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Glotz
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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

Thanks for the response. Is there any way to address the what Stereophile sees as the formal review process, to better clarify for readers what is that process, and what is and not proper format/guidelines? For 25 years, I keep thinking that there has been some kind of explanation for readers to understand, but I don't seem to find it anywhere in the past issues.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

Since these are Canadian reviews this month and since the Canadian Montreal show is coming up, I thought I'd remind John that our introduction in Montreal had me in a moment of 'making strange' (which can be my humorous wont) and thrusting a card upon you, one from a local downtown Montreal Hotel I had just discovered that (show)time around.

The rooms there are $130cdn per night right now, for the show bookings.

The rooms have walk in showers and bathrooms almost larger than than a downtown NY bachelor pad, all stone and marble. Monogrammed terry cloth bathrobes, the whole shooting match. Whole room width walkout balcony for smoking, if one does...and a total of ~600 sq ft. And, about 50-60 eateries/bars within two blocks. Across the street from it is the beddy-by place of choice for the transient Ferrari crowd. A 10 minute ride (max) to the show, it is.

The freakiest part is the downstairs bar, where John Gault wanna-be's mix with the Stepford wives, all on some sort of temporal Randian acid of sorts. Bizarre, and like it's own form of twisted Disney entertainment, just by watching the participants... Heh heh.

After trying out the show about a dozen times now, this is my hotel of choice, so far, and by far. This was the place recommended by the denizens of Montreal, the sales rep crew from multiple local distribution firms. Almost every one of those guys said that this is the 'Bargain' among all Montreal hotel locations.

http://www.hoteldelamontagne.com/en/

We gots our rooms now for Montreal this year, so we can spill da beans.

we also have a local Montreal Friend, JF (Jean-Francois) who has worked at many a local bar (both high and low) as a bartender, cook, waiter, etc. We tell him 'take us to good food'...and he does. I'll have to get the names of some of these premium 'actual food' mom-and-pop places, you know, the secret eating hotspots for the locals that the visitors are not supposed to know about.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

I am a little surprised that Bill Peyser's response was printed, as he claimed that EL 'debunked' the myth of the the Totem Beaks, and that the 'outraged' comments from Totem was 'pure entertainment'.

Letters like these irritate the hell out of me, as I find them intentionally insulting, and do very little to propel good audiophile discussion. But alas, let's hear from alternate viewpoints, no matter how vitrolic and unsubstantive.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


Quote:
I am a little surprised that Bill Peyser's response was printed, as he claimed that EL 'debunked' the myth of the the Totem Beaks, and that the 'outraged' comments from Totem was 'pure entertainment'.

Letters like these irritate the hell out of me, as I find them intentionally insulting, and do very little to propel good audiophile discussion. But alas, let's hear from alternate viewpoints, no matter how vitrolic and unsubstantive.

Here comes one!

The radiohead album sucks. It's pretentious, white, pseudo-intellectual, concrete junglized crap. So far from the root of music- it pays lip service, but it doesn't know it. I find nothing there of any lasting or actual value.

But that's just my opinion!

However!..If you enjoy it, and it brings pleasure to you, I am happy to see a smile on your face and you in a state of bliss. If it does that for you, then more power to you and the joy you find in it.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


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I am a little surprised that Bill Peyser's response was printed, as he claimed that EL 'debunked' the myth of the the Totem Beaks, and that the 'outraged' comments from Totem was 'pure entertainment'.

Things like that happen all the time. Once you get a bogie on your tail, it can be quite difficult to shake him.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


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The radiohead album sucks.

All Radiohead, or just In Rainbows specifically?

And what is "root of music" and how do we recognize it?

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

Good question. A proper and well delivered return slap for the out of the blue and wholly uncalled for contrarian retort of mine.

I bought the Radiohead album hoping I'd find some fabulous new music that I wax poetic about and enjoy immensely. Sadly, I did not. I was saving that band for a rainy day and that rainy day finally came. I plopped the album (OK Computer, on wax) on and went 'Wtf?' I tried about 4-5 cuts and all of them were not at all to my taste.

As for the 'Root' descriptive, Not to indicate any sort of political sensibilities that are tied to this album, no, but just as a method of attempting to show what I mean: If Ayn Rand were to come to my door and try and talk about root issues of man and society, on the most basic level, she'd probably lose about 6 of her front teeth right on that porch. She and all that surrounds her fame and renown are just a bullshit sheen for psychologically illiterate pseudo-intellectualism.

People try to do what they can with what they know and there's no shame or wrongness in that, IMO. But one should always endeavor so go a bit deeper, closer to the root.

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.

