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dlb
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Someone finally get's it! (Or how I learned to stop worrying about the listening prowess of the stereophile staff)

BJR understands what listening to a Totem speaker is all about (unlike Mr. Lichte). They are ethereal, beyond expectations and above all else, they are addictive. Totem speakers conjure emotion, tension, sustain, tone, dynamics and holographic imaging that together conspire to steal your audio soul. If you have a soul to steal that is:O)

tom collins
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totem

your description is certainly one presentation of an audio event.  i would never disagree with anyone's proposition that such a presentation is the best thing out there (qualified with:  for that one person).  however, mr. liche's or my own priorities may be different and who is to say not just as valid as your own?  in addition, it was a different model speaker that was reviewed.

i don't see our hobby as one of absolutes or the blood sport that politics is where only one point of view is "right" so everyone else is wrong.

dlb
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Missing the point...again!

This kind of response is getting really old and quite frankly, it's absolutely useless.  I am asking for very little, just competancy when evaluating products.  Beleieve it or not, not all things are created equal.  There are good products and there are crap products.  Totem makes good products that have a unique set of attributes that should be recognizable and at least appreciated by a reviewer and or the average audiophile.  One may not prefer those attributes, but they are easily heard when properly setup and listened to by a careful listener.  I do not expect everyone to love Totem speakers...I do expect that they are evaluated properly.  BJR grasped what Totem speakers have to offer.  I believe any music lover can at least discern a product that is designed with the love of music first and foremost in it's designers heart.  Totem's can move your soul in the right system.  Many High End speakers/products don't have an ice cubes chance in Hell of evoking a musical bone in even the most impressionable audiophile.  Reviewers need to shoot for a higher standard than one that supposes everyone is different and therefore they all potentially like different things.  That way of thinking gives us no foundation for comparative evaluations and allows for the propagation of inferior products due to the mindset that it may be just the ticket for someone!  Yeah, someone very dumb, deaf or both.  There are certain characteristics that any audiophile would consider enjoyable in a High End product.  I expect a reviewer to at least understand how to use a product properly and be sensitive to utilizing it most efficaciously....that's all.

tmsorosk
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Totem

Well said Tom . I find both Bob and Ericks reviews to be truthful and honest , but I guess in being honest your going to aggravate someone .

I find it hard to believe a speaker that small and inexpensive could sound that good  , but Bob's the man when it comes to these produces and I've learned not to second guess him till I've heard it for my self , and then almost always agree with his interpolation .  Tim

dlb
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Experience matters

Tim, having owned a vast amount of gear and speakers from various manufacturers allows me some insight regarding certain products.  This case concerns Totem, but it can just as easily be of concern for another (insert your favorite gear here)companies product.  Sometimes the small flaw barely mentioned is the 200lb Gorilla in the room after you own it.  Sometimes the reviewer has a heavy listening bias toward volume levels, or high frequency extension etc..  Sometimes they are fixated on their own pair of speakers as a reference or maybe they have a broken sample but are incapable of identifying the problem.  Perhaps they make a mistake hooking them up?  In my case I have owned Wilson W/P 6's s, B&W's 800's, Dynaudio C4's, Dunlavy SC-V's, Magnepan 3.6R's etc..  I can appreciate and understand them all and I could describe them appropriately highlighting what they do well and what they don't.  ER was incapable of describing what the Totem speakers are known to do almost universally  well!  Any Totem will completely disappear and project a holographic soundstage...our honest reviewer didn't even get that right.  My previous thoughts on what happened during Mr. Lichte's review are public record and were apparently scrubbed by the powers that be.  I can forgive a mistake, but not an un-truth.  If Mr. Lichte would have even admitted that he possibly screwed up or had a flawed speaker for review, I would be less disturbed.  One thing is for sure however, don't blindly assume any reviewer has some sort of supernatural powers to determine which gear is worthy or not....a listening session with any of them would most likely frighten the most seasoned audiophiles.  In my opinion...like anyone would type someone elses opinion(s).

