Best yet? The Tekton Lore S

I’m loathe to call my Fedex driver “the cat” as he’s 6’4″ and every bit of 250lbs, but I’m still tickled with what he dragged in today. The new (-ish) Tekton Lore S!

To get them into the sweet spot in the main listening area, I had to manhandle a monster pair of eFicion F300s out of the way and those suckers weigh 150lbs+ each. Ugh. I can’t wait till my 5 year old son is big enough to start hauling gear like this around for me. Wouldn’t that be sweeeet? Ahh, me, yes.

Oh, my back…. Anyway, after that exercise, I was really liking the comparatively slim Lore S speakers, which proved pleasantly easy to move and position. In fact, that’s an excellent point. Why don’t more speakers I listen to conform to a more lower-back-friendly design, I wonder? Blah blah blah, heavy magnets, big drivers, inert cabinets, blah blahditty blah. Yes, fine, I hear you. But all I know is that no one is going to be crushed to death underneath a Lore S, and for that, I (speaking for my back) was grateful.

I really need to learn to love smaller speakers. Really really really. I am such a wuss.

If you find the fit and finish of the speakers in the pictures to be a bit on the utilitarian side of things, which I think is about what you should expect for this price point, you certainly can spring for the optional veneer and sail easily into WAF-appealing territory. I wouldn’t bother unless they’re going into your living room or you happen to be a vain little beotch. My demo pair, with their basic black, look fine, if plain. Your call, of course. Beotch.

The Lore S is a front-ported design, so placement should be less fussy than the bigger, rear-ported Pendragons, but that doesn’t mean they should be jammed up against the wall. Sound stage is bigger and more precise out in the room and the bass reinforcement does need a bit of space to develop. I put them more or less where their big brothers, the Pendragons, went — about 4′ off the back wall and about 8′ apart (tweeter to tweeter).

One thing the astute will probably notice off the bat is that these speakers are something of a departure from the rest of the Tekton lineup, at least the part that I’m familiar with, moving away from the big Eminence drivers and incorporating a swanky 8″ Nextel driver, which comes from SEAS’ Excel lineup, which is mated to a a 3/4″ SEAS aluminum-dome tweeter instead of a fabric dome.

Like the Pendragons, the Lore S needed only about an hour out of the box and on the juice before the sound unfolded and began to show it’s color. Oh, and before you start jumping up and down about the hazards of early opinions, these are demos — they are fully broken in. Take that!

The result? Well, in this dude’s opinion, the Lore S sounds … well … great. Yep, sure does!

Hmm. Wait. Is that a letdown? Not a large enough pile of a superlatives? Do we need to gild the lily? Well, we could probably hang some more adjectives off the trunk of that particular tree without getting into too much trouble, so lets do some of that.

I think the Lore S is a lovely sounding little speaker. It just has a “little something” that all adds up to a step up in sound quality in some very meaningful ways over the Pendragon. How so? Well, to pick one that comes to mind, how about the phrase “clear as a bell”, emphasis on ‘clear’. Okay, that’s close, but still not it exactly. Let me reach and try again … it’s as if the Lore S speakers disappear a bit more. Ring and shimmer are a bit more pure and decays last longer before fading. They’re cleaner sounding. More crisp. Less smooth. More “hi-fi”.

Eric acknowledges this change, and that even though the sound might be a bit more hi-fi (instead of monitor-like or pro-audio, I suppose), they still meet his goal to “re-create live music” and be faithful to the scale and drama of the live event. What does that mean, here, with the Lore S? In short, they’re room filling. Think: Big Sound! I’m having a hard time believing that all of this that I’m hearing is really coming from these speakers. No, they’re hardly tiny as speakers go, but the sound stage they’re throwing up is, ah, big.

Listening to this new Tekton, I had to know if Eric hadn’t just made its more expensive big brother obsolete. It’s a serious question! The sound stage these little 2-ways are throwing out into my room is just baffling. My top-of-the-line 10x as expensive Merlins just didn’t do this. Dare to turn up the volume on the Lore S and you’re going to get drenched by the sound stage. It’s like sitting in the first three rows of a Gallagher show. Be warned: the Sledge-o-Matic is coming out, folks, are you ready?

