Review: Tekton Design Ulfberhts


Tekton Design Ulfberhts

  • Made under U.S. Patent 9247339 with multiple new patents pending
  • Proprietary 4-way loudspeaker design
  • Ultra-linear frequency response with ±.5dB deviation from 70Hz-20kHz
  • Simple and elegant minimum phase (single crossover element) mid-range and tweeter 
  • Ultra-linear, entirely time-invariant minimum-phase mid-range section   
  • Proprietary patent pending 15 dome radiating hybrid MTM high frequency array
  • Patented 4 gram total moving mass dual 7 tweeter poly-cell midrange array ​  
  • Four 7" mid-bass patented 'overtone & harmonic' bass transducers
  • Dual 12" woofers
  • ​99dB [email protected] sensitivity 
  • 4 Ohm design for optimum performance
  • 20Hz-30kHz frequency response
  • 1000 Watt power handling
  • Weight 225 lbs
  • Height 77.0" (195.58 cm) x Width 16.0" (40.64 cm) x Depth 17.0" (43.18 cm)​
  • Includes eight speaker spikes, hardwood floor footers available separately
  • Manufactured in the USA

If you missed the prologue to this review I recommend reading it before transitioning into this page. The Prologue may be read here: Prologue: Tekton Design UlfberhtWhen I wrote up the prologue several months ago I meant to be semi-humorous and play on some of the commonly heard objections stated about Tekton Design products, objections that are parroted by others, people which sometimes come across as expert critics on various internet platforms even if having no direct experience with the product themselves ~ but I'm not one to gossip.

So where do I begin? Where I left off before? As a Hobbit standing in the shadows before the two towers? If so, then, I refrained from speaking due to my lack of experience and inability to articulate through what I was hearing [remember, I am an amateur reviewer]. Today I find "reviewing" an art, I mean reviewing is like describing a color or a taste let alone the sound of something. I often think a poet would be better equipped to describe audio bliss rather than an audio or sound engineer. Anyways, I could begin with an equipment list ..... but such is listed throughout this site: Disqus.Social. Meh, here's the technical information I'll regret not sharing later in order to conform to what readers might expect beforehand, some emphasis on the listening room which is at least as influential on the sound you hear as the speakers themselves, so shoot for not only optimal placement but also room treatment. I placed the Ulfberhts in a final distance of nine feet [from eleven] between the Left and Right speakers. If you're interested in room treatment then I suggest the following: HIFI AUDIO ACOUSTICAL ROOM TREATMENT BEGINS.

In room measurements for Ulfberht w/out Dirac Live Room Correction. Measured 3 feet in front of at center tweeter height:

Left Ulfberht [note: close to corner in room measurement]. Measured 3 feet in front of at center tweeter height:

On the topic of amplification: an amplifier needs to be powerful (within reason) and as excellent as affordable; at rational listening levels, “too much” available power will never compromise a speaker’s sound, but too little power definitely can. For example:

23 ohms @ 48 Hz and as low as 2.3 ohms @ 100-108 Hz. The average impedance over the audible range is 6.4 ohms and the median impedance is 4.6 ohms. Higher impedance is not of much concern, but very low impedance is, because it places a difficult load on the amp. The Tekton Design Ulfberht's 2.3 ohm impedance in the mid-bass is something that consumers should know because this speaker craves a beefy amp with powerful transformer and high current [amperage] output to sound its best.

In this review my system utilizes:

1) Onkyo PR-RZ5100 Pre-Pro 2) Parasound Halo A31 amplifier 3) Onkyo DXC390 Disc CD Changer 4) BlueSound 2i High Resolution Node Streamer

Regarding the BlueSound Node 2I, remember, high-resolution audio is by no means required. However, avoid lower-bit-rate MP3s and the like. And, know that hi-res and “audiophile” recordings—whether digital file, CD, or LP—are more likely (though hardly certain) to feature production values that are more lifelike and utilize a wider dynamic range. Either way, I'll audition these speakers using the type of music I actually listen; a speaker that sounds great on a woodwind quintet means little if I’ve no idea what an unamplified bassoon, French horn, or oboe really sounds like. In other words, I'm pointing to my experiences after having listened to pianos, various stringed, or percussion instruments in real life. The unamplified instrument is the very reference that's desirable to replicate. 

