Totem Sky Tower floorstanding loudspeaker

Totem Acoustic Sky Tower

The Sky Towers are noticeably light weight for a floorstanding speaker. While most manufactures feel the safe bet is to go heavy to fight cabinet resonance, the Sky Towers are not ready to be written off because they haven’t packed on the pounds. A few subtle but important intricacies are worth mentioning. The first of these intricacies not readily visible to the naked eye is the MDF cabinet pieces of the Sky Tower are fit together using interlocking-mitered construction. A sophisticated woodworking method associated with high end furniture in which a zigzag pattern is cut into the ends of panels so they provide substantially more surface area on each joining piece and in turn have more area to grip and physically lock together in a fashion up to five times stiffer than conventional cabinet assembly. Second, the interior of the sturdy lock-mitered construction is dampened with borosilicate, a process that usually will only show up in much more expensive speakers. This dampening technique is accomplished by taking a glass based paste that is by nature extremely slow and difficult to degrade and ‘painting’ it on to the interior of the cabinet. Any stray vibrations found in the cabinet simply do not have the energy needed to degrade the borosilicate armor and are immediately deadened. Third, real wood veneer is applied to the inside of the cabinet to increase overall cabinet strength, comparable to that of hardwood, making the cabinet invulnerable to warping, while maintaining its acoustic and cosmetic integrity for decades. Please note that even though these first three methods of vibration killing are brutally effective the user manual encourages owners to take no chances and mass load their Sky Tower speaker bases with sand or lead shot. The final vibration battling measure incorporated is a new customized version of Totem’s Claw decoupling feet. The unique shape of the Claw feet will be familiar to many previous Totem patrons but here have been newly refashioned for the Sky Tower from an inert sound-isolating composite material.

For such a slim-bodied speaker the measured frequency response from 36Hz on the low end and 30kHz on the high end is quite a commendable range. This broad dynamic range is generated on the low end from a custom designed, underhung long throw 146mm woofer which has a built in copper capped voice coil. The woofer is expected to take the lion’s share of the low mids and bottom thumping frequencies but does get help in the upper mids from the tower’s 3.3cm tweeter which utilises a neodymium magnet assembly. The laser etched textile soft dome is durable enough to carry a portion of the midrange load but still agile enough to soar high without any metallic and tunnel like sound colorations. A first order hand-wired crossover exclusive to the Sky Tower regulates the critical interplay between the woofer and tweeter with large gauge air core coils. Totem asserts that the unified Sky package is phase coherent but is unfortunately short on details as to exactly how that is accomplished.

The Sky Towers effortlessly weaved a truly enormous soundstage that seemed to be unfairly contained only by the walls of the room. The rippling soundstage was delightfully untethered to the physical location of the floorstanding towers and was anything but diluted or mushy around the edges. Continually being surprised by the level of minute details being picked up recording after recording I found myself more often than not fully being able to concentrate on the depth of recording spaces and incredible illusion of proportion between players in the studio. Background banter and cues being passed between band mates or the previously unheard scraping of a chair on a floor quickly became common place with the Sky Towers and allowed a new level of immersion in the music. 

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