Hi 9- I was at CES last year and Totem and Usher were in side by side rooms which gave me a good chance to practically a/b the 2 brands. The Usher Tiny Dancer was being highly hyped in their room and I felt it sounded pretty good but not great. It was kind of harsh in the upper treble region and lacking in the bass, which is to be expected with a smallish package. I felt that the Totem Rainmaker at a much smaller price had a nicer tone overall. I had to look around Totems room for the sub the bass was so impressive. Having heard "The One" and its impressive sound I would say it is not even close by my ears. Of course sound/speakers are subjective in nature so take that into account.
New and improved Berrillium (lol)Tweeter of Usher will reach an amazing highs....Blah blah blah. Usher is one of those companies that have no idea what they are doing kind of like Sonus Faber.
Tweeter sounded tinny.
Zenblaster: Did you hear Totem's The One or was it the Rainmaker? If it was the Rainmaker at a fraction of the price, that's pretty impressive.
Dkzzzz: Have you heard the Be 718? How about The One? What's your reference system? Thanks.
I'm trying to recall what I heard in Vince's room. There were several speakers from Totem and I listened to a few from the Rainmaker to, I believe was "The One" plus he had some floorstanders. I think they were powered by a pretty basic Naim Int amp, certainly nothing exotic or even expensive. A friend has a pair of "The One"powered with a Cj tube amp that sounds Other Worldly. You have to listen to Totem speakers, they don't let you leave the room, They definetley have their own flavor, sweet as it may be, not analytical. They make music sound good.
Dkzzz, you are correct- the tweeter of the Tiny Dancer seemed to be nuclear bright and ringing to me. I suppose that could be toned down with proper amplification and room treatments. The mids were very sweet though, but I somehow felt like I was listening to digital music with them, not a lot of warmth.
These 2 speakers could not possibly be more different.
You guys are hysterical! I was at CES and the two setups were night and day. Usher is represented by the Tracht brothers who are not really uber audiophiles, while Vincee Bruzne and Totem are set up masters.
The Be 718 were in a gigantic, untreated, room and being driven by Usher amps, preamps and cd players which are all inexpensive components,which may or may not be great I have never evaluated them, I think the CD player is around $1,000.00.
The ones were very impressive, however, they were in a small room, setup with great equipment and cost 30% more.
You can't really judge anything at CES. The only purpose of CES is to get a quick evaluation and perhaps take the product to the next level by listening in your own setups.
The Tiny Dancer has won numerous awards and offer great performance for the money. The only way to know which one is better is to hear both speakers side by side.
I am an Usher dealer and I have looked at Totem many times. Totem makes an excellent speaker which has its strengths and weaknesses just like any other product, but as I mentioned, it is all in the setup.
Interesting. So is Audiooracle's feedback. Also, knowing what's at stake, why would Usher effectively sabotage itself?
Sorry, don't mean to sidetrack with your original post. But you brought up about audio shows and such....
It's not so much of Usher sabotaging themselves. They are basically at the mercy of their U.S. distributors. It is a typical story with small Asian companies (in any business) not having expertise in business dealings in forign countries, especially dealing with the west. Unlike some larger corporations, USHER can't afford to spend millions hiring business consultants to help them establish a multi-national corporation and hire the right type of people in each country to represent their company/product. So they rely on importers and distributors. As far as I know, most of the distributors and importers are more focus on selling stuff and making money than being audiophiles.
I was impressed by Usher when I first heard them in the San Francisco show several years ago. They had a great setup in a great room. I had followed them afterwards at several other shows both here in the U.S. and abroad and felt that none of their subsequent shows to date sounded as good as the San Francisco setup. I've also talked to their sales manager in length at several occassions at various shows and also when I was in Taiwan for vacation.
I've been hearing great praises about their BE-10 and -20, and spent some time listening to them at several recent shows. I didn't think they were that great. They were good, but not great. Recently I heard a properly set up BE-20 at a local dealer show room with top notch VTL setup (presented by VTL folks). I was drooling afterwards. NuForce was in the same presentation, and replaced the VTL tube monoblocks with their digital amps during the second half of the presentation. I stole the sweet spot during the break, but after 10 minutes listening to the NuForce/USHER combo, I ran out the door with my ears bleeding.
