Totem Acoustic Sttaf Floorstanding Speakers

Totem Acoustic Sttaf Floorstanding Speakers 

DESCRIPTION

It has what you expect from Totem: monocoque crossbraced cabinet with genuine wood veneer on on both sides, hardwired crossover, borosilicate damping (hang the cost!), silvered OFC wiring, and drivers that are not what you can buy off the shelf.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 26  
[Oct 17, 2018]
Jeff Mackwood


Strength:

I bought my pair used, but in like-new condition, a year ago. First order of business was to design and build some grilles to protect the drivers from little fingers (or big fingers in some case. Visit any shop where these are on display and they all seem to have pushed-in driver dust caps!) Wood quarter round, grille cloth, and velco "dots" are all that's required in terms of materials to make a pair. Next order was to mass load each speaker with 6 1/4 pounds of lead shot. No effect on sound; made it far less tippy. I'm currently driving them with 100 W/ch stereo power amplifier. They are power hungry BUT they will also not play really loud. They like to be driven - just not really hard, when the sound gets muddy and compressed, especially with bass-heavy material. While I've not done so yet, but am planning to, they could really benefit from the addition of a subwoofer / bass speaker capable of operating from say 30-60 Hz. I suspect this will get rid of the lack-of-loudness / muddiness-at-high-volumes issues, and restore an entire missing octave (or more) of bass to some recordings. Don't get me wrong: as is, and when played within their limits, this is a very very good speaker, providing a quality of sound that belies their smallish appearance. There's not a genre of music that I can think of that I've not played through them. They don't favour any one in particular, although I've really liked female jazz vocals and acoustic rock / blues. I doubt that I would try using these in a surround sound home theatre / movie watching / listening situation. Again because of the dynamics limitation. Stick to two channel music; there's better alternatives for home theatre. By the by, these rate VERY high on the WAF scale. They've far exceeded the dwell time of any pair of speakers in my living room. Not available (unless old stock) new any more. Expect to pay in the $1k CDN range for a great used pair as of this posting - assuming you can find any. And the 3/5 rating: an honest and realistic assessment - which leaves room for all those much better speakers out there, but which elevates it above the bottom-dwellers. This is not a bad score; I'm a tough rater! Jeff Mackwood

Weakness:

See above for strengths and weaknesses.

OVERALL
RATING
3
[Oct 02, 2012]
Dave
AudioPhile

I've heard all the speakers in the Totem line, many times, and even owned a few of them, and the ones that I haven't owned, I've had on loan from my dealer. So let's just say I know Totem pretty well.

The Sttafs are the sweet spot in the Totem line. Walking that fine line between excellent sound, and affordability. Sure, some of the other Totems may actually sound better - the Mani 2's are one of the best speakers I have ever heard, from any manufacturer, at any price point, but they're over 3x more expensive, and you need ridiculous amplification to get them moving.

You can read more about them over here:

http://audioreview.ca/default.aspx?pagename=review&reviewID=14

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jul 07, 2011]
dlscwby10
Audio Enthusiast

Purchased the Sttaf at BBR on Boxing Day for $1295 (msrp $1895 Canadian). I was happy with the price and I'm happy with their performance. Fantastic sound. I will be looking to hook these up to a new amp in the next year or so but for now I'm using a NAD T751 as 2 channel. I'm looking at Arcam, Atoll, or Naim but need to figure out what is best suited for them.

I find most of the reviews spot on. These are great speakers for jazz and such but they don't carry rock very well (I go down stairs and listen to my PSB's when needed). But this with is why I chose these - my music taste has mellowed with age and the Sttaf's are a perfect fit. I listened to B&W (2nd up), PSB. Monitor Audio. Paradigm and others but the Totems sang out to me.

The level of bass and response suits my needs and my musical taste. These babies are best with jazz, vocal and instrumentals. Every note stands out. They are also perfect for those who want to stay with a tower in a limited space (small footprint is the term I believe). I had monitors in the room prior but they just never cut it.

