Tyler Decade D2s: review

Being neither a Golden Ear nor a pro reviewer, I will spare you the usual buzz words and audiophile terminology to focus on my impression of the Tyler D2s in layman's terms.

Background and goals:
I have been a monitor lover for ever and I listen to all kind of music from Eminem to Bach at real SPL (read: loud). I moved into a fairly large room (30*16) three years ago and attempted to find speakers that would image like monitors with the depth and gut-blowing impact of a floorstander. I tried no less than 8 models in the sub $6,000 (my price limit) that I won't name to avoid a spitting contest between brand afficionados. Some were expensive older design speakers, others were current models with newer materials, all well-reviewed with the usual "giant killer" attribute that means, humm, nothing at all! Results have been fairly consistent and going two opposite ways: I either had the slam and depth or the imaging, rarely both and when I did with 2 of the models, I had the same problem: as the speaker was played louder and louder, its personality changed, either toward an aggressive and preeminent treble or toward overwhelming bass (double 8" or single 10" configuration). The last model I owned before the D2s were Tyler Woodmere 2s which, while doing the low to medium SPL really well did not make me happy at higher SPL: overwhelming bass and loss of driver integration and an overall too polite character. It may have been a function of associated equipment or room acoustics and not the speakers themselves but in the end I did not feel I had achieved the goal of finding a "super monitor" also capable of filling a large room and hitting my guts with class. Ty being the class and honesty act he is offered me his D2s as he had a feeling that they were what I was looking for.

Biais and taste:
I have been particularly impressed by Avalon speakers but I cannot justify the required investment into Indra and have been discouraged to buy Opus Ceramic by my dealer as they are said to be fragile and ceramic drivers prone to blow up at high SPL. Other speakers that impressed me lately for their ability to rock loud while keeping composure and imaging are the Wilson Sophia 2 and JM Lab Electra Be 1037 but again, out of my price range. This is where I have been for the last 2 years: trying to find a $6,000 floorstander that can do what the Sophia 2 or the Indra do in their respective price range.

Associated equipment: Music server + BC Thingee USB conv + DAC Audiomat Tempo 2.5 + modded Unico SE integrated

- Speakers have been playing for about 150 hours since I got them 2 weeks ago so they are essentially broken into. Placement is according to the Cardas method which has proven to work really well for me over and over in this room with a variety of speakers.
- The look: based on pictures posted on Audiogon, I was not sure I would like their look. In fact, this kept me away from them as a possible choice until I decided to give them a try for their sound - sometimes speakers look much better (or worse) in person. In fact, the D2s in person are true beauties, very classy and pure lines with a fit’n finish that is among the very best as usual for Tyler pieces. They are ideal size for my room in terms of the visual obstruction that any speaker that size end up representing and they are not “in the way” like Woodmere 2 were.
- D2s are not overly sensitive to placement per say but they respond really well to placement options as a “tuning” approach; I found that they benefit from being way into the room as they image mostly behind with little in-your-face projections. They ressemble most Avalon speakers in the way they image (back and back diagonal) except that they benefit from not being too far apart, 8 feet maximum in my room, unlike most Avalons which tolerate larger spread. I would not recommend them to people who must have them against the wall and spread too much apart like a long wall placement may induce.
- Bass: as tight as it gets, may be the only “weakness” for someone buying large speakers and hoping to get subwoofer type of bass. The bass is extremely well-controlled and provided the amount of depth and impact I was looking for, even at high SPL it never loses control. Not as complete and life-like as the bass of a Sophia 2 but very resolving and big on impact.
- Midrange: clarity and resolution supreme, I do not remember hearing better than that even with the many hi-end monitors I owned or tried at home. Female voices are to die for and are not artificially emphasized as often.
- Treble: superb extension, often on the limits of too much resolution on poor recording but always within the acceptable limits, very rarely aggressive. For fun, a friend of mine lent me his old Triangle Titus and the D2s have more resolution, detail and clarity than Titus while not being aggressive as the Triangle. Well-done
- Overall tonal balance: they are NOT polite or warmish like some older Tyler designs and the DO NOT sound like big-rich-sluggish or even boxy floorstanders. As a matter of fact, I think the D stands for Dynamite and not Decade!!! These speakers have bite, lots of bite and are as clear, transparent and resolving as one would want before leaning toward surgically lean. They are not harsh at all, just very resolving.
- Character across different SPLs: this is where I believe the D2s are phenomenal speakers (FOR ME). They have the ability to maintain the exact same monitor tonality and balance from low to very high volume, just playing louder and opening more and more. To that end, I find them much superior to the Woodmere 2s, at least in my room and with my equipment and the integration remains impressive across all SPLs. In addition, they are truly holographic across all frequencies and SPLs and it is almost impossible to spot any sound emanating from the drivers themselves. To that end, they give nothing to Avalon Indra or Ceramic and disappear better than Sophia 2.