-Henry David Thoreau

The same carries through into music. We go to the level we know and understand, and we many times evolve into listening in other ways and to other voices and thoughts as we pass through this learning curve. That is, if we endeavor to truly grow as human beings. And an honest man has to acknowledge constantly that he himself gets in his own way of his growth an curtails it constantly, for the sense of comfort it brings him.

Like a Leper who has no feeling in his extremities, a man must constantly check himself to see if he is limiting his growth due to the constant creep of egoic interference. As one does this, they will find that their viewpoint evolves, which can be it's own interesting journey, the idea of the interesting and the new, however painful it might be. To not get trapped in the past, so to speak. And when we do this in music we find the same as Thoreau, with regards to musical expression...that not many musicians are closer to the root. Those we enjoy are merely where we are within our given stage or growth condition at that time...and maybe a bit beyond, ie, within our individual range of comprehension and comfort zone.

In the final analysis, as with all good music..Radiohead is about growth, as far as presentation of ideas and thoughts go, and that is a very honorable enterprise, IMO. The only one to have or state of mind to be in, IMO. One must not answer the question, but only bring plausibility and possibility to the table for growth cannot be forced. it must be embraced. So thankfully, bands like RadioHead exist. Answering the question allows the masses to fall back into dogma (sadly, this has happened to much of science), which is the heart of the problem of development within man.

A man must think his way to the answer, not have a 'truth' presented. Dogma creates and maintains stupidity via stroking the ego, whereas complex and difficult questions presented to man may create anger or confusion, but actually creates thought and inspires intellect. It opens the door to growth instead of closing it.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

Concrete examples of "root" music or groups playing "root" music?

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

The root is the road. As long as you are on it, that's all there is. Other than that, you aren't moving. If you aren't moving, then hopefully you are only resting. But resting can turn into stagnation. So stay on the road. But then again, the answer is different for everybody, isn't it?

If a root music could be held in time, well it many times is, to the point of near dogma. But then again we have to have a sense of history to know where we've been. A root music is more a moment in time. So, in one's development a root situation could be just about anything, if you've never heard that before.

I was listening to an ambient song a while back and it had an older black gentleman speaking on how he was in a given NY Hotel and Charlie Parker was there..and Miles Davis walks in. They decide to have some fun and right in front of that gent, the modern version of Be-Bop was created. He was there, in that moment..and he recalled snapping his fingers and saying, 'that's how music should sound!'..and he had in his mind and time,and in his hands..the root. And a few months later it shifted-again. The ambient music of today is like that unaltered open canvas, and there are now almost literally thousands of types and styles and flavors of ambient, trance, electronic, etc music. And the cutting edge of music is now this colorful collection of influences that make up ambient music and all it's associations and alternative takes and generas. So I tend to now listen to that particular type of music, as I find the cutting edge of music, the emotional expression of man's internal drive and desire to express one's soul, to express the shape of the inner voice of the leading edge of man, is in that flavor of music. Like it or not, IMO, in that and the 'world music' is where the cutting edge lies. The ever roiling, moving, cutting edge. The root. The cause. The drive. Always changing. Always moving. We respect Mozart, We respect Bach, we respect Neil Young, Buddy Holly, and all the others.. for in their time, in their moments, they literally were the root, that cutting edge.

It's when someone repeats that moment, that message, that becomes a source of dogma and freezes the given man or is part and parcel of that man's lack of growth. But then again, some can't do that, the constant shifting, their overall structure cannot and does not want to handle the difference, they only seek similarity and repetition. I want to be in the moment. As a musician, you know what I mean. Life's greatest pleasure for you, is that living in the moment. Like Steve McQueen said in LeMans (the film), 'Life, is racing. Everything else..is just ...waiting.'

Besides, your turn for a big keyboard burning exposition.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


Quote:

Quote:
I am a little surprised that Bill Peyser's response was printed, as he claimed that EL 'debunked' the myth of the the Totem Beaks, and that the 'outraged' comments from Totem was 'pure entertainment'.

Letters like these irritate the hell out of me, as I find them intentionally insulting, and do very little to propel good audiophile discussion. But alas, let's hear from alternate viewpoints, no matter how vitrolic and unsubstantive.

Here comes one!

The radiohead album sucks. It's pretentious, white, pseudo-intellectual, concrete junglized crap. So far from the root of music- it pays lip service, but it doesn't know it. I find nothing there of any lasting or actual value.

But that's just my opinion!

However!..If you enjoy it, and it brings pleasure to you, I am happy to see a smile on your face and you in a state of bliss. If it does that for you, then more power to you and the joy you find in it.

More power to me, huh? Well, here it comes...! I was being sarcastic, you dense cloud of hate. (Duh, that's what the smirk was there for...)