I find these to be very refined speakers and I'm very satisfied with my purchase. If I have a regret it is that I didn't step up to the Hawks ($2995) but for the price I paid I'm happy. Last but not least - Totem's are all Canadian including build in Montreal. That closed the deal.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 11, 2010]
nlc9090
Audio Enthusiast

Have paired these Totem Staff with Musical Fidelity A5 Integrated Amplifier. Main source of Music is an IPod played thru the Wadia 170i I Pod Doc and utilizing the Music Hall DAC 25.2

Love the sound staging an imaging of these speakers. Though they do not have the deepest bass i recently purchased a Totem Storm Sub. Now I have the best of both worlds. The imaging and sound staging is still outstanding and now with the Storm Sub I have the bottom octaves cover.

Strengths: Imaging, Fit and Finish, Outstanding sound staging and wide sound field for such small drivers. For this price range nothing can touch the quality of these speakers. Sub included I have a $2,500 speaker system that is unrivaled by anything in the marketplace in this price range

Weakness: A bit light in the bass region but, with the addition of the Totem Storm Subwoofer I now have all the bass I need

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Jun 03, 2007]
Bonger
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

good detail and smooth highs from tweeter without excessive brightness of some metal dome tweeters. smooth transition of highs to mids. attractive looks, good all all round speaker

Weakness:

bass too boomy when speakers are pushed, "cabinet coloration"

Upgraded to these speakers from the Totem Arros, however after 8 months use, I cannot say these speakers are superior to Arros, just different. Another example of how bigger is not better.

Yes, the Sttafs sound bigger and fuller than Arros, however they lose out in absolute quality of sound. Arros have superior imaging, soundstaging and tonality.

After reading previous glowing reviews, I thought these just might be the last pair of speakers I would have for a while, but ultimately the weak point of these speakers cause me to sell them.

The Good:
easy to drive, good for music & a/v, better detail than the Arros, relaxed sound, perhaps too relaxed (totem calls it "lush harmonics") for some people. The more relaxed sound is not as tonally accurate as the Arros.

The Bad:
the bass was deeper than Arros, it was often too boomy and not tight as the Arros. Ultimately, the boominess of the bass would sometimes divert your attention of what the Sttafs excel at, smooths highs and mids. And this is what caused me to sell these speakers.

One redeeming quality of these speakers is the value. I sold these speakers for slightly more money than I paid for them on Ebay!!

Now, I'm probably going back to Arros or most likely Totem Model 1's.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 17, 2006]
Paul Lemmens
AudioPhile

Strength:

Controlled bas.
Superb mid and high.
Solid and compact design: "how do they get such a sound out of this sleak cabinet? Well done Totem Acoustic!!!"

Weakness:

None.

I upgraded my audio gear from NAD to Van Medevoort, a high end dutch audio equipment manufacturer. So, the next step was to look for a new pair of speakers. I had Dali serie Blue "Live" for more than 5 years.

I first noticed, when auditioning, the big sound difference coming from each type of speaker. JM Lab, Focal, ALR Jordan, Dali, B&W, Kef, Hepta, Epos, Mission, Tannoy you name it, and I heard them. They all sounded ok, but somehow the bass was to present, more uncontrolled so to say.
And then I heard Totem Sttaf. Wow.

Controlled bas, plenty of low and a superb mid and high. Subwoofer, not necessary. Save your money. The Sttaf gives plenty, but controlled. The way I like it. Each detail is presented by this speaker. I also heard the Hawk, which generated a bit more fuller sound, but looking at the price tag, the Sttaf is for sure an excellent choice.

Make sure you position them at least 50cm form the back wall, place them on piece of stone with dampeners and you will be treated which a very real / natural sound.

I cannot think of a better pair of speakers for the money I have spend. Euro 1850.

Similar Products Used:

Dali Blue "Live" serie

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 22, 2006]
audiofan j
AudioPhile

Strength:

Harmonically rich, BIG soundstage, great midrange and goes low to 40 hz. A beautifully built speaker cabinet with REAL WOOD veneer! This speaker has a very high WAF, especially in the mohagany finish.

Weakness:

Could be slightly soft on the top end with tube electronics, but.....this can actually be beneficial as a trade off, taming those CD's with too much high frequency energy.

