Considering the New Tekton Design Encores? AND Owners Group - Experiences/Questions
I am the very happy owner of the first pair of New Tekton Design Encores and I thought I would create this thread to answer any questions anyone might have regarding the Encore speakers, room considerations, and associated equipment. If you’ve order your pair already, please chime in. I really want to hear what other people’s experience are with these unbelievable speakers.
I drive my Encores with both an Art Audio Diavolo SET 300b Tube Amplifier with 8wpc and I switch in my 700w Nord One-Up SE Monoblocks for non-critical listening and some big pieces of music that benefit from the extra power.
Made under U.S. Patent 9247339 with multiple new patents pending
Proprietary loudspeaker design
Ultra-linear frequency response with ±.5dB deviation from 70Hz-20kHz
One single crossover element placed within the tweeter path
@david_ten I don't know how many have received the Encores per se. I only know that several people have placed orders already for their Encores. With the longer lead times I would say it could be awhile before anyone chimes in with their opinion on the Encores, unless they purchased a version that was already ready to ship, assuming Eric built more than just the one pair for me and had a couple laying around. I know a local audiophile in Raleigh who has heard the Encores in my home is really considering the Encores as a serious upgrade over what he has now.
My impressions are quite simply this. Never in 35 years in this hobby have I averaged 10+ hours of listening to music a day with half of that time spent critically listening to them in the afternoon/evening hours each day. The array is extremely revealing and doesn't hold back at any volume level. Both mircrodynamics and macrodynamics are fully realized with ease. The bass is incredible, very detailed, complex, and very guttural. Setup was very painless and they were not hard to place even in my smaller room. I find what this speaker is capable of in resolution in the most palpable midrange and it's just mind blowing, but never aggressive or fatiguing.
The Encores are a near perfect coherent launchpad and they have the best dynamics of the best horn systems, the delicacy and transparency of the best electrostatic speakers. They just do everything right, I can't not find fault with them in anyway. It's the best 'live sounding event' creating event speaker that I have even owned or heard.
@beme54 I've heard the vast majority of speakers worth hearing and plenty not worth hearing. I compare them very favorably to my experience having been in the industry and having been to the shows and CES. Thanks for coming to my thread and bringing up the only negative thing you could bring up in an otherwise glowing positive review regarding a speaker that has nothing to do with the speaker I'm actually discussing. Please move on.
This is all starting to make me crazy(ER?). When I purchased my Pendragons a couple of years ago I could not believe how good they were. Now Tekton has gone WAY past them in design. Also, when the DI was released it was so close in price to the Pendragons that it blew their value apart on the used market. I would love to sell them but it kills me to think what they would go for. I could buy a pair of DI's and keep the Pendragons as well but I have been married a VERY long time and am still afraid of my wife.
@jfd11 - Lol, there's definitely no shortage of designs available on the Tekton Design website and there's another one in the works. I'm sure you will get something reasonable from your Pen Dragons, they are a good speaker from what I've been told.
@beme54. The stereophile review does mention the impedance sweep, but also says that there is no issue with it ,as the actual magnitude is low, and thus the speaker can be driven well by any competent amplifier. IE, no significant current is needed to drive them. They sensitivity, well, that's an issue you have to take up with the designer. Nevertheless, if a guy is driving them with an 8 watt SET and is filling a room on orchestral peaks, the speaker is doing just fine.
Hello fetguy, I appreciate your polite and well reasoned explanation to beme54. With regard to audio it is imperative to view the entire picture rather than focus on a few measurements in isolation. I don’t doubt jcarcopo’s listening impressions or his great success using an 8 watt amplifier.
I haven’t heard the very new (model) Tekton Encores. I have heard the Double Impact (DI) driven beautifully by the Coincident Frankenstein (8 watt SET) and the DI SE version driven beautifully by the Aric Audio 8 watt SET.
Measurements are what they are, however actually listening and directly interacting with an audio product is far more meaningful and definitive. Jcarcopo I celebrate your deep happiness with the Encores.
