Upgrading to Totem Mani 2's

I’m considering upgrading from the Model 1’s to Mani 2’s. I’ve read most of the forums here on A’gon regarding the Mani’s and the one thing that they all pretty much have in common is that you need a lot of power (and current) to drive them. I’m currently running a Plinius 9100 for my Model 1’s which is rated at 120 W per side (around 200 W @ 4ohms). I’m also running the Plinius on 220v which has opened it up considerably and gives the bass a lot more punch (something I know I'll need for the Mani's). My room size is approx. 15 x 22 and my listening position is about 16 feet from the speakers. I normally listen at a moderate volume (10 o’clock is loud for me and 12 o’clock pretty much drives me out of the room). I know the old adage that you can always get a bigger amp, but if I’m going to spend several thousand on a speaker upgrade I’d rather not turn around and spend several thousand more on upgrading the amplifier as well (at least not right away). In addition I'm very pleased with the 9100 and like the Plinius sound very much. So what do you think Mani 2 owners? Am I living in a bubble thinking that the 9100 has the juice or based on my room size and listening habits will the 9100 do the job for me?
I just bought a pair of Mani-2's and have been experimenting with amps to drive them. I started with a single Conrad Johnson MF2100 (100 w/c @ 8 ohms, don't know the 4 ohm rating). They sounded really nice with the 100 w/c, but when I added a second MF2100 in biamp mode they really opened up. I also am trying them with B&K M200 Sonatas (bi-wired, not biamped) which are rated at 400 w/c @ 4 ohms. They sound much better than with a single MF2100, and a little better than biamp MF2100s. I don't know if this is because of the higher power/current of the B&K, or it's just a better combination.

I'm not at all familiar with the 9100 . . . but hope this gives you a baseline.
Thanks very much and yes that gives me a good baseline to work from. I’m pleasantly surprised to hear that the single CJ gave you good results. I think my Plinius probably has a little more guts than the CJ so it appears that it may be a pretty good match, at least to start. I’m also not surprised that the more powerful B&K is giving you the best results so far. It’s my understanding that when you bi-amp, 2x100w doesn’t necessary give you 200w. So the two 2100’s probably weren’t giving you near the power that your getting from the Sonatas. Good luck with your search. I’d be interested in hearing about your next step. Please feel free to email directly and if I buy the Mani’s I’ll be happy to do the same.

Regards, Mark

BTW, where are all the other Mani 2 Owner’s? I’m very much interested in hearing as many opinions as possible.
I run my mani's with a Totem Amber which is a 230 watt into 4 ohm integrated made by sim audio for totem. Very pleasing to the ear and plenty of power for the room which is 14 by 22. If I play hard rock and crank it up to be almost unbearably loud then it is not enough amp but I mostly listen to Blues and world music with a bit of classical so it is fine. I considered upgrading to a W-5, P-5 seperate setup but the more I listen to my setup the more satisfyied I have become.Here is my system.

Thanks very much for your input Telemarc. I’ve read about the Amber but I’ve never had the opportunity to audition one. I’m sure it sounds wonderful with your Mani’s. Coincidently, I also have a sliding door along one wall and my other wall is open to a hall/stairway so it appears that our listening areas may be very similar. Based on what your said I’m also starting to feel a little more confident that the Plinius can do the job. I’m not sure that it measures up to the Amber but they are similar in terms of power. BTW I’m very intrigued by your stands. I guess you don’t have to worry about filling those babies with sand!
ok, this is a cheap tactic to keep this thread in the current list . . . .
I'm a little surprised the isn't more participation. I assume there are many Mani-2 owner's (or former owners) out there. Can more of you weigh in? I would like to hear more too.
I sold Totem for a couple years. The Mani-2 truly needs a bare minimum of 250-300 watts per channel. To extract maximum performence I reccomend 400-500 watts. The only integrated amplifier that I have experience with that drove the Mani's "OK" was the Krell KAV-400Xxi but even then it was not adequate IMO. The Mani's are a demanding speaker with amplification, placement, and cavles but the reward is worth it. I beleive with the power you have the Model-1 is a better fit.