We all know you like to be contrarian just 'cause yr bored, much like Peyser here (like relishing in someone else's acrimony). You've got nothing actually substantive to say, just initial vitriol with a rote disclaimer for talking like a douchebag- and then 10,000 words on an off-topic subject where you cite a totally unrelated example to further your banal point, like a pedantic, narcissitic jerk off.

I think the theme of humanity alone in a world of technology was a very new one in 1997. And many music critics agree with me. But you are entitled to your opinion! Because that is the politically correct statement to make here- regardless of how uninformed you may actually be about Radiohead.

Oh gosh, isn't there a famous statement from Ivor Tiefenbrun about people that haven't (fully) heard something that their opinion is completely invalidated? Oh yeah, that's right, he said- 'You Dont Have One'. You may want to look up THAT quote- soon.. (And no, 4 or 5 songs do not equate adequate knowledge of the body of Radiohead's material, nor does it justify running 2 massive posts furthering your 'point' with insufficient examples.)

BUT back to the point, Stereophile should have no place for such moronic and hateful letters- it does nothing but spew bullshit and promote more accusations that magazines are all in bed together with manufacturers. It's much like you have done here in this forum now- Gleefully insulting someone, and then say your opinion matters and I still love you- It's like an unwashable graffiti of ugliness. Oh, your dissertation to 'educate' us only shows that you need to listen to your own advice! The pure irony. I think we found the real "creep of egoic interference".

But really thanks for your input on Radiohead's 'OK Computer'. I think I heard Stereophile needs another music editor!

you can laugh
a spineless laugh
we hope that your rules and your wisdom choke you

we hope that you choke that you choke
we hope that you choke that you choke
we hope that you choke that you choke

exit music (for a film)

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


Quote:

Things like that happen all the time. Once you get a bogie on your tail, it can be quite difficult to shake him.

Yeah, I am aware of that- a fleet of bogeys can come out of the clouds as soon as they smell blood. Case in point.

Just pull a Cobra manuever at low altitude and you'll come up right behind, and above him.

Unless you acquiesce, and allow them to light up your six. Case in another point (see quote above).

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


Quote:

Quote:
I am a little surprised that Bill Peyser's response was printed, as he claimed that EL 'debunked' the myth of the the Totem Beaks, and that the 'outraged' comments from Totem was 'pure entertainment'.

Stereophile should have no place for such moronic and hateful letters- it does nothing but spew bullshit and promote more accusations that magazines are all in bed together with manufacturers.

I am not sure I understand your point. How can publishing a letter reinforcing negative comments made by a reviewer about a manufacturer's product make it look as if the magazine is in bed with manufacturers?

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


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The root is the road.

OK . . . .

Again, what recordings, groups, etc. embody "root music?"

So far it appears that root music is anything you like. If you don't like it, the music has no "root" and is pseudosomething.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

You are on your own, man. You've got all the explanation you are ever going to get.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


Quote:

Quote:

Quote:
I am a little surprised that Bill Peyser's response was printed, as he claimed that EL 'debunked' the myth of the the Totem Beaks, and that the 'outraged' comments from Totem was 'pure entertainment'.

Stereophile should have no place for such moronic and hateful letters- it does nothing but spew bullshit and promote more accusations that magazines are all in bed together with manufacturers.

I am not sure I understand your point. How can publishing a letter reinforcing negative comments made by a reviewer about a manufacturer's product make it look as if the magazine is in bed with manufacturers?

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

I don't have any problem of negative reviews in Stereophile whatsoever. It the implication that a lack of negative reviews (over recent years) implies collusion. I feel these letters do a disservice to the magazine by allowing them to perpetually question the magazine's motives, which have been proven over the years to be sound, honorable, and intelligent.

Despite the uniquely close relationship that the high end audio industry enjoys, I have never found collusion in Stereophile anywhere, ever.

It was the litany of letters, including this one that seemed to relish the acrimony that Vince Bruzzesse was reeling from. It is ugly, and shows a very strong undercurrent of ignominy regarding the relationship between manufacturer and audio journalism, by casual and serious Stereophile readers for more than a few years (really since forums and blogs have become standard communication formats).

Similar but less volatile statements like "To any who would say that modern hi-fi criticism is dead, I will gladly point to this issue", implying that positive reviews instead have been proof over the years of complicity, and the assumption that an apparent lack negative reviews make for boring reading. That is the point I was making- that it took a negative review for readers to applaud Stereophile for going back to it's 'roots' ala JGH, 20-30 years prior, when his honesty drove great journalism. I posit that Stereophile has been honest all along, it is those other letter writers that needed a negative, controversial review to salivate over. (Mark De Biasse claims that your magazine is a marketing tool for the high-end industry. Is there ANY way to refute such an unfounded, and acrimonious statement?)

