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This compound drive-unit is loaded with a port on the rear panel 1. A full description can be found in the Web reprint of my earlier reviews. As with all Totem speakers, the Mani-2's fit'n'finish were superb.
The review samples were finished in maple veneer. Although Totem supplied their own stands for the Mani-2, I used my 24" Celestion SL stands, which place my ears on the tweeter axes. Each of these stands has a single pillar that I've filled with a mixture of dry sand and bird shot; they are acoustically inert, and I place small pads of Blu-tack between each stand's top plate and the base of the speaker.
This reduces the amplitude of cabinet resonances see www. Both speakers were toed-in to the listening seat. With the Totem Mani-2s placed where the Spendor SA1s had worked so well see my review in the August Album)the sound was much as I remember Piste B1 - Mani Deïz - Too Much Memory II (Cassette an enormous but still well-defined soundstage, clarity and a lack of coloration in the midrange, and a slightly forward treble coupled with surprisingly powerful, clean, and extended low frequencies from a relatively small enclosure.
There was actually too much midbass, so I moved the speakers about 9" farther away from the sidewalls, which brought the low frequencies into better balance with the midrange. The Mani-2 really did excel at reproducing bass instruments.
During the review period I was archiving to DVD-R the various live recordings I've made over the past decade of my jazz trio with pianist Bob Reina, all sampled at And even if I was aware of the port's resonance problems in the midrange, I couldn't ascribe any consistent coloration to that measured behavior.
However, I had noted a very slight "whispiness" inwhich I then conjectured might have been associated with the Mani-2 tweeter's dome resonance, which has very high Q and a very high amplitude. A problem developed toward the end of the review period: I was hitting the speakers hard with solo bass guitar, to try to unmask midrange colorations, when one of the pair, serial no. M2MA, developed a crackle on sustained bass notes between 60 and Hz, and started to sound boomier than it had before.
As the other speaker, serial no. M2MA, continued to behave correctly, I assume this was a one-off problem rather than an indication of limited LF power handling. Summing up: It was 30 years ago that I heard Laurie Fincham, then with KEF, say that "anyone can design and make one good speaker; the hard thing is to make thousands of duplicates of that speaker that perform identically.
Totem's Mani-2 remains one of my favorite stand-mounted speakers, and its Signature edition well deserves its Class B rating in "Recommended Components.
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