In my quest for reasonably priced and fairly large floorstanders that can hide a heart of super monitors and are able to play loud, very loud without sounding strained as many resolving monitors I know, the D2s appear to be almost perfect. Whoever is willing to compromise on ultimate bass extension and texture in favor of amazing imaging, resolution and holographic transparency should try these speakers with neutral to slightly warm electronics. If I had the space, money and time to do the swapping I would like to have the D1s in my room to see if they give the last bit of bass fullness that I find missing on the D2s…but it may come at the expense of the mega “monitor-like” character of the D2s which is what I like above all. If I had the money, I would still buy Avalon Indra over the D2s (but not Sophia 2 or Electra 1037) but at 4 times the price, is this really an insult to Tyler?!!!
Beheme very good description of your D2s and speaker expectations. Using Linbrook Sigs now with D1s arriving any time your experience is giving me a idea of what i can expect. I am a little concerned with placement i have a large room but cant get the speakers more than 3 feet from the face wall. Time will tell. Thanks for the info.
Did you get the black or copper colored tweeter? Wonder how the copper looks live. The pics make them look kind of pink/purple.

What finish are yours please?

I am trying to better understand the tweeter brightness or neutrality issue. Are they toed in at all? The amount of toe in can dramatically impact the warmness of a speaker. I also wonder if the speaker will "tame" a little over time with additional burn in.

I have some D1's on order, but I asked Ty about how warm sounding they were as I much prefer a warm, full bodied sound.

Congrat's on your purchase and I am glad you are so happy!

Ty seems like a nice guy and this is my first experience with Tyler speakers. I expect them in a few weeks.

I am hoping the D1's have all you say is found in the D2's, but with more powerful bass and a warmer , full presentation in the mid/highs.
I got the copper tweeter and ribbon mahogany finish, the exact same as pictured in Tyler's ad. I have the grills on but the copper is copper, not purple at all. Don't get me wrong, there is no brightness or harshness but lots of resolution-details that my placement choice may also emphasized; A cymbal hits you like a cymbal should but violins are never strident. I guess to answer you, they are not warm either, at least not with my set up and this could all be due to the combination of my input tube selection in the Unico SE hybrid and my silver speaker cables. I have very little toe in, may be 10 degrees max.
Nice review, thanks. I have a pair of D2's on order to replace my Linbrook Sigs. How would you characterize the low-end of the D2 vs. the Linbrook (assuming you have heard one?) Ty said the imaging is perhaps a bit better on the D2 than the D1, which is why I went that route. I nearly got a D1, but was afraid it would be "too much" low end. The LSS seems just about right in that department. The bass is faster I assume, and the speaker easier to drive, which is a good thing for us tube lovers. I could still upgrade my order to a D1 if I really wanted to....but am not sure it would be the best move, and plus, couldn't I just get a sub to handle that low-end if I really needed it? I listen to alot of jazz and orchestral music, but have sometimes found that too much low end can be a bad thing unless you have a room that can handle it.

Any other comparisons between the D2 and Linbrook that you can share?
I heard LSS only once and in a different system-room so this is hardly enough to compare them but I would say that if the LSS are in the same vein as the Woodmere 2s then the D2s will be tighter in the bass department. I agree that the D2s appeared on paper to be the right trade off between imaging and low end and as you said, a sub is always an option. Too much bass or an inability to find optimal placement for both top notch imaging and bass response is what has kept me away from larger floorstanders all these years. I am happy to report that D2s show none of these nasty bass issues.
I will soon upgrade my amplification to separate tube pre-SS amp combo and will report if the bass texture and bloom that I would ideally want are improving with some better front end than the Unico SE input stage.