While I level criticisms to editors from time to time, I do not reserve hateful language for them; rather I have a deep respect for them. I guess I just wished that others did too. That doesn't mean I feel writers can't be provactive or extreme in their communication. Far from it.

David Wilson had a wonderful advert/letter in TAS last month that sums up how I feel about today's community: "..Yet, oddly, the audio community itself has grown more fractious, tribalized and less civil. A kind of audio fundamentalism- manifest as uncritical acceptance of a priori assumptions, reliance on half-truths, and ad hominem insults- typifies much of the discourse in the blogosphere." Indeed.

I believe style is obviously the most engaging weapon a writer uses. I also think more exhaustive comparisons are sometimes the only way to further a review point, by specifically showing where a component differs from another, in specific music passages, but in a very demonstrative way (and especially for controversial subjects or reviews). MF is very good at that, and always leaves a sense of completion for me. (His big 'dozen' cable review a few months back is a perfect example.) Thanks everyone at Stereophile, but especially you for responding.

PS- I know it seemed that I was being provocative with my initial letter to the Editor, but that was not my intention. I misunderstood the review process as you stated. To me, provocation is only enjoyable when unethical or selfish behavior is caught and then swiftly admonished. (See KBK above.)

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


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You are on your own, man. You've got all the explanation you are ever going to get.

Not a single recording you can recommend that embodies your definition of "roots" music?

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


Quote:

Quote:
You are on your own, man. You've got all the explanation you are ever going to get.

Not a single recording you can recommend that embodies your definition of "roots" music?

I'd like to submit Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band w/ the Rootettes, if nobody objects.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

This is my first post ever on this forum despite having been a subscriber to S'phile for fifteen years or more, so please forgive me for just chiming in, somewhat out of context. I had to wait a while til my registration was approved-thanks for your assistance Mr. Mejias.
I think Mr. Lichte is one of the most refreshing additions to the magazine in quite some time. I say this not just because of the refreshing willingness to be candid and critical in all senses of the word, but also due to the freshness of writing style. After a while, hearing a reviewer once again go through the same routine littany of recording references or using the same tired list of criteria grows tiresome. Right now Eric is free of the boredom-by-virtue-of-familiarity-sydrome due to being the new guy. I hope he finds a way to continue to maintain that sense of freshness.
But to the Totems; it seems to me that when reviewing a set of speakers it is essential that the reviewer expressly state the electronics used. Perhaps I missed something, but I still have not seen where Mr. Lichte has specified the choice of preamp and amp and associated equipment used to evaluate the Totems or what efforts, if any, were employed to swap things around to play with synergy. I am not defending the Totems-I have never owned Totems though I have heard several models at dealers. But my point, valid or not, is that if Mr. Lichte has specified his associated gear either in the review, or his other review (aren't there just two published so far) or even in this thread, I missed it.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

Thanks for the kind words Sonic,

My equipment list was included in the review of the Rogue M180's, also featured in the January issue. It was not included by the Totem review due to lack of space.

I will do my best to keep up the good work!

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


Quote:

Quote:

Things like that happen all the time. Once you get a bogie on your tail, it can be quite difficult to shake him.

Yeah, I am aware of that- a fleet of bogeys can come out of the clouds as soon as they smell blood. Case in point.

Just pull a Cobra manuever at low altitude and you'll come up right behind, and above him.

Unless you acquiesce, and allow them to light up your six. Case in another point (see quote above).

Well, there is a way out.

Instead of groaning, letting go the controls... and then completing the scene by allowing the bogie to take the shot and then the plane explodes, tumbling...and the crowd cheers (Shades of 'Firefox'- the Eastwood film)..or completing the picture, like the end of 'The Hunt for Red October', where the First Mate looks at the Captain of the Russian sub and says "You arrogant ass, You have Killed US!", and the sub is impacted in it's ass by the very missile it fired... instead, one can ...just..let the reel run out...and let the screen go blank.

'tuk-a-tuk-a-tuk-a-tuk', went the empty projector...

The easiest way to say it, is that the answer is far too complex for a forum and I never should have started in on it. In there - laid my mistake. And in the end, after all is said and done, in my experience, the answer is insulting to no one. And it is not an answer and story I pulled out of my ass, it is a universal one, that is passed person to person, as it always has been. The door is open to anyone who bothers to peer in. And in this case, the music can be and is central to the story, but is only part of the journey.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


Quote:
My equipment list was included in the review of the Rogue M180's, also featured in the January issue. It was not included by the Totem review due to lack of space.

You can find Erick's gear list at http://www.stereophile.com/tubepoweramps/rogue_audio_m-180_monoblock_power_amplifier/index5.html# .

