etc. The difference though is the way all these different aspects of complete loudspeaker manufacturing fit together within the new factory allowing efficiencies that were not possible in the previous building. Another significant improvement is in the environment, which is better lit and temperature controlled for greater worker comfort and again greater efficiencies. It is also a very clean work area thanks to a carefully designed air conditioning system.
Click for bigger image of Terry. The other immediately obvious similarity to my last visit is the staffing. Many Spendor staff have worked for the company for extraordinary periods. Terry has been with the company for 35 years! I find this amazing, impressive and very comforting. The depth of knowledge of Spendor's doings over the years that Terry holds in his head is stunning. He has a memory of how nearly every model has sounded over the years. Not only the sound character but all the various experiments and their outcomes over the years still live with him and this of course is a huge help with heading in the right direction with new models and is a huge advantage over newer companies that have to start from scratch.
Click for bigger image of Andre. Andre who is pictured to the left has tackled most tasks in the factory over the last 35 years. Thats right, another 35 year veteren. In fact a many of Spendor 's first class work force has been with the company for more than 15 years. Consistancy and quality are the winners with such experienced folk screwing these loudspeakers together. Andre is assembling SP2/3R2s which will shortly receive final testing including wiring up and listening.
Click for bigger image of Sue. Sue is still in charge of one of the trickier jobs. Very carefully assembling the drive units themselves. When asked how many drivers she needed to make every day she responded that she didn't have a target. The goal was to simply make sure every unit was perfect, the same as the last. It takes as long as it takes! She has been with Spendor for 16 years.

Here she is carrying out the aligning and gluing in of the cone/coil/spider assembly into the basket of S3/5R2 drivers.

Click for bigger image of Jean Pierre. Jean Pierre is still the crossover guru at Spendor after 15 odd years. He hand assembles each inductor former and then hand winds the coil, then assembles the printed circuit board using many UK made components including Clarity caps, once again, by hand! He's very handy! These assembled crossover 'boards' are then tested and measured against the reference.
Click for bigger image of Paula. No Pictures!! No cameras, no pictures!! Paula carries out all sorts of admin tasks and has been at Spendor for many, many years but unfortunately could not be convinced to show us her face. Our loss!
Click for bigger image of Rob Coe. Here is a pic of Rob hard at work taking orders from various Spendor distributors from over 30 different countries around the world. Rob Coe is a realitive new chum with only 3 years on the clock. Rob is in charge of international sales and therefore has to put up with my outrageous demands,
Click for bigger image of Neil. Unlike most manufacturers that these days receive containers of equipment 'from' China, here is Neil (UK Spendor Sales Manager) helping load a container full of UK made Spendor to send 'to' China. Note the use of some kind of heavy duty gardening gloves to help protect his delicate surgeon like hands from the shocking rigours of cardboard.
Click for bigger image of James. James is pictured here carefully checking new enclosures for any issues in fit and finish prior to handing them across to the assembly area for fitment of internal acoustic treatments, crossover, wiring etc. James has been with Spendor for 5 odd years and handles many different tasks around the factory.
Click for bigger image of Michael. Michael is pictured here performing in some ways the most critical job as far as the new owner is concerned in that he is the last contact from the factory with your new loudspeakers. He is in charge of carefully giving the finished product final checks and packing them up.

Page two of this recent factory tour continues with more pictures and details. Here.

This page was last updated 06-6-2011
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