In the spirit of being fair and balanced, I think it’s worth mentioning that the speakers still aren’t best described as “detailed”, at least, not in the way that Esoteric’s speakers have been described as being, or what my Magnepan 3.7s (which may be getting a bit jealous, I think, with all these speakers that have come through of late) are capable of. As I mentioned in my write up of the Pendragon, whether or not this is an issue has more to do with your pretensions than with the sound quality. And I mean “pretensions” because these little guys sound g – o – o – d. Oh my.

So, as much as I was groovin’ to these new speakers, I still had that question, though. That little curious voice that wanted to know, “what if?” So, off I went.

The Pendragon, as you can see here in the photo, is about 1/3 taller and 50% deeper than the Lore S. It also has a crap load more drivers. You’d think that this would mean that the bass would be “better” on the Pendragon, wouldn’t you?

Well, it is. Sorry, no revelations there. I played some Jem and Morcheeba on the Lore S and I was immediately impressed with the dynamics and the bass coming out of these “little” guys. Sacrificing my aching body for your reading enjoyment, I then wrestled the giant Pendragons into place, swapped speaker cables, moved the Lore S speakers, and replayed the previous two tracks.

Skull crush. Like grape. Squish!

The Pendragons devastate the Lore S in terms of bass, sound stage and sheer, unbridled power. They’re insanely good. This is what a real full range speaker does to you, folks. Un-ZIP! It’s ludicrous.

The Pendragon is more sensitive (93dB on the Lore S vs 98db on the Pendragon), so when you crank it to 11, the Pendragon will go directly to brain pulverizing levels with very little distortion. This is something that the Lore S just can’t do. The 90dB+ range is where the lack of deep bass really starts making itself felt as the sound began to thin out as the volume goes up and up. By contrast, the Pendragon’s are deftly and effortlessly able to dig deeply and just pile it on at ever higher SPLs. I gave up before the Pendragons did. This makes sense — as volume increases, our ability to perceive bass increases. When it’s loud (-est) is when it’s most obvious what is and isn’t there. Good to know.

So, assuming that you don’t want or need to have a rock concert that your neighbors three streets over can enjoy right along with you, my suspicion is that most of you might find the Lore S to actually be the better sounding speaker [gasp!]. I know! Crazy. Exactly why this could be so is hard to articulate, but I think tone is probably the best place to start. I think the Lore S just sounds a bit more real and a bit more refined. Images are cut a bit sharper and feel more real. Placement is a bit more precise and realistic. Shimmer shimmers more. And aside from the bass, which is listed as heading into the upper-30s, I think I’d rather listen to the Lore S. Sure, the Lore S isn’t exactly full range — and I am IN LOVE with that sound — but what’s “down there” is solid and has some real tub-thumping thwack to it. The mid range is clear and grainless, imaging is precise and that tone ... mmm, delicious. Pardon me while I clean myself up. The Lore S is a beast and $1400 buys you just silly-good speakers.

Here’s the bottom line. I have no idea how Eric is able to make speakers this good for so little money. Any complaints? Not really. At all. I am thrilled with these speakers and at this price, I don’t feel like there’s anything to ask for. I can see most audiophiles getting off the bus here and being very, very happy. Add the $1500 Red Wine Audio Signature 15 and call it a day.

Maybe I’m perverse, but I now want to see a Pendragon with SEAS drivers. Is that absurd? Yeah, well, there’s just no pleasing some people, I know — but guess what? It’s gonna happen. Eric has confirmed that in addition to a significantly up-market offering that’s still in the works, a SEAS-enabled Pendragon variant is in fact also on the drawing board. “I might have to use a slightly smaller tweeter in order fit an array in there, but yeah”. Hee hee!

[Insert drool here].

I can’t wait to see what else Eric comes up with!

