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Totem calls their proprietary mid/woofer construction Torrent Technology. In the interest of full disclosure I should add that the Ember model employs a somewhat simplified 15cm version with a less costly magnet system. The larger models with 18cm drivers get the full Torrent treatment. The company's Tribe Series wall-mount speakers are said to combine well with the Element models for surround-sound setups and thus consequently feature an even more compact 10cm Torrent driver.

To get back to the review subject, the Ember features go beyond Torrent Tech. I've already covered the non-parallel enclosure geometry. The walls are crafted from comparatively lightweight materials of diverse density to undercut strong mechanical resonance which in turn allowed the designers to avoid common internal damping applications and fiber fill. Instead the inside surfaces are painted with an 80% Titanium borosilicate compound developed by NASA for the Space Shuttle's heat shield to sport unbeatable efficiency at dispersing micro energies. In short, Totem seems quite impressed with its own Torrent driver to invest this much effort to have it sing with their foot entirely off the brake as it were.

The remainder of the Element Ember gets nearly conventional. The 19mm soft-dome tweeter is preceded by a common high-pass since its fragile voice coil wouldn't survive LF currents, never mind get mechanically overtaxed. The handover frequency becomes a high 4.250Hz. The box's back side sports the vent and connection terminals. A quality detail is the aluminium port tube which tends to be plastic whilst otherwise fulfilling the very same function. The biwire/biamp posts mount to a quite generous aluminium plate and are sourced from WBT's Platinum Series to practice more luxury.

Inexplicable at least to me was why the +/- terminals had been placed this closely with so much real estate available. I had equal scorn for the included wire jumpers which my loaners sported between their posts. Those looked like repurposed paper clips to demand immediate replacement with proper cable links should one want to drive these boxes in single-wire mode. The classy enclosures come in high-gloss black or white polyester lacquer and magnetic grills are part of the package. Those I only tried briefly since I much preferred going without. The massive nicely polished mid/woofer basket with machined Totem logo simply looks trick without going bling.

I really liked the overall cosmetics which are admittedly sparse, even sober. Those into Bauhaus, strict lines and shiny surfaces will love the Ember. Those into Biedermeier will miss luxurious wood veneers, swooping lines and inlays. Whilst on appearance I must confess that for purely visual reason I'd ideally use different stands than my stiletto Lovans which had the speaker look somewhat amputated. As standard MO I graced the Element Ember with plenty of break-in patience. As it turned out, here that's most rigorously de rigueur. Rarely have a watched a speaker morph so dramatically over the first few hours. What starts flat and recessed cold out of the cartons first develops bass to sound imbalanced, bass-heavy and murky. Next the highs kick in to transform into a powerfully effervescent if also very forward sound. The mids arrive last to finally suggest a halfway complete picture. It took considerably longer however before everything fell into place for a coherent result. Once it did, watch out though...

At this juncture the time had come to formally move into my listening room and determine ideal positioning. I ended up with narrower width for increased boundary freedom and no toe-in – which incidentally approximates what the owner's manual recommends. What I noticed first was how well the music disconnected from the boxes to simply arise in space as though independent from any apparent sources. In my experience compact monitors usually do this better than big floorstanders, probably because the latter always suffer some form of box talk or because sound bends differently around their bigger boxes. That said it still was impressive just how much the Ember vanished behind the music, particularly because the virtual stage was generously expansive with matching depth. Good image focus avoided any suspicion of artificial ballooning. Performers had realistic size and clearly defined positions as long as the recording contained such specificity.