I've heard the Winds at a local dealer and they were very impressive! They were paired with Totem's own integrated (a venture with Sim Audio), and I forget the source. I heard them with Krell monoblocks as well, but preferred the sound of them paired with Totem's monster integrated.
If you like the Totem sound, I think you will appreciate the Wind's very much! If I ever have the space and the budget, I want to own these someday. They portrayed an effortless recreation of the musical space and totally drew you into the music.
Looking at your system, I think we have pretty similar taste. I absolutely love the Totem sound and I think my Hawks can perform well in my bigger living room. However, the Winds got me really thinking about leaving the Hawks as my bedroom speakers, where they perform magically.
Do you think the Wind are worth the MSRP $6500+? It's competing against a very tough crowd at that price point. I don't have a Totem dealer around me so I won't be able to listen to them personally, so I really appreciate your input.
How would you compare them to the Mani2s you had? Can they reproduce a large orchestra/symphony well at loud volumes?
Oh, are there any professional reviews on these speakers? I can't seem to find any...
I have heard the Hawks and the Wind briefly at a dealer, and while I liked the Hakws, I felt like their lack of bass made them sound more like one of the higher end bookshelf two-ways (no means a bad thing, I love 2 way monitors.)
The Winds, given room to breathe, add an extra dimension over the Hawks.
My main reason for respoding though was to say that no matter what anyone (or everyone) says regarding a speaker, you should try and avoid spending such a large sum of money without listening first. Maybe if you take a trip sometime soon somewhere you'll have the chance to visit a Totem dealer? Or maybe you can find someone in the area who owns a pair. Speakers add the most color to a sound system and is the one area where personal preference makes the biggest difference, imo.
Thanks for the thoughtful reply Sonance,
I'd love to hear the Wind myself, but I'm currently in college and don't have a car here, and there isn't a Totem dealer in my state...
The only speakers I'd buy without hearing them first is Totem. When I used to live in Singapore, I auditioned the Arro, Hawk, Forest and the Mani-2 signatures. The dealer there was very excited about a pair of Wind he was getting in, but I wasn't in the country long enough for that...
I love every Totem speakers I've heard (all w/ pros and cons of course) and I'm wondering if the Wind will serve me well in my bigger living room (14 x 14 x 18 high ceiling).
If you were in my situation, would you keep the Hawks and add a Velodyne DD-12/15 subwoofer or upgrade the speakers? Adding a high quality subwoofer would cost about the same as selling my Hawk and buying a used pair of Winds.
Any comments would help.
Thanks, I really appreciate everyone's help.
Spacekadet, the Winds are in a different league compared to the Hawks IMO. There soundstaging capability and effortless portrayal of the space leaves you feeling 'you are there'! I beleive they are worth the price, but agree with Sonance, that that is a lot to pay for a speaker sight-un-heard.
I never owned the Mani-2, but the Tabu. Same physical size, but missing the second inner driver. Personally, I preferred the Tabu's smoother presentation to the added bass of the Mani-2. The Forrest replaced the Tabu, but all of these are at a level below the Wind IMO.
I haven't heard the Wind with a large orchestral/symphony recording, but from what I heard listening to quite a few live jazz tracks left me with the impression that these speakers would have little problem reproducing anything!
I am a huge fan of that Totem sound, and for me the Wind's are the 'holy grail' in which someday I hope to reach!
Feel free to email me if you have any more questions. If you are considering them, and spending that kind of $, it would be worth a couple hour drive to at least here them in person.
I walked by a retailer's hi-fi room one day, and the beautiful, huge, compelling music issuing from the room just reached out and hauled me in. It was some big orchestral piece playing on a pair of Totem Winds. I knew and liked the Totem sound already by then, (I own a venerable pair of Sttafs, may get to Mani-2s someday) but this was something else again.
I don't seriously aspire to this particular speaker - a bigger room in a bigger house would have to come first. Therefore, I haven't done serious comparison with the heavy competition in that size and price bracket. But nothing ever reeled me in quite like that.
Ironically, the retailer in question unloaded the entire Totem line not long afterwards, in favor of Vienna Acoustics. To each his own...
