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.


you have uncanny "ability" to misconstrue the arguments presented to you throughout this lengthy thread. It is either due to lack of comprehension or a need of "proving" your ideas to be true. Most likely the latter, since you project yourself as the only one in the know and everybody who disagrees does not have a clue. How about to agree that we disagree. Those who follow their senses to enjoy reproduction of music by audio equipment are not harming anybody, but you do disservice to people who limit themselves in pursue of such an enjoyment following your ideas of "only measurements matter". 

I am doing that?  How many times have I talked about proper listening tests?  I have posted videos how to do that properly. I have posted my own listening tests.  I have repeatedly explained how we rely on more than measurements to including engineering knowledge and science to determine fidelity.  Yet you go and repeat that made up talking point that "only measurements matter?"

If you can't even phrase what is different about us by making things up like this, why do you think we can "agree to disagree?"  The first step in that is understanding the other person's position.  I know you all's position.  I have lived it for almost a decade in the last forum I co-founded. You all need to make a modicum of effort to correctly state what we are about.

So once more: listening is great.  I do it in almost every other review. Until you learn how to do this right, you are going to arrive at wrong conclusions about audio.  Measuring is an alternative to listening that can bring significant insight into design and execution of an audio device.  When science and engineering is applied to it, it provides a powerful conclusion as to validity of company claims to fidelity. 

As to "harming anything," you all created this thread and started to post misinformation about ASR and I.  What do you call this if it is not harming?

It is so funny that you quote the midfi reviewers.......Steven Stone, Kalman....secrets of home theater.....etc.  These guys only listen to 1% of what is out there...........Try looking around at reviews done by people who are not paid to rave about midfi stuff and have access to other more expensive gear.  You will find out what these many hear.....not what some "got to sell some copy and ads magazine says".......Go a search....everything I said is what they all say.....the mid fi guys will sell you anything.....Just like you do.  You should join Stereophile as the midfi king (with Kalman and Steven you guys could be the three musketeers of midfi....saving the world.  What a joke......keep up the is entertaining.  However, why don't you actually listen to all the super measuring DACs one after another sighted and tell us what you hear.......I am sure you will tell us they are all the same...and the same as the $150K DAC that Robert Harley uses.....However, all the serious listeners in the world will say they all sound different from each other.  But you will not listen.....and again, if you would have your hands over your ears to make sure you cannot hear anything...

Here is a true story about you (worth repeating for it is so true) stars someone else but you are the same as him.  Audiophile A was invited over to Audiophile B house for a listening session.  He brought along a newby (audiophile D) that he was trying to indoctronate about his belief that all wires sounded the same.  There was also Audiophile C there that brought a cable that he wanted to A/B with Audiophile Bs cable.  When they went to do the A/B........Audiophile A went into the kitchen (God forbid he be in the same room where they are doing listening tests with wire!).  He heard all their comments from the kitchen (all three were in agreement.....about the sound differences and those differences were quite dramatic).  When Audiophile A came back from his cave no one said anything to him.....after all....what is there to say?.....except...."I guess you don't want to know whether your long held belief is true or not".  This is you......head in the sand.....hands over your ears....screeming that you are right, right right......However, not only are you wrong, but you are seiously limiting your love, joy and bliss by promoting a lowering of the possibilities of things.  You are acting like a have very little to give (all your reviews are the same).....You only serve those who already believe the way you do.......they buy their mid fi stuff and feel that it is the best.....because they all have their heads in the sand, as well.  Very sad.  You like doing your own thing......but truth needs to be served.  You have very little. 

Go on, show us some more graphs and quotes that "you think" prove you are right and prove that 250,000 audiophiles are really just fools.  Amir says "No frickin way can people hear cannot trust your must, must, must do double blind testing over and over and over and over again to know anything.  We are just human failure machines.....we cannot perceive truth directly....we have to trust a machine (a measurement machine).....we are just another brick in the wall.  Only trust me." 

I trust me.....the me that listens.....I trust you....the you who listens.....most people do not lie about what they hear.  I do not trust someone that does not listen and who preaches what is obviously (to those of us that listen) lies.

We all create our own reality. What it is to you is not what it is to someone else.

We are all teachers to each other.....we are also each others student.

When someone crashes into my lane of flow and tells lies then I let them know they are on the wrong track. This is what good parents do. They first tell you how beautiful you are and how honored they are to have you as their child.....then they tell you your behavior is not loving and they are here to TEACH you how to be more loving (truthful.....for the truth is telling a lie about anything is anti love). Then the parent tells the child not to do this again and again praises them again for JUST Being. Then the child will do it again to see if you meant what you said and the process repeats itself except the adult tells the child that if they do it again....there will be consequences.......when the child does the unloving or untruthful behavior again then the consequences are immeditately applied.....always loving the child and not making the child wrong......We are not our behavior......When we tell a lie.....we are lying....but we are not "liars".....We are divine beings who have forgotten our beauty and for a moment acted stupid. On a public forum we are not alphas to each other.....There is no parent child relationship.....We are all equals. Still, you can tell you brothers that they are not on track and are lying or acting unloving......We just cannot lay down consequences for unloving behavior. We need to be self growing....and learning from each other.

So, maybe I did not praise Amir enough......for he is the divine light....he is divine love and divine beauty. However, his ego is trapped in a lying holding a plane that does not know how to land. In order to land in love you must trust....and in must learn how to trust what you hear....and also admit to your untruthfulness. My sweet Amir....please come back to the truth.....the truth is like a big tit.....full of juicy everloving Amrita....Ambrosia....the nectar of life......Please drink it.....I offer it to you. You deserve it.....YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

It is so funny that you quote the midfi reviewers.......Steven Stone, Kalman....secrets of home theater.....etc.  These guys only listen to 1% of what is out there...........Try looking around at reviews done by people who are not paid to rave about midfi stuff and have access to other more expensive gear.  

I thought you said the consensus was universal?  I show you reviews from top two magazines covering high-end audio and now you backtrack this way?  All of a sudden "listening" is not good enough?  

Yes, there are paid snob "reviewers" on these rags which wouldn't know audio science if the book hit them on the back of the head.  They have not reviewed any Topping gear which would invalidate your claim yet again.

Go a search....everything I said is what they all say.....

You are asking me to do your homework?  Your case is already busted.  Well-known reviewers from top magazines completely disputed your claims.  There are no alternative reviews to back anything you claimed about Topping.