Totem's Tribe

Like many (most?) audiophiles, I've tended to turn up my nose at in-wall and on-wall loudspeakers. I normally assume that there must be major sonic compromises in designing speakers that fade into the background. I was then most pleasantly surprised by the sound of the Totem Tribe V ($6000/pair) at CES 2015. This is an on-wall speaker, but that sort of mounting is not possible in a hotel environment, so the speakers were stand-mounted, as close to the wall as possible. The sound was clean, open, and dynamic, with a firm bass foundation that was hard to credit to Totem's small (maybe 5") proprietary midrange/bass "Torrent" drivers. Bass is claimed to extend to the low 30s, and I have no reason to doubt this. The Tribe V has a minimalist crossover, just a single capacitor on the tweeter.

I was also impressed by the sound of the 2.1 channel system, pictured above, that consisted of the Totem Kin Mini ($500/pair) and the Totem Kin sub ($700). The sub is a powered unit, with extension to 29Hz (–3dB). The combination worked very well together, and gave me no indication that I was listening to a $1200 system.