If you're looking for an easy way to upgrade your Hawks, add a Totem Lightning sub. True, it won't give you any more soundstage or detail like the Wind will, but it sure does cost a lot less and gets the Hawks out of the "bookshelf" comparison area and solidly into the "full-range high performance" category.
I personally would rather go the route of a full range speaker than a speaker + subwoofer route, if music is the primary concern. Some people love their two ways so much they'll stick with them and add a sub, but imo a high quality full ranger has a coherency than subs + speakers lack. It takes experimentation to get the best integration of sub-woofer and speaker - it is possible, but is it preferable to a full range speaker, if you have the room and can spend the money? Not really.
Reality can kick in a practicality may dictate a sub, for cost, placement or even home theater integration reasons, but when it comes down to pure music, I will pick the coherence of a full range speaker anyday.
For counterpoint, once my sub was set up properly I would never go back to a system without it - only a handful of speakers sound as full as what I have now, and at that point there are cost and aesthetics starting to creep into it. IMO coherency issues are indicitave of an improperly set up system.
Sonance, I think you might change your mind if you hear a *properly* dialed in musical subwoofer from the likes of REL or Totem. I get the strange feeling your experiences have been with home-theater subs.
I agree w/ both Sonance and Ghunter.
A quality true full range speaker will be better for music than a poorly setup speakers + sub combination. However, if you're looking at subwoofers such as Velodyne's Digital Drive series, Revel B15, Ultima30, Rel Stadium, etc..., you'll see that a well placed and executed subwoofer will work as well and in most cases, better than a "full range" speakers w/o a sub.
For example, Totem Hawk + Velodyne DD12 combination will produce a very flat frequency responce from below 20Hz to 20kHz. I highly doubt you can find a true full range speakers (Wind goes down to 24Hz supposedly) that can do the same for the same price.
The important question to ask is, do you really need a truly full range (20Hz-20kHz) sound? If the answer is yes and you love the LFE on movie tracks, I think a subwoofer will make a huuuge difference in the experience and more than worth the investment.
It all comes down to personal preferences and needs, but w/ today's quality subwoofers, we really don't need to worry too much about the integration with main speakers. The subwoofer matching technology has come a long way and I believe they've gotten it right now.
Sorry to stray off the topic a bit, but for me, if I had the money, I'd add a quality subwoofer even if I had the Totem Wind loudspeakers.
There are subtleties in the musical bandwidth that are below what most so called full-range speakers cannot produce. What I found with most Digital Drive or Rel setups properly implemented is texture, texture, and more texture.
I do agree that it is possible to have a good pairing of a sub and speakers which dont go as deep as "full rangers." As I noted in my original post, it is possible. When I said it takes experimentation, I did not mean just finding a seamless hand-off from speaker to sub, I also meant something about the quality, timbre and speed of the sub. As we all know speakers and character and color to the sound of a system. If 20hz - 20khz fully described the capabilities of speakers, we'd all buy store brand speakers that met the above criteria and be happy at the end of the day.
By 'experimentation' I meant having to try subs in your house and your system until you find one that *truly* matches your speakers in your room and your system, with your available placement options. Some speaker makes have good matching subs, such as Thiel for their line and Martin Logan for theirs. Others, well, not so much. Sure everyone and their grandfather sells subs, but some just don't have that magic integration with music, especially in real world systems not setup professionally.
I am not against subs, and I'm not saying they can't add something to your setup, I'm just saying it's not always simple - in fact getting bass right is one of the hardest parts of speaker / system setup. I have heard REL subs, in response to an earlier post, and they are good subs, but I would not agree that they are a good match for every setup. Rel is a company that does focus on matching subs to stereo systems, rather than just an HT focus that other subs can sometimes have.
The other factor here is that with something like the Winds vs. the Hawks, the Winds have far more to them than extended bass. Their increased resolution and end-to-end tonal balance, their superior presentation of instruments and separation are beyond what the Hawks can do. No amount of money sunk into subs will make a pair of Hawks into a pair of Winds. That was the original question.
Thanks Sonance, that was exactly the answer I was looking for.