Some thoughts on ASR and the reviews

I’ve briefly taken a look at some online reviews for budget Tekton speakers from ASR and Youtube. Both are based on Klippel quasi-anechoic measurements to achieve "in-room" simulations.

As an amateur speaker designer, and lover of graphs and data I have some thoughts. I mostly hope this helps the entire A’gon community get a little more perspective into how a speaker builder would think about the data.

Of course, I’ve only skimmed the data I’ve seen, I’m no expert, and have no eyes or ears on actual Tekton speakers. Please take this as purely an academic exercise based on limited and incomplete knowledge.

1. Speaker pricing.

One ASR review spends an amazing amount of time and effort analyzing the ~$800 US Tekton M-Lore. That price compares very favorably with a full Seas A26 kit from Madisound, around $1,700. I mean, not sure these inexpensive speakers deserve quite the nit-picking done here.

2. Measuring mid-woofers is hard.

The standard practice for analyzing speakers is called "quasi-anechoic." That is, we pretend to do so in a room free of reflections or boundaries. You do this with very close measurements (within 1/2") of the components, blended together. There are a couple of ways this can be incomplete though.

a - Midwoofers measure much worse this way than in a truly anechoic room. The 7" Scanspeak Revelators are good examples of this. The close mic response is deceptively bad but the 1m in-room measurements smooth out a lot of problems. If you took the close-mic measurements (as seen in the spec sheet) as correct you’d make the wrong crossover.

b - Baffle step - As popularized and researched by the late, great Jeff Bagby, the effects of the baffle on the output need to be included in any whole speaker/room simulation, which of course also means the speaker should have this built in when it is not a near-wall speaker. I don’t know enough about the Klippel simulation, but if this is not included you’ll get a bass-lite expereinced compared to real life. The effects of baffle compensation is to have more bass, but an overall lower sensitivity rating.

For both of those reasons, an actual in-room measurement is critical to assessing actual speaker behavior. We may not all have the same room, but this is a great way to see the actual mid-woofer response as well as the effects of any baffle step compensation.

Looking at the quasi anechoic measurements done by ASR and Erin it _seems_ that these speakers are not compensated, which may be OK if close-wall placement is expected.

In either event, you really want to see the actual in-room response, not just the simulated response before passing judgement. If I had to critique based strictly on the measurements and simulations, I’d 100% wonder if a better design wouldn’t be to trade sensitivity for more bass, and the in-room response would tell me that.

3. Crossover point and dispersion

One of the most important choices a speaker designer has is picking the -3 or -6 dB point for the high and low pass filters. A lot of things have to be balanced and traded off, including cost of crossover parts.

Both of the reviews, above, seem to imply a crossover point that is too high for a smooth transition from the woofer to the tweeters. No speaker can avoid rolling off the treble as you go off-axis, but the best at this do so very evenly. This gives the best off-axis performance and offers up great imaging and wide sweet spots. You’d think this was a budget speaker problem, but it is not. Look at reviews for B&W’s D series speakers, and many Focal models as examples of expensive, well received speakers that don’t excel at this.

Speakers which DO typically excel here include Revel and Magico. This is by no means a story that you should buy Revel because B&W sucks, at all. Buy what you like. I’m just pointing out that this limited dispersion problem is not at all unique to Tekton. And in fact many other Tekton speakers don’t suffer this particular set of challenges.

In the case of the M-Lore, the tweeter has really amazingly good dynamic range. If I was the designer I’d definitely want to ask if I could lower the crossover 1 kHz, which would give up a little power handling but improve the off-axis response.  One big reason not to is crossover costs.  I may have to add more parts to flatten the tweeter response well enough to extend it's useful range.  In other words, a higher crossover point may hide tweeter deficiencies.  Again, Tekton is NOT alone if they did this calculus.

I’ve probably made a lot of omissions here, but I hope this helps readers think about speaker performance and costs in a more complete manner. The listening tests always matter more than the measurements, so finding reviewers with trustworthy ears is really more important than taste-makers who let the tools, which may not be properly used, judge the experience.


This whole saga is about threatening to sue some 'little guy' with a YouTube channel. I doubt most peope are focused on issues surrounding speaker measurements. The thread on ASR stalled out a while back and would've been just another thread on ASR had the little guy on YouTube not been threatened. 

Bullying tactics by a manufactuer against a reviewer is nothing new, but this seems to have resonated with the community because of the sheer level of arrogance and disrespect involved on the part of EA. His attempt at damage control evident in his two YouTube videos just added more fuel to the fire.

All that said I think people should move on. It's been a train wreck but it's time to let it go. Life has its way of meting out justice, whether through karma or just the average Joe voting with his feet.

PS - I don't mean 'little guy' disrespectfully towards Erin. 

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Wow. Interesting thread. Thank you, @amir_asr  for clearly explaining things from your point of view. I visit ASR fairly often and I appreciate the work you do.

I'm in a sort of no-man's land regarding this hobby. I'm a scientist by training and I believe in testing methodology that removes bias to the greatest possible extent. I eat a handful of prescription drugs every day and I'm grateful that they were all evaluated using a double-blind process. I have two neighbors/friends who didn't accept the science on Covid vaccinations and they are dead now from Covid.

I have been able to internalize quite a bit of cognitive dissonance in this hobby. I can't hear the difference between interconnects and power cords but I sure can hear the difference between amplifiers (my speakers are quite difficult to drive). I have three DACs and I suspect I could not tell them apart in a blind test but that didn't stop me from spending a lot of money on them, at least one in particular.

When I compare two pieces of gear, I don't have the capability to do an A/B/X test but I always use a control. For example, when I listen to a new set of interconnects I start by comparing two DACs in my system and I evaluate the differences, if any, using the same brand of cables, typically Blue Jeans. Then I change the interconnects in one DAC and listen again. To be thorough, I leave the new cables in place for a few months so that I can go back again and again to see if I can hear a difference (hey, you never know if maybe the wires had to break in before they bloomed). I have utterly failed to hear the differences between interconnects, even silver ones, using this method. BTW, the DACs sound very similar too.

I am prepared to spend significant funds on a component on the basis of pride of ownership even if I doubt it will sound significantly better than something cheaper. But ASR provides excellent data that helps me make a decision. I look at Amir's work as basically answering the question, "Is this product well engineered?" I'm more likely to buy a product that is designed and measures well than one with obvious shortcomings.

My feeling is that if people hear dramatic differences that can't be substantiated through scientific means then more power to them. It's their money and they should spend it on things that make them happy. In my case I know that I am susceptable to bias so I try to control it the best I can. IMO ASR provides a valuable perspective to this hobby.


A fine point that. I watched the moon landing in 1968. Not first hand but as close as most. Sophistry exists but overflow hospital tents and portable morgues are hard to deny. As to Smallpox versus Covid glad the vaccine came out when it did.  Future epidemics could/may/will be existential threats due recent irresponsible balderdash.

I think there are 2-fold things here:

1. Good objective reviews are important. That includes measurements decent REPRODUCIBLE measurements. As a trained scientist, that is what writing papers is all about, in professional journals. If one cannot reproduce or get similar results doing measurements - then the person doing the measurements are an issue, possibly. But they should be reproducible with the same equipment.

2. Listening from the buyer’s perspective. I would NEVER buy a speaker without buying them. The way a speaker sounds, to the listener, if very subjective.

Hence, I prefer both objective and subjective - one is not more important than the other.