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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:51 pm 
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I have a pair of Totem Element Fire speakers that were being driven by a Peachtree iNova integrated amp. It was great to get me started but not enough power and is now on the fritz. Wondering what everyone would suggest to drive them. Ideally under $3000.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:07 pm 
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PM’ed you


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:50 am 
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The iNova was a great introduction for Peachtree but was not designed for those speakers. You get to look forward to a significant improvement with the right choice.
The Peachtree also has a dac and headphone amp; are these features you want in a replacement?
Good pairing between amp and speakers are more important than I thought. Voicing of each need to match to produce the final sound signature that most pleases you, and must provide the power requirements to properly drive your Totem’s. This is where reviews can be useful, focusing on the characteristics of an amp that will mate well with this. Specs won’t tell the whole story, I currently have 2 quality integrated amps on the same rack, both with very different presentations. A 300w/ch and a 35w/ch class A. The class A feels like the more powerful with a greater authority. It does a better job of extracting detail but doesn’t have the same pleasing tonality of the other. Each one pairs differently with the various speakers I have tried.
My suggestion is to get out and listen to options. $3k is no small investment and and you want to get it right the first time. Flipping is fun but mistakes are expensive, trust me here. The other cost is spending your time listening for evaluation purposes instead of just enjoying the music we buy this stuff for in the first place.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:07 am 
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Nice speakers! I was just listening to a pair for a couple hours this morning and really enjoyed them. I was powering them with a Plinius Hautonga integrated amp. I thought it sounded very good and didn’t seem to have any trouble filling the room (12x21’). The Plinius is a fairly neutral amp so it was a clean detailed sound with a very nice soundstage. The owner of the Totems generally uses a Modwright integrated and that also sounds very good. Both seem like good choices but likely over budget unfortunately.
Good luck with your search!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:44 am 
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Pass Labs XA30.5


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:00 pm 
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couchpotato631 wrote:
I have a pair of Totem Element Fire speakers that were being driven by a Peachtree iNova integrated amp. It was great to get me started but not enough power and is now on the fritz. Wondering what everyone would suggest to drive them. Ideally under $3000.

Pretty much any 100 W/ch solid state amplifier (stand alone power amp, integrated amp, or receiver) should work - all well below your $3k budget.

More power won't hurt - but might not be needed. Less will also work - but perhaps not as clean / loud as you might want. (And the difference between 50 W/ch and 100 W/ch, sonically, will be very small. 200 W/ch is, for me, the "sweet spot" in terms of $/W versus performance - but perhaps overkill for those Totems.)

In one of my stereo set-ups I use an old (refurbished) 55 W/ch NAD 2155 power amp to drive a pair of Totem Sttaf - which are very similar, spec-wise, to the Element Fire - very very well.

Jeff

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:14 pm 
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You need to be careful pairing an amp with the Fires and it might take some experimentation or be rewarded. They are nothing like the Staff.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:28 pm 
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James_W wrote:
You need to be VERY careful pairing an amp with the Fires and it might take some experimentation or be rewarded. They are nothing like the Sttaf.

1. Corrected it for you - I get it wrong most of the time as well!; and

2. I'm curious: how? And perhaps more importantly, why? While I readily admit that I've only heard them in passing at a dealer, and have not played swap-the-amp with them, what makes them so finicky? (And why would a (relatively wide market) established designer / manufacturer like Totem want such a characteristic in its speaker? I mean it's pretty much a pretty standard two-way "bookshelf" speaker, of average sensitivity, frequency response and power handling capability.)

3. I suggested the broadest of starting points. If a great deal of care in choosing the right amp is required for these speakers, then what would be the most important characteristics in such an amp to look for, in order to at least narrow down the choices as to where to start?

Jeff

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:31 pm 
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JeffMackwood wrote:
I'm curious: how? And perhaps more importantly, why?

That's my assessment after owning a pair and selling them for a couple of years on a retail level. Anything else related to my recommendations for the Fires can be found searching past forum contributions. Ken and Neal have spent a good amount of time with them as well and will likely be able to share any current finds for amp pairings. I personally liked Class A amplifiers.

JeffMackwood wrote:
I mean it's pretty much a pretty standard two-way "bookshelf" speaker

There is no real crossover used with the Torrent woofer so the Fires are hardly a standard 2 way, nor do they sound like other 2 way bookshelf speakers I've had. Take a look inside a Sttaf and compare it with any of the Element series, they are very different (listening to them would bring you to the same conclusion.) The torrent based models are more of an open window to the source and amplification used in comparison to the classic lineup. IME the Sttaf sound decent with almost anything but they are also the poorest sounding Totem speaker so it's a tradeoff.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:41 am 
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James_W wrote:
JeffMackwood wrote:
I'm curious: how? And perhaps more importantly, why?

