Totem Acoustic Signature Model 1 Floorstanding Speakers

5/5 (6 Reviews) MSRP : $1795.00


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Reviews 1 - 5 (6 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jens a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: January 26, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I am very fond of this little marvel of engineering. I have this odd feeling, that Vince never repeated this intense effort with any of his subsequent designs. You all know this was his first, don't you!? The model one is my favourite, anyway. I did have the pleasure to listen to most of his products, even the Shaman. I found that the top cabinet will never sound it's best sitting atop those subs, and it's not bi-wireable. Big sound, however.
Anyway, the model one excels in all areas, partially due to its small size, really. It's size allows it to throw a huge soundstage(small front baffle, little diffraction) the high quality drivers are virtually indestructable, and the small well braced cabinet is dead quiet. The tweeter can be a little hot, so I switched from 24" to 28" stands, putting the tweeter at 37", a little above ear level. Since high frequencies travel faster, this puts them at a slight disadvantage of having to travel further to reach my ear. I also use a longer run of Totem speaker cable to my tweeter than to my woofer, maybe 10% longer, to increase the impedance load the tweeter poses to the amplifier. It seems to smooth out my top end a little. I use two complete runs of Totems silver speaker cable for the bass driver, one to the positive, and one from the negative binding post back to the amp. Since this cable is unshielded, I find it is essential to keep your runs apart. I used to have all three runs twirled up together, for cosmetic reasons, as Totem sells their factory bi-wire this way, in a harness, terminated, for $500 for a 10' pair. I initially only seperated my tweeter feed, and the sonic improvements were nothing short of breath taking. A fair amount of grain was removed from my system, and the soundstage opened up. Seperating my bass feeds resulted in a fuller sound quality, more body, similar to the improvements gained by doubling up the bass cable. As I understand, it is the low frequencies that require power to be reproduced to their fullest, resulting in a high current draw on your amplifier. High current travelling through unshielded cable causes an electromagnetic field around it, which causes distortion in your adjacent cables. An inch or two apart seems to be sufficient. A 12 gauge cable is capable of carrying 14 amps of current, enough to produce 200 watts. I guess that's why the skinny cable is good enough for the highs. Now shielded cable has the ability to store some of this electomagnetic energy, and release it later, causing time and phase shifts, resulting in poor imaging and loss of clearity. At a mortal price range, I find unshielded cable sonically superior, and you get more for your money by not paying for the extra material needed to shield cable. The exception of course is digital and video.
Anyway, my next tweek was to adhere small brass cones to the top plate of my speaker stands, pointed up, using thin dual adhesive tape. Two on the front corners, one in the back(middle). This isolated the speaker from the stand, the stands are sand filled and spiked of course. I noticed an increase in speed, dynamics and focus. I had tried expensive cones, like Golden Sound, and Black Diamond Racing cones, but nothing bites into you speaker like these little brass cones, don't worry, it's the bottom of your cabinets, the marks are tiny. These things are the size of a nickel, 1/4" tall. Best results, and my dealer didn't even charge me for them.
My final tweek was to eliminate that annoying chuffing noise the ports can make on occasion. I used a dust filter for floor registers in the home, you know, the heating vents all over the house for the forced air furnace. They are 4"x10", cut one in half lenght wise and roll it up, not too tight, then stuff this 2" sushi roll into the rear port.The port is quite deep, so you won't drop it into the speaker. Try breathing through this turd first, and you will realize that it doesn't restrict the air flow at all. My SPL meter and pinknoise generator show no loss in efficiency at all. I also feel I have eliminated a slight degree of grain in the midrange, a bit of the ocassional chestiness is gone as well. I can simply play my system louder before break up occurs. I have also treated my side walls between the speaker's plane and the seating position. This entire process took me 2 years, and it is only now that I feel I am getting the most out of my speakers.
My Model Ones are 7' apart, 4' from back wall, 2' from side wall, slight toe in, the sweet spot is at the third point of an equilateral triangle.

