High End 2016: Tidal wave, cresting


Tidal Audio of Germany is a brand I’m familiar with because of a local dealer, The Voice That Is out of Philadelphia, PA. Doug White, the proprietor, introduced me to the brand several years ago — and I’ve been ruined ever since. Wrecked! My objectivity? Completely destroyed. Ah, well. Might as well sit back and let the experience unfold over me, under me, and around me.

I’ve said before that that the Tidal line — the entire line (they sell electronics as well as speakers) — are not for the faint of heart and wallet. There’s absolutely no apology being made for their expense. This is the Bugatti of high-end audio, the A. Lange & Söhne of watchmaking. Is there better? Is there more expensive? If you’re buying at this level, you know that these aren’t the questions that matter. At this level, it’s more about fit — that is, does this fit you? Because whatever else there is, that “else” just isn’t Tidal.

Take the finish. It’s … beyond. You can see that I’m slipping into the poetic here; but the point is, that’s the point. It’s really hard to just say “the fit and finish is taken to the highest level” and have that actually convey how truly elevated these products look. This isn’t what you’d find in Donald Trump’s office. You need elegance and class for stuff like this. I’m thinking more Blofeld. Or maybe Hannibal Lector. There’s a latent sense of menace lurking in this gear, and one that isn’t easily dispelled. No, for that, you have to turn it on and then turn it up. But that’s the problem, see. Because then, you are undone. And as your brain begins to happily melt, you’ll forgive the weapon of your destruction. Because you are only human. And weak. And as you end, you’ll weep softly in joy, knowing that this was meant for Gods.

High-End coverage brought to you by Underwood HiFi, Exogal and Emerald Physics


What’s new at the High End show here in Munich? A new Piano G2. The new 2.5-way speaker is the “baby” of the line, and features a new (and, interestingly, faster-to-make) optional finish, called Velvetec. For one thing, it’s matte, and it’s available in something other than “piano black”. Here, Jörn and his wife were showing the speakers in Euro white and a fingerprint-friendly black. Unusual colors are available at an additional cost (about +$700) — shown above is orange, which was my favorite of the bunch — because photography. Price for the speakers in this finish are $22.9k/pair US, compared with the “regular” price for the piano-black version at $28.9k/pair, or $31.8k/pair for the spectacular wood veneers. Adding the incredible diamond tweeter leaves the Velvetec behind, but in so doing, earns the G2 a “Diacera” moniker and takes the price up to $39.9k in piano black and $42.9k in veneer.

The G2 is physically smaller than the outgoing version, with an increased rake angle. It also features a new cabinet material, called:

TIRADUR. This cabinet material combines the rigidity of hard materials such as metal with the resonance absorbing behavior of softer materials such as wooden materials like MDF. It is the only advanced cabinet material using organic surfaces such as our famous polished veneers, as well as true polyester piano lacquer. And yes, this is why such a modest sized speaker weighs a whopping 65 Kg (143 lbs.).

There are a lot of additional features listed over on the product page, so check that out.

The demo here at Munich was with the new Akira loudspeaker ($215k/pair in black lacquer; $225k in polished piano black lacquer-covered veneer), the new one-box flagship that features the Diacera tweeter and also a 5″ diamond midrange. Shown with the new Camira DAC/Preamplifier (specs forthcoming, but targeting $78,600), and a pair of the new flagship Assoluta monobloc amplifiers ($148,600/pair). Argento Audio cables wired everything together.

My notes from my time in the room centered around the audio characteristics. We were listening to jazz, some classic, and I remember most distinctly the sound of the wires, slapping and rattling against the snare. Talk about hearing deep into the recording. Whoa.

About Scot Hull 1046 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 Comment

  1. Wonderful analogy between a fine watch and TIDAL products. Owning both products, I’d like to offer a correction – It’s Jaeger “Le” Coultre. At least you know and can appreciate art no matter what form it’s in. 😉 Keep up the great writing. We enjoy it!

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