Canuck Audio Mart Hifi and Audio ForumCanuck Audio Mart Hifi and Audio Forum
It is currently Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:50 am

All times are UTC - 8 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 17 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:07 pm 
Offline
Premium User

Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2016 3:47 pm
Posts: 1492
Location: Oakville, ON, CA
I was surprised that I could only find one online review for the Element Metals when I was doing research on floorstanders. So here is my contribution, increasing the reviews by 100%.

First some background. I have a 13'X16'X6.5' dedicated basement listening room with an adjacent equipment room for housing gear. The room is double-drywalled and acoustically insulated. Heavy shag broadloom covers the concrete floor. The room behaves well.

I have a 2.1 system (Focal Electra 1008 be standmounts, JL Audio E-110 sub, Hegel H300 integrated amp and Clearaudio Concept Wood MC turntable (iPhono II phono pre)). Speaker cable is relatively inexpensive and generic. The 2.1 system's sound is good but has the normal limitations with integrating the sub with the standmounts. This manifests itself as a loss of detail in the mids, although the bass extension is excellent. The soundstage isn't particularly expansive.

So, I was keen to try out fullish range floorstanders to see if I could take the sound up to the next level. I considered the Focal Sopra 2, Kanta 2, Audiovector SR-3 Avant Garde and Magico A3 (although I couldn't demo this one as it wasn’t in showrooms). A used pair of Element Metals went up for sale and on the strength of a two-hour demo in the owner's home (I hauled my Hegel to the seller’s house), I purchased them. They are set up in my room seven feet apart (tweeter to tweeter), toed in 5 degrees and 8 feet away from my listening position. They are pulled out 2.5' from the back wall, 2' from the right wall and 5' from the left wall. They were not fussy to place at all. The speaker feet don't work on shag carpet so they are sitting in a very stable manner on the bases of the spiked standmount speaker stands.

For background, the Metals debuted in 2011 and use two bespoke long-throw 7" “Torrent” woofers (one for mids, one for bass) and a bespoke beryllium dome tweeter. There is no crossover between the woofers. The speakers are rear-ported. They are light enough for one person to move around but are fairly imposing in my height-challenged room. Very pretty, with a great black piano gloss finish and an appealing form.

I've only had the speakers a few days but as they are used, they are well broken in. First things first: the Hegel (430W into the 4 ohm load of the Metals) pairs very nicely. More than enough grunt to allow the Metals to do their thing. And what is their thing? The first term that comes to mind is "rhythmic". They do a wonderful job of giving the listener an exciting experience with fast attack, great dynamics and incredible detail. Pulling out subtle percussive instrumentation that I haven't noted before is a regular occurrence. Listening to War's "Deliver the Word", I was noting all sorts of instruments that had slipped my attention in the past.

The next thing is that stringed instruments such as acoustic guitar have a beautiful, life-like quality to them. The mids on this speaker are tremendous. Detail is great. You can feel the musician slide his fingers along the strings in one of those "you are there" moments. Neil Young at Massey Hall, a superb recording, is able to shine through the Metals. Bruce Cockburn's "Night Vision" sounds as good as I've ever heard an acoustic guitar.

Vocals are hit and miss, which I chock up to the recording because when the vocals sound good, they sound very, very good. Bjork's Vulnicura brings out her haunting, quirky articulation in a smooth, detailed and pleasing manner. On the aforementioned Deliver the Word, vocals sounded a bit constrained, a bit "small", lacking in breadth. Cockburn sounded smooth but detailed, without a hint of graininess (most of his recordings, especially the early ones, are superbly engineered and produced).

As for bass, this was something I was most concerned about. Would the Metals overload the room, bringing a muddiness to the lower frequencies? I had read (in that one review from 2011) that they were room sensitive. Would they give me the bottom end wallop that I have been accustomed to with the 2.1 setup without any boominess? First, I am happy to report that they are fine for the room, even at higher than "normal" listening levels. That was a relief. The detail and speed of the bass is fantastic. I think the speakers dig down pretty deep (they are rated down to 30 hz, +/-3 db) but there is a lack of fullness, a lack of palpable energy, the sort of energy that hits you in the chest with some setups. I think that I've become accustomed to heavy bass from the JLA sub, and that I will, with time, "forget" that feeling, and key in on the quality of the bass rather than its depth extension or energy. Don't get me wrong; on albums such as Massive Attack's Mezzanine or Protection, some of the bass-heavy songs such as Angel and Protection sound awesome. But those of you who crave the chandelier-rattling ability of some of the big floorstanders or subs will probably feel let down a bit.

