Tidal's "We Build Emotions" Touch My Own
Some of my happiest sonic experiences at RMAF arrived in the last two rooms I visited: the Tidal Audio/Argento Audio Cables/dCS showcase put together by Doug White of The Voice That Is (Newton Square, PA), and the Simon Yorke/CAT/Synergistic/Lansche exhibit assembled by Tim Nguyen of Tone of Music (San Francisco, CA).
Tidal's founder, Jörn Janczak, previewed his 286 lb Tidal Audio Piano DiaCera speakers in midnight black lacquer ($37,690/pair). Although these show debutantes fell a mite shy of conveying the fullness of the double basses at the start of Mahler's Symphony 2, their soundstage was remarkably open and deep, with great width and height. And the top was gorgeous.
The Piano DiaCera is short by Tidal standards. The company's founder makes some very tall speakers, perhaps because, at 6'8" or thereabouts, he has to do less bending to work with his hand-assembled products. He also has a knack for uncovering interesting music that works well in audiophile demos. One of his latest finds, Michel Jonasz's Ne Garde Rien, employs every spatial and sound effect in the book. I got a real kick out of it.
Lest it sound as though the speakers were the only thing contributing to the room's winning sound, let's give credit to the other hand-assembled Tidal Audio products present: the Preos stereo preamplifier with phonostage ($27,990) and Impact 140W Dual mono reference amplifier ($25,990). Nor would I ever want to slight dCS's much-lauded Puccini CD/SACD player ($17,999) and Uclock ($4,999), or a complete complement of Argento Audio cables that included the Flow Master Reference power cords ($6200/2m) and Flow Master Reference speaker cable ($21,500/2m). Note that the basic Flow cabling is no more than half the price of some more expensive cables; Flow speaker cable, for example, costs $9000/2m.
At the end of my time in the room, I wrote in my notebook, "Marvelous transparency. None of that gray 'whuh' sound that passes for a midrange. Maybe a touch sweet, but, if so, wonderfully and minimally euphonic."
Tidal easily won my #3 Personal Best of the Show. I loved the sound. I can only imagine how wonderful this set-up would sound in a large room.