The highly ambitious American speakers used to look like the Totem Acoustic Wind. This speaker is like a timeline of times gone by. The Canadians build the “Wind” like a relic but wonderfully clocked for timing and the best illustration. A wonderful encounter between then and now.
The hair is upside down. Vince Bruzzese looks a little like he just plugged in. Otherwise, a well-groomed man in his 50s, established, gray hair, not an ounce of fat too much. He founded Totem Acoustic in 1986. The company is still based in Montreal, Canada, in this special mix of British and French roots. All loudspeakers are also built there, so in a high-wage country.
The Wind is similar to its sister in price (Metal V2 for now 19,290 euros), dimensions, and weight, but conceptually it is almost an alternative. And sonically? You can be curious…
The technical data
|Totem Acoustic Wind|
|Concept:||3-way bass reflex|
|Assembly:||HT: 1 x 25mm, MT: 2 x 14cm, DD: 1 x 22cm|
|Efficiency:||83.3 dB (2.83 volts / 1 meter)|
|Maximum level (permanent/dynamic):||101 / 112dB|
|recommended Minimum power of the amplifier:||2 x 40 watts|
|Power requirement for maximum level:||262 watts|
|Dimensions (H x W x D):||112.5 x 27.2 x 35.5 cm|
|Weight:||34.0 kilos (piece)|
Totem Acoustic Wind: the technique
Of course, the housing also belongs to the acoustics. The basic architecture of The Wind is reminiscent of the 1980s. Laid back, with almost stealth-like angles on the front. All this not only looks characteristic but also makes acoustic sense. At the angles, for example, there are inevitably significantly fewer reflections than with the usual flat baffles of most loudspeakers on the market.
Anything but a slanted thing: Due to the slight inclination of the wind, the voice coils of the various drivers are roughly in a vertical line – the best guarantee for timely playback (drawing: Totem Acoustic)
Four chassis radiate forward. These drivers look like they’re all Danish-made. An aluminum dome for the treble, a stately 22-centimeter bass, and two 15-centimeter midrange drivers, which – how should I put it – look damn like the classic Dynaudio design with MSP membrane and (outside the magnet) giant voice coil. A denial comes from Montreal. No, these are all our own developments. Conceived and made in Canada. The aesthetic proximity to Dynaudio is pure coincidence.
There’s no shame in using these Dynaudio exception drivers. But who knows what’s going on backstage? Because Dynaudio stopped supplying its competitors with its drivers years ago… But the fact is that Bruzzese had dedicated ideas about the totem drivers even before developing its torrent drivers. That’s why he always developed special models with the usual suspicious suppliers early on, which fitted perfectly to his constructions – which were a bit off the mainstream. “Nothing off the peg,” as he likes to emphasize.
The Wind is a three-way construction with a bass reflex opening on the back. The two midrange drivers run in parallel. With such a parallel connection, you usually encounter more problems than you would like because of the inevitable cancellations. But of course, Bruzzese also follows a plan – if only to significantly increase the level and resilience in this area.
In the previous reviews, lateral thinker Bruzzese fascinated us with his vision of hanging the mid-bass driver “directly” on the amplifier without crossover. The crossover in these models was – understandably – very clear. And what a contrast with the Wind: A circuit board with a fat transformer core sits in the footwell and a second (quite sprawling) on the back wall of the box.
By the way, Bruzzese shows himself to be a fan of German audio suppliers. Several coils and the most important capacitors come from the Cologne specialist Mundorf. And the bi-wiring connection terminals – how could it be otherwise – from the Essen-based professional WBT.
The WBT connectors are extremely solid, but Bruzzese includes surprisingly delicate metal pins with very high silver content for those who don’t want to use bi-wiring cables. The Canadian has developed a completely different philosophy of energy flow, which in short is as follows: thick is sluggish, the small, the fine bring more flow into the chain. He is not alone in this attitude. And by the way, the pens sound much better than the usual metal bridges…
…itself is a small work of art. Not only its obelisk shape (tapering upwards) but also the characteristic angles on the front naturally require some carpentry effort. The complex-designed walls are doubled in many places and doubly interlocked. The finish (we had the Wind in the classic black ash veneer) also shows no weaknesses.
