When spending less than $5,000 how much of a guide is price?


When spending less than $5,000 for a set of speakers, how much of a guide is price? This question arises out of my current search for a new set of speakers.

Don’t know if anyone here is aware of the massive fire in Fort McMurray Alberta and surrounding area? Well I work there (fortunately don’t live there), was evacuated, and will be off work indefinately.

As a result I reduced my speaker budget to $1,500 (Canadian). I’m quite intriqued by Totem Acoustic’s Arro and Sttaf, and some used Zu Audio.

There is a demo Sttaf with a minor crack in the veneer available for $1,500. There is a used Zu Essence and Zu Omen Def available for approx the same amount. The Zu’s are 5 years old.

So I have available these speakers, well reviewed, thoughtfully and carefully built. But even though the price I can purchase them at is roughly the same, new the price differential is great.

The Sttaf new is $2,200. Five years ago the Zu’s would have been about $1,000 more new (at least).

Does this matter?
Convert?fit=crop&h=128&rotate=exif&w=128jimspov
What matters most is the Totem's are designed to work best with higher power higher current SS amps and the Zu's are designed to be more tube amp friendly.

Either might sound best depending on amp used.   So what amp will be used?

Also how big is the room and how loud would you like to be able to listen without impaired performance?

mapman I have a PrimaLuna Prologue 1 (tube amp). Something like 30 watts / channel. From what I've read that's certainly enough for the Zu's. I spoke with a salesman about the Totems (both Arro and Sttaf) and he said he thought the Prologue 1 would work hard, work hot and work well with the Totem's.

Rarely do I "crank it" anymore. Often the speakers are for background music when we're eating (usually classical) or I'm working in the kitchen (usually rock 'n roll).

When I'm alone I do tend to play the music louder but I can't imagine the Totem's not being loud enough. Maybe a song here or there I really crank it, but not for extended periods of time.

The room is about 16' x 23' x 8', and it opens into our eating area (L shape).




Those speakers are so different in almost every way, really quite far apart in nature. Have you heard these models before? 

In very broad strokes, the Totems are nice for small rooms if you appreciate midrange accuracy and don't expect much low frequency or dynamics. If electronica or power symphonies are your favs, not the speakers for you. 

OTOH, The Zus are very lifelike and captivating to some listeners and totally off key to others, more a "love it or hate it" reaction is common compared to many speakers. I've heard their more expensive models sound both amazing and horribly matched. IMHO, try before you buy.  Cheers,
Spencer
Hello from Oakville Ontario. We Canadians all share in the sadness of the Fort Mac tragedy.

Pricepoint of speakers: It’s been covered off above ..... In short, pricepoint by itself means diddly .

As pointed out, the system synergy with your selection of speakers with the rest of your gear (or lack thereof) will either make or break your audio satisfaction.

a $1,500 speaker in the "right" system can -- and frequently will -- outperform a $5,000 speaker in the "wrong" system - full stop.

next question: standmounts versus floorstanders? Don't discount the strengths of quality standmounts.

Takeaway;  There are many contenders and a buzzillion pretenders out there, some of which have already been mentioned above. ProAc , REGA, Neat, ATC, PMC, JMR, and Audio Physic speaker brands are some more quality choices, depending on the rest of your gear.

I’ve owned Totem ARROS and Forests in prior systems and I can speak to their respective strengths AND warts (emphasis added ) from personal experience in a PM discussion if you wish.

Used gear on Canuckaudiomart is readily available. Check it out.

good luck

Jimspov,  off the cuff I think that amp will be much more versatile with the Zu's than Totem.   

It will fit the bill nicely with the Zus but I strongly suspect will probably run out of steam early with Totem.


BTW I have heard both and believe either is capable of sounding top notch but only with the right setup as mentioned.

Price/cost alone means nothing and this case is no different.

Much better to choose wisely and save money whenever possible.

Cheers and good luck.

I had a Primaluna PL2- went through a few speakers:

1. BW 602's
2. Triangle Comtes
3. Reference 3A De Capos

The de Capos are amazing-detailed, good bass, good at low volumes and sensitive

I am now running a 4 watt Decare 6v6 amp with them and wow

used they run 1200-1600.00 USD
Thanks grinnell.

Well the things ya learn on this forum. Reference 3A is (now) a Canadian company about 2 hours away from where I live, and I never heard of them.

Did I read correctly that they don't use crossovers?

Do you know if "phase coherence" is the same as "phase aligned"?
they don't use cross overs  just a simple high-pass filter

not sure of the last item
I believe speakers are phase aligned to provide phase coherence.
Reference 3A has a very long standing reputation for fine monitors in particular. Their Veena & Grand Veena floorstanders also are beloved by many. Seen some used ones here regularly probably because they can be a little light on the bottom end. You could always add subs if you feel the need. Cheers,
Spencer