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52 Responses to Best yet? The Tekton Lore S

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  4. Mark J says:

    Hello,
    I’m just about ready to make a Lore S purchase. I’m just wondering if there will be a discernible upgrade over my current MMG’s?

    I’m realizing that the sound is going to be different. Can ANYBODY give me an idea as to what kind of difference there will be? And–is there one sub over another that will mesh best with the Lore S?

    Thanks,–Excited!

    • Part-Time Audiophile says:

      The Lore will be more dynamic, for sure. Both like power, but despite rumors to the contrary, you don’t need it with either (Magnepan demos with low-power tube amps at their HQ). However, with it, both speakers will sound different, and IMO, better. Anyway, the Lore will have deeper, and more impactful, bass. I think both are better-than-average on detail retrieval.

      As for subs, no, not really — I’ve no experience integrating with Lore — didn’t need to, really, though I’m sure YMMV (and maybe someone will chime in). I like Rythmik Audio’s F12G because it’s fast and natural sounding — and used to be relatively cheap. But if you’re interested in spending for a good sub, perhaps you ought to take a look at the Pendragon?

  5. Pete says:

    I have had direct experiences with both the Songtower, and Lore-S.the Songtower with Mundorf Silveroil capacitor upgrade is about the same price as the Songtowers or within a few Hundred.
    The Mundorf caps really open up the soundstage, the instruments are more three dimensional
    And there is much more air around the instruments.the tweeters edge if any is gone inner ad micro
    Details are better and they are well worth the money’s ,no longer any dull artifacts it opens a clearer picture of the event. The Only drawback.i have used these in other speakers these things are Huge ! Expect at least 200 hours of playing time just to start opening up over 400 hours
    To. Fully breakin I logged over 10,000 hours on many capacitors with changes day to day letting the speakers play for several weeks at a time when I worked in Audio.
    The Songbirds are more laid back not as dynamic with the little drivers a very even balanced speaker though.the Song birds will not play as loud, or go as deep.

  6. Ryan says:

    Have you heard the Seas Pendragon yet?

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  8. kevin vienneau says:

    Hi.Great review.Did you find the speakers needed to be elavated with them only being 36 inches tall.It seems like the tweeter would not be ear level.Sitting in my chair ear level is at 39 inches and i am not very tall.Thanks

  9. Branon says:

    Thanks for the review of this and the pendragon. I was wondering how these compared to the Salk Songtowers QWT since they are bookend the price range of the salks. Also how large is your room?

    • Part-Time Audiophile says:

      My current listening room is about 14x44x8, but not really. It’s an open basement — lots of weirdness toward the back.

      Never spent any time with the Salks, unfortunately.

  10. obni says:

    I wish I read this earlier, I ordered a pair of Lore, satin white. I hope it will sound great. My current speaker is glow audio one voice, which is nice but lacks bass. Nice review BTW. Can anyone help me decide what’s a decent turntable for under $500. I am inclined to go with the project debut iii. thanks

  11. Dave says:

    I have the Lore-S. I got them about 4 months ago and I absolutely love them. Eric was awesome to deal with. I cannot even think about not having these bad boys for a very long time. Considering it took me almost 30 years to upgrad from my BA 150s!! :)

  12. james says:

    so excited pen or lores payday the 10th. and what do u think about the upgrade for 600 for the lores or 700 pendragon and did u sell your dragons yet?

  13. james says:

    sorry about that. room 15′ bye 24′ was wondering how tekton would be with movies and now u have me cofussed lore s is better then pendrgonand is there a seas pendragon??

    • Part-Time Audiophile says:

      For movies, you’re going to want a sub. Two, if you’re feeling frisky. If you want, the Lore S would be a nice fit there with subs for the “down low”. And yes, there is a new model coming, based on the Pendragon but, like the Lore S, using upgraded SEAS drivers. Not sure when that’s going to be ready, but Eric did mention that the SEAS factory is shut down for a summer break (must be nice), so he’s not getting any of those drivers for that design till August. More to come, I’m sure ….

      • james says:

        ok ty now what do you think about the 600 upgrade for silver i dont know what it is could u explain to me what they are and the benifits ?

