Totem Acoustic KinPplay Tower speakers

3 months ago 66

Totem Acoustic’s Ready-to-Listen Speakers

The Totem KIN series from Totem Acoustics is the entry-level product from the popular Montreal-based manufacturer. Launched with great success a few years ago, this series is affordable, easy to use and focused on wireless connectivity. The advantage of this speaker is that it can be connected wirelessly to the KIN SUB 10. It also allows a party mode (the 5.0 chip). This means that a source, for example TIDAL, can play on a pair of KIN Play Tower speakers or on a KIN Play Soundbar. The KIN Play bookshelf speaker is already a hit with users around the world. Totem is now introducing a more powerful and efficient self-supporting version. Named KIN Play Tower, this new speaker is more ambitious. It should be of interest to customers who have a large space to sound and who want a quality sound and a speaker that has more impact. The KIN Play Towers were a hit at the Montreal Audio Show. So I requisitioned a pair for a test bench. Let’s see how they will perform in my home environment.

Who hasn’t heard of Totem? The Quebec manufacturer is a true success story and is certainly a pride for all audiophiles here. Totem, despite its enviable reputation in the high-end market, has always been concerned with offering products at reasonable prices. Totem speakers have always had their own signature sound. They are the result of a long tradition of design masterfully implemented by Totem’s founder, Vince Bruzzeze. The main principles that have always guided the design of Totem speakers have remained the same since the beginning: the use of small, low-vibration cabinets, simple phase-matched crossovers, flawless harmonic reproduction and a wide frequency response. Vince Bruzzeze, over the years, has maintained consistent audio quality for Totem’s traditional speakers. However, designing an affordable, standalone, connected speaker was quite a challenge. And yet, anyone who has used the first KIN Play speaker has seen how much it has inherited from its big sisters. And this is where the KIN series comes into its own. As you surely know, connected speakers and Bluetooth sound bars are not lacking on the market. When a high-end manufacturer like Totem applies all its know-how in the elaboration of a series of products like the KIN speakers, it becomes really interesting. Especially if, for a reasonable price, this product offers you a good part of the impact, the finesse and the coherence of a Totem speaker, it is even better. Let’s see what magic trick the wizard used to make these KIN Play Towers.

Technical Description
Totem’s KIN Play Tower speakers are what I would call powered and self-contained. By this I mean that you will only have to add a music source such as your smart TV, a computer, a CD player or even a vinyl turntable. In fact, you could call them active speakers, but that wouldn’t be quite right. Active speakers are usually equipped with custom-made amplifiers to power each speaker.

In the case of the KIN Play Towers that we are interested in, the configuration is a little different. They are in fact two conventional two-way speakers with a conventional passive crossover in each. The trick is that one of the two speakers contains an electronic module. It provides 200W stereo amplification for both speakers. The module contains a preamplifier to manage the volume and inputs, as well as a digital to analog converter, equipped with a Bluetooth transmitter. Phew! All hidden behind one of the two speakers. This concept has the advantage of completely eliminating the need for a variety of devices to perform all these tasks.

If the wires are carefully arranged, these speakers make for a super clean and minimalist setup. An advantage that the decorator in you will surely appreciate. Okay, you’ll tell me that this is all very nice, but what can you plug into a pair of KIN Play Tower? These speakers have a single pair of RCA-format terminals that allow you to connect any conventional analog source. This can be a preamplifier, an FM tuner, a CD player or a digital to analog converter. You can even connect a turntable to it, since a small switch allows you to transform the line input into an MM phono input. A grounding plug for the turntable is also provided. A second analog input, in 3.5 mm minijack format, will allow you to connect a portable device such as an Android phone or an MP3 player.

Totem’s KIN Play Towers have two optical format digital inputs that support a digital signal up to 192 kHz sampling, which will allow you to connect a TV or a game console.

But the connection that is likely to be the most popular among users is, without a doubt, the Bluetooth APTX HD format. It accepts Bluetooth transmissions up to 48 kHz and will allow to enjoy a very respectable audio quality for this format.

The KIN Play Tower speakers also have an output for a separate subwoofer.

Since all the connections and electronics are located in one cabinet, it has a speaker output to power the second cabinet. As for the speakers, the KIN Play Tower is equipped with two five-inch woofers and a textile dome tweeter. These components are of very high quality and have been developed with great care.

Unpacking and Installation
When unpacking and installing, you must take into account that the enclosure containing the electronics must be placed to your left as well as when planning the path of the wires and especially the electricity.

