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

plastic penguin wrote:

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.

I had a Moon i7 out for home trial for 3 days and found it "shrill", for want of a better word, through my Refs......which is why it's hard to know exactly what bit of kit was causing what effect.

The reviews of Moon have always made it sound like something I'd like, but I have never managed to like it on the times I've heard it (including with Focal Diablos).

Hifi is a strange and personal game.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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

CnoEvil wrote:

plastic penguin wrote:

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.

I had a Moon i7 out for home trial for 3 days and found it "shrill", for want of a better word, through my Refs......which is why it's hard to know exactly what bit of kit was causing what effect.

The reviews of Moon have always made it sound like something I'd like, but I have never managed to like it on the times I've heard it (including with Focal Diablos).

Hifi is a strange and personal game.

Indeed it is a strange hobby/interest. I'm not saying the Moon is bad - that's the only time I've heard one (the dealer's acoustics was also rank). What I would say is the Arros played at normal levels are staggering IMO. That said, because of the small drivers/cabinet capacity adopted by Totem, and used at high levels in a large room, that could push them beyond reasonable levels, thus could be harsh or "shouty". Otherwise superb.

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

 

Hi Oldric,

For some reason, quoting doesn't work... Ah well...

Yes, if memory serves me well, I saw the Falcons in Antwerp, when demoing the Martin Logan Ethos (the latter were fabulously open and dynamic but merciless for poor recordings, and harsh when played loud). I saw the Pios, but didn't hear them yet. I could go back, of course!

Would they be a demanding load for an amp? My theory on the Ethos's harshness at high levels is that maybe the amp (Accuphase integrated for my demo) was struggling with the impedance dip in the treble. Would that make sense? And if so, which amp would be better for the job?

I'm also a little worried because of the Final ESLs, also a Dutch design, which must have produced staggering sound, but were notoriously unreliable - the company doesn't exist anymore, which might say something. Thinking about it, maybe Final and Pio are related?

My benchmark speaker so far is the Magnepan 1.7, which unfortunately is too big (too tall, to be exact); it won't fit aesthetically ( :roll: well, there's good things in having a wife too...). My first encounter with the MG12 (in another shop) was plainly disappointing (I guess that might have had to do with amplification as well); and dito for the Triton2 (which wasn't broken-in yet). I'll give these two a second chance later.

 

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

DocG wrote:

I saw the Pios, but didn't hear them yet. I could go back, of course!

Would they be a demanding load for an amp?

yes. they dip around 2 Ohms at around 10 kHz. of course it's not unusual for an ESL. the good news is as in every ESL there's only one severe dip at higher freqs where there's little musical energy anyway and impedance over the majority of spectrum is amp friendly. still, you'll need a good performer anyway. budget AB transistors or tubes need not apply.

DocG wrote:

My theory on the Ethos's harshness at high levels is that maybe the amp (Accuphase integrated for my demo) was struggling with the impedance dip in the treble. Would that make sense? And if so, which amp would be better for the job?

no way an Accu was struggling with anything (provided it was the class A integrated amp). those are some of the most stable amps available. they take 2 Ohm load for breakfast. unless that Accu amp was some lesser unit I'd point into direction of the  speakers to look for a culprit. if you check waterfall graphs for Martins (for instance at Stereophile) you'll notice common property of those speakers to have hashy highs. never liked the look of those graphs for Martin speakers.

DocG wrote:

I'm also a little worried because of the Final ESLs, also a Dutch design, which must have produced staggering sound, but were notoriously unreliable - the company doesn't exist anymore, which might say something. Thinking about it, maybe Final and Pio are related?

it appears they are related. one of the head guys behind Final is now one of the head guys behind Pio. build quality is reportedly very good. what exactly do you mean saying Finals were unreliable?