Sorry about the grammer, on public computer and had to type fast.
The stands are made by a local guy in town and are solid black marble. To accomodate the open side and the sliding glass door I toed the Glass door side in a little more than the open side which removed some of the reflective properties and centered the soundstage more.
Ah ha, a naysayer. Baroque lover, I mean that in a very positive way. I really don’t want to make a $4k mistake or have to buy a new amp. Actually I wouldn’t mind a new 9200 or for that matter trying some Plinius separates, but alas back to reality. All you Mani owners please keep those comments coming, either positive or negative.
Plinius seperates would be a nice match. Pass Labs & Mani-2 are MMIH - absolutely awesome. The Forest with you're current integrated would be a nice dynamic match.
Well I've listened to the Forests, and while they’re very good speakers, they don't measure up to the Mani's IMO. Ever since I first listened to the Mani's over a year ago I've had "Mani on the mind". It is just an exceptional speaker, again IMO. I also owned Threshold gear many moons ago, back when Nelson Pass was designing/making it. Also very good gear, but I’ve really come to like the warm, fluid, and sweet sound that seems to be characteristic of the Plinius gear. So the request for opinions goes on. Come on Mani owners. I know you’re out there!
Used to run Mani-2's with Levinson - a strong combination. A used 23.5 is really what you want.
Thanks very much for your comments Js123. I haven’t had the pleasure of auditioning Levinson either; however, I’m sure it makes for an exceptionally good combination. It also appears that you are in the 200 W + camp for driving the Mani’s, so another vote for more power. Any more Mani owners out there using less powerful SS amps with satisfactory results? Or for that matter any more Mani owners that are adamant that you need something with at least 200 watts. Please, keep those cards and letters coming.

Would Plinius 9200 SS Integrated with 200 atts/ch at 8 Ohms and 300 watts/ch at 4 ohms be good enough to drive Mani-2 ?

ok, I have an update to my "experiment". The results would say that Baroque speaks truth. As I mentioned above, I started with one Conrad Johnson MF2100. The MF2100 sounded great. Then I added a MF2100. That is, vertically biamped using with 2 identical CJ MF2100's. This sounds really wonderful. Third, I removed the CJ's, and installed a pair of B&K M200 Sonota mono-blocks. That is, bi-wired with one 400 w/c amp on each speaker. That resulted in a very slightly better result than biamps MF2100s. Today I finally installed a second set of B&K M200s. So now I'm driving them in biamped mode with a single 400 w/c amp on each channel Bass, and M/T separately. Yes 800 w/c effectively.

Whoa!! This is really, really wonderful!

I think I'm still sub-optimized on speaker cables. I'm running Audioquest Slates, which I think may be too light guage. Also, I'm running them with a little Dared 2000A preamp which sounds great, but not as good as my Rega Hal.

My weekend project to tune these things up and see how much better they can run. It may be tough to actually peel myself away from actually listening to them in order to do the tweaking.
I think the general consensus is that 200 watts is probably enough power to run the Mani’s full out. The purpose of this thread however is to obtain opinions, either positive or negative, as to whether 125 watts is enough to run the Mani’s given the criteria I mentioned in the original post. With that said I can tell you that I auditioned the Mani’s with the 9200 and IMO it’s a wonderful match. If you get the 9200, do yourself a favor and run it on 220v and be amazed. I know I was when I converted my 9100.
Bdgregory, my last post was just before I read this and was primarily directed to answering Grakesh’s question. Whoa is right!!! We seem to be going in the opposite direction of what I was hoping to hear, but can you please tell us what you are now hearing with 800w vs. what you heard with ONLY 400w. BTW do you just keep a bunch of spare amps hanging around just in case?
Sorry Jaffeassc, Let me address your original question with respect to my paragraphs above, and also try to answer your last question.

First - when driving the Mani-2 with 100 w/c, they sounded great. Would I buy them based on what I heard? yes. I was very happy with the results on one MF2100. Incidentally, I had driven them with an old Bedini 100/100 that I have in my other room too. It's pure class A and IMO did a little better job of controlling the bass. One Key point about the Watt rating - the CJ MF2100 is rated at 100 w/c at 8 ohms. I don't know what it's current capabilities are or its power rating at 4 ohms. Same for the Bedini.

