Tekton Design Lore

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PaulFolbrecht

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Tekton Design Lore
« on: 23 May 2011, 02:33 am »
I have owned a pair of Tekton Design Lores for over a month now.  To cut to the chase, these are astoundingly good speakers for the money - as in, at $1,000 a pair, perhaps the best value in audiophile speakers I can think of.

The speaker is a bass-reflex floor-stander using some type of pro-audio-source 10" wideband driver (Eminence, I think) with a soft-dome tweeter.  I don't recall the frequency-response specs offhand (more later) but, as would be expected from the design, it is in the "high-efficiency" category with a specified sensitivity 98 dB/W/m.

The speaker is very balanced, dynamic, coherent, and has excellent tone.  There - that's the summary.  In fact, I have around 25x their cost worth of source & electronics in front of them (retail price - not what I paid) and if I had to I could live with them as my last speaker in anything other than a huge room.  I think this is due in part to how good they are and also in part to how good really good gear can sound through even modest speakers.

I suppose I need dissect the speakers sonically, as reviews do.  Starting with the bass, the low-end is surprisingly extended AND tight.  When I saw a picture of the Lore with the two very large bass ports, I admit the first thought I had was that this was going to be a one-note-bass speaker - not at all.  And I have them only about 6" from the front wall (in a 16x20 room, with two large openings).  The bass pitch definition is very good!  I can follow jazz bass lines very easily.  For rock, there is just "about" enough reach, but the sound is just a bit light (in this room).  Of course, that is absolutely no surprise at all - for rock in my opinion you really need a -3 dB point around 30 Hz or better to get all the music.  I would estimate the speaker's in-room -3 dB point to be in the 35-40 Hz range.

Of course, tuning a speaker for bass reach is a matter of math: driver parameters, cabinet type & size, cabinet tuning.  I have only a rudimentary understanding of those things but I will say that the designer of this speaker made some very good decisions.

The midrange is very, very good, with the coherence one expects from a widebander but also the lack of peakiness that's still fairly rare.  The Zu speakers share this same flat frequency response and very full tonality (and of course use a similar driver).  In fact, I do think the Lore sounds quite a bit like the Zu speakers in the midrange.  The overall tonal balance is a bit on the warm side.

I was expecting the excellent midrange but not necessarily the very impressive bass performance of this speaker.  I also was not necessarily expecting to be as pleased with the treble as I am: it is *very* well-integrated, and delicate, with good extension but never sounding brash.  I have to say I prefer the treble integration and overall sonics (certainly possibly just a matter of preference) over that of Zu (I have owned Druid & Definition Mk 2).

Of course the speaker also has the dynamics you'd expect from the design.  It's quite dynamic, especially considering the size & driver complement.  However, a design with, say, two 10" wideband drivers is quite a bit more dynamic!

What's most important is the overall flavor of a speaker, and this one is almost perfectly balanced and easy to listen to yet does excel in areas like detail and dynamics as well.

I am "between" main speakers now, but, honestly, this speaker is so freaking good - in absolute terms, not just "for the money" - I could live with it for good.  In fact, it is seriously making me wonder what the point of far more expensive speakers is.  (Please don't judge that statement harshly unless you've heard them!)

zeke

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Re: Tekton Design Lore
« Reply #1 on: 23 May 2011, 06:55 am »
Hi Paul

I just got my pair 3 days ago. My initial impressions pretty much mirror your comments.
I only have about 20 hrs on them. Do they change much with additional hours ?
I started out driving them with a 300b amp, and am now using a solid state amp.
Do you prefer any certain type of amp with these spkrs ?

zeke

Mass. Wine Guy

Re: Tekton Design Lore
« Reply #2 on: 23 May 2011, 12:16 pm »
Thank you for the thorough writeup. I've been interested in Tekton for a while and wondered how the speakers soounded.