Gundam91: Uh-oh. People like Stehno will be blasting you for bashing NuFarce, the best electronics ever.
Anyway, it's really foolish to show gear at events that draw hundreds of dealers and audiophiles and not spend the extra effort to ensure that your gear sounds as good as possible. This hurts Usher and its U.S. distributors. I continue to be impressed by companies like Totem. Thanks.
9rw, Stehno can blast me all he wants. One of the guys at NuForce is a friend of mine. I think they make good products. But in this case, there was no synergy between the two products, or it could be with something else in the system. Just reporting what I heard.
I'm amazed at the assertions bloggers make regarding companies and organizations they know nothing about, besides hearsay.
So, let me set the facts straight.
Regarding showrooms at CES, the U.S. distributor, MusikMatters, has nothing to do with room setup. Usher/Taipei sponsors the CES show and handles in room equipment choices and system setup in the two Venetian Conference Hall rooms. There is one additional Usher room in the Venetian Tower that is done jointly with Oracle Audio. This room is equipped and set up by the MusikMatters and Oracle manufacturer's rep..
The RMAF rooms are set up by the Oracle/MusikMatters rep with the addition of Exemplar Audio and Audio Design and Marketing in the main Lupine demonstration room for 2008.
Usher being mentioned as a small, and I guess (guaging by tone), naive company, is also a misnomer. By "audiophile" product standards, Usher is a very substantial company with revenues between 15 and 20 Million annually. They are the largest audio retailer in Taiwan with 10 locations, and have just expanded their manufacturing capacity with the addition of a new 10 million dollar facility in TaiChung. Believe me, Usher is not at the mercy of its U.S. distributor MusikMatters. Musikmatters gives Usher/Taipei input and suggestions and sometimes they use them and sometimes they don't.
The assertion, "most of the distributors and importers are more focused on selling stuff and making money..." is funny and ironic. My contention is that if more audio companies concentrated less on being audiophiles and more on running their businesses there would be more successful companies. It goes without saying that you need a great product to build a successful company.
"My contention is that if more audio companies concentrated less on being audiophiles and more on running their businesses there would be more successful companies. It goes without saying that you need a great product to build a successful company."
I think Bose would prove you right on the first point, but not on the second.
Stan: It's not really clear what you're saying. Based on the reports of the bad sound in the Usher room, perhaps Usher needed to concentrate more on being audiophiles -- and making sure its speakers sounded as good as possible. Without that, it will not be a successful -- except in the case cited by Soix.
Regardless, what do you think accounted for the bad sound reported? I would think that MusikMatters and Usher/Taipei would make sure that at an event as widely attended as the CES that everything would be set up correctly.
In the post above, I left out the word "business" after successful. It's been a long day.
No point intended. Just wanted to set the facts straight. Gundam91 based his assertions on beliefs and hearsay, not facts. I'm OK with a straight opinion of "I liked the sound" or "I disliked the sound", hey, that's the way it goes at shows...
In terms of show sound, we've found attendee feedback is subjective. For every show goer who likes a room there's another one that doesn't like it...no matter how good the setup. Also, the only way to truly compare two products is in a side by side comparison in exactly the same room/system. A comparison any other way is purely subjective.
I mentioned our Venetian tower room because it represented our attempt to setup properly. And, it sounded great. We chose a tower room because they are more manageable than the large rooms we had in the Venetian convention rooms....20 foot ceilings with thin partitioned walls. We, as the U.S. distributor, controlled the tower room only. Usher controlled the others...but we don't second guess them...their international sales have been doubling every year for the past 5 years....so they must be doing something right.
Bottom line, the success or failure at a CES show is determined by the number of dealers/buyers who visit your room and respond favorably...not forum bloggers. We signed more than our quota for the show, so in those terms, we succeeded. Hopefully, those dealers will be able to offer their customers an optimal setup. After all, its ultimately the dealer who sells (or doesn't sell) a customer via a good product that's properly demonstrated.
Stan: Thanks for the thoughtful response.