As for the B&K M200s - they are rated 200 w/c at 8 ohms, and are current generators. 150 amps p/p, so you get the full 400 watts at 4 ohms. That's the power rating I referred to, and I assume Baroque also referred to.

So, I think the message for you is this, I think the 9100 will give you nice results, actually excellent results for now. When you're ready to upgrade to a new power amp, you effectively get a new set of speakers without having bought any. Finally - the Mani-2 just begs for Bi-amping. A nice upgrade path would be to get an outboard power amp to drive the bass, and drive the M/T with you inboard amps.

As for what I hear now - keeping in mind that what I heard before was pretty phenomenal compared to other speakers I have or have had, including - Totem Sttaf, and GMA Europas, Von Schweikert VR3s.

I hear much more control, precision, and resolution of tones. The bass is tighter than I could imagine. The mids and treble are crystal clear. This opens up the soundstage. Instruments are more pinpointed in 3 dimensions. These are all things I would have said existed previously, but now it's just more.
No apology required Bdgregory. Your posts are very much appreciated and informative. I think what I’m beginning to get from this thread (and probably already knew) is that more is better with the Mani’s, but that I can get satisfactory results with my 9100 at least to start. In that regard your comment that “you effectively get a new set of speakers without having bought any” when you do upgrade your amp is an interesting analogy. My challenge in that regard is that if I do get the Mani’s how long I could wait until I got the upgrade bug again. But then I guess that’s what this hobby is all about. The bi-amp option using the 9100 and say the Plinius P8 is also something that I am looking into. I’m not sure if the gain of the two is compatible in a vertical bi-amp mode. If it is, it could be a very natural progression to follow.

Please let us know how your tweaking goes this weekend. Can’t wait to see what you’re planning for an on core!!
one clarification on the biamping. I asked Totem about vertical vs horizontal biamping. Below is their reply. Also notice their reply to my question about driving them with one CJ MF2100. The primary consideration if you biamp with your Plinius is wheather the sensitivity of the outboard amp matches that of the inboard. I would think you'll want to set up in horizontal biamp in any event. If the sensitivity isn't identical, you may be able to attenuate using pots.

Hi Brad,

you have mentioned bi-amping your units

would this be done with 2 identical amplifiers ?

external amplifiers are not necessary as the internal crossover supports
this format

(on all our products)

It is important to remove the jumpers if you wish to experiment with

generally we have found the best results to be:

1) the more powerful amplifier of the two to power both speakers woofer
(the bottom two terminal on each speaker)

2) the smaller amplifier to power the tweeter section
(the top two terminals)

we generally we don't recommend "vertical" bi amping due to the fact that
most amplifiers are not "identical" and will cause small discrepancies
between the two channels (even if they are the same model) different
production dates can yield slightly different variants

the Cj unit in question should yield very good results with strong power
delivery and very stable current into low impedance

take care,

Thanks for the clarification. I misspoke. What I should have said was standard biamping using the 9100 for the mids and highs and the P8 for the bass. Still need to find out about the gain and rise time of the two amps. I've sent a inquiry to Plinius and I'm awaiting a reply.
Kind of an offbeat recommendation - Audire Otez will drive and control those speakers like very few others.
A blast from the past! I heard one of the Audire's years ago, not sure which one but it could have been the Otez. In any event, I'm sure it would do very well with the Mani's. My recollection is that they sound similar to Plinius. Are they still in business?
Well I did the deed...I bought the Mani's...so now I'll have the opportunity to find out for myself. Thanks everyone very much for your input. Can't wait for the fun to start.
congrat's! what stands are you using with them?
I have owned the M2s for some years now, and have enjoyed them with different amps. A pair of Cary 300Bs was magical although at low levels. Read SF's review of the M2s and their comments on the Cary match. I also enjoyed the Pass Aleph 5. Now I am running a McIntosh MC-275-IV and couldn't be happier. I supplement them with a REL Stadium III and its a great combination. Plenty of power.
Currently I have 24” Plateau V series stands (4 post stands that are similar to Totem’s). They’re good and heavy and filled with sand and do a good job with my Model 1’s. So I guess I’ll start there. I have learned that stands make a HUGE difference so I may look at the Totem T4L stands (or other alternatives) down the road. Those solid marble stands that Telemarc is using sure look interesting, but I hate to think what they cost! Telemarc, if you're still on board, maybe you could give us a little more info. For that matter the T4L’s are pretty expensive as well. Seems like that would be a good topic for another thread.