JLM

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Re: Tekton Design Lore
« Reply #3 on: 23 May 2011, 12:57 pm »
Thanks for the write up Paul.   :thumb:

After finding something like this, its amazing how far one has to go to replace the simple, coherent sound of a good wide-bander.

I'm a "speaker guy" and would rather my speaker error on the side of omission than comission.  And IME it's always safer to "dumb down" on speakers and over do source/amplification.

sebrof

Re: Tekton Design Lore
« Reply #4 on: 23 May 2011, 01:09 pm »
Great write-up Paul, my impressions mirror yours.
I've had my Lores for about 3 weeks and I have been extremely impressed with them. Tight, controlled, musical. They are just so easy to listen to. I drive them with a DIY 2A3 amp in a small room (12' x 13'). I also brought them over to a friend's and listened in his bigger room (~19' x 16') with a 100 watt tube amp and they sounded great in there as well.
I also own Zu (Omen) and I agree that there are similarities especially in the mids. But it seems that everything I like about the Omens I get better from the Lores. I don't see a way for the Omens to make it back into my main rig.

Gpowered

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Re: Tekton Design Lore
« Reply #5 on: 23 May 2011, 03:58 pm »
Hey guys.  As some of you may have seen from my posts in Audiogon, and review of these speakers at audioreview.com, I was also "blown away" by the sound quality of these speakers.  They literally do not offend in any way.  I am driving mine with a pair of Quicksilver Mini Mites, and it has proven to be a great match!  Source is a Cary CDP-1 cdp. 

I also wanted to point out that I've been in touch with Eric, and he's just about ready to release his new design - which is dual 10" Eminance driver set MTM design.  I've seen pictures of this speaker and it is rather impressive!  This beast is 54" tall! :o  The drivers are different.  It will definitely play lower and this design will still be 98db efficient.  I believe it is going to be in the $2,500-$3K range, but don't quote me on that.  Look for that model to break wind soon. 

PaulFolbrecht

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Re: Tekton Design Lore
« Reply #6 on: 23 May 2011, 04:38 pm »
I was neglectful in not listing my system:

Analog: Basis Ovation TT, TriPlanar arm (an early one), Ortofon Rondo Red cartridge, Tom Evans Microgroove+Z phono preamp

Digital: Audio Note Kits DAC 3.1 fed by Mac Mini

Linestage: Tom Evans Vibe/Pulse (Lithos 7)

Amps: Audiopax Model 88 Stereo, Graaf GM20 (push-pull OTL), ModWright KWA-100SE.  (All three amps are good matches with plenty of power.  The ModWright is obviously overkill in terms of power but has about all the nuance, microdynamics, and smoothness of excellent low-power amps.)

doug s.

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Re: Tekton Design Lore
« Reply #7 on: 23 May 2011, 08:36 pm »
i wonder how much better these would sound if they and their amps didn't have to see any frequencies below 80hz, if they were actively crossed over to subwoofers.  of course, the bass would likely be a lot better, too...   :thumb:

doug s.

roscoeiii

Re: Tekton Design Lore
« Reply #8 on: 23 May 2011, 09:59 pm »
Not that they are the same speakers but similar enough that I thought I'd pop in here...

I was a bit surprised when Sean from Zu recommended not cutting off the frequency response with my Soul Superflys, but leaving them to run full range and putting my subs' crossover at 40 Hz. So worth playing around with, since I would've recommended much the same as Doug S. before hearing that from Zu. Worth playing around with. I would certainly think crossing over at 80 would be a good idea if you are driving with a flea powered amp, to take some of the load off. But maybe not as much of a concern with more powerful amps? Not sure at what wattage with Lore or Zu's sensitivity it might be advisable to take the load off the amp. Certainly by the time you get up to the power of my Atma-sphere S-30s...

