My system suggestions on improving bass - Totem

Hey there!

I just have a question to ask you guys regarding improving the overall sound, specifically with bass with my system as follows:

Musical Fidelity A3.2 Integrated
Musical Fidelity A3.2 CD Player
Musical Fidelity x-10v3 Tube stage
Totem Acoustic Hawk
Acoustic Zen Satori Shotgun
Nordost Red Dawn Interconnects

If you guys could please provide with me any comments or suggestions on which equipment I should add/replace, or possibly adding a subwoofer, please do so! Don't be shy to be blunt with criticisms or comments - they are all welcome! My budget is around $1000+ for improving the system, but I would like to spend as little as possible.

thank you for all your help in advance!
-Matthew Dunko
Adding a XDacv3, PSU, X10 combo to my system really extended and tightened up the bass. Not a subtle change. The mid bass firmed up giving a warmer 3d image. This combo would fall within your budget and match your other MF equipment. HOWEVER, I'm finding that this combo aslo diminshes the attack of the upper notes. Less sparkle in the highs. See my vitual system. Just my two cents.

If you like the MF sound, why dont you upgrade your Musical Fidelity A3.2 Integrated to a more powerful one such as A308 int or NuVista M3?
First thing you should consider is speaker placement. Try placing your Hawks closer to the corners and walls. This easily reinforces bass.

If this fails, you might try adding the Totem Dreamcatcher sub. Its under $1000 I believe.

I have a similar main system set-up with the MF CD PRE 24 (preamp & cd player) and A300 CR power amplifier. My speakers are Acoustic Research 302 which easily go down to 35 hz ... so the bass is on par with some of the best that I have heard (in my case, the mid-range and overall imaging need help).

Don't change your electronics ... they are fine. I would suggest first moving your Totems closer to the wall and if that still isn't to your liking, try a sub woofer (Totem makes one, but I do not know the price). Lastly, you can wait until you are over 45 and suddenly, the real low end doesn't matter as much anymore. My buddy and I were at the HiFi Show yesterday (Friday) ... he's 27 and I am 48. It was pretty funny after awhile who thought which speaker got it right. The only ones that we could agree on were Focus Audio's SE 10 year anniversay models. And this is where the age difference comes in big time ... I can afford the $3400 scratch ... his wife gives birth in about a month and he received her blessing to buy a pair of the EPOS ESL3 and matching center (about $600).

It's all in the timing ....

Regards, Rich
I was in somewhat of the same situation you are in. I also have a Musical Fidelity a3.2 integrated and a3.2 cd player. I have a pair of Paradigm Studio 40 v.3 speakers. I was using some Monster Cable interconnects and speaker cables. The bass lacked noticeably and the overall sound needed something more. I added a used Rel Strata III subwoofer. I also replaced my interconnects and speaker cables with Signal (Frank was very helpful). The difference now is remarkable. I also was only wanting to spend around $1000. I found the Rel for $900. The cables were around $250 (would have been less but I needed a 17' run for the speaker cable).
Just one other thing I forgot to mention. This is for Rich. I am 49 and the low end still matters. To each his own.
I've B&W CDM9nt's. With a Velodyne DD-12 it was a nice improvement in bass. However, with the DD-18 I moved up to, it is now astonising. What that sub adds to the soundstage is amazing and that is just for vinyl. My system is pretty modest and the sub retails for quite a bit more then the speakers but it has rounded everything out just right, for me at least. The quality of these Digital Drive series and their built-in equalization sofware complete with mic to analyze your room should floor you. Try one (the bigger the better). They've even balanced inputs.

BTW... to the kid up above Rich (Rar1), I got quite the frowny face from my bride of 24 years when I told her I was upgrading the 12" sub to the 18" monster. Basically just WAF stuff. But since the moment it was fired up in our system she still marvels at the added bass and never even mentioned taking it out (something I promised her if she didn't like the upgrade) We never knew about the 'Over 45' Bass Rule and between us we're 117 years old. I'm glad we didn't!
I added a Rel Storm III to my Totem Sttaf's about 6 montths ago when I was seeking more bottom end. It integrates perfectly and they are entirely new - incredible sounding.

I know the Sttafs aren't Hawks, but if you move them closer to the wall the imaging may suffer. That was my experience anyway.
Ben & Valinar:

Just a little levity about hearing loss gentlemen. The "over 45" remark was to set-up the anecedote about my buddy's and my experiences at the show.

My conversation with my buddy was getting to ... I no longer listen for the same things in sound reproduction that I did 25 or 30 years ago. And that is not to say that I no longer listen for accurate sound reproduction. But, the same things that I listened for 25 years ago are not necesarily the things that I listen for today. My musical tastes are certainly not the same and overpowering bass is not that important to me any more. I also happen to live in a 2 bedroom apartment with neighbors to the right, left, up, and down ... so, sub-woofers or extra deep bass that would lead to walls and floors vibrating is out of the question.

So, there were no disses intended.

Regards, Rich
I have the MF A3.2 integrated & CD paired with the Totem Hawks and a REL Storm III. The Storm integrates well with the Hawks and adds just enough to the bottom end. I purchased the Storm for around $900.
you have a couple different options..

sub- add a used rel

cables- xlo signature 2 interconnect- very neutral and incredible bass

speaker cables- the satori and a little bland imo. it is not a bad cable but a little closed off at both frequency extremes. would consider cardas neutral reference, xlo signature, or synergistic.

power cables - i have had really good success with the audience cables (power cables make a hugh difference)
I have Totem Hawks and a Totem Lightning sub, and it's a great combination. Sure, it takes a week or two for you to get the positioning and dials worked out, but once you do have it in the sweet spot it is seamless.

I've most recently upgraded my power amp to an Audio Research VS110 and although after the upgrade I did notice a huge amount more bass from the speakers. Let's face physics, though: there's no way the Hawks can produce bass as low as a Lightning no matter what is driving them.

Another reason I have the Lightning is that it matches my maple hawks perfectly from a visual angle, too. As you can probably guess by now, my (strong) recommendation to you is to push a little over your $1000 budget and get the Lightning.

I also own a pair of Totem Acoustic Hawk loudspeakers and love it. For your $1000, a subwoofer would be by far the best upgrade for bass.

Do not move the speakers too close to the walls to improve your bass, becuase that's not exactly "improving" your bass, but making your walls sing. Leave the speakers where you get the best imaging and soundstage.

No component, tweak, or an expensive cable will provide more bass than adding a subwoofer. You can worry about the cables and power conditioning later when you have extra money lying around, but for now get a subwoofer.

For $1000, I'd suggest one of REL's strata 3, or Totem's own Lightning. The setup should not take you more than a couple of hours if you concentrate and have patience. I don't know why Ghunter's setup took weeks!

Hope this helped. Good luck and happy listening!
It took a matter of minutes to get it set up sounding great, and a few weeks to experiment with the dials and positioning to make the final tweaks.

I'd expect the same from any sub (without automatic level setting controls)