Totem Acoustic ARC Amplifier Kickstarter Campaign - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
Forum Jump: 
 3Likes
  • 3 Post By RobVal
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 17 Old 11-20-2015, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
Mark Henninger
 
imagic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 16,085
Mentioned: 441 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9166 Post(s)
Liked: 16162
Totem Acoustic ARC Amplifier Kickstarter Campaign

The ARC digital amplifier by Totem Acoustic represents the speaker maker's first foray into connected amplification. The company recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the initial production of its new ARC amplifier, which is priced at $350 per unit retail but is available for $250 to backers on Kickstarter.

The ARC campaign is currently well on its way to being funded, with $23,461 pledged as of this writing (update - $74,324 pledged with 17 days to go). The campaign's goal is to raise $100,000, and at this pace it should meet its goal. A pledge of $25 only gets you a T-shirt, but a pledge of $250 gets you one of the first ARCs and a T-shirt. That option already has 36 backers, with a limit of 100. A $750 pledge gets you an ARC plus a pair of KIN Mini speakers, and a pledge of $1200 adds a KIN Mini Sub to the package.

According to Totem, the ARC is the "likely to be the first in a series of new-school digital amps designed to offer high-fidelity sound reproduction," that are designed to be attached to passive speakers. Totem is betting it'll be a popular option for music lovers seeking simplicity—you can stream CD-quality sound directly to the ARC from a smart device using Bluetooth with aptX audio technology.

The ARC connects to sources with USB; its DAC can handle up to 24-bit/192 kHz audio, and it provides 60 watts per channel of power for 8-ohm stereo speaker systems. THD at that power rating is quite low at 0.05%—perfect for critical listening—and it works with 4-ohm speakers.

“All you need is a set of nice speakers and the ARC. Done.” says Robert Valtierra, the inventor of the ARC. The ARC amp uses Class D amplification, which allows it to stay cool in a compact enclosure. An app for iOS and Android allows you to select or customize the system EQ. The ARC also includes dual subwoofer outputs.

Mark Henninger
Editor, AVS Forum

Last edited by imagic; 12-07-2015 at 10:33 AM.
imagic is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 17 Old 11-20-2015, 11:10 AM
Member
 
DeuceNine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 36
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Liked: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
The ARC digital amplifier by Totem Acoustic represent the speaker maker's first foray into connected amplification. The company recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help the fund the initial production of its new ARC amplifier, which is priced at $350 per unit.

The ARC campaign is currently well on its way to being funded, with $23,461 pledged as of this writing. The campaign's goal is $100,000, and at this pace it should meet its goal. A pledge of $25 only gets you a T-shirt, but a pledge of $250 gets you one of the first ARCs and a T-shirt. That option already has 36 backers, with a limit of 100. A $750 pledge gets you an ARC plus a pair of KIN Mini speakers, and a pledge of $1200 adds a KIN Mini Sub to the package. Finally, if you are a dealer you can order a KIN 10-pack for a $2400 pledge.

According to Totem, the ARC is the "likely to be the first in a series of new-school digital amps designed to offer high-fidelity sound reproduction," that are designed to be attached to passive speakers. Totem is betting it'll be a popular option for music lovers seeking simplicity—you can stream CD-quality sound directly to the ARC from a smart device using Bluetooth with aptX audio technology.

The ARC connects to sources with USB; its DAC can handle up to 24-bit/192 kHz audio, and it provides 60 watts per channel of power for 8-ohm stereo speaker systems. THD at that power rating is quite low at 0.05%—perfect for critical listening—and it works with 4-ohm speakers.

“All you need is a set of nice speakers and the ARC. Done.” says Robert Valtierra, the inventor of the ARC. The ARC amp uses Class D amplification, which allows it to stay cool in a compact enclosure. An app for iOS and Android allows you to select or customize the system EQ. The ARC also includes dual subwoofer outputs.
Why does this NuForce amp need a Kickstarter campaign?
DeuceNine is offline  
post #3 of 17 Old 11-20-2015, 02:59 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
sage11x's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Howell, MI
Posts: 6,599
Mentioned: 198 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2755 Post(s)
Liked: 2746
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeuceNine View Post
Why does this NuForce amp need a Kickstarter campaign?
Well at $350 ($250 for backers) this amp is more than $100 less than the cheapest nuforce amp and a fraction of the price of a nuforce amp/dac combo. Still, I agree this isn't the type of thing you'd expect to have a kickstarter.