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

Dear Erick,

I have owned several Totem speakers over the years, including the Forest. In addition, I have been fortunate enough to have owned an insane amount of gear from the "Who's Who" of manufacturers as well. Wilson, Dynaudio, Magnepan, Martin Logan, Dunlavy, B&W, Levinson, Krell, Meridian, ARC...the reference stuff mind you, not just the entry level! Your review of the Totem Forest loudspeaker smacked of inexperience. It was obvious that you did not research Totem or their design philosophy. In addition, you did not understand the requirements of the speaker regarding amplification. Lastly, based on your experience with the Forest speakers and your description of their performance in your system, there is only one conclusion that can be made....you wired the speakers (or something else perhaps)out of phase! If there is one aspect of the Totem sound it is that they are easy to place and that they generate a holographic soundfield with precise image placement. You described the sound bunching up around the speakers? No, I'm afraid not Eric. Anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of Hi Fi equipment would have at least noted this outstanding characteristic of all Totem speakers. The fact that JA did not question your experience is more disturbing still. You Eric, have maligned a great designer and his art whilst playing judge and jury. You are not qualified to be either sir.

Most Sincerely,
Dave Borda

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


Quote:
In addition, you did not understand the requirements of the speaker regarding amplification.

Which is?

They only work well with "special" amps?


Quote:
Lastly, based on your experience with the Forest speakers and your description of their performance in your system, there is only one conclusion that can be made....you wired the speakers (or something else perhaps)out of phase!

Please.

You must be kidding.

There is no way that Eric would not have noticed this immediately.

Additionally out of phase does not bunch the sound around each speaker as if there is angular distortion of the stereo image. Rather out of phase is diffuse and it is hard to place an image anywhere.

Sorry, not buying it.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

Totem speakers require more than 30watts/ch. If Erick were to spend the time, he would have seen the requirements on the Totem website. I've owned them, heard them in many different environments with various equipment and have read most of the reviews. They image like a son 'bitch! Holography is their forte' ELK! Mr. Lichte is incompetent at best. Unless were living in backwards world.

Dave

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


Quote:
You Eric, have maligned a great designer and his art whilst playing judge and jury. You are not qualified to be either sir.

Actually, I think the great designer did much more to malign himself via his Manufacturer's Comments than I did in my review. My review was not a negative one, but a balanced and honest report of what I heard from these speakers. I maintain that without Mr. Bruzzese's inflamitory letter, this follow-up would not have gotten a tenth of the attention that it has.

It upsets me that the soap opera surrounding this follow up has eclipsed reports on wonderful sounding equipment like the Rogue amps I reviewed in the same issue.

Speaking of which, I mostly listened to the Totems with the 180 watt per channel Rogue M180 amplifiers, which is more than enough juice to get them moving. And no, they were not wired out of phase which produces a distictly out-of-the-speaker image as Elk points out.

It seems many fans of Totem Forests would rather level unsupported ad hominim attacks at me than accept that one person didn't fall madly in love with these speakers.

JA and my final words on this speaker review will be in the April issue of Stereophile.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

Erick, I am not debating you...you are simply wrong! Why? Because the rest of the world who has experienced Totem speakers recognizes the fact that what you heard is abnormal and not accurate. I say again, you screwed something up during the review process and either won't admit it, can't determine what you did or simply have no ear for doing a review. By the way, I've experienced the Rogue product line as well...Hmmmm, now there's a can of worms. But, I'll save that for another day. If you ever get to West Chester, Pa. I can take you to the local dealer and enlighten you on things Totem. Come to think of it, I think I could enlighten you on a whole bunch of stuff. FYI, I do not own Totem speakers any longer nor do I have any affiliation with Totem. Oh, Totem recommends SS...that's also on the website Erick.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

Erick;
I can tell you don't need to be told this, but don't let the crazies get you down. Don't even give them a second thought. You are right on. Your job is to give equipment an honest listen and use the equipment in a fashion consistent with the average high-end audio enthusiast's likely choices of associated equipment and listening conditions and report your thoughts. Nothing more and nothing less. There is no requirement to research and comply with the manufacturers recommnendations or to allow the manufacturer to set them up in your room or most importantly to take Herculean efforts to get good sound. Just wear a fire-retardant suit and keep giving honest assessments. 98% of the readership will appreciate this. The other 2% will get over it when they realize that you have no agenda and no favorites.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


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Erick, I am not debating you...you are simply wrong! Why? Because the rest of the world who has experienced Totem speakers recognizes the fact that what you heard is abnormal and not accurate.

This is unmitigated nonsense.

"The rest of the world who has experienced Totem speakers" does not have a singular opinion. If they did, there would be no other speakers out there as Totem would control all sales in its performance bracket.

I, for one, like them but have not been blown away. Then again, I am probably an idiot like Erick.