      • Part-Time Audiophile says:

        I think you’re talking about the Mundorf Silver-Oil capacitor upgrade? I actually don’t know much about it — but I do know that those parts are expensive. I also know that if Eric has called it out specifically, it’s because it adds enough that he probably would have added to the design in the first place (had he known). As to what it does, or what changes it may (or may not) bring, call him and ask — he’s pretty open and up-front about his designs.

      • james says:

        ok ty now what do you think about the 600 upgrade for silver i dont know what it is could u explain to me what they are and the benifits ? since this is my first time building a homtheater im such a novice but the more i read its like descibing a fine wine and i like wine so plz bare with me and help me undetstand

      • Part-Time Audiophile says:

        I’m afraid I don’t know what the exact benefits are as I haven’t heard them — but I bet Eric can describe them for you.

  14. Jim says:

    Thanks for the reviews and comparisons as they give us valuable insight into operation and performance. With the high cost of many of these, it’s good to get what you pay for. In the case with Tekton, it’s apparent you get much more performance for the dollar. It is also evident that you are not alone in your evaluation of the Tekton by the numerous positive reviews and comparisson with many higher cost, high end speakers. It is nice to get a comparison in the line-up of the different models such as the Lore S. I was tempted to get a pair of the Tektons, a while back and had spoken to Eric, he almost convinced me to purchase, very nice person as well as informative. However the overwhelming amount of glowing reviews were not as numerous and I was bitten by the DIY bug as well as being impacted by budget constraints. If I were to choose a design for myself, the Lore S is at the front of the pack. It seems this speaker has all or many of the attributes of the Lore and Pendragon models, but also has that HiFi
    character I am looking for in a speaker. Has anyone reviewed the OB Sigma, as it looks very interesting. Mid range and top end will perform very well with those drivers, however, I’m concerned with low end performance and how it blends together as one cohesive unit.

  15. james says:

    ok im curious allmost got me hooked what about mo ies or r these just for music. just bought xpa-2 and im looking and you have peaked my interest

    • Part-Time Audiophile says:

      Hi James — the Lore S is a great speaker. Not sure what “Mo ies” is though ….

  16. jon says:

    I have narrowed my search to naim xs with totem hawks or rwa sig. 15 and lore s. I have read all of your reviews and listened to both combos. I really like the live sound of the tektons but I am worried that with less than stellar recordings, which is most of my music as I listen to a lot of indie rock, the tektons won’t be as engaging as the hawks. You alluded to this in your review of Fritz speakers. Do you think that for the music I listen too that the hawks are the better option?

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  18. Dan says:

    I read all your Tekton reviews and you really did a great job. I own the lore and I
    Was looking to upgrade to the pendragon but now that you mentioned that Eric my work on a larger scale of the Lore S make me wonder if I should wait and see what Eric will come up with.

  19. Not a beotch says:

    But let’s just say for the sake of argument I was a beotch. :) Have you seen the veneers, and how good are they fit and finish wise?
    I’m leaning toward the Lore-S at this point because I value tone above all else, but the delta in sensitivity against the Pendragons has me a in a quandary. I’m planning on running them off a “measly” 15 wpc tube amp. What do you think should I go with? Thanks.

    • Part-Time Audiophile says:

      I think it depends on, well, everything. If you have a giant room, the Pendragon will fill it. If you don’t, the Lore S will work great and may sound more refined while it’s at it. If you’re in doubt, I can’t recommend enough just picking up the phone and calling Eric directly. He’s a decent guy and will steer you in the direction you need to go.

      • Not a beotch says:

        My man cave is pretty small, so it sounds like the Lore-S is a better fit. Thanks, that’s just what I needed!

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  21. jon says:

    I am thinking of upgrading my Totem rainmakers. They are nice but my friend got the Hawks,which sound great, and that started me thinking. I recently heard Sjofn Clues and was really impressed with how big and open the sound was coming from these speakers and the instrument separation was top notch. However, your reviews of RWA and the Tekton Lore-S really piqued my interest – especially the suggestion of buying them together and being content. How would you compare the Clues with the Tekton Lore-S.

