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.


Very interesting.  

I have a background in satellite remote sensing and pattern recognition.  Training is an essential component there.   Training occurs whenever the task is to recognize a known feature correctly.  

So I would say the general concept is scientifically sound  .

The question comes when determining what constitutes the thing that is to be recognized which in the case here is “good sound” 

If you can’t get a group to agree on what are the key features of good sound then there is little chance of ever recognizing it correctly.  

But, if you can get a consensus on what it is that constitutes good sound, then it can be recognized or not by people.  


If people can’t even agree on what kinds of distortion if any sounds “best” then good luck!


So is an interesting idea.   The purpose of training is always improved performance and that is always a good thing even if people can’t agree on what exactly good performance is. 





Training is not mainly about the acuity of perception...😊

Certainly not about digital artefacts spottings...

This part made me laugh...

So useful it could be for audio design in digital signals engineering...And it is useful...But creating a dedicated room has nothing to do with that...

What i trained in my room for was learning how to recognize the main classical acoustics parameters in my room and the 7 spatial components of which Choueiri spoke about.Then i tried to created the necessary physical conditions for them to appear. Success is there when you can recognize all of them and you know how to play with them. Acuity is not the main factor, focussed attentive hearing after and before a parameter modification is.

Then my training was not based on "hearing acuity" as suggested by Amir but about "hearing intelligence" which was learning how to perceive concretely acoustics main concepts by varying the room acoustics parameters and then knowing what we speak about with our own ears nevermind our age and "acuity" ...😁

But for Amir any auditory qualia if not measured or measurable is deceptive illusion which will be debunk by ABX double blind test ... This idea is ridiculous because tuning my room mechanically is an incremental increasing process where simple blind test is way asked for recognizing acoustic concepts and patterns not perceive acutely digital signals from various formats.

I beg to differ, acoustics is not electrical tool measuring specs ideology sold as truth for audio ... Acoustics is about a system/eroom not about a piece of gear which someone want to sell as the best solution.. This is worst than lie this is marketing half truth.. The missing part is acoustics in any selling pitch... ( i could add mechanical vibrations/resonaNce control and electricaL GRID CONTROL )

Amir claim that he own "golden ears" in fact  and use them for all of us as Audio pope , i claim that i can made by myself  my room sound extraordinary with acoustics concepts implemented in it mechanically . No need for "acuity" only need experiments ( hundred of them )to master some basic concepts.

We cannot perceive anything meaningful if we dont have the necessary concept to grasp it...

I will let to Amir the "acuity" hearing prize proven to be secured in his hands with double blind test in spotting his digital artefacts...

I myself spotted ravishing music in acoustical dress which spoke to me each evening before dancing ...




I believe the graph may have come from Harman Inc/Sean Olive. I downloaded the Harman ‘How to Listen’ desktop app and in conjunction with that I saw a presentation that describes their efforts to train listeners, of which How to Listen was a key part. It was in this presentation that I saw the graph… I believe. Really cool software by the way.

If that graph was from Harmon Inc/Sean Olive, I still have to call BS on it as there are "trained listeners" in the category of audio reviewers as that's what they're trained to do when reviewing. I can't imagine at least one audio reviewer not passing the test.

Now if the category were renamed "trained blind listeners with similar preferences for what sounds nice to them" (hence the Harmon curve), then have at it.

All the best,