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empacher's picture
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Rega Brio R and Totem

I've been a long time lurker and wanted to first say thanks to all for the great advice.  I have gained some useful knowledge that has helped me narrow down my choices in my hunt to replace all my Nakamichi kit from the early 90's.  I thought I would quickly share my experience as the combination I ended up with has not been discussed (or at least I don't think so).   

Anyway, I ended up with the Brio-R and Dac about 8 months ago and have been fairly pleased.  For speakers I started with a pair of PSB Imagine Ts.  I suspect most won't be familiar with these Canadian speakers but they are a reputable, accurate and forward presenting speaker.  As 4 ohm floor standers, the Rega was not quite able to get the most out of these at higher volumes (I've been told the bookshelf version goes very well with the Brio-R) or maybe it was just not a perfect match for my ears.  

I've been auditioning other speakers recently and narrowed it down to little Harbeths, Neats and Totems.  I don't think I could have made a bad decision with any but I decided to go for the Totem Model 1s. 

All I can say is wow.  Now that I am listening at home, I think the Brio-R and Totem Model 1s are a fantastic combination.  Even though I heard the Totems also needed alot off power, the Brio R has no problem driving them.  I almost went for the Rainmakers.  It is a great combo too but the the Model 1s were not quite as bright, produced a fuller sound and were a little more transparent - as one would probably expect for a sibling costing twice the price.  Whether they are worth the extra money, that is always a personal call, but I plan on keeping my kit for a while and didn't want to regret anything.

It is too bad that the Totems are quite exensive in the UK and Europe as that may rule them out for many people.  Nonetheless, if you are looking for a good match for the Brio-R and have a chance to audition the Rega with the Totems, I would recommend you give them a try.

plastic penguin's picture
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RE: Rega Brio R and Totem

Must say I am totally envious. Swine. Wink . Love the Arros and have toyed with the idea of the Model-1 Sigs, but thought they may need a better amp than the Leema Pulse to drive them properly. You've really, in many ways, answered my concerns: Sure the Brio-R is a cracking amp and if they can drive the Model 1s without problems so should the Leema.

Enjoy.

empacher's picture
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RE: Rega Brio R and Totem

Yes I would imagine the Leema would be even more capable.  I read somewhere that Vince from Totem indicated that the 50wpc Naim is capable of driving the 1s properly as well. 

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RE: Rega Brio R and Totem

Actually my very FIRST hifi setup consisted of Totem Rainmakers and Rega Brio 3. Just sold them last month. Haven't listened to the Brio-R or the Model 1s, but the Totems were tricky to drive and required a more powerful amp like my Onkyo. Currently this is my 2nd setup. Still miss the Totem/Rega transparency and detail, but my Klipsch/Onkyo has more dynamic expression and bass extension. 

My suggestion to to add tubes to the sound. I did that with my Rainmakers and the Brio 3 and the sound is very 3-dimensional and smooth.  

plastic penguin's picture
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RE: Rega Brio R and Totem

Tricky to call - although the Rega technically may struggle to power the Totems to the full, it depends how the OP listens to their music. At low-medium levels I'm sure it'll be fine, allied to the fact you are listening in a isolated scenario. The Rega might struggle a little if compared side-by-side with a more powerful amp.

For years I had immense pleasure from Arcam/MA combo, but wasn't until I had the Leema did the Arcam show its true colours.when pushed.

empacher's picture
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RE: Rega Brio R and Totem

I have also been told that tubes are a great match for the Totems so maybe that will be my next hifi foray after replenishing my kids’ education fund.  

From what I've read, the new output stage of the Brio-R is better able to deal with the demands of low impedance speakers than its predecessor, and better than many other speakers with higher claimed output on paper.  Not having listened to the Brio-3 with the Totems I couldn't say, but from my experience the R can reasonably drive the Totems to moderately high level volumes (but not window shaking) without coming apart.  The R could not do that with my old speakers though.   

FWIW, I have also been experimenting with a 2.1 setup for the R.  I have been connecting it to my sub through hi-level ins and then using the outs for the speakers.  It may not be the most elegant or optimal way to connect a sub but it is the only way you can connect the R, as far as I can tell.  Anyway I only hook it up for certain types of music (some rock, electronic/techno - not classical or jazz) and while it is a little tricky to set up the crossover and sub volume, it has produced some surprisingly good results and is not a bad compromise for those who like to feel a little of the low end from time to time. 

 

 

plastic penguin's picture
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RE: Rega Brio R and Totem

Totally 'get' what you say about the 'R's  paper spec. However, from personal experience, sometimes, paper specs doesn't mirror 'real' or 'live' experience of hearing it for yourself in your own room.

The Leema drives the Arros to very good levels, by that I mean way beyond talking volumes. Normal levels IMO is when you can hear the music and have a conversation at the same time without screaming at each other. Only when you get above 12 o'clock on the dial do you detect anything resembling that it could lose a little control.

My explanation isn't scientific but is a accurate to my ears.

Good luck, pp

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RE: Rega Brio R and Totem

My old a75 (50 watts per channel) sounded good but if I turned it up past a certain volume it really lost its grip. Now my a38 (105 watts per channel) does not have this problem, turn it up as loud as I can stand and it keeps its grip on the speakers.

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