That's my assessment after owning a pair and selling them for a couple of years on a retail level. Anything else related to my recommendations for the Fires can be found searching past forum contributions. Ken and Neal have spent a good amount of time with them as well and will likely be able to share any current finds for amp pairings. I personally liked Class A amplifiers.

JeffMackwood wrote:
I mean it's pretty much a pretty standard two-way "bookshelf" speaker

There is no real crossover used with the Torrent woofer so the Fires are hardly a standard 2 way, nor do they sound like other 2 way bookshelf speakers I've had. Take a look inside a Sttaf and compare it with any of the Element series, they are very different (listening to them would bring you to the same conclusion.) The torrent based models are more of an open window to the source and amplification used in comparison to the classic lineup. IME the Sttaf sound decent with almost anything but they are also the poorest sounding Totem speaker so it's a tradeoff.

I was aware of the lack of crossover on the woofer - which is, in itself, not that unusual. (Heck, it's the basis of the Realistic Minimus 7's design :) )

Personally I'd prefer a well-designed electrical crossover over a reliance on a driver's mechanical properties - which is apparently what Totem has done in this case.

Jeff

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:53 am 
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It's just a design philosophy, that's all.

Part of me wants to migrate back to Totem. First speaker, maybe that's why. They're picky about amps and sound very subdued with even decent amps. The Model 2 Sig is a great example of ending up having to spend more on amplification than the speaker...

Once into the Element series, pricing gets out of control imo.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 8:18 am 
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OP, I am driving a pair of Element Metals with a Hegel H300 with good results. You should be able to get one used for around $3K. I bought mine used a couple of years ago for around $3,300 and the prices have dropped slightly. I can't imagine if the Hegel does well with the Metals it won't do well with the Fires.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:06 am 
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Amps for under $3000 that will do wonders... Balanced Audio Technology, Krell, Modwright, Plinius, Classe' there are a lot of fine amps in this price range.... retail ranging from $5000 to $10,000 the older they are, the better the price..... Anything with a good Class A start will do wonders.... First Watt by Nelson Pass is also a good choice... Do some research, only half believe what the reviewers say.... NO offense guys, but Class D is not quite there yet.....just like electric cars, almost there, but just not quite...


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:38 am 
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(posting for the OP, as we "swapped" amps temporarily)

For now, there's an Onkyo Integra M504 and matching preamp. It's got nice muscle and drive in spades from a quick listening session, but is a bit "colder" than the peachtree amp it replaced. Listens to a lot of records, but had to invoke a pre-amp with a subsonic filter as the woofers were going a bit "crazy" when turned up. :D

The Onkyo can't stay, as the combo is a bit too big for his stereo console. But he IS still looking for a match. Tube amps are intriguing, but I think that before that option is engaged, an in-home trial would go a long way to finding a happy medium.

On that note, are there any toronto dealers that allow in home loans or testing? :D


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:09 am 
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My experiance with Fires leads me to believe that they more than just about any other speaker are a mirror of what's upstream. They are also just about the fastest most coherent speaker I've owned. I've run them with several amps and sources and they may even be more reflective of the amps characteristics than my ATC SCM40's are and that's saying something. With the Phinius they were hyper detailed and very balanced sounding but ( sorry David ) I found them sterile sounding. With my ModWright KWI200 they are almost as detailed, just as balanced but seem to have more presence than with the Phinius and certainly more apparent bass. If I use my AM777 ( hybrid ) they take on a silkiness in their presentation while giving up a little detail and having a slightly slower more Harbeth SHL5 like bass. If I run them with my Icon tube pre/Gryphon power amp combo they end up being extremely detailed, more full bodied ( actually sound bigger than they are ) with an incredibly silky response that's hard to describe. This combo also results in the biggest stage as well with the KWI200 a close second. In the $3000 range used with the amps I've tried I'd go with the ModWright but I'm sure there are others out there that would work as well or better.
Good luck with your quest.
Just reread the above post. The KWI200 isn't likely to fit in any normal stand and will shut down if you put it in one as they tend to have a hyper-sensitive overheat protection relay. Has been a common characteristic of the ModWrights I've owned.

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Last edited by KJT1 on Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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