What is it that you guys are trying to improve upon by trading in your LSS?
For me, it was that the D2, from those who have heard it (also the D1) thought that it out-imaged and out-soundstaged the LSS, and that the low-end was tauter and more realistic. That, and it is more tube-friendly. I didn't have great luck with tubes on the LSS.

Please note that I have been very happy with the LSS: a superb speaker for the money if it has the sonic qualities one is looking for.

What drivers does the new series use? I have been away for a while and returned to find the Linbrooks gone and a new series announced but without any info at the website.
What drivers does the new series use? I have been away for a while and returned to find the Linbrooks gone and a new series announced but without any info at the website.
Aktchi (Threads | Answers

Ty has his drivers custom made for him now and his crossovers are designed by Danny Ritchie who is a well known x-over designer.
Hey guys, sorry for jumping in. Does anyone have the dimensions of the D1 and D2, as well as driver compliment-sizes. Tyler doesn't have any info., as far as specs for these speakers on his website, yet. I'm looking to upgrade my Vandersteen 3A Sigs and have heard a lot of good feedback on A'Gon regarding Ty's speakers.
Lubes3: Dimensions are on Audiogon in the sale section: search "tyler". The D1 is a pretty big speaker: around 65 inches if I remember right.

Ty definitely puts out a good product. I heard an Aerial Acoustics 7B yesterday, and no contest vs. my Linbrook Sigs: even in room that was acoustically treated better than mine, with similar electronics, the Linbrook was much more 3-D and big than the 7B, which sounded flat in comparison. The only area it beat my Linbrook was in the low end, and that probably had something to do with the $5000 of ASC tube traps and wall panels in there. The Aerial 9 and Linbrook were much closer.

Nice product, killer at the price. No feedback from me on the D1 or D2 at this point, though.
Can you give me your impressions after burn in over the past 2 or so weeks. Has anything changes or improved?
Please provide all your experience on D2.
I was so close to get a new D2 (or used LSS) to upgrade my Taylo 7U, but WAF is on my way. I am still trying to get enough fund, so hopefully either LSS or D2 would be within reach soon.
How much power is adequate to drive D2 in high volume in a large room (25+ x 30+) without distortion?

Many thanks,
All of Ty's new lines are 90+db efficient at 8 ohms so I wouldn't think alot of power is needed. A nice tube integrated should be more than enough to drive them.
I am wondering if the D3 is about the same as the D2 as far as midrange and treble goes. I have two JL Audio F113's to take care of the bottom. The D3's will go in a room that is 20 wide 40 deep 10 high. Now you know why I have two F113's. Right now I have JM Lab Electra 936's and looking to change is all.
Jp sounds like you should be tring D1s instead. Will be getting my pair this week looking forward to hearing what D1 brings to my system.
Westborn to be honest i dont know, I do know that Ty has moved in a different direction in a speaker supplier. He was using Seas built speakers. He was hit hard by the ice storm of late January so that could be the reason for his web site not to have this information posted yet. If you are interested you sure could email him.
Beheme you haven't posted on this thread since early Jan. Those D2s must be keeping you happy in a musical way.
JP1208. I should be taking ownership of a pair of D3M's w/ DS12 sub sometime soon (?). Similar room concern as yourself(my listening room is 35x 30x 12 ft high with a 30 x 12 ft extension off of one end). Listening area just off center of the main room, equidistant speaker-speaker-listener about 9 ft. Running through a Plinius 9200. While not the D3's per se, I'll post my initial comments once I have time with these.
Westborn heres your answer straight from the horses mouth.

They're paper cone drivers with aluminum phase plugs.


I tried to post many times but it did not go through...after a few changes upstream (tube pre-SS power), more break in time and moving them a bit more into the room, I am in pure heaven with the D2s. Texture that was missing at first is here in spade and the bass is deep and organic yet very controlled, tweeter is not agressive at all and details are in abundance. I cannot think of a better buy in the price range.
Nice to hear. How long to break in? I am looking for that nice warmth and wonder how long it took to get some body and texture.

