Vandersteen 1ci vs Totem Arro


About a year ago I purchased a (demo) pair of Vandersteen 1ci's. They are hooked up to my PrimaLuna Prologue 1 tube amp.

I really like the sound. If these descriptors make sense, I add that there is a texture to the sound. I love the bass and at times it can almost be felt. I swear I can hear or feel the air moving on the kick drum on certain recordings. And the tone is beautiful. I can distinguish between the flute and recorder, say, when listening to either Vivaldi's Flute and Recorder concertos.

This setup also works well with internet radio. Specifically, Sirius-xm. It is an enjoyable listening experience.

Some poorly recorded CDs sound terrible. I guess you call this "unforgiving". I can't think of an example.

Yet nothing is perfect, although I can't quite put my finger on it, and I have some regret that I didn't spend time listening to the Totem Arro. Honestly, I was put off by their marketing. After reading numerous reviews that was a mistake.

Do others find it normal to torture yourselves with "what if I bought this other brand'? Or is it worth going back to listen, and looking for a deal on the Arro's, as they do come up from time to time.

~Jim
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There are four pre-owned pairs of TOTEM ARROS listed for sale on Canuckaudiomart.com

I had them in a prior B system. They are fine for classical , jazz, female vocals etc but their limitations in physics are not avoidable.

They must be placed very close to a back wall (< 6") to maximize their limited bass available from a small size midrange/bass driver , and 
- they are small room speakers ...
- they are NOT hard rock or similar bass prominence music genre.
What do you consider to be a small room?
consider also a vandersteen sub

i am a Vandersteen fan and owner but...

i also have a pair of Totems ( in my sunroom ceiling )

ha
also you might speak with any of the good crew at Hi-Fi Buys in Atlanta - they carry both Vandy and Totem...
I had the Totem Aro speakers paired with a Prima Luna Classic integrated amp (their lowest model).  It wasn't a good pairing. 
 When I auditioned the Aro, the dealer had them paired with one of the better PrimaLuna amps. Big difference.
  I moved on to Vandy 2C signatures and Ayre AX-7e but I wouldn't discount the Aro/Prima Luna pairing altogether. 
That said, you won't get great bass out of the Aro; a 4.5" dia driver can only do so much. I'd consider the Vandersteen sub as recommended. 
Two comments:

(1) what is a "small" room? Office/ den/ condo and the like ..... and at low to modest volumes.

(2) I second the prior post about a careful pairing of electronics with the ARROs. Curiously, I had both the TOTEM ARROS and FORESTs simultaneously .... the ARROS imaging was actually a tad better than the much more expensive FORESTS. They will reveal all the warts upstream.

To dramatize the point, I would never mate them with ANY receiver (with the possible exception of the very top ARCAM , but that is about $6K...)

the ARROs were fine with the top ARCAM FMJ A32 integrated amp and FMJ CD23T spinner. Conversely , once paired up with the NAD C370 integrated amp and C540 cdp ..... the rolled off top end in NAD and overall "dark" NAD presentation was dramatized .... IMO, NOT recommended as partners.

ARROS demand quality-build upstream components that exceed their Pricepoint strata in my experience, or you will likely face a path to disappointment.

if you are looking for a more forgiving all-around performer with much better lower octave performance, And/or you also won’t step up to a preferred upstream upgrade, I suggest that you choose the Vandersteens.
@jetson   My Prima Luna is also the "classic" integrated amp - it was the entry level model at the time.
Given that you would seem to be recreating what I found unsatisfactory, I'd highly recommend auditioning them with your amp before using the Aro with your PL. 
For me, they were great with female vocals,  acoustic blues, some jazz, but could not keep up with rock or other more "heavy" music losing detail and sounding very muddy. 
Because it 's hard if not impossible to find the right compromise with speakers, I keep 2-3 pairs on hand, so when I get tired of a signature sound, I swap, and it never gets old...
There is no better customer support/service than Richard Vandersteen.  He takes a very active position to help all of his customers.  You'll never have a problem if you Vandersteen
@chrisr Yep I think that's probably the best way to go. 
Try experimenting with wider spacing speaker to speaker.
  Best JohnnyR
 
I think your choice of the Vandersteen 1c is an excellent one. I don't know much about Totem. I'm sure they are very good speakers due to their popularity. As one other poster suggested, the adding of a Vandersteen 2Wq sub will take your sound to a much higher level.IMO
Tim