The latest offering from Canadian speaker maker Totem honors the company's roots as a company that makes monitors. At TAVES 2016, the company introduced its latest product, the Sky Monitor ($1850/pair USD).

The Sky Monitor is a compact, bookshelf-style speaker that combines a 1.3" soft-dome tweeter capable of linear response above the range of human hearing with a 5" mid/woofer that sports a 3" voice coil. A very high-quality yet minimalist first-order crossover blends the two drivers for a seamless presentation.This new model promises vigorous performance for a speaker of its size and price, yet thanks to its 87 dB/W/m sensitivity and 8-ohm impedance, it's easy to drive to satisfying output levels. Totem says that real-world, in-room frequency response is along the lines of 48 Hz to 29,500 Hz +/- 3dB. Thanks to the oversized 3" voice coil on the mid/woofer, peak power handling is a shockingly high 500 watts.
The pair of Sky Monitors I auditioned were located very near the wall behind them. One of Totem's design goals for this new model was to make sure a pair images well when positioned in this manner. The demo session consisted of a sizable number of tracks streaming from Tidal in uncompressed 16-bit/44.1 kHz quality with a BSC Audio BSC-60S amplifier providing power.
Totem's Sky Monitor and the BSC-60S amp that brought it to life. Photo by Mark Henninger
Totem founder and chief designer Vince Bruzzese kicked the audition session off with Brian Wilson's "What I Really Want For Christmas" from the identically titled album, which sounded perfectly fine. However, since I am unfamiliar with the track, I had no point of reference for how well the system handled its reproduction.

The next track, "Fever" by Elvis, is a great recording despite its age. It allowed me to appreciate what these compact speakers could do. The Sky Monitors brought The King to life (figuratively speaking, of course) by faithfully reproducing his voice. Furthermore, the drums on the track offered a hint of how well the 5" drivers handle drums; the sound was tight and dynamic.

"Bitter Ballad" by Youn Sun Nah is a downbeat but beautiful track that bears a passing resemblance to vintage Portishead. Thanks to the honesty of the Totem Sky Monitors, the impeccable production of the track could shine through. These speakers do more than just image, the soundstage they produce imparted an authentic sense of spaciousness to the recording.

Benjamin Clementine's "Winston Churchill's Boy" demonstrated the speaker's ability to be very precise, intense even, without being analytical. The cello and piano had the sort of texture that imbues authenticity upon in a recording—it sounded real.
Unsurprisingly, "S.M.F." by Joe Satriani revealed the speakers' affinity for reproducing electric guitar. They just ate it up! 'Nuf said.

Wrapping things up, "Bad Blood" by Ana Egge, and a live cover of "Roxanne" by Petra Magoni from Musica Nuda (which had amazing dynamic range) showed that the Totem Sky monitors our universally competent speakers, and not restricted to one genre.

I was duly impressed with the competence of Totem's offering; at its price point I think the Sky Monitor has real potential to become a go-to speaker for folks seeking a compact, easy to place, highly engaging speaker system.