Vince Bruzzese, who likes to play the minimalist role in many places, is not making this effort for anything. The completely asymmetrical shape of the Totem Acoustic Wind stiffens the housing, takes the energy out of standing drone frequencies inside, and even baffle reflections should hardly disturb a perfect spatial reproduction with this construction with so many angles on the front.
The Totem Acoustic Wind has a comparatively high impedance – which amplifiers generally like. Two small swings in the impedance (red curve) and the EPDR (grey curve) in the low-impedance range suggest that a powerful amplifier with a stable power supply is better connected here.
This is also underlined by efficiency measurements, which attest to the wind’s efficiency of 83.3 decibels. That’s not very high. Nevertheless, the Wind is pleasantly level-stable: With a continuous peak level of 101 dB and a peak level of 112 dB for a short time, one comes menacingly close to live concerts.
However, if the efficiency is low and the maximum level is high, the power to reach the maximum level must also be high: we are talking about more than 250 watts per channel with the Wind. As already indicated above. It doesn’t hurt if the amplifier is one of the most powerful of its kind…
In the gathering of all facts, this is a speaker that seems a bit stuck in the old days. You can see that as a point of criticism or an incentive – here, you get a young timer with the most beautiful materials of the present.
Unlike the already mentioned, very “fast” and gripping models Fire V2 and Metal V2, the wind blows on American road cruisers with full suspension. The fullness in the lower registers is wonderful, making the very deep Kodo drum hits palpable. Not always with the precision of the sisters, but also very engaging with his friendly fullness and warmth.
But if you suspect that the Wind is a classic cuddly loudspeaker, you are wrong. The Canadian is clear, tidy, and precise in the mid-high range. The individual marimba attacks of the percussive trio SR9 had a wonderful drive and, above all, a very tangible physicality.
However, the plastic picture is one of the absolute chocolate sides of the wind. How physically present the Wind put Hannes Wader in front of the testers’ noses when telling the story of “Klaas the Stork,” for example, was worthy of all honor…
But the wind can also be punchy – as the new mastering for the birthday of “Thriller” emphatically showed. The youth will not know the vinyl LP of the recording. Maybe the new generation will jump at the remix in high definition. The wind is the perfect playing partner. There are roots to the blissful 1980s, the joy of pressure and partying. This is not elegant in the sense of being fat-free and narrow in the hips but rather in the direction of being full and somewhat present. A wall of instruments and voices stands in front of us. Everything was closed and overpowered.
A tip for classical music: Adam Fischer has conducted all the top orchestras in the world. Now he loves a small ensemble in Denmark. With which he recorded all of Brahms’ symphonies. Astonishing. Because Brahms was reserved for the fat big orchestras from Europe. Thick sheet metal even richer bass. But the Danes sound like marathon runners just before the finish line. Exactly this kind of music is good for Canadians. The old, thick Brahms recordings resemble construction foam on the Totem, which swells up and becomes hard. But with Adam Fischer, it shimmers; the high strings on the left bring the wind to our ears with wonderful presence. In addition, a rich bass, the cellos, and the basses merge into a precise depth.
How are the competitors positioned? For example, we have the Fyne Audio F703. It is in the immediate financial vicinity, at 12,800 euros for the couple. It was also created in a high-wage country, Scotland. The Fyne is a dynamic animal. Everything seems unchecked here. This is the speaker for the generation that likes to get their solar plexus hit. Conversely, the Wind sounds fuller in the lower registers, a bit finer at the top, and overall more elegant.
Conclusion Totem Acoustic Wind
Totem Acoustic from Montreal is the only loudspeaker manufacturer I know that offers the sports car and the luxury sedan in the same class. The wind is the sedan: a lot of horsepower and rich bass. This speaker loves heavy fare. It never gets hard, never over-bright like a box that we would connect to the electric guitar in the studio. The midrange and treble range can get rough if the recording dictates it. But that’s what makes it so charming. What you should do with this speaker, however, is that it has a lot of power. Amplifiers from 100 watts per channel are the right choice here.
|+||Rich, voluminous, yet open sound|
|–||Requires quite powerful amplifiers|