Zu Druids compared to Tekton Lore Speakers

I spent an hour looking through Audiogon and could not find for the most part any meaningful comparisons of these two speakers other than 'I liked this one better' - with opinions going both ways. So, having both speakers in my home running off the same equipment at the same time, and conceding that I am not a professional reviewer at all nor up on all the jargon and buzzwords, and that these are only first impressions, I will attempt to give my subjective gut first impression after comparing the two speakers in a limited, rather cursory fashion.

My equipment is an Almarro 318B amplifier, a Jolida 318b CD player, Modified Logitech Duet Music server ino a Kora Hermes DAC, Acoustic Zen Wow Interconnects, and Zen Satori speaker cables with a British made MJ Acoustics Ref100 MKII Subwoofer (MJ Subs are made by the same people that made the older REL Subs when made in England).

Both Zu Druids and Tekton Lore Speakers are highly efficient and are somewhat similar sounding with a great musical presence, great sound stage, quickness, and dynamics - with some noticable differences. I am a midrange freak who loves a front row center sound that is musical, clear, open, and quick yet still textured and warmly saturated with emotion and presence. The Zu Druids deliver in spades in that regard. The Zu Druids have a very good midbass presence and only fall a little shy in the subwoofer end of the spectrum which is filled in nicely with my very musical MJ Acoustic Subwoofer. (As a side note, I have found both REL and MJ subs to be very musical and to blend in well as long as you stay with the lower powered units, as the highly powered subs seem to take more power to get going and then stand out a little to much to blend in well with the music).

In comparison, the Tekton Lore speakers sound musical also and in a similar way, however, to me they sound a little less front row and more mid hall, a little smoother and more linear, compared to the Druid speakers. So, the better of the two in that regard might well depend on how you like your sound. On balance, in the midrange they both sound dynamic and musically similar. However, for my preferences in music, I liked the Zu Druids a little better for what I perceive to be a more emotional and musically saturated midrange. These differences are just subjective relative differences with a shift in one direction that I am talking about, not huge differences. By no means, however, are either of these speakers laid back or demure. They are both very musical, forward, efficient, fast, and dynamic and as mentioned, both have a great soundstage.

The Tekton Lore speakers have much more sub level bass. They certainly do not need a subwoofer. If I were to keep them, I think I might try a sponge in one of the ports although the bass is by no means overwhelming or too loose. Just very present relative to the rest of the spectrum. Some may like this, others may think it a little out of proportion. Perhaps an amp with a little more power than my 18 watt per channel Almarro might tighten the bass up a bit, however, my Almarro can drive both the Zu Druids and Tekton Lores to concert levels in my large living room.

I cannot say that I have listened and done an A-B listening to treble rich music to make a confident comparison of the tweeters. Both sound very good and both blend in well with the woofers. To take advantage of the expensive tweeters in the Lore, some may want to later upgrade the crossover caps for the super tweeters over the stock caps, although I don't hear anything wrong with what caps are in the Lores. But lets face it, at $1,000 a pair, some concessions had to be made somehwere.

Considering that the Tekton Lores can be purchased for half or less what the Druids cost, it is impressive that they hold their own quit well in the company of the Druids and are by no means embarrased. No doubt some may prefer them to the Druids depending on personal preference for the Lore's sonic signature.

For my preference, I like the Zu Druids a little better. They sound somehwat similar, but to me the Druids sound a little more present and front row center, and the Tektons sound a little further back in the music hall. To me the Druids are a little better at conveying the feeling and tonal richness of the sound with their tonally saturated more forward midrange which I prefer. The Druids also seem to have a slightly greater presence in the upper mids to convey just a little more brass and spit in some voices and instruments when called upon. Some may find this a hinderance depending on the inclination of their equipment and speakers, I find that the music seemed slightly more alive because of it. Although I must confess, on occasion a singer with a lot of etch in their voice running with the druids and my Almarro 318b amp, can once an awhile go over the top just a little bit. An unavoidable side effect perhaps of having such present and alive sounding music which is warm and appropriate in general. Once cannot certainly scale down their sound for an occasional bad recording, etc. I suspect Zu Audio recommends some more demure amps than my already very warm Almarro 318B SET, because of the Druids affinity for the synergy of warm sounding tube amps.

I would be happy to keep both of them in my living room and live with them. And alhtough the Zu Druids are more expensive speakers to own, for my musical taste and for their synergy with my equipment, they are preferred and well worth the extra money. (Although I must admit, that I also preferred the Druids a little more than the new Zu Soul, which others prefer). I think it is ultimately a matter of matching taste and pocketbook, to the individual listener. However, for their price, the Tekton Lore are extremely good speakers and as mentioned, I would be happy to keep them if I didn't already have the much more expensive Druids. Again, this review is really simply meant to give my subjective impressions of what some of the differences between the Zu Druid and Tekton Lore speakers are, and is not intended as some sort of exhaustive oracle of defining insight. Both are great speakers.

As another side note, Zu Audio will soon be coming out with another Druid upgrade with even better engineering.

As far as amplifiers go, I tried many SET amps, and the Almarro 318B came out on top, besting Cary, Melody, and others. I think the pre and driver tubes are very important as the Almarro changes its sonic signature dramatically with them. Currently I am running with Sylvania 6SN7W and 6SL7WGT tubes in the pre section.

I meant to write down that my CD player is a Jolida 601a tube CD player. This player is a diamond in the rough and in my opinion in my system it bested all other Jolida players and expensive offerings by Cary, Ayon, Audio Note and others. The better Jolida 601a is the one with mostly black chemicon caps on the main board, not the earlier one made populated with cheap blue chinese caps on the main board.

