CAF 2014: Bricasti Design brings catapults, hurls insults at poor quality audio


Brian Zolner of Bricasti Design has a good reason to be smiling. His new under $30k/pair (est.) 200wpc M28 mono amplifiers are simply outstanding. His M1 DAC has been sitting on top of the A+ Recommended Components List at Stereophile since its launch. Oh, and as lauded as these accomplishments are, it’s his pro-audio stuff that’s really killing it — his M7 Reverb unit is wildly popular.

Blah blah blah. I want those amps. Whoops. Did I just say that out loud? Heh heh. Whoops.

But it’s true — the amps are really impressive. Part of my adoration comes from the fact that I know the speakers Brian is using as part of the voicing process. They’re TIDAL Contriva Diacera SE loudspeakers, and I happen to have a pair and I’m routinely stunned by what they can do. When Brian shows, he tends to bring their baby-brother stablemate, the Piano Cera ($23,990/pair), and I’m pretty familiar with that speaker too — but driven by Brian’s amps, I’m not sure anyone has ever heard what a TIDAL loudspeaker can do. Bass? You want bass? Bah! You know nothing, Jon Snow. I’ve got yer bass right here, and I’ll raise you a magical midrange and a treble purity that will make you weep for the Fae whose voice are no longer fairest in the Nevernever.

In other words, Ba-da-BING. Hook me up!

Obviously, this isn’t all that’s going on here. In his room at CAF, Brian had plenty of space, some “real” walls and some very fancy room treatments from Stillpoints and Mother Nature (aka, “ferns”). About the Stillpoints — these 2′ x 2′ panels are combination absorbers, diffusors and resonators; their performance is said to track with volume, which is different from most acoustic panels, which tend to just swallow the soundstage at mid-to-low volumes. These “Apertures” are a new offering from Stillpoints, with pricing starting at $650 each — a dye sublimation process can be brought to bear to add custom images for an additional $200/panel. You can see the custom Stillpoints art directly behind the rack, below.

The Bricasti M1 has recently been updated to include DSD over USB, up to DSD128. PCM sampling is supported up to 352.8kHz and 24bits. From the website: “The M1 digital to analog converter is a dual mono design; there are two completely isolated channels, each with its own dedicated linear power supply, D/A converter, DDS clocking, and analog circuitry.” A remote control is available, useful if you’re dumping your preamp and planning to run DAC-direct as was shown here at CAF.

Tucked into the rack was a Silver Circle Tchaik 6, for power conditioning and distribution. The cabling is all from Purist Audio Design‘s new Luminist Revision. Specifically:

  • Ultimate USB ($990)
  • Corvus Balanced Interconnects ($2,495/pair)
  • Corvus Speaker Cables ($3,305/pair)
  • Aquila Digital Power Cable ($1,025)
  • Venustas Power Cable ($1,955)

This room was the second room (the first is here) from Doug White’s The Voice That Is, a dealer in the greater Philadelphia, PA region. Doug is very clearly and unapologetically targeting an upscale clientele with these Summit-Fi products. Clearly aspirational stuff, here, but this is a very clean window into what I at least plan to do with all my kids’ college money.

Wait, what?









About Scot Hull 1063 Articles
Scot started all this back in 2009. He is currently the Publisher here at PTA, the Publisher at The Occasional Magazine, and the Executive Producer at The Occasional Podcast. There are way too many words about him over on the Contributors page.


  1. Scott, the Contriva (in all of its versions) is a 3 way design, not 3.5. The Piano series is a 2.5 way crossover design.

  2. Brian’s room, for me, was the highlight of the show. I mean Doug’s room was good, real good….but seeing Brian’s room and what the M28s and the Piano’s could do… highly impressed!!!!

    Brian is also one of those great people you meet and is so friendly and open and honest about his product… it’s very refreshing! He even opened up one of his M28s to show us the inside and how it’s all laid out…. which if you heard the amps…only makes you want the amps THAT much more!

  3. Our Bricasti M1 is due back tomorrow from Bricasti after receiving these upgrades and will again be on demonstration with the Aurender music servers, including the W20. From Brian Zolner’s descriptions of the upgrades, it sounds as though they may have hit yet another one out of the park. Can’t wait.

    • Doug White told me that they were the Cera, not the Diacera, from the Piano line. The Contriva is a much larger 3.5 way design, unlike the Piano, which is a 2.5 way design.

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