About a month or so ago, I got an itch to try out some tubes again. Might have been a virus that was going around, upon further reflection, but while I was in the grips of things, I started contemplating what a high-sensitivity setup would look like. I wandered. I mulled. I researched. I chatted up my audio pals. On one of the many tangents that flowed from that line of thought, Vinnie Rossi, the Chief Vintner over at Red Wine Audio, recommended that I check out Tekton Designs.
After a cursory search, I gave designer Eric Alexander a call to ask about what was going on over there and in the course of that conversation, I agreed to bring in a pair of his latest work, the Pendragon, a full range/multi-driver monster that some on Ye Ol’ Internets were whispering about as a real giant killer. But! During that conversation, Eric did let slip that he’d been thinking about revisiting that design and swapping out the drivers on his already-absurdly high sensitivity speakers, moving the overall nominal impedance from a common 4ohm load to a more tube-congenial 8ohms. 8ohms and 98dB sensitivity. Four big drivers. Six tweeters. Two giant cabinets. One big New Year’s Day treat.
The standard finish is black and white, which may be a bit plain-Jane, so Eric allowed as how he could paint it any number of different colors. I suggested “burgundy” (I think I was watching the Redskins actually win a game that day, so it was on my mind) and got “wine”. Given how I got recommended the speakers, I think this is entirely fitting and the color is actually remarkably striking. The cabinet finish itself is smooth, but more of a matte than a mirror, so no worries about fingerprints.
They’re big speakers. Each box, shipped, was something like 88lbs, so plan your unpacking scheme accordingly. Me, I had a holiday house guest handy who helped me manhandle the boxes into the listening room for unpackaging and placement.
At Eric’s recommendation, I’m starting with some severe toe in and working from there. Current position is a bit forward from the Maggies, which are shoved into the corner for now.
The system, for now is my EL84 based 3.5wpc Miniwatt N3 handling power delivery and an HRT Streamer II+ is pulling tunes from a MacBook Pro.
And as for the sound? Kinda all comes down to this, doesn’t it? Well, it’s hardly fair to paint them into a corner so soon, isn’t it? Let me say this — I’ve had them in and on for half a day. And … they’re just terrific. Soundstage is w – i – d – e. Bass? ROTFL! As the wise man once said, “You’re going to need a bigger boat”.
Over the next week or three, I’ll have quite a bit more to say about these nifty little boxes, I’m sure. But for now, color me “happily surprised”. Those Internets may well be on to something here.
Stay tuned for “Part Two”.