    • Part-Time Audiophile says:

      The Lore-S has a more refined and extended treble. It also goes deeper and will play a lot louder. (the clue) cheats a bit with bass, relying on the room for that that, but still, it’s a clever cheat and I quite like the sound of these speakers. You’re gonna need an amp with some power, though. Not a ton, just more than the 15wpc that the RWA Sig 15 has.

      • jon says:

        Does it have the soundstage, imaging and instrument separation that the (clues) have? I really enjoyed those aspects the speakers. Also, I thought the Lore-S only went down to the mid 30’s as opposed to the clues which, if I am not wrong) go all the way to 30. Either way I hope to make it up to RWA as Vinnie told me at the show that he has a RWA 15 hooked up to some Lore-S. BTW Thanks for the reply. I am slightly addicted to this site.

      • Part-Time Audiophile says:

        I think the treble is more refined on the Lore-S, so the staging is more precising. And while (the clue) may have useful energy into the low 30Hz region, it’s room-based. That is, YMMV — depending entirely on your room. This is true with any speaker, but far more so with one that needs to load the corner to engage the room to get you your bass.

        As for the Red Wine Audio matchup, it’s more a matter of speaker sensitivity than anything else. The Lore-S is 94dB while (the clue) is only 87dB.

  22. Atexanathome says:

    My Joseph Audio RM33Si’s aren’t matching up well with the new smaller room they are in. It’s 10.5’X10.5’X8′, and the squareness aggravates a 50 Hz peak from the port, to something like 18 dB. I’ve got six GIK bass traps and two echo busters, and I still have trouble.

    I went to HGS-10 Velodyne subs with an XM-9 crossover at 60 Hz. This sort of fixes it, but I get more noise, mainly hiss, that’s annoying at 70″ listening distance.

    These troubles, and the desire to use some old 6V6 amps I got off eBay, have started me thinking about high-efficiency speakers. The Josephs really need the power from my Odyssey Stratos monos.

    Is replacing the Josephs with a Tekton speaker a crazy idea? I thought about RM7’s with the subs’ low-pass filters only, but i’m thinking it might be a step back. Pulsars are out because of price, unless I buy used. I don’t like paying full retail;it’s against my religion. (I’m a devout cheapskate.)

    Would a Tekton Katz Meow or Lore-S be a reasonable choice? I’ve always wanted to try a tube OTL, and Transcendent makes several low-power amps at a reasonable price range.

    I listen mainly to Baroque and classical. A lot of organ music, harpsichord, and chamber orchestras. Beethoven symphonies, a little classic rock. After surfing Youtube, I want to start collecting lute recordings, especially of the theorbo.

    • Part-Time Audiophile says:

      Are you asking for buying advice?

      If you’re a classical music fan, and you want to try OTLs, you’re gonna want a very high sensitivity on your speakers. Like 98dB or higher.

      That’s not Joseph.

      Tekton does have some really nice choices. ;-)

      • Atexanathome says:

        Thanks for the reply. I was indeed trolling for buying advice.

        I was expecting you to say something like,”Replace Josephs with Tektons!? Are you nuts!?”

        It seems that I need to call Mr. Alexander and discuss the posssibilities. I have some money in the bank not doing anything, not even collecting interest. I think I need to put it to work, maybe buy some customized Tekton Uruz with better tweeters.

  23. kirkslade says:

    I am hoping you can help. Tekton Lore-S vs. Aperion Audio Verus Grand Tower vs. B&W CM8? I am stuck!!! They are all pretty good. If you had to have one, what would you choose? Thanks in advance.

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  25. Scott says:

    I wanted to give my two cents worth regarding the Lore-S as I have a pair. They are exceptionally good speakers at this price range and I agree with everything in the review. I have also heard the Lores and used an AMR AM-777 60wpc integrated for both during listening sessions. To my ears, the Lore-S is a significant upgrade in sound quality. The highs are clearer and the midrange is smoother. Bass is identical between the two. I heard a slight grain with the Lores, but not with the Lore-S. I didn’t notice any difference between the two in the area of dynamics as the Lore-S punches very nicely. I also felt like the music was more real sounding with the Lore-S and not as much “in your face” like the Lores. I believe this was the goal Eric was striving for.