I'll keep an eye on this. Right now I have a full size amp partially hidden below my desk but it cuts into my leg room. It also requires me to route hdmi through it which is a pain.

What to do if you find yourself stuck with no hope of rescue:
Consider yourself lucky that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far, which given your present circumstances seems to be more likely, consider yourself lucky that it won't be troubling you much longer...

-- Excerpt from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
sage11x is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 17 Old 11-21-2015, 05:31 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
JVoth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Beaumont, TX
Posts: 1,046
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 307 Post(s)
Liked: 154
It's an odd thing to do for a Kickstarter campaign but I like that they are offering an actual amplifier for a $250 pledge. My only question is, what would happen to your pledge money if Totem can't get the startup money to mass produce these things? Is Totem struggling right now? I know they aren't Klipsch and Paradigm's size, but I wonder if this Kickstarter campaign is due to cash flow issues or if they are just being creative with their marketing.
JVoth is offline  
post #5 of 17 Old 11-21-2015, 10:05 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,981
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1247 Post(s)
Liked: 713
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeuceNine View Post
Why does this NuForce amp need a Kickstarter campaign?
What makes you think it's a NuForce amp? (You may well be right, I have no idea one way or the other.)

Also, assuming you're right, has anyone published Kantor load measurements of a NuForce design? The big problem with Class D amps is the same one most tube amps have: they don't maintain flat frequency response into non-resistive loads (i.e. speakers). There are exceptions: Class D amps that use feedback after the high-pass filter to maintain flat frequency response into real speakers.

If this amp maintains flat FR into real speakers, then it's potentially a pretty neat little product.

--
"In many cases there aren’t two sides unless one side is 'reality' and the other is 'nonsense.'" - Phil Plait
Serious Audio Blog 
DS-21 is offline  
post #6 of 17 Old 11-21-2015, 08:49 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Worf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 2,255
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 840 Post(s)
Liked: 567
Quote:
Originally Posted by JVoth View Post
It's an odd thing to do for a Kickstarter campaign but I like that they are offering an actual amplifier for a $250 pledge. My only question is, what would happen to your pledge money if Totem can't get the startup money to mass produce these things? Is Totem struggling right now? I know they aren't Klipsch and Paradigm's size, but I wonder if this Kickstarter campaign is due to cash flow issues or if they are just being creative with their marketing.
If the kickstarter amount isn't met, nothing happens. No pledges are collected unless the amount pledged meets or exceeds the required amount (plus, they only collect at the very end). Whether this means they continue mass production or not, is up to them - if it fails, they don't get the money.

And it's probably a marketing thing - manufacturing it for $100k is on the low end, so unless they're really small, it probably
Y won't affect cash flow that much.
Worf is offline  
post #7 of 17 Old 11-23-2015, 01:30 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Djoel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: NYC
Posts: 8,417
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 551 Post(s)
Liked: 428
350 for D-class amps is my kind of deal, but wish they had taken advantage and fund something more innovative tech than the same old same old amps.


Djoel
Djoel is offline  
post #8 of 17 Old 11-23-2015, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
Mark Henninger
 
imagic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 16,085
Mentioned: 441 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9166 Post(s)
Liked: 16162
Quote:
Originally Posted by Djoel View Post
350 for D-class amps is my kind of deal, but wish they had taken advantage and fund something more innovative tech than the same old same old amps.


Djoel
Actually, the Kickstarter deal has been (and is) $250 for just the amp, but it is limited to 100, and half of those are gone now.

Mark Henninger
Editor, AVS Forum
imagic is online now  
post #9 of 17 Old 11-23-2015, 02:22 PM
Member
 
Vae Vanguard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 41
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Liked: 28
Wow...they really blew it by not having a headphone output...
Vae Vanguard is offline  
post #10 of 17 Old 11-23-2015, 09:00 PM
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 3
Hi this is Rob Valtierra from the Totem Kickstarter,

Thanks for constructive criticism all. I honestly have to admit I was a bit nervous about reading the comments....

I just wanted to confirm some of your speculation.

The amplifier does use feedback and has a pretty flat frequency response. I'd love to give you a spec but our final production layout is still in process and being an engineer I hate spitting out number without a measurement to back it up.

