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 Post subject: Totem Hawk vs PMC FB1i
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:54 pm 
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I've been curious to try the PMC FB1i and was wondering if someone could share their experience comparing them with the Hawks. I really enjoy the detail and airy presentation of the Hawks but find they sound best at slightly higher volumes. I picked up a Kin sub for some bass support but haven't really had the time to integrate it properly. I would say 95% of the time I don't really feel the need for the sub. I was thinking of trying the FB1i and getting rid of the sub altogether. I've also read comments that the PMC design sounds better balanced at lower listening volumes. I would also like to try a tube integrated in the far future but thought the PMCs may give me more available options.

Other than bass performance would this be a sideways move?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:24 pm 
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Adequate amplification will give you a more balanced speaker with the PMC FB1i's. I preferred the smaller GB1 to Hawks once I paired them with a Bryston 4B SST2 in the same room when I was working at an audio store. Frankly I've prefered every PMC to competitive Totem models. Don't expect all of the "dazzle" you get with a Totem speaker, they have a completely different presentation. Your tastes will dictate if they are a move up or not.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:02 pm 
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James, thanks for your comments. I do realize this is very subjective but I guess I'm trying to get some sort of feel of the PMC's presentation in comparison to the Hawks. There is a pair for sale but I have no way to audition them. As you've mentioned I think it is the "dazzle" that makes the Hawks such a fun/engaging speaker for me.

Ideally I'm looking for better low end response especially at lower volume levels without the complexity of trying to integrate the sub which is why I'm thinking the PMCs may work for me. I may just have to purchase and hear for myself.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:18 pm 
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You could purchase a pair of Proac 2.5 Plenty of tuneful and engaging bass and a +++ overall sound. I owned 2 pair over the years and recently a friend of bought a pair off of CAM. He was quite smitten as I once was.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:28 pm 
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The bass is fuller on the PMC. I have owned both as well as the previously mentioned Proac 2.5. The bass on the PMC is superior to both. The ATL (transmission line) gives you a real full sound.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:57 am 
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IMHO the Hawks are a little over rated. You're bang on about the low end feeling it's leaving something on the table, especially with less powerful amplifier(s). Most Totems tend to want fairly significant power to come alive.
It's funny, but now that I think about the Totems I have owned, it always seems that I've purchased new amp(s) not too long after buying a Totem speaker. May have been by design, or just not feeling the combination at the time worked as well as I thought it might. I also have never gotten tubes to work particularly well with Totems, even larger amps like AR VT-100.
That's the thing about most Totems, with the right amp, they can sound spectacular, but with the wrong amp, meh sometimes.

What amp will you be using?

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Video: Anthem AVM60, Krell 402e, Totem Mani-2s, M1 centre, Rega P6/RB2K, 17D3, Ph1, Paradigm sub, Totem Mite surr/back


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:32 am 
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kb007 wrote:
IMHO the Hawks are a little over rated.

That's the thing about most Totems, with the right amp, they can sound spectacular, but with the wrong amp, meh sometimes.

What amp will you be using?


I actually do like the sound of the Hawks and find the bass quite adequate 95% of the time since acquiring the Musical Fidelity M6i. I don't really know about being overrated as I haven't owned a lot to compare with (Celestion DL8, MA bronze 2, Arro, Sttaf) but so far I like the Hawks the best. I found the Arros nice but a bit forward in the mids/vocals at times and not enough bass. The Sttafs' bass was muddy, too much highs (eg cymbals) and midrange too recessed. As mentioned above, how much of the "dazzle" would I be loosing?


Last edited by PERRLA on Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:12 am 
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Without getting too bogged down in terminology, I'd say the highs in the Totem tweeters always tend to "sparkle" while others tend to "shine". Both are lively and bright, but the Totems often tend to be actively seductive, rather than elegantly shining.

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Video: Anthem AVM60, Krell 402e, Totem Mani-2s, M1 centre, Rega P6/RB2K, 17D3, Ph1, Paradigm sub, Totem Mite surr/back


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:17 am 
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Hmmm. I have a set of Hawks and have contemplated trying tube amplification rather than my Class A solid state British Fidelity P270.

Not to change subject, but are Hawks going to preform well with tubes? And, how much power will they require if I am happy with 100 WPC solid state now? They aren't the most efficient, that's for sure.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:07 am 
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Now just trying to convince the wife that I NEED to try the PMCs!


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:07 am 
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racecars wrote:
Hmmm. I have a set of Hawks and have contemplated trying tube amplification rather than my Class A solid state British Fidelity P270.

Not to change subject, but are Hawks going to preform well with tubes? And, how much power will they require if I am happy with 100 WPC solid state now? They aren't the most efficient, that's for sure.


I've driven Hawks with between 15 and 110 tube watts (almost ever Icon Audio amp we have). I was actually surprised how nicely the 15 watts did from the Stereo 20PP. I know someone that owns that exact combo and is pleased. However, I told him, and he later confirmed, it drives them as well as any amp to a point and together you'll only get medium-loud volumes. But the Hawk cannot play overly loud to begin with and when he tried a 40 watts (triode)/80 watt (UL) KT150 amp, he did admit that it sounded better, but realized he was getting about 90% of the volume out of them that they were capable of anyway.