Erick provided an accurate well-expressed description of his subjective experience. You simply disagree with him. This is what makes the hobby interesting.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

Excuse me, but I've owned more High End gear than you and Erick combined. He didn't need to make Herculean efforts to get great sound from the Totem Forests. All he needed to do is hook them up properly. I will say this one more time for you people with a thick head...Totem speakers are well known for their ease of placement and holographic/spacious sound. It takes about 5 minutes to look at the Totem website. Did Erick ever think that maybe his setup was in question? The Forest has been in production for over 10 years and has garnered much praise during that time for the very characteristics for which Erick has found them lacking. Gee, do ya think maybe the neophyte chorus guy might have screwed something up? Or does common sense mean nothing anymore to mindless drones like you! It could have been a phase issue with a component, a reversed connection, or maybe the white/black connection scheme for the binding posts were beyond him to understand. When you pick up the pen to act as judge you are burdened with great responsibility. Erick showed no respect for Totem and a heavy bias for his beloved F30's. Have you owned Totem speakers or heard them set up at a dealer? Most readers never experience most of the products reviewed in Stereophile, so they are easily lead down the path of confusion. When you've actually owned the products they review it sheds more than a little light on their review bias and general attempt to often spin the results. Stereophile hires reviewers that can spin a yarn first and foremost...the audio knowledge is a nice to have option.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

Erick, all jousting aside..I noticed in your Manley Stingray review that you still have the Totem Forests around. I ask that you double check your system and give them another listen. It is with the deepest sincerity that I suggest you did not hear the Forest speakers for what they do well. You may still not like or admire them in total, but to suggest that they did not throw an amazing soundfield is most remarkable. You did run them in I suppose for 200hrs or so? Phase inversion with a component perhaps? Whte/Black terminals properly identified as Hot/Cold? Previous reviews and show commentary alone would tell you something was wrong. Vince pours his heart and soul into his products. You of all people, one who has made music, should have some understanding of this fact. Personally, I think Vince took it easy on you...you could have called him and asked a few questions to trouble shoot your setup.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

I think you've made your point, dlb. If you read this thread and read the review, you should see that Erick made every attempt to get the best from the Forest loudspeakers.

It is a fair review. Combined with our previous reviews of the speaker, including full sets of measurements, and the comments sent in from Totem (totaling 12 webpages of information, all available here), intelligent readers should gain a strong sense of what the speakers and the company have to offer.

Of course, you have the right to disagree.

As Erick noted, his and JA's final thoughts on the speaker, as well as additional comments from Totem, will be published in the April issue. The speakers have been returned to the manufacturer.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

I submit that Erick is not up to the task of reviewing audio components in a fair and thorough manner. Anyone with any experience or knowledge regarding Totem will see this episode for what it is...inexperience unchecked! I've put up with the flatulent prose and political rants. Hell, I've even overlooked the countless reviews which somehow found praise for what any Audiophile might consider to be seriously flawed components. Erick should review new music releases and step away from the gear. I can no longer read your rag!!

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

Is it me, or do I get the distinct impression dlb has a vested interest in Totem? Just wondering...New member, seemingly ONLY to defend the company and it's designer?

I mean, we ALL want the gear we love to get validated by reviews, but I don't see most guys jumping and wanting to wage war on the reviewer just because they didn't agree that X product is the zenith of components. And then to just say said reviewer should just move aside and remand himself from all but new music reviews? Come on!

And STILL, all of this ranting over what was NOT an overly negative review. When I read it I didn't think, "boy that guy really hates those things, they must really suck!" On the contrary I was left with a positive impression but, like most speakers, they had their strengths and weaknesses. This is really a mountain from the mole hill.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


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Excuse me, but I've owned more High End gear than you and Erick combined.

Perhaps yours is bigger, but without examination this is pure speculation.


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. . . I will say this one more time for you people with a thick head . . . mindless drones like you . . .

Despite your compelling argument I doubt anyone is persuaded.

Erick, and the rest of us, know what out of phase sounds like. This is not what he described.

Perhaps it is simply true that the speakers did not perform for him as you believe they should. In this case the reviewer did exactly as he should; he described his experience.

We may also learn of some new observations in the upcoming issue.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


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I think that at $3500 more is expected in EL's experience.

