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 Rolls Royce. 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.