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.


... The problem is that he may be influencing other enthusiasts ...

Misinformation and disinformation are everywhere and there’s nothing that can be done about that. In the case of ASR, it shouldn’t take most people very long to realize it’s propagandistic. Some of the site's users are happy with that, I suspect.

I love the "trained listener" graph. 

Me too. He puts it out like it's definitive and official when it looks like something he drew up himself. His followers will refer to it as such, like those proto-humans in 2001, A Space Odyssey, dancing around the monolith.

All the best,

Thanks Amir for the excellent video about Blind test and listener training!
Alas! this video describing very well where you come from . the world of digital processing, and ABX double blind test to spot digital artefacts
reveal to me why you cannot understand anything of what i was speaking about in acoustics and hearing theory.
Your stance is pure marketing of a method of gear pieces analysis using a small set of electrical tools this method branded ASR , even if you do it not for profit but for pleasure.
Thanks for your reviews anyway.
But the problem is, that buying a piece of gear based only on your analysis cannot make sense by itself alone.
Synergy exist. And cannot be reduced to just objective specs compatibility.
We need a system in a room to judge a piece of gear relatively good FOR OURSELVES and our ears/brain. Nobody is here to sell it as the best or worst solution ever because it measure well over the design written specs or not.
You then act as a preacher to sell your measure method and disparage any audiophile acoustic journey value as unsignificative if not branded right by your "objective" method.
I will not repeat what i said in many posts above about hearing theory and the 5 articles i submitted together . I dont think that many understood them for what they means. Fourier theory cannot explain qualia perception. And qualia perception is fundamental.
And Amir you cannot accept their results because they will reveal the unscientific stance of your techno-cultist ideology.
Anyway nowadays almost all software engineers are techno-cultists.
in a word: we audiophiles guided by basic acoustics principles and experiments we listen not mostly to digital artefacts , we listen to the way the acoustics trade-off of the recording engineer can be TRANSLATED at best in the optimal trade-off conditions of our room parameters and for our ears/brain specific acoustics parameters. The digital vehicle only convey the acoustic and spatial and musical information more or less well ( MP3 or different lossless formats) it convey it nothing more.
Amir we dont hear the same thing and we dont sell the same thing. You hear digital artefacts, i hear my system/room; you sell ASR, i sell creativity with simple acoustics experiments. You disparage an acoustic ears training which is not your own conception of ears training : digital errors or artefacts spotting. ( simple blind test by the way is enough and a tool for all acoustician day to day working, double blind test is used only in acoustics statistical studies )
You sell a selected set of tools based on an ideology but not the right way to build a satisfying musical experience with acoustics.
You trained yourself with digital artefacts spotting, i trained myself in two different systems/rooms creation using acoustics and music, not mostly digital artefacts spotting. By ideological principle and ignorance about hearing you disparage turntable over Dac and tubes over S.S. only because of your measures set selective ideology.
As some ignorant subjectivist audiophile selling his gear choice in some review , you sell your own objectivist gear choice in your own review.
But all audiophile are not ignorant, they are neither objectivist nor subjectivists, i dont sell my gear choice as a solution, i sell system/room/ears/brain acoustics basic knowledge as the ONLY way to create TOP musical experience according to our budget .
Who is the ideologue here ?