The Brionvega Totem RR231Audio System

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The anniversary re-issue of an innovative design created by a renowned Italian architect and designer.

In 1971, celebrated architect and designer Mario Bellini created an audio system that featured an innovative modular system. Named Totem rr231, the design incorporated a turntable and two speakers that came together to create a perfect cubic form. The speakers rotated to open the unit and reveal the turntable in the middle. To mark the audio system’s 50th anniversary, Italian brand Brionvega re-launched the design with some modern upgrades. The new Totem rr231 stereo system recreates the original faithfully, but also features contemporary technology, seamlessly integrated in its design. Monolithic and minimalist, the pristine white cube blends sculpture and sound in one.

The user needs to interact with the unit to open it smoothly, thus bringing a more personal touch to the music listening ritual. The rotated position, which makes the speakers resemble wings, ensures excellent sound quality. However, the user can completely remove them and position them at a distance from the central unit. Each speaker has a 2-and-a-half-way speaker system with one mechanical reflex loading woofer and one mid-woofer as well as one tweeter.

Tech upgrades for a design classic.

The new version of the Totem rr231 audio system has a Bluetooth connection and works with smartphones, tablets, PCs, and Mac computers. It incorporates both a standalone TI PCM converter and aptx HD. Designed with audio quality in mind, the unit offers fantastic digital signal processing as well as a low -20kHz signal-to-noise ratio. The ProJect turntable comes with a high-end Ortofon cartridge and a 125W + 125W self-limited amplifier. Apart from these features, the audio system also plays AM and FM radio and has DAB+ reception. Beautifully made, the Totem rr231 features a handmade wooden cabinet finished with a white lacquer and hand polishing. Other features include a headphone output and line inputs for various RCA connectors. This work of art and collector’s item is currently available at Brionvega for €16,000, which is around $18,000. Photography© Brionvega.

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