--------------
Jim Tavegia


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That was what I took away from Erick's report. The Forest was certainly a competitive speaker when it was first introduced, but other manufacturers have been working hard in the years since then and I wanted a fresh pair of ears to take a listen.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

If you were current on PSB, Paradigm, Monitor Audio, Revel. Vandersteen and others you would understand that it may be time for an improved Totem.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

No vested interest. I owned a pair of Forests 5 years ago and I thought they were a rare breed of speaker. They dealt dynamic contrats, both micro and macro, with aplomb! They were holographic (like spooky) and delivered deep tight bass. There were well balanced with plenty of excitement and low level detail...they just made music so effortlessly, even at low volume levels. Over the years I've read and discussed totem products with other audiophiles and have never once heard anyone describe them as having less than state of the art imaging. For these reasons I feel a truly great product has been maligned for no good reason. I still say Erick did not have them hooked up properly. Personal opinion is one thing, but incorrect evaluation is another entirely. It would be like saying Wilson speakers can't image well...what?

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


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On the contrary I was left with a positive impression but, like most speakers, they had their strengths and weaknesses. This is really a mountain from the mole hill.

FINALLY someone gets it!!

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


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Over the years I've read and discussed totem products with other audiophiles and have never once heard anyone describe them as having less than state of the art imaging.


Isn't it possible that your world has now become larger, fuller, and more meaningful?
You've been offered a different point of view. Celebrate!

(I think I read that in a fortune cookie. Now add "in bed.")

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


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If you were current on PSB, Paradigm, Monitor Audio, Revel. Vandersteen and others you would understand that it may be time for an improved Totem.

And I am very familiar with these companies and what they offer at the $1,200 - $1,800 price range. The overall quality of speakers in this range has become, in my opinion, extraordinarily high in the last five to eight years. This is tremendous news for the real world audiophile; the guy who will shell out some cash for good sound but is not able to have his speakers directly delivered to his helipad.

My comments on the Forests were certainly made in the context of speakers made by the companies you mention and a few others. Price is certainly a factor when reviewing equipment. However, contrary to what most internet trolls believe, I do not fall for the gimmick that a higher priced component is better than a cheaper one. In fact, I believe that the higher the price a piece of gear is, the more it is open to scrutiny. It seems common sense to me that we should expect more from expensive gear and less from cheaper gear.

What I love in audio is when we find the gear that is a great value - the gear that punches way above its weight class. Finding that equipment is, for me, the most rewarding part of what I do. These are the finds that I want to share with the readers of Stereophile.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

Your point is well taken Erick. My problem centers solely around the comments regarding their inability to throw a well sorted out, spacious soundfield. If you did not experience that aspect of the Forest then either your system or the speakers had issues. Other than that, I can accept your comments. Sorry, but I am passionate about audio:O)

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


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Other than that, I can accept your comments. Sorry, but I am passionate about audio:O)

As am I. However, in my passion I try not to call people incompetent, mindless drones, neophytes, or that they are not up to the task of having an informed subjective opinion.

Passion and civility can go hand in hand.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

I usually don't resort to descriptives such as those I have cast upon you and your forum supporters. However, it is quite frustrating when one recieves no satisfaction or recognition regarding an obviously incorrect evaluation of a products singularly unique attribute. That point still remains a matter unresolved. You were exceedingly knowledgable of Manley Labs and seemed downright enamored with EveAnna in your recent review of the Stingray iTube amplifier...shame Totem recieved no such consideration:O( You did mention one should have "an informed subjective opinion". Good words to review by Erick! Just try to do it every time.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


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However, it is quite frustrating when one recieves no satisfaction or recognition regarding an obviously incorrect evaluation . . .

Your fundamental assumption is flawed. Erick's evaluation is not "obviously incorrect."

Rather, he accurately sets forth his experience in his room with his equipment and these speakers. And let's wait to see what the follow-up report states.

Curiosity:

Given your glowing description of the Forests . . .


Quote:
They were holographic (like spooky) and delivered deep tight bass. There were well balanced with plenty of excitement and low level detail...they just made music so effortlessly, even at low volume levels. . . state of the art imaging.

Why in the world did you part with them?

From your description they are perfect, a characteristic I have yet to experience.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

Hi ELK,

They were perfect for my small condo. I am now in a larger environ with my expanded family. My basic point was focused around the imaging and soundstaging comments. Anyone who has ever heard a Totem (Forest or not) has immediately noticed the soundstaging, dimensionality and "free from the box" sound they produce. I have no problem with ANYONE not liking the Totem line for any subjectively HONEST reason whatsoever. It is that Erick seems to be the only person I have ever heard of that didn't hear that aspect of the Forest speaker. To me, that means he did not evaluate them properly...that's it! Read the numerous reviews they have recieved over the last 10 years (good and bad)...they all at least understood the product, appreciated it for what it was and admitted it's obvious strong points and weaknesses. I currently use Magnepan 3.6R's after owning Wilson W/P 6's, Sophias, Dynaudio C4's, B&W 801N's, Dunlavy SC-V's, ML Odysseys, Totem Forest's, Hawks and Winds and my brothers Bozak B-313's circa. 1962. The Maggies do so much more for the music than any box speaker I have ever heard and I was pleased to find that the current generation maggies have shown none of the supposed drawbacks often spoken of on forums like these...because I set them up properly and drive them properly:O) I have many stories to tell regarding things audio and many involve Stereophile and the way they present their reviews. Once you own many of the products they have reviewed over the years, you realize what was truth and what was bologna.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

