Totem Sttaf

I'm currently auditioning a pair of Totem Sttaf speakers. I've read so many good things about them, but I'm not particularly impressed. Their voicing, to my ears, seems to employ certain tricks to enhance the sense of imaging. The bass, while many say is strong for the speaker's size, sounds loose and undefined. The soundstage stays strictly between the speakers; I hardly ever hear it extend beyond. Depth is also not that great. Overall, they seem to lack the same natural sound that my LSA1 monitors put forth. It might be a bit unfair to compare imaging of a floor stander versus a monitor, but even for a floor stander, I'm not that impressed with the Sttaf's imaging. The sense of imaging all seems to come from a slightly enhanced treble; imaging in the midrange seems not quite as clear.

Maybe my ears are pushing my tastes beyond my wallet. But I think I can do better for the money, considering the Sttaf's $1800 retail price. I should also note that I have a small 11x11 listening room, so finding speakers that work is a challenge too. That's why I considered the Totems.
What are you using for amplification? Have you considered the Harbeth P3esr? It's more expensive but it might suit your needs.
Your exactly square room might pose a significant challenge for you, and perhaps room treatments would be your best use of funds to improve things.

That said, the Staafs can image very well (although the Arro's really are the imaging champs in Totem's lineup). They key in my experience, though, like the Arro's they really need tubes to sound their best. (Fortunately, it doesn't have to be expensive; the best mating I've heard with the Arro's, for instance, is the Jolida 302b.) And spend some time fine-tuning the placement of the speakers relative to the listening position.

They aren't the last word in bass extension, as you mention. A sub really is needed here, but that could also be said for the majority of monitors that you are comparing to the Staafs.

It's been a while since I've heard the Staaf's, but I don't recall their midrange being a problem. That said, if you like the sound of your LSA1 monitors better, then you've answered your own question as to which you should keep.

I think I forgot to click "submit" on my previous post, so apologies if this is a duplicate.

Donjr: My amplification is a Yamaha A-S2000 solid state, but I also have a PrimaLuna Prologue Two integrated that I haven't tried yet. My room is small and gets very hot in the summer with tubes. I'm actually probably going to sell the tube amp. The Yamaha has a very natural, smooth sound with great soundstage depth and width. I could hear this very clearly with the LSA1's. As for Harbeth, my dealer does carry these, but the model you mentioned only goes down to 75 Hz, so they would need a sub without a doubt. I managed to get by on the LSA1's without a sub, but the bass was definitely still lacking. Those go down to 42 Hz.

Sufentanil: I do have sound panels that I purchased several years back. They have made a huge difference in the room. As for the tube amp, I am yet to try my PrimaLuna, but that is not an option for me in the summer, since it heats up the room very quickly. The bass on the Sttafs isn't completely lacking to my ears, it's just not clean bass. There also seems to be a suckout somewhere in the lower mids/upper bass that makes things like piano sound like they have no foundation.

I'm trying to get my dealer to let me audition some Golden Ear Triton 3's in my room. The fact that they have an adjustable built in powered sub makes them possibly small room friendly, but I won't know for sure until I hear them in my room.
the key to Sttafs is set up. They must be out from the wall, and the distance between them is also important. In my experience the Sttaf's image is huge extending well outside the speakers and in some cases past the walls. They need to be at least 3' into the room to be optimal. Also, the distance between them should be fairly narrow - maybe 6' at most. Totem's web site has these parameters for all of their speakers.

Are you auditioning them in your 11x11 room? I have a pair I'm using in my office (it's actually a 12x12 bedroom) and they sound great there. The bass is fine. This is my second pair and I have used them in a larger room - ~ 14 x 22, and needed a subwoofer there.
Bdgregory: Yes, this is in my 11 x 11 room. I have them 24 inches from the back wall. The right speaker is about 2.5 feet from the side wall, and the left speaker is further away from the other side wall. I can get exact measurements once I'm home.

The dealer told me these showroom demos have about 50-75 hours on them, but could these not be fully burned in yet?
I wondered whether your Staffs were fully run-in while reading your original post. If my experience with Totem Forests is anything to go by, I'd expect things will improve over another 50-100 hours. The bass on the Forests was mostly MIA when I first got them. That is no longer the case. What does the Totem site say about breaking in the Staffs?
Ghosthouse: Totem recommends 60-80 hours for the Sttaf. I can hear the bass, but it sounds more like undefined rumble most of the time.

