Totem Acoustic Forest Signatures


I am putting together a new 2 channel system! I am looking for a new pair of speakers and my budget is around $7000. This thread has to deal only with the Totem Acoustic Forest Signatures!!!!!!  I have always been a fan of Totem Acoustic and love the Totem sound.  I have owned almost all their speakers except for the element series and the Forest Signatures. I have been trying to find reviews on the signatures but can't find anything useful so I am turning to the Audiogon crowd.

Has anyone demoed these or does anyone currently own a pair or owned a pair in the past that can give some useful insight? I don't listen to my music at high volumes and my music mainly consists of R&B from the 50's till now.

The speakers will be hooked up to the following - Hegel H360 integrated 
- Hegel Cdp4a CD player 
- Audioquest Wild Blue Yonder interconnects
- Audioquest Wild Wood speaker cable
- Audioquest Wel Signature power cables
- Shunyata MPC12A power conditioner but looking to upgrade to their new Denali series.
brandonosman23
Totem Forest Signatures are very nice speakers.  At your price point, there are many choices and if you like the Totem sound, you will be very happy with these.  They tend to like power so your amp is definitely going to be compatible.

I have heard these speakers paired with a Plinius amp and Audioquest cables and interconnects.  Very well mannered speakers doing everything well. 

Hopefully you will have an opportunity to demo them as the bottom line is that your ears only will make the decision.  
I think they are the most addictive speaker ever created!
dave_b,
(and others in copy)

I agree! I received my Forest Signatures in March. I purchased them from David Lewis Audio. Mr. Serota made me a very! nice deal on the pair. Mine are high gloss Cherry and they are amazing. Simply captivating, both visually and sonically.

N



I'm glad to see this thread resurrected.  As the owner of NON-Signature Forests, I've been very interested in the experience of Signature owners.  Appreciate the 2018 comments from dave_b and nutty.  Hopefully more will follow.
To be honest, I let my Mahogany Signatures go a few months back and brought in Focal Kanta no 2’s .  After a couple months I had withdrawals like a crack addict ...I needed my Signatures back bad!!!!  Ordered the Cherry finish second time around 🤗. I will be buried with the Forest Sig’s
Ha!  You had me going there, dave_b.

What did you miss most about the Sigs?  

I'd be curious as well about equipment owners use with the Signatures.  I see your system is listed.  Is your Krell an integrated?

Best regards
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dave_b,

I share your enthusiasm! The signatures disappear into the room and throw a huge soundstage. The Signatures bring "tone, texture and timbre. They sound uncolored and very natural.

N
(Thanks for the 3 "T’s ghosthouse.)
The Forest Signature speakers need power to bring out their exceptional dynamic range and robust bottom end.  The Krell delivers great body, weight and detail without sounding clinical.  Soundstaging is superb as well with excellent tone.
Good intel on amplification, thanks dave__b,

I’ve been considering a some changes myself. I’m currently driving my Signatures with the Mark Levinson no.334. A very high voltage - high biased Class A/B dual mono. Using an Ayre C-X7eMP > Ayre K-5xeMP Preamp, the system is fully balanced and is dead quiet! The no. 334 has excellent driver control over the Totems.

I also have an Anthem I225 Integrated amp. It delivers 225 into 8 ohms and 310 into 4. It’s Punchy! and a very fun amplifier but it is no match for the Ayre / 334 combo.

I’m not sure how many hours I have on the Signatures. They get better every day!

N



I had Levinson gear as well...great stuff!
Fired up my Rift Cherry Signatures this morning with new MIT Matrix HD 36 Proline IC’s and HD38 speaker cables...wowzer!!  So warm, liquid and dynamic with tremendous bass weight and midrange fullness.  Not even broken in...amazing.  Makes me appreciate my Krell Vanguard and Yamaha Reference CDP even more.  So involving and most of all they transport me to another place:))
Very nice cables, dave_b!
Did you go with a biwire speaker interface? 

The Signatures never cease to amaze. So crisp and clear. And you're right. They can make you really appreciate your upstream components.

Today I spun Black Light Syndrome. It features Terry Bozio, Steve Stevens and Toni Levin. A very high quality recording. 

N

I have single runs of the HD38’s with Magnum jumpers.  Also have NBS custom jumpers for a different flavor when desired.  Used Bi-Wire in past but single run seems to offer a bolder bottom end and midrange, plus I can change upper frequencies with alternate jumpers.  I’ll have to check out BLS...love Toni Levin!
dave_b,

BLS is a showstopper on disc. Easily one of my go to demo discs. 

