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My worst demo ever (so far...)

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DocG's picture
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Now this was an experience!

Looking for a dealer with the Anthony Gallo Strada speakers in demo, I came across a 'shop' that sold this brand. Unfortunately he had no Strada in demo (and no Ref 3.5 either), though he was willing to sell me the speakers (blind, that is)...

What he did have, were some Totem models (Sttaf, Dreamcatcher and Tribe III). I had heard good things of Totem, so I made an appointment and went. I first couldn't find the shop, but it happened to be in the man's living room. Personal service, I like that.

He started right away with a demo of the Dreamcatchers, fed by a Sonos Connect:Amp(!), playing some internet radio station(!). The speaker wires went from the Sonos to a wall plug, and then from another wall plug (the other side of the room) to the speakers. The result was not particularly impressive, so to say. So I asked him to quickly move on to the bigger boys.

Those were in a chalet in the garden. A real amplifier here: an Einstein integrated hybrid amp (retail price €7000, he told me). The source was an Olive 03HD server, that doubled as CD player. All was ready, so I slipped a CD in the Olive's slot loader; the device swallowed my CD... and froze! Attempts to get the thing running were futile - the CD stayed in and it did nothing.

The dealer went and came back after some time, with a Denon CD recorder he had found somewhere in the house. We could then finally start to audition the Sttaf's, with the CD's I had left. Nice soundstage, good timing, but the music sounded shrill, with annoying sibilance to the voices. The (wall mounted) Tribe IIIs had the same unpleasant treble, but with lesser soundstage and poorer timing. (In the meantime the dealer kept trying to get my CD out of the Olive...)

I'm not sure if the speakers were to blame, or the electronics, the room acoustics or what have you. But it sounded dreadful... I wanted to leave ASAP. On our way out, the dealer told me 95% of his customers just bought "a hifi" or "a surround set" without bothering about the sound, as long as all was as invisible as possible. I kid you not!

So there I was, back on the street, having lost a couple of hours of my free time... and a CD. Ready to explore new hifi-shops in rural Belgium!  Cool

 

CnoEvil's picture
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RE: My worst demo ever (so far...)

I have always found Totems "shouty", but never knew if it was the system or not.

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Pete68's picture
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RE: My worst demo ever (so far...)

shouldn't laugh....

rolling on the floor laughing

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csq2's picture
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RE: My worst demo ever (so far...)

Trust me it's the electronics. I had Totem Rainmakers before and they were the most musical speaker I have listened to. Andrea Bocelli sounded more natural and powerful than $30K Magico S5s.

plastic penguin's picture
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RE: My worst demo ever (so far...)

CnoEvil wrote:

I have always found Totems "shouty", but never knew if it was the system or not.

shame on you

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Formerly known as plastic penguin

plastic penguin's picture
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RE: My worst demo ever (so far...)

The worst dem I've experienced was the Naim Nait 5i with RS6s and Arcam CD73. Had to grab the painkillers after 20 minutes.

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Formerly known as plastic penguin

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RE: My worst demo ever (so far...)

plastic penguin wrote:

The worst dem I've experienced was the Naim Nait 5i with RS6s and Arcam CD73. Had to grab the painkillers after 20 minutes.

 

+ 1 ! 

I've write that somewere in here, i've done a home demo, (when i was on the market to buy the Dynaudios) of a Naim 5i and Dynaudios X12 and at the time I still had the MA B4. 

After half hour i had to pull the plug on the Naim and connected my old NAD 3020i to demo the Dynaudios, but did try the Naim 5i with the MA B4, a painfull experience.... 

DocG's picture
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RE: My worst demo ever (so far...)

12Designs wrote:

shouldn't laugh....

rolling on the floor laughing

Sure you can laugh  excellent! Laughing is healthy!

DocG's picture
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RE: My worst demo ever (so far...)

Anyone ever heard the Totem Mani II's? Reading through the brochure, they really grabbed my imagination. Standmounters digging in the 20 Hz region! Oh man! (a touch expensive though...)

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RE: My worst demo ever (so far...)