There's also a certain quality to the treble that I don't like. Things can sound a bit sibilant at times. They don't quite cause listening fatigue, but it doesn't sound "natural" to my ears.
break in may be an issue in this case with <100 hours on them, although Totem says 60-80 hours is the normal break in time. I recall the dealer telling me 100-200 hours. I would pull them further out into the room if you can. Also, try different positioning to each other. In one room I had mine set up only about 5 ft apart. It's totally counter intuitive, but with that arrangement the image was huge.
Jw & Bd - yup...break in time from the Totem site is less for the Sttafs than what they recommend for the Forests. Still, for me, the Forests seemed to take much longer than the listed hours to come into their own. Maybe that will be true for the Sttafs too. I have owned the Forests for almost 7 years now and still experiment from time to time with placement in my smallish listening alcove. I came across a photo of Vince B's. set up for Forest Signatures at a recent show. From the photo it was evident he had them pretty close together (<6 ft?). Another thing that helped me was to put them on 2" maple plinths from Timber Nation. These in turn are on heavy 18x18" Travertine tiles. Stabilized the speakers very well given the Berber carpet with padding that's on the floor.
The speakers may or may not need more breaking in, but I have found that if I don't like the sound of new speakers with only a few hours on them, I will never fully like them. I have heard that totems tend to be rather bright and for that reason, I never auditioned them.

Don't waste more money changing amplification and cables like I did as you are just throwing good money after bad. I would push the dealer to let you try the Golden Ear speakers and do a comparison between them and the Totem Staffs.
Bdgregory: I believe they are currently 5 feet apart. I will try bringing them in even closer.

Ghosthouse: Since I only have these on demo, I won't be able to experiment with plinths for the speakers. But that is a good idea.

Stereo5: I really agree with you on this. I made the same mistake once before, and I should see the writing on the wall here. I'm pushing the dealer to let me try to the Triton 3's in my house. If he says no, I either have the option to take a leap of faith and just buy them (which I probably won't do), or start looking for something used on A-gon.
sounds like it's time for you to punt on the Sttafs. They are one of my favorite speakers ever - I've never had any complaints, but tastes differ. It's possible the stiuation you have is contributing to it (amps, room, etc), but still, you tried. I've never worked at trying to make me like a component or speaker. If I don't right a way, I move on.
I own the Arro's and I find that they sound the best with solid 99% Ox Free copper wires. They have plenty of bass and imaging and the sound is very correct not just somebody's idea of what music should sound like. They took over 100 hrs. to run in. My amp is 100 watts per side. The room is 16 X 30 but the listen area is 16 x 18. The speakers are about 10' apart toed is slightly and 2.5' from the rear wall and 3' from the side walls.
Thanks to you all. I would agree that the Sttaf just aren't for me. I've already put an order in for the Triton 3's. From what I heard of them at the dealer, they were pretty darn good for the money. Now it's just a matter of making them work in this room, which hopefully won't be a problem.
I wanted to post an update regarding the Sttaf. Yesterday evening, a cold front started moving through my area, which meant I could open up the windows and break out my PrimaLuna Prologue Two. I hooked it up to the Sttafs, and I will say that these speakers are a much better match for tubes. It didn't solve all problems that I found with the Sttafs, but it helps tremendously. Since the tube amp has more of that "fat" sound, it helps to fill out some of the leanness I heard in the Sttaf's lower midrange. Alas, the summers here are too hot for me to use a tube amp during, so the Sttaf would still not be a good choice for me because of that. But just something to keep in mind for others who are considering these speakers.
I've used my Sttafs with tubes and a multiple different SS amps. I would not say they are a better match for Tubes, but they do sound really nice with tubes. All of the amps I have used, at least the ones that sound good with them are high power (140W - 200W) and have really good bass control. That's when they shine.
Try mass loading! My dad owns a pair and runs them in a 1500 square foot room with all windows. And the bass is well defined and inner detail brought out more and better throw in bass when loaded. He runs them on a old 100w luxman and put about 5 pounds of play sand in them. I liked the staffs so much I bought a pair of totem forest speakers. Also I am running them on a 40watt class A triode tube amp in the same room. Which shocked how much of the same bass I got in the room with my little amp in that room after mass loaded. But more clear and lower the throw. And every body wonders where is the sub woofer? One thing that really helped was getting the new shunyata Viper Ztron power cord. And have the speakers bi-wired makes better bass and image limber 12tc cable. Totem beaks too. I also used a mix of lead shot for shot guns and a little play sand to stop them from moving brought the great image but better bass definition.