Andrew Robinson began his career as an art director in entertainment advertising in 2003, after graduating from Art Center College of Design. In 2006, he became a creative director at Crew Creative Advertising, and oversaw the agency's Television Division, where he worked for clients such as TNT, TBS, History, FX, and Bravo to name a few. He now has one of the most popular AV-related channels on YouTube.
Tekton Design is a loudspeaker company that, by now, requires no introduction within audiophile and home theater circles. I reviewed my first Tekton loudspeaker over a decade ago, and in that time I and others have seen Tekton go from a plucky, Utah-based upstart to a veritable force within the loudspeaker marketplace. While the road hasn't always been smooth for Tekton, their perseverance and singular focus on building high-value, high-performance loudspeakers has served them well and seen them through.
One of Tekton's original darlings from back in the day was the Lore loudspeaker, which is still in production today, but whose popularity has given rise to a few variations, or editions. At present the Lore loudspeaker can be had in roughly four flavors; Lore, Lore Reference, Mini Lore, and the new Lore Be reviewed here.
At $1,300 a pair shipped, the Lore Be is one of Tekton's newest offerings. Fans of the original Lore will be forgiven if at first glance you're unable to tell the Be from the original. This is due to the fact that the Be is no different from the Lore in terms of physical size, measuring 39 inches tall by 12 inches wide and 13 inches deep. Both the Lore and the Lore Be tip the scales at 60 pounds apiece, and feature (largely) the same specifications. And as with all Tekton loudspeakers, the Lore Be comes in a few standard matte or semi-gloss colors (Black, Light Grey, Dark Grey), but can be ordered in a bevy of custom colors and automotive finishes at an additional charge.
The Lore Be has a reported frequency response of 30 Hz to 30 kHz, with a sensitivity of 98 dB and nominal impedance of 8?. It employs a single 10-inch Lore transducer, which is a carry-over from the original, and trades the Lore's Audax Gold dome tweeter for a Beryllium one, hence the Be in its name.
In short, the Lore Be is merely the original Lore, but with a Beryllium tweeter now as standard. On paper, there's no discernable difference in performance between the two, which was confirmed by Tekton themselves, who commented that the creation of the Lore Be was due large in part to some customers preferring the sound of Beryllium tweeters to that of the Audax. Because Beryllium requires a bit more in terms of manufacturing costs, the Be does cost $300 more than the regular Lore.
Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of reviewing the original Lore, so I cannot say one way or the other if the Be is better or worth the upgrade. I can only comment on the Be itself compared to other speakers--Including more than a few from Tekton. The Lore Be is as true a full-range loudspeaker as one can reasonably expect in a design that doesn't employ a built-in subwoofer. What I mean by that is, when set up properly, listeners can expect to both hear and feel solid bass performance, and in small- to medium-sized rooms you might find that you don't need an outboard sub at all. The bass prowess of the Lore Be is agile, textural, and accurate, with very little bloat or chuffing from either of its front mounted ports (again, when positioned correctly).
Because the Lore Be is essentially a single-driver loudspeaker from the upper midrange on down, the coherence to the entire speaker's sound is infectious. I find Tekton loudspeakers to be mildly forward on a whole, which gives the music or movie you're watching a very lively feel. This is likely due to the speaker's sensitivity, whereby it doesn't take much if any power to make the Lore Be sing and sing loudly. Because the Lore Be speakers are so sensitive, it does mean that details, textures, and nuances, whether instrumental or vocal, will likely feel rendered anew through a wide swath of electronics, whereas lesser loudspeakers may require you to be more selective with the quality of your amplifier's power. Fans of low power (aka "flea watt) tube amps and even single-ended triode amplifier designs should definitely take note. Getting away from the speaker's sensitivity, the sound throughout the midrange is extremely uncolored and natural in its tone. Vocals especially shine, whether sung or spoken. Again, it is that coherence I spoke about earlier that I found to be so compelling.
As for that Beryllium tweeter, it is very nice indeed. And I say this as someone who often doesn't get what all the audiophile fuss is about over the rare Earth metal. But the tweeter inside the Lore Be is very nice indeed. High frequencies are smooth, airy, extended, and clear. The tweeter has remarkable speed and detail--though this again is due to the loudspeaker's overall design and sensitivity. Even at high volumes, I found little to gripe about when it came to the tweeter's performance; I felt it more than held its composure even when throttled.
As for the rest of the Lore Be's performance, it is an imaging champ provided you can give it room to breathe and employ a bit of toe-in (at least in my room). The soundstage does extend a few inches ahead of the speaker's front baffle, and carry on well past the outer edges of the speakers themselves, which showcases the speaker's terrific dispersion characteristics. Center imaging is solid, with good delineation throughout the soundstage given the right recording.
Competition and Comparisons
You can compare the Lore Be to a number of different loudspeakers for a number of different reasons. First, if we're comparing it against loudspeakers that offer full-range performance or close to it and also feature Beryllium tweeters, then the Lore Be deserves to be in the conversation in many respects with the likes of Paradigm's Persona 3F and Revel's PerformaBe. Obviously, the Lore Be is not the same type of loudspeaker compared to either the Persona or Performa, as they are what you would call more traditional designs and as such have a different sonic characteristic compared to the Lore Be. But, all things considered, the Lore Be is a speaker that does punch above its weight class with respect to its performance, and as a result can hold its own or be mentioned alongside speakers that cost upwards of five times its asking price. Now, is the Lore Be as nice to look at as either the Paradigm or Revel speaker? In my humble opinion, no, but it also doesn't cost as much, so concessions have to be made somewhere.
If we're comparing budget-friendly, Internet-direct darlings, then perhaps the Lore Be is more directly in competition with the likes of SVS (based solely on price and business model). Again, I'm not saying the Lore Be is better or worse than SVS's flagship loudspeakers, the Ultra Towers, or their new Prime Pinnacle speakers; I'm merely saying that they're comparable in terms of asking price and sales model.
At $1,300 a pair delivered, the Lore Be is an audiophile/home theater bargain, which isn't a huge surprise given Tekton's penchant for delivering high-end sound for rather cheap. While the Lore Be may not be a wholly different beast from its predecessor, the Lore, Beryllium does seem to be what a lot of enthusiasts want these days, and it's nice to know you can enjoy the benefits of the material without breaking the bank. Most existing Lore customers likely will not feel the need to upgrade, but if you have the little extra room in your budget, the small premium for the Beryllium tweeter found in the Lore Be certainly makes it a tempting step up.
All that said, on its own merits, the Lore Be is another fine loudspeaker from Tekton Design, one that continues to carry on in the tradition established by other Tekton loudspeaker offerings.
• Visit the Tekton Design website for more information.
• Check out the Floorstanding Speaker Reviews category page to read similar reviews.
• Tekton Design Impact Monitor Bookshelf Speaker Reviewed at HomeTheaterReview.com.