The Totem Acoustic Sttaf gets my vote for the best quality of build and sound for your hard earned dollar. My first speaker from Totem was their Hawk model and I am convinced it is their best speaker, and the best choice for under $3,000 - period! But....I wanted to get into tube electronics and ended up buying a 40 wpc Primaluna Prologue 2 integrated tube amplifier, which made it necessary to find a speaker that could be driven properly, with proper dynamics and great sound when driven by a lot less watts.

So, I purchased a pair of Totem Sttafs in their moghagany finish and I have to say that I am very impressed with both the sound and build of the cabinet. The quality of the speaker cabinet in particular, is virtually indistinguishable from the $1000 more per pair Hawk, except for the speaker posts and the Sttaf has a wooden plinth that the speaker sets on versus the "claws" of the Hawks. Otherwise, it appears to be exactly the same!

Sound wise, across the board, most reasonable enthusiasts in the hobby will find the Sttaf as a excellent to superb performer. It has a HUGE soundstage, a beautiful midrange, can reach down to 40 hz and reveals a very high degree of resolution, (just a smidge less than the Hawk in the highest frequencies, probably due to the soft dome tweeter of the Sttaf versus the metal dome of the Hawk), is harmonically rich, dynamic, and. in my home - disappears into the soundstage! Did I mention, the seamless integration of the drivers? You are onto something special when a reasonably priced floorstanding speaker can do that! Add to that, any medium powered amp of 40-60 watts can drive it and you have a real winner!

So, if you just want to get back to the music or are downsizing to a high end set up of minimal investment, the Totem Sttaf should be on your must audition list.

Associated equipment:

- Ah! Supertjoeb 4000 tube CD player
- Primaluna Prologue 2 integrated tube amp, 40 wpc
- Totem Sttaf 2 way floorstanding loudspeakers
- Signal cable Magic AC powercord, 10 gauge, 4 foot
- Signalcable Double run 10 gauge copper speaker cables, 8 foot, biwired with
- Analysis Plus copper spades on amp end and AP copper banana plugs on
speaker end
- Signalcable Silver Resolution interconnect cable

Similar Products Used:

Totem Hawk

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Feb 21, 2006]
Shiden Kai
AudioPhile

Strength:

Beautifully rich and understated look in mahogany Incredible frequency range given design and driver compliment Airy high’s, delightful mid-range with accurate and tout bass Great sound-stage, amazing depth, great dynamics and PRAT

Weakness:

The high’s can become difficult to tame in some rooms and on some equipment The same applies for the bass. Remember, to get the most of this speaker requires attention to detail in both room, placement, and associated equipment. It is one of the more picky speakers I have owned.

This is my first write-up here at the reviews. I cannot think of a better way to break the ice than to briefly summarize my experience and impressions of Totem’s often over-looked achievement, the “Sttaf”. There is no higher accolade I can give the Sttaf than to say that through the plethora of speakers that have come through these doors in these past few years – none other have brought as much listening pleasure as these two divine miniature towers. In fact, these are the only pieces of audio gear that have remained in the house. So why have I kept these particular speakers? To save you time from reading more audiophile terminology – that answer can be best summarized as soul and emotion. They have all the right elements you would expect from a good speaker, and add a layer to the music that no other speaker I have owned or heard has been able to reproduce. It has also taken me years to appreciate the box-less sound, a feat that is quite amazing given its smallish two way enclosed nature. The cool thing about Totem’s entry level products is that they were designed to be used on a variety of equipment ranging anywhere from entry level receivers all the way up to audiophile approved components. With an easy load of 8ohms and a sensitivity of 89db, the Sttaf will work with the majority of amplifiers on the market. In fact, the purpose of the Sttaf is to act as a general purpose loudspeaker capable of delivering solid performance on a wide range of equipment, with any genre of music or audio format in many different rooms. Getting good sound out of the Sttaf is not a chore. However, seeking what it truly has to offer is. I have found the Sttaf enjoys being on the long side of a wall in a smaller room in a near-field listening situation. The tweeter should be facing near your listening position and both speakers should be spread a good distance apart and about 1.5 feet from any wall. I have personally found the Sttaf to sound best when driven by either Class-A SS amplifiers with zero feedback, or high powered vacuum tube amplifiers. If you wish to use a sub with your Sttaf – make sure it is high quality and sealed. Prepare to invest some time and effort and just hold to the promise of worthwhile rewards. The Sttafs have their limits. They are not an end to a means, but when treated right, they can become an intensely emotional speaker that is just right when the lights are low and you need the woes of the day stricken away. I give the Sttaf a value rating of 5 because it has been able to do things no other speaker I've heard can do. It has won my heart over many more exotic products and therefore I feel justly earns full honors. As you may have suspected, I also give the Sttaf an over-all rating of 5 because simply, it is "far better than I imagined".

