Tekton Design Lore

Category: Speakers

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!)
It's not a soft dome tweeter.
Thanks for the correction, Z. I knew I should have verified that.

It looks soft from the listening seat.
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.)
Nice review Paul. How to the Lore's compare with the Tonian Labs TL-D1 that you once had, if you can recollect?
I have a pair of the new version of the Tekton Katz. I'm using it in the bedroom along with a great CD player (Rega Apollo) and a very inexpensive and middling amp (Jolida FX-10). I bought the amp just as a way to dip my toe into the world of tube amps.

In any event I am blown away at the Katz's sound. There is nothing about it that is an issue. I have them on 3 inch high stands tilted up another inch in the front.

I've not heard anything in the price range that is close. Plus, Eric is a great guy and incredibly helpful. The wood work is first rate as well.
I have the Tekton Katz Meow Version 1 with the Fostex FF225 driver. It was my first full ranger / crossoverless and I've been listening to full rangers ever since. There's something about them that just sounds right, so simple and pure.

I've had Zu Omens since December and Tekton Lores for a few weeks as well.

I share Paul's enthusiasm about the Lore, couldn't have said it any better actually. I've thrown different music, volumes, amps and rooms at them and they hold up really well no matter what. They give you what you give them. Lots of power in a big room and they play loud but stay clean. A 3-watt SET amp in a small room and they give an intimate presentation, nice and full. Never ever harsh. An abosolute steal at the selling price.

I compared the Lore to the Omen in the "Zu Omen or Tekton Lore" thread here on Agon if anyone is interested.

The TL-D1 is a very special speaker. However, I have not had a pair for nearly two years, and never in this room. Here's about all I'd venture to say:

- The Tonian's live cabinet gives it a way with expressing the microdynamics of percussion instruments I don't think I've heard before.

- It is not quite as entirely free of peakiness as the Lore.

- The Tonian's ribbon tweeter, and especially its integration, is a marvel.

- The Lore's larger driver has much more area and hence moves more air and is more dynamic.

- The Lore has substantially better bass extension (not a ton - but noticeably better).

In a small room, for acoustic music, the TL-D1 is nearly unbeatable at any price IMO and an insane bargain. The Lore is somewhat more versatile and has strengths of its own.
Hello Paul,
That was a nice and very interesting review. The Lores based on you impressions seems likes the poor man`s version of the Tonian Classic 12.1(12 x the cost!).I have a strong attraction to simple designs(SET amplifiers, 2 way speakers/wideband types with minimal crossovers etc.) When implemented with high quality built and parts, they just sound more real and natural IMO. My current speakers are wonderful with my SET 300b amps although they`re multi-drivers with 2 crossovers(but simple 1st order and 14 ohm load). I`ll be at the RMAF this year and want to hear a large variety of wideband type speakers in one setting. Hope to hear the Tekton,Tonian Labs and others in this catagory.

Thanks for the comparison of the Lore and the TL-D1.

