Thank you for this excellent write-up! I just bought a pair of Zu Omen Standards and couldn't be happier with them. I had been considering also ordering a pair of Tekton M-Lores for the sake of comparison, but I'm so impressed with the Omens that I no longer think it's worth the effort. And for what it's worth, I agree 100% with your description of the Zu sound -- very well written.
Aren't the Def's around a grand more expensive? If so I would expect them to be better.
The Omen Defs are $3100 (shipping included), the Pendragons are $2500 + 200 shipping, so $2700.
Holley, out of curiosity, do you find there are any drawbacks to the upgraded Omen Defs vs. the stock version? I have the opportunity to upgrade my Omens, but am not clear on how that would change the sound.
There are no drawbacks (other than the extra $) at all. The upgraded Omen Defs improve slightly on the already fantastic midrange (vocals and guitar especially) -- quicker, more powerful, and increased dynamics. The greatest change is in the highs -- the upgraded ones have more detail and air, and yet, are smoother as well. I want to emphasize though, the improvements are evolutionary, not revolutionary.
Zu just came out with the option to upgrade the Defs further with the Nano drivers from the Dominance and Definition line. I am going to give that a try after I decide whether to keep the stock Defs or the Pendragons. I just received upgraded xovers from Eric at Tekton and installed one to compare to the stock. Quite a nice improvement, and well worth the price. Once I install the other one and let them burn in, I'll take another comparison. The upgrades definitely pulled the Pendragons closer to the stock Zus magic in the mids, and also provides more clarity and air in the highs than the stock Tektons xover.
Holley great review. Were you able to listen to the Zu with the new nano drivers or the tekton with the mundorf caps??
Jkontuly, I am waiting for the Nano drivers to arrive from Zu. I am hoping they will get here near the end of August.
I did get the upgraded crossovers for the Pendragons and have just passed the 300 hour mark on them. A very worthwhile upgrade. I initially upgraded one speaker so I could compare with the stock version. The upgraded one was much more defined in the top end, airier, and overall gives a cleaner view of the music. It definitely improves the vocal presentation and brings more emotion to the music.
Holley (or anyone) --- is the upgrade xover now standard in the Pendragon, or is it an additional cost item when ordering ??
The caps are an upgrade only. The caps are very large and the price on them is over $700 for both speakers if purchased from a parts store, I'm not sure how much Eric charges, but I bet it's somewhere on his blog.
As Morgan said, the Mundorf caps are an upgrade only. The cost from Eric is $750 (now listed on the Tekton site under the blog section).
This is my first attempt at any discussion of any kind about any subject. But I am really enjoying the conversation and the insights given. I'm close to ordering a pair of pendragons and spoke with Eric yesterday. Great conversation but was unaware of the upgrades being mentioned. My question is; I see at "audiogon" some folks selling upgraded pendragons with caps ? and custom paint. Selling at 2300.00 vs 3300.00. Good way to go or stay clear?? I like the idea of supporting an upstart company and upfront creator like Eric.
I haven’t seen any Pendragons for sale for a while now, but no matter. You are posting on a site where used gear is bought and sold all the time. The bottom line: When you buy a piece of used gear, the purchase is based on a certain level of trust.
The reputation of seller and buyer is very important. If you don’t have a rating, you might find that some sellers will not respond to your inquires. Likewise, you as a buyer will need to trust that the seller is accurately representing the condition of the item. It’s a two-way street that involves a leap of faith sometimes unless one or both parties are well known and have solid reputations.
Buying used for the first time and having not having a rating (and I haven't checked if you have), one of the things I would ask myself is: Is there a good used market for what I want? If I don't like it, how easy will it be for me to sell it? Having said that, buying new from Eric will avail yourself of his 30-day home trial. Trying out a piece of gear in your own room, with your own equipment with minimal risk is something that needs to be considered and only you can answer.
Thanks for the reply. I would prefer buying direct from Eric.....that is where the trust factor comes in to play. With the recommended upgrades though, the price is headed towards 4000.00 ( including the custom paint).
Holley, thanks for the thorough write up. I have been interested in Zu stuff for a while. To be clear, you ran the Zu's with the W4S SX-500 mono's?
Holley, if you are located in the Tucson/Phoenix area could I contact you? I am interested in setting up a system like yours. W4S --> Zu etc.....
Honeybee2012, I am located in the Southeast part of Tucson. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hi Tholt, missed your question. Yes, I ran both the Zus and Tekton's with Wyred SX-500 monos.
Anyone tested the new seas pendragon? It's a bit smaller but someone help me with the other component changes as listed on Eric's site. How would these two go in a head to head battle?
