Tekton Design Nebo Loudspeaker
Tekton Design’s new Nebo speakers produce beautiful tones and sounds that envelop the listener in a rich and full experience. The deep bass notes reverberate with a powerful force, the mid-range frequencies are balanced and natural, while the crisp highs add a touch of brightness and clarity, creating a seamless blend of sound that genuinely brings music to life. The soundstage is wide and expansive, allowing the listener to experience each instrument and vocal as if they were in the room. Overall, the sound of these speakers is a testament to the precision engineering and attention to detail that went into their design.
Understanding the Tekton Nebo requires a brief description of the innovation that is integral to its design. Musical instruments and the human voice generate sound through the production of fundamental frequencies and overtones of these frequencies. The fundamental frequency serves as the basic building block of sound production, but when the fundamental frequency is combined with the overtones, a rich and complex sound is created. The combination and arrangement of these overtones create a unique sonic fingerprint, which differentiates one instrument or voice from another. The balance and relative intensity of the overtones with respect to the fundamental frequency is sometimes referred to as the “timbre” of an instrument.
The experience of live music and recorded music often differ in the ears of the listener. When attending a live performance, the natural overtones of the instruments and voices create a rich and authentic experience. However, when played through a loudspeaker system, the same music may lack that same depth and accuracy. This lack of depth is due primarily to the mismatch between the moving mass of the speaker’s transducer and the moving mass of the musical instrument. If the transducer is too heavy, it will alter and skew the sound, resulting in a muffled, less energetic, and less accurate sound.
Tekton Design has addressed this issue in a unique and groundbreaking way. The innovative honeycomb tweeter array has become a defining feature of the Tekton brand (see Tekton’s website favicon for reference). By connecting arrays of small transducers with minimal moving mass and arranging them closely together, Eric Alexander of Tekton Design has discovered a solution that accurately reproduces low frequencies while preserving the related overtones. The result is a speaker system that brings the listener closer to the live music experience, with all its depth, richness, and authenticity.
Resistance to Change
In the audio world, new innovations are not uncommon to be met with skepticism. Audio community discussions about Tekton speakers often elicit strong reactions, with those who have listened to them usually expressing their enthusiasm for the performance. Despite the accolades from those who have taken the time to listen to Tekton’s speakers, others cling to preconceived and speculative notions about the sound of an array of tweeters.
This resistance to innovation is a phenomenon that has been around for a while, and the latest offering from Tekton Design is no exception. Throughout history, new inventions have often been met with skepticism and objections, with Sir William Petty noting as far back as 1662 that “when a new invention is first propounded, in the beginning, every man objects… ” This idea is echoed in the words of Scientific American, which once famously scoffed at the “… Wright Aeroplane and Its Fabled Performances,” dismissing it as a thing of fiction ” The benefit of hindsight allows us to look back at such instances of resistance to innovation with a full appreciation of the historical irony.
While recognizing resistance to innovation in a historical context may be obvious, for some, seeing resistance to innovation in the present tense is more challenging. That said, it is important to remember that resistance to new ideas and innovations is fundamental to human nature. Hence, it is not unexpected that companies like Tekton Design would encounter similar resistance to their innovations, particularly the patented tweeter array integral to the Nebo’s design. Those who make quick judgments based on appearance alone may be pleasantly surprised to discover that the sound produced by Tekton Design’s Nebo speakers is anything but shrill or etched. The Tekton Design Nebo speakers may be among the best-sounding speakers that one might hear.
The Tekton Nebo speakers boast a bold and distinctive design, blending elements of the Moab and Double Impact models. The front of the speaker showcases a dual honeycomb array of 15 tweeters, which are arranged similarly to the Moab but recessed into the cabinet for a horn-loaded effect.
In contrast to the professional paper cone woofers in the Double Impacts, the Nebo speakers feature upgraded woofers from Tekton’s 4-10 subwoofer. The tweeters in the Nebo are also larger and more efficient, thanks to a waveguide. The back of the speaker features two cabinet ports and two brass/copper speaker terminals, which can be upgraded for bi-wire or bi-amp capability.
Tekton has several standout speakers in its lineup, one of which are the Double Impacts, which many listeners are already familiar with. The Double Impact presents a slightly forward energy, delivering a crisp and punchy performance. However, the Nebo speaker raises the bar with its smooth and warm sound, delivering powerful bass and equal, if not greater, detail. Compared to the Double Impacts, the Nebo’s bass performance is particularly noteworthy, offering a deep and satisfying foundation to the music. The best way to describe the sound experience the Nebos deliver is a supercharged version of the Double Impacts.
With the option to choose from a range of colors, the review pair of Nebo speakers came in a sleek flat grey finish. These speakers are more than just a beautiful addition to a listening room; they are a true audio powerhouse.
Indulge me for a moment as I delve into the intriguing journey of the Tekton Nebo’s break-in period. Breaking in new speakers can be a fickle process, but the experience with the Nebos was a surprising twist on the usual script. It’s not uncommon to feel a tinge of disappointment upon initial listening, but with the Nebos, it was quite the opposite. From the first notes, their richness surpassed expectations and even the Double Impacts. However, unexpectedly, the Nebos also seemed to extract more energy from the amplifier, as indicated by the lively VU meters on my Coda No. 8.
As I continued to listen over the following days, the Nebos threw a curveball. The bass increased to the point of overpowering the room. This increase in bass was a first for me, and I wondered if using port plugs or equalizers would be necessary to control it. But, as time passed and days turned into weeks, I observed a remarkable transformation. The preamplifier volume levels decreased, the VU meters settled, and the bass seemed to find its place in perfect harmony.