Sounds like the Tekton Lore is a well designed and versatile speaker with few compromises offering incredible value. If I didn't have my TL-D1's I'd seriously consider giving them a try.
I had to post a follow-up. I implied in the review that the bass was lacking for rock. In fact, I was hunting for "weaknesses". I don't listen to rock much, but I just listened to The White Stripes' "Elephant", and it was really incredible, and *I would not prefer it with a sub*. The bass was entirely adequate in every sense.
Paul - another great review as usual. On the comparison of the Lores with the TL-D1s, was wondering if you could comment at all on the relative efficiency of each speaker? I thought it was a little odd when I read a comment that Eric recommends an amp of at least 20 wpc, given that the Lores are rated at 98db.
Paul, What would be your comparison of the Tekton to the Tonian TL-D1 speakers? I know the Tonians are more expensive, but I'm wondering what your thoughts are. Thanks, Scott
Sorry....didn't see your previous response regarding the Tonians....until now.
Has anyone had any experience with any of the Tektons (primarily the Lores or Pendragons) with a solid state amp? I have a Parasound 2205a that sounds great, but I have never ran a full range high efficiency speaker with it. I plan on having the amps insides upgraded by Big Sky Audio in the near future as well. I have a set of Von Schweikert VR3's that sound very good, but Im getting the itch to try something new and have heard great things about the Lore's. By the way, I will be selling my VR'3's soon and Im in the Dallas area, so let me know if anyone is interested.
I'll swap my tekton lores for the VR-4's even.
I ran my P-dragons with an Adcom GFA 5500 (200w) for a while during the first 100 hours. They had a big, open sound with the Adcom but it was missing the tone and upper mid bass articulation that I get w/ my 12 watt Xindak tube amp, and surprisingly, they sound much more "full" and have more bass w/ the tube amp. For instance, with the Xindak they sound full at any volume, where as w/ the Adcom, I would have to turn them way up to get full bass - very strange. About the only thing the Adcom seemed to do better was its ability to play really loud and open - I could see that as an advantage if I wanted to play "house music", but for critical listening... these speakers are just born for tubes.

Keep in mind different transistor amps will sound different, but I once had a pair of VR4 Jr Mk II paired w/ a Parasound A21, and while it was "ok", knowing what i know now, it was a much dryer, more analytical sound with a hotter top end than with the Tektons.
Gpowered, wouldn't you say that about any other speaker as well, or is that unique to high efficiency speakers?
Jwilk - to a large extent, yes I believe that is true... attributes of tubes vs. solid state is what I described. I just don't remember it being as pronounced with other (conventional) setups I've had. But I can tell you, I don't think you would be disappointed w/ either Tekton regardless...
So even though I will be using my system mostly for movies and blu ray 5.1 lossless concerts, you think I would be pretty happy with the sound of the Pendragons vs. the vr3's? I may end up adding a couple of yaquin tube buffers into the mix as well, one for the fronts, and one for the center/sub. I just sent my parasound to Big Sky Audio to do an "upgrade" to the amp. He takes out some of the parts it does not need, and upgrades all the transistors and caps to high end types, its supposed to be a pretty warm sound when it's done. Do you feel that would be a good combo with my equipment?
I can't answer to the amp upgrade. It sounds nice but I just don't know without hearing it. You should be open minded to trying a couple different amps with any speaker you get (if funds permit), and you will do well.

But P-dragon vs VR3... it shouldn't matter if you are more of a HT or 2ch guy - the former is going to be superior. But again, it still depends on what you like... the P-dragons are very forgiving. In contrast, my former VSA's were not as forgiving and had no where near the low end and dynamic capabilities. They also didn't sound as convincing on live recordings... no where near the low end weight and upper mid bass tonality. FWIW the VR4Jr should be a step above the VR3.

Regardless, going to FRD speaker is a different sound... one in which I prefer over all of the conventional speakers I've owned.
New M-Lore review:

So this will be a short version as I have had the speakers for about a week but feel that since they were broken in and I sleep with them on, I have enough data points to start to form a point of view.

First let me say my use case is not what I would think is typical for this sort of speaker. I have a Fisher 500c that I did have completely refurbed late last year. This is a bedroom system but I live alone and like to read, then sleep with music on. Sometimes I will wake up and simply listen sometimes its just background but overall I do use the system a good bit and what I get out of it matters. So its not a desktop..... like to watch some youtube vid on it sort of thing. Source is a Logitech squeezebox touch with an MSB 24/96 capable DAC.

I have been using a very good pair of Cantus Leasier II speakers from M&K. Lets be honest best case they are 86db although from all that I have read the upgrade in cross over makes them 88/90db.... my read its really more like 87/88 best case. I can say this...... if you want to go vintage then go with something 90db + its just easier.

My bedroom rests in a 137 year old house with small bedrooms and old variable width pine floors and stucco wall and ceiling covering over slats. We have upgraded the insulation, wall covering windows, plumbing wiring etc but lets be honest you live in a century plus old home and things are going to rattle. What I missed after years of playing with various old setups was something close to full range sound while not shaking the walls to the point where you were waking up every 15 mins.