I received the new Nanotech drivers from Zu a couple of days ago and they have been running pretty much 24/7 since. They are a significant upgrade from the stock drivers. They are more detailed and yet sound more relaxed, faster, and more substantive on vocals and guitars especially. What I was not prepared for (and doesn't really make sense to me) is the high end has improved quite a bit -- more air and detail, and soundstage depth has increased. With the stock drivers, if driven hard and very loud, there was a slight harshness on some material. That is absolutely gone now.
I also compared the new Nanotech drivers to the HO drivers I have in my second pair of Omen Defs, and while not as dramatic of a change, they still provide a nice improvement. The whole musical presentation seems a bit more relaxed, but yet has more 'heft' and dynamics. Overall, I am very pleased with the new drivers.
Now, to compare the upgraded Omen Defs to the upgraded Pendragons . . .
I'm getting the Pendragons matched with the M-lore based center channel and a pair of M's as side surrounds for a 5.0 system an can't wait. Thanks for all the great reviews.
Holley, In another thread an owner of Pendragons( 8ohm,std drivers) measured their efficiency 4 db lower than Eric specs, 94-95 db 1w/1M. Was your experience similar with the Zus being decidedly more efficient the the Pens? Did you ever try a 20-40w tube amp to listen to what valves sounded like?
Klh007, That would seem to agree with what I have observed. The Pendragons seem to be about 4-5 db less efficient than my Omen Defs (which are supposed to be 101db 1w/1m). Nothing truly scientific, just sitting at the listening position and measuring the DB level of a 1 KHz tone for the Zus and then switching to the Pendragons. I definitely have to increase the volume a decent amount to reach the same volume level on the Pendragons.
I have not tried tubes at all. Too hot here in AZ in the summer (87 days of 100 degree+ temps) for me to go back in that direction.
I did have a couple of local audiophiles stop by this weekend to take a listen to the Omen Defs and Pendragons (we compared the stock Omen Defs with HO driver upgrades and the Pendragons with the crossover upgrades). Both of them slightly preferred the Pendragons to the Defs, saying the Pendragons gave greater image depth (they also preferred the soundstage appearing to start behind the speakers rather than the Zus, which are more up front) and sounded slightly warmer than the Zus. They also liked the deep bass foundation of the Pendragons, but said the bass on the Omen Defs seemed to be better defined. I must admit that I had the Pendragons optimally set up (I have been playing with them for several days) while the Zus were just placed beside the Pendragons to do quick comparisons.
After the local audiophiles left, I switched the positioning of the Zus and Pendragons, and the image depth advantage of the Pendragons went away -- the Omen Defs now had the greater depth of image. So if I was to make a final comparison of the Defs and Pendragons, with the input of several different people now, I would say this:
1. Midrange clarity, power and dynamics.
2. High end air (close call here, but listening to music with high cymbal content revealed higher detail and clarity from the Zus. My son, who is a drummer, identified this characteristic very quickly, me not as easily).
3. Bass definition and speed. The bass is not as deep, but is more articulate.
1. Deep bass foundation. The Pendragons really are a full-range speaker, and that foundation gives the music a fuller, slightly warmer feel when deep bass is present (the local audiophiles called the Pendragons more analog sounding than the Zus).
2. Sound more like 'traditional' speakers (not sure if this is really an advantage). One of the audiophiles was having a hard time adjusting to the Zus -- the presentation was just 'too different.' For him, the Pendragons had the dynamic, open sound, but still gave a similar sound stage (mid concert hall) vs. the very up front sound of the Zus.
3. Sounded slightly warmer (more analogue sounding).
Bottom line is this: Both speakers are remarkable values, are easy to drive, and present open, dynamic sound. I am not sure one can say which one is 'better,' as each person has their own set of criteria. One thing I have learned is the room has as much to do with the sound as any single component. Setting up the speakers at one end of the room (which I have to do to keep the wife happy) leaves me with a somewhat collapsed soundstage, and a bass NULL at the listening position. Switching the speakers to the other end of the room creates a magnificent soundstage and true full range output at the listening position. All this to say there is no substitute for being able to hear speakers in your own room with your own equipment with your own ears!
Brian, Did you order stock Pens, or the SEAS version? What did Eric tell you about the differences between the 2 Pens? How much less efficient are the SEAS version?
Hey 007, when I asked Eric about the upgrade to the SEAS, he said that the "seas pendragon" was a smaller version of the stock Pen( as stated in an updated presentation of the seas pen). My room is 20x20x8; Eric assured me the stock Pen would be the better performer of the two.
TAKE NOTE; the upgraded Seas Pen cost 500.00 more than the stock Pens. Eric's recommending the least priced speaker lends testimony to his honest pursuit of providing "best choice, best sound."
