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.

erik_squires

Personally I’ve acquired 3 very high value, lower cost  items reviewed by ASR and each worked out very well.

In one case I already owned a product by a company that makes several products positively reviewed on ASR to various degrees so ASR helped confirm what I already knew and have mentioned here on occasion: The $70 amp I bought before even knowing ASR existed was a big time overachiever, shockingly able to drive KEF ls50s no problem whereas some other way more expensive amps I have tried there failed miserably.

There is one other much pricier item on my radar screen currently that ASR ranks very high but they are not alone by a long shot there.

Live and learn!
If an expensive product measures poorly but also floats one boat, that’s fine. We all have different requirements. That does not make the technical data any less true or useful. Well informed decisions are always better than those lesser informed.

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@facten  Thanks, but apparently it means nothing.  The very next post goes on to bad mouth Amir.  Who Fu&#king cares!!!!!!!  This forum is really turning me off.  Hey, maybe that's Amir's evil scheme.  Expose enough Agon members as narrow minded self centered idiots and we all quit the site.  Yes, that must be it.  Amir has found a way to make Agon implode.  It's pure genius. 🤣 🤣 😭

We did learn one significant thing for you all to chew on.  Amir uses software to identify mention of ASR so he can jump in and correct misinformation.  

What?  I don't use any such things.  I said this forum sends me summary of active threads and when I see ASR as a thread title, I click and see what you all are saying.  I sometimes ignore them but if people are typing fiction, then I post corrections.

I have said it before and say it again: I am here because you all are choosing to discuss ASR or me and saying things that are not true.  Otherwise what you say or do doesn't interest me.

Let that sink in.  That is someone driven by massive ego self absorbed narcissism.

What needs to sink in is some folks desire to keep talking about me rather than audio.

 

Nobody can trust their own brain, preference, or judgement is the pinnacle of arrogance.

I am glad you said "brain" rather than "ears." We are finally make progress. When your brain synthesizes an experience, it uses so many factors beside sound:

 

 

You need to find a way to avoid this or forever you are living an auditory illusion.