Totems can be pleasing but be aware of their warts and not just their strengths
(1) the MANI-2’s represent the common larger Totem model complaint of being unapologetic power hogs if you want to make them perform. Without prejuduce to the former, if memory serves me, the MANI-2s are also comparatively inefficient which compounds the problem. Check the fine detail in the speaker reviews, they don’t drive these beasts with any modestly powered or grunt- challenged (nor cheap) amps.
(Aside: I had to bi-amp the Forests to get the max out of them).
(2) Google the tsunami of posts either here or in Canuckaudiomart as to TOTEMS being very fatiguing in short order. In a small room arena, that ethereal fatigue will be both accelerated and multiplied. I’ve had both the FORESTS and ARROS simultaneously ... that’s why I sold them with no regrets.
depending on the rest of your system and it’s resulting system synergy, the PROACs may be the better choice IMO, particularly if it’s a blind purchase
If you are indeed hooked on the Totem signature sound for a small room arena , then having heard them all, I would strongly look to the Model Ones or ARROs rather than the MANI-2s ... full stop. The latter had their boutique cult following in their hey day but it is a different world out there now with many more diverse (and better) choices.
In the past, I drove Totem ARROs with a Cary CLI-80. in a small apartment in San Francisco. They worked out well, but could have benefited from a sub woofer or powered bass. I sourced out a REL Quake, and that was an ideal setup at the time. I liked the ARROs, small, thin, construction was well done.
I moved on to B&W 805's and kept the little REL Quake, still have it.
I drive them with a pair of Marantz MA-24's and that setup suits me for now.
If I were to do it again, I would consider a pair of ProAc DB1, or KEF LS50's, I have heard both recently, and at that price point and size, they have very good sound stage, and grip the lower notes.
The Mani 2's are not a small room speaker. You will be overwhelmed with bass. That is of course you have sufficient and quality and power to drive them, which like mentioned above is a whole separate issue.
If you're looking at a stand mount Totem, Model One is probably where you want to be.
+1 on akg_ca's comment.
The Mani-2s demand power and will not perform up to their potential without it. You didn't say what you are using to drive them (nor what kinds of music you listen to), but if it's a relatively low power tube amp, I recommend that you do not do it. IMO you will not get enough low end control of the bass heavy Mani-2s. I finally ran mine with a pair of Rogue M-180's with KT-120's and they really sang, but that was the only tubed amp out of the 4 or 5 I auditioned that worked for me. They also sounded beautiful with both of my Class-D amps, a Bel Canto 300u, and a W4S-500, both of which have enough power as well as excellent tight bass control.
I ran my Mani-2s in a relative small room, but be prepared to do some experimentation with placement. They are a difficult speaker to tame, but when you get there the sound is fantastic for a speaker of this size.
I have heard the Proacs, but not in my space. I liked them, found them musical and not fatiguing, but overall they did not excite me.
That said, I've recently replaced my single-owner Mani-2s with a pair of Harbeths, and it's been on my list of things to do to get them up for sale here. Let me know if you have an interest and I'll move getting them listed to the top of my long to-do list.
I have owned a lot of Proac speakers. If you are looking for floorstanding Proac speakers in that size my preference on their models in the Response range would be as shown below:
Proac D 30r (this may be outside of your budget
Proac D 28
Proac D 2.5
Proac D 25
The Studio 140 II is is about the same size and is also a good sounding speaker, but not as refined.
To my ears Totem's are a little more clinical compared to the Pro Ac.
But that could just be my ears 😊
Thank you very much for all of your replies, they are valuable to me.I have just been in hi end audio for some years and don’t have chance to listen to many speakers. I have always wish to have a pair of small speakers, which is small to medium size (because my room is small: 10ft x 10ft) , what I look for in the speaker is musicality and neutrality. I usually listen to low volume. I am now having a pair of Kef 101, very musical but the seperation in instruments seems not to be good.
Because you say Totem Mani 2 is difficult to drive and there are better ones for the range of $2000, could you please suggest some pairs for me?
Is Harbeth C7es3 a good candidate?
To Jerry:My taste of music is vocal, jazz and classical. I have just sold my tube amp Cayin A50T so right now I don't have any amp. Thank you for your offer, I will contact you when I decide to go with Mani 2.
its a good price for the Mani's if in good condition and you have the amp and room to handle them. One of my favorite smaller monitors.
I’d give the Silverline Preludes consideration in your price range new. Not too hard to drive so will give you a wide selection of amps. Imaging and soundstaging are excellent and should work very well with the types of music you listen to. Best of luck.
For 10' x 10' room, look for a pair of Proac 1sc and don't look back.
The Harbeth's P3's are closer to your stated price range than the C7's although even they are a little bit more. I haven't heard a speaker around 2K that I enjoyed as much as the P3's and I have been able to A-B them with the ProAcs. I set up my girlfriend's system with them and my old Bel Canto 300u and a decent pair of speaker cables and I was way more impressed with the results than I thought I would be. For the price, jaw dropping. I'm contemplating a similar rig for a second system for my place. Don't know how I'm going to get my Bel Canto back though.