DocG wrote:

My benchmark speaker so far is the Magnepan 1.7, which unfortunately is too big (too tall, to be exact); it won't fit aesthetically ( :roll: well, there's good things in having a wife too...). My first encounter with the MG12 (in another shop) was plainly disappointing (I guess that might have had to do with amplification as well); and dito for the Triton2 (which wasn't broken-in yet). I'll give these two a second chance later.

if you decide for planars and your only option is to get smallish ones and not think about upgrading to bigger ones a good option might be so called "Gunned" version of MG12? check the guys web site: http://www.indiespinzone.com/magnestand.html. reportedly they sound way better than the stock version and look way better too. however, the cost of the mod + the price of new speakers will bring MG12 to the price level of new MG1.7. furthermore, they can only be made to order from the USA so the shipping cost will be a consideration as well (and maybe duty + VAT). that's why my comment on not wanting to upgrade in the future. but the guy seems to be constantly busy so obviously there's something special about his mod.

anyway, try Pios first as they are available locally and let us know what you think of them.

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

Totem speakers & certainly Arros are particularly demanding regarding amplification if they are not to sound bright as I found out when I bought my Primare power amp. With the right speaker cable, positioning plus getting used to a brighter sound than I'd been used to - they can be spectacular. Very few speakers image like Arros. Their bass is more agile than "big".

As for the worst demo - had to be Cyrus in the basement at Bristol about 7 yrs ago: too loud, very harsh with no audience to soak it up - empty apart from what looked like 3 air hostesses working for them.

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

oldric_naubhoff wrote:

DocG wrote:

I'm also a little worried because of the Final ESLs, also a Dutch design, which must have produced staggering sound, but were notoriously unreliable - the company doesn't exist anymore, which might say something. Thinking about it, maybe Final and Pio are related?

it appears they are related. one of the head guys behind Final is now one of the head guys behind Pio. build quality is reportedly very good. what exactly do you mean saying Finals were unreliable?

Looking for info on ESLs , I found a (very positive) review on the Finals. The link to the company website didn't work - as Final had ceased to exist, I discovered. Further googling gave me quite some forum posts (most in Dutch), à la "My fathers Final ESLs died on him - again" or "all Finals brake down, most often the stators; that's why the company went bankrupt, several times" or "for Final, count on new foils every 2 years"... it went on and on. There might have been a "publication bias", of course. But it was striking.

oldric_naubhoff wrote:

If you decide for planars and your only option is to get smallish ones and not think about upgrading to bigger ones a good option might be so called "Gunned" version of MG12? check the guys web site: http://www.indiespinzone.com/magnestand.html. reportedly they sound way better than the stock version and look way better too. however, the cost of the mod + the price of new speakers will bring MG12 to the price level of new MG1.7. furthermore, they can only be made to order from the USA so the shipping cost will be a consideration as well (and maybe duty + VAT).

The modification is not cheap, indeed. For MG12s, it comes to some $2500 (ex. shipping and taxes). Do you have the knowledge to assess what he does? The options to choose the wood species, the style and colours on the other hand (matching the veneer of the furniture!) may have a dramatic effect on the WAF. I might contact the guy to get some more info.

But in the meantime, I'll schedule a demo op the Pio, and a new audition of the MG12, comparing it with the 1.7, and also of (properly broken-in) Tritons. I'll report back (but it may take a while).

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

busb wrote:

Totem speakers & certainly Arros are particularly demanding regarding amplification if they are not to sound bright as I found out when I bought my Primare power amp. With the right speaker cable, positioning plus getting used to a brighter sound than I'd been used to - they can be spectacular. Very few speakers image like Arros. Their bass is more agile than "big".

First of all, my "worst demo ever" was not all about Totem; it was more the whole *experience* that made it what it was.

Having said that, if the Totems limit the choice of amps to those that can bridle their brightness (well, it was more than bright to my ears, it was unpleasant), then I think they're not for me, superb as their imaging may be (and was).

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

busb wrote:

As for the worst demo - had to be Cyrus in the basement at Bristol about 7 yrs ago: too loud, very harsh with no audience to soak it up - empty apart from what looked like 3 air hostesses working for them.

