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View Full Version : Totem Dreamcatcher or Mite Vs. 170 or 340



curtis
07-01-2004, 12:28 PM
I heard the Dreamcatcher about 6 months ago. I was not impressed, sounded thin and small to me.

With all the high praise it gets, maybe there was something wrong with the setup I heard. There were three of us that went, and we all thought the same thing. Maybe I should go listen again...but at a different place, the shop we went to was not friendly.

-curtis

bombadil67
07-02-2004, 02:59 PM
MarkV,

Just curious: Have you auditioned any Ascends yet? I live in Marysville (50 miles north of you), and have a 170/200 set-up. You're welcome to take a listen . . .

My subs an ACI Titan (kit) . . . ugly, but sounds great.

Your welcome anytime.

Cliff

MarkV
07-03-2004, 09:50 AM
Cliff -

Thanks for the offer! No, I haven't auditioned the Ascends yet, but when I get in the serious mood to buy something I'll contact you first. I was just up in the Port Huron area a few weeks ago for my son's soccer game. I stopped by the Edison Park area under the Blue Water Bridge - I was checking out the fishing! Port Huron sure is a nice area.

Anyway, I have a nice 2-channel setup I've had for 15 years or so - Adcom 555, Adcom Pre-amp, Adcom tuner, Denon 1600 CD player and Kef Reference 103 speakers. The systems looks and sounds great even today!

But I've got the "bug" again and have started to look into a more modern system - 5.1 / AV Reciever and somewhat smaller speakers and of cource an new HDTV! This phase of the "bug" - reseaching - I think is the fun part! For my current system, I remember researching for over a year before I made my final choices.

So far I've checked out the RBH Compact Theater, B&W 600 Series, Boston Acoustic Micros & VR Series, PSB, Cambridge Soundworks Newton, Energy Take 5 & Encore and finally Paradigm Cinema 70's. I thought the RBH had potential (a bit thin), but the others never struck me with their sound.

The intenet only audio companies have really got me interested - from speakers to receivers. They appear to offer a lot of bang for the buck compared to the "rare" audio store you find today - nothing like the 70's or 80's.

I really want to moderize my system, but I sure hate to give up the current sound I get from the Kefs and Adcom.

If anyone is familiar with the Kef Reference 103's sound, do the Ascend 340's compare? The specs look very similar, but listening is the only way to tell!

Back to some researching...

Mark

P.S. - I'm leaning towards a NAD 763 or the new Outlaw receiver.

bombadil67
07-06-2004, 03:13 AM
Good stuff Mark, sounds like you have a nice 2 channel set-up. I'm not sure how the CBM's compare to the KEF's however. The KEF's obviously have an excellent rep.

Sounds like you've already done some considerable research/listening. This should definitely give you a good base to work from. I would have to agree, if I had the money the RBH would be on my short list. They have some very nice (very pricey) systems.

For the money though, the Ascends are hard to beat. If your room/budget allows, I would look hard at the 340s. Even though I love my 170s, I continually drool over those extra woofers . . .

Good luck with whatever you choose. Leave me a message here if you would like to make a trip to Marysville. Feel free to bring those Adcoms . . . I have a lil' old HK AVR130.

Cliff

Gregisme
07-07-2004, 02:41 AM
I don't know how relevant all this will be, but here is some correspondance I shared with someone over on the AVSForum:

first, my query to him, then his response back, with names left out to protect the innocent [:D]. Towards the bottom, it all ties in to Totem Rainmakers, specifically. Hopes this helps you in some way.

Hello!

Based on your "smoothness" and "imaging" preferences when it comes to speakers, which, if any, can you suggest?

specifically, I'm looking for bookshelf speakers under $700. I at least occasionally listen to some stuff that isn't recorded really well, so I'm curious what a speaker such as you describe might be able to do with such material.

thanks!