On balance, the Totem Acoustic Element Metal loudspeakers are a true full-range speaker that have the ability, when paired with the right electronics and room, to really shine and get your toes tapping. Never fatiguing, highly revealing, and attractively presented, I believe that they can hold their own with many of the similarly (or higher-priced) floorstanders that they compete with. True, they have their own voice, and this is something that is a personal taste. For me, I prize speed, rhythm, dynamics and imaging, which the Metals excel at. If you audition them, it is strongly recommended that you use your own amp or barring that, one that will enable the speakers to do their thing. This would typically mean a big solid state amp like the Hegel.

Hopefully this review will be of help to those of you, like me who have wondered about the Metals but were surprised by the lack of online commentary.

October 2018 Update

I’ve had a chance to live with the Metals for eight months. I believe they are the best part of my system; very revealing, to the point where I am seriously considering upgrading my turntable. I can listen and enjoy these speakers for hours on end. They handle the music I like (rock, folk, electronic) equally well. I will confess to keeping the sub in the system but I am playing more music with it off and missing it less and less. The liveliness of the Totems is addictive. At the risky of sounding cliche, they are indeed very musical. The love affair continues...


Last edited by Tangram on Sun Oct 28, 2018 2:50 pm, edited 10 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:22 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:46 pm
Posts: 976
Location: Markham, ON, CA
Thanks. Great review and well thought out. I appreciated that, knowing some of the tracks you and I share, how they might work out in one of my rooms.

Thanks for sharing! :)


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:02 pm 
Offline
Premium User

Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:46 pm
Posts: 204
Location: Guelph, ON, CA
brownslane wrote:
Thanks. Great review and well thought out. I appreciated that, knowing some of the tracks you and I share, how they might work out in one of my rooms.

Thanks for sharing! :)


You have found a speaker that you like and this is a good thing indeed. I am happy that there are so many great choices. The word “ better “ should actually never be used in audio. Better only means better “ to me “ . Enjoy many pleasing hours with your new speakers. That’s what it’s all about. Choices.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:55 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:50 am
Posts: 236
Location: Thornton, ON, CA
Bump.

Have Metals, and would like more feedback regarding cables and Amps.

My setup is Simaudio P8 and W8.

Also, copper inters seem to be the preferred metal. As well as speaker cables. COPPER.

LC


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 6:51 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2014 11:02 am
Posts: 802
Location: Barrie, ON, CA
twenty9black wrote:
Bump.

Have Metals, and would like more feedback regarding cables and Amps.

My setup is Simaudio P8 and W8.

Also, copper inters seem to be the preferred metal. As well as speaker cables. COPPER.

LC


Everything myself and everyone has commented on regarding Fires applies to Metals.

Biwire. Always biwire. Silver is fine on interconnects for them, as long as they are good.

I often preferred them with tubes. Either tube pre, ss amp, or tube integrated. Fast and open sounding though, not sluggish or anything that counters the Element's speed.

Great source, cables and power conditioning is key. You don't need a lottery amp. Quality over quantity. Simaudio would not be my first choice with them, but that's up to you.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:25 am 
Offline
Premium User
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 3:36 pm
Posts: 4431
Location: Vernon, BC, CA
Adriankn wrote:
Simaudio would not be my first choice with them, but that's up to you.

+1

I never had much luck pairing any Element series with MOON amps in a home or retail setting. The opposite goes for the classic models.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:08 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:50 am
Posts: 236
Location: Thornton, ON, CA
James_W wrote:
Adriankn wrote:
Simaudio would not be my first choice with them, but that's up to you.

+1

I never had much luck pairing any Element series with MOON amps in a home or retail setting. The opposite goes for the classic models.



So this is very interesting to me...Simaudio with TOTEM Metals...please explain what is going on here, as the power of the W8 should be fine...500W into 4 Ohm. SS speed and dampening.

I do have one silver interconnect, AudioQuest SE. I am looking for a good copper inter between the pre and amp, just haven’t found one yet.

I have a XLO ref2 between the 650D (Moon) and the P8.

What is it about the sound that you don’t like?