    Anyway, I hope this helps.

  26. Chris Garrison says:

    Well, what if you couldn’t set them 4′ out in the room, more like 8″-1′, and if you would be listening off axis a good bit, and didn’t plan to crank them up much? How do you think they’d do? They’d be replacing a big old pair of Sansui SP-3005’s and probably get used with an old Fisher X-100 integrated. Thanks for your comments…

    • Part-Time Audiophile says:

      Ooh, I like vintage Fisher. Interesting question, though, but I have a few things to wrap up before revisiting the Lore S. KIT.

  27. Dan says:

    Great review as usual, thanks. I don’t think anyone has done a Lore/M-Lore comparison. You are probably the best person to do that. Please consider this a request for you to audition the M-Lore!

  28. Mike in SC says:

    Hard to find full range under $20K? What are you looking for?

    Kef
    Devore Fidelity
    Audio Kinesis
    Silverline
    Coincident
    Wilson Benesch
    Kharma
    Martens

    …just to name a few of the dozens out there but am not sure of your criteria beyond price.

    Thanks for reviewing several of the Tekton line of speakers. This makes for interesting, informative reading.

    • Socrates7 says:

      Full range under $20k isn’t hard, I guess, but you get what you pay for. The Tekton Pendragon is most definitely full range and it’s $2500. It’s stunning. But I have also, here, a pair of eFicion F300s at just under 10x the cost. And they’re clearly better. 10x better? No. But that price/performance curve does weird things. Like your list, BTW, some real heavyweights in there. I’ve heard the big DeVore’s (very nice) and the big KEF (also very nice, but very different). Haven’t spent any serious time with the Audio Kinesis, Coincident or Silverline, though I’ve heard various iterations over the years. Full-range Marten is new-to-me, so I’m really interested in the Djangos. Kharma isn’t even imported into the US anymore (I don’t think?) and Wilson Benesch is really hard to find.

  29. Norman says:

    Eric is a magician!

  30. Ben says:

    I auditioned the Lore S for a couple weeks recently, a temporary swap for my standard Lores. I concur with most of what was written here. Lore S soundstage has a lot more ease of depth and instrument separation than my Lores, are easier on placement, have a more refined detail, and has a fullness of tone and body to instruments the Lore didn’t have. Yet, the Lore has significantly more dynamics and presence, more of a “live” sound to it that I find addictive and can’t live without. They simply fill a room much better than the Lore S did in my opinion.

    Fast forward a few weeks, and I now have an Onix SP3 tube amp in the house, replacing a Dayens Ampino solid state amp. The SP3 adds a helluva lot of soundstage depth and tonal density to the dynamics and scale that I love about the Lore over the Lore S. I was hoping an amp change and maybe some other tweaks to the Lore might bring me most of the strengths of the Lore S while retaining the dynamics. I think that just might be the case.

    I only bring this up because our friendly reviewer here seems to have been using his big boy Plinius amp, at least that’s what I assume. I’m curious if the right kind of tube amp or other equipment swap might close the tonal and soundstage gaps significantly. I also wonder if the 15 wpc Red Wine amp really would be the perfect combo to the Lore S. I found myself wondering while I had the Lore S whether having a big nice solid state amp would bring out more dynamics and punch, making their room presence closer to what I liked about the Lore with the added qualities he describes here.

    So, I guess my main point is, I’d be curious about some follow-up comments playing around with amps. I’ve just seen what going from a 25 wpc highly articulate solid state amp to a 40 wpc push pull tube amp, both seen as screaming bargains in the sub-$1K amp market, can do to synergize with the Lore. Do the reviewer’s statements about the Lore S hold with that Red Wine amp? With a bona fide tube amp? Would those Pendragons respond to a tube amp the way my Lores have?

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