Totem Mani 2 Signatures vs. Usher BE-718

I have the upgrade bug and I am looking to upgrade my speakers. I'm looking at the two speakers noted above but am open to other suggestions for comparable speakers. I have chosen these speakers because I currently have the Totem Model 1 Sigs and have heard great things about the Mani's as well as hearing them at the local audio store. I have not heard the Ushers but have chosen them because of all the positive reviews. I do not have a local Usher dealer.

I would like to hear what you have to stay about these speakers espcially if you have owned either of them or have been in a situation to compare them.

I know the Totem's have had great reviews and have been considered the best bang for the buck in the past and the reviews on the Ushers seem to indicate that they are the best speaker sub $5K. Would be interested to get your thoughts on that.

I will be driving them with a Bryston integrated amp with 100 watts at 8ohms and 170 watts at 4 ohms. I am a little concerned that it might not be powerful enough to drive the Totem's from what I've read. I am not sure about how they will drive the Usher's. Any comments or experiences with similar types of amps would be appreciated.

With the MANI-2 you need high quality wattage and high current (Amperage), i doubt you will get it in an integrated one.
If you are on a budget why not search for an old CLASSE 15 or even better CLASSE 25 of course any of the DR serie will do the job, hope this help
just remind HIGH QUALITY WATTS + HIGH CURRENT (amperage)
I may not be much help but I do have the Bryston B100 sst and it is driving a set of Dynaudio C1's. I have never heard the totems or the ushers but they Dyns sound great with the Bryston (regarding power and the Dyns love power).
I have the Ushers and I will be keeping the Ushers. They are the best balanced stand mount I have every heard. I am driving them with a pair of Monarchy SM 70's running single ended mono and the sound is fantastic. While the Ushers are fairly inefficient, the impedance curve is very steady with very minimal swings. I will tell you that proper amplification will be rewarded greatly by these speakers. I noticed a great improvement when I added the second Monarchy. Running one amp, the sound was very pleasant and smooth, but a little lacking in dynamics and bass extension, but with the second one added, all that changed and I suddenly had a world class sound. I would be very much intrigued to see how the Bryston would handle the bottom end of these speakers. With these speakers, I tend to feel like I own a bmw m5 and have only hit third gear. These speakers have the potential to survive many bouts of upgrade-itis
if you are still running the nautilus 804's, this is kinda sideways....different, for different's sake.
I actually moved away from the B&W Nautilus 804 / Rotel combo to the Bryston and Totem Model 1 Sig when I had to move my equipment into a personal listnening room. Too hard to keep everything safe with 3 children. Still have the Rotel RCD991 as my front end although I use the DAC on the Bryston integrated. Seems to be much better.
in a small to medium MAN CAVE, i have two favorites, the ohm mcro walsh tall(it really does it all for way less than a mani)...and the proac D2....both in a small to medium room offer up any type of music in a full range,major league fashion from top to bottom. the ohm is so underpriced for the way it performs, its not even funny.
For what it is worth. My room measures, 8'w x 10'd x. 9'h. My speakers are about 1 foot from the rear wall and 4-5 feet from each other. My listening position is about 7' from the speakers.
I like the Mani-2s a lot, but given your room size, I'd say you already own the right Totems. If the upgrade bug really has you jonesed, I would recommend looking to your front end. IMHO, digital has come quite a way since the RCD991.
IMHO, you're a little short on power to make the Usher BE-718's sing. But then, if you had the power to make them really come to life, they would be too much speaker for your size of room. They were bordering on too much for my room which is 11'W X 14'D X 8'H and with the speakers placed further away from the wall than you. I was powering them with Bel Canto REF1000 monoblocks at 500W into 8ohms. You certainly don't need to have that much power, but they really do love a lot of power.
>>I have not heard the Ushers but have chosen them because of all the positive reviews.<<

Very dangerous to make choices based on reviews where goodies, freebies, money, and other benefits abound.

However, the bottom line is the BE-718 reflects a step down, or two, from your Totems.

The grass is not always greener.
I guess what i am hearing is that given the potential lack of power in my integrated and the small size of my room, neither of these speakers is the way to go. I am very happy with the model 1 sig's and not sure that there is much more out there that would sound better that doesn't require power i don't have or a large room that i don't have. but, any suggestions would be appreciated.

It sounds like if i am going to upgrade then maybe i should concentrate on my source. Any ideas sould also be appreciated. i will also post a specific question on the digital board.

I have a smallish room with some JM Labs Micro Utopias fed by a Bryston 4BSST and that combo works very nicely in that room. Prior to the micros I owned the JM Labs 907be stand mounts. I LOVED those speakers and all the hoopla I heard about the micros being "in another league" well, it just aint true. The Micros are awesome and I will not be parting with them, my point is the 907's are incredible as well and can be had for a song here on the 'gon now that the 1007s are out and the Ushers are getting a lot of press. The value in these speakers is off the charts and I don't imagine anyone regretting them. Drive them with a bigger amp and you'll have a great set-up, not that Totems aren't nice, I like them too but those 907's are a revelation.
In an 8'x10' room you should probably use the smallest but best sounding speakers you can afford. That is almost walk in closet territory, even medium sized montitors will be too much.

