I might as well admit it, I have a soft spot for Totem Acoustics. They were my first audiophile speaker, and I’ve owned quite a bit of the line, from the Dreamcatchers and Model 1 Signatures in the home theater rig to the Forest and now the Shaman in my 2-channel rig. There were just a ton of fun.
What they weren’t/aren’t is “the last word” when it comes to audiophile quality. The Models 1 Sigs and Forests have a warm, fun sound but they’re not terrifically extended or detailed. Soundstaging was good, but never great. And so on.
With their new Element Series, Totem appears ready to change all that.
I got to hear the (~$12k) Metal for the first time at Axpona. And … I really liked it. It was mated to a bunch of Naim gear, so it was hard to say whether any nits I had with the sound quality were due to that unfamiliar rack of equipment or due to the fact that the speakers had arrived from Totem only 2 days prior to the show start (wanna wager?), but Jeff (from Command Performance A/V) assures me that they sounded far better at CES (disclaimer — Command Performance A/V is a Totem dealer) — which is saying something, because I quite liked what I heard at Axpona. The top end seemed a bit bright, but that could be attributable to too many things aside from the speakers. Mids were rich and bass was robust. Color me “very curious”. Jeff will be getting his pair in sometime soon, so I’ll be doing a much deeper write up at that point. In the meantime, I’m going to have to confess — if they sound that much better broken-in, I may be looking at a new pair of Totems this year.