Hi there,
During the course of my speaker auditioning, I listened to all of the locally available brands (Paradigm, Klipsch, Energy, Athena, Polk, Mission, JBL). In general, I found the Polk and Klipsch just too harsh and shrill in the upper frequencies. This doesn't mean they are bad - there are many people who love the added clarity they perceive from these speakers. The Energy and Athena were both very competent speakers as well. To me, these were the type of speakers that most people would put in the "neutral sounding" category. These speakers were very accurate and no particular part of their sound jumped out at me, which is also sought after by many listeners as they feel it offers a more accurate uncolored sound. The JBL's were the least impressive to me and I would say they were designed to put out a lot of volume and bass, but at the expense of accuracy. The Paradigms are an amazing speaker for home theater. They reproduce sounds with eerie accuracy, without ever coming across as shrill or grating as the Polk/Klipsch speakers did to my ears. You will hear elements in a movie you never knew were in the there - things like leaves rustling, pages turning, bullet casings bouncing off the ground so clearly you can count them. They also create an incredible soundstage. If you were watching a movie with a stream flowing across the screen and closed your eyes, you would swear the room was flooding. For me it was a very hard decision as to whether to go with Paradigms or Missions. Overall, what sealed the deal for me was music. I enjoy movies, but for me the highest priority in my listening was music. I found I preferred the Mission speaker most as a smooth, musical speaker. It excels at midrange, has enough tight clean bass to not sound thin, and has clear highs that aren't harsh. It also creates the "you are there" soundstage very well for its price range. Everyone always praises their own speakers most, but I will try to be objective about mine. I really feel that I got the best speaker of the brands listed above in a purely musical sense.

An example I use for their smoothness is stringed and woodwind instruments. When you hear a guitar, clarinet, or cello live, you hear the richness of the air resonating in the instrument, and the sound just fills the room. This is what the Missions do for these types of instruments. In contrast - the Paradigms would produce more of the string interaction. You would be focusing more on the sound of the musician's fingers sliding on the strings and the twang as the string vibrates. The resonance of the instrument itself would still be there, but the emphasis would not be on that. For vocals, the same thing applies - the Missions would focus your attention to the midrange or the "music from the diaphram", whereas the Paradigms would focus on the musician breathing and the "music from the nose". Again, I am not saying the Mission beats the Paradigm at everything - just in music, and more importantly, in the music I tend to listen to. For example, If I listened to Rap and Hip Hop only, I would actually lean towards the JBL's, and if I listened to mostly Metal and Electronica, it would be the Paradigms. As I listen to classical, jazz, R&B, and rock, I like the Missions most. I still run Rap and Metal through them, but this is not their forte.

As a last note, I feel I should mention two other brands. When I purchased my speakers the dealer had not yet started carrying Totem speakers. I recently had a chance to hear these with all of the music I love on my Mission speakers. I was impressed - these had a very similar sound to the Missions, but improved on all of the qualities that make the mission speakers great. Again, I wouldn't pick these as the best for movies, although I'm sure they'd hold their own. Also the sub being used was a little weak for most tastes, but I preferred it as I feel a sub should only complement the main speakers and not drown them out as it does in the movie theater. The other brand I have not yet been able to listen to as they are only available online (thought with a satisfaction quarantee period). These are the Onix Reference series. From everyone's descriptions, these are incredible speakers for the price, and begin to produce the level of musicality that has only been available to people with equipment costing 2-3 times as much. I am in the midst of upgrading my music room and I am currently torn between the Totems which I know are great, and the Onix speakers that according to owner's could bring me closer than ever to a live music experience.


From the current Mission lineup, I'd recommend the M51 Bookshelf. (MSRP $500 Per Pair)
http://www.mission.co.uk/product/m5/loudspeaker_m51.htm
If I were to recommend a Totem Bookshelf, it would be the Rainmaker. (MSRP $900 Per Pair - but can be found for $700) http://www.totemacoustic.com/englis...f_rainmaker.htm
If I were to suggest an Onix bookshelf, it would be the Rocket RS250. (MSRP $699 Per Pair) (The Onix Reference Bookeshelf falls outside of your requested budget.)
http://www.av123.com/products_produ...ers&product=2.1

curtis
07-07-2004, 04:11 AM
Greg,

That is good stuff. This person should really hear the CBM-170 and CMT-340.

-curtis

Lou-the-dog
07-07-2004, 04:58 AM
I agree Curtis. From his description of what he prefers I believe the Ascends would definately be in the running. He seems to really like the Paradigm sound, but,from what I've heard said, the Rockets are really a different sound altogether...that is a little confusing.

Randy

curtis
07-07-2004, 05:06 AM
Randy,

The RS250 is entirely different than the Ref1. I do not think he realizes that, or else he would not suggest it. He might be thinking that it is part of a "signature" sound for Rockets, but the Ref line and Rocket line are extremely different.