Tumbler, I’m glad to hear that you’ve had good success with “low” powered amps. I’ve never gone the tube route, at least in amplification, but I’ve considered it many times. I have a Velodyne DD12 sub that I currently use with my Model 1’s so I’ll have that to play around with too. It’s crossed over at about 90Hz with my Model 1’s but I’m thinking that I’ll have to go a lot lower with the Mani’s. Maybe around 30Hz. Any thoughts?
The stands were mads by a local guy on Vancouver Island and cost 600.00 dollars canadian.
Wow! If I had to guess I would have said twice that. My son lives in Seattle. I you don't mind giving me a litte more specific info, I'd like him to check them out the next time he's on the island.
Telemarc, just re-read my last post and other than the typo's (sorry about that), just so there’s no confusion, I was asking for more information on the person that made the stands.
I run my M2s with the May Audio stands that were made for them. Sand filled. Spiked through the carpet. hard to find them now. Perhaps Totem can give you a lead on them. They are a perfect fit for the M2s
The Marble stands are available through Fine Audio in Courtenay,Harold is the owner. They Range from 700.00 to 1000.00. I got a deal on mine as I got them from the guy who made them as they were sitting in his living room. Harold has a pair of White Marble ones in stock right now that are beautiful. I think they are 750.00 if I remember correctly. You can contact Harold at http://www.fineaudio.net/
or the guy who makes them is Franco Ciomo 250-338-5765.
Thank you both for the information on the stands. Just one more thing that's on the list. It's funny how you tell yourself "well this is all I need to give me the sonic bliss I've been searching for all these years" and then even before you get the speakers you're already thinking about a new amp, new speakers stands...gee I wonder is my speaker wires are good enough!
I attended the March 2006 hifi show in Montreal and the best room by far, in my book was the one with a set of Totem Mani-2 driven by Conrad Johnson Preamp (the new CT5) & 2 CJ amps and Chord transport and DAC. Simply out of this world ! I did not dare ask the price of the entire set-up but the Mani-2s really shone.
Thanks for your input Marc. I would have loved to have heard the Mani 2/CJ combo. I bet it was out of this world. I’ve been meaning to update my thread so you have given me the incentive to post again.

Since my last post I ended up buying a used pair of Mani’s here on A’gon. I’ve had them now for about 3 weeks and I’ve been listening to them pretty much non-stop ever since. First let me say that they are every bit as wonderful as I remembered them and just fill the room with beautiful music. I would also say that for my room, my preferred volume levels, and my types of music (jazz, new age, and some rock) the Plinius 9100 drives them exceptionally well and to exceptionally loud levels (at least to my ears). But as you may have gathered from my previous posts I was just itching for an excuse to buy a new amp. So for the first week that I had them, I pretty much schlepped them all over town auditioning amps. Upon the advice of a fellow Audiogoner (thanks again Tumbler) I was particularly interested in hearing the Mani’s paired with tube gear. I auditioned them with Mac, both SS and tube, ARC both SS and tube, Plinius 9200 and separates, Music Reference, and Musical Fidelity. What I found was that the Mani’s sound just wonderful with tube gear, which seems to reinforces Marc’s comments about the CJ gear (I’m assuming the amps were tube as well). Since this is my first exposure to tubes, I must also say that I was somewhat taken back by just how wonderful they sounded with “small” tube amps given what I had always heard regarding the mega watts you need to drive these puppies. What I’m here to tell you, at least in my opinion, is that you don’t need a lot of power to do justice to the Mani’s.

