I’m told that The Absolute’s Sound’s Neil Gader has a pair of E1’s on hand for an upcoming review, which simply leads me to observe, “It’s good to be Neil…”
In recent years Totem has concentrated development efforts on its Tribe-series on-wall speakers and Element-series in-room speakers, both of which leverage Totem’s ultra wide-bandwidth “Torrent”-type drivers—drivers that lend them selves to quasi-crossover-less speaker designs. For CEDIA, though, Totem chose to develop a range of affordable in-wall speakers intended to sound similar to Tribe or Element models, yet that could not—owing to cost and space constraints—use Torrent-type drivers. The result is the Tribe Kin range, comprising three models: the Tribe Kin LR ($750/each), the Tribe Kin Center ($600/each), and the Tribe Kin In-Ceiling ($750). For bass reinforcement, Tribe Kin systems are designed to use the existing Totem Tribe subwoofer.
For audiophiles, the significance of the Tribe Kin models is that they are among those rare in-wall speakers that can compete on a more or less even footing with good, like-priced, high-performance in-room speakers, which is saying a mouthful. To pull this feat off, Totem gave the Tribe Kin models rigid enclosures plus their own distinctive drivers, including a wide bandwidth ¾-inch high-excursion soft dome tweeter, a very wide bandwidth 4-inch mid/bass driver featuring ultra-light/ultra-strong MHEX cones, and a matching set of high-compliance, Mica-loaded polypropylene passive radiators. Those MHEX mid/bass driver diaphragms are pretty special and are said to be capable of supporting loads of greater than 50kg each—that is, an amazing 110 pounds+ per 4-inch cone!
How is the sound? After a brief demo, I came away thinking the Tribe Kins sounded a lot like the more expensive Tribe on-wall models, and also reminiscent (to a degree) of the new Element models. True, the Elements are better in an absolute sense, but they cost quite a bit more and also take up considerable space in the room. For audiophiles pressed for space or seeking a solution that will keep interior designers happy, the Tribe Kins could, I think, be just what the doctor ordered.
2012 marks the 80th anniversary for the British loudspeaker manufacturer Wharfedale and to celebrate this landmark the firm has announced—what else? —a classic 2-way stand-mount monitor with quasi-retro styling on the outside and up-to-the-minute technology on the inside. The result is the lovely 80th Anniversary Denton monitor ($1000/pair), which come finished only in vintage mahogany and sports old-school “W”-type Wharfedale logos on its ID badges. On the inside, the Denton features a textile dome tweeter and a Kevlar-coned woofer with a die cast frame. Wharfedale says “the Denton conveys music with a rich, natural quality; exceptional detail, clarity, and imaging; and an open, inviting sound.”
For some time now, Wisdom has been acknowledged as one of the world’s premier developers of ultra-high performance in-wall speaker system—and quite possibly as the best of them all. The only catch, really, is that Wisdom speaker systems have been very expensive and typically have required use of purpose-built Wisdom electronic crossovers, room EQ, and DSP systems, etc. But at CEDIA, Wisdom launched an all-new family of Insight in-wall speakers that could dramatically change the game, making it possible to configure very accomplished Wisdom in-wall systems at much lower prices than before.