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.


Don’t believe…your lifetime doesn’t…we don’t care…biased conclusions…such is not so…by your logic…you need to…waste money and effort…and miss out 

Pon-tif-i-cate… express ones opinions in a way considered annoyingly pompous and dogmatic 

O.K. Amir lets go.

So you make no money from your youtube channel and ASR? If you actually get people to send you money then you are an absolute genius. Do you own or are you involved in the retail sale of components? If so, how many of these are represented by Harman? I would check but I really dont care enough to check so I will take you at your word. I dont believe in what you call science and audio engineering. Or at least not all of it.

Show me where I said Ralph was my favorite designer. Ralph is also a member of Audio Asylum and Audiogon. His contributions are almost always of a technical nature and he avoids ridicule and pontification. So him not calling you out doesnt mean that doesnt take issue with the things you or other members have said. Have you ever listened to an Atma-sphere product? Has Ralph ever offered you one for review? Ralph believes in measurements, but he will also tell you very carefully where measurements fall short and how most who measure dont get the bigger picture. I talked with Ralph when he just received the chips which made his class D amps possible. He and I disagree on a number of things and at the risk of making him angry I dont think his move to class D is based mainly on performance. I own Atma-sphere amps because they are the best amps I have heard with certain speakers. I owned them before I became a dealer. Same with all of my lines.

Simple request Amir. Give me a list of your industry people. Oh and your association with Ralph is too thin to be counted. Again your measures of performance arent universally accepted as applicable. 

I think the MA-1s now retail for around $ 18K. I have heard your amps or a similar vintage. Arent these overpriced by your method of thinking? Cant find another cheaper pair of amps that measure similarly and therefore sound the same? Your amps are competent s.s. designs. I would however encourage you to listen to some of the uber expensive European designs to see where your Levinsons fall short. 

Perhaps you have done a great deal of listening tests, but if you did these in your listening room I wouldnt really call them tests. Your reference system was set-up not for audio but for space and perhaps aesthetic considerations. Reminds me of a audio/video setup. Sorry but I am a hobbyist and small dealer with a dedicated room, treatments and no big-screen. So again very little traction. Anyone who really understood would not have this setup or would have the common sense not to show it. I believe your style is to measure first and then listen? So measurement bias.

Show me any definitive test or study that says that our senses are wrong, especially in an audio setting. Show me a study on bias and I will show you another one that denies the premise. Funny how you eventually will use some study not related to audio to prove your point. Even your measurement pal at Stereophile criticizes the double blind theory. So you, myself included, gravitate to the one that closely matches my experience and you your theory.

The rotation analogy is so stupid I wont even do you the honor. 

You need to learn the limits of your measurements and your rigid stance on most things audio related. With your permission I will continue to waste money and effort on things that dont matter to fidelity. I do appreciate your concern. A glimmer of hope, however, as you seem to have found a 50K pair of amps and a 23K pair of speakers not guilty of this sin. 

Stick with the mid-fi Amir and stop interrupting when the adults are speaking.



A fool with a multimeter can apparently measure and test anything. 

It's a shame I can hear the difference in gear and cables. I could have saved a lot of money.

ASR is a joke.

No but the difference we hear is because of some bias. Expectation, sighted, placebo, you choose. So many biases to confuse us poor fools. But what can you expect from listeners who werent trained by Harman? The same Harman who sells numerous lines, 2 of which Amir owns (very pricey) and may actually sell on a retail basis. He doesnt seem to want to answer this question. Be nice to know if Amir actually paid for this gear and if so how much. All of my equipment that I own or represent was purchased at industry accommodation or dealer cost. 



"When I asked him how long I can have it, he said whatever I need since he had bought a Topping DAC for a fraction of the price and it sounded every bit as good to him!"

Did it last more than a week or did he then have to buy another one? Because as you know their quality control is sterling.