We like surprises. And the Totem Rainmakers turn out to be one of the nicest we've had in ages.
These standmounters look like a 1980s throwback, with their lack of styling and unglamorous drive-unit complement. Getting your hands on them doesn't improve the impression much.
They feel relatively lightweight and, while solidly put together, could quite easily pass for speakers at half the money.
Amazingly musical speakersAnd then you take a listen. For these are amazingly musical little speakers, sounding bold and dynamic no matter what you play.
Spin the likes of Massive Attack's Flat of the Blade and they will respond with immaculate timing, class-leading organisation and a good amount of insight.
More after the break
The Rainmakers aren't the most transparent or detailed boxes we've come across for the money.
But they communicate the basic structure of music better than just about everything else we've heard at this price, and the detail they do uncover – hardly a shabby amount – goes into making the musical experience cohesive and hugely enjoyable.
Wonderful with anythingThese speakers manage to find some sparkle even in massively compressed recordings such as The Magnetic Fields' Realism – a neat trick few can manage.
It also means that with an appropriate system – you'll need something like a Naim Nait 5i at least – these speakers will produce enjoyable results no matter what kind of recordings you have in your collection.
Our standard advice about using stands and taking care with positioning holds. Position the Totems at least 30cm from a rear wall with a touch of toe-in to the listening and you'll be fine.
We adore the Rainmakers. Not for what they look like, or for reasons of prestige, but because they make listening to music, any music, fun. And that quality is far rarer than it should be.