Hi Jim,

Thought I'd respond to your take on the situation. You are correct...you are wrong. You do not know of what you speak, but at least you admit it! The Totem line, more so than most others, DO NOT require difficult setup processes or Herculean measures to sound good. JA knows this, many other reviewers know this and anyone who has demo'd a pair at their local dealer (probably the worst place for evaluation)know this. They sound good in more environments and setup configurations than almost anything else I've owned or heard. Do they sound better when given some TLC? Sure they do, all speakers do. Erick showed no understanding of Totem nor made even the slightest effort to review prior knowledge regarding the product before turning in his review. You can sense his lack of understanding and respect in the review. He does present Manley in a very nice light however with oodles of background info and kind words for EveAnna...Hmmmm!!

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


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Thought I'd respond to your take on the situation. You are correct...you are wrong.


dlb, you've made your point. Do you have anything intelligent and constructive to add, or are you here only to insult people?

dave_b
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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

I'm actually a hell of a nice guy:O) This particular issue just lit my fire. I will wait for the follow up to the follow up as it were, before commenting further. For anyone who has been caught in the crossfire on this topic..I apologize most sincerely. However, I feel their is a bit of intelligence in my comments Stephen...I have actually OWNED the product for more than just a review period.

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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.


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They were perfect for my small condo. I am now in a larger environ with my expanded family.

Makes sense.

Also enthusiasts are often curious and like to experiment.


Quote:
I have no problem with ANYONE not liking the Totem line for any subjectively HONEST reason whatsoever.

I have every reason to believe Erick is being "subjectively honest." Are you really claiming that he is dishonest in his review?

If anything, given he already knew others' reactions to the speaker, it would have been easy for him to simply fall in line.


Quote:
It is that Erick seems to be the only person I have ever heard of that didn't hear that aspect of the Forest speaker. To me, that means he did not evaluate them properly...that's it!

Merely because he wasn't knocked over by the sound does not mean that he did not evaluate them properly. Keep in mind that he is reviewing them in light of the current state of the art of similar speakers. The Forests are pretty long in the tooth.

My Dahlquist DQ-10's astounded everyone with their soundstaging and imaging when they first became available. I still have them in a secondary system. While still buddies, no up to date audiophile is stunned by their performance; we now have so much better.


Quote:
I currently use Magnepan 3.6R's after owning Wilson W/P 6's, Sophias, Dynaudio C4's, B&W 801N's, Dunlavy SC-V's, ML Odysseys, Totem Forest's, Hawks and Winds and my brothers Bozak B-313's circa. 1962.

If that's your complete list, you have decidedly not owned twice as many products as Erick and me combined.


Quote:
The Maggies do so much more for the music than any box speaker I have ever heard and I was pleased to find that the current generation maggies have shown none of the supposed drawbacks often spoken of on forums like these...because I set them up properly and drive them properly.

I, too, like Maggies. They do some things exceedingly well. They have weaknesses and drawbacks however - like any other speaker. What are you using to drive them? How do you have them set up?


Quote:
Once you own many of the products they have reviewed over the years, you realize what was truth and what was bologna.

Or, probably more realistically, we have differing subjective experiences. Additionally, various pieces of equipment - especially speakers - function differently in each room in which they are placed and the equipment with which they are partnered.

dave_b
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Re: Totem Angst over followup review.

Make the list a little shorter next time OK:O) Anyway, NO, I do not think he was intentionally dishonest. The Forest's may be "long in the tooth" time wise, but they still deliver great soundstaging. No, the list of gear is not comprehensive by even a little...I'll work up the energy to try and list everything at some point (show me yours and I'll show you mine). Hell, I think I still have reciepts for all the stuff. I currently use a Krell 400cxi/KCT combo with ever changing front ends...everything from Levinson and Wadia to Sony (had the krell 505 and std as well). So much gear and so little time! I had a pair of DQ-10's as well...until they melted:O( MG 1's also way back when. Regarding Stereophile reviews I refer to fundamental quirks or problems with gear that are either spun into positives, glossed over, buried in the measurements section or generally just downplayed. They have it down to an artform in order to not offend. I must admit that Lichte did manage to offend some of us Totemites and for that I do give him props. I just honestly feel that Erick missed something special about the Forest that is STILL special today. As for my Maggies, they present the most natural sound I have heard outside the Concert Hall.

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