Best and Worst amplifiers to power Totem Forest speakers? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 10-21-2009, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
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I am considering a new HT system using Totem Forest Speaker for fronts and rears. Which multichannel amplifier would be the best to power these very inefficient speakers to see their best performance. I am looking for the experience of current owners - so if you have a worst amplifier with these speakers comment, I would be interested in your experience.

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post #2 of 12 Old 10-21-2009, 01:38 PM
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We need a budget and room dimensions. Also what do you listen too (Ht/music %) at how loud do you plan on listening. 87db isn't terrible, but not great. What is your other equipment (pre-pro). Do you use a sub and what kind.

Have you considered pro amps? They are nothing to look at but can be very cheap compared to their prettier cousins.

More info will help everyone give you options and things to consider.

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post #3 of 12 Old 10-21-2009, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbyrnes View Post

We need a budget and room dimensions. Also what do you listen too (Ht/music %) at how loud do you plan on listening. 87db isn't terrible, but not great. What is your other equipment (pre-pro). Do you use a sub and what kind.

Have you considered pro amps? They are nothing to look at but can be very cheap compared to their prettier cousins.

More info will help everyone give you options and things to consider.


My room (in a new Condo) will be 18’ wide with a total depth of 29’ including kitchen and dining room area. My actual listening distance is expected to be between 8’ and 10’ and I should be able to have surround speakers at 110 degrees from center at a near equal distance as the L-R speakers. My concern is mainly music playback though the system will be used for more movie and TV listening. In addition to sound quality, I would like the best imaging and deep sound stage possible with a wide sweet spot, and after listening in more than one showroom, the Totem Forest appears to fit my needs the best. I currently have a great home theater system but most of this gear will be left behind in the sale of the home as we downsize to a Condo.

As to amplifier budget I am trying to spend less than $3,000 on a new or USED amplifier. So what I am looking for here is the experience of Totem Forest owners as to their opinion of their current or past amplifiers. I currently have a Lexicon DC-1 but I also expect to upgrade this, though at a later point in time after I recover from this initial purchase.

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post #4 of 12 Old 10-21-2009, 02:39 PM
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I have a thread on when/why you might want/need an external amp here.

This might help you get a better idea of exactly how much power you need.

128 wpc with 87 db speakers will get you an SPL of 108 db @ 1 meter from the speakers. Probably down to about 100 db @ 10'.

That seems to be plenty loud to me. Keep in mind you'd need 512 wpc to hit 106db.
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post #5 of 12 Old 10-21-2009, 04:23 PM
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As to amplifier budget I am trying to spend less than $3,000 on a new or USED amplifier.

Chucka[/quote]

$3K for an amp to drive $3K speakers doesn't seem a particularly good balance in my opinion unless you're trying to future proof. There are so many excellent pieces of equipment on A-gon though that you can do fine with your strategy of asking people that own your speakers. Just remember, "one man's ceiling is another man's floor".
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post #6 of 12 Old 10-21-2009, 04:37 PM
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I am not a believe in matching amps to speakers. My reading on audio tells me it's better to look for affordable power.

XPA-5 seems like the best deal going for 5 channel amplification, and it's under $1000.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #7 of 12 Old 10-22-2009, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BNW View Post

As to amplifier budget I am trying to spend less than $3,000 on a new or USED amplifier.

Chucka

$3K for an amp to drive $3K speakers doesn't seem a particularly good balance in my opinion unless you're trying to future proof. There are so many excellent pieces of equipment on A-gon though that you can do fine with your strategy of asking people that own your speakers. Just remember, "one man's ceiling is another man's floor".[/quote]

I probably should have worded my initial question a little bit different as my main interest is peoples experience powering THEIR Totem Forest's, both good and bad. Once I have such feedback, I can then search for a used multi-channel amplifier that probably originally listed for greater than $3,000 for considerably less. I do wish to spend the least amount of money to get the sound and performance I am looking for. It has been very difficult to find the Forest's to audition (no one local to me) never mind convincing someone to rewire there showroom to demo different amplifiers on these speakers. So user feedback is the best short term solution which is the biggest benefit of these forums.

Thanks,

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post #8 of 12 Old 10-22-2009, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chucka View Post

I probably should have worded my initial question a little bit different as my main interest is peoples experience powering THEIR Totem Forest's, both good and bad. Once I have such feedback, I can then search for a used multi-channel amplifier that probably originally listed for greater than $3,000 for considerably less. I do wish to spend the least amount of money to get the sound and performance I am looking for. It has been very difficult to find the Forest's to audition (no one local to me) never mind convincing someone to rewire there showroom to demo different amplifiers on these speakers. So user feedback is the best short term solution which is the biggest benefit of these forums.

