Totem Acoustic Mani-2 loudspeaker Review context

Sidebar 2: Review context

My relatively small room measures around 19' by 16.5' by 9'. Each of the loudspeakers was positioned for the best sound (with only one pair of loudspeakers in the listening room at a time), generally some 3' from the rear wall (which is faced with books and LPs) and approximately 5' from the side walls (which also have bookshelves covering some of their surfaces). Each pair of speakers sat on 24" Celestion Si stands, these filled with lead shot and spiked to the concrete floor beneath the rug/pad.

Amplifiers used were a Mark Levinson No.333 dual-mono (review under way) and a Cary Audio Design CAD-300SEI integrated. The preamplifier was the remote-controlled Mark Levinson No.38S, with either a Mod Squad Phono Drive EPS or an Audio Alchemy VAC-in-the-Box used to amplify LP signals from a Linn Sondek/Cirkus/Trampolin/Lingo/Ekos/Arkiv setup on an ArchiDee table. Digital sources were Mark Levinson No.30.5 HDCD and Parts Connection Assemblage D/A processors driven by a Mark Levinson No.31 transport, via Madrigal and Illuminati AES/EBU cables via a Meridian 518 jitter-reduction unit (No.31) or Sonic Frontiers UltraJitterbug (Assemblage). Laserdiscs were played on a Panasonic Prism LX-1000, the digital signal taken from its Toslink output.

Interconnects used were AudioQuest's AudioTruth Lapis x3 alternating with XLO 1.1 Signature; speaker cable was a bi-wired set of Cardas Cross. All source components and preamps used in my listening room were plugged-in to a Power Wedge 116 Mk.II, itself plugged-in to a dedicated AC circuit and fitted with the Power Enhancer option. The amplifiers were plugged-in to a Power Wedge 110, again fitted with the Power Enhancer.

The speakers were broken-in before audition by being placed face-to-face and driven with out-of-phase, high-level pink noise for 36 hours, followed by the Burn-in Noise track on Stereophile's Test CD 3 for another 12 hours.—John Atkinson

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