Drtrey3
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Porn

My wife and I call anthing that will never happen to us porn. There is travel porn, car porn, garden porn, and the porn that we in this forum love, audio porn. I love reading about systems that I will never own. The writing is great and the experience is fun. I have read Lichte's stuff and I really enjoy what he has written. But before I bought something, even with his recommendation, I would have to give it a listen.

And my ears would trump anything he or anyone else said! Now it would hurt my feelings if someone at the mag dissed a piece of equipment I owned, but it would not shake my confidence. I trust my ears to tell me what I like. And I trust that other people value different aspects of the hobby, and that is totally fine. But I don't need Eric or Arnie, or even Stephan to like what I like. Stereo is not about acceptance or recognition for me, it is about emotionally experiencing the music. And if I prefer a particular piece of gear, that is reason enough for me to be happy.

 

Trey

tom collins
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eric's article

i may reread eric's article on the larger totems.  however, if i remember it correctly, eric tried a number of placements and different equipment to get the speakers to give what the maker intended them to give.  in the end, i think that he heard what was there to hear.  mr. atkinson tested the speakers and found no problems if i remember right.  it doesn't matter who we are, we all listen through our own filters.  but, generally the reviewers describe as best they can the characteristics of the sound quality that they think stray from a correct reproduction of the disk,lp,rip or that the speaker accurately reproduces.  i remember that eric did that extensively too.  i am sure that model of speaker is a favorite of many people as it obviously is one of your favorites.  from your description, they sound like speakers that i would also like as i like aerials and dalis which both tend to do the things you described.  what was described in the review was only what one person gleaned from an extended period of time and in comparison to other speakers.  i agree with trey in that any review is only a guide, there is no substitute for experience and even more so, in your own room.

best regards.

jazzfan
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touché
Drtrey3 wrote:

My wife and I call anthing that will never happen to us porn. There is travel porn, car porn, garden porn, and the porn that we in this forum love, audio porn. I love reading about systems that I will never own. The writing is great and the experience is fun. I have read Lichte's stuff and I really enjoy what he has written. But before I bought something, even with his recommendation, I would have to give it a listen.

And my ears would trump anything he or anyone else said! Now it would hurt my feelings if someone at the mag dissed a piece of equipment I owned, but it would not shake my confidence. I trust my ears to tell me what I like. And I trust that other people value different aspects of the hobby, and that is totally fine. But I don't need Eric or Arnie, or even Stephan to like what I like. Stereo is not about acceptance or recognition for me, it is about emotionally experiencing the music. And if I prefer a particular piece of gear, that is reason enough for me to be happy.

 

Trey

Well stated Trey.

I really like your unique use of the word "porn" but what happens when you actually get to experience something that would normally be considered "porn"? Does that mean that you now have to raise the porn bar? For example suppose you and your wife were invited to dine at a very fancy resturant, does that mean that resturant is no longer porn?

Anyway Stereophile and other audio porn magazines would quickly go out of business if they flatly stated that one given piece of equipment was so good as to make every other piece of equipment a pointless waste of money. And besides, whatever happened to "different stokes for different folks"?

dlb
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Re-read the follow up

JA mentions a defective driver in the follow up...Hmmmmm.  I know this speaker well, as do all the other reviewers who, even though they might not have loved it or even liked it that much, understood it and it's obvious capabilities.  Extremely good holographic imaging is part and parcel of the Totem design....anyone not picking up on that quality is either not setting them up properly or has a defective speaker.  In other words, Eric did not or could not have heard them properly set up.

tmsorosk
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    No one has mentioned

    No one has mentioned synergy  .