Thx


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:26 pm 
Offline
Premium User
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 3:36 pm
Posts: 4431
Location: Vernon, BC, CA
I just never completely liked the way they sounded together, although the SQ was great. This is odd because I think Mani-2's, Skys and Winds are like PB &J with MOON gear (BTW I love MOON stuff with the right speakers. ) Audioquest copper cabling was my preference with the Element series, specifically Aspen and Oak speaker cables. For standard brands I preferred Naim and Hegel, to my ears there was more synergy.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:45 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2014 11:02 am
Posts: 802
Location: Barrie, ON, CA
twenty9black wrote:
James_W wrote:
Adriankn wrote:
Simaudio would not be my first choice with them, but that's up to you.

+1

I never had much luck pairing any Element series with MOON amps in a home or retail setting. The opposite goes for the classic models.



So this is very interesting to me...Simaudio with TOTEM Metals...please explain what is going on here, as the power of the W8 should be fine...500W into 4 Ohm. SS speed and dampening.

I do have one silver interconnect, AudioQuest SE. I am looking for a good copper inter between the pre and amp, just haven’t found one yet.

I have a XLO ref2 between the 650D (Moon) and the P8.

What is it about the sound that you don’t like?

Thx


Damping on paper does not equal speed, necessarily.

For instance, Bryston Cubed series has lower damping than Devialet and Hegel, but has noticeably tighter, faster bass.

I personally liked Bryston 4B Cubed and up on them with a great tubed pre. Next would be full tubed integrated, both Primaluna Dialogue HP and Icon Audio ST 60 MkIII worked best of the integrated amps we tried. Silver ICs were used and copper biwire speaker cables. I don't think the material mattered as much as the tonality of the mix. ALL cables were BIS Audio. Audioquest is slightly better in the Wind and up range for ICs, but at 2.5x the cost. And those are silver. Cables should have a solid image and should not take away from speed and transparency.

I also tried Teo Audio GC (original) and found the bass was slightly looser than the BIS Vivats, but still very, very good.

I don't know what your source is, but this will matter the most. I wouldn't chase cables and amps until you know you have a stellar source. And I do mean the network player as well, if running digital, not just your DAC. If you run a DAC straight off a computer, look there first.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 1:40 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:50 am
Posts: 236
Location: Thornton, ON, CA
Source is Apple pro, with iTunes. Wire world USB cable into Simaudio 650D.

Humm...I thought the source would be okay - it’s not an amazing TT setup, but pretty good digital front end.

Keep them coming...all advise is considered.

LC


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:23 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2014 11:02 am
Posts: 802
Location: Barrie, ON, CA
twenty9black wrote:
Source is Apple pro, with iTunes. Wire world USB cable into Simaudio 650D.

Humm...I thought the source would be okay - it’s not an amazing TT setup, but pretty good digital front end.

Keep them coming...all advise is considered.

LC


I'd replace the Mac with an Innous they aren't expensive and sound better than any computer I've heard.

At the very least, dont use iTunes. Try HQ Player. Roon with HQ Player plugin is good, better for interface for sure. But Innous with Roon is best.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:19 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:50 am
Posts: 236
Location: Thornton, ON, CA
Adriankn wrote:
twenty9black wrote:
Source is Apple pro, with iTunes. Wire world USB cable into Simaudio 650D.

Humm...I thought the source would be okay - it’s not an amazing TT setup, but pretty good digital front end.

Keep them coming...all advise is considered.

LC


I'd replace the Mac with an Innous they aren't expensive and sound better than any computer I've heard.

At the very least, dont use iTunes. Try HQ Player. Roon with HQ Player plugin is good, better for interface for sure. But Innous with Roon is best.


Okay...will look into this...and what’s wrong with iTunes? Is tidal better???


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:30 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 4:50 pm
Posts: 1205
Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, NB, CA
Your room is 6' 5" high?

del Sol


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:35 am 
Offline
Premium User

Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2016 3:47 pm
Posts: 1492
Location: Oakville, ON, CA
del Sol wrote:
Your room is 6' 5" high?

del Sol


Yes. Basement man cave, with the emphasis on cave.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:44 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 4:50 pm
Posts: 1205
Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, NB, CA
With ALL due respect, will these room dimensions not adversely affect everything you hear in that room?

Cheers, del Sol


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 17 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group