The last hi-fi show I went to at Hammersmith Cyrus had their own room. There was a pre/power combo + CDP + outboard power supply on amps and CDP. The speakers were Cyrus's own floorstanders. Probably the worst 'racket' I've ever experienced.

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

plastic penguin wrote:

busb wrote:

As for the worst demo - had to be Cyrus in the basement at Bristol about 7 yrs ago: too loud, very harsh with no audience to soak it up - empty apart from what looked like 3 air hostesses working for them.

The last hi-fi show I went to at Hammersmith Cyrus had their own room. There was a pre/power combo + CDP + outboard power supply on amps and CDP. The speakers were Cyrus's own floorstanders. Probably the worst 'racket' I've ever experienced.

I have heard Cyrus amplification since & it sounded fine but their stuff is never going to be accused of being pipe & slippers sounding for the fawn-coloured Cardigan wearers fan club!

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

DocG wrote:

busb wrote:

Totem speakers & certainly Arros are particularly demanding regarding amplification if they are not to sound bright as I found out when I bought my Primare power amp. With the right speaker cable, positioning plus getting used to a brighter sound than I'd been used to - they can be spectacular. Very few speakers image like Arros. Their bass is more agile than "big".

First of all, my "worst demo ever" was not all about Totem; it was more the whole *experience* that made it what it was.

Having said that, if the Totems limit the choice of amps to those that can bridle their brightness (well, it was more than bright to my ears, it was unpleasant), then I think they're not for me, superb as their imaging may be (and was).

It's more a case of can sound bright but that applies to many speaker manufacturers or models apart from Totem! As for amplification, its probably more to do with some of their models not being the easiest to drive. My Arros are nominally 4 Ohms & probably even lower depending on frequency. Probably not suitable for SET valve amps!

I did hear a pair of Arros firing down a long room in a dealer's demo - they sounded awful! Three weeks later, I bought a pair ex-demo from another dealer - having heard them sounding stunning a few years back. The are now fairly expensive at £1600 for the basic wood vaneer finishes. Get the system right & they are difficult to beat for their size. They have surprised many a visitor!

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

DocG wrote:

... if the Totems limit the choice of amps to those that can bridle their brightness (well, it was more than bright to my ears, it was unpleasant), then I think they're not for me, superb as their imaging may be (and was).

I think that is the reality - they do require careful matching.  Typically warmer or darker amp are recommended.  Naim, McIntosh and tube amps (if you are not looking big volume) to name a few are often mentioned as good pairings.  Interestingly I've heard several people recommend Moon as a good option which doesn't seem to fit in that category.  I've been seriously thinking of getting a Moon amp to see what a lot more power will bring to the Model 1s but I am a little leary about brightness as well.  We'll see.  I have no complaints at the moment but only listen at low to moderate volumes.

Don't know the Dreamcatchers or Tribes but have heard the Sttafs and I don't think they are the best ambassadors of the line.  The Arro's and Mani's are really the classic totem's IMO.  The Mani's powered by a big McIntosh amp is quite something to hear and it is mind boggling that the sound is coming from standmounters. 

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

busb wrote:

plastic penguin wrote:

busb wrote:

As for the worst demo - had to be Cyrus in the basement at Bristol about 7 yrs ago: too loud, very harsh with no audience to soak it up - empty apart from what looked like 3 air hostesses working for them.

The last hi-fi show I went to at Hammersmith Cyrus had their own room. There was a pre/power combo + CDP + outboard power supply on amps and CDP. The speakers were Cyrus's own floorstanders. Probably the worst 'racket' I've ever experienced.

I have heard Cyrus amplification since & it sounded fine but their stuff is never going to be accused of being pipe & slippers sounding for the fawn-coloured Cardigan wearers fan club!

Oh shit. That's me out then. (Just off to put the Lurchers in the Range Rover).

