The SP-9 is the weak link.
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The totem web site recommends 70+ Watts for the Model 1 (87db). I would have to agree that you are under powered. The NEW is a very good sounding amp. For more power you might look into Pass amps since the NEW is a Nelson Pass design circuit. There is no clear direction here. A sub would help. Bigger, more efficient speakers would help. A bigger amp would help.
To add more confusion I would suggest a tube CD or DAC. Consider a NEW P3 tube pre amp as well, although the SP9 is probably pretty darn good. I think this would help give more "life" to the music.
I used to run a NEW DCA 66 and ARC SP9 running Alon II's (aprox. 87db). While it is difficult to make a direct comparison, I also had anemic bass while running the SP9 in that setup (I still have the SP9, anemic bass in every system I've tried it in), I would first go for a preamp change. You are probably underpowered with that amp as well, even the DCA 66 was no powerhouse in the bass department.
You might want to try a different preamp before x-ing out your power amp. My experience with Totem Ones and power amps was not as cut and dry as I expected. Budget integrated about 50wpc sounded lifeless and shut in. With seperates I tried a few amps. I found that generally speaking more power = better sound, but... The current owner of my Totems uses a 25wpc Class A power amp resulting in great sound quality and surprisingly good output capabilities. This is the classic Bedini 25x25, an amp with a little bit of a cult following I believe. Not sure how your amp "couples" with the Totems, but the class A Bedini surely out did some other amps with much higher power specs. Hope you find a good match for the Totems, they are worth the effort!
Thanks everyone for you responses. Does anyone have an opinion on getting rid of the Totems and replacing with high efficiency (96db)horns (like the horn shoppe horns)and keeping the NEW A20.1 (and eventually replacing the preamp). Note, I am suprised that people think that one problem could be the SP9. Is that that weak?
Hello Chris. I had an Audio Research LS2B preamp at one stage with the Pass Labs Aleph 3 amp and Totem Model 1s.
The weak link was the preamp and had the same character that you described. I've found that the Sonic Frontiers SFL series of preamps along with CJs or Pass Labs work extremely well with the Aleph 3 as might be the case with the NEW 20.1. The Totems love power but I've also had success with the Decware 5watt monoblocks in a small room(11'x15') mind you not at ear splitting levels as I don't think you have to enjoy music this way all the time.
I've recently bought a pair of Model 1s again to keep this time for good and will try them out with my Naim gear. I'll keep you posted on that if you'd like.
You can also try the Jadis Orchestra integrated or Conrad Johnson CAV 50 integrated as well which apparently are good synergies with the Totem Model 1s.
Good luck and I hope this helps!
The Model 1 isn't the weak point. I've used the Totem Model 1 signatures and they will rise to the occasion depending on what you use to drive it. Just before I retired it to a home theatre system, they were sounding pretty amazing through a AR/BAT/Krell system. The Dynaudio mid/bass driver is difficult with impedance listed at 4ohms. But in fact is goes down as low as 3.6 in the upper bass. So in order to get more bass out of the speaker, you need to look at high current amps that are able to drive the speaker to let it do it's stuff. When I upgraded from a Classe CA100 to a Krell KSA200s the perceived bass doubled.
Or you can move it around the room to see if it's a room node issue.
Thanks for your responses. I decided to keep the Totem Model 1's and deal with the amp and preamp issue. I just purchased a used Unison Research Unico hybrid integrated. 80w. I am much happier but will I ever be truly happy? The fun is in the chase I fear. With the Unico... more bass both in terms of weight and extension. Bigger soundstage, more air around instruments and voices. More palpable. Interestingly, I found that there appeared to be a little less high freq extension compared to the NEW/SP-9 combo, the type of thing I would adjust if I had a "treble control". I switched from zip cord to Kimber 4PR. I have a 25' run and could not really afford right now to get better cable at that length. The change to 4PR had a fairly dramatic effect overall and gave me a little more high frequency extension and "sparkle". But I would still like a bit more. I have a 1st gen Rega planet and thought I could get a better interconnect or maybe change the 12au7 tubes. What tube would be brighter? It came with Phillps tubes. I may also get the Model 1's upgraded to signatures as a possible next step. There are also a couple of professional modification packages for the Unico that have recieved favourable reviews on 6moons...when will it end!
The 4TC has the teflon jacket which makes all the difference. Another high value option would be DH Labs T-14. This is silver plated copper with teflon jacket, so it will bring out the highs even more. I would upgrade your tubes first and then tweek the sound with cables from there. Post a new thread with your desires at that time.