Country of Origin


Perfect SET

Reviewer: Terry London
Financial interests: Director of the Chicago Institute for R.E.B.T. & Clinical Director for the Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center in Chicago
Sources: Lab12-DAC1, CEC TL3N Transport
Preamplifier: Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL with upgraded external power supply
Power Amplifiers: Bricasti Design M15, Coda N°8, Triode Lab SET 2A3, Threshold S/350e
Loudspeakers: NSMT Model 50, Tekton Design DI monitor, Martin Logan Depth subwoofers x 2 (downstairs system), Pioneer SW-8Mk2 subs x 2 (upstairs system, not used during this review)
Cables: Sablon Audio Corona S/PDIF, full loom of MG Cables copper/silver ribbons, full loom of Audio Surgeon copper
Power delivery: Running Springs Audio Dmitri power conditioner, Dignity Audio PPT-50/two 250 transformers, Audio Archon power cords
Equipment rack: Smith Design 2-tier basic rack, bamboo boards, Krolo Design reference footers
Review component retail: $1'800/pr

Tekton Design are based out of Utah in the United States and have been producing highly regarded affordable speakers for over 15 years already. CEO/designer Eric Alexander has built a reputation for creating different floorstanding and stand-mounted speakers that deliver performance much higher than other speakers in their price brackets. By 2012, fellow reviewer and colleague Andrew Robinson wrote a stellar review on the Tekton Design Pendragon. It retailed for $2'499/pr to cause quite the buzz on audiophile websites and word of mouth on the street. This revolved around Mr. Robinson's claim based on his experience with Wilson Audio Maxx 3 speakers ($68'000/pr) that the tremendously less costly Pendragon's overall performance equaled them. In the U.S., the Pendragon acquired the nickname Wilson Audio killer and ended up in many home theater systems with high-end two-channel rigs. When I had my own opportunity to sit in front of a pair driven by equipment I was very familiar with, I agreed that it sounded like a clone of the much more expensive Wilson.

It allowed fans of the Wilson house sound to purchase this type presentation without the hideous price tags. For me the Pendragon still had one major problem, however. It sounded like a Wilson. In my years of listening, I have never found any of theirs satisfying musically or emotionally. My experience is that they do everything technically correct but always sound like mechanical devices which do not produce the illusion of real music.

When I first spoke to Eric Alexander in 2015, my conversation revolved around how I had great respect for his chops at designing and building a quality speaker like the Pendragon. What I look for was simply a different presentation. I want leading-edge micro details of the harmonics but not to the point of being cutting, edgy and lacking the body which gives fullness and palpability to what acoustic instruments create in real life.

I also shared that many of the extremely expensive speakers I had opportunity to review which used ceramic or exotic metal drivers often sounded dry to me or bleached out the timbres and tonality of the music.

For my perception, if a speaker does not get the timbres, color and tonality of instruments correctly, it leads to a severe disconnect of my enjoyment and emotional response. After this conversation, Eric felt that a newer design would satisfy my musical tastes.

This led to me reviewing his Sigma OB open baffle which sold for $3'000/pr. This turned out to be a wonderful speaker. The Sigma OB produced the soundstaging of a planar with accurate placement and sizing of instruments on stage yet more macro dynamics and bass extension than panels can produce.

Additionally, Eric was very excited about what he considered to be a major breakthrough or qualitatively different approach to speaker design. He offered me the chance to be the first professional reviewer to receive a pair once his patent was granted. After it issued on January 26, 2016 (US patent #9247339), he sent me a pair of Double Impact for review.