I don't know about synergy with the amp, but I've heard all of these and they are all good speakers. The AZ struck me as being more natural and neutral sounding. I was very impressed by it.
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Ive owned both...and am currently using the adagio.The pluses on the forests are a very sharp image.The soundstage is wonderfull.(using sim gear)ive found that the metal tweeter was just a little too much for my tastes in music(jazz,ecm).The forests were very imppressive but the frequency extremes bothered me(lots of bass,hf).The adagios are much more relaxed and musical...not that the forests arent,adagios are just right sounding..more matured sound,not so in your face.Both are excellent,but the adagios are staying in system for awhile!(imho).
Both are very good for the buck. Depends on your taste in sound. Take a look at Abosolute sound article on the Adagio june/july 2006. I heard them at 2007 Rocky Mountain Audio festival. They were sold the first day there. They were matched with Halcro gear. Very good sound. The second day there, Robert Lee set up the larger version of the adagios. Same thing, very very good sound however a little over powering for the size of room. Maybe a tweek or 2 hear or there would have balanced the bass and toned down the slight boominess.
I have heard totem at 2007 ces and the rooms sound was very good. There were a lot of people visiting that room. There is something about the highs and mids that capture your ear about the totems. Its also amazing how much bass they get out of those slim speakers.
As most would say..hear them in your room and with the rest of your gear is the best way to tell if at all possible.
First I would like to thank everyone for their input. I have to agree with Digsmithd, both the forest and mani-2's metal tweeter can be a bit bright. The other thing that concerns me is how tall the forests are. I think they are only 36" tall. Last time I heard them i noticed that you had to be in the sweet spot for the sound to be good. I know most speakers have a sweet spot, but I don't want a speaker to sound totally different when I leave my listening spot. I have read that the adagios still maintain the same sound even when listening of axis from the typical sweet spot.
To Distortion, I could'nt agree more about SC. I'm in columbia and the nearest "real" dealer is in Charlotte NC. It is really disappointing that there isnt a stronger market for highend equipment in SC.
Because I have zero experience with the Adagio's - I am unable to offer an insight as to how these two well received products compare.
I am chiming in to note that the Totem Forest retains exceptional off-axis dispersion. As usual, all thats needed is a bit of attention towards setup. With the Forests, the trick is to keep the speakers relatively close together with only a very minimal amount of toe-in. Do that, and you'll enjoy full and uniform sound no matter where you are sitting in your listening space.
Good luck in the hunt!
Axis smaxis....ive owned them both.I have placed them in the same spot.No contest...if you can buy the adagio,more refined.dont labor over it.It comes down to trade offs with all speakers.Both reccomend no toe-in.The adagios win in long term satisfaction of no metal bs.Trust me i have owned alot of speakers and am a working musician.the forests are good,but they do sound hi-fi after the decirnable amount of time,they are very analytical and offer what the adagios are better than the forests are.Which is a very refined speaker,everybody has there wagon to say get on.I have had both,no contest(imvho)
I have to echo Rumadian's comment. I have Forests in a 15 by 17 by 10 foot room. I have them 7 feet apart, with the tweeters about 3.5 feet off the back wall and 4 feet off the side walls, aimed straight ahead to a listening sofa 9 feet away. You can sit people three wide and they all get a serious soundstage.
I do notice a bit of harshness/forwardness in the upper midrange of my system and/or some aggressive sibilance on some recordings at higher volumes. I am wondering if it an be tamed by a different CD player or through cables,
System is simple two channel - Cary 303/200 CDP direct into Spectron Musician II amp; HT Pro Silway Mark II balanced IC's; DH Labs Q-10 remote sense speaker cables.
There are different amps that totem reccomends with the forests...they like plinius.They said it has power with a atouch of warmth that tames hf.Sim worked really well with the forests.I also believe that the particular recordings are just lousy,theres nothing to get around there.The forests are very stark and revealing too.(I do have to admit i still wish i had mine still.)
No opinion on the Forest or the Adagio as i havent heard them.
BIG opinion on the Model One-- stunning and one of my all-time favorite 'things' in life-- let alone 'speakers.'
Just curious (and off topic I know)but have you guys who think the forest or Mani tweeter is bright ever owned the model one? Or-- did you (erroneously) toe in your Mani's or forests (usually a no no with totem)?
The only thing I noticed in a great demo with the model ones head to head with a pair of Audio Physic Step SLE's (terrific also) was a slight midbass lift with the Totems. No brightness there to speak of-- nor in my home in the past.
I just traded off the Mac 6900 integrated for the MC402 and C220 preamp - was running Spendor S9 speakers at the time -
I auditioned the Forest's just before I bought the Spendors 4 years ago...loved the soundstage and tight bass, but they were pretty set-up fussy. Now I own a new pair of Adagio's with the new Mac gear, and brother, you WON'T be disappointed! When they start breaking in (40-50 hours), it gets better by the hour...unless oyu're a bass-aholic (I'm picking up a Hsu VTF2-MKIII just for that purpose) you will LOVE your Mac with the Adagio's. I would recommend a little more power though - the Adagio's rated at 6ohm's...
Abramsmatch - i have had the totem model 1's, arro's, and now the mani 2's. the model 1's are amazing. i never toe-in a pair of totem speakers. BRIGHT? not totem. i also like the hawks and forest. i was thinking on getting the winds but doing a demo between them, i will keep my mani's. as for the adagio's, they are a very nice speaker also. i have listened to them in a couple different setups and were very nice.
I think Digsmithd is giving good advice. I own the Forests and like them very much. I wish i could check out the Zen Adiogos...on the other hand, I hear magic every night with the Forests. When first installed I was concerned about a lack of bass. Digsmithd talked me through that. After an extnded break-in period (on the order of 200 hrs or so) they deliver an amazing amount of bass. I'm running a JoLida 502B amp. CDP and tubes greatly affect the reported HF "forwardness" of these speakers. A Denon 2910 mod'ed by the Upgrade Factory provides an amazing amount of air and detail. The move to JJ/Tesla KT88 sounded wonderful - deeper bass and overall smoothness. No harshness at all. Unfortunately, the JJ/Teslas were not reliable (I miss them). Am now running Penta Lab KT88 solid plates. Wonderful detail, improved sound stage & extended frequency...but on some recordings, a bit forward sounding (read that as "can be a little harsh". Vinyl? no such issues on my system...the Forests sound wonderful with a KAB mod'ed 1210Mk5G & KAB mod'ed Stanton. My 2 cents. You probably can't go wrong with either. If I had budget, opportunity and time...I'd check out the Zens. But I don't and I really love the Forests. If I were to make a change in my system, it would be for more power.