Salk Sound Encore 3 or Totem Wind

How do they compare? I am buying either a used set of Salk Encore 3 speakers or Totem Winds. I cannot make up my mind. I will not be able to audition either speaker. They are both about the same money used. Can anybody help me make a decision? I have BAT equipment and my room is 13 x 16. I am currently using Vonschweikert VR4-jr and they are very nice sounding.


I don't have experience with either but it seems you enjoy what you have so why chang what do you feel your current speakers are lacking. It's also a risk moving on to something you haven't heard.

Good luck

@dpm2340 As a former Totem owner and a friend who had Salks, I'd venture to say you could be making a slight lateral move and maybe minimally satisfied unless you take a bigger jump up. Or, stay and upgrade yours, somehow. 

As a sidebar thought, have you contacted Von Schweikert Audio to ask if there are any possible upgrades they can help with on your existing VR4 Jr speakers? Maybe better capacitors, driver updates, maybe ask to send your crossovers in for updates - maybe worth asking as another go-between option, just a thought. 

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lots of replies. not much help. In this hobby do you have to have an excuse to change? Manufacturers certainly say no. I could try the speaker upgrade possibility but I feel I just need to look at a different speaker.


If you're using BAT tube amps the Winds are probably not the correct choice.  Room is a little on the small size for them as well.  Not familiar with the Salks.

I'd rather look at the Salk's and agree they are probably better suited for your small room...I have Salk and Totem in the house, both are terrific, but not the models you are looking at...

@dpm2340 I am currently using Vonschweikert VR4-jr and they are very nice sounding.

@dpm2340 lots of replies. not much help. In this hobby do you have to have an excuse to change? Manufacturers certainly say no.

"I feel I just need to look at a different speaker.".


You may not find members here making strong recommendations for lateral moves, or for the sake of just making a change. A personal decision, fwiw.

The Encores do tight bass really well. They're fast, non-boxy sounding speakers that weigh 100+ lbs each. I never had problems with boomy bass regardless of the room they were in. I appreciated that they were fairly easy to place also and not hugely difficult to dive. I haven't heard the Totems but I would absolutely buy the Encores again (or probably the new BePure2).

@dpm2340 it might be helpful if you shared exactly which model BAT amplifier you are using. BAT makes 75/80 watt tube amps and up to ~500 watt solid state amps.

While Salk Song Encore 3 spec 8ohms, and can be okay with tube amps, they dip down closer to 85/86db efficiency near 800hz to 1k range. Likely not a problem in a smaller room setting. Not an issue with the BAT solid state amps, plenty of power.  

Totem Winds are 4ohm 87db efficiency and might not perform their optimum with a lower power tube amp either. Sure, they could work, maybe not in their sweet spot. The difference powering my former 87db 4ohm Totems at 50-100w with a tube amp vs. a 200-320 watt per channel dual mono solid state amplifier was astonishing.  I could never run my Totems properly in Triode mode at 50w. They were okay at 100w ultra linear. They came alive with the proper solid state with lots of current. 

While all tube and solid state amps are not created equal, and it's not always about power, impedance matters with tube amps, which might favor the Salks in this case.

Your VR4 Jr shows 4ohm and 90 db efficiency, with lower impedance yet a little more efficient than either the Salks or Totems. The amp you are driving your speakers with matters. The general 3 dB rule: A 3 dB gain means twice (x2) the power. A 3 dB loss means half the power. My former 4ohm 87db Totems soaked up the power.

This is partly why some of the responses have been vague so far. 



@dpm2340 in this case with your amp,  if you must pick between the two you mentioned, probably the Salk then. Keep in mind your current speaker will sound different from the Salk and its likely Be tweeter. A friend with similar power range tube amps worked for a year to tame that tweeter in his Salks and Jim sent him a resistor to tame it. He ended up selling the speakers for a speaker with higher nominal impedance and a more tamed ribbon tweeter instead, fwiw. You could call and  talk with Jim and ask if he's still working on designing a more sensitive 8ohm speaker. As I recall, he was (sort of) partnering a bit with a gentlemen on pairing up some tube amps last year - he was trying with his speakers. As for the Totems, I'd want more power to drive them if you felt compelled to buy those instead. Cool amp there you have.. If I had to recommend something, I'd also be looking at other 8ohm slightly higher sensitivity speakers for your amp. Def talk to Jim about some of his more recent explorations with other tube friendly speakers and see if he shares any updates with you.  Not sure if he ever developed anything more there or not.  A friend talked with him a lot about this over a year ago.  Best of Luck. 

I have Totem Metal V2’s and drive them with a Jeff Rowland Continuum S2. As I did some research on Totem in general  it seems that they need power. I have Emotive Audio Vita  6550 monoblocks as well but they aren’t the best match for the Metals. For those amps I have Bache Audio Tribeca’s. They are absolutely musical speakers and work well with tubes. 

No way would I change from what you own and enjoy. I have always liked VonS.

If you'd have offered up the VR4s with the two you're thinking of I'd have picked them anyway over the others. Totems always seemed too punchy. I've heard nice Salk speakers but I'd not guess them better. I'd keep and enjoy what you have.

The grass may seem greener...  Buying a non-auditioned speaker is highly risky.

Thanks, I know we are always looking for something to make our systems sound better. Every speaker I've owned has been a guess. I am just too far away from a dealer. 

@dpm2340 makes sense and explains why you posted here, looking for input and possibly other ideas. We get it, and it’s been even worse since the pandemic. Even if you went to an audio store, often times they don’t have your exact amp, tubes, room, or sources - so its still a bit of a guess unless you bring your gear to the dealer store and try it on each pair of speakers. Even still, usually a different room, and the room itself is part of the sound of the speaker.

I sent a note to someone I I’m aware of who partnered with Jim Salk and he has speakers I thought were tube friendly, more so than the two you selected. Awaiting a reply. If I get a reply I'll send you a DM/private message. People will nudge you to also consider keeping what you have as it might be a solid fit too.

it is an interesting concept...sometimes we want a "different" sound as all gear has it's own sound..been thinking of selling my Dali Epicon 8 speakers...great speakers, but I've had them 7-8 years, and Dali main speakers for 12 or right answer, just having fun with music...

Sometimes its as important to listen to the don't than the do's. For example, as mentioned before, the Winds in your size room probably would not be the better choice. YMMV but I doubt it.  Why by the way are you considering such large speakers?  With either speaker you mention I think you'll have a problem taming the bass.

Those are just two of the speakers I have wanted to try. I have used aerial 10 and Aerial 8 and had no issues with the size or bass. Maybe it's because of the wall to wall carpeting.