i thought about going to the winds from my mani 2's until i heard them being demonstrated by vince. this was a few years ago now. they sounded very nice but i kept my mani 2's.
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Yes I agree but I have only heard these speakers in one room and system (and for only an hour). I am a believer that the room and system can greatly change the way a speaker sounds. My other issue is I have never used any of the equipment used in the demo with any other speakers. This makes the base line comparison very hard.
I have found that with very neutral speakers I am often swayed either way by the front end. All in all I am trying to sort out if the speakers lack a little brilliance or if the system synergy was just not to my tastes.
If you weren't "wowed" by Wind initially, there's a very good possibility you won't the next time.
And the time after that. But a second listen is not a bad idea as emotion, mood, state of mind, etc. play a large role in the enjoyment of any listening session.
Speakers are the most personal/subjective component in a system so this speaker just may not be your cup of tea.
Take a look at the number of manufacturers and/or models on Audiogon and then realize that's only a small percentage of the total.
Trust your ears and you'll eventually be wowed.
Mind if I ask which Cary pieces were used and what brand cabling?
If your room and that one are similar, and/or the gear was your own, you have your answer now on the Wind's abilities.
I've heard systems with great front ends and mid priced ($4K) speakers which just floored me. I've heard reportedly great speakers with decent front ends that just left me feeling... well, OK. That's nice but nothing special.
More than a few times this instance of better stuff up front provides best sound, given the speakers aren't bad to begin with.... and many are not bad to begin with at all.
I consider the whole of the rig's contents... and not JUST the speakers when eyeing a possible speaker upgrade. By that I mean, if they sound pretty good with modest gear in front of them, I feel there is a good chance they'll do better with better... see?
I've seldom been floored outright, when listening to a setup.... anywhere, but especially at a dealership. In a home where it should be setup pretty well, I'd expect a bit better result, but you gotta add in the preffs of the owner too. Therefore I tend to want to drag along a piece of my own that I know pretty well to see how things change after it is inserted.
My understanding of the Winds is that they'll do better with power, as do many speakers. At 86db & 6 ohms in a medium sized room you ought to be able to get away with modest power SS or tube, but I'd not expect anything nearing concert level listening.
Perhaps you can arrange another trip and take your amp and pre to see how they'll respond... oh and your own music. You might just come across some that will astound you but then you have to consider what was up front too. Is or will your front end be superior to that one? It'll need to be to capture that same sound. Been there... Done that... and it's way tuff to emulate or replicate a specific front end setup with dissimilar gear and the same speakers.
The one thing you will know at that point is the ??? speakers are capable of producing super sound IF all else is on track too.
It is always what's up front and the room itself, which accounts for how well speakers will respond.... not the other way around.
The Cary tub amp was CAD 120S CAD 120S and I believe all cables and interconects were Audiokinesis.
I plan to give them another good listen before I write them off. l liked them much better than a lot of speakers I have demoed. He also offered me a knockout price! But as a like everyone on this site I am not good at price shopping lol...
I might just have to bring my own gear. Even though on paper his stuff is better than mine, I might just be used to the way my stuff sounds. The winds had good tone and were what many people call "musical". I tend to like a little more punch and forward presentation. I have seen amps drastically change the way the bass sounds and I have seen other equipment (preamps, etc) change the highs a good bit.
If you were not "wowed" with them on a short listen, that might be a good sign.
What "wows" us are often exaggerated bass or treble.
As I think about my all time favorite speakers, they did not "wow" me at first.
So, IMHO, your question is a fair one. You want to get the opinion of some folks that have lived with these speakers for some time.
I have a fair amount of experience with the full Totem line, and have owned the Dreamcatcher, Rainmaker, Arro, Staff, Hawk, and Forest. When it came time to upgrade my Forests, I looked at the Winds but decided to go elsewhere. I think the Forest (and the Arro) at their price points are absolutely fantastic. The Winds are really good, but there are a lot of speakers that compete with them in that price range. In my opinion, there are speakers that outcompete them.
On average, or generally speaking, units with higher eff ratings usually have more of that punchyness in them. Like ones from 89-90 db & up, versus 85, 86, 87. Generally.
I'd suspect, though don't know for sure, the Theils might be the antithesis of the Winds. The Sophias might be in the middle of them both, but now you aren't comparing apples to apples... given the prices of the Winds.
If you really feel the gear in place at time of the audition was/is superior to your own... you may want to reconsider a move into any of those other two aforementioned speakers as both are quite revealing units.
Better front ends make better speakers better.... lesser front ends make better speakers not so better. Great sound does not require great (expensive) speakers!
I guarantee it.
mordante - i wouldn't say that at all. if a speaker has a tilted up tweeter or a booming bass, those are usually turnoffs. IMO, it is the midrange, soundstage, the little things you haven't heard before, and the disappearing act that most great speakers do that have a WOW effect.
also, maybe it was the room that the winds were in that didn't do them justice. try putting the be-20 ushers in a 12 x 12 ft room, nobody will be impressed. also, the cary tube amp might not be able to drive the totem's. i have the totem mani 2's and using a low powered amp makes these speakers sound pretty poor.
I have no experience with the Totem speakers but I can comment on the amp. I have the Cary 120S and VAC PA100. I am using tube friendly full range speakers. The Cary produces a more laid back cerebral sound than does the VAC which is more upfront, dynamic and lively. So, you might audition the speakers with another amp if you like a more lively presentation.
