Totem Forest or Mani-2 signature?

I am looking for a pair of Totem speakers that will work well with Bel Canto Ref1000 monoblocks.

So far I have only auditioned the Forest and Staff (with the Ref1000 too) but have not had a chance to try the Mani-2.

For those Totem owners out there, could you give me some suggestions? as how they compare and stuff... Thanks!
Metro, Congtats on discovering the holy grail of speakers. I would suggest comparing Hawk with Mani-2, budget providing. Keep in mind Manis and the requisite stands have a retail almost double the Hawk. At Sttaf price point, look at the Model One Sig. If you think Sttaf is good, going farther up the line may frighten you! Bel Canto will work fine. Z
Keep in mind Metro that the Mani -2 demand loads more power the forest do in order to reproduce what they are capable of accomplishing. I have some totem winds right now and have been shopping for an amp adequate enough to drive them properly. Good luck with your quest.
Zieman, why Hawk over the Forest? I owned the forest and listened extensively to the Hawks, and the Forests are far superior. That being said, I think the Mani two's are amazing. Few monitors do what the mani's do. Depends on what you're looking for, and of course on hearing them in your system
Mimberman, Huh? Forest over Hawk of course. Every step up the Totem line is easy to hear. Just trying to pin down the OPs budget. Manis (new) are 6k and like/need power.
Mimberman, I see that you have a Mhdt Havana. That's also what I use currently. I once had an opportunity to have the Havana DAC hooked up to a Forest with an Integrated Accuphase. I really enjoyed it.

I wonder what Tube do you use? United Electron 5670 Military type (made in England) is what I like best for the Havana when used with the Bel Canto class D amp. The LM Ericsson 2C51 goldpin is also very nice, super quiet but not as warm as the United.

As for the Hawk, I have auditioned it side by side with a Staff and found them to be similar except that Staff is much cheaper.

I am particularly interested in the Ref1000/MKII setup with the Forest or Mani-2. Like Maverick_spd said, the Mani-2 requires more power. Would the REF1000 up to the task? Also I just read the MKII is a $2000/pair upgrade for current REF1000 owners. I wonder how would that sound with the Mani-2 or the Forest. Thanks again.
Zieman, I thought the MSRP for Mani-2 is $3995/pair?
Perhaps you mean with the R-2 stands $720/pair plus Tax and shipping? Thanks.
Current retail for Mani-2 Sig is 4895. Cherry and Maple command 5295. T4L is the current # stand. Totem stands rule.
At this very moment, I currently have a set of Sttaf’s, Forest’s, and Mani-2 Signatures in my abode. I also ran a set of Hawk’s roughly two or so years ago. They all make great music. You could say that I dig on the Totem sound.

I’m drawn to each and every speaker listed above. Each one of them is different and brings something truly unique to the table. That said, I do not necessarily agree with some of the notions that you will attain exceptional aural gains as you ascend on up the Totem pole. For example;

The Mani-2 Signatures are awesome loudspeakers, no doubt about it. However, they are also very finicky monitors that come with a laundry list of requirements to strut their stuff. First, you need the right space. Next, you will need high end components (cha ching), most notably a beast of an amplifier (cha ching), great high quality stands (cha ching) and then you need to have lots of patience for room placement and set-up. You don’t pick where the Mani-2 goes, it will tell you when it’s happy. It’s something of a diva, but when you get everything working just right, boy can she sing. With that said, if you’re a rocker, you may actually prefer the Sttaf or the Forest.

The Sttaf is an under-rated speaker. Most people think it’s a drop and plop product, but actually, it too can be pretty exacting. To understand what the Sttaf can do, it needs to be placed in a small, closed off room. It then should be fed a high quality tube amp (and no, I’m not referring to Jolida products or things of that nature), along with a good CD player. Once you get them dialed in, you will get amazing tone, along with voicing that will sound pretty damned good – even with rock and roll.

Even the Hawk, a speaker which is in my opinion – one of Vince’s better designs, can be incredibly finicky. Despite sharing similar dimensions with the Sttaf, it requires a big (closed off) room and real high quality tube amplification (such as BAT). When set up right, this speaker is stunning – and in my opinion may be the better sounding of the group when it comes to light classical and jazz.