dlb
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Imsorosk and Synergy

Good idea, but I and many others have heard them, used them and or they have been reviewed using everything from recievers to exotic tube amps.  They pretty much throw a great soundstage no matter what else they may be percieved as doing or not doing .  The telling sign that really came to my attention was when Eric mentioned hearing instruments come from the drivers or "bunching up" around the drivers...this does not ever happen using a properly functioning Totem speaker system.  As a matter of fact, they are extremely easy to place vs almost any other speaker I've ever owned or fiddled with.  I had a pair once on either side of a large book case up against the side panels and only 1 ft out from the wall with no toe in and they threw a huge deep soundstage with zero clue as to where the sounds were coming from except that the images were dense and solidly placed on a virtual sound stage.  After I read JA's follow up and quick mention of the defective driver that "must have occured during shipment from Eric to his (JA's) residence", I smelled a rat for sure....this was a very nice way of covering for Eric without pinning him down or getting to the truth.  This kind of stuff bothers me when it's done to any companies product.  Far to many people just accept the bullshit sometimes:O)

Drtrey3
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jazzfan asked:

"Does that mean that you now have to raise the porn bar? For example suppose you and your wife were invited to dine at a very fancy resturant, does that mean that resturant is no longer porn?"

Good question, yeah, you have to raise the porn bar once your experience has broadened. I think that is true of all porn! Or, porn could be the dream of doing something fabulous again! Or getting the dishes you did not try.

So once I get a better system, I will be looking hard at a higher price point than what I currently own.

At least that is how I think it works.

 

Trey

Erick Lichte
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Double Dreamcatchers

OK dlb,

I know it was like a hornet’s nest stuck in your underwear when my less than flattering review of the Forests came out.  Apparently those bugs still have stingers going at you a year later.

There is nothing I can say to you dlb, that will make you believe that my process in reviewing the Totem's was sound and that the speakers were working properly when I had them.  Your reaction to this review seems to be motivated by your need to be validated by the opinions expressed in Stereophile rather than a true problem with our openness and methodology.  We published the follow-up to my review because we needed to be truthful to our readers and to the process we adhere to.  But again dlb, nothing we say, unless it is glowing praise for a brand you like, is going to satisfy you. 

In your emails above you do not once mention JA's measurements of the Dreamcatcher.  According to his measurements- the port had resonance problems, the tweeter is dialed in too hot (what speaker's tweeter isn't these days), there is a discontinuity in level in the handoff from the tweeter to the woofer, and the cabinet is very lively.  Now I'm not saying BJR didn't hear what he heard or that measurements mean everything - they often don't.  But because you post here as a Totem fanboy, dlb, you ignore any fact that doesn't jive with your worldview.  Had BJR hated the Dreamcatchers and while JA's measurements been textbook for a minimonitor, it is my guess, dlb, that you would have lambasted BJR and praised JA for his measurements which confirm what you already know; that Totem speakers are the most musical speakers in the world.

I have NOTHING against Totem or any other manufacturer- I’ve even recommended Totems to friends.  I believe most everyone is in this business to make something special so people can enjoy music and how can anyone find fault in that?  But I do have a problem with conspiracy theorists like, you dlb.  In my opinion your posts here resonate like the claims of the "birthers", the 9/11 conspiracy nut jobs and those that don't believe we went to the moon.  These folks eschew the weight of evidence against their conspiracy to satisfy their own worldview.  I am also tired of those that make accusations about my integrity or that of Stereophile without any evidence at all. 

dlb
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Validation? Not really.

Erick,

This whole thing comes down to two key items of contention.  The first being that you mentioned you heard a "bunching up of instruments" around the drivers during your review of the totem forest speakers.  The second, was the suspicious find by JA of a defective driver in the original pair he recieved from you after the initial review.  I did not own Totems throughout any part of my "critique" of your review skills.  What upset me, is that I believe to this day that you mishandled the review, either as a result of carelesness on your part or as a consequence of an unidentified defect in the review pair.  The evidence combined with my knowledge and experience, as well as that of many other reviewers over the years, points to a flaw in your review of the Totem Forest speaker.  That's it!  I don't hate you.  I don't think your a total rube.  I do believe you screwed up somehow, however unintentional it may have been.  I have also stated many times that I do not own the Totem forest speakers, nor do I think they are perfect by any measure (JA's measurements are what they are and do not necessarily reflect a listeners ability to enjoy the Dreamcatcher, for example IMHO).  It comes down to a mistake that went undeclared.  Have a nice career Erick, just be more careful going forward.

