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Totem-Chivas Scotch Event at Bay Bloor Radio

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Posted on May 17, 2012 at 06:36:13
barryb
Audiophile

Posts: 1769
Joined: December 28, 2011
I attended an event at Bay Bloor Radio in Toronto last night. It was sponsored by Chivas scotch who served up Old Fashions, Rob Roys and scotch. Vince Bruzzese from Totem was showing off his Element series of speakers. He played the Fire, Ember and Earth speakers on an array of Bryston electronics. Like in the previous CES demonstrations from Totem I've seen, Vince prefers to play the speakers without any tweaking to the system or the room -- basically hook it up, plunk the speakers down and let it play music. This approach is the antithesis of the Shun Mook or my own highly tweaked setups. Vince seems to be a very nice, unpretentious fellow with an honest and forthcoming quality.

The Bryston system did not float my boat -- sounding a bit bright and diffuse to me. The Totem speakers showed great potential, however. They sounded clean, tonally correct, dynamic and very well articulated. I was particularly impressed with the large Earth model, which best fit the room. These speakers may be a very fine choice for home theater as well. I'd like to hear them on tubes with a very tweaked out system.

I'm a former Totem owner and think highly of the brand.

 

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Why blame the electronics rather than the speakers, the room, or the music?, posted on May 17, 2012 at 07:28:21
hifi heretic
Audiophile

Posts: 891
Location: Suburban Philadelphia
Joined: February 22, 2003
"The Bryston system did not float my boat -- sounding a bit bright and diffuse to me. The Totem speakers showed great potential, however. They sounded clean, tonally correct, dynamic and very well articulated."

I'm very curious to know how you were able to attribute the "bright and diffuse" sound to the electronics, rather than the speakers, the untreated room, or maybe the music itself??

I owned Bryston electronics for years (3Bsst amp/ BP25 pre) and never found it to impart it's own bright and diffuse sound on my music.

 

It sounded electronically hashy, posted on May 17, 2012 at 08:04:19
barryb
Audiophile

Posts: 1769
Joined: December 28, 2011
It could have used some better line conditioning. My complaints didn't seem to originate from an acoustic source. I'm very sensitive to electronic artifacts and go to great lengths to get rid of them.

I haven't spent a lot of time listening to new Bryston. I've owned the 4BST power amp and felt it was mediocre.

Ideally the demo would have been a single speaker in the room with the system optimized to play it, not have so many people in the room etc. Vince played a great variety of music. I would have also preferred a rich sounding tube system. There was the characteristic Bryston clinical ss sound I've come to know and heard many times. Harmonically, the speakers seemed capable, however. I have experience listening to systems at shows going back to the early 80s and experience identifying the individual contributions to a systems sound well before that.

 

Because what he describes IS the Bryston sound...., posted on May 17, 2012 at 11:02:14
Ozzy
Audiophile

Posts: 6451
Joined: September 21, 1999
...love it or hate it.

Oz



Don't worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you.
- Winston Churchill

 

RE: Totem-Chivas Scotch Event at Bay Bloor Radio, posted on May 21, 2012 at 09:56:05
Arvind Kohli
Reviewer

Posts: 608
Joined: January 23, 2002
Hmmm....so a predisposition towards Totem and a bias against Bryston leads to a conclusion that the issues were caused by Bryston and not Totem.

I'd think more evidence is needed here before passing a judgement. Perhaps if the Brystons were played on other speakers and the Totems with other electronics. But you cannot expect a retailer to put together such an elaborate experiment, in pursuit of finding the truth.

 

RE: Totem-Chivas Scotch Event at Bay Bloor Radio, posted on May 21, 2012 at 12:34:43
hifi heretic
Audiophile

Posts: 891
Location: Suburban Philadelphia
Joined: February 22, 2003
As I see it, expectation-bias could easily account for why the OP blames the electronics (which measure ruler flat) rather than the speakers (which do not, if memory serves).

 

RE: Totem-Chivas Scotch Event at Bay Bloor Radio, posted on May 21, 2012 at 13:10:38
Arvind Kohli
Reviewer

Posts: 608
Joined: January 23, 2002
Thanks for putting the right term to the phenomena..."expectation bias", I need to remember that, since I am so often frustrated and fascinated by it. I often find myself lapsing, even though I try to guard against it.

Just goes to show how incredibly fallible the human mind really is. Scarier yet, is when folks are not even willing to accept those weaknesses.

 

RE: Totem-Chivas Scotch Event at Bay Bloor Radio, posted on May 21, 2012 at 13:29:06
hifi heretic
Audiophile

Posts: 891
Location: Suburban Philadelphia
Joined: February 22, 2003
I'm surprised by how few people here at AA are even the littlest bit interested in safeguarding against expectation biases creeping into their perception.

 

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