AXPONA 2016: The Voice That Is presents TIDAL, Bricasti, Aurender

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.

AXPONA coverage brought to you by Underwood HiFi, Exogal and Emerald Physics

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.