 

Sincerely,

Dave Borda

Erick Lichte
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Ruffled

"you mentioned you heard a "bunching up of instruments" around the drivers during your review of the totem forest speakers."

 Indeed I did, and JA's measurements show why I might have heard the speakers that way.  Remember, JA had to put weights on TOP of the speaker to get the cabinets tamed during his review.

 I guess what ruffled my feathers were your comments like this-

"After I read JA's follow up and quick mention of the defective driver that "must have occured during shipment from Eric to his (JA's) residence", I smelled a rat for sure....this was a very nice way of covering for Eric without pinning him down or getting to the truth." 

To me, this comment implies that there was a cover-up of some sort and insults my integrity, JA's integrity and Stereophile's integrity. We wrote about exactly what happened in our reviews and follow-ups. It was an unfortunate set of circumstances surrounding this review, but everything about it was on the up and up.

You are free to think what you like about my reviewing, Totem speakers or anything else for that matter.  However if you make claims against my character or conduct, I would ask that you at least present some evidence.

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Every room is different.

Erick may have found one poor room interaction, one combination of system components, one defective product, or one combination of aural qualities that didn't stick with him well. He is one human being with an educated opinion. 

Bob Reina did not 'catch' the nasal colorations that JA found in the measurements or listening, and they did not bother him to note it in his review of the Dreamcatchers.  It doesn't invalidate the review, but provides us with another viewpoint for our own listening experiences, and remind us that everyone is different, as are their listening priorities (and their ears). 

When I do listen to the newest Totem speakers in the future, I too, may have another diverging opinion.  I sure hope I can live with myself for fear of another person with ears not agreeing with mine.

PS- Last month's Plinius review was very well written, and very insightful, especially with the Pass amp comparisons. 

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De - ruffle

Hello Dave  ...  Whenever there is this much diversity in opinion we should go back to the beginning and make sure apples and oranges have not become premixed . Erick stated  that "   there was a bunching up of instruments "   with the Dreamcatchers that you did not hear , do you own the same model ? Erick's review listed his other equipment , if you do the same maybe someone here will have a reasonable  explanation . Sometimes the most perplexing question can have the simplest answer . 

                                                                                                                                                                                          Tim

Erick Lichte
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Indeed Glotz.   Glad you

Indeed Glotz.

 

Glad you liked the Plinius review!

dlb
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You are mistaken

No, the EL review I was referencing pertained to the Totem Forest speakers, which I had owned several years before the review was published.  Erick understands this and simply mentioned the Dreamcatcher review and JA's measurements as a rebuke toward Totem's design philosophy and their sound.  The only contention we have, and will apparently remain, is that he heard the Forest speakers act in a way that is not characeristic of the speaker according to myself and all other reviewers who have listened to them.  I think that sums it up!  Erick just happens to have been the only one keen enough to hear the problems inherent in their extremely flawed design:O)  This is sarcasm of course, in case your having trouble following along at home folks.

Drtrey3
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What it really looks like

is hurt feelings. Not that I am a licensed clinical psychologist with 20 years experience.

Oh wait. I am.  8)

Trey

Erick Lichte
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cherry picker

dlb wrote:

Erick understands this and simply mentioned the Dreamcatcher review and JA's measurements as a rebuke toward Totem's design philosophy and their sound. 

 

No, I am not rebuking Totem.  Merely, those that cherry pick contradictory facts to support a conclusion they've already reached.

