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.


Well, I just watched pieces of few ASR videos. Let me tell you, it was not easy for me. The engineer does not how to insert the power cable into the socket (needed "fifty times greater force", must have measured it obviously), doesn't know that ground pin is longer then blades on audio cables.

Nothing wrong with longer ground connection.  Or requiring more force.  The problem is having a jacket around the plug that slides forward as you push it into the socket, making it not possible for all the pins to make a connection.  This caused the cable to not even be functional until I realized what was happening!  It is all explained in my video:




Here is an example Amir doesn’t understand what he is measuring. 

You say that but then post a video from the company and not my review and responses.  If you watch them, you realize it is Paul who a) hasn't properly measured the product to see if it makes any difference in the output of your audio products and b) doesn't know his own product has current limiting so reduces amplifier performance.  I have done no less than three videos on this:




Paul is charismatic on camera and does have good knowledge of audio.  But be careful in believing everything he says.  Above is a great example.


Paul is charismatic on camera and does have good knowledge of audio.  But be careful in believing everything he says.

Honest question, couldn’t we say the same about you? Or are there no faults with your history in audio and measurements?

Honest question, couldn’t we say the same about you?

It would be a HUGE compliment to say I am charismatic on camera!!! 😁

Or are there no faults with your history in audio and measurements?

I am nearing 2,000 measurements of audio gear.  Large number of major companies read ASR and participate in it.  The level of scrutiny is off the charts.  Despite all this, the number of times I have had to re-address a review can be counted on one hand.  

The reason is simple: I run the same set of tests on every product category.  The tests have been battle tested and blow away the meager or non-existent measurements from companies.  I have also been measuring audio gear for 30+ years now.  I am an electrical engineer and put myself through college repairing thousands of audio gear.  My professional experience has spanned all aspects of modern audio technologies such as streaming, networking, operating systems, embedded development, chip design, PCB and analog layouts, safety and regulatory issues, user interface, performance, to name just a few.

This doesn't mean I know everything in the world but it does qualify me quite well to be doing what I am doing.  When CEO or a company that has been removed from design for years claims that their product does X, when I measure it and it does Y, compared with my knowledge of the design and technology, then you should pay attention.  Don't be dismissive and say the opposite.


@amir_asr You can be measuring to kingdom come while we will look at your charts, shrug and go buy Pass Labs or BAT and not your beloved Topping.

Because you "have been measuring" while Nelson and Viktor built tons of gear people love, buy and keep for years. For some reason I trust their engineering chops more than yours. Why is that?

Why are you even here? Are you yearning for attention and confirmation of your "achievements"? Maybe you instead should star thinking why is that components with crappy parts and that are not even soldered right measure great - but sound like junk (which is what they are).

BTW, in your personal gear you list Levinson and not your "top measuring" gear. Why is that? How do they say at MSFT? Eat your own dogfood? Oh and what were great achievement of "Digital Media" at Microsoft? Like... none? Refusal to support lossless perhaps? Inability to even make a decent media player?