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Part One: Introducing the Tekton Pendragon

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”.

All I can say is: these cost how much?!? Yes. $2500. Sound like a lot? Well, it is! In relative terms, however, this is something of an achievement. Full range speakers are absurdly expensive.

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”.

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About Scot Hull (975 Articles)
Founder, Editor and Publisher at Part-Time Audiophile and The Occasional Magazine.

7 Comments on Part One: Introducing the Tekton Pendragon

  1. Bullitt5094 // April 14, 2013 at 9:22 AM //

    I have a set of B&W 804s. I love them, but there is always room for improvement. I’m very curious about these speakers and the possibility they may actually sound better than my beloved 804s. I have them set-up in a well trapped HT environment but listen to music about 50% of the time. The room is approximately 15×22 with 12 ft ceilings. What are the chances I’m going to be impressed with the Pendragons vs the 804s?. It’s unfortunate Eric asks for 15% as part of his “no risk” trail.

  2. Waiting to hear from others on the new Pendragon – SE speakers a online magazine is still months away.They finally are available as of Sept. a few guys have bought them and a review or two
    Should be out by mid Nov I was told .Looking forwards to it.

    • Part-Time Audiophile // October 21, 2012 at 9:32 AM //

      Eric said I was to get a pair back in Sept, but haven’t heard too much from him lately.

  3. I’ve had a pair of Vandersteen 2Ces since 1992 (with dual outlaw subwoofers added three years ago) and I’ve been wanting to upgrade for a while. I had expected to eventually obtain Ohm Walsh 5000s, but your review of the Pendragon has me intrigued. I need speakers that sound great in a large family room, with little scope for audio optimization. There are furniture interferences and I need something that doesn’t need fraction of an inch placement to sound good. With a playlist of mostly rock and country, a little jazz and classical, would the Pendragon be a dramatic upgrade over my Vandersteens? I’m not acquainted with any local audiophiles and I don’t get to listen to any gear aside from my own, my research is limited to reading reviews. Your educated opinion would be of great help. Thanks.

    • Socrates7 // March 3, 2012 at 10:34 PM //

      I have to admit that I’m a fan of the Pendragon. They’re quite big, though! But to answer your question, I think you’re going to be shocked at how far $2500 goes. And your music is going to be very well served. Good luck!

  4. A few questions i would like to ask , will these speakers sound good in a smaller room lets say 25 ft long, 15 ft wide? and yes its going to be room treatment galore. I dont know even how to use bass traps and other stuff yet, but i know i have to learn quickly. I really like full range speakers with high sensitivity for cheap. How can u go wrong with the lore right. Well Since in home auditioning is impossible, and synergy is everything.
    30 days is nothing when work and home chores rule.
    I really wonder will this go well with tubes. I have an AYon spirit 3 and CD 07 and have tried 1.7 complete failure , triton 2 complete non sense, and ML source poor integration of panels and woofers in my opinion. So after reading all the hooplah of paid reviewers. I just wanted an honest answer, will this work well or will it head to audiogon land for a another loss. Or should the old saying bite me yet again “yer pay for what yer get boy”
    How far away from the walls and distance they need from one another. Also are those cables youre hyping really that good. black cat? ive been contemplating virtue audio cables which are cheap in audiophile terms and morrow cables. i hate paying for copper and a touch of silver!!! its out of control. As for tubes at least you can really hear the difference when u pop another one in.
    help required part time audio god.
    thanks
    speakers ive always liked
    sonus faber-still love them – Thiels-pwr hungry no tubes for them but wow and Proac – love tubes.
    im actually shying away from American brands in America, how quaint! but my last hopes are legacy and tekton.

    • Socrates7 // February 5, 2012 at 8:50 AM //

      Your room sounds fine for these, especially if you’re trapping it up. GIK and ASC make very nice treatments. If you’re on a budget, Acoustimac might be a better bet as they sell bits and parts, if you’re up to a DIY approach.

      FWIW, I was pretty surprised how quickly the Pendragons stabilized. Even with a pretty hectic schedule, I think you’ll be able to get a good feel of whether or not the speakers will work for you before your time runs out.

      As for gear, that Ayon integrated will kick those speakers up one wall and down the other, especially when you run those tubes in pentode. 50wpc is perfect.

      Again, if you’re on a budget, I strongly recommend “doing cables” last. I like what I’ve heard so far from Black Cat, and I think they’ll mate up well with the Pendragons + Ayon — but I’m still waiting on the rest of my cables from them, so for now, I’m kinda guessing. Nordost would be an interesting choice, if you’re looking up-market. Never heard Virtue cables before, so I can’t comment there, but the Stereomojo guys seem quite taken with them. Given their prices, I don’t think you’d be going to far out on a limb with giving them a try.

      Good luck!

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