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Final word

I submit that anyone who cares to read any or all of the many reviews available online regarding the Totem Forest speakers (including those from Stereophile) , will find ample evidence to support my apparently crazy claim that what Erick experienced was an anomaly, for whatever reason.  JA handled the situation extremely well for Stereophile (wink wink).  I'll note that previous reviews of the Totem Forest speakers in Stereophile did not note Erick's "bunching up" phenomenon.  As for being hurt?  Nope!  Protective of what I know to be a quality product from an honorable company?  Yes, most definately.  FYI, because of EL's review, the Forest was lowered in it's recommended components rating.....also a disservice to the product and it's potential customers.  A follow up review by another reviewer would have probably been a better choice, since JA has a higher profile and therefore more reason to uncover very little (of course that would be looking for supportive facts that justify a pre-determined conclusion which exonerates Erick) or the "see no evil, hear no evil" approach to peer review.  The most innocent conclusion of course is that Erick just had really bad synergy and didn't bother to even tap one reference from in house or out, as to why a long running, very popular speaker, would sound so un-exceptional to him.  FYI, for the hundreth time....I didn't own Totem speakers during this entire exchange!!!!!  Lastly, the fact is that there is a preponderance of evidence to the contrary of what Erick claims to have experienced during his review of the Forest loudspeakers.  There have been numerous past reviews and commentary (over a decades worth actually) supporting my claims and none in support of Erick.  Who is it then, that stands naked and exposed upon the altar of truth? 

Drtrey3
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Dude, you made your point

and I hope you have expressed the depth of your thoughts and feelings on the matter.

 

Trey

dlb
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Ya think?

Sorry:O(  Plausable denial cases irk me to no end!  Something that also struck me was the lack of much insight into Totem Acoustics and the relative non existence of much anecdotal information, as was evidenced in EL's Manley Stingray review,  for example.  The Forest review seemed to be very matter of fact and utilitarian in it's presentation actually.   Erick can surely spin the yarn quite thick when it comes to certain products he apparently favors.  But that would be bias on his part and cherry picking on my part...wouldn't it:O)  Ok, OK...I'm done!  Thank you and goodnight.

tom collins
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you lie

you said you were done

jazzfan
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Silver lining

Perhaps there is/was a silver lining to Erick's Forest speaker review and the subsequent downgrade in rating of that speaker in that for those people who make their purchases on the vast used equipment market these Totem speakers will most likely be available for a very good price.

I own a Totem Signature center channel speaker which I was able to pick up for an insanely low price on the used market. When buying used equipment it is often the pans rather than the raves which are the buyer's best friend. And of course the opposite is also true.

dlb
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Yes, absolutely finished...not another word!

The attorney for the defense rests his case.

Glotz
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Slight contradiction...
dlb wrote:

No, the EL review I was referencing pertained to the Totem Forest speakers, which I had owned several years before the review was published.  Erick understands this and simply mentioned the Dreamcatcher review and JA's measurements as a rebuke toward Totem's design philosophy and their sound.  The only contention we have, and will apparently remain, is that he heard the Forest speakers act in a way that is not characeristic of the speaker according to myself and all other reviewers who have listened to them.

But wait, if one reviewer hears a 'characteristic' in this new Dreamcatcher review, and another does not, (but the review is 'giant-killer' positive), it's okay that a few 'bad' statements are in the review, right?  That's illogical, given the lengthy rebuke you gave last year about the Forests.  

Every room is different, and every speaker interacts differently in any given room.  Both reviews were positive, and the magazine does have enough good scientific method behind each review.  I misunderstood a critical point back then about the amplification that completely changed my view on the review. 

I think yr. taking too much insult from one small statement, so long ago. Without being a jerk, will you get upset if you find out that JA downgrades the Dreamcatchers to Class B, limited LF?  Or what about Class C?!

Take a deep breath, man... other people can have an opinion different than yours, brother.  

dlb
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Taking a breath

Well said, and I have no problem with your supposition.  This whole thing hinged on one universally accepted attribute of the speakers that was peculiarly absent in the review.  That alone spoke volumes toward the accuracy of the review.  I am done responding to Erick....I will let it go, but I thought I would let you know I am not without understanding or concession.

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