As to Cno's comment about Totem's appearing to be shouty ... I kind of agree though it is not unique to just Totem. Small drivers will by their very nature emphasise mids and highs, adding bass by means of box venting. Exceed their limits and you not only have bass doubling resulting in lighter, distorted lows but also shouty mids and lower highs. Its just physics. Up to their limits though they can, if done right, do things larger speakers sometimes struggle with.

Smaller speakers = smaller rooms and lower volume

regards

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davedotco's picture
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RE: My worst demo ever (so far...)

I'm going to give this one a bit of a twist.

One of the worst dems I ever did was for a TV creative type, who is responsible for a number of TV shows, some of which you will know.

We had, over a period, built up a very decent vinyl system for him, but then he goes out and buys a big pair of active speakers and their matching pre-amp. Being quite familiar with the product I suggested that the pre-amp was a week link (true) and talked him into letting me bring round a newish model by ARC.

Initially I was quite put out, his system sounded very good and I thought I would have trouble bettering it, we set up a piece with a long guitar intro and again I was very impressed with his system. My thought at the time was that the system was so clear that I could hear every note and would have no trouble leaning to play it 'by ear'.

Then I substituted my pre-amp and the difference was astonishing, the guitar playing was now simply so good that I knew, without any doubt, that however long I practised I would never be able to match it, not ever......  rockin out

Unfortunately my client just 'didn't get it', so not only was it a wasted trip but I pretty much stopped trying to improve my playing too.

A definite lose - lose.......  Crying

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Joined: 25 Jul 2011
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RE: My worst demo ever (so far...)

Heard the Arro, and agree with shouty comments. The Sttaf is a different ball game and better balanced imo, but seemed to get a bit muddled on complex classical pieces. Bit mixed about Totem, would go down the Neat road in preference, but have only heard the elite.

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RE: My worst demo ever (so far...)

altruistic.lemon wrote:

Heard the Arro, and agree with shouty comments. The Sttaf is a different ball game and better balanced imo, but seemed to get a bit muddled on complex classical pieces. Bit mixed about Totem, would go down the Neat road in preference, but have only heard the elite.

I heard Totem Winds, driven by a Moon 700i (with 750D CDP).

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RE: My worst demo ever (so far...)

My limited experience of Totems was a couple of years ago... heard some Totem model 1 sigs at a dealers and really liked them, so had a home demo, but  disappointingly they sounded very bright and harsh, so quickly sent them back.

You live and learn DocG... sure you'll have a better experience next time.

Mac

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RE: My worst demo ever (so far...)

Hi DocG

slightly off topic, I'm totally not interested in any Totems, but I thought I'd share with you my suggestion as you might be interested to give it a try.

knowing you're based in Belgium and you're on a lookout for some good quality speakers I think you wouldn't have much trouble demming a pair of Dutch Pio Sound speakers. I think the smaller model, the Falcon, should interest you. they are a hybrid of ESL mid-high panel and dual active dynamic drivers (upper is open baffle while the lower is sealed box for better integration with dipole ESL propagation pattern - so they say). the bigger are a pure ESL. I have those speakers on my radar. reviews that I saw so far are definitely unanimous about high quality sound those speakers produce. also performance graphs accompanying some of those reviews would definitely back up listening experience, which for me personally is very important fact (read it: it can't sound good if it measures bad - some colourations while often pleasant sounding are not hi-fi).

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plastic penguin's picture
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RE: My worst demo ever (so far...)

CnoEvil wrote:

altruistic.lemon wrote:

Heard the Arro, and agree with shouty comments. The Sttaf is a different ball game and better balanced imo, but seemed to get a bit muddled on complex classical pieces. Bit mixed about Totem, would go down the Neat road in preference, but have only heard the elite.

I heard Totem Winds, driven by a Moon 700i (with 750D CDP).

That's interesting, Cno. When I heard the Totem Arros at the dealers, it was rigged to a Moon entry-level (i-1 I think) and that combo did sound a little shrill. However when switched to the Leema there was more control. This is weird because WHFI's review of the Moon, from memory, was "big, barrel-chested sound...." and the Leema in the same group test was described as " greyhound racing" in comparison.

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