Similar Products Used:

owned; Vandersteen 2CE Sig. Dynadio Focus 110. Dynaudio Contour 1.1. Meadowlark Kestrel 2. Audio Note Ax-Two. Totem Acoustic Hawk. Totem Acoustic Tabu. Polk Audio Lsi-15 / 9. Polk Audio SDA 2B. I could really go on and on..

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 26, 2002]
Response
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Ease of placement, build quality, driver quality, dual binding post (also very high quality), capable of producing a beautiful presentation from only 10-50 watts.

Weakness:

May seem pricey to some No grills (personally prefer not to use them) Not the "Tightest" or "Deepest" bass

I recently picked up some Totem speakers and a pair of Staff's was included in the bunch. They were slightly cosmetically damaged in shipping so I decided to hook them up to make sure they were still functioning properly. Well, to make a long story short, I will not be selling these speakers and they will stay here for quite some time. I am ran them off a Jolida JD301 Hybrid at 30 watts per for most of my evaluation. The Jolida has mated exeptionally well with these speakers and the system does a fine job filling my average size room with a very enjoyable presentation. The bass is more than can be expected from a 5" driver and the midrange and upper end presentation is amoung the best I have hear in a sub $2,500 floorstander (I personally think the Dynaudio tweeter has the most non fatiguing, airiest presentation of any tweeter on the market). For the JAZZ/BLUES fan that concentrates on the accuracy of vocals, the Totem Staff is one to be considered. Most of my listening is older JAZZ such as Louis Armstrong, BLUES - Michael Hills Blues Mob Band, Eva Cassidy and some classic rock such as Alan Parson Project, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, etc. I highly recommend audtioning these speakers if you are in the market for a smaller floorstander in the $2k range. Associated Gear: Jolida JD301 30wpc Hybrid Creek 5350SE Music Hall CD25 player Music HAll MMF-5 turntable Sonneteer Phono stage (Solid state) Clarity Wires Cabling throughout

Similar Products Used:

Totem Mite and Mite-T Totem Tabu (needs substancial power) Response Audio Musik 1.5 Signature

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Aug 01, 2002]
jsparla
AudioPhile

Strength:

Clear, subtle high harmonics and frequencies. These are so important to make instruments appear in front of you and possition them in the stereo perspective apart from each other. Wow!

Weakness:

Lack of deep bass, which you can feel in your stomach. (This depends greatly on the CD-player / Amplifier. The Naim CD5 and Naim NAIT5 combination gives you no possibility to adjust bass/trebble. So you get exactly what the studio put on the CD you're listening to. And the differences between recordings are huge! Believe me...)

I've used the Totem Sttaf speakers in conjunction with a Naim 5 audio-set (CD5, NAIT5, Flatcap II, NAT5) for 7 months now. After a month or so, they reached there optimum performance. I like to listen to vocals, jazz, natural instruments and classical music. They do a great job. The high and mid frequencies are so stunning, the bass frequenties are heared, not feeled. If you like to feel basses as punches in your stomach, this is not your pair of speakers. If you like to listen to your music at live-concert volume-levels (1/2 to 3/4 of the NAIT5 volume) you can listen to it for hours, without a headache afterwards. All instruments are so alive and with such accurate positioning. Listen to "one day my prince will come" from Miles, close your eyes and you can point out the instruments for real in 3D-space. It's amazing. Have to say that the power from the NAIT5 is only 30W, and capable with an accuracy and timing to feed this speakers. The CD5 is the most accurate cd-player i know in this price-segment. If you're able to listen to this NAIM-TOTEM set: give it a try. Especially when you're an instrumental/vocal enthousiast!

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 26  

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