PaulFolbrecht

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Re: Tekton Design Lore
« Reply #9 on: 24 May 2011, 01:21 am »
i wonder how much better these would sound if they and their amps didn't have to see any frequencies below 80hz, if they were actively crossed over to subwoofers.  of course, the bass would likely be a lot better, too...   :thumb:

As with anytime you do this type of thing there would be tradeoffs.  The negatives you would get are: decreased coherence (ESPECIALLY if you aren't doing really good time/phase correction) and the general discontinuity that results from disparate driver types/locations.

I've played around with such systems and for the most part I prefer one driver down to its limits of 35-40 Hz, which is all acoustic jazz requires to be full-bandwidth.

Unless you need really high SPLs to fill a large room, for example.  Then, yeah, excursion and thus doppler distortion gets to be too much.  There are few really good solutions for really large rooms!!

PaulFolbrecht

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Re: Tekton Design Lore
« Reply #10 on: 24 May 2011, 01:22 am »
Also, if you are going to xover at 80 Hz, no point at all in the large cabinet.  Go with a monitor.

PaulFolbrecht

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Re: Tekton Design Lore
« Reply #11 on: 24 May 2011, 01:24 am »
Zeke, I have noticed some changes with break-in but nothing incredible.  They sounded good right away.  As for amps, I now prefer high-bandwidth SE amps myself (ruling out most 300Bs and anything with more power than that) as well as OTLs and even - gulp - solid-state.

Gpowered

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Re: Tekton Design Lore
« Reply #12 on: 24 May 2011, 04:10 am »

doug s.

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Re: Tekton Design Lore
« Reply #13 on: 24 May 2011, 03:48 pm »
hi paul,

when i first went w/active subwoofers, my full-range  main speakers were rated -2db at 20hz.  crossing them over at 70hz made them sound much better.  and, the bass was also much better.  using a quality x-over and making sure the subs were flanking the mains, w/the drivers in about the same plane, there were no downsides; everything got better.  this has been my basic experience w/outboard active subwoofer systems...

i do agree w/benefits of using subs w/smaller mains, but since these lore's seem to sound so good, and are so efficient, and are so reasonably priced...   :wink:

ymmv,

doug s.

roscoeiii

Re: Tekton Design Lore
« Reply #14 on: 24 May 2011, 03:53 pm »
Doug,

That had been my previous experience as well, which is why Zu's advice surprised me. Haven't had a chance to try both ways in my system, but that is one of many comparison's on my to-do list.

yeldarb

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Re: Tekton Design Lore
« Reply #15 on: 10 Jun 2011, 02:56 pm »
I have been listening to my Lore's for only 2 evenings, so I know they are not close to breaking in.  My previous speakers were 20 year old Madisound MDY3, small monitors with Dynaudio drivers.  These were supplemented by a Dayton Titanic 10 sub.  Sonographe amp and AVA 4i tube hybrid pre-amp.  Sourced with an NEC CDROM drive and an ACK DAC 2.0.
 
The Dynaudios are very detailed and throw a great sound stage, side to side, and front to back.  Run full range, they need a LOT of power to come alive.  Nearly holographic with the right music.  But....missing whatever dynamic is necessary to make music sound live.  I have another system with BK 16 Fostex horns and another Titanic sub.  Lively, great midrange, and a good "boogie factor".  I use a 9 watt Norh tube amp with this. 

I wanted to bring the "bounce" my horns have to the detail of the Dynaudio.  Hence, the Lore purchase.  So far....

The Lore's are shockingly detailed.  I have heard things on familiar recordings that I haven't heard before.  I think the Dynaudio high end may roll off quite a bit compared to the Audax tweeter in the Lore.  After all, the fairly complicated crossover is 20 years old.  Maybe the caps are tired....

The Lore has very articulate bass.  It has been amusing, these first 10 hours, listening to bass improve. Breakin doesn't seem to be a linear process, but the low end is much better now, and I expect it will be adequate.  The sub went lower, but blurred the bass region.  I suspect running the Dynaudios full range makes integration more difficult.

