My friend brought over his CAD 120 to play through my Montana XP (4 Ohms 92/db) and there was no issue with not enough power.
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The Totem is a 4ohm "nominal" rating. You will need to look at the speaker's impedance over the entire frequency range to see where the dips and valleys. Tube amps don't like wide impedance swings. One of the draw backs of the Cary is the absence of alternate output impedance taps like their bigger brothers.
There are always exceptions in audio, but most Totem owners run their speakers with ss amplification. On "paper" not the best match.
You should have no problem running 4 ohm speakers. I've run both on mine without any problems. The CAD 120 is more powerful than you may think. You may not even need ultra linear mode. I'm using the Cary SLP98P pre that has plenty of gain, and have run Klipsch Quartets, Forte, Chorus, Linn Katans, Ninkas, Majik 140's, Lipinski L707's, and Wilson Witt series II speakers with no troubles ever. Best of luck.
Agree with Polk432, you should not have any problems. For two years I ran my Totem Mani-2's with a Cary CAD-120S Mkii, and they are significantly less efficient the the Elements. If your pre is not of a significantly higher gain like Polk's you might consider having Cary upgrade your 120 to the Mkii. Have fun. Beautiful amp that CAD-120.
I could never get my Totem Mani-2 to work with tubes. Not even close or even at low volumes. My ML 20.6 mono ss amps just got them going. I hope the Element series are a " lot" more efficient and have a benign impedance curve than the Mani-2.
When ever I see a 4 ohm speaker with a min recommended power rating of 50-300wpc I always exercise concern when considering tubes.
In my experience, I can wholeheartedly agree with you up to a point. I auditioned five amps, none of which could drive them well enough. I almost gave up on them before I settled in with the Cary, although bottom end was still a little bit looser than I prefer. Two years later I switched to Rogue Audio M-180's with KT120's everything fell into place, and I haven't looked back. So, yes, I found the Mani-2's very difficult to drive with tubes, but not impossible.
sorry I have been out of town for a couple of weeks but, thanks Polk432 it is good to hear that your cad 120 runs on 4 ohm speakers thats what I was only wondering for in my question. Though the dealer demoing the metals was with a triode corp integrated 30watt AB 6ohm tube amp. It just not filled a demo room but the whole store!
Also yes I do have a cary slp-98p with phono and running the 120 amp. But with my current speakers the totem forest. Which drives them louder then I need for my 1500square foot living room in triode. It also pumps out the bass especially on vinyl, so bad I get noise complaints. Which I don't even try the amp in ultra liner mode because of that!
I am also considering trying the kt-120 tubes to run in the cary for some extra punch.