The Voice That Is...Tidal, dCS, Argento

"The Voice That Is" is the name of a Newtown Square, PA, retailer and when I walked into their room, I had no idea what equipment I was listening to, as it was—again—totally dark! (I had to set my camera's "film speed" to a noisy 1600 to get a photo at all.) But the music playing, Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Tin Pan Alley," took me back a quarter century, when all you heard at audio shows was this cut. But it never sounded this good back then!

As my eyes accommodated to the darkness, I could make two pairs of Tidal speakers, the floorstanding Piano Diaceras ($37,690/pair) behind stand-mounted Ameas ($18.990/pair). Both feature ceramic-cone woofers and a diamond-dome tweeter but it was the Diaceras that were playing, connected with Argento cable to a Tidal Impact 140Wpc stereo amplifier ($35,990) and a Tidal Preas preamp ($27,990). Source was a MacBook Pro feeding USB data to a dCS Debussy D/A (my current reference, it shall be said, though in May I loaned it to Erick Lichte, who doesn't appear to want to send it back any time soon).

As if to confirm that it was 1987, the next track played was "Le temps passé" from the Michel Jonasz CD L'Histoire de Monsieur Swing. This is what I am talking about—a huge, stable soundstage, extending way beyond the speaker positions; smooth, grain-free highs, tight, tuneful, deep lows, and a pure, coloration-free midrange—and all of this in service of the music, adding to the experience instead of substituting for it. It doesn't get much better than this!