Totem Acoustic Wind Design Loudspeaker Reviewed

Totem Acoustic Wind Design Loudspeaker Reviewed

The Totem Acoustic Wind Design is a unique-looking floor-standing loudspeaker that combines a rakish appearance with extremely high-quality drivers and construction. At $13,995 per pair suggested retail, the made-in-Canada Totem Wind Design is clearly a high-end loudspeaker - and looks...

The Totem Acoustic Wind Design is a unique-looking floor-standing loudspeaker that combines a rakish appearance with extremely high-quality drivers and construction. At $13,995 per pair suggested retail, the made-in-Canada Totem Wind Design is clearly a high-end loudspeaker - and looks like one. Its cabinet is tapered from bottom to top and features a number of angular beveled surfaces, which not only look striking, but also position the drivers at precise angles for optimum imaging both on- and off-axis. The finishes are stunning - the pair I encountered was done in a gorgeous, perfectly done high-gloss red. The Wind Design is also available in gloss blue, white and black (standard Wind series models have a choice of more traditional wood finishes), and the multilayer polyester paint finishes are environmentally friendly.

Additional Resources
Read more about Totem including other Totem reviews here on HomeTheaterReview.com.
Read more audiophile floorstanding speaker reviews from the likes of Sonus faber, Wilson Audio, Bowers & Wilkins, MartinLogan, Paradigm, Magenpan, Vandersteen and many others.
Learn more about reference level audiophile speakers from AudiophileReview.com - a blog by veteran writer, Steven Stone.

The Wind Design is a three-way, four-driver speaker system, incorporating an eight-and-one-half-inch cast-frame, long-throw woofer, dual five-and-one-half-inch cast-frame midrange drivers featuring a three-inch voice coil and wrap-around neodymium magnet structure, and a one-inch alloy-dome tweeter mounted in its own low-resonance chamber. The woofer and midrange drivers are also housed in separate but interlinked sub-enclosures, and the cabinet is of a monocoque design, a construction technique that supports structural load by using the loudspeaker's external skin, as opposed to an internal frame. This design, along with a unique "skid plate" bottom plate, helps to dissipate unwanted sonically deleterious internal vibrations.

The speaker measures 44.3 inches high by 10.7 inches wide by 14 inches deep. It has a frequency response of 24Hz - 21kHz, plus or minus 3dB in-room, 87dB sensitivity and a nominal impedance of four ohms. The crossover points are 195Hz and 2.5kHz, using what designer Vince Bruzzese calls "very shallow progressive proprietary second order" crossover slopes, featuring high-quality Mundorf gold and silver foil capacitors. The crossover has been recalibrated and specially tuned (compared to the standard Wind model) for use in the Wind Design. The recommended amplifier power range is 80 to 250 watts. The speaker features many additional refinements, including a tilt adjustment for setting the angle of the front of the speaker.

If I could sum up the sound of the Totem Wind Design in one word, it would be "involving." For me, one of the immediate criteria of a loudspeaker is whether it draws me into the music and sound, or somehow puts me off. This is as much an emotional as an analytical reaction, but conveying the emotion of the music is what high-end audio is supposed to be all about, isn't it? The Wind Design drew me in.

The bass is full, extended and powerful, with a low-frequency response to 21Hz. This is a true full-range speaker, with no subwoofer required to hear deep bass. The midrange is clear and, well, involving, and the treble is pure. The overall presentation is smooth, detailed and rich, without any trace of being forward, bright or recessed. Imaging was convincing and the soundstage went far beyond the boundaries of the speakers in width and depth, creating an aural landscape that made for an utterly compelling sonic presentation.

High Points
• The Wind Design is striking in appearance, with a choice of stunning red, blue, black or white high-gloss, environmentally friendly finishes.
• It delivers true high-end sound: smooth yet detailed, full-range, involving and powerful, with exceptional imaging and soundstaging.
• The Wind Design's frequency response goes down to 21Hz, meaning it can reproduce true deep bass with no subwoofer required.

Low Points
• Like any other loudspeaker with an idiosyncratic appearance, its looks won't be for everyone.
• Its 87dB efficiency rating means that it will require more amplifier power to play at a given volume than more efficient speaker designs do, and you'll need to think carefully about what amplifier you want to use (this is true of any high-end speaker).

Conclusion
The Totem Acoustics Wind Design loudspeaker offers a compelling combination of striking design and musically compelling sound quality, with a smooth tonal balance, excellent resolution, imaging and soundstaging, and true, authoritative deep bass. Above all, the Wind Design draws you into the music. There aren't many exceptional loudspeakers out there. This is one of them.

Additional Resources
• Read more about Totem including other Totem reviews here on HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Read more audiophile floorstanding speaker reviews from the likes of Sonus faber, Wilson Audio, Bowers & Wilkins, MartinLogan, Paradigm, Magenpan, Vandersteen and many others.
• Learn more about reference level audiophile speakers from AudiophileReview.com - a blog by veteran writer, Steven Stone.

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