How does Totem do it ???

Category: Speakers

Long story short...after several years of playing the field I've found my field of the Forest! Totem Forest's that is. They love Krell amplification and a good CD player, but other than that and decent cables you got yourself a slice of heaven! How much heaven can be had for a system price of $6000...try comparing this system to what I've owned over the years:

Dunlavy SC-V's
Wilson watt/puppy 6's (twice)
B&W 801N
Totem Wind
Maggie 3.6
ML Prodigy

driven by:

Krell FPB 600 and 400CX with arc ls25 or refIImkII

Mark Levinson 334 and 336 with 380S, 32ref and 390S

BAT vkd5, vk5i


Wadia 860SE

Jinky's...I can't remmember all the gear. What I do know however is just how right the Totem speakers are with Krell driving them. I'm only using a Sony DVP999ES player and all Totem wires!! It's addictive the way Boston Symphony Hall is...simply beautifull to hear!

Anyone else have a similiar epiphany? By the way, the Krell400cxi is mind boggling...all the typical audiophile attributes with clarity and musicality beyond reproach! A steal at $2500 list!
Dear Upstate, the winds were amazing and much needed in my last house...truly fully fleshed out and lacking for nothing in terms of high end sensibilities. The Forests are more than adequate in my new space and bring a slight bit more sense of purity and expression to the table. Holographic imaging and an addictive way with dynamic contrasts and musical subtlety. Both are just so damn good..the one that couples best to the space at hand wins!! My reference is Boston Symphony Hall and the Kimmel Center, along with various live jazz venues...they seem to capture the tension and release of music in a way no other speaker can.
how do the winds sound compared to the mani 2's? i currently use the mani's but i am curious about the wind speakers.
Amazing..superior musicaly to almost anything out there...approaching the thrill you can get with a speaker like avalon or wilsons.
I've had a chance to audition the Totem Arro's, Model 1's and Hawk's all within 2 weeks at my house. The Totem's simply blow me away! What's really interesting is that while the Model 1's and the Hawks are tremendously impressive speakers in their own right, the Arro's are simply stunning for their size and price ($1300). They all have incredible focus, imaging and throw as huge of a soundstage that is as deep and wide as the rest of your system is capable of. They all just "disappear" completely. Their base response just about defies the laws of physics, tight, round, well defined and "wholesome". While they may not reach the absolute bottom, there is absolutely no "bloat" or "tubbiness" and they don't overload the room. No "one note base" with these babies. Midrange and highs are smooth and extended to the extent of the rest of the system. The Arro's are the really impressive speakers of the bunch though. One thing that really stands out about them to me is their speed. As an ex-owner of Martin Logan electrostatics, I can tell you that the Arro's have just as much SPEED as the ML's. It must be the 4.5" tiny woofer that gives them the "wings to fly" with the speed of a hummingbird. Their tonality and speed are just the ticket for acoustic stringed instruments. Just listen to any good "string" recordings and you will hear what I am talking about. But how do they get that incredibly controlled base out of a 4.5" woofer??? The Arro's have really floored me. I am still thinking why I should have to spend any more money for a pair that is larger and more expensive when the Arro's have all the bases covered?
I agree, the entire Totem line is amazing and one should let your Totem choose long as they are in your budget! I got my Totem Forests for $2400 new...for me the difference in bottom end was worth it, but I could easily live with any of the Totems!!!!
Can anyone offer up a comparison of the Totem Rainmaker/Arro and the Meadowlark Audio Swift. Thanks...
Upgraded to the Winds! The swift however looks like a hands down winner...what a work of art for $1200!!
Just saw that Meadowlark is out of business...ouch! Maybe Totem is the way to go afterall...check out the Forests used!!
Don't you miss the fact that there is very little low end in Totems... or is that why the Krell mates so well?
I would disagree with the idea that there's very little low-end in totems. First off, you should specify which model totem you're talking about. Are there speakers that produce more bass? Sure, but more isn't always better. I think for those of us with more modeslty sized listening rooms, that choices such as the totem forests present a great solution for low-end reproduction, imaging, soundstage, etc..
I just got done owning the Hawks, Forest and now the winds...all of them have enormous soundstages and bloom with bass far beyond most speakers period. Forests down too an honest 30Hz and more with room placement. Hawks, mid 30's and Winds...24Hz @ +-3db-just about the same as my $20k watt/Puppy 6's did!!!
I've listened to the Hawk and Forest. I found the low end very anemic. Everything comes down to personal preference, but when it comes to a floor standing speaker, I expect it to produce a realistic soundstage where the bass sounds like it's being played live (in front of me), with a little bit of punch and not sound like it's being reproduced through small speakers, which is the feeling I got with Totem. I loved everything else though.
Madfloyd, I doubt you have owned as much gear and or speakers as I have...$150K worth!! The Totems are unique in that they offer far more of what you mentioned than most other speakers at any level!! Did you really listen to Totem speakers, what was driving them and where did you hear them...sounds like some of the nutty comments I may have made before I actually owned alot of reference gear?
I listened to them at a Canadian dealer early in 2004. I honestly don't recall what electronics were used (the amp could have been a Simaudio Moon W5 as a few months later I bought that amp from the same dealer, but that's just a guess).