Well what did I end up with you ask. Well before you start laughing so loud you can’t finish reading my post please bear with me a little longer. I ended up with tubes as you could have guessed. But what may be hard to grasp is that I ended up buying the Music Reference RM-10 MKII. It's just a little bitty amp, a mere 14 lbs. and puts out 35 watts per side (bridgeable to 70w). But it’s just an engaging little amp, very musical, warm, involving, dynamic but delicate, with a huge sound stage, all the buzz words! Does it really have enough power to run the Man’s? Well in my case I think I does, but the verdict is still out. Worst case, I'll buy another one and bridge them. I might also add that the price of these amps is under $2k new. No, not cheap, but compared to some of the other stuff I listened to it’s a bargain. I might also add that I picked up a used Audio Research SP16L here on A’gon to mate up with the RM-10, which really helps the sound stage, imaging and bass, yes I said bass, which is really quite amazing when you think about that fact that it’s only 35 watts driving the Mani’s. I think it’s also a very good match with Music Reference. And yes its tube bass, which I’ve also come to find that I prefer to SS bass. And again I listened to some BIG SS amps.

So what’s the moral of the story? I guess there are really two points that I’m trying to make here: (1) IMO you don’t need mega watts to drive the Mani’s to reasonably loud levels; and (2) if you own a pair of Mani’s you really owe it to yourself to listen to them with some quality tube gear. You might just be amazed!
Note that upcoming UHF #76 will revisit and review the Totem Mani 2s, apparently alongside an interview with the designer, Vince Bruzzese. For those lucky owners amongst you, nothing more fun than a really positive review of something you already own.
I've never seen a picture of Totem speakers with the optional grill and might have read that Vince does not like them. This might be sacrilege to ask, but do any of you use the optional grills with the Mani-2 Sig? If you've done a comparision do they noticeably degrade the sound? Thank You!
I use them on my Sttafs, not on my Mani-2's (don't have any for them). I don't notice a material degradation in sonics, and it gives me peace of mind when the house cleaner is around.
Likewise, I do not have grills for the Mani's but I do have grills for my Model 1's and Mites. I have never done a serious comparison with the grills on and off but there does seem to be somewhat of a "muffling" effect with the grills on.
I just ordered a pr. of (slightly used) Mani-2 Sigs. with the Totem stands; don't have them yet. I'll be using them with a C-J MF2500A 250wpc amp. I find it interesting that several people here have used or heard Mani-2's with C-J amps & really liked the sound.

I'm a little worried about whether the MF2500 will have enough power to drive the Mani-2's, altho I used that amp with B&W Matrix 802's (known for being real power hogs), & those speakers sounded wonderful with it.

I went thru 4 or 5 amps with the 802's until I finally found an amp that made them "come alive", & that was the MF2500 (hope it does the same thing for the Mani-2's!).
from what I've read about the MF2500, you'll have plenty of power.
Assuming you do not have a very large room and listen at ear-bleed levels the CJ 2500 should drive the Mani’s quite well. As I mentioned before, I had an opportunity to listen to the Mani’s with several different types and power levels of application. I found that 200 watts of a high current SS amp did a very nice job and at least for my tastes was more than enough power. Enjoy the Mani’s and let us know how the CJ 2500 works out.
Hey...I know this a bit late. I have the Mani 2 Signature's, which are extraordinary. I drive them with an AE-3 DJH preamp and a new PS Audio GCA 100. The combination is extraordinay. However, the speakers are very sensitive to the quaility of the tubes. The 6sn7 tubes in the AE-3 are outstanding tubes....I like the Sylvania Bad Boys, Tung Sol Round Plates, and CBS Hytron. Brimar are also good. I sold my RCA Red Base because they sounded flat and uninvolving. The rectifier in the preamp also makes a difference. Use an EZ 81 over an EZ 80. mullard is excellent in this combo, though I am generally not a Mullard guy. the Telefunken EZ 80 is disappointing (Tele did not make an EZ 81). This system is among the best I have heard anywhere. I highly recommend a good tube preamp/solid state amp combo for the Mani 2's. And the Signature's are a surprising and major improvement to the already good Mani 2.
My Mani-2 Sigs arrive this week, and I'm planning on driving them with a pair of Bel Canto ref1000 amps. They should be putting out 1000W at 4ohms, and are stable enough to handle the M2S load at all frequencies.

