Totem Sttaf vs Rainmaker [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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06-09-2005, 04:25 PM
I'm putting together a HT/stereo system, and based on what my local dealer has available, I've narrowed my speakers down to the Totems. I'd like to know if anyone has had experience with or been able to compare the Sttaf's against the Rainmakers.

These speakers will most likely be paired with a NAD 763 receiver. I live in a small apartment, and so plan on not getting a sub right away, but will add it once I move into a house.

I listen to stuff like Jack Johnson, Paul Simon, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Radiohead...

06-09-2005, 07:43 PM
The Rainmaker should do the job fine. I think it's less coloured than the Staff or Arro. I believe though that Rainmaker is a 4 ohm speaker while the Staff is 8 -- so the Rainmaker will like beefier amplifier -- plus you have to buy a stand and no you can't skimp --- I recommend Skylan stands as they're very good for relatively cheap -- price in Canadian the Rainmaker is a very nice looking speaker with reasonably good sound reproduction IMO. good luck.

06-09-2005, 11:20 PM
I've listened to both of those speakers quite extensively and personally slightly prefer the Sttaf over the Rainmaker, but for the $$, I think the rainmaker is the ticket, even with a good pair of stands. The sttaf sounds slightly more sterile to me... with the Rainmaker more involving but less dynamic.. and very nice bass from such a small speaker. Do you have the opportunity to listen to them to compare yourself?

06-10-2005, 03:25 AM
If a sub is remotely a possibility down the road, get the Rainmakers, a dynamite speaker for the money.
The Sttaf is an okay speaker, but I think the Rainmaker offers a better value overall. You'll be surprised at the imaging and soundstage these things have.

06-10-2005, 02:01 PM
Yes, i will be able to audition them. Funny enough, the guy at the audio shop I'm dealing with recommended the Skylan stands. I guess he knows what he's talking about.

It seems to be the consensus that the Rainmakers are the better value. And yes, a sub is a possibility down the road. I'm trying to get a feel for the difference in the speakers, regardless of price/value, so if anyone can elaborate on that, that'd be great.

I don't understand some of the lingo. Sterile? Does that mean more revealing or 'honest'? Colored?


06-10-2005, 08:52 PM
You're a lot better off ignoring the lingo since most of it is meaningless and unless everyone agrees then it's no good as a sub language.

Basically if you've done some live listening to unamplified music and you can listen to several different speaker designs in the same room with either the same amplifier cd player or what is considered a good match then you're doing all you can realisticially do to assess loudspeakers. You don't need fancy lingo, you don;t need an electronics degree and you don't need the most music listening experience. In my sig line there is a link copy and paste it and try it out for yourself when it comes time to do auditions.

Granted that takes time a fair amount of it over several sessions over several days and not all dealers are interested in having you get a speaker you like. it is also a sad fact that most dealers don't carry very much variety in the way of speakers. I have seen many dealers that carry one pricey line and sure it beats the lower dreg line they carry but that's not saying much. I go to a place called Soundhounds here in Victoria BC and as much as they carry which is mroe than any other dealer here it is still a tiny fraction of what is available

At the end of the day the most important thing is to simply find a speaker that you will enjoy listening to all day and something that you won't get bored by...It also depends how picky you are -- I have a friend who has listened to his boombox now for about 16 years and he came around with me to the high end stores and never got interested in it.

My feeling though in retrospect is do not settle with second best or something that has something noticably lacking or somehting that calls attention to itself. Indeed, if you can afford to pay for the Staff then that is the price range you're in and perhaps you should be listening to speakers around that price range.

What I would do is listen to the two Totems and pick the best one -- then before you do anything see what other companies are offerring up as competition to that Totem. The Rainmaker is not my first choice for sound at this price point against competition - Indeed, the Gershman Acoustics X-1 is about $1500.00Cdn also has great looks and finish and you might like it more - my dealer apparently has some Audio Note K/Spe speakers going for $1500.00Cdn (half off)(I had these and I'd run them up against the mani-2 anyday) also nicely finished(also allows you to one day buy a low powered tube amp or SET which the Totems won't really allow for). There is Dynaudio's Audience 52SE or Audience 42 -- two stonkingly good speakers which needs a fair bit of power (Totem used to use Dynaudio drivers). There is also the Magnepan 1.6 which needs space but at $2kCad could be dynamite for you. Now some of these are not as H/T friendly because they don;t make center channels but if you look around and are patient and expand that budget slightly IMO you can be exposed to so much wonderful stuff that may leave you wondering why you liked Totem in the first place -- OR it may have you liking the Totems even more after hearing a number of stiff competitors. Here in Canada Totem is sold at places where the only stiff competitor is another totem or an Energy in badly set-up listening rooms where every speaker sounds bad and you're selecting between the ones that sound least bad.

