Totem Sinew Interconnect

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Lee Distad, Jul 19, 2004.

  1. Lee Distad

    Lee Distad Stunt Coordinator

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    I was just given a 1-meter length of Totem Acoustic's Sinew Stereo RCA connection. They retail for CDN$300.

    http://www.totemacoustic.com/english/products/access_sinews.htm

    [​IMG]

    Visually, they are good looking units. If a homey, handmade esthetic appeals to you, you'll like the look of these. If you could buy Hi-End HiFi gear at craft shows, this is what you would expect to find there.

    Later, when I've had a chance to demo them on my system on my day off tommorow, I'll let you know what I think of their performance.
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Resonances...oh my.
     
  3. Lee Distad

    Lee Distad Stunt Coordinator

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    Lions and Tigers and Resonances, oh my!

    Indeed, if you think the Totem site is full of technogable, sit through one of their product training sessions. [​IMG] I love Totem's speakers, and I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Vince, but I get the feeling that in a crowded training session, there's maybe three of us in the city who have any clue what he's talking about.

    Anyways, on to the interconnects:

    [disclaimer]
    Regardless of what a cable manufacturer tells you, all cables affect the transmission of information. And unless you are measuring the frequencies being transmitted with an oscilloscope, your data is by it's very nature subjective. Ultimately, whatever you have to say about this cable or that is whether you like or don't like what the cable does to the transmission of information. I make no pretence of being a scientist or an engineer. To quote a great wag of the 20th century, "I don't know art, but I know what I like."
    [/disclaimer]

    Rather than dicking around behind my entertainment center all day, I ran one Totem Sinew into the Right connection between my Denon DVD2200 and my Sony STRDA30ES, and one of my 7 year-old Monster I400MKII into the Left channel. That way, I could flip the balance dial on the console of my DA30ES all the way left or right to play compare and contrast.

    Anyways, on to my demo material:

    Eden by Sarah Brightman: the two cables were pretty close, although the Sinew seemed to be providing better imaging of the background orchestral instruments that fade in about 20 seconds into the song. S.B.'s mid-range notes were a little more alive as well.

    Sipping at Bell's by The Stan Getz Quartet (on SACD): virtually indistinguishable, except that the trumpet was slightly more airy with the Sinew. Where the big difference came was the upright bass solo that begins 30 seconds in, as the bassist plucks his way down the register, the deeper notes registered with more conviction, and the second order harmonic of the belly of the bass responding to the string plucks felt more real.

    Let's Get Retarded by Black Eyed Peas:Interestingly, Fergi's high intro vocal "Let's get retarded, in heeeeeeerrrrre!" sounded more nasal and strained through the Sinew than the I400MKII which sounded better and more lifelike to me. On the other hand, the kick drums in the bass beat hit lower, and with way more percussive conviction through the Sinew. The BOMP of each drum beat was noticably snappier, deeper and louder.

    Anyways, was there a clear cut winner? No, of course not. Are the Sinew worth three times the price of the I400MKII? Damned if I know. They're both fine, and I didn't have to pay for either of them, so I don't feel the need to rationalize my decision one way or the other to justify my decision making. Just for variety's sake, I've retired the Monster pair to my bits bucket, and am going to use the Sinew for the stereo analog connection to my AVR for SACD/DVD-A playback. When I get around to assembing my dedicated 2-channel separates music-only system, then I'll spend a little more time again messing around with cables.

    Hopefully at least somebody here is entertained/informed/annoyed by this account of how I spent an hour or so today.
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    A fun read Lee and I was entertained. It's difficult, although impossible comes to mind, for most to do a valid comparison of something like interconnects when the source only has one output. Your approach suffers from several flaws in that basically you're taking the left then the right part of a stereo image and trying to compare them in a non time proximate fashion. Room effects, speaker/room interactions, level matching, differences in auditory sensitivities between the left and right ears, the way you sit and position your head, auditory focus, expectation, and other factors complicate matters enormously. Please don't take this as some sort of chastisement or whipping as its not my intent.
    I've never sat through a Totem training session and I'm saddened to hear that they apparently invoke pseudoscience and hokum during it. It can't be any worse than the bullsh*t that Linn does though...can it?
     
  5. Lee Distad

    Lee Distad Stunt Coordinator

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    That's okay Chu, I was clear from the outset that this was an ad-hoc comparison.



    I don't know if I'd go that far. Totem does delve into techie depths that, in my opinion, the average salesman (or customer, for that matter) doesn't need to know. Most of the crew at our stores are pretty well seasoned, and generally very good at their specializations. But during training from the various speaker vendors, I like to study the faces of the guys who mostly sell video and make book on when their eyes are going to roll back into their heads. [​IMG]

    One thing that I've learned is that every vendor has an "angle" and they tend to milk it for all that it is worth. After a while you learn to filter what you're told. If anything, I draw most of my conclusions from my own testing of various gear than just believing everything I hear from the reps. Ultimately, good products speak for themselves.
     
  6. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    Lee next time consider purchasing some quality RCA splitters like these from Radio Shack to allow you to connect both sets of IC's to the same source component...then just use two different input on the Sony and toggle between them (or better yet have someone else do the toggeling and see if you can ID them) I've done that in past on several occasions with other IC's and its interesting to see what differences there are in a blind test...for what its worth I was able to detect a difference with my SilverCats over the copper ones I was using previously often enough for me to feel they were worth it but not likely enough to pass a stat's test [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    So long as you take the steps to ensure that levels are matched in both scenarios, that's a great way to do it Andrew.
     

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