Thanks,

Chucka

Look. Totem Forests are not difficult to drive speakers. They don't have large power hungry woofers. At least if stereophile (magazine)'s testing is to be believed, no low impedance dips (I think 4 ohm is as low as it gets and most of the time is 8 ohm +). So you don't need something horribly complex and expensive to drive them. In fact just about any AVR should be able to drive them just fine.

As far as "auditioning" amps goes. If an amp is "adjective-ing" the sound from speakers, wouldn't that mean it was doing something wrong?

The goal of an amplifier should be exactly that, to "amplify" the input signal. Not to be changing it.
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post #9 of 12 Old 10-22-2009, 08:13 AM
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TPN-

I think he's under the impression that amplifiers will change the sound....as seems to be the verdict on all these "reviews".

Amps will not change the sound (maybe very, very small due to harmonic distortion, noise-floor, etc.) but I doubt you'd be able to hear any difference at all. If you want more volume, go for a solid, well built amp with the power you need (and you don't need megawatts....those amps usually sacrifice quality at low levels). I can offer other suggestions, but will refrain at this time.

Just get a quality stereo amp and spend the rest on room acoustics...which will make a significant difference in sound quality (for the best).

Watch out for the snake oil.

edit: sorry...missed you were looking for multichannel amps. Advice remains the same.
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post #10 of 12 Old 10-24-2009, 06:17 AM
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OK, now I've gotcha. As pointed out the Totems are really easy to drive. I listened to them (the Winds) in a small room. I think your strategy is now exactly aligned with mine.
You could go with any of the established brands or even a big gun reciever though I wouldn't recommend that. I've got a a Bel Canto eVo6 for surround but also considered everything from ATI to Sim Audio. I considered the Totems but ended up with Dali's. If it wasn't an 80 pound behemoth I'd have gotten the Emotiva for my girlfriend. I have their Pre-pro and it's very very good.
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post #11 of 12 Old 07-21-2010, 10:47 PM
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my 2 sense:

Someone suggested to just buy "any AVR" because Totems are not difficult speakers to drive. It is true that every one of their columns up to the Sttaf are rated at 8ohms... the Forest dips down to 6.2ish at its lowest and the winds at 4 ohms.

The AVR in my opinion WILL make a difference on the quality of sound that is being outputted. I am just saying this because I just recently changed my system from an entry level Yamaha to a SC 27 Pionneer Elite reciever. WHAT A DIFFERENCE.

I have the Sttaf hooked up to the Pioneer and in Stereo (which is how you should listen to music) the sound is... well..... unreal. They are the best, most detailed sound that I have heard from this price range of a speaker. The speakers are very detailed and crisp. Very nice for classical and other detailed music.

Now... I am upgrading to the Forest... just because I am hard to satisfy

Anyway, my point is that an AVR will make a difference in the sound.... Just like hooking up a Sony and then a Krell..... you will see a difference.

Another comparison which is night and day. My pioneer receiver is fantastic and pairs really well with my Totems... but on the other hand... listening to music through a Macintosh product is night and day. The sound is WAY better compared to my Pioneer. But, I can't afford a Mac so I have a pioneer. I picked up the SC 27 for $1800 CAN through a nice deal. Normal price was 2400ish. It's not a cheap receiver by any means but my point is that usually... there is always something better out there (MAC) and it is worth shopping/demoing different products. Any AVR will not do. Don't settle! Get the best that your money can get.

done
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post #12 of 12 Old 07-21-2010, 10:57 PM
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The Pioneer SC likely is significantly more powerful than an entry level Yamaha. That would make the biggest difference in sound.

I still think the most interesting blind listening test ever done was using a cheap CD player directly hooked to a cheap pro amp, the Behringer A500 compared to a much more expensive system with a high end CD player, expensive cables, expensive pre amp and amp. No one could reliable tell the difference between those two setups.

I am not suggesting amps can't sound different. I think differences are often smaller than implied by user reviews, though. After all, people are often excited by their new gear, and WANT to hear differences. The result being that people will talk about these huge differences. But when people do blind testing with amps, suddenly they no longer hear big differences, and may be unable to tell the amps apart reliably.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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