Newport 2016: Tidal, LampizatOr, bring on a sonic beatdown

Contriva G2

Newport250x2501I did my best to make the Newport Beach show a hi-fi destination where I sought out systems and manufacturers that I hadn’t spent time with previously, and whose set-ups were comprised of digital sources instead of analog. I still couldn’t help myself from stopping by some favourite rooms featuring familiar analog set-ups, or with new gear in the mix, but I feel I made real inroads on some digital kit that continued to open my eyes to the possibilities of high-end digital sources. An amazing example of getting lucky in my non-analog forays was Tidal Audio, and LampizatOr.

This Golden Gate bridges a different gap.

I’m going to fast forward slightly here, because after I got the attendant hosts to put up with my apparently annoying music requests, the Tidal speakers were moving a lot of air in The Voice That Is room at The Hotel Irvine. The Contriva G2 loudspeaker ($59,990 USD) paired with their own Preos-D pre-amplifier ($31,190 USD)  and Impulse Dual Mono amplifier, ($32,290 USD) and the highly-regarded LampizatOr Golden Gate DAC with DSD Komputer Music Server ($5,550 USD) feeding it was pouring forth surging, untamed mids, wall-flexing bass mixed with rarefied, butterfly-delicate micro-dynamics. This was absolutely not the type of effortless, non-fatiguing, organic and raw sound that just a few months ago I would ever have associated with a digital source. Same goes for the nuanced, deeply-hued tonal colors, and timbre I was experiencing from these rigidly-enclosed, pistonic-driver transducers with diamond tweeters. AC, and the emotion-infused audio signals were being routed by Dynamic Design cabling.

The Preso-D wasn’t letting anything mess with electronic signal pathways.


You see, some sugar-sweet jazz tunes were playing when I came into the room, and started photographing, but when I was finished, I stood at the back of the then-empty space, and asked if they could play Radiohead to switch things up a bit, from the almost dead to the newly wed. After a few minutes consternation of searching through the Komputer, Kid A was found, and I requested Morning Bell.

Golden tongued.

award-sighting-smAs mentioned at the top, I was wholly unprepared for the music to suddenly, and with such visceral muscle, grab the base of my spine, and mercilessly squeeze. My head did one of those slo-motion rocks like when you slide a car seat back. Uhuuuuungh. My eyes got a little droopy because this was the dope shit. Thom Yorke’s voice was wailing at me with passion, and fury in-between the speakers. Ditto for the rest of the band. I felt like I could take a bite right out of the air, and rip off a piece of the performance. Crunch, slam, pound, caress, whisper, convulse. The big Contrivas never missed a beat. Indefatigable composure was what I had written in my messy notes from that day.

Emotionally provocative, and addictive.

Sound stage was very wide – well beyond the speakers boundaries – and tall, with deep, and almost disconcerting 3D-imaging capabilities. This was a well thought-out combination of incredibly, emotionally engaging capability: a powerful system that I want to hear more of. Much more of.

Carried out with the Tidal.

About Rafe Arnott 389 Articles
Editor of InnerFidelity and AudioStream


  1. TIDAL speakers are lovingly built by hand 100% by craftsmen in Cologne Germany. They are generally sold before they are built. Depending on the finish ordered and production cycle, delivery time can range between 2 weeks to 4 months. Linc M’s custom hand-stained pair of Mahogany Contriva G2 are due to be finished soon. We look forward to delivering his system. 🙂

  2. Have had them on order since the end of January. There is a considerable wait for Tidal speakers with a premium finish. This is perfect for me as construction of my listening studio is still ongoing. I previously owned the Piano Diaceras.

  3. Thanks for the great write up. I’d like to thank all of the attendee’s that made the show a great experience for me as an exhibitor. Their enthusiasm for our work is appreciated. I’d also like to acknowledge the other manufacturers and products that made for your experience – StillPoints (for their Aparture panels, ESS Rack, Ultra SS,5 and 6 Isolators), Telos (Grounding Noise Reducer), and Resolution Acoustics (panels and bass traps). I am proud to represent these products as a dealer.

Comments are closed.