-curtis

Gregisme
07-07-2004, 05:22 AM
Yes Curtis, I was actually blown away by the extent of his response to my pm. My inquiry stemmed from the comments he made on the foum.. I forget the name of the thread at the time, but his response to that thread consisted of advice for the thread starter, using his own example as a case in point.

Specifically, talking about his requirement for a speaker that handles poorly recorded music well, or at least, better than the average.

In my response back to the above reply, I talked about the Ascends. He was familiar with them (or the name at least), but hadn't had the chance to hear them. Didn't seem like he was intending to either, though he was familiar with their good reputation.

BradJudy
07-07-2004, 11:57 AM
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Arial, Verdana, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Originally posted by Gregisme


Specifically, talking about his requirement for a speaker that handles poorly recorded music well, or at least, better than the average.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

The Refs are certainly not the speaker for that requirement.

Lou-the-dog
07-08-2004, 11:10 AM
I understand the Ref1's are a fine speaker but it is quite a step up to from RS250 at $699 to the Ref1 at $1500/pr!

Randy

metalaaron
07-08-2004, 03:18 PM
i'd recommend that he try the ascends and i'd also recommend monitor audio.

cbm-170s

Gregisme
07-09-2004, 02:12 AM
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Arial, Verdana, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Originally posted by Lou-the-dog

I understand the Ref1's are a fine speaker but it is quite a step up to from RS250 at $699 to the Ref1 at $1500/pr!

Randy


<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Gregisme
07-09-2004, 02:21 AM
ok, let's give this one more try ..

In response to my previous post's quoting of Lou-the-Dog:

Well, bare in mind that his recommendations were based on the budget figures I presented. His budget was entirely different and so the Refs were at the price level that he was comfortable with. (assuming I understand what your point was, which I very well might not have )

Brad's earlier critique (about the Ref1's being too revealing for his source material) is still a valid one, however.

Gregisme
07-09-2004, 02:25 AM
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Arial, Verdana, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Originally posted by metalaaron

i'd recommend that he try the ascends and i'd also recommend monitor audio.

cbm-170s
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Monitor Audio? based on what? (just curious)

curtis
07-09-2004, 03:32 AM
You guys would be surprised how well the CMT-340 compares to the Ref1 at a third of the cost. In fact, I think the mids on the 340's are better.

Greg, from the email you posted, I think the point Lou and I were trying to make is the guy has not heard the RS250 or Ref1, and that they are VERY different speakers.

-curtis

metalaaron
07-09-2004, 04:05 AM
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Arial, Verdana, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Monitor Audio? based on what? (just curious)<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

i've seen people go from paradigm to monitor audio based on his preferences. i think he should at least try the 340s and see what happens.

cbm-170s

CaptainKellog
07-11-2004, 04:05 AM
Hi everyone - I'm the person who originally posted that rather lengthy review that Gregisme posted here (The one comparing Totem/Mission/Paradigm, etc.).

To clear up a few of the questions regarding speaker preference:
1) Whether I have heard either the Onix Rocket or Reference product lines.
- No, I haven't heard either product, and just included them in my recommendation as kind of a footnote in my recommendation based on reviews I had read. I was also unaware that the Rocket and Ref1 were voiced differently. As one member here pointed out, I was assuming that both product lines shared the same overall sound. Glad to have found this out - thanks!

2) Have I considered any of the Ascend Acoustics products?
- Absolutely! I have included Ascend + Paradigm + Totem on my current short-list of speakers to upgrade to. I have listened to the Paradigm Studio and Totem Forest lineups and know I would be happy with either one. Out of these two the edge in sound quality would have to go to the Totem's, but the edge in price would definitely be the Paradigm's. The wildcard for me is Ascend as I haven't heard them yet. My main concern with Ascend was the speaker finish available, which I emailed them about. This is no longer a concern as they sent me pictures of the alternate finishes available and they would definitely fit in with the room decor. If the ascends are anywhere between the Paradigm and Totem sound, they would be a no-brainer considering how much less they cost. I'm getting very close to just ordering a set of Ascend bookshelfs just so that I know whether they are the sound for me (I would hate to just buy Paradigm or Totem and always wonder what Ascend would have soudned like).

3) Have I considered Monitor Audio?
- Yes they are on my short-list of speakers to consider, but as with the Onix Rocket's and Ascend Acoustic speakers, I haven't had a chance to hear them yet.