Out of the group, the Forest is by far the most versatile. It’s extremely efficient, it works well on virtually all solid state and tube topologies, it performs well in a variety of rooms, is not too fussy with placement and positioning, sports great dynamic range, bass and treble extension, and captures all of the main elements Totem is known for. No, doesn’t have the speed and finesse of the Hawk, the balance and musicality of the Mani-2, or the exceptional tone and deep layered soundstage of the Sttaf – but it’s a great all-around loudspeaker that’s an easy go-to for most listening situations – stereo or HT.

Of course, all of the above is little more than a collection of my own experiences and opinions. Obviously, others may likely share opposing views. Those are mine, so make of em’ what you will.

Although I admit to not being a big fan of the Bel Canto digital gear - I’d say the Forest will be your safest bet. That’s the direction I would point you towards.
Wow R, I'm a Totem dealer and you have almost as much inventory as I do! I have to disagree on the placement observations, but you are right on in regards to room size. In my humble opinion, Totem is one of the best value brands out there. Once you get to the Dynaudio driver models, forget it. There is no free lunch however, as the rest of the system needs to be cha-ching (sic) to unleash the magic. Bel Canto and Forest in a 3000+cu.ft. room works for me.
Wow Rumadian, I'm very impressed with your experience on the Totem speaker line ups. My experience with the Staff is actually very similar to yours. I actually like the Staff a lot in I haven't heard the Forest.

Thank you very much for your advice. I think with my limited budget and the room I currently have my mind is set for the Forest for sure. Your help is much appreciated.
Zieman, thanks for the pricing info.
What are the Dynaudio driver models? I read that some of the drivers Totem made are by Hi-xx audio (forgot the name) in China? and some of them are the same as Dynaudio? Thanks.
the forest continues to be the best allrounder in totem's line..if you factor in your investment
In case it matters, the Forest is also their most efficient model. If you want to try other amps in the future you will not find yourself needing to hunt down something super powerful to please the speakers.
I haven't tried any other tubes with the Havana, so can't be of help there. I've read people really like the Bendix.

After rereading this thread I think I agree with those in the Forest camp. They beautifully constructed speakers, and I found they matched well with a variety of equipment. In my time I had them with Parasound Halo gear, Krell, Bat SS and Aesthetix Tube. They are very engaging speakers and something you wouldn't be unhappy with. They're not the last work in bass reproduction in terms of impact, but their timing and grip is spot on.
The Sttaf is actually the most efficient in the line. I currently have a pair on display powered by a 20 watt amp with great results. I don't think I am going out on a limb saying the differences between models are imperceptible. All totems shine with more power. Good thing the speakers are such a bargain, the budget can many times be juggled to accommodate.
I'm envious Rumadian, I wish I still had my Sttafs - I sold them when I bought my Manis.

. . . a few comments about the placement/and supporting gear comments above. I agree that Sttaf's can really be great if you dial them, but in my experience they're not at all hard to get placed and driven to sound wonderful. As long as they're not placed against the wall, they will be fantastic regardless. But if you take care in placement and complementary gear they keep getting better. After I bought my Mani-2s I ran the Sttafs in a thrown together system using a 18 w/c vintage fisher tube integrated (X202) and a cheap cd player. Everyone who heard them was amazed.

I also agree, the Sttafs don't need a lot of power, but can be better if they do. Mani's need a lot of power, but you'd be amazed how they sound with a 35 w/c Tube amp.
I just want to keep the options open so let me ask you experts out there who is familiar with the Icepower class d amps. Will the class d work well with the 4ohm speakers like the Mani-2 vs. the 8 ohm speakers like the Forest?

As far as I know the lower the impedance the higher the current the amp will need to output? I am unsure if the class-d likes lower impedance or higher... I have read it somewhere regarding the same topic but can't remember.