My Hawks sound AMAZING with the ref1000's, and I can't wait to plug in the Manis.
Ghunter, I’ll be interested in your impressions once you have a chance to listen to the Bel Canto/Mani combo. It seems that the general consensus is still high power solid state amplification for the Mani’s. As I mentioned earlier I’m using the Music Reference RM10 MKII tube amps to drive my Mani’s. And yes, I did buy a second one and now run them in mono block (about 70 wpc). Again for my listening habits (about a 90 - 95db peak is loud for me) the RM10’s do fine. I will say that the extra 3db of head room that I got by adding the 2nd amp does come in handy sometimes, for example this weekend when I was listening to the Pink Floyd Pulse DVD, but I still have a hard time grasping why you need those mega watts. How loud do you guys listen? Anybody else out there using tubes with the Mani’s?

BTW Glukeman, I’m also interested in what improvements you hear with the Mani Signatures. The Mani’s are definitely keepers for me but I’m considering trading in my “originals” for the Signatures.
Got the Mani-2's today. They're everything I loved about the Hawks (clear, fast, tight, lifelike) but even more so. The bass isn't amazing, but (1) I have them on some wimpy Target stands as Totem is backordered on the T4L stands and (2) I haven't spent any time positioning them, which Vince warned me is ESSENTIAL with the Mani-2. They're not supposed to be a speaker you can set down anywhere and have them sound good, which is true of most of the rest of his designs.

They absolutely disappear in the room, go stunningly loud with superb clarity, and are probably the most musical speaker I've ever heard, period. A Classe/Levinson/B&W 800D combination I once heard in a highly treated room still is my ideal reference, but what I currently have now with the brand spanking new Mani's is a very close second without any tweaking, without any break-in, and AT WELL UNDER HALF THE PRICE.

So, as you can tell, I'm a now a massive fan of the Bel Canto ref1000/Mani-2 Signature combination. There's really something to be said for just forgetting about whether or not you have enough power for the Mani's at 100-200W and feeding them 1000W. Class-D detractors need to hear this combination before saying anything else negative.

For the record, here's what else I'm using:

- Wavelength Cosecant USB DAC (ECC86 tube)
+ Cardas Golden Reference 0.5m RCA
- Audio Research LS25mk2 (2x 6H30 tubes)
+ Totem Urth Power Cord
+ Cardas Golden Reference 1.0m XLR
- Bel Canto ref1000
+ Cardas Golden Reference Power Cords
+ Totem Biwire 12' speaker cable

No power conditioning, but plugged into a Totem Urth power block. I also have a VPI Scout that needs to be set up properly before I can try some LP's, but I'm itching. Anyone near Bellevue 98006 want to trade me a Scout setup for a good bottle of wine?
After thinking about all the systems I've heard now that I've thrown out a superlative, the only other system in my memory that is in this league is ATC Active 100's (which are massive beasts with zero WAF) with a Linn cdp and Dynavector pre. The ref1000/Mani-2 combination matches that in dynamics and presence, but not in scale. Again, the ref1000/Mani-2 combination is about half the price of the ATC.
Wow! Sounds like you're a happy camper! You've almost convinced me to give them a try as well. I seem to remember from another thread that we both posted on that you also have an ARC tube amp. Have you tried the tube amp with the Mani's yet? I'd be interested in your impressions of that match up as well. Enjoy the Mani's!
Unfortunately, I sold the tube amp last week. My wife was getting on my case about having it sit in the living room unused for the past month, and I knew it was going to be at least a few weeks before the Mani-2's were broken in, so I chose the most peaceful domestic option :)

I'll be taking the Mani's over to a friend's house soon to try them in his awkward room, and he has an Ayre system with their VX-5 power amp.

Given how effortlessly and cleanly my Mani's are being driven to very high volumes right now, I say try the ref1000 - if you don't like them you can always sell them.
Too bad about the wife thing, but I can definitely relate. It would have been interesting though to have heard your opinion of the ARC tube amp/Mani combo. I actually auditioned the ARC VS110 with the Mani’s but I liked the Music Reference combo better. In fact, now that I think about it I also auditioned the Mani’s with the Ayre V5 and it was probably my favorite SS amp of the lot next to Plinius. But after 30+ years of being a SS guy, I think I’ll stick with tubes for now. Although I must say that 30 day money back guarantee that Bel Canto is offering sure sounds tempting. Happy listening.
Audire Otez - I think he retired but he is still building some amps if ya call him. May be my next amp.