The systems gets a good steady stream of small acoustic jazz, female vocals and the like. Think Patrica Barber, Cowboy Junkies, and say Dave Getz. will and can firmly admit I have more then once fallen asleep to Pink Floyd or even a bit of CSYN but the basics are all the same. Full range but not to an extreme..... I don't need a peddle organ in my bedroom. If you can push and I do mean really push out a 30-40hrz signal then you are all good with me.

If like most mini monitors you fall off the map at 60hrz then lets call it what it is.... I loved my Celestion Sl 600's and the 700's that came after but to be blunt if they hit 60 in a given room I was walkin on sunshine.

So to set the stage here I have three systems. I have a pair of ATC 20-2A speakers in a HT setup with a Revel 15a sub and a couple McKie speakers when I want to watch a movie. I have a Proceed AVP mK II hooked up to a Bel Canto EVO 4Mk II with 350wpc going into a pair of Talon Kohrus speakers and then I have the old throw back bedroom system with a fisher, MSB, Logitech Touch, Tekton Lores.

So up front let me say I do think the Lores are a game changer. If you don't then you can cut it off here and move on. Are they as accurate as the ATC's....... nope not even in the same ballpark. Are they as smooth and full range as the Talons.... again nope not even close. Are they as dynamic as say the McKies likely not but who cares.... here is what I will say. If you put me in a small to medium room with the goal that I want a full range speaker on a desert Island then I would grab the Tekton Lore's a tube amp and a good source all for less then say 3k and call it a day.

What I like. The lore do a good job with tone and timber. Are they the most hyper accurate speaker I have ever heard?....nope. But then again do you want to spend 1k for 90% of what you will get for 10k... up to you. For me it was clear early on as these were going up against speakers in the 10-20k range at current market I would go with the lore. Are they the most accurate speaker I have ever heard again NOPE. you want me to call it out I would take the ATC over the Lore any day of the week if I were looking to pull apart a recording and figure out how to play a part or portion of it... In fact I would call out any ATC if you are a musician and want to listen and then disect the recording. The ATC are the better bet...... but you want to spend 8k or 1k?... up to you.

Again with Talon and the like as I have owned most everything from Revel through Paradigm..... they all have what I would call a strong point or position. But overall I would pick the tekton Lore not because its better in any one category but because overall its more musical, efficient and or full ranged then the competition.

let me try it this way. I loved the Revel M-20 it was if anything one of the most full range best all round mini monitors I have heard in years. But it is not as efficient, it taxed the tubes I had around the house. The tekton meets 90% of what I got from the Revel and I need not worry about blowin a tube...... More over and I love the service I have from Harmod...... do I really care at about a grand..... or 650.... if you go M lore about service? Don't get me wrong but I paid 2500 for my M-20's and that was used....... I paid just under half that for my tekton's used... but even new you are looking at about half. What do you choose?

First off know that this is a bedroom system in a 12x14 room. I will and plan to knock out the main speakers in the 2 channel system and will report back, but early returns seem to say well.... its about a tie with some of the higher end more expensive stuff I have on hand. I am getting real quick and substantive bass at say 30hz with them in my room. Like wise while not the last word in imaging and pinpoint accuracy I would rank them as competitive with the better speakers out there. They flat out kill paradigm and PBS in terms of overall bandwidth range while offering more in terms of extension and flat out musicality.

I have heard some say these are sort of middle of the hall speakers and I really take that as an issue. If you listen then I would say the tekton is about where I want to sit. Front to back, side to side its accurate and enjoyable. Its not so much mid hall as it is... well in hall. You hear what is there. Seat me where you will I want to hear what a happened not what some sound engineer determined I should get. End of the day....... I have the ATC's to tell the truth I have the tekton lore's to spin out the yarn. I would encourage you all to give them a listen ... much as I thought it over I do not regret it.