Charles 1 dad, I know how jcarcopo hears, he is a gestalt guy, how the over all musical picture is drawn. Not so much about "is there a peak here, or does the image shift .01 degree if I move my head here", but more of a "how is the music I am hearing is affecting me, is it moving me, how is my soul being massaged". So if he says he is being moved by the music, I know the speaker is doing many many things right. I am the "detail" guy, looking for what it is that is taking that emotional response away, or covering it up. I am like a hound dog on that stuff. What with all the barking and stuff....
Jcarcopo, Based on the description of you by fetguy you and I are cut from the same cloth. If you aren’t moved by and engaged with the music and there’s little or no emotional connection then the components in use are inadequate. People listen to music for pure enjoyment whatever their taste/ music niche may be. The experience shouldn’t be analogous to a sterile/analytical lab exercise IMO. Charles
@charles1dad I couldn’t agree more buddy! I think some people chase hyper-detail or exaggerated resolution, and they try too hard and ultimately fail to recreate the original recorded event in their listening space. I’d rather experience an emotional event in my listening room that although may not be as detailed or perfectly accurate, but nonetheless is emotionally satisfying; an event that makes me forget I’m listening to a recording. I don’t want a merely close reproduction, I want to close my eyes and be there in the moment deceived into thinking there is no equipment or speakers. I don’t go for a perfect reproduction, it’s still a reproduction and you’ll be chasing that dragon forever. I try to create an organically real and palpable event in my listening space. Having said all that, damn if the arrays on the Encores aren’t able to do amazing detail retrieval and in such an effortless way as to appear completely natural and audibly satisfying with no fatigue. It’s just so perfectly done.
Hi Roxy54, Having read many of your Audiogon posts over the years I'd conclude that you are cut froth same cloth as jcarcopo and I. You relish the beauty of music and view it as a gift to mankind. What a "strange" coincidence that we all happen to own and enjoy 8 watt 300b SET amplifiers 😀😀. Charles
Myself, I am both, when the engineering hat is on I want to know what creates what sound, how to find the problem, what to do about it, and so on. Can very delicate DSP fix the problem? Is there noise being injected somewhere? Is the postion wrong? Is the amp picking up vibrations and thus having problems (if the amp is solid stated and doing that, and its not on a paint shaker, replace it). Is the phono stage doing its job...so on and so on. Measurement helps to track all this down, and to make a clear path. It is not the final arbiter though. It just lets you know what is changing as you make your mods.
Spin the hat around when the work is done and ,like jcarcopo, it has to be an emotional event, or why bother? That's the final test. Though I do have to admit I have to wait an hour or two between mental states, before just listening for pleasure.
@fetguy Sir, never change, without detectives like you helping people like me, people like me wouldn’t realize the level of satisfaction that I’ve reached using juducious dsp/eq to correct for anomalies between my speakers and the room they happen to be occupying. If it wasn’t for you I would have ended up a complete placebophile. Instead I am a fairly balanced and split between being both analytical and also holistic regarding sound quality and how to alter it to suit my ears.
Fetguy, I don’t believe that the two approaches or mindsets are mutually exclusive by any means. We are discussing electronic devices so it’s undeniable that scientific and engineering principles are utilized and applied. I don’t disregard the necessity and importance of measurements and specifications.
My only "big picture" point is when all is said and done you simply must listen and assess your reaction to what you hear. It’s indisputable that audio equipment measurements are important, but they don’t replace (or eliminate the need) the act of actual listening experiences. You wrote "It has to be an emotional event or why bother?" Amen. Charles
A case in point, I decided to spend the day seeing if I could match the 2005 Pass labs Single Ended Transistor sound with that of the 1995 recapped Threshols T-400. On the surface, they have a rather different sound, with the T-400 seeming dryer and less bouncy in this room. Jcarcopo once called that amp's bass "relentless". Looking over my room correction curves, listening, and applying very tiny amounts of dsp (adjustments in the 1/100th of a db at a time) I discovered that the "dryness" was that the IGBT of the T-400 has quite a bit lower impedance at 20hz than the Pass's mosfets (relative to the rest of the spectrum) , so has a bit too much 20-40hz relative to the Pass. Thus filter errors on the room eq showed up MUCH more clearly (by ear) than on the Pass. And, yes, I got all but the difference in in presentation of dynamics between single ended and PP amps. Fun work.
