Totem Acoustic Tabù loudspeaker System
Listening tests were carried out in two rooms. Room 1 serves as my main listening area—a spacious, 5500-cubic-foot room (51' L by 13' W by 12' H) in a wood-frame house with only moderate masonry infill. Room 1 has only one area rug, making it a live listening environment. Martin Colloms warns that such rooms can be "partially porous to low frequencies...[and] boundary-matched speakers may have inadequate bass power and reach in such locations" (September '96, Vol.19 No.9, p.161). Though its construction does "leak" bass, Room 1's 51' length does support low bass. In addition, it features what MC terms "symmetrical-room speaker placement," in which side and back walls provide reinforcement. A previous review of mine (March 1992, Vol.15 No.3, p.181) describe in detail Room 1's construction, exact dimensions, contents, listening positions, rugs, windows, reverberant character, and bass modes.
Room 1's system was controlled from a now-discontinued Krell KBL preamplifier. I drove the Tabùs with the Mark Levinson No.27.5 (also now discontinued) and No.331, and Krell KSA-250 (also no longer available) power amplifiers. Comparison loudspeakers included Quad ESL-63 USA Monitors and the Totem Acoustic Model 1s. Even though the much-more-expensive Snell Type A Reference System was not part of this review's comparisons, the Snell's huge subwoofers permitted me to establish a bass reference in Room 1. Analog interconnects included AudioQuest, Live Wire Topaz interconnect cables, and Krell Cogelco balanced leads. Bi-wired OCOS speaker cables, supplied by Sumiko, were used. Because OCOS speaker cables come with double leads, I was able to remove the tiny shorting wires shipped with the Tabùs to bridge the double WBT speaker terminals for regular speaker cables.
Other equipment in Room 1 included a Day Sequerra FM Reference tuner, a Rotel RHT-10 FM tuner, and a Linn Sondek LP12/Lingo turntable, Ittok arm, and a Spectral MC cartridge. CDs were played on a Krell MD-1 transport driving an Audio Alchemy DT-1 jitter attenuator using 75 ohm Silver Starlight digital coaxial cable. This combo fed either an Adcom GDA-700 D/A processor or an Audio Alchemy DDE v3.0 HDCD over its I2S bus. The DDE was fitted with an RW-1 Remote Wand One.
Because Room 1 is so large, JA has encouraged me to use it only to audition large, full-range, floorstanding dynamic speakers. Therefore, I made certain to check all listening observations in Room 2, a 12' by 12' bedroom in my wood-frame house furnished with wall-to-wall carpeting. Not only is it a much smaller acoustic volume for a minimonitor to drive, but the furnishings make it much less "live" than Room 1. There the Tabùs were driven by the Mark Levinson No.27 (now discontinued) via QED Qudos Profile B speaker cables. Modified Dahlquist DQ-10 loudspeakers were used for comparisons. Associated equipment in Room 2 included a Mark Levinson ML-7A solid-state preamplifier (discontinued), a Pioneer Elite F-93 FM tuner connected to a Magnum Dynalab ST-2 "whip" antenna, and a Magnavox CD player.—Larry Greenhill