In terms of raw sex appeal, an early winner from AXPONA featured a full set of electronics and loudspeakers from TIDAL Audio out of Germany. Pools of liquid ink have been captured and somehow suspended in semi-solid forms; casework with glittering chrome, and speakers that seem so dark that they pull at your eyes …. wow. Walking into this room was breathtaking — it was as incongruous as finding that someone had managed to sneak in a Bugatti. What the …???
The Agoria loudspeakers are, obviously and unapologetically, enormous and no one in their right mind would attempt to shoehorn something that big and that powerful into a shoebox except to make a point — or to shock the average audio show attendee out of their skin.
Doug White is a good friend, and one of my personal suppliers of all things audio, is a clever and sneaky man. His shop, The Voice That Is (out of Eastern PA), features a lot of unusual brands, and TIDAL (I’ve heard it pronounced Tee-DAHL, which might help separate it from the popular audiophile streaming service) is only one. Also in the mix, Doug has woven in Aurender, Bricasti, and a suite of specialty cables from TIDAL Audio and Dynamic Design (the latter whom Doug called out specifically with a big thanks for saving his bacon), isolation bits from Stillpoints, and power conditioning coming from a Tchaik 6 from Silver Circle.
Here’s the big list:
- TIDAL Agoria Speaker – $109,990
- TIDAL Presencio Preamplifier – $77,990
- TIDAL Impulse Monobloc Amplifiers (380W) – $64,990
- Aurender W20 Reference Music Server – $17,600
- Silver Circle Audio TCHAIK 6 Isolation Transformer – $9,995
- New Bricasti M1se DAC – $9,995
- New TIDAL Audio – Power Cords & Balanced Interconnect Cables
- Purist Audio Design Cables – 25th Anniversary AES Digital Cable
- Dynamic Design Cables – Heritage Speaker Cables & New Heritage Nutron SW16 Power cord
- StillPoints Ultra 5 Isolators – $699 each
- StillPoints Ultra 6 Isolators – $899 each
- StillPoints Aperture Room Treatment – $699 each
So, yes, let’s the price thing out-of-the-way — none of this is targeting your budget-focused audiophile. Every bit is pitched at the “aspirational system owner”, and I have to offer that if I was so lucky as to be able to invest at this level, my investment would look rather like this.
The speakers, as I mentioned, really thrive in robust spaces. Here, the bass was a little throttled, but “show-conditions” aside, the presentation and overall immersion was true and truly lovely. I am really taken with the elegant look of the TIDAL gear, and the volume attenuation scheme in that Prescenio pre amp is about as state-of-the-art as it gets. For those that are balking at the price tag, realize that this is also a world-class phonostage — a two-for-one that does at least a little to soften the blow.
Absolutely gorgeous gear.