My speaker cables are no where near the caliber of your MIT's. I'm currently running Audioquest Gibraltar shotgun with the Audioquest and Totem recommended diagonal connection. Black - to the low post and Red + to the top post. Using Clear Day Cable custom "4" wire silver jumpers. The high frequencies are effortless with no hash. 

N

Nice Nutty!  I can’t believe how the Signatures put out such a dynamic, deep sound with such a huge cavernous soundstage...they have a presence like my old Wilson WP 6’s had but more musical!!
What would you say in the minimum power needed to show the Sigs at their best ? I believe Totem is the least expensive speaker that will do all that needs doing for the Classical music i listen to .IMO Canadian made is a good thing , a very good thing .

Only SS amps I have on hand are a Belles that does 250 @ 4 Ohms anda Van Alstine that makes 400 @4 Ohms .They seem to drive my Totem model 1 Sigs OK and they are not a easy speaker to drive.
Also, what would you consider a good price for the Forest Sigs ?I'm wondering if our leader is going to put a tariff on them .
I have an all Ayre system and WEL sigs did nothing good for my system.   It sure looks as though you need a better balanced system rather than spend on expensive cables.
Plenty of power Schubert, you should be fine.  400 into 4ohms is definitely not overkill.  I have a special relationship with my dealer, so not sure he could do as much off for you.  Let’s just say $650 off should be a no brainer.  My dealer was Surround Sounds, Exton, pa.  Ron is the owner.  Good luck...drop my name if you want.
I agree, dave_b

For such a relatively small 2- way speaker, the Signatures are very dynamic. They can disappear at times and sound eminates above the speakers and around the room. The center fill is expansive as my speakers are currently 9 feet apart from front claw to claw. For such a small footprint, they sound much larger. 

Schubert,

The more clean power the better from everything that I can gather. My Levinson amp is only 125 watts into 8 ohms but it doubles down from there. It doesn't flinch. But its very high voltage. My Anthem with 225/310 drives them easily but the sound is "sloppy" by comparison. I would say 300/400 watts, Clean Watts easily would play well. The Signatures are often demoed with very high powered amps. If I may, ghosthouse has a pair of Forests and often runs a high powered Class D Merrill Audio Teranis stereo amplifier with great results. 

Springsteen,

I agree that a Ayre has created some fantastic fully balanced audio gear. I am very satisfied with my CD-7 player and 5-preamp. Regarding cables, I alternate between Cardas and Audioquest interconnects. 

N
Comments in the discussion at the link below might be of interest. Would have been helpful to have the "big watts for Forests" viewpoint better represented in it.

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/which-watts-are-the-right-watts-in-ss-amps/post?highlight=tot...

Nutty certainly "may" re the Taranis (400 wpc 8 ohms/600 wpc 4 ohms). It works very well with the Forests. I’ve used 6 different amps with the Forests (3 tube-based). The Taranis pairing is a favorite. Leads me to chuckle when I read how miserable Class D must sound.

Just to play provocateur for a bit, however, the Forests also sound very good with a 20 wpc First Watt F7 (30 wpc at 4 ohms). Different sound than generated with the Taranis...a bit mellower (Class A), not as incisive. Strain-free peaks in the low 90 db range at the listening position some 10 feet on the diagonal from the speakers. Could go louder but haven’t tried. Phenomenal bass...more than from the Taranis. Gain on subs has to be reduced when the F7’s in use (and no, I don’t hear a loss of bass control associated with the "more bass"). All this a function of very accommodating speaker design as well as Nelson Pass’ amp design genius, no doubt. Expect the same would apply to pairing with the Signatures.

The take away for Forests in my experience then: more (SS) watts are preferred as the general rule but there can be notable exceptions.
Listening room can change a lot as well as far as power requirements go !
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dave_b,

I see you've updated your system pics. The Signatures look great. 

N
Pulled this from my wife's stash, she has some great music. 
Carly Simon, No Secrets
"You're So Vain"

https://youtu.be/mQZmCJUSC6g

N
@nutt  You know what that song needs don’t you?  More Cowbell 

dave_b,

Is is me or do female vocals sound amazing on the Signatures? 

N
Listened to:
Patsy Cline, 12 Greatist Hits
Diana Krall, The Girl in the other room

N
They are uniquely magical!
The Be Good Tanyas!
Nice! dave_b

Joss Stone, The Best of Joss Stone 

N


Joss is great!  Allison Krause and Holy Cole also superb.  My cables and speakers are loosening up more and smoothing out...midrange is sounding fuller and low level details are popping out, plus dynamics are improving as well!!  Just amazing speakers 🔊 
dave_b,

Big fan of Holly and Allison. Also occasionally throw on Diana Krall, Nora Jones and Beth Hart. 