Guys, I received my DIs just a week ago and it seems I have been listening to my entire collection since then (yes it is a large collection). I will post all the details about my setup and experiences with the DIs at another time, but right now I'd like to get more info about comparisons between DI and Encore.
I will soon be speaking to Eric about possibly upgrading to the Encores. The only thing I found a bit wanting with the DIs might be the bass response in my room (24x24x9). I improved this quite a bit by installing better wire (Nordost Flatline, yes quite old) which are decent but still not up to snuff for speakers of this caliber. So next I will upgrade the wire to something better and see what happens. Better interconnects and power cord are in the works as well.
Meantime, if you have heard both speakers please please chime in! Thanks! Marty
Mogami for speaker wire? I use them for balanced interconnects only. If you need somethimg that will give you more bass and sound utterly neutral then get Analysis Plus. At least their 10awg Black mesh. I can get some for you 45% off retail. Just let me know length and terminations.
@charles1dad So I've been auditioning the Benchmark AHB2 amplifier, as well as their new HPA4 Preamp, and I've even been trying a Dangerous Convert 2 PRO Audio DAC just for comparison to Benchnark DAC2 HGC on the Encores.
The AHB2 is actually very smooth, dead quiet, detailed, transparent and dynamic to listen to, especially at lower to medium volume levels, but unfortunately at higher levels the 200w/4ohm power limitation of the amp becomes its achilles heel. I wouldn't suggest that the amp is cool or clinical, but maybe a slight tad less emotionally involving nonetheless. The Nords are better in this respect at 700wpc into 4ohms with a very similar sound quality thats slightly more involving and even at higher volume levels. Ultimately, I'm sending the AHB2 back because I do not feel spending $6k on a pair of them so I can run them in bridge mode is warranted when I love the Nord monoblocks a bit more and which only cost me half the money and deliver very good sound quality and plenty of power.
The new Benchmark HPA4 Preamp is a real keeper. It's very transparent, detailed, has great dynamics at lower volume levels and improved on the sound of the Benchmark DAC2 HGC being used as a stand alone dac/preamp. It's 64x relayed volume control is a joy to use and it does seem to take my system up a notch dynamically when driving the nords or my Diavolo SET.
The Dangerous Convert 2 Pro Dac sounds were very close to the Benchmark once the levels were adjusted in the HPA4 preamp. Using Roon I could play music simultaneously to both dacs via USB as a grouped zone and go back and forth. I may keep the piece just because I think its a really nice DAC with maybe a touch more naturalness and not at all analytical. A very involving sounding piece and I totally dig the level meters on it. I know thats a bit silly 😋
I've got a Crane Solaris DAC coming to compare to the Dangerous convert 2 and the benchmark dac2 hgc next week.
@jcarcopo, I owned the AHB2 for a while and it is everything you said, clean, dead quiet and transparent. Then one day a friend brought over his 30 year old Mirror Image Audio amp. A 200 watt amp with the first 30 in class A. This old amp made the AHB2 sound thin and lacking in bass. I sold the AHB2 and eventually found an old MI amp used. This old amp is very impressive for when I’m not in the mood for tubes.
@lancelock Thanks for the comment. I think Benchmark should consider that since they are going after the audiophile market that maybe they might consider releasing an alternative version of an amp that’s less about specs and slightly more emotionally involving. I know this goes against their ethos of impeccable specs, but they would likley sell to a broader base if they offered something a tad more emotional sounding and not just simply measuring exceedingly well. It would be hard for me to feel compelled to buy the AHB2 based on specs alone. I will repeat their new preamp is exactly what I want from a preamp. Nearly no alteration or editorialization of the preceding source signal is what I’ve always wanted in a preamp.
Well, after an all day affair of putting the HPA4 in and running source direct repeatedly. The HPA4 is going back to Benchmark.