I stand corrected. For what it is worth, it is 9x12.5. A much larger walk in closet :)
I’ve owned the Mani’s and still own the Model 1’s. I have no experience with the Ushers except some audition time with the 718’s and other Usher models. To answer you question, in your size room the Bryston will drive the Mani’s (and Model 1’s and 718’s) quite well. IMO the Mani’s in such a small room may be a bit over powering. I’d stick with the Model 1’s and maybe add a small sub to give you a little more bottom end. I’ve used a Velodyne DD 12 with my Model 1’s with great success, and there are a number of subs that would mate up quite nicely with the Model 1’s. Upgrading your source could definitely be a significant improvement. You might also want to consider tubes with the Model 1’s. IMO it would be a big improvement over the Bryston, but then I’m not a big fan of the Bryston sound.
Audiofeil's comments seem a little jaded regarding the Usher's....could it be he's a dealer who couldn't get the Usher line....?
Audiofeils comments are accurate in my opinion. Last year at CES Usher was set-up in a room right next Totem. They won't make that mistake again. I felt that the BE 718 was a good speaker but a bit btight, somewhat "digital" sounding, understandable for a mass market product made in China. Totem's are basically handmade speakers with a soul and purpose. Side by side the Totem's blew away the Usher in recreating music. Some may like the Usher house sound- most will prefer the build and musicality of Totem.
For the record Ernied44 is the national distributor for Usher USA despite the absence of a disclosure which is unprofessional and unethical to begin.

Now, in the summer of 2007 I auditioned a pair of BE-10 in anticipation of taking on the Usher line. I listened for 3 days using a pair of Atma-Sphere MA-1 and a Pass X350.5 and found the speakers intolerable. Soon thereafter I asked to return the speakers telling the distributor I could not in good conscience sell a product I wouldn’t myself own.

The product IMO is extremely low value vis a vis other speakers at their price point but most of all lacking in tonal purity and balance.

Needless to say Usher and I parted ways but not in the way our friend suggests. I was never turned down. I can document this with emails and other paperwork.

Later that year I took a pair of BE-718 in on trade and couldn’t move them for almost a month. It gave me plenty of time to evaluate them with basically the same results as the larger model. Chalk on a chalkboard IMO.

I would caution every potential buyer of Usher speakers to make sure you listen in your room with your equipment. Even then there’s a good chance you will be as disappointed as me.
Ernied44(one of the greatest college players)- Audiofeil has made no secret of his profession... and you??.. Could your professional interests jade your comments?
I own the Usher BE 718’s and they’re amazing. The Usher’s replaced Acoustic Zen Adagio’s, which replaced ProAc Response D15’s. Based solely on the favorable reviews, I purchased both the Acoustic Zen’s and the Usher’s without auditioning them. I agree that’s not the smartest thing to do, but when I know I’m going to buy something on Audiogon, my rule is I don’t go to a dealer and do a dog and pony show. My favorite Chicagoland dealer is really high end and consequently doesn’t carry “everything”. I do make it a point to buy from him when he carries a line I’m interested in.

I’ll second what Larryrx7 says about the Usher’s… “These speakers have the potential to survive many bouts of upgrade-it is”. For example, I upgraded my stands from Target to Sound Anchors… immediate improvement. I upgraded the stock jumpers to JPS jumpers… immediate improvement. I plugged my Pre-Amp into my recently purchased Audience AR1p… immediate improvement. I put Finite Elemente pucs under my amp… immediate improvement.

As for power, mine are on a 5 channel 100 watt per channel Theta Intrepid, and while I’d love to hear what a higher power amp would do, I’m perfectly happy with the 100 watts.
I own the BE-718 and have been happy ever since. Its top end is transparent but if fed with mediocre upstream equipment and asynergistic cabling could proved disastrous. If you're willng to put the time and effort in paring the speakers with complementary electronics and really try to optimize them, you will be rewarded. Also, the build-quality is top-notch. Understand that you will get opinions that are on both the left and the right. Try to find balance among this differing of opinions--some passionately biased.

I can understand if someone doesn't like the sound of specific speaker, but to say that Usher is low value is laughable. The drivers measure as well as drivers costing 3 or 4x as much. The build quality is well above similarly priced products. The crossovers are designed/modified by well respected folks in the industry.
Audiofeil - Your hidden agenda is very obvious. Simply do a search for "Usher" on this forum, and your name comes up every time with something negative to say.

Please don't email me again with your opinions when they can be posted here for everyone else to see.
It's not an agenda; it's my opinion and if you're going to make insinuations in the thread be prepared to get spanked.

The Usher is a good speaker, and retails for well under the Mani-2 Signature. People should keep that into perspective when directly comparing the two.

That said, in line with current advice, the Mani 2 Signatures are just too much speaker for that size of room. You need them at least 2-3 ft out from the wall... and they flat out need more room to breathe. If you're itching for an upgrade and want to stay within the Totem line, check out The One. That should work splendidly in your space.
The Ushers demand a very powerful amp. I drive'em with a Jeff Rowland Concerto; the system is also made of Weiss DAC2, Audioquest Sky, Volcano and NRG-5 cables, Aavik rack with Nordost Pulsar Points and and a Fisch AC passive filter. Awesome standmounts when paying attention to details, especially brute amp power. They just open up...
I agree with audiofiel. There is no comparison between usher and totem. When I read some people's so called upgrade path I shake my head. Usher in favor over proac and totem??? Really!!??!!
Audition the smaller ProAc and Merlin TSM.