Review Home Theater

Dolby Home Theater

Home Theater Design 3

Arcam AVR 280

Home Theater

Dolby home theater comes into play in my set-up via the Arcam receiver. Arcam is no slouch when it comes to Dolby processing and I am very fond of the Arcam “sound“.

Arcam AVR 280

The Arcam AVR 280 provides the power, up to 7 channels @ 80 watts per channel all channels driven.

Arcam Avr280

Arcam Avr280

The Arcam AVR 280 is a very minimalist design which lends it a look of elegance. The newer models even more so in the evolution of Arcam’s design goals.

We remove the top cover and it’s apparent this is a well designed unit with all the internal parts neatly arranged.

Arcam Avr280 Top Off

Arcam Avr280 Top Off

Top off and beneath the hood the layout is remarkably subtle in nature. Crystal Semiconductors DSPs, Wolfson DACs and Burr Brown op amps are accounted for as present and correct, as well, the circuit design and chassis-mounted cooling system is equally well thought out.

The AVR 280 delivers in spades and Arcam’s Mask of Silence is included with the layout of the Stealth Mat material. Power is conservatively rated at 80-watts to seven channels.

Arcam FMJ AVR 400 

Arcam FMJ AVR400 | 7 channels 90 watts per channel

Arcam FMJ AVR400 | 7 channels 90 watts per channel

The Arcam Diva AVR 280 is my daily source for what entertains me. I use the two rear-back channels to bi-amp the front main pair of speakers – Totem Model 1 Signatures.

Totem Model 1 Signatures

Model1 Signature – Blue dot above tweeter ring denotes Signature Series

Ahhh,  Totem Model 1 Signatures are used each and every day and I gotta say “I love em”!

The Totem Model 1’s give inspiration to me, they evoke or rather stir the passions within.

Vince Bruzzese founded Totem in 1987

Vince Bruzzese founded Totem in 1987

Holding the Model 1 Signature above is Vince Bruzzese.

Stereophile review of 1993, 2003 and October 2008

Rear view - WBT terminals

Rear view – WBT terminals

The Model 1 Signature presents itself with a hugely expansive sound-stage. So much so, that its been my main fronts for 10 years.

Yes, they are that good. The mid-range is where they really shine and rendering vocals in an emotive manner that merges nuances of sensuality.

The Model 1 Signature lower bass falls rapidly below 53 hertz.

Totem Mite-T Centre
Mite-T centre channel

Mite-T centre channel

Centre channel duty is capably handled by the Totem Mite-T.

Excerpt from Totem’s site:

Spatial performance

The Totem Mite-T Center is a unique center channel that offers great overall balance. With its quality construction, spatial performance and affordability, the Mite-T Center is accurately able to restore the slightest musical nuance and information with ease.

The Mite-T Center offers delineation, subtleties, speed and a deluge of information with confidence, linearity and auditory comfort. Even if the Mite-T Center is designed to excel in cinema and surround applications, it performs admirably well for stereo or multi-channel audio usage.

Design features
  • Compact design and aesthetic
  • Internal and external wood veneer
  • Full shielded for A/V applications
  • High-level point source imaging
Technical features
  • Lock mitered cabinet joints
  • Compact dual-woofer
  • Solid twin-pair, gold-plated terminals
  • Quality drivers, wiring and crossover parts

The Totem Mite-T centre is a very capable performer, but, yes I know, the rebuttal is forthcoming.

Upgrade Warning ! :

This is targeted as my priority upgrade, centre-channel replacement.

What to upgrade to? Hmmmm, Totem? Something else?

The “Something Else Bug” has strong urges………….

Totem Rainmaker – (Surrounds)
Totem Rainmaker mahogany

Totem Rainmaker mahogany

A Stereophile review of 2004;


In my system the Totem Rainmakers function as surrounds. The Rainmakers are very capable performers.

I picked the Rainmakers because of their quality of sound which is further reinforced by their value factor.

Excellent all around performer that is very adept at resolving notes in the midrange and mid-bass. Thus, allowing for a melodic and musical presentation with a kick factor when present in the source material.

SVS Subwoofer

SVS SB-12 | 12″ acoustically sealed enclosure

SVS SB-12 piano black

The SVS SB-12 is not lacking in low bass with a respectable 23Hz lower limit. A smooth frequency response of 23 Hz – 270 Hz +/- 3 db.

Audioholics review 2012Click Here!

Connected to the Arcam AVR 280 via 1 subwoofer interconnect from the subwoofer out on the Arcam to the subwoofer in on the SB-12.

Woofer 2" inch voice coil

Woofer 2″ inch voice coil

All crossover duties for the low end are handled by the Arcam AVR 280 and set at 80 Hz.

SB-12 back-plate view

SB-12 back-plate view

SB-12 inside view

SB-12 inside view