I see a couple of potential trouble spots in the OP's original audition environment. One is that you'll generally get a better presentation by putting the speakers in front of the long wall, not the short one. Next, if you have to put the speakers in front of the narrow wall, chances are they'll benefit from some toe-in to lower the influence of the sidewall reflections. Third, currently there is only one Cary tube amp above 60 watts, the newly released 110 watt (in class A/B) Founder's Edition monoblock. Totem's spec sheet requires a minimum of 80 watts and has a stated nominal impedance of 4 ohms. Generally you find that 4 ohm speakers have dips down to 2 ohms and sometimes less.
It sounds to me that, besides the room setup issues, the Winds were not getting the best match in amplification. A nice Cary tube amp would bring out the Totem's best in subtlety and nuance, such as a chamber music or acoustic folk/pop, but wouldn't have the oomph to give it zing and make it come alive on other kinds of music. Going by Totem's specs, this speaker seems to be screaming for a high powered high current solid state amp with a very low output impedance to come alive, and that's the part the Winds didn't do for you. I'll bet it would come across entirely differently with some toe in and a 250 wpc Parasound Halo.
Heard them at Stereo Exchange in NYC. Did not spend a lot of time with them, but was not "wowed" either. They sounded exceptionally clean, with a black black background, but unexciting. My friend said they sounded like they were in an 'anechoic' chamber, which he meant sterile sounding without air or "aliveness". We next heard B&W 803D and 802D, and they both sounded better to each of us. Hope that helps (please no flame from the B&W haters, thankyou)
hey sounded exceptionally clean, with a black black background, but unexciting. My friend said they sounded like they were in an 'anechoic' chamber, which he meant sterile sounding without air or "aliveness".That's a pretty apt description of a speaker that's not broken in yet. Winds require 250 hours of breaking in. If a store sets them up and just plays them for auditions, it could take half a year before they're broken in. I'm not saying that's what that shop did, nor am I a diehard Totem fan, but the speakers do have some pretty specific requirements that don't happen all that naturally, and when you consider how detailed and lush their other offerings are, I think there are other factors at work here.
Your thoughts on the room set up mirror my own. I have an ok understanding of how the room was going to effect the sound. I also listen pretty quiet (70-75dB) compared to most people on this site. I feel my lower listening volume tends to minimize some of the room affects.
I would have liked to have the speakers a little wider apart and towed is a good bit but it was a very casual audition and I did not want to offend the dealer. The pair I was demoing had already been sold but not picked up...
But I had no handle on the equipment being used. Unfortunately I do not think the Winds are a normal stock item for that dealer (mostly lower end totems etc,) which explain the so so set up. I do have another dealer around though. If they have the Winds I will try and hear them with a more powerful solid-state amp next time.
Thanks for all the input, and I would still like to hear from anyone who has owned the Winds.
I presently own a pair of totem winds with the new generation cross-over and absolutely love them. As reported above they do need power. Mine are presently powered by a bryston 4b sst square and sound beautiful. Although if i did have the money to spend more on a amp i would go with the 501's from Mcintosh. By far the best sound i have heard from them, smooth and beautiful bass. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.
i owned a pair of paradigm studio 100's before but when my dealer brought in the winds i fell in love with them right off the bat. I did take a look also at some Verity fedelio and even the sophias from wilson audio. I personaly dont listen to alot of rock music, more into Jazz, electronic and trance and also some classical. The wind is more defined then the above speakers and just seems to do things with less effort and with smoothness when it comes to that kinda music to my ears. But this is done with good matched amp and needs to be driven properly. Thx for the compliments on my system.
johnnyb53 - i wouldn't say that it is better to put speakers on a long wall vs a short wall. it depends on a lot of things. i have had totem mani 2's for many years and i preferred these on the short walls with the speakers pointing straight ahead, which is totem's recommendation also. i have a 13.5 x 24 ft room, and i like my speakers out from the wall. i had the mani's out about 5ft which i really couldn't do using the long wall.
cary amps are very good but i don't think they will have the power to drive the winds or mani's for that matter. i have a 200 watt classe amp driving the mani's and that would be the smallest amp i would use. i have had them setup using the macintosh 1000 watt monoblocks (and the 352's and 501's) and they sounded fantastic. if i was spending $14k on a new pair of winds i would be using a pair of classe omega's or macintosh 501's or the monoblocks.
I evaluated the Winds (basic version) and a few other Totem models to potentially carry in my business (I am a by- appointment retailer). I liked 'em well enough, but, surprisingly, found another line that I liked even better: Canton. Without getting into specific sonic differences, the comparable Canton models sounded overall more musically satisfying to me, i.e. "better" in terms of what I look for in a loudspeaker. I am referring to the Canton reference series which starts at 4K for a two way stand mount and goes up to 36K. I have the 7.2 model which is a three way floor stander at 7K. Regardless of whether someone liked the sound of the Totem's better, in the build quality/fit and finish department it's no contest, Canton's all the way. At these price points I believe that's an important consideration. If you're going to spend Totem level money on a pair of speakers, it should be esthetically pleasing to you and be built to a very high standard. Note: I have not seen or heard the "design" version of the Winds. To each his own.