A friend of mine prefers the Cary 308T slightly more in his system and for his tastes. He feels it easily bested his Cary 303/300 by virtue of the 308T having a richer midrange. Often Jolida 601a are for sale with the drawer not working properly. Usually the fix is just a new belt which costs a few dollars that you can easily install. Unfortunately, neither comes around very often.
ADDITIONAL BASS INFORMATION FOR THE LORE SPEAKERS: Since the bass from the Tektons seemed a little disproportinale and ever so slightly uncontrolled, I called a friend who used to build speakers and he told me to look into the ports and see how much polyfill stuffing was in the cabinet.

I grabbed a flashlight and looked and saw no stuffing whatsoever. Nothing but air from the port to the back wall. He was a little surprised by that and told me the bass should sound much better if I stuffed the cabinet with polyester fiberfill. Since my nicely bass heavy Spendor S8e floor standers with great bass were stuffed with fiberfill I am inclinded to think that is a good idea for the Tekton Lore speakers. Of course if that in any way seems to be too much, one could line the walls with an inch or two with fiberfill perhaps instead using a spray adhesive to keep it on the walls. Parts Express may have all of these materials.
Also, it has occured to me that someone with an amplifier that is more forward than my warmish Almarro 318B might find the more mid hall sound of the Tektons a slightly better match. The VTL IT85 amps and the Cayin A88T are two of my favorite amps that come to mind.
I own the Tekton Lores and the bass is very good. I believe almost all the posters on Audiogon have reported really good bass and have few complaints in general. Zmanastronomy owned the Lores and paired them with the Almarro 318. I hope he chimes in, I'd like to hear his take on this again.
I wasn't saying that the bass on the Lores wasn't 'good'. Actually, it was very good. All I was saying was that while the Bass in the sub area on the Druids seemed a little shy of ideal, the lower bass with the Lore was slightly more that ideal for my preferences, in my listing area, and with my equipment, etc - and that there is no polyfill visible in the speaker through the ports (probably is some behind the woofer) and those who experience something similar might feel the desire to tignten the bass up a little with some polyfill. Another factor also may be that the Almarro 318B has a very vigorous though well proportionaed bass presentation in general.

Obviously, others may love that bloom at the bottom of the bass frequency. Again, I am only talking variances toward achieving an ideal and as mentioned, not referencing absolutes or something to try and take as gospel.

I have found that the Almarro 318B matches beautifully with both the Zu Druids and the Lores and is the best amp that I have heard out of a dozen with the Druids. I know the owners of Zu Audio have a preference for the Melody amplifier and some other amps that I feel are not as good with the Druid speakers. No doubt, others will have their preferred amplifier for the Tekton Lore and Zu Druid speakers and it would be helpful for them to 'chime in' about their preferences also.

I think it important to praise the Tekton Lore speakers at how close they come (in my opinion) to the quality of sound of the Zu Druids which sell for roughly 1/3 the price!
Hey,P Lang, long time!
Whatever happened to the AN dac?
Do you find the Jolida outperforms it?
I've now switched to a modded squeezebox... no more transport bugaboos... I'm quite keen on the tekton stuff, very nice product!
I have Tekton Lore driven by Shuguang 845 monoblock rated at 28 Wpc. The bass response is very much like your description, not tight as I'd like to be. They can play low notes but a bit bloated, albeit output tube 845 is well know for good woofer/bass control than many other tube.
I am getting the lore soon.

How's the s845 amp. I am considering it. But, they are discontinued and can't send back to dealer for repair ( in case something goes wrong)
How's the sound, specially mated with the Lore.?

Almarro is on my list as well..

Any reliability issues can you guys speak of?
S845 has one major flaw that bother me so much. The amp input voltage is 4V which is very high. This input voltage results low sensitivity and therefore restrict the use of passage amp. When I tried to have a passive preamp (lightspeed), at the reasonable loudness, the volume knob turns to 3 PM. Some low volume recordings, the max out output is not sufficient to fill a medium size room.

Overall sound very good that many called 845 tube sound - strong defined bass with a hint of warm and sweet mid range. Drum sounds better than others that I had before including Almarro pentode A205 or solid state Classe CAM-200. However, it doesnot have the drum impact like live music... (I am not certain this is the issue with the amp/speaker or purely recording issue). At low volume, the sound is aweful. I don't know it is just this amp or typical for 845 tube amp.

Built quality is low. Metal looking is average. The power button design look cheap (made in China, right?)... Sometimes it makes you wonder other electronic parts inside. I would not recommend S845 despite the price drop recently. If the input sensitivity is within 0.5 - 2V and better built quality I would say it would be worth a consideration.
Thanks for the response. I ended buying an Almarro A318B
Great amp.
How is Almarro A318B matched with Tekton Lore? How is the combination comparing with your previous system?
This is an outstanding review very well conveyed in terms I can easily understand. Thank you
You could just say that Zu's with the possible exception of the Essence are simply voiced for rock, which the folks at Zu will readily admit is their passion.
A very informative review , thank you .

A useful addition would be to compare the Tekton and Zu sounds to other speakers that we may own or have experience with .

I have been quite curious as to how they would compare to my Reference 3a Di Capo i's . I really like the sound of my Di Caps but I now need a larger speaker and can not afford the Grand Veena's .

Anyone ?
I will have a pair of Grand Veenas for sale soon. And I wont be asking a mint for them either.