Though, to be fair, if “my” amps did have to have an affair with another pair of loudspeakers, they could have done a lot worse than this pair of Tidal Audio Agorias ($110k). Wow. That finish! Holy crap. Dark-of-night has nothing on this.
The Agoria is a single-cabinet design, unlike the much larger Sunray, with a diamond tweeter up top, two midrange drivers, two woofers and two more passive radiators. Each cabinet weighs 450lbs.
In the rack, Bricasti designer Brian Zolner had something a little new — an M1 DAC. Okay, so that’s not exactly new. What’s new about this one? Gold. Yes, that yellowish tint is actually a beefy little layer of gold plate. $15k is the charge for the bling-y-est of the bling. Happily, that’s not all that’s new here — Brian also went a tinkerin’. Some select parts and wiring paths have been upgraded and simplified, resulting in an improvement that Brian didn’t expect. Call it: “Special Edition”. He’s still working on how to bring these improvements out to his existing line (early thinking is that it might be possible to upgrade existing units, so stay tuned), but there’s no word yet. Given that the encrustation process itself costs Brian several thou, this 50% upcharge seems modest.
What did I hear? I’ll cut to the chase — this room was my first vote for Best-In-Show. Bass was d-e-e-e-e-p, in exactly that kind of way you want a good sub to sound, natural without discontinuity. Detail retrieval was (as expected) among some of the very best-in-class, without feeling sterile or brittle. Backgrounds matched the finish on the speakers, which is to say, blacker-than-black. Overall, the sound was delicate and bombastic, by turns. Brian was playing some tracks from Channel Classics and Chandos while I was there, and I’m pretty sure he said there were dynamic swings of close to 30dB. If so, I believe it. Walking around, distracted by taking pictures, I nearly jumped out of my skin several times.
Also in the rack was a honkin’ big Tchaik 6 power distribution system from Silver Circle. All signal wiring was Bricasti; power cords were courtesy of Oyaide Japan.