So, I'm getting the stocks, m-lores and m-lore center! Just need that right color.
Holley, When you re-positioned the Zus and got the better depth, did the up front first row soundstage retreat to row 8-10 or remain front row? Were you able to have the Pens 3' from the back wall, I hear they can get boomy/congested if they are any closer? The Zus should be easier to place in the room, w/o bass reflex ports in the back as the Pens have?
Sorry, my words were confusing. When I repositioned the Zus, the depth of soundstage increased dramatically, but you are still sitting in the first couple of rows. The best spot in my listening setup (which my wife will not allow permanently!) is with the speakers about 7' out into the room, with a stairway behind them that leads downstairs. In my normal setup, the speakers are about 5' from the rear wall. I have tried them closer to the back wall (from 2' or so), and never spent much time with them there as the soundstage collapsed with that setup. I am pretty sure it is my room as that has been the case for several different speakers I have had.
The Zus are definitely easier to place in regards to the bass, but they are finicky with the gap underneath the speakers. It takes some serious trial and error to get the Zus sounding their best (good news is they really don't sound bad anywhere, but there is definitely a sweet spot within the room where they really sing).
A "pro installer" described the Pendragons as being another bright speaker....like th klipsch reference. Is this true?? After reading these forums, I was thinking the opposite. Help please.
I had the pleasure to meet with Eric when I picked up my set of Pendragon in Utah. This is my second pair of Tekton speakers. When I hooked the pendragon to my tube amp, I was immediately impressed with the Bass and mid but I had trouble with the HI freq. I talked to Eric and he told me it is a matter of time and once the speakers are broken in I will find back the HI I was looking for. After 2 weeks of use 24/7 I can tell you now that the pendragon sound absolutely phenomenal across the board. Make sure you have enough room treatment and play with positioning the speakers properly and you will be rewarded. I listen to vinyl only and the combination of vinyl, tubes and Pendragon is jaw dropping.. Happy listening.Dan
The Pendragons are not bright at all. I am very sensitive to brightness And I have a highly reflective room and they are the least bright of any speaker I have owned. The tweeter is quite nice. Your installer likely wants to sell you something else IMO.
I agree with Morganc's assessment -- the Pendragons are not bright at all. Even with the upgraded xover, that does give a nice improvement in detail and air, I have noticed no shrillness in the highs at all. They are a very balanced speaker.
Do you like the Zu speakers better than the Tyler's?
I listened to some Tyler speakers in the past but
There is something magical about the pendragon.
I am in the process to hook them up to a high
Power solid state amp (pass lab) to see if the
Sound improve over my 100watt tube amp.
Don 't forget the -New Tekton Pendragon -SE which use totally different drivers.the SE model is slightly smaller 53 inches X 10 w X 13 d.
The mid- woofers are custom 8 inch models from the Seas Prestige line
And the Tweeters are Scanspeak ring radiators from their discovery line.
The crossover uses the excellent Jantzen Copper coil inductors Mundorf
Resistors, and upgrade option -Mundorf Silver oil capacitors for the extra
Money's you get much more refinement ,with image focus soundstage
Size and depth and air around the instruments .i have used these in many builds for at least6 years if you have the extra a no brainer,the only negative is the 200 hours just to start opening up and over 400 hours
To fully settle in .i documented literally 1,000 s of hours with caps.
One more thing Eric had a excellent painter and they will paint your
Speakers any Automotive color ,you just give them the color type and automobile.the price varies depending on how extensive the paint such as a candie apple .standard price is $3k with every option including delivery
Which is around $200 it is under $4400,and will go toe to toe with speakers in the $$ five digit range. 95 db efficient and a 4 ohm speaker.
At present it is a 2 week wait before they ship. I put my order in
And will present my findings and comparisons after I run them in
A couple of weeks.
"standard price is $3k with every option including delivery
Which is around $200 it is under $4400"
This makes no sense. Please explain.
That's a difficult call between the Zus and Tylers. Both are excellent speakers, and I really like them both, but they present very different views into the music. The Tylers put you in the studio with the musicians while the Zus put you in the concert arena. Its really a matter of personal choice. I have had lots of people come over and listen to my Zu system and about 1/2 say they liked the Tylers better. The Zus present a very different view of the music, and for some, it is too drastic a change. I was forced to move to the Zus with our family situation or I probably would never have sold my Tylers. However, now that I have the Zus, I really have no desire to look for new speakers.
"standard price is $3k with every option including delivery
Which is around $200 it is under $4400"
This makes no sense. Please explain.