I'm certainly no seasoned audiophile... it's only in the past year I've had the chance to listen to different gear (especially in my own home) and learned what a difference other components can make.

Based on the comments here, I'd like to go back and audition them again. I'm in Boston now and I see that one of the local dealers has a pair of Winds for sale here on Audiogon. Hmmm...

Anyway, didn't mean to come off as stubborn or anything... I was just remembering my perception (and disapointment) at the time I auditioned them.
Exactly Drubin!! As for Madfloyd, I almost bought the pair your talking about but I found a local pair..FYI, I had Goodwins talked down to $4450 on the Winds!
i have had many different pairs of totem speakers in the past (arros, model 1's, mani 2's) and currently have all mani 2's. totems produce amazing bass for the size of the speaker, it doesn't matter what speaker it is. take the arro, a 4" bass/mid driver. placed properly, it is amazing. with the other models, you need a good powerfull amp to do the speaker justice. the model 1 and mani 2 need at least a couple hundred watts with more in reserve (more would be better: like a classe 301/401 for example). also, it also matters what you are looking for in the bass dept. if you want home theater boom, look elsewhere. if you want clean single note, realistic bass, you'll like the totems. if you don't have a powerfull amp, the hawks and forest speaker are easier to drive.
good luck
Just curious, Rbstehno, how you would describe realistic bass. You can get articulate bass out of a clock radio (as far as distinguishing notes), sometimes more so than a boomy speaker.

But when it comes to clean, 'realistic' bass, I expect the same frequencies that come out of a typical bass player's amp (or in the case of acoustic bass, his bass) to be reproduced by the speaker. The speaker has to be able to reproduce the tones and notes with articulation, but with some weight as well. Do you agree?
No, Dave, I didn't. I had some other business with them and casually asked about it - and after a bit of conversation told them I would be by to listen to them soon.

But Saturday aft, I got a call on my cell phone from them stating that a customer had just heard them and wanted to audition them at home... and that they would refuse if I was planning to show up that day. Unfortunately I was out of town and couldn't. Found out yesteray that the customer decided to buy/keep them. :-(
Your thread has revived my interest in Totem. Must be around 15 years ago I bought my Sttafs, and could hardly believe my good fortune at the wonderful music. I still enjoy them immensely in my second system.

More recently, I've paired Reference 3a Dulcets with my Nait 5i and Naim CD 5x. I had Totem Model 1 Sigs in to compare. The Model 1s were absolutely lovely; but the Dulcets outperformed them all around, at least in this system and room. Even so, the Model 1s had their own seductive magic, especially on voice and acoustic guitar, which is a huge part of what I listen to...

But Rbstenho has me wondering if the Nait, as fine as it is, (and conservative in its 50W rating) lacks the power to get the most out of the Model 1s; I have certainly not heard them with a genuine, high quality 100 WPC plus, let alone 200. Is that the key?

I've been thinking for a long time that a system based around Mani-2s might be my ultimate. I was looking to the new Simaudio I-7 at 150 WPC as a possible, but perhaps it won't be quite up to driving the Manis...