Nope, it's not a NuForce amp. It's our own custom design completely from scratch. It also has some pretty unique features like a dedicated DAC for the sub output so you can adjust the low-pass filter's Fc, order &c. using DSP. I don't want to hit you guys with a commercial though so I'll leave it at that.

Admittedly, we have not done a good enough job about pointing out what's different about our amp.

Nope, no headphone outputs, there are plenty of good headphone amps out there already, why compete?

And about the Kickstarter, well you're all correct in a way. Totem isn't strapped for cash but it's still a small business so they are a bit conservative about jumping into a new category of products. The Kickstarter gives us an idea of how popular it will be, will the Totem brand work for amps and yes, a lot of free marketing. We're still working our but off for that "free" marketing, but hey, times are changing and no one wants to be left behind. It's sort of like how every business has to have a Facebook account now.

$100k will break even for us (well, not counting engineering labor). It's a brave new world with lots of new-fangeled rapid-prototyping/small-lot services available at the click of a button, so we can do most of the high end (PCB) manufacturing domestically in the USA quickly and cheaply at the volumes we require.

Rob.
DS-21, imagic and groundtrac like this.
RobVal is offline  
post #11 of 17 Old 11-23-2015, 09:26 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Worf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 2,255
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 840 Post(s)
Liked: 567
Is there a problem with feedback in an amplifier? Practically every amplifier design used for any purpose (not just audio) employs feedback - feedback improves frequency response (flattens it), increases amplifier stability, increases bandwidth, improves SNR and many other reasons. It's why it's basically a universal design. Granted, feedback reduces gain, but open loop gain is usually so ridiculously high that it's really unusable.
Worf is offline  
post #12 of 17 Old 11-24-2015, 06:41 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Djoel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: NYC
Posts: 8,417
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 551 Post(s)
Liked: 428
Hello Robval, welcome aboard.


If all goes as plan, meaning surpassing expectation regarding the amp business will there be more models, 5 channels etc.?


Thanks


Djoel
Djoel is offline  
post #13 of 17 Old 11-24-2015, 06:43 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Djoel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: NYC
Posts: 8,417
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 551 Post(s)
Liked: 428
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
Actually, the Kickstarter deal has been (and is) $250 for just the amp, but it is limited to 100, and half of those are gone now.


Yeah I know but I'm a wait on the sidelines kind of guy, so it will be 350 for me.


Djoel
Djoel is offline  
post #14 of 17 Old 11-24-2015, 05:18 PM
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Worf View Post
Is there a problem with feedback in an amplifier? Practically every amplifier design used for any purpose (not just audio) employs feedback - feedback improves frequency response (flattens it), increases amplifier stability, increases bandwidth, improves SNR and many other reasons. It's why it's basically a universal design. Granted, feedback reduces gain, but open loop gain is usually so ridiculously high that it's really unusable.
I don't think anyone was doubting the benefits of feedback, I was just saying yes, we use it.
@Djoel : There are plans to expand to other models but right now we are trying to keep ourselves focused on getting this one right, so nothing in the immediate future.
RobVal is offline  
post #15 of 17 Old 12-02-2015, 11:23 AM
Member
 
DeuceNine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 36
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Liked: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post
What makes you think it's a NuForce amp? (You may well be right, I have no idea one way or the other.)

Also, assuming you're right, has anyone published Kantor load measurements of a NuForce design? The big problem with Class D amps is the same one most tube amps have: they don't maintain flat frequency response into non-resistive loads (i.e. speakers). There are exceptions: Class D amps that use feedback after the high-pass filter to maintain flat frequency response into real speakers.

If this amp maintains flat FR into real speakers, then it's potentially a pretty neat little product.
IDK, they look really similar.
DeuceNine is offline  
post #16 of 17 Old 01-09-2016, 07:56 AM
Member
 
wgscott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 101
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Liked: 38
Well, that didn't last very long:

Quote:
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on December 10.
wgscott is offline  
post #17 of 17 Old 01-15-2016, 06:46 PM
Member
 
PoopShoe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 55
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Liked: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Well, that didn't last very long:
Wonder what happened? It looked like a great little office system hub.

X
PoopShoe is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply Receivers, Amps, and Processors

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off