Midrange detail of the Lore is good and seems to very well express what is on the recording. Last nite I listened to the newest Amos Lee and Ray LaMontagne.  The vocals sounded a bit "honky".  Having broken in the Fostex drivers in the BK16, I know "honky" when I hear it.  I thought the Lores were having a breakin moment.  But I followed those guys with an Emmy Lou Harris disc.  No honk there at all.  So, the recordings must be the culprit.

At this point the Lore doesn't throw the sound stage that the Dynaudios did.  But they are mighty fine speakers and have an effortless open presentation. making music.  I will continue to break my Lores in and play with placement to the extent that I can.  Kudos to Mr. Alexander.

Ric Schultz

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Re: Tekton Design Lore
« Reply #16 on: 10 Jun 2011, 05:34 pm »
You want to blow your mind for cheap?  Here's what to do:

1.  Remove the tweeter from the box and use a piece of hardwood to replug the hole.  Mount the tweeter on a small baffle or support and put it on top of the speaker.  You don't need a box...like the KatzMeow and Uruz...just a dead baffle or L brackets.

2.  Felt all around the tweeter and all around the main driver.  And also the top of the box in front of the tweeter.

3.  Move the tweeter back to where it is time aligned with the main driver.  You can do this by listening.....it will be pretty obvious where the best place is.  Problably further back then you think.

4.  Damp the frame of the main driver with EAR SD40AL (available from Percy Audio).  Put Magnapads on the back of the magnets on the woofers (also available from Percy Audio).

5.  Put the capacitor for the tweeter on top of the cabinet (damped).....and later when you have some money...change the cap to a better type.

6.  Hardwire the speaker.....or use the binding posts as wire to wire clamps.

Putting the tweeter on top of the box, time aligning and felting will make the speaker image amazingly better.  Much cleaner and clearer as well, as the high frequencies are now arriving before the lows and messing things up.

Damping the frame and magnet of the woofer will make the sound clearer, cleaner and more natural.

Hardwiring will make the speaker more detailed, more dynamic and way more pure and natural sounding.

Upgrading the coupling cap on the tweeter will make the highs more pure and real....more extended sounding too.

genjamon

Re: Tekton Design Lore
« Reply #17 on: 11 Jun 2011, 10:21 pm »
Thanks for the formal review, Paul.  I concur with your assessment for sure.  Have had mine since early April.  I was previously using Hornshoppe Horns with a subwoofer and find the Lores so much richer in tone, detail, frequency extension, delicacy, and pretty much anything else you could say.  I suppose you might give up just the slightest bit of coherency compared to a true single driver, but you get so so much more in the trade.  Not even a question.  I unhesitatingly recommend it.

That said, I feel it necessary to emphasize that placement is key.  I just today found the bass magic.  I had  been using a subwoofer to support bass frequencies.  Turns out I needed the Lores closer to the front wall in order to get adequate bass reinforcement.  Now the subwoofer isn't necessary except below 35hz (basically, only a tiny bit of music and any movies I want to watch on the system).  Distance to sidewalls and toe-in are also sensitive on the soundstaging and imaging front.  I don't find them extremely finicky, but you can't just put them anywhere and expect everything they can do.

SlushPuppy

Re: Tekton Design Lore
« Reply #18 on: 12 Jun 2011, 11:19 am »
Good thread and perfect timing. I'm [almost] ready to purchase my next set of speakers and had forgotten about these guys. I took a good look at their website last night and was very impressed. The new design that was mentioned earlier just got added to my short-list  8)

Thanks for posting!

Slush

JLM

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Re: Tekton Design Lore
« Reply #19 on: 12 Jun 2011, 11:56 am »
And Tekton offers a slightly smaller, less efficient, rated down to 38 Hz versus 30 Hz, version for $650!

Anyone know off hand how much Eric charges for veneers, grills? 

(Someday I'll need to replace the speakers in my 3rd system, in the living room, and these certainly be a step up and allow me to shop for a cute/little T-amp and throw in a Squeeze Box for some WAF.)