Thanks for posting,

about 200hrs and at real volume I'd say...however it will depend on partnering gear, tube mandatory!!!
Tube manditory?

You use SS amps right? Please let me know which one. I do use a tubed preamp like you.

I get my D1's this week.
Why tubes only? Is there some specific reason you are recommending that, or are you saying "tube-like sound" which could mean better SS pieces as well? My SS preamp (McCormack ALD-1 w/Gold+ upgrades) sounds more musical than my tube preamp (Modwright 9.0 Signature w/Tung-Sol 5867's) and also more musical than the LS26 from Audio Research that I tried in my system. Bigger soundstage, more full, all the typical tube stuff. I was considering a tube amp to go with the D1's, just to try at home (haven't gotten the yet, though).
I do like the fact that he said tubes over SS. When I hear this I think transparency and detail is there and I have never read where Tyler's were dry in the mids. He may have found the right balance or better balance in the new design. When my personal situation gets better or better yet resolved, I will more than likely give these new speakers a try.
My D1s have been in town since Thursday and are stuck on a truck till Monday from a back log due to Mardi Gras. Darn

I've had Tyler Linbrook System for over 3 years in that time i used Nuforce Ref 9 amps i tried several preamps and have settled with a tubed design. What works for you is all that matters. All of the other BS is just that BS.
I said tube because I think it needs to be from neutral to warmer yet remain transparent but a SS amp that would display the same characteristics would be fine too. I found that very often "sweeter" SS amp lose the transparency and immediacy that tube or "brighter" SS amp can have but there are exceptions and I have not heard every SS amp out there! Anyway, to each its own, I just would not go thin and bright on Decades.
I agree with Beheme, tubes sound best with Ty's speakers somewhere in the system. This is not to say SS won't work or sound degraded/bad. Tubes just work well with my Tylers.
If Tyler has a 'house sound', I wonder if the Decade series will fit into that house sound or move into a new area.
As a long time LSS owner, I can't help but wonder if any compromises have been made in the new line. The two things I would want to know besides the house sound question are:
- Can they go as loud as the old lines given the different drivers? The SEAS drivers have excellent power handling.
- Is the treble as good? What tweeter replaces the SEAS millenium?

I do like the idea of internal dampening. I used to think the Linbrook monitors would be perfect if they had a heavy lead strip on each side of the speaker to deaden it more and give it more weight.
I hope you new owners can continue to let us know how they work out.
Just ordered D3 to go with the 2 jl audio f113's. We'll see how they compare to the JM Lab Electra 936's. Obviously I won't be comparing the overall bass. More or less on how they image and musicality.
I disagree with the tube/solid state characterizations in general. They might have been accurate 20 years ago, but today we have tubes that sound dry, and SS that sounds very full and musical. I have a feeling that a more accurate assessment is that "the right" tubes or "the right" ss units will sound great. Having listened to alot of gear recently, some of the really good SS electronics sound more musical and full than the tubed stuff. Probably the most musical, full preamp I tried was an SMC Audio modded ALD-1; the ARC LS26, Modwright 9.0 Signature, McIntosh C220, and Eastern Electric Minimax all sounded less musical and rich, even thought they are all tubed.

My D1's will be here in a week. I will report back when I have 200 hours or so burned in.
Totally agree with Dawgcatching. I was looking at the RMAF show pictures and Ty uses Parasound JC-1 amp. Ordered D1 and will be here soon.
I just received my D4 monitors earlier this week and I have to admit they are impressive visually and sonically.
I wasn't sure that I would like them since I am a big fan of the TA's classic speaker line but after only 20 hrs of break in I am hearing a speaker that is capable of being one of my top 10 monitors of all time.
I just received a pair of D2's and they're now broken in. These speakers have a seamless presentation. The crossovers and tuning seem to be perfect. The bass is tight and hits you in the chest. The presentation is slightly forward and a bit on the warm side in my setup(I'm using all tubes). The soundstage is very wide and deep. They are very dynamic and the drivers are fast. Setup wasn't difficult, but the soundstage and accuracy is greatly enhanced when setup properly.