Any thoughts? Thanks.
By the way, I've heard nothing but good things about the Mani-2 until I read this post:

I am open to different opinions and critics, so I could know more about Totems...
Sorry Guys but the only model that is currently using a Dynaudio driver is the new "The One" and it is probably only for review sake. The other Dynaudio looking drivers are knock offs made by Hi Vi research, and if you don't believe me just remove one of the drivers and see if says Dynaudio on the back.It is shame that Totem can't admit to cutting costs by using knock off drivers.
I have read about the HiVi driver before. In Fact I even saw a screen shot of a member pulled out the Totem driver with Hi Vi logo on it. (I forgot the model though...)

The HiVi Swan D2 looks like Totem clone!

Both the Forest and the Mani-2 play nice with class D amplification. I've powered both of them with my H2O Signature 100 with splendid results. Of course, that amp uses a beefy linear dual mono power supplies and is stable down to 1/4th of an neither speaker put up much of a challenge for it.

Most decent class D amps, even ones that use fairly inexpensive switching power supplies (like NuForce, Bel Canto, etc) should be able to handle the Mani-2. Class D typically doesn't struggle with resistive loads so much as they do with active loads (think full range electrostats). Since that's not happening here, I wouldn't really concern yourself over which speaker will 'mate' better with class D topology.

I also wouldn't concern yourself over someones highly subjective rants on a product. The bottom line is that if you search hard enough - you're going to find someone saying something negative about every loudspeaker, amp, what have you - in the industry. The reason why there are so many different designs in the market is because there are that may people who feel differently about how to attain the same goal.

Also, Stricken is completely off base with his comments regarding the drivers Totem uses. Totem uses the Hi-Vi driver in the Forest only. However, Dynaudio drivers are used in the: Model 1 Signature, Model 1 Twin, The One, Mani-2 Signature, and the Wind.

Since I can't edit my post (to correct my horrible grammar), I am posting here to correct a slight mistake regarding my above riffs on class D. I should have said "reactive loads" instead of "active loads". Cheers.
Thanks for fixing that statement Rumadian. I was also goin to comment on the fact the winds do have a Dynaudio driver. That was the one of the criteria's that helped me decide on purchasing the Winds.
Did you catch that Stricken? Please contribute only if you actually have some clue about the subject.
When was the last time anyone here removed a Totem driver to see who it was made by? Yes I do believe I have a little insight as to which drivers Totem uses. Zieman, jump off of your high horse sometime and pull a totem apart to see what I am talking about.
Well just to let you know Stricken i was out at my dealer last wknd and he took apart the driver of the wind for me and saw for myself its dynaudio driver so quit with your anoying statements ok.
Not sure just exactly what you are "stricken" with, but as a Totem dealer, I could trouble myself by lying to folks about how products I represent are built. Do yourself a favor and make a phone call. Need the number?
Zieman, I sell Totem and I can assure you that the only speaker in the Totem lineup that uses a Hi-Vi driver is the Forest. The Model One, The One, Winds, Mani-2 all use custom Dynaudio drivers that are further modified in house.
Do you think a Plinius SA102 would be a good match for the Mani-2 Sigs...or better with the Forest?
Duh, Haven't I been saying this all the while?

lol, sorry...I meant that toward Stricken.
B, I can get a bit possesive about Totem myself. No worries, we are on the same team. What can we do about this stricken fella?
I have spent a good deal of time listening to the Staff and Forest and prefer the staff, the soft dome tweeter is much smoother, I found the Forests to be a bit bright (never been a fan of metal domes).
Yup, totally agree with bluepearl.

Owned Model 1 sigs and tweeter, just tired me out after 30mins.

Staff has overall has smoother presentation, just doesn't go as deep and loud as Forests.

Definetely prefer soft domes.
Rumadian, I still thank you for your post two years ago. In your opinion do you think an old Accuphase 80 watts into 4 ohms amp will be able to drive the Mani-2? Thanks in advanced.
Hello Metro,

Wow, bringing the life back into this thread after two years eh? To take a stab at your question:

Will 80 solid watts of juice be enough to power the Mani-2? YES, provided that you don't plan on playing them in a huge room or cranking things up to concert/like sound pressure levels. NO if you do.
I don't quite agree with that, i have a pair of winds which is just as hard to drive and im using 350 watts per channel amp and i can still tell they could use more power. My Bryston is good but could use more power. The Mani's are just as hard to drive if not harder. Yes it will drive the Mani but will it do it efficiently ? i dont think it will. But if im wrong let me know.
I drove my Mani's with a TAD 60 in triode mode - rated at 30 watts. They sounded wonderful, but were capable of only modest volume. This worked great for acoustic music - Jazz, Chamber, etc. Not a rock and roll set up though.