Advice on this point from Mani-lovers would be much appreciated; what are some of the best amp partnerings; know of any integrateds that really do the trick? One reputable Toronto dealer swears by the Jeff Rowland Concentra, or now the Concerto, as a partner to the Manis, but I didn't get the chance to audition yet...

Can I share a little heresy; that is, talk about appearances? Leaving music aside for a moment, I find the wood veneer finish on the Totems a gorgeous, living thing. Unspoiled by little plug holes for grill covers. A little lemon oil on the old rose-mahogany Sttafs, and they glow from within...and the Cherry finish on the Model 1s I auditioned has its own beautiful amber warmth.
Totem speakers love power and current! I like the Krell 400XI myself, although Rowland is great stuff as well! My krell cost me $2000 new for 400w/ch into 4ohms on my winds...quite a bargain!! Price is going up Sept 1rst to $3K...or so I hear!!
Dave b
Maybe the Krell 400xi is worth a second listen for me, but with Totem this time. I listened to it with JMlab in the past. I found that combo rather dry and flat, even tho' the Krell was clearly highly competent, had tremendous bass grip and reserves of power. Perhaps it would shine with the more lively and forward Totem sound...
I would agree, JM Lab speakers are somewhat dry and flat (overdamped) from a design standpoint alone. Even the Grand Utopia has a sense of this flat quality, not unlike B& very clean and loud but never quite let loose! Krell seperates would be better by a margin of maybe 20%. Cabling is key as well...currently testing some MIT stuff...seems to be a very good match across the frequency ranges.
Thanks Dave b,
Just got arrangements underway to hear some Model 1 Sigs with the Krell 400xi. Will report back, probably in a couple of weeks.
Madfloyd, i would describe real bass as how it would sound at a good live concert. to me, there is a difference in speakers with large woofers (slow bass, long decay times, bloated sounding) compared to speakers with smaller woofers (no lingering notes, fast, delineate each note on the bass or beat of the bass drum). i agree with you that you need weight in the low end, but there is a difference on how you get it. kids with 15" woofers in there cars are going to get more boom than clean sound. i prefer speakers with multiple smaller woofers than with 1 larger one. same with subwoofers. (rel subs are a good example). you get the same low end (weight) but i prefer the speed and articulation of the notes with the smaller drivers. also, next time you go to a good sounding concert, look at the bass players speakers. you will notice it has multiple smaller drivers (10" or less) instead of larger drivers.
Totem are good loudspeakers. I auditioned the Rainmaker, Arros and Hawk. Very nice loudspeakers. But eventually ended up with Quad 21Ls. Luv the Quads for their speed and transparency.
That's weird Milpai...I almost bought a pair of 22L's from a Quad dealer who told me to buy the totem's...he thought the Totem's were more musical! Love the finish on the Quads.
Hi Dave_b, I believe everyone's taste is different. This is my first time into hi-fi. I used many reviews, magazines, forums, etc as my starting point. Then I visited many a dealers of different brands/equipment. I did not even shortlist the Quads. I came on them accidentally. The dealer demoed the 11Ls, which zapped me. I then had the 12L and 21L auditioned. So, more than anything else in this world, I trusted my ears. If that is what they like - then that is what they get :-) The Totem dealer gave me a demo of the Winds. They are amazing...but way beyond my budget.
Not one person has said a peep about the Shaman? Any thoughts on the Shaman option?
The shaman is a quirky design and an old one for Totem. The Wind is the most cutting edge offering and easier to place and drive. The winds compete with the likes of the wilson sophia, avalon eidolon far as range and pure musical pleasure!
I've never heard the shamans, and I know you can't judge a book by its cover BUT man are those things ugly. I love totem, but the shamans have about zero aesthetic appeal IMO.

Yup, I own Totem's $600 low-end bookeshelf, paired with a pair of TBI MAgellan IV subs (@ $2500).

The subs are hidden out of sight. The combination of the Totem's imagining and the TBI's musical low end is spectacular. A full-range system, that visual is only two diminutive Totem Mites.
No, I postponed the Krell/Model 1 audition. I've been enjoying some high value tweaks, just arrived, to my Nait 5i - Reference 3a Dulcet combo. I just got Skylan Stands and an Isoblue component rack. Very pleased with the results.
So, I've been reluctant to trouble my source for the Krell/Model 1 Sig audition, since I'm not really shopping just now.
Happened to take a look at this thread. I am the purchaser of the Totem Winds from Goodwins Highend, mentioned earlier in the thread. I believe I listened to them at Goodwin's through Simaudio power amps and liked them.