Reading above that your speakers are loosening up. How many hours do you figure you have on them? From my experience, they will get better! and better! as they break in.

Also, I found a Post from 09' where that posted that you owned a pair of the Totem Winds. How would you compair the two speakers? 

Last night I listened to U.K., Danger Money. A fantastic early prog rock supergroup. 

N
Approaching 150 hours!  Cables need over 330 hours alone...but oh what fun.

As for the winds, they needed tons of power...used a Krell FPB 400cx and KCT preamp!  Should have kept that rig, damn ;(
That being said, the Forest Signatures are more refined and insightful with more expression.  The Winds could play louder, but not better .

I know of UK as well :))
dave_b,

Thanks for the insight in the Winds. And I agree, the Signatures are Very! musical. 
Their richness is addictive. 

Today, Peter Gabriel, UP and SO, Limited Edition

N

I have those CD’s...saw him live awhile back!  Amazing show 
Eva Cassidy...Blues Alley!!
Hi Guys, i have scoured the internet for any info on the forest signatures and this thread here is the best thing going it seems. Can't find any professional reviews..which is ok, im no professional. i just like to rock out when listening rather then analyzing sound. Just there to enjoy it. Having said that, keep this thread going guys!! I want to hear more! I have always wanted a pair of totem forests.. Ive never heard them, just LOVE the look and the idea of totems addictive sound. There is a totem dealer somewhat close but they dont have forests for demo. My amp is a NAD C388. Do you guys think that will be ok with the forests? It's 150w per channel, since they seem to be power hungry. I dont have the budget to get crazy nice gear, but i do want these crazy nice speakers. They will be in a 2.1 setup that i actually watch tv and movies with as well. These speakers would be fine for that too right? I listen to all types of music. Currently have Sonus Faber Venere 3.0s that im trying to get rid of in order to get these. They are awesome, but seem too laid back, i want something with more excitement! Or top end sparkle that I think im missing. They are great with classical, jazz, and blues which im def a fan of but sometimes i like to listen to electronic or even metal! So even if you don't answer any of this, Dave_B, Nutty, keep talking about these speakers and hyping me up!!!
Definitely will play them fairly well in a modest size room.  They are revealing so you will hear everything, which means more excitement and snap!  Soundstage is holographic with great micro and macro dynamics.  They are very open and play cleanly...if they would sound rough when pushed then you need more power.
Welcome bg3584

I’m afraid I’m not familiar with your amplifier, but I can tell you that Totem speakers like a lot of good clean power and high current. The Totem Signatures are very natural and lifelike.

Today I switched from my Ayre C-X7eMP CD player and spun discs through the Oppo BDP105D and Audioquest Colorado interconnects.

Listened to Joe Satriani, S/T, (1995) Great production CD

N




I believe Vince Bruzzese said it best: "You don’t have to be an Audiophile to like enjoy Totem. Your just put it on and it’ll play beautifully".

In a word, Sofisticated. 

N


bg3584

As the "poor country mouse " owner of NON-Signature Forests, I’ll venture to add my comment to those of dave and Nutty re suitability of your NAD C388 for driving any version of the Forests. At 150 wpc it should be more than adequate power-wise. If you have concerns, read comments at the link I posted earlier in this thread.

I started out with a 60 wpc tube integrated when I first got the Forests. That was 11 years ago. Amps have been upgraded over the years. The Forests stayed. They respond very well to better source and amplification. Even now, I don’t think the system is at a point where the Forests are the limiting factor in the quality of music produced by the system. I expect this "scalability" will apply even more so to Signatures.
The Forests are like a Swiss Army knife in terms of versatility. There’s no musical genre they DON’T sound great with (assuming the recording quality is okay to begin with). They’ll be fine for HT audio. You might even find that sub has to be dialed back.

Wattage is a helpful specification to look at when considering amps for use with Forests and pursuit of high watts is certainly the more commonly chosen route BUT that’s not to say they won’t sound good with less than mega-watt amplifiers. Case in point, the very very good results I’m getting driving the Forests with a 20 wpc Nelson Pass designed First Watt F7. Repeating this only so you aren’t put off pursuing the Forests because you think you don’t have adequate amplification right now.

Again, 150 wpc from your NAD should be more than sufficient (assuming you don’t listen at max dB (110 IIRC) in a large room). Of course, simple wpc is not the only factor that’s going to determine the happiness of the marriage. I’d certainly encourage you to take your amp and visit a Totem dealer. Even if they don’t have Forests, see if you can get a listen to Hawks driven by it. The Hawks are similar (not identical) to the Forests being a 2 way and having that wonderful Totem sound. They are a slightly tougher load (6 ohm vs 8 nominal impedance). If your amp works with Hawks and you like the sound, I’m pretty certain you will love the sound with the Forests. You might also consider contacting David Serota of David Lewis Audio and see if he can arrange an in home audition for you. I’ve not dealt with him but Nutty has and might be willing to comment further about that.
Thank you ghosthouse! as usual for the positive feedback and insight. You know you're always welcome in the discussion. Particularly with your extensive knowledge of the Totem Forest. 