Also whatever you do go with make sure you are allowed to return them -- OR are allowed to take them home for a weekend. What I find troubling about the Totems and it's not a knock really is that while they have a sound that isn't annoying they also have the kind of sound that has me reaching for the volume knob to turn it up to hear more but by that point it compresses. I'm not a volume freak but if you play some AC/DC or Aerosmith or Motley Crue on the Rainmaker and you play the same thing on the Athena Technologies B1 or B2 at half the price you may get an inkling as to my complaints.

My complaints don't matter of course -- it's just that I want to give you my impressions which is why you posted on a forum -- I don't think people are being helpful when they say everything is great (like the magazines) but if we don't then everyone blasts us for not walking on egg shells. For instance I think the Dane 42 and 53, B&W CDM 2SE(no longer made), Audio note AX Two ($700Cdn) are all better sounding speakers across wide ranges of music than the Model One, Rainmaker, Arro, or Staff. And when you consider there are a great deal of speakers I have yet to hear that people with my tastes love then there could be many more added to the list --- the point is not the models I'm listing but the approach of not being seduced by looks or mere availability. And again after hearing the models I listed in the same room or other notables -- you may like the Rainmaker or Staff more -- it's a no lose situation -- if yuo hear a LOT of speakers then you are less likely to wonder if the grass was greener with the other speaker or you may find something you like a helluva lot better and were thankful to get some other options.

Good luck in whatever speaker you choose.

06-13-2005, 10:49 AM
Thanks RGA. A lot of useful info in your post. Ultimately, I can research all I want, but the listening test will be the deciding factor, as it should be. i skimmed over the article in your sig line, and it looks great. I will definitely chekc it out in full before going for my listening test.

Thanks again.

Shiden Kai
06-17-2005, 11:04 PM
The Totem Sttaf is one of the most over-looked speakers in the Totem line-up. It is very unfortunate, for when given the proper treatment, they are capable of remarkable performance of all genres.

Choosing between the compact Rainmaker and the skinny Sttaf is like choosing between which flavor of wine you prefer. Each have their own unique flavor. That’s what I appreciate with Vince’s company, virtually none of their products sound the same. You may very well prefer the mid-line speaker to the top offering. It is a pleasant departure from the dull product series line-up’s.

The Rainmaker was originally developed to act like a stand-mount “Hawk” style speaker. While I feel that attempt resulted in performance far short from the intended goal, the end product is still very attractive. The Rainmaker is quite easy on the top end, unlike many other Totem products which are known to have a ‘bite’ in the upper registers. The mid-range is inviting and the bass is surprisingly strong and controlled.

The Rainmaker was created to enjoy being accompanied by products like your NAD receiver. While the speaker works well with this match, it will take the next level of electronics to achieve the ideal performance from these pair of bookshelves.

The Rainmaker is a wonderful choice for someone looking for a speaker that can deliver the goods with any genre for extended listening sessions and is at home in a small to moderate sized room. Once you factor in healthy stand’s, the price begins to climb right on up there with the Sttaf. Keep in mind pets, small children, and extra costs for speaker wire.

The Sttaf’s largest strength is its ability to sound great on a variety of electronics. Unlike the Rainmaker, the Sttaf has a bite to its upper registers that is quite difficult to tame. The mid-range has more ‘bloom’, although a good portion of that bloom is actually distortion from the woofer. The bass on the Sttaf is much more prominent and pronounced than the Rainmaker, although placement from the wall is more critical to achieve incredibly tight and tuneful bass.

The Sttaf offers slightly higher resolution and to these humble ears, offer much greater insight into the music. In fact, no other speaker I have heard can convey the amount of layers this speaker is capable of presenting.

If you would like a bigger sound that has more authority and energy than the Rainmaker, the Sttaf would certainly be a very secure choice. Like the Rainmaker, it is best at home in a small to moderate sized room. Both speakers enjoy some toe-in and a few feet from the walls.

The wonderful thing about the entry level Totem products is that it is not very difficult in choosing gear for them. Unlocking their ‘great’ potential however, is quite the challenge but for those lucky few who know how – is quite rewarding! Congrats on narrowing down your choices, either speaker you end up with is a winner.

06-18-2005, 12:08 AM
You know RGA i wanna agree with you on some things but every time im about to you say something that just does sit well with me and as far as you being the only one on here that so called a audiophile along with Florian is a bunch a horses crap and downing Totem already said he liked both hell the whole damn thread is about the totems if you dont like that thread then make a Audio Note thread.Not any of those speakers except for the 1.6 are better and especially the Arrows they have astonishing resolusion and detail for their price and the soundstaging will rival any speaker up to about $5000us amazing speaker for the money only one drawback they dont play extremely loud but they play louder with good equipment and better the Rainmaker a very good value deep bass for abookshelf.I havent heard the Staff its only Totem i havent heard and not talking about in uhe store im talking about at home where it counts.So dont even listen to RGA I own the Arrows and the whole dreamcatcher setup they one of the best companies in audio you can call and talk to Vince Bruzze yourself the man that owns the company what better service is it than that.