I bought them after trying them in my home system. Electronics are Mac C-41 preamp and MC162 power amp. Source componets are primarily an Arcam 9 CD player and a Dual 505-2 turntable with a Sumiko BP cartridge. Interconnects are straightwire maestro and speaker cables are the original Nordost Flat-line double run for bi-wiring. With this set-up the Winds have a spacious soundstage with a wonderful mid and high ranges. Contrary to some other comments, there is more than adequate bass. In my room I have usable bass to 24 hz. In fact I find the bass slightly excessive and have for the first time in my memory actually used the tone controls to lower the bass.
besides the amazing speakers, forgotten in all of this is the amazing customer service. Totem provided an amazing experience recently.

I had a resonance issue that I had from almost the beginning on my Sttaf's (bought in 1999) and marriage got in the way so I never really cared and just ignored it the occasional time it came up. With a new house and a recently finished HT, I wanted to place the Sttaf's as the mains, but worried about the resonance. I bring it into service and expecting a few hundred dollar bill to fix it...instead Totem authorized a full replacement with a NEW pair. I was blown away by this gesture. For a company to back a speaker so many years after is unbelievable and deserves much kudos.

now that the issue is gone, I've discovered or rediscovered how awesome these speakers are. I could always WANT more but at this point, I'm just thrilled at rediscovering my speakers.
Gsdye....Thats the best story I have ever read on AG. So cool that you had that happen to you, and that you were able to have so much fun without spending gobbs of money. We all know this hobby can unreasonably empty our pockets. : )

Good luck with the speaks!
I fell in love with the sound of wilson audio. But I'm still a student so really can't afford them. My dealer advised me the Mani2's in comparison whit wilson sophia's. Would they make a good match with my ASR emitter?

greetz bart
Mani 2's would be great..100 w/ch is enough. If you need a deal let me dealer is well stocked and willing to discount.
well thank's for that Dave but I think it would be a bit expensive to ship them to Holland :(
Swing by for holiday and pick up a pair...they may just qualify for carry-on:) Bring a friend, one speaker per person!
Still I don't think its worth the efford I don't know what they cost in US but here they would cost me about 6800 dollars.
Figure out the shipping and I'll see what I can do...maybe I can find a pair up for grabs from my dealer.
Nice offer dave but I first need to save some money, mabay I contact you afther the summer holiday's.

Greetz Bart
I just wanted to chime in on amplification. I purchased Mani-2's after listening to countless speakers in dealer show rooms. The speakers are just amazing as mani have noted here. In fact, all totem speakers are amazing when compared to the competition in there price range. Choosing the correct speaker I believe is more about the size of room you plan to put them in as well. Anyhow..

When I brought the Mani's home I wanted to cheap out on amplification. For a year or so I suffered and was not happy with my purchase. I then took the plunge and tried out Ayre V1XE and Levinson 436. These speakers need CURRENT. Wow is all I can say. Completely different speakers. I am unbelievably happy now. More closer to bliss I would say. The combination of Mark Levinson 436 and Totem Mani2's is breathtaking. Litstening to music is a comletely emotional experience now. I don't see myself changing anything ever. Perfect for me.
i have had my mani's for 5 years now. they need power, PERIOD! i use a 200 watt classe amp for mine which is as low as i would go. but, they sound very nice. a few years a go i took the mani's to my friends audio store and hooked them up to the 1000 watt mcintosh mono's. Unbelievable! they came to life. the bottom end was more controlled. in the near future, i am going to get another classe 200 watt amp and run them in mono mode which will give me 750 watts of power each.
Good to hear from some other Totemites:) I have gone astray over the last couple of years trying mega buck speakers from Dynadio, Krell and Wilson but the Forests still haunt me. I am ordering a new pair of cherry Forests wt beaks next week! I also have a new Sony SCD XA5400ES SACD/CD player coming (replacement for the 9000ES wt balanced outs). Cheers:))