When I am King, things will be different. Among the “different things” will be my palace, where I will have several magnificent listening rooms, decked out for my aural pleasures. They will be huge and designed by an acoustical architect. And in one of those magnificent listening rooms will be some enormous loudspeakers from TIDAL Audio.
Say hello to the Sunray!
This is the first time they’ve been shown on the East Coast in 10 years! Which is a loss, because the Sunray is just an absurdity, and I mean that in the most fawning kind of way. First, it’s $154,990/pair. That’s crazy money. I have no idea how much money I will ever have to have to make that kind of spend okay — but I’d sure like to find out! The loudspeakers are, of necessity, modular — essentially, there’s this two-way in the middle with two big ass bass cabinets, one mounted above and the other below. The sound that’s capable of coming out of this speaker has the most detail and the most delicacy and air that I’ve heard coming out of a loudspeaker. Ever. Of course, I’ve gotten to spend quality time with this particular pair in the past (nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more!). And, in the right room and with the right … well … everything … the Sunray can do a dance like nothing I’m familiar with. It’s not just breathtaking, it’s astounding.
I suppose you can say I’m a fan. And when I’m king, they’re all mine, bitches! Bwaa hahahahahahaaa ….!
Ahem. Look, a man can dream, can’t he?
So, I totally snuck in to this room (read: “Doug handed me the card key”) early on Sunday morning while my wife was attempting to catch a few extra winks. The kids were still curious about the whole audio show thing in that their patience hadn’t entirely worn off (yet) and they were still happily chomping on mint candies and were completely enamored of the t-shirts Dana from Audio Power Labs had given them. Anyway, walking into this room with them was fun, but I’ll confess that’s mostly because I’m evil. Nik Baertsch’s Mobile “Modul 12” was playing, rather loudly, on the system, and quite frankly, it’s the Devil’s music. Really disturbing, dark, brooding and kinda scary. The kids looked like they were about to bug out the entire time we were in here. But the sound … wow. So spacious and deep, the soundstage like some kind of ripped-away hellscape, with the edge of the abyss starting just at the leading edge of the speakers, and then spinning away from there into an eternity of hopelessness and despair. That was almost as fun to write as it was to listen to.
There was lots to see (and not touch) in this room. TIDAL is one of those buy-it-all-from-us brands, so the amp was a TIDAL, an Impulse ($32,290), and the preamp was also a TIDAL, a Preos ($27,990). Then we wander a bit — the source was one of the new Aurender W20 ($16,800), and the DAC, the cheapest thing in the room, was a Bricasti M1 ($8,495).
Also in the room were a pair of Piano Diacera ($37,690/pair in black) and a pair of Amea stand mounts ($18,990). I’ve had the pleasure of hearing all of these loudspeakers, at various points, and I can safely and honestly say that I wouldn’t kick any of them out of bed, and when I’m King, all will find homes in my palace of wonder and splendor!
Cabling was mostly from Purist Audio Design, from their top-shelf Anniversary line (except the digital sources, which hung off of Aquilla Digital AC power cords). Yes, it’s expensive. Around the back, I found Purist’s prototype power distro bar (pricing is still TBD, but will fall at or near $2,000), a purely passive high-quality device with no filtering — all that stuff is done inside the TIDAL components, so more would not necessarily be beneficial.
Another side note — all the speakers bore after-market footers from Stillpoints, a most highly recommended upgrade, and most especially if you are enjoying non-carpeting floors. I’ve grown accustomed to using my Terrastone platforms to stick loudspeakers on as that makes them really easy to slide into and out of place, all over my wall-to-wall carpeting, but with them, I’ve really found the coupling of Stillpoints footers with a solid, hard surface to be … illuminating.
(Cough) … Like … a ray of sun.
Sorry, had to be done. When I’m King, if you’re nice, maybe you can come over and listen in the Palace of Wonder too. But probably not. Peasant.