I think he meant: The standard price is $3K. Delivery is around $200. The Pendragon S with the different options he mentioned above is around $4400 delivered.
I don't like being part of the grammar police but posters should take some care in their writing.
Before spending another dime on the Zu speakers the New
Tekton Pendragon - SE is in another league,using great components
No full range band drivers,the cabinets are a bit shorted around 52 inches tall. The drivers are excellent A pair of Seas 8 inch bass- mid drivers
Flanked by 3 Scanspeak Ring radiators from their discovery line
If you are going this far do buy the 2 - Mundorf Silver oil caps per speaker
They make the instruments sound much more real in tone, and there is more weight around the images. This New speaker is totally custom
And for less than 1/4 of what Zu charges you can have any custom paint
Of your choice.i heard the Stock Pendragon with The Mundorfs and they
Are noticably better then the Omens,these new SE version will
Go toe to with much more expensive speakers.Eric has a good ear
I am patiently waiting on mine .i am hard to please owning many
Big reputation speakers past and present.i will get back to you in Nov.
A question regarding the Pendragons. I just placed my order for a pair yesterday. I have seen much buzz about how they are dynmaic, sound big and explosive, have superb bass...etc...
But how do they handle the smaller fare? I am not second guessing my purchase (yet) because I do tend to listen to complex music at realistic levels most of the time. So I do think they were the better choice over the Lores. But what about when they are playing the simple stuff? Solo guitar, piano, vocals? I have seen no comments regarding that kind of stuff.
Thoughts are welcome and appreciated.
No one? Nada? Nothing?
They sound excellent on guitar, vocals, etc. I do find that Zu does vocals better though as they do not use a crossover, however both are very good with Zu having a slight advantage.
Shakeydeal, the Pendragons sound very good with guitar and vocals. My schedule has relegated much of my listening to late night with kids in bed, so the music has been mainly simple, quiet stuff. I have been very satisfied. But they really shine when you get the chance to open them up.
I ended up selling (reluctantly) my Pendragons and keeping my upgraded Zu Omen Defs. The Zus do not have the bottom depth that the Pendragons have, but I do prefer the Zu presentation of vocals and guitar. It has more weight and power. I'm not sure if you got the upgraded xovers with your Pendragons, but I would highly recommend them -- they made a significant improvement. I agree with Morganc's coments. Only thing I would say is the Pendragon full-range drivers operate full-range -- there is no xover to them. I had Eric build the xovers and ship them to me and I installed them, and the woofers are wired in series directly to the input -- no xover components.
Thanks for your input Morganc and Holley. I was almost sure that when talking to Eric he said there was indeed a xover in the Lore and the Pendragon, but maybe I was mistaken. I am looking forward to hearing the speakers and see how they compare to my now departed Green Mountain Audio C3s.
I owned the Tekton Uruz for a couple of years.
Impressive speaker and certainly for the money. Works well with almost any amplifier. I ran Manley Snappers, Manley Neo-classic 250s, Gamut D200, Electrocompaniet ECI-3, Shindo Cortese, Shindo Montille, Shindo Corton Charlemagne and Canary ca-339s through them and they sounded very good with all.
Ultimately, it did not have a wide enough sweet spot for my taste.
I kept my Joseph Audio rm25si mkII speakers and sold the Tektons.
I also felt my vintage Altec Valencias had more finesse and authority.
For the money, I suspect you will be hard-pressed to do better than the tekton speakers. But in my opinion, for more money, you can certainly get more speaker.
I listen to a lot of guitar and accoustic music.. I just finished listening to blue coast records new collection sacd and the sound was absolutely gorgeous.you made a great decision by buying the pendragons.
Thanks analoguefan. Can I ask what speakers you have compared the tektons to and what your associated gear is?
Hello. Very cool review, a ton of very useful info. You had me starting to salivate about the Zu. Almost pulled out my checkbook:)
I am quite interested in the Pendragon SE, with the Mundorfs. I trust someone will post about these as well in the near future.
Once you get to the Pendragon SE w/ Mundorf price tag, you are getting closeto the used Zu Definition mkII or used mkIII price tag.........and IMO the Zu Def is much better all around. Just another option to consider.....
Definition Mk II on Agon right now for 7800.00. Not even close to the price of the Pendragons.
They can be found for much less than that.....just sayin' :)
I had the Lore before the Pendragons and yes big difference between the two. The interesting part is that before I settled for the Pens. I auditioned magnepan 3.7 for hours using audio research amplification as well as Bryston and as much as liked the big Maggie's I still prefer the dynamic of the Tekton. I am usiing 40 w/ tube amps with the Pendragon and I love the combination. Good luck. Daniel