As Bdgregory said, you can drive the Mani-2's just fine with as little as 30 watts. Whether or not that kinda current is sufficient hinges largely on how loud Metro plans on taking the system, and the kind of experience he is looking to get from it. If he wants to play soft music at fairly modest volumes, than the aforementioned Accuphase should be just fine.

However, if he wants to crank things up a bit and enjoy more of a live / life-like experience, then he will have to put more juice through those Mani-2's. A lot more.
Rumadian, yes it's been a long time but this thread is just too valuable to be left behind :-)

Sorry that I should've been more specific. I plan to drive the Mani-2 with a pure Class A Accuphase power amplifier 50 watts @ 8ohms and 80 watts @ 4ohms (I think Mani-2's are 4 ohms) and just to give other members an idea.

This Amplifier currently drives my Forest and for some reason I feel it is more powerful than the Bel Canto Ref1000 mono blocks. My floor shakes at regular listening level at 9 o'clock but at the same time I do not feel it's loud or noisy.

I'm not sure how to describe my listening room but it's basically a Living room/Great room in a typical house that I would think it's medium size.

I mainly listen to Classical and Jazz musics and so I'd think I don't play the music in an extremely loud volume.

Thanks again for your help Rumadian. You have a bag of knowledge in the Totem line and yes I am looking for an upgrade up the totem pole two years after enjoying the Forest.
I am going to revive this thread once again because the contributors are so gracious and knowledgeable. I have been enjoying my Arros (actually my 2 set) and Dreamcatcher combo for approximately 10 years. The best qualities I find are the 3D soundstaging, transparency, realism and resolution.

I have always dreamt of eventually moving up to the Mani-2s but was discouraged when I found out about the power requirements as well as the space requirements.

Currently I power my Arros with a Bryston B60sst plus 2B-lp biamp combo. The system is situated at the end of a great room which measures 12x30 and fires across the width of the room. (see my system)

What is your opinion in terms of the Mani-2s with my amplification and in the room I have? Would this be a significant improvement over the setup I have now?

Thanks in advance to any and all responses. Cheers!
Hi ckung, looking at your room photo, you sit way too near-field for the mani's, imo, unless you play at mid to low volumes. Having said that, it all depends on how they play in your room. Looking at your setup, the hawks are what came to my mind.
Thanks Chashas1, I was thinking the same thing and just needed a reality check. Much appreciated.
I've heard mani 2 running off good McIntosh SS amplification and CD source.

I really liked the Mani's as a whole with the reservation that I found the top end just a bit hot. That surprised me with the Mc gear. My concern with the mani's would be potential for listening fatigue over teh long term if not well matched to teh amp.

I would really like to hear the Mani's running off teh Bel Canto ref100m's I run in my system. I think that could be a very impressive pairing.
It may have been handled, I haven't read all of the threads.
The Forest used a HiVi D6.8. I have built with it a few times and am using it now in an mtm with a Scan Speak tweeter. It is a very well built 6.8 inch driver capable of great bass and a smooth midrange. It does have a bump and dip, but that can be dealt with in the crossover. I have used alot of Seas, Focal, Audax, Vifa and Peerless building in the past. This HiVi Piece has a build quality that stands up to any of these. I have found that it takes extensive break in time before the bass comes to life, but this little driver, depending on cabinet design is capable of a 3db down point of 36HZ while handling power quite well. Tim
I don't think the mani's tweeter runs hot, it's just revealing. I would think with the bel canto they would be able to peel paint, just guessing, wouldn't know till actually tried--it all depends on the room and the wall they're on. So Ckung, lesson here is you wouldn't know till you tried. If you like the arros, then the hawks would definitely fit right in, and give you a little more of everything, and you may not need your sub. If you were to get the hawks, be sure to get the totem beaks, can add a little touch of greatness to the speaker.