Still the best sounding amp I tried was the Stereo 60 KT150. It was pretty darn close to the Bryston 4B Cubed with LA4 Mkiii preamp and almost half the money for each setup.

All of them came close enough that I was more convinced they needed to be saturated with current rather than gobs of power. So, choose something with very good output transformers if going tube!


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:40 am 
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I'm thinking Neat speakers may also work for you.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:11 pm 
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SimcoeSound wrote:
racecars wrote:
Hmmm. I have a set of Hawks and have contemplated trying tube amplification rather than my Class A solid state British Fidelity P270.

Not to change subject, but are Hawks going to preform well with tubes? And, how much power will they require if I am happy with 100 WPC solid state now? They aren't the most efficient, that's for sure.


I've driven Hawks with between 15 and 110 tube watts (almost ever Icon Audio amp we have). I was actually surprised how nicely the 15 watts did from the Stereo 20PP. I know someone that owns that exact combo and is pleased. However, I told him, and he later confirmed, it drives them as well as any amp to a point and together you'll only get medium-loud volumes. But the Hawk cannot play overly loud to begin with and when he tried a 40 watts (triode)/80 watt (UL) KT150 amp, he did admit that it sounded better, but realized he was getting about 90% of the volume out of them that they were capable of anyway.

Still the best sounding amp I tried was the Stereo 60 KT150. It was pretty darn close to the Bryston 4B Cubed with LA4 Mkiii preamp and almost half the money for each setup.

All of them came close enough that I was more convinced they needed to be saturated with current rather than gobs of power. So, choose something with very good output transformers if going tube!


Just trying to get my head around considering 40 WPC to be a lot. I mean, whether the power is from transistors or tubes I thought a watt is a watt. Provided the transients and dynamic range is there, the idea of the tube sound with first and second harmonics etc in the higher audible range and minimal difference down low sounds appealing. Plus the idea of the very best mid definition as it seems a triode design might allow. This is what draws me in. I use a tube buffer for digital and tubes in an outboard phono amp. A nice substantial tube amp would look great sitting on that amp stand in front of me...
Is there for some reason not much demand for a 100 WPC tube amp, or is it just that power is much more expensive to produce by vacuum tube?? Also the class A thing to a certain point before switching AB would be nice. I'd like to have the specs of my solid state amp but with tubes. Not sure if for some reason that is either unrealistic or unnecessary with a tube design?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:39 pm 
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racecars wrote:
SimcoeSound wrote:
racecars wrote:
Hmmm. I have a set of Hawks and have contemplated trying tube amplification rather than my Class A solid state British Fidelity P270.

Not to change subject, but are Hawks going to preform well with tubes? And, how much power will they require if I am happy with 100 WPC solid state now? They aren't the most efficient, that's for sure.


I've driven Hawks with between 15 and 110 tube watts (almost ever Icon Audio amp we have). I was actually surprised how nicely the 15 watts did from the Stereo 20PP. I know someone that owns that exact combo and is pleased. However, I told him, and he later confirmed, it drives them as well as any amp to a point and together you'll only get medium-loud volumes. But the Hawk cannot play overly loud to begin with and when he tried a 40 watts (triode)/80 watt (UL) KT150 amp, he did admit that it sounded better, but realized he was getting about 90% of the volume out of them that they were capable of anyway.

Still the best sounding amp I tried was the Stereo 60 KT150. It was pretty darn close to the Bryston 4B Cubed with LA4 Mkiii preamp and almost half the money for each setup.

All of them came close enough that I was more convinced they needed to be saturated with current rather than gobs of power. So, choose something with very good output transformers if going tube!


Just trying to get my head around considering 40 WPC to be a lot. I mean, whether the power is from transistors or tubes I thought a watt is a watt. Provided the transients and dynamic range is there, the idea of the tube sound with first and second harmonics etc in the higher audible range and minimal difference down low sounds appealing. Plus the idea of the very best mid definition as it seems a triode design might allow. This is what draws me in. I use a tube buffer for digital and tubes in an outboard phono amp. A nice substantial tube amp would look great sitting on that amp stand in front of me...
Is there for some reason not much demand for a 100 WPC tube amp, or is it just that power is much more expensive to produce by vacuum tube?? Also the class A thing to a certain point before switching AB would be nice. I'd like to have the specs of my solid state amp but with tubes. Not sure if for some reason that is either unrealistic or unnecessary with a tube design?


That much power is simply expensive from quality output transformers. You live about 15-20 minutes away. You're welcome to bring your speakers by or borrow a 40 wpc triode/80 wpc UL tube amp and see if it sounds any less powerful than 100+ watts of transistor. Education is King!

You can see how many watts the Hawk is consuming on the meters as well. I've never driven the Hawk to even 30 watts with the amp I'm talking about.

-- 08 Dec 2017 03:42 --

Sorry I misread Thornhill. Thought you were in Thornton. Anyway, still not that far :D


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:17 pm 
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Location: Chilliwack, BC, CA
I owned PMC FB1i signatures. They have nice bass for a relatively small (about 8x12x40) 2way floor stander
I would say they are a good all a rounder playing all music equally well, something addictive about their sound.

The FB1i sigs were the most tweaked out best version
When shopping for them...I believe the original FB1 had a metal tweeter whereas the FB1+ and FB1i had the soft dome tweeter
also I think the original FB1 speakers had a matte black back and the later versions were veneered all around


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