The KIN Play Tower speakers come with a nice remote control. It is all metal and beautifully made. Do not misplace it, as it is the only way to access the tone control functions.

A multi-function button on the front of the left speaker controls volume, selects inputs and pairs Bluetooth. A color-changing and status indicator light shows which input is selected. When it flashes blue, it indicates the connection status, which is essential for Bluetooth. In order to indicate at what level the speakers are at, it would have been really nice if there was a second indicator. In the current configuration, it will be recommended to lower the volume a little before turning off the speakers, in order to prevent bad surprises.

It’s a breeze to place the KIN Play Tower speakers in your environment. Plus, it’s really easy to get a nice tone, since adjustments for bass and treble are available from the remote. All necessary cables and accessories are included. These speakers are really plug and play. You should be able to take advantage of it quickly, without breaking your head.

Cinema sound in widescreen format
My first tests were made while watching No Time To Die starring the famous agent 007, James Bond. Initially, I put this movie on just to see if the speakers worked well with the optical input. Finally, I rewatched the whole movie! What a great pair of home theater speakers. First of all, these speakers have an unrivalled bass response in this price category. The bass is solid, goes down deep with a power that surprises. Frankly, I even wonder what the output for a subwoofer is for, since these speakers are really good in this area. By the way, I had the opportunity to jump out of my skin many times with this latest edition of James Bond.

Since the sound image is large and superbly detailed, it becomes easy to catch small details of diction during the movie. No need for a center channel or rear channels. These speakers project the sound image forward and to the sides with amazing depth. Want some good advice? Before you invest in any sound bar, or a rather average home theater set, go listen to a good movie using these KIN Play Towers from Totem. You’ll find that for a reasonable price, it’s much more enjoyable to listen to your movies with a pair of quality speakers.

Tailored for music in all formats
Of course, I had fun playing music on the KIN Play Tower. The tone of these speakers is very accurate, the tuning breathes Totem’s know-how, and it is audible. I ventured into many different repertoires, including old progressive rock, not always well recorded. Each time, the KIN Play Towers have been able to pull off the trick, focusing on the essence of the musical message. All music plays with ease through these speakers, whether it comes from Bluetooth or a high-resolution file. The result is always musical and not at all analytical.

I actually treated myself to a whole listening session, with Genesis and their live album When in Rome. These speakers have excellent rhythmic tracking. They brilliantly rendered the drumming duo, composed of Phil Collins and Chester Thomson, with the most convincing veracity. One can easily hear the distinct playing of the two drummers and appreciate the synergy between these two great musicians. It sounds live, lively, dynamic and not at all sanitized. What a pleasure! The KIN Towers have a quality that I really appreciate. They are able to reproduce the sound well and keep a rich tone, even at low volume. From my point of view, this is a fundamental quality, since the vast majority of our daily listening is done at low volume. Moreover, the tone controls, which are very well staggered, make it possible to make fine adjustments to compensate for a lower volume.

At the end of the evening, with a jazz band like the Bill Charlap Trio and the album Note from New-York, the Totem KIN Play Tower plays a soft music that fills the room with warmth and relaxing presence. The piano is right, the double bass has body and the fine play of the drums floats behind the speakers. Very musical! Even if it is an entry-level series for Totem, the manufacturer has still managed to protect its sound signature. Of course, the more sophisticated Totem models perform better, especially when installed within an equivalent high-end chain. As such, a pair of KIN Play Towers will give you much of the pleasure of owning a pair of Totem speakers.

How about a little vinyl or two?
Since the KIN Play Towers are equipped with a phono input for turntables, I would have been remiss if I hadn’t tried it. Well, you know what? It’s not so bad, not bad at all. The entrance is completely silent, no bzz, no buzz, no residual breath, only silence. The listening is very soft and allows to enjoy the records while keeping a fleshy and musical tone. This entry is a nice bonus that should be seen as the icing on the cake. It will fit perfectly with an entry-level turntable such as a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO or a Rega P2.

Totem should be a great success with its new KIN Play Tower. The configuration of these speakers is quite unique. They are perfect for customers looking for quality sound with the most simplified equipment. Champion of home theater, they are also very musical and especially connected to today’s needs. Here are ready-to-listen speakers that bear the Totem label. Take the time to go and listen to them using your dealer. They may surprise you pleasantly.

Price: $2250 per pair

Manufacturer/Distributor: Totem Acoustic,
T.: 514.259.1062,;

• No Time To Die, Blue-Ray MGM, 1931213789
• Genesis, When in Rome, Atlantic DVD, R2 511400

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