Note: Final fidelity reaching your ears from the above video is subject to not only the recording device I used but the final speakers used on your part. 

The Feline "Purrr" Test:
Two anticipated events I notice and look forward to whenever turning on the system. Number one, both kitties upon hearing the gentle thud of the Parasound as well as the click from both 4-10 amps come a running to the couch. While the amps start to warm finding coziness from that special space proves most difficult as they prod around, definitely, finicky beasts. Wonder whether they notice they both usually sit center on the couch where most Hifi enthusiasts prefer? Two, the vanishing act, amazing how such massive speakers can disappear before my eyes on a sound stage that extends so far above and outside their position.
Personally, I have never heard another system w/ this kinda fidelity operating in 3 channel LCR mode. The Tekton custom center channel has amazing clarity. The Ulfs Beryllium high frequency tweeters in the MTM array have me shaking my head in disbelief every time I hear the resonation of a cymbal in replication ..... I can't help but think I can hear where the drum stick hits the cymbal and the sound waves work themselves out of the cymbal's circular shape dissipating into the air. A truly exciting experience:

Starring: Abigail & Asher

Anyhoot, I thought to take a different approach which might allow this article to expand w/ help from the "cult like" following of Tekton Design. I say cult like because in large Tekton Design's approach to hifi audio isn't considered orthodox by many so-called hifi experts even if an expert only in their own minds. I do recommend [if you stomach the FB platform] if having an interest in Tekton Design products to join the Facebook Group, "
Tekton Design Speakers Worldwide Owners Group" There, in the group you'll find many owners of Tekton Design products which are able to share their personal experiences as well as help potential buyers. Remember, Tekton Design hand builds each unit in America, and being a smaller operation may be at times incapable of fulfilling orders in an instant mannerism. Of course, as a Tekton owner, cough cough, this could make existing product retain value if looking to upgrade later because of supply and demand. At times the waiting list can be trying but Tekton's products are well worth the wait.

Let's continue this review from the Prologue with a slight transformation as I found remaining silent or holding my tongue less than desirable. For the mighty Ulfberhts say, "Hold your tongue and we will take it from you!" In attempts to convey the glory do unto the mighty Ulfs lemme caution myself and speak as accurately and truthfully as I can.  

The following are dialogues which are unfolding in the "Tekton Design Speakers Worldwide Owners Group" on this particular article. I cannot emphasize enough how great this group is to those looking for information from those having lived with or experiencing Tekton Design products for extended periods of time.

From the Tribe of Lore Reference, Nicholas asks, "That's a lot of firepower for that room! Do you have the 4-10s crossed over at the same frequency the 12"s are crossed over at in the Ulfs?"

From the Tribe of Ulfberht: William responds, "I'm actually not sure where the 12s crosses over in the Ulfs and suspect they may be different than the MOABS because of the lack of midbass drivers. I suspect the MOABS may extend higher because of the lack thereof. Perhaps someone else may chime in and answer the question in the below article response? I'd definitely use the information in this write up. To answer your question I've settled w/ a low pass crossover for both 4-10s at 80hz and they are also high passed at 16hz. The main Ulfs are high passed above 16hz. For fire discipline I'm analyzing the in room frequency response through a visual optic or graph like interface made possible through a MiniDsp and Dirac Live 3 software. The below shows "group 3 blues" which are the targeted subwoofers.

Corrected In Room Frequency Response of Left, Center, Right, as well as two Subwoofers [see color legend in picture: Group 1= Mains, Group 2= Center, Group 3: Subwoofers.