Amp; CDP; Turntable; Tuner; Speakers

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

plastic penguin wrote:

busb wrote:

plastic penguin wrote:

busb wrote:

As for the worst demo - had to be Cyrus in the basement at Bristol about 7 yrs ago: too loud, very harsh with no audience to soak it up - empty apart from what looked like 3 air hostesses working for them.

The last hi-fi show I went to at Hammersmith Cyrus had their own room. There was a pre/power combo + CDP + outboard power supply on amps and CDP. The speakers were Cyrus's own floorstanders. Probably the worst 'racket' I've ever experienced.

I have heard Cyrus amplification since & it sounded fine but their stuff is never going to be accused of being pipe & slippers sounding for the fawn-coloured Cardigan wearers fan club!

Oh shit. That's me out then. (Just off to put the Lurchers in the Range Rover).

 

  Funny , I had you down as a black labrador sort of chap .

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

plastic penguin wrote:

busb wrote:

plastic penguin wrote:

busb wrote:

As for the worst demo - had to be Cyrus in the basement at Bristol about 7 yrs ago: too loud, very harsh with no audience to soak it up - empty apart from what looked like 3 air hostesses working for them.

The last hi-fi show I went to at Hammersmith Cyrus had their own room. There was a pre/power combo + CDP + outboard power supply on amps and CDP. The speakers were Cyrus's own floorstanders. Probably the worst 'racket' I've ever experienced.

I have heard Cyrus amplification since & it sounded fine but their stuff is never going to be accused of being pipe & slippers sounding for the fawn-coloured Cardigan wearers fan club!

Oh shit. That's me out then. (Just off to put the Lurchers in the Range Rover).

i thought I recognised you at the last AGM!

 

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

DocG wrote:

Looking for info on ESLs , I found a (very positive) review on the Finals. The link to the company website didn't work - as Final had ceased to exist, I discovered. Further googling gave me quite some forum posts (most in Dutch), à la "My fathers Final ESLs died on him - again" or "all Finals brake down, most often the stators; that's why the company went bankrupt, several times" or "for Final, count on new foils every 2 years"... it went on and on. There might have been a "publication bias", of course. But it was striking.

thanks Doc. that's interesting. Pio is too young to draw any conclusions yet though. let's hope they will build up on the goods of Final and leave the bads behind.

DocG wrote:

The modification is not cheap, indeed. For MG12s, it comes to some $2500 (ex. shipping and taxes). Do you have the knowledge to assess what he does? The options to choose the wood species, the style and colours on the other hand (matching the veneer of the furniture!) may have a dramatic effect on the WAF. I might contact the guy to get some more info.

if you browse through his web site he explains the mod in quite a detail. in a nutshell he swaps the standard MDF frames for the wood frames and upgrades the xover (not only does he swaps the parts for better quality ones but also changes configuration - essentially you're getting a 1st order xover @ around 600Hz).

the wood frames are said to be beneficial (not counting the visual aspect) in that way they have damping properties on the diaphragm which is directly attached to the frame in case of Magnepans. since MDF has vibration rejecting properties this is no good. on the other hand wood has proven vibration absorbing properties. so the movement of the diaphragm gets "soaked" into the frame rather than being bounced back inside. this is said to lower THD distortion. I've never seen comparable measurements but I can surely see this to be so in practise.

the benefit of xover upgrade comes without question. not only is it changed to 1st order on both sides (AFAIK the stock is 2nd on woofer and 1st on mid-tweeter) which means you get better phase integration between drives but also you get better quality components (better tolerances) which is the most crucial in case of a passive crossover. IMO that is the main reason why an expensive multi-way speaker would sound better than a budget multi-way speaker. it's not so much about the cabinet or the drivers but the xover implementation and quality of parts used.

DocG wrote:

But in the meantime, I'll schedule a demo op the Pio, and a new audition of the MG12, comparing it with the 1.7, and also of (properly broken-in) Tritons. I'll report back (but it may take a while).

keep us posted! looking forward to your another review.

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