I'm very sad to say the HPA4 Preamp does rob me of some upper frequency sparkle and transient response. I've run through putting the hpa4 in and taking it out several times and running each DAC direct to either my Nord Monoblocks or my Art Audio Diavolo SET Tube 300b Amplifier to my Tekton Design Encores speakers and regardless of the DAC or amps I'm using I can hear clearly a noticeable drop in resolution, upper midrange clarity, and transient response. Plucks of guitars seem a little lifeless now. The overall sound is more homogeneous sounding and more 2 dimensional sounding. It's a warmer less neutral sound, but almost like a film coating painted on everything I hear. This is really disappointing because this preamp was supposed to take my system to the next level, but unfortunately it's a step backwards for me. I'm returning it to Benchmark, but I really feel bad about it all the same.
Jcarcopo, I really appreciate your well written and clearly explained listening sessions. You acquire audio components and give them a fair audition. That is all one can ask for. I can imagine how terrific your current system sounds. Charles
@jcarcopo I’ve been following your findings with interest, not because of our ’bet’, but as a fellow enthusiast and since I am personally interested in the Encores / Ulfberths as a possible next step.
First, I’m not surprised with your impressions of the Benchmark amp in your system, as relayed via the Encores. For me, this isn’t a pairing I’d recommend for the SEs and by default, your Encores.
Second, a friendly caution that some of what you may be reporting on and experiencing is break-in related. For example, the HPA4 was a keeper but is now going back (as reported within a 48 hour period). I’m sure you are making the right decision for you, but I’m also confident in saying that you may also be experiencing some anomalies tied to break in of the speakers.
If you haven’t already done so, reaching out to owners of the SEs and Ulfberths privately to get their suggestions on ideal pairings may be helpful and a fun exercise.
For example, even though I haven’t heard the latest LTA pairing I have a strong gut feeling that @lancelock ’s pre and amp combo is a Fantastic one that may give you what you are looking for, despite the difference in watts (vs the NORDs). If I remember correctly, LTA offers return privileges.
As you consider your options, I strongly suggest a High Current amplifier and a well reviewed power supply /conditioner.
For example, the SR PowerCell 12 SE with the Galileo PC elevated my Pass XP-20 - XA-30.8 combo to a level where I likely would not have looked for another amp combo (had the PowerCell been in system first).
Shoot me a PM if you want to discuss more in person over the phone.
@charles1dad I think anyone who hasn't run source direct for 20 years would definitely love the HPA4 as a very cutting edge fairlt neutral preamp. It's definitely not clinical and in my system it seemed a touch warmer sounding, but I preferred the more resolute and dynamic presentation running source direct.
@david_ten When I originally said the HPA4 was a keeper I hadn't swapped it out and reverted back to source direct for comparison, but over time something didn't seem quite right with transient response and upper mid frequency sparkle and a loss of dimensionality. I spent all day yesterday putting the HPA4 in and taking it out, playing the same group of songs each time. The repeatability of the changes in music character were apparent to me each time and this truth be told, was very depressing because I really wanted to keep the HPA4.
I did let Rory at Benchmark know I would be getting a new DAC3 HGC because I love the DAC2 HGC source direct with my amps and Encores. It sounds as good as the Dangerous Audio Convert 2 pro mastering DAC. I was going to try a Crane Solaris DAC too, but without the HPA4 or an alternate preamp I decided to cancel the order. I'm very certain that for me in my system running source direct is what I'm looking preference-wise for sound reproduction fidelity.
I might consider trying some more gear in the near future and I'll reach out to you. For now I'm just going to do some more research about what's out there to see if I can find a potential upgrade that I can afford. I'll pm you.
Copo- After reading the glowing review you gave on this speaker I thought it appropriate to look into the brand. The owner of a high-end stereo store in the Bay area tells me to "Stay away" from Tekton. Naturally I followed up his terse email with an inquiry as to "why".
He said simply "The $1,000 Paradigm is better".
I will be at the RM show at then I hope to hear both.
Of course, a high end store is going to tell you that Tekton Speakers are inferior, that's how threatened they are by Tekton's new designs, performance and price compared to what speaker brands they stock and sell. No offense to the Paradigm speakers, they build very good speakers at reasonable prices. However, yes I have heard their speakers, the Double Impact monitors and Double Impacts actually compete with the Paradigm models that cost thousands of dollars more and I still like the Tekon Speakers better for my taste.
You owe to yourself to hear one of the Tekon Design models before you purchase any new speaker.