From the Tribe of Lore Reference, Nicolas continues, "Fascinating. Do you find a direct correlation between how flat the frequency response is and how subjectively good your system sounds?
From the Tribe of Ulfberht, William responds, "I do not prefer a totally flat frequency response which is probably ideal in an anechoic chamber........ remember the frequency graph above IS "in room" actual or real environment [yours will differ]. If you note I'm using the Harman Research 4db curve which boosts the lower frequency with the exception of the center channel [group 2 yellow high passed at 70hz]. The center channel with a 4db boost actually began 'clipping' the center speakers [update: due to Dirac Live's bug now no clipping w/ 4db boost to match the mains], first time since I owned them. In room the center had dips and peaks probably because of the stone coffee table before them. So, I flattened the center's frequency response which remedied the clipping issue.
The upper frequency response being made flat to answer your question is more ideal to my ears. I had replaced the stock softdome Scanspeak tweeters w/ their BE Illuminator series. After break in the new tweeters became rather too hot .... think of a hot mic which is overly sensitive. Female artist such as Norah Jones and Diana Krall began sounding as though they had a "lisssssp" which sizzled. The MiniDSP or Dirac Live 3 room correction remedied this too." 
From the Tribe of Lore Reference, Nicholas further comments, "Thank you for sharing. I've been wondering about BE tweeters. Before I got my Tektons I had always had loudspeakers with Ti tweeters. I much prefer soft domes, it turns out. The upper octaves are certainly there but there is no sense of sibilants. Your review makes mention of listening fatigue from your former Klipsch. Do you find your new BE tweeters give you any listening fatigue?"
From the Tribe of Ulfberht, William follows up, "None, that is, after the frequency response has been corrected [BE upgrade was performed by me but Tekton offers BE upgrade w/ different xovers]. The BEs in comparison to the stock soft domes are more "holographic". High hats, cymbals, etc take upon a new lifelike replication that I've never heard in a system before.
As Mark B. from the Tribe of Ulfberht states in his review of the BEs there's a diminishing return considering cost effectiveness in making this upgrade. The cost of 3 BEs in only transplanting the high frequency tweeter in the Left, Center, and Right are spendy [ScanSpeak's Illuminator]. For more information: Softdome to BEs. However, the improvement is hands down more lifelike in realism when replicating the original instrument. People will have to put a price on that for themselves."

From the Tribe of Enzo XL, Bob, asks, "Enjoying the write up so far. Did you experiment with Ulf placement in your room? I read in Teajay's review that he felt they need lots of room to breath. Does your DSP help with this somehow? My experience with DSP for 2CH is non-existent."

From the Tribe of Ulfberht, William says, "Thanks for chiming in w/ a great question. Initially I followed Terry London's review where he stated that he placed the Ulfs the same distance in between as the DIs.

Utilizing a 3.2 system my thinking beforehand was that I could exaggerate the distance in between the mains increasing stereo separation while the center speaker creates a "phantom" that is real and pinned no matter the listening position. The eleven foot distance in between to me was exaggerated. That seems to be the case after having moved the towers together at 9 feet in between. The center position is now more pronounced w/ the trade off of stereo separation. However, there's another factor, moving the Left speaker in closer to the other benefited by moving the Left speaker another foot and half away from the Left Wall. Total distance now is 2 and half feet from the Left wall. The Right speaker hasn't this issue because the Right Wall extends out to another ten to fifteen feet. This is where the magic of Dirac Live 3 room correction comes in. My listening area is in an open floor space which is close to 25 feet by 25 feet.

As of today I'm moving my speakers out a little more but in order to do so I'm waiting for longer power cords that are to be delivered today. I'll then have to run more measurements. This time I'll screen shot more thoroughly to add to the article.

Thanks again!"

From the Tribe of Enzo XL, Bob, "Very nice! I will be interested in your findings and if you feel that imaging improves with the added space behind the Ulf's."

To be continued.....

Eric Alexander explains his Patent: United States Patent 9247339

Popular Posts