The Tekton Impact Monitor is a brawny beast that defies expectations of what an audiophile speaker could be.
Tekton Design is an American speaker company that has been making highly original designs for 12 years, but it's only now with the introduction of the Impact Monitor and Double Impact tower speakers that Tekton is breaking through to a wider audience that might have bought Bowers & Wilkins, Dynaudio, ELAC, Harbeth, or KEF speakers. The Impact Monitors run $2,000 a pair in their satin black painted finish, and other colors are available for extra cost. I can't think of another audiophile grade speaker for the money that energizes a room like the Impact Monitor.
The speaker features Tekton's proprietary controlled directivity triple-ring radiator array of seven tweeters, most of which handle midrange frequencies. Here's Tekton's explanation of how its patented technology works: "This array disperses a precisely focused acoustical power pattern of that of a horn or waveguide without the audible ringing influence of horn flare walls constraining the soundwave for acoustically superior midrange high frequency performance."
There's also two 6.5 inch woofers, and the speaker's impedance is rated at 4 ohms. An 8 ohm version of the Impact Monitor is available on special request. Designed and hand-crafted in Orem, Utah, the Tekton is a fairly large speaker measuring 24.5 x 10.1 x 13 inches. Tekton's painted finish isn't as gorgeous as I've seen on the ELAC Adante speakers, but this is simply nitpicking.
I auditioned the Impact Monitor a few times previously at audio shows, but I couldn't really get a handle on the sound. It didn't move me, but when I spent some quality time with the Impacts at my friend Herb's apartment I came away with a better grip on the sound. It helped that the speakers were paired with an amplifier I know well, the Pass Labs XA25.
The Impact Monitors treated vocals well, they sounded full bodied and natural, so soul singer Macy Gray all but materialized between the two speakers. Pianos are tough to get right, but the Impact Monitors nailed the percussive transients and full tonality of Milcho Leviev's astonishing Man From Plovdiv solo piano CD. He's a powerful player, really slamming the keys and the Impacts were giving his piano its full due. A Bowers & Wilkins 705 S2 might offer superior clarity, but it would have a hard time keeping up with the Impacts in reproducing the gravitas of a grand piano.
One of my favorite bands of the 1990s, Morphine, is a rock trio with a rather unusual lineup: Two-string slide bass, baritone sax, and drums. Morphine lit up the Impact Monitors, and I must say Dana Colley's sax emerged with all of its brassy, breathy beauty intact. The Impacts have a way of bringing the soul of music back to life in ways that you just don't get from other speakers in their price class.
Beck's Sea Change album's orchestration, including the subtle percussion parts, all but took up residence in Herb's listening room. Sound-staging was broad, deep, and clearly focused. Treble detail was good, without edge or harshness.
As I went on soaking up the sounds and music I started to notice the Impacts' bass was overloading Herb's small, 11 by 13 foot listening room, so the speakers sounded a little thick at times.
Monkeying around with the speakers placement helped, but the bass thickening persisted, and then I had the idea of stuffing a sock in the Impacts' rear bass port. That definitely helped, but then again some folks like overly full bass.
As always, room size and acoustics dramatically impact the sound of any speaker. So if you're unhappy about how it performs in your own living space, I'm happy to report that Tekton sells all of its speakers direct, with a 60 day return policy.