The Nebo’s break-in period was a lengthy and counterintuitive one. Typically, I expect the tweeters to break in first, followed by the woofers, but with the Nebo, the woofers broke in more quickly than the tweeter array. Regardless, the result was a truly remarkable, balanced, tonally rich speaker.
Finding the optimal placement for a speaker system is crucial for an immersive listening experience. I was fortunate enough to have a spacious room with vaulted ceilings, measuring just over forty feet from end to end, to house the Nebo speakers. I meticulously placed the speakers and the listening position approximately 10 feet from one another, creating a “golden triangle.” I positioned the speakers about 12-16 inches from the back wall and angled them towards the listening position, with the point of intersection of the lines extending from each speaker facing approximately 3-4 feet behind my listening chair. The absence of grilles on the demo set also allowed for an unobstructed listening experience, free from any potential sonic interference.
Throughout the review, I utilized the Coda No. 8 amplifier and 0.7x preamplifier connected with Kimber Monocle cables. The Nebo’s are a “friendly” 4-ohm speaker with an impedance curve that shows a minimum impedance of 4Ohms at 35 Hz and again between 70-130 Hz before gently increasing. The Coda No. 8 boasts a formidable power output, delivering up to 150 watts at 8-Ohms and a maximum of 600 watts at 2-Ohms. The Nebo speakers, rated at 4-Ohms with a sensitivity of 95dB 2.83V@1m, posed no challenge for the Coda No. 8 and made for a seamless and effortless integration into my audio setup.
The Tekton sound signature has always been renowned for its immediacy and realism, primarily achieved using their patented midrange speaker array. The Nebo takes this signature sound to new heights, delivering a lush, tonally rich, and smooth sound anchored by deep and satisfying bass. The standout feature of the Nebo has to be its exceptional midrange reproduction. It possesses the detail-rich sound that is a hallmark of Tekton speakers and reproduces the midrange frequencies with a delicate warmth, saturation, and finesse that is truly captivating. The high frequencies are equally impressive, extending gracefully and never becoming harsh or grating. With the Nebo, instrumental timbres and colors are easily distinguished, and human voices are rendered with stunning realism.
The bass produced by the Nebos is not just deep and satisfying; it is also expertly controlled and tight. The bass never seems to overpower the music but instead adds an underlying foundation that elevates the overall sound. The bass is heard and felt, providing an immersive and enveloping listening experience. Whether listening to classical music or hip-hop, the bass performance of the Nebo does not disappoint. It perfectly complements the smooth and rich midrange, creating an exceptional audio experience. The ability of the Nebos to produce such a well-balanced and articulate bass is a testament to their design and engineering prowess. Further, it solidifies its place as a top contender in the high-end speaker market.
Listening to “Called Out in the Dark” by Snow Patrol through the Nebo speakers is a truly immersive experience. The powerful bass notes provide a solid foundation for the smooth and rich vocals, which take center stage with their intricate details and warm tonality. The subtle and delicate instrumental elements, such as the guitars and keyboards, are presented with exceptional clarity, adding to the overall spacious and atmospheric soundscape. The immediacy and realism of the Nebo are in full effect, bringing the listener right into the heart of the music. The Nebo’s ability to produce a satisfying balance of depth, warmth, and detail makes this track sound truly captivating.
The album “Bass and Mandolin” by Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer is a tour de force of musical virtuosity. Through the Tekton Designs Nebo speakers, it is a truly mesmerizing experience. In the track Monkey Actually, the intricate and delicate plucking of the mandolin strings is presented with a clarity that highlights Thiel’s skill and precision. At the same time, later, Meyer’s rich and resonant tones of the bass provide a solid foundation for the music. The soundstage is wide and immersive, and the instruments are placed precisely within it. This track is extremely dynamic, and the dynamic range of the Nebo speakers, combined with the tonal richness of the instruments, creates an unforgettable aural journey that is truly breathtaking.
Listening to “Death Row” by Chris Stapleton through the Nebo speakers was captivating. The track was brought to life with an immersive soundstage, where every element of the production was given ample space to shine. Stapleton’s haunting vocals were delivered with a vibrant tone that was beautifully complemented by the speakers’ warm and tonally rich midrange reproduction. The deep and satisfying bass brought the track’s powerful rhythms to the forefront, while the delicate yet energetic high frequencies added a sense of energy and intensity to the performance. The Nebo speakers showcased the soulful and powerful sound of “Death Row” with stunning clarity, detail, and presence.
The Tekton Design Nebo speakers are a triumph. They deliver a level of detail and immediacy that is truly rare, combined with a rich and smooth tonality that is both engaging and emotionally satisfying. Whether you’re a music lover or simply looking for the best speakers available, the Nebo’s are a must-hear. The patented midrange speaker array, combined with the deep and nuanced bass, creates a soundscape that draws you in and immerses you in your music. And all of this is available at a price far lower than the competition; I will be purchasing the review set. They are highly recommended.
Price: $4200 per pair.
• Made under U.S. Patent 9247339 with multiple new patents pending
• Ultra-linear frequency response
• Proprietary patent pending 15 waveguided dome radiating hybrid MTM high-frequency array
• Dual 10′′ low-frequency transducers
• 95dB 2.83V@1m sensitivity
• 4 or 8 Ohm design – we suggest 4 Ohm for optimum performance
• 20Hz-30kHz frequency response
• Height 57.75″ (146.68 cm) x Width 13.62″ (34.59cm) x Depth 15.5″ (39.37cm)
• 300 Watt power handling
• Weight 125 lbs
• Manufactured in the USA
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