I also have a couple of Ty's DS-12 subs that I had him build for me. I added the subs to the system and to date I’ve dialed them in by ear (but I'm going to run an SPL test to fine tune the crossover and volume). Right now, I have the crossover on the sub set at about 40hz and the volume quite low. I don't think for one minute that subs are needed with the D-2's, but since I have them I thought I'd try them out. I believe the subs add to the “quality” of the bass and extend lower for any music that needs the lower octaves.

I currently bi-amp with Audio Mirror 40 watt amps (similar to Cary) and I have a Supratek Cortesee pre-amp. My CD player is an Ayer CX7-E and I have a Teres TT. I've been listening to mostly albums for the last few days instead of CD's. I like to listen to classic rock, jazz, blues, female vocals, along with other types of music (some music in the recent rotation is: The Eagles, Nirvana, AC/DC, Bonnie Rait, Norah Jones, Ray Charles, Muddy Waters, Ray Brown-Soul Energy…).

I'm really enjoying the D-2's so far and they’re a huge bargain at Ty’s price. For not being a “HUGE” speaker, they have a very big sound. In addition, the build quality and looks are stunning.
You have Linbrook, Woodmere, and now D2?
How would you compare those 3 speakers?
For me, your room seems to be a bit smaller for Woodmere. Just my thought.
The Woodmere's did everything effortless (with very good SS electronics) but were more speaker than I needed. The Woodmeres sounded great in my room; I never felt like they overpowered it. The Linbrooks with bass modules had some of the same characteristics of the Woodmere, but the presentation and the quality of the bass was much different and this put the Woodmere in another league.

How do the D-2’s compare to the Woodmere’s and the Linbrooks? I put the D-2’s in the same league as the Woodmere’s in terms of soundstage, presentation of the music, and the quality of the bass. The Woodmere’s get the edge in the midrange (more magical and full) and instrument timbre over the D2’s. Again, I'm splitting hairs but honestly speaking, the Woodmere’s should be better than the D2’s.

Trying the D2’s with a warm and powerful class A solid state amp is on my to-do list.
Dsiggia...I am running my new D4's with a Cayin 265Ai ss Class A integrated with great results. It provides ss slam while maintaining smooth dynamics, fantastic soundstaging and clarity/resolution. So far very impressed with this amp at only 40wpc. It won't be enough to really push a D2 I know but Class A ss I highly recommend with Tylers. I gravitated towards tubes with my previous Tylers with great results but so far this Class A integrated is fullfilling my needs.
Many thanks, Dsiggia for your comments on Tylers.
I have Taylo 7U driven by Linn AV5105 and Rogue Magnum 99. I've been looking for an upgrade to either LSS, D2, or Woodmere II. I'd like to go for D2. Woodmere II may be a bit too much for my system. Just waiting for enough funds and approval from my wife. It may take a while though.
I'm awaiting delivery of a pair of D2's after quite a while of loving my LSS. Question is, so many of you have taken delivery of the new Decade line and posted here a couple months ago. After this time, what are your impressions?
I find the new line is quicker, punchier, and a tad more detailed while retaining smoothness. I have the D4 floorstanding monitors which are not even broken in yet and these speakers have alot more bass than I would have imagined. I don't think anyone would 2nd guess themselves if they decided to purchase the new Decade line.
Having checked the net site several times I've found no information on this series. Are upgrades such as crossover components, internal wiring and drivers available? Thanks!
The internal wiring maybe but Ty's crossovers are usually the best you can get. As far as the drivers I am sure he can use the SEAS Excel drivers but his new drivers were customed made and designed. I would call Ty and speak with him.
Almost a year later, I must admit that my initial assessment of the D2s was right on, still an amazing midrange and holographic image and a treble that over time has become even more extended and less edgy. One area that has tremendously improved is bass reproduction and in great part due to new electronic that really brought even more life to the lowest register. I changed to a Pass X1 -Pass X150.5 combo and I feel that I added two subs without losing any finesse. I recommend the Pass-Decade combo very highly. I now wonder how far the Decade could go with even better electronics (I am talking extreme here).