Recommend something between Focal Aria and Totem?

3demon

Novice Member
Hi all,

First post! Saying hello from up in Canada.
Hoping to get some advice on a speaker that might fit what I'm looking for.

Currently I have both the Focal Aria 906 and Totem Dreamcatchers. Will be adding a sub regardless, but as of yet I do not have one hooked up.

There are things about both speakers I like, but I'm not sure I'm sold on either one specifically. Still trying to decide but looking for a recommendation of something that combines their strengths!

Speakers are placed approx 2m apart on wooden stands, and are about 2m from the driver cone to my head. Amplification is Yamaha right now (looking to switch to Rega or Naim), DAC is Cambridge, source usually spotify hi-res, tidal, or CD.

Aria +: Absolutely smooth, real sounding treble. Silky, never peaky or fatiguing. Accurate and slightly warm tone. Realism that makes me literally straighten up and take notice; when Diana Krall sings, it's like she is standing in front of me. Amazing reproduction of live recorded music. Beautiful finishing on the speakers themselves, just gorgeous. I'm awestruck at times by how real voices and instruments are sounding.

Aria -: So much detail that I find myself analyzing the music more than really getting into it. Accurate but laid back presentation and soundstage – singers seem so real, but like I'm sitting a few rows away from them. Soundstage seems deep but not wide. Sensitive of placement, so the sweet spot on my couch is very defined and if you move around laterally the imaging changes dramatically. Almost seem too detailed for contemporary pop, rnb, or electronic. For example, I was listening to an rnb song that had a bongo sample panned to the left as part of the drums. The sample sounded like a real live bongo, so instead of filling in the overall percussion, I kept focusing over there everytime the bongo hit as if someone was playing it. But since it was the same sample everytime, it's like it was being played by a robot. Does that make any sense? :p

Dreamcatcher +: Tone! Tone is amazing, soundstage wide and immersive, voices seem real in a different way from the Aria, gobs of detail like the Arias. But, overall music seems more blended together and whole. The experience grabbed me and pulled me into the music. I feel less analytical listening to these even when I'm analyzing them. I can listen to an individual instrument but it doesn't fully engage my focus away from the rest of the song. They put a smile on my face and I feel engaged to the music. Sound is lush in the midrange. I'm amazed that this much sound comes out of this size of a speaker.

Dreamcatcher -: Not a lot of bass reach, but it is there. Sound is 'gritty' comparatively in texture to the Aria. Treble can start to get fatiguing after 30 minutes, and I find that I'm pretty sensitive to this. I hate sibilance, and although the recording can be to blame for this a lot of the time, when listening to a known sibilant track on both Aria and DC, the DC was edgier. But both were actually good performers here. This slightly highlighted treble is actually what is holding me back from these speakers. That being said the highs are still smooth - just nowhere near as smooth as the Arias.

In short the Dreamcatchers have my heart, but the Arias outperform them and really amaze me.
Is the Totem Rainmaker what I'm looking for?

All advice or recommendations appreciated! Thanks
 

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