Tekton Enzo, a strong contender for Speaker of the Year

Tekton's new tower not only has the power to rock your world, it sounds sweet with all music genres.

Tekton Design Enzo Tekton Design

Late last year when I had my first encounter with a Tekton Design speaker, the M-Lore ($650 a pair), I was so bowled over by the sound I could hardly wait to try another Tekton. The time has come today with the all-new Enzo, a 40-inch-tall tower sporting three tweeters and two 8-inch woofers.

Multiple tweeters are rare on audiophile speakers, but Tekton's Eric Alexander developed a unique patent-pending approach that changes the way multiple tweeters are used. Unfortunately, he was mum about the details of his technology, but the Enzo's sound tells me all I need to know, for now. Alexander personally assembles and tests every pair of Enzos in his factory in Utah.

As you can see in my picture below, the tweeters look nothing like dome tweeters: they're "ring radiators" and have a little point sticking out of the center of the tweeter. The Enzo's 52-pound cabinets feel solid, they feature proprietary bracing techniques, and cloth grilles are available as optional extras.

The Enzo is a superefficient (98 dB/@ 2.83 volts) design, so it can play as loud with a low-power amp, like my 20-watt-per-channel NAD 3020 integrated amp , as an average speaker would with a monster 200-watt amp. The Enzos can also handle power and when I hooked them up to my 100-watt Pass Labs XA100.5 amps the speakers never complained. The speakers' clarity holds up at hushed, late-night listening levels; you don't have to crank these bad boys to hear what's special about them. Well-recorded vocals sound natural and full-bodied with the Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum tube amp.

The Enzo is a great rock speaker, a real party animal, so drums and percussion instruments have tremendous impact and power. I haven't had any speaker at home that can touch the Enzos in that area in ages, and they outshone my $5,500 Magnepan 3.7 flat-panel speakers' dynamic life. Not just the knock-you-back-in-your-seat dynamic jolts; the Enzo's smaller, subtler sonic textures are also rendered with an almost tactile feel.

The speakers can also project a huge soundstage, with excellent depth. Center focus is precisely rendered. Ah, but the bass definition and power are, again, hard to beat. Play electronica with a lot going on in the low end, and you hear bass details like never before. It kicks butt!

A close-up of the Enzo's ring radiator tweeter Steve Guttenberg/CNET

I've listened to Rosanne Cash's "10 Song Demo" CD on countless speakers, but the Enzos were different. With my eyes closed Cash was right there, between the Enzos. The accompanying acoustic guitars on either side of her were just as vivid and alive. I was more aware of her phrasing, and the way she emphasized some words more than others. The music coming out of the Enzos felt like it was being performed by flesh and blood musicians, which it was back in 1996 when it was recorded. The Enzos brought the music back to life.

So is the Enzo perfect? Not quite, it's not as see-through transparent as a set of $2,000 Magnepan 1.7panel speakers, and the 1.7s' treble detail and air exceed the Enzos'. The 1.7s aren't rock speakers; they need a lot more power than the Enzos and the 1.7s are fussier about room placement. The Enzos' bass and dynamic oomph clobber the 1.7s'. The Enzo and the Magnepan 1.7 are both great speakers, but their greatness lies in different areas. If you're waiting for the speaker that excels in every performance category, keep waiting. It's early May, so things might change, but right now the Enzo looks like a shoo-in for Audiophiliac Speaker of the Year. We'll see.

They sell for $2,000 per pair, with a 30-day in-home trial period and free shipping in the U.S. There's a 15 percent restocking fee for returned speakers. Standard finishes include satin black, white, red, and yellow; high-gloss finishes or real cherrywood veneers are $300 extra. Matching center and surround speakers and a subwoofer will soon be added to the Enzo lineup.

About the author

Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Home Theater, Inner Fidelity, Tone Audio, and Stereophile.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

HOT ON CNET

Looking for an affordable tablet?

CNET rounds up high-quality tablets that won't break your wallet.