To give a bit more background, my final setup will consist of:
- Marantz SR6400 (OR) Denon 2805 Receiver acting as pre-processor
- 3 QSC Audio RMS850 Pro-Audio Amplifiers (200watts x 2 channels @ 8 ohms)
- Denon (OR) Pioneer DVD-Audio Player
- Bluejeans Cable Interconnects/Speaker Wire
- 5.1 speaker arrangement w/ floorstanding fronts, standard center channel, and bookshelf (OR) dipole rears

(I know that the pro-audio amps seem out of place, but based on the power ratings and a brief comparison of a 2-channel Classe amp and a 2-Channel Crown Pro-Audio amp driving my friend's Tannoy speakers, the difference in sound quality was nowhere near great enough to justify the 4x greater cost factor of the audiophile amp.)

My room dimensions are 25d x 15w x 8h, and I will be facing the long (25ft) wall.

Speakers that were on my initial list:
(Budget $2,500 for 5 speakers + subwoofer)
Onix Rocket
Axiom Audio
Hometheaterdirect
Ascend Acoustics
Monitor Audio
Von Schweikert
Vandersteen
Revel
Dynaudio
Definitive Technology
Magnepan (Electrostat)
Martin Logan (Electrostat)
Final Sound (Electrostat)
Innersound (Electrostat)
Klipsch
Totem
Mission
JBL
Infinity
Energy
Mirage
Paradigm
HSU Research (Sub)
SVS Subwoofer (Sub)

Speakers that still remain:
(Note - the brands not listed here were eliminated either due to budget constraints or sound quality)
Paradigm
Totem
Monitor Audio
Revel
Ascend Acoustics
Onix Rocket
HSU Research (Sub)
SVS Subwoofer (Sub)

Thanks again for all the info I was able to gather browsing the Ascend forums, and from the Ascend staff themselves!

curtis
07-11-2004, 04:22 AM
Holy smokes! You have done A LOT of research! That is great! And welcome to the forum, you are our 250th member.

-curtis

CaptainKellog
07-11-2004, 04:36 AM
Sorry - forgot to include the HSU/SVS subs in my short list. I edited the post to put them back in.

Lou-the-dog
07-11-2004, 11:58 AM
Welcome! Thanks for joining us for a chat! From the looks of your initial audition list you've been a busy boy!

Randy

Gregisme
07-12-2004, 01:58 AM
Hello Capt. (welcome!),

Did I understand you correctly, from the AVS Forum, that one of your criteria for speakers is how well they deal with less than ideal recordings? Or did I misunderstand?

ps: Curtis, any special gifts for the existing member who brings in the noteworthy 250th new forum member??!! [:p]

Lou-the-dog
07-12-2004, 03:02 AM
Awhile back I think I remember Curtis saying that he would personally extend a complete 6.1 Ascend system to the 250th forum member AND one to the current member that brought him in. Then again maybe he said 2500th member...I dunno...could be I was just imagining things too.

Randy

curtis
07-12-2004, 04:11 AM
Yeah...I think you were imagining it. [:D]

-curtis

Gregisme
07-12-2004, 11:11 AM
No, Randy, I'm sure you remembered correctly.

It's such a shame that Curtis isn't a man of his word.. another hero has fallen.

[V]*deep sigh*

CaptainKellog
07-18-2004, 12:42 AM
Gregisme - I wasn't the one looking for a speaker that handled poorly recorded material. I remember the thread you are mentioning though, it was someone who had auditioned almost double the speakers I've listened too (at double the budget) and still couldn't find one that made him happy. He was apparently very sensitive to high frequencies (as in they hurt his ears if they were remotely harsh), but didn't want a speaker that sacrificed clear highs as he found those too "muddy". As an example - so far the only pair he found that he thought he could live with were the Martin Logan Grotto's I believe.

Gregisme
07-18-2004, 02:55 PM
ok Capt., so I was a little off. [:)]

I mistook your preference for speaker smoothness as a necessity for your poorly recorded music. In actuality, you suggested such a smooth speaker as it would also help with the thread starter's concern about poorly recorded music.

your original post:

For me, I'd say the most important thing is smoothness. I love smooth-sounding speakers (and they tend to help with lower quality recordings).
I'd say my second most desired speaker attribute would be imaging - as stated above, it really is magical to hear things coming from places in the room that you KNOW should not be possible."