I wanted a pair of Forests for a very long time even without ever hearing them. At my local shop, I listened to the Arros and the Hawks and the bookshelves and knew I wanted the Totem sound. However my local shop wouldn't stock the Forests. 
I bought a used pair and ultimately found damage and returned them. But not before listening to them for about a five days to get a feel for the sound. 

I found a dealer with one pair Forests and one pair of Signatures left in stock. He made me a deal on the Signatures I could not refuse. Having listened to both the Forests and the Signatures, I say swing for the fences and purchase the Signatures if your finances allow it. They look and sound amazing. Attack, decay and harmonics! All Signature attributes of Totem. 


As ghosthouse and dave_b have pointed out, associated equipment, cabling and media all play a role in a more positive outcome. The performance is off the charts! I bought my speakers and never looked back. 

All of the following information was provided by Totem Acoustic web pages. Some subtle differences between the Forest and the Signature. 

The Signature is slightly larger:

Forest 10.5" deep

Signatures  11.5" deep 

Forest 34" tall

Signatures 36" tall 


The frequency specifications are slightly different: 

Forest <33hz - 20khz

Signature <30 - 22khz


Forest 1 rear port, 1 lower port for mass loading 

Signature 2 rear ports, enameled high gloss (no mass loading)

In addition, the crossover components have been upgraded and the values of the capacitors are measured to match the other speaker in the pair. 


YouTube links, Vince Bruzzese debuting the New Forest Signature. 
Another showing the new Signature 1 and some of the Totem manufacturing process. 
https://youtu.be/cDWW1ICJ_84

https://youtu.be/p1hAxMVpFQ8

N
Wow, thanks so much guys. The support from you guys makes me want them even more. Swinging for the fences is a great way to put it, cause the sigs are pretty pricey. If I can't get a deal from the dealer, ill probably have to go with the regular version forests. Which should still be awesome I think! Don't think I'll get a deal as they don't have any forest, or forest sigs in stock. I believe they have the sky's in stock, so I can go check those out to hear the totem sound. I'll ask about taking my amp. Do have a question about the normal forests. I know they have been around for quite a few years now. Has anything changed over the years on the forest? Cause there's other alternatives speakers/manufacturers that have much more up to date speakers if thats the case. Not that im interested in anything else, just wondering or hoping, that they've made some updates over the years to keep them performing for their price point. This is all in case I can't get a deal on the sigs :/   Tons of great info from you guys! Thanks!!!
Forgot to mention this earlier. Another part of the reason i'm asking about any changes in the forest over time is because I've seen some publications or reviews on the forests that said they were $3.5k for the pair. The dealer told me they were $4.2k(satin finish) so they have went up in price quite a bit over time.
Dave_b, ghosthouse, 

I received two 18x15x2 Mapleshade platforms yesterday. I'll be making minor adjustments to the speaker positions and re-evaluating their performance. I'll report back on the sound but they look fantastic. 

I'm really appreciating the rear inert rubber decoupling balls. They really solidify the speaker to the plinth. Totem strikes again. The rear skid plate on the Signatures really stabilizes the speaker well. 

N
Bg3584, 

I can't speak to the specific product changes to the Totem Forest model or pricing during its production. I know that it's been in production for many years as most of the Totem line-up. I would get with Totem directly or your dealer for this info. Email or give them call. 

I do know that Vince Bruzzese, President and CEO states that Totem products are designed to last up to 30 years + under normal circumstances. Good luck, I hope you can secure a speaker to fit your system and budget. 

N

Vince only makes occasional upgrades to his speakers when warranted.  
Nutty, the platforms should make a huge improvement!  Should warm things up and allow for a more relaxed midrange and smoother treble.  Detail should be better and more well integrated into the soundstage, which should also be enhanced.  Low level information will also be more evident!
I’ve been a Forest owner for about ten years and have really enjoyed them. I’ve been looking for a pair of used cherry Signatures for the last few years, but without any luck. They are tough to find. I’m looking for a little more detail and resolution, particularly during dense musical passages. Currently I’m powering them with a Hegel h160. I’ve considered moving up to the h360. Since I can’t find any Signatures I thought that might get me closer to what I’m looking for. Can anyone describe what performance improvements they have had with a better, more powerful amp driving the Forests? Thanks