System: Model One Signature
Pass Labs Aleph 3
Parasound AVC 1800
Sony 7700
Model One Center
Mirage BPS 210 sub
Paradigm Crossover
Mirage OMR 2 surrounds
Anthem MCA 5
Totem Sinew all around
Monster M 1000 Digital interconnect

By the way, I run my system full range, only the sub is crossed over, externally though. I find the use of cross overs degrade the sound, and aren't really necessary with these speakers. Never use the crappy crossovers built into your processor!!! I also run the bare cable into the binding posts, it's silver and won't oxidize. On the amps end I use spades for the bass run and bananas onto the same binding post for the tweeter run. All solderless, pressure types from Ultralink......Have Fun!!.....

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   K&W Audio



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by E Biggelaar a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: December 1, 2000

Bottom Line:   
It's amazing until you hear it at your own home. This speaker is an incredible one, small but with an incredible stage. When you look at the speaker you can't imagine the low frequencies that come from this speaker. Right positioned on the right massive speakerstand(totem-stand or target r) the bass extension is deep and well controled.
The only obligation is to use this speaker with high-quality amplification. I use the REGA Cursa-Maia combination which is well known as underestimated high-end. But, as i've heard from other pleased owners, a classe or sphinx amp will also do the job.
Conclusion:
Nearly perfect speaker, no competition when you're looking for 'real music reproduction'

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $1800.00

Purchased At:   De Opera



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Hans van der Meer a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 28, 2000

Bottom Line:   
I was looking for some new speakers less aggressive then my Canton 540's. Especially with my Harman Kardon amp the sound of my system was too aggressive.
After hearing Tannoy's, B&W's and a lot of other speakers I started listening to Totem speakers. First the Arrow and Sttaf, but the did not meet my needs. Then I heard the Model 1 Signature. I was very impressed by the sound of this little speaker and had them at home for a testperiod of almost 2 weeks. In this period I tried different interlinks, speaker cables and stands. At last the right combination with a great sound became Siltech interlinks, speaker cables from the same manufacturer as are being used in the speakers itself and Parlington stands wich were specially made for the Model One's.
I have this combination now for more then 3 months now and I know I have to look for an other amp. The Model One's deserve it!

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $1880.00

Purchased At:   Multifoon, Rotterdam



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Mike a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: November 14, 2000

Bottom Line:   
The search is over. This speaker is ever so near perfect. Imaging is pinpoint when set up properly. The soundstage is massive (very similar to that of the Dynaudio and soliloquy speakers mentioned above) but betters the other speakers in terms of precision of image placement. I agree that they deserve the very best amplification you can afford, however my lowly Sim Audio Moon I-5080 is doing an adequate job right now. They are very dynamic and do a fine job at resolving every detail of the music (bettered in this area only by the N805's). The bass response is remarkable for such a small speaker.
Build quality is beyond reproach. The speakers' cabinet joints are done in the old tongue and groove style for maximum rigidity. The mahogany finish (inside and out) on these speakers is stunning.

They work with every type of music I've tried. All genres of "classical" , Jazz, blues, country, and Rock. Even Hard rock like Van Halen or even radiohead works great. The only area in which I would be careful is that of Rap/Electronica. On Massive Attack's "Angel" I noticed some rattling of the port. This was only at relitively high volumes however, and if you are familiar with the recording at all, you will know that Massive puts some HEAVY bass transients in there.

So, having said that I cannot recommend this speaker enough to anyone in the market for minimonitors.

System:

Arcam FMJ CD23
Harmonic Tech Truth-link Interconnects
Sim Audio Moon I-5080
Van den Huul CS122 Hybrid Bi-Wire Speaker Cable
Totem Model 1 Signature's atop Target R series knockoff speaker stands.
XLO Power Cables

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Brad a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: May 21, 2000

Bottom Line:   
Absolutely fantastic loudspeaker. Convey music with holographic imaging and superb accuracy. Amazing bass extension for such a small speaker. Smooth, smooth midrange and detailed high end. Use of oil filled capacitors in crossover gives an advantage over standard model one with increased resolution and extended bass response. Requires the use of top notch gear to maximize full sound potention. Worth every penny spent on them.

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000




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