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.

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.