The physical set up of your system has so much to do with the sound you hear and is something often ignored by folks with similar complaints. What is the physical set up of your stuff i.e. location of speakers relative to the wall behind them and the walls adjacent to them. How far are they apart. Where is your listening position. How far distant. Don't blame your component's synergy yet.
Get a copy of "Get Better Sound" by Jim Smith. He has won awards for his ability to set up systems at high end audio conventions. He has so many hints that your system is sure to sound better. I followed his ideas and have never been happier.
Also, the layout of the room, ie: is there carpeting or a wood floor, do you have any wall hangings to help absorb/diffuse sound waves, what's the distance of your listening postion? You didn't mention the the size of the room.
One area I can address are the Totem Hawks; speaker positioning is often critical with Totem. It takes time to get the best position; as Newbee said, distance from rear wall, distance from side walls, and distance between the spkrs will greatly affect their performance.
Another thing to consider is that not all recordings are good. First thing you need to know when evaluating a system is to make sure you are using properly recorded source material.
Great advice from everyone so far - that's all really good equipment, Julien, I agree that it's time to examine your precise speaker positioning relative to the room and your listening position, as well as the quality of the recording, and the acoustics of your room. All of the components you purchased are excellent - it's far too early to be thinking about different speakers. You have the makings of a fine audio system, you probably just need some fine tuning.
How many hours on the set-up? These items need play time to settle in.
That's good advice you're getting. I'd also add that piano recordings are by far the most difficult to engineer and reproduce. High-frequency sizzle is sometimes, strangely enough, more common in good quality speakers, if only b/c the low quality ones muffle the weaknesses of the recordings. As my speaker quality has improved, so has the high frequency sizzle on piano recordings.
One other thing about classical piano recordings is that the bass and mid-range tends to be weaker than I like. That bone vibrating solidity that you hear (and feel) when you get into the baritone and bass registers of a real concert grand piano isn't readily captured in the recordings I'm familiar with. That's less of a problem for me now if only b/c I can raise the bass volume to taste, owing to a bi-amped system.
Sounds like a fine collection of three components you bought. What about the fourth component - the room?
You make no mention of the room. Do you have a lot of highly reflective surfaces like untreated windows, hardwood or tile floors, etc.? This could account for lack of depth and pronounced sizzle. Also, as other have pointed out, how are the mains spaced relative to the listening position? Finally, speakers require break in and a quick look at Totems website for the Hawks makes strong mention of this.
Address all of the above first and you may find you have the synergy you are looking for. FYI, your speakers are 6 Ohm with a sensitivity of 88 db so your Marantz amp can drive them with all the clean power they are likely to demand. I would say you matched the amp to the speakers very well. I have a Marantz PM15S2 LE (similar to yours but less power) driving 4 Ohm, 90 db Vienna Bach Grands and have found the synergy and high end sound I was looking for. But it also took hours of careful testing, moving them inches at a time, to find just the right spot relative to my listening chair to make them really sing. Now just find the best place in the room to make yours sing too.
Have fun and happy listening!
Thank you all for your great answers and advices. First of all I feel reassured that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the components (or their assembly), which was my first fear (because if this was the case, there was nothing I could do to fix it, no matter how hard I would have tried, or how many hours I would have spent). Second, it seems now clear that the next step for me is to look at the room and position of the components. I will try to get more info on this before starting to move things randomly (maybe through Jim Smith book). for your info, the room is 25 feed wide * 13.5 feet deep (and the speakers are positioned in the small dimension, ie. "looking at wall" which is ~13 feet from them). There are some carpets and sofas, but nothing crazy. However the one thing I guess that won't be solved through a better positioning is the sizzling noise on high piano notes. That's a real concern. Once you have noticed this, all your attention gets captured and it really deteriorates your experience and expectation of pure sound. If anyone has more ideas/hints about how to improve things, don't hesitate... Thanks again for your help! Julien
Not kidding.. wax in your ears resonating.
If after all your experiments in proper placement, you find you still have the higher frequency sizzle you speak about, then it may be time to consider to new speakers.
It could be the sound of the metal tweeter that Totem is using that is not as pleasing to your ears and you may find the smooth, more laid back sound of a soft dome (textile) tweeter more to your liking. I know I have always prefered soft domes over those made of metals. Also, I would do all possible to get a dealer to allow an in-home trial to see how different speakers will interact with your room. While I always encourage auditions, what you hear at the dealers show room will not tell the full story.
Good luck and I hope you find the sound you are looking for.
Since I know nothing about your actual set up I will assume that your seating position is centered between the speakers and about the same distance from them as they are apart. Assuming that, try toeing in the speakers so that the axis of the speakers cross well in front of your listening position. That usually helps reduce high frequencies as it removes much of the lst reflections off the side walls.