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.


Unfortunately the Human is only coming to terms as a modern population that they are not in control and all influences on the individual are not from their choices.

There is much much more, and survival / self preservation is one, where attractive Stimulus is the reward for putting oneself in an environment the Mind interprets as secure and safe.

Ambient noise/sound are indicators to the Brain and effects the chemistry that follows. All 10K - 12K chemical reactions per second.

This is not a bitter pill to swallow, it is quite liberating when willingness to accept develops. 

I’m a great admirer of Amir and the work that he does at ASR. Even if one is a subjectivist and judges everything based on their hearing alone, it’s still interesting to hear how the scientific measurements compare. It strikes me as odd that subjectivists whose favorite components get a negative ASR review become angry. They enjoy what they are listening to so why care? I have Larsen 6.2 speakers that Amir would most likely pan, but I would still appreciate hearing his opinion. I’m also very distrustful of anyone who tells me that human sensory perception is the ultimate source of knowledge (opinion, perhaps) but that is a purely philosophical issue.

Agree with most you say @rtorchia. I haven’t seen too many “subjectivist whose favorite components get a negative review on ASR review become angry” across the various audio forums I frequent. By no means is this absolute as I’m sure this happens, but this didn’t happen in this thread when Amir contributed with his condescending and authoritative tone regarding his views between a Topping D90 and a Denafrips Terminator:

If in all of those 40 years, you had spent just one day doing a listening test blind, you would have been so much better off from that moment on. But no, you allowed your eyes and brain to interfere. And with it, arrived at the wrong conclusion, leading to wasting money left and right on things like that Denafrips DAC.

Many of us aren’t arguing the measurements. I’m arguing that Amir and ASR have a toxic culture that permeates other audio forums with condescending tones that have been normalized and promoted at ASR.

I indicated in my one post on this thread that I was done here. I do have a few things to add. I currently am down to 24 power amplifiers (from a collection of about 100). 2 of these 24 (not my particular samples), have measured poorly and have been scrutinized over at ASR. Listening to, and through these 2, I greatly enjoy what these amplifiers bring to the table. There is not a single amplifier out there that would have a problem powering my speakers. Each of my many amplifiers, all showcase ( 1 ) a different tone, ( 2 ) a different 3D soundstage, ( 3 ) a different rhythm ( prat ), ( 4 ) a different dynamic, ( 5 ) a different ability to control the 15s in the doghouses, which includes extension, sustain, under or over damping, etc., ( 6 ) playing loudly...1 of my amps can easily clip ( a highly modified Citation 12, operating at 1wpc in Class A ). Some are airier, some are more immediate, and on and on and on. In common...they are all amazingly quiet, through the background. I have my handful of favorites (most listened to) out of the 24, and the 2 over at ASR are in this group. So, are measurements important? I definitely think so. Am I listening to distortion? Obviously, I am. What is the outcome of this, as some have stated above, including me in my 1st post). I cannot rely on measurements, when it comes to my music system. I know this thread was started about speaker measurements, but it is what it is. It is a common thing, that communication on threads, easily takes us off course. Another thing. At 70 years old, with much experience in / with the audio field, and a lover of the music, 1st, and the gear, 2nd, I am disgusted by the amount, and increase of the hostility between members and posters. And it is getting worse, by the minute. When I started out, it was fun, fun, fun. When I listen to my system, it is fun, fun, fun. I believe wholeheartedly in modifications, and have been doing them since I was 13 years old. I remember because it was the year of my bat mitzvah, and I was running a pair of vertical Cornwall, while my dad was running a pair of AR3a. We enjoyed both systems, btw. Last thing. Besides Amir, STOP getting down on RICEVS. The man knows what he is talking about. EVERYTHING MATTERS. He shares his knowledge on here, without charging a dime, and if you do not believe in his findings....just leave it alone. The negativity here, really requires a thick skin. With a pursuit to " perfect sound " (stop deluding yourselves folks), let’s all make an effort to calm things down, and enjoy the a passion we all have. I guess I am done now. My best, MrD.