High End 2017: Tidal Audio releases Camira Reference DAC, Ferios Monobloc

Ferios Monoblocs driving La Assoluta loudspeakers by Tidal.

Tidal Audio from Germany put on an outstanding presentation at High End in Munich, and Dr. Pangiotis Karavitis, and I took part in an invite-only audiophile press event for a private listening session while there. Company CEO, and chief designer Jorn Janczak was on hand to discuss not only the massive, top-of-the-line La Assoluta loudspeaker, but the brand new Camira DAC, and Ferios monobloc which builds on the current Impulse Stereo Amplifier.

Doug White from The Voice That Is confers with Dr. Karavitis during the demo session.
More hand-lacquered goodness.

I’ve spent time with big Tidal systems before, but not with the La Assoluta, and not with the new FPGA-equiped, discrete R2R ladder DAC Camira feeding the massive loudspeakers via a pair of 300-watt Ferios (Tidal cabling was also being used throughout). There was a musical translation to the sound which my brain associated with a small handful of other ultra-high end systems. Systems that leave an impression of deep power reserves, and dynamic headroom. I played a variety of Tidal 16/44 tracks, and heard several high-res local files during the session, and experienced a linearity, transparency, effortlessness and cohesion to the sound from the Tidal system that left an indelible emotional connection to the music on me.

Tidal CEO Jorn Janczak.

I look forward to the next opportunity to spend time with components from Tidal, and this curated set-up was an example of the whole-system approach that Janczak is pursuing to define a vision of recorded playback that I think sets Tidal apart from the competition.

The new Camira Reference DAC.

As with all Tidal gear, the fit, and finish is unrivalled in high-end audio, and exudes a level of quality, and commitment to beauty that has to be seen, and touched to be believed.

Ferios Monobloc.

–Rafe Arnott

From the press release:

“The Camira is the reference  digital-analog-converter from TIDAL – and its performance is so radical that we gave the device a new name: Camira DMC Digital Music Converter™. Designed without compromises it offers a true digital to analog output conversion, no matter PCM or native DSD. The Camira TIDAL’s proprietary Analog Signal Remediation Technology (ASRT). With it, we are able to bring back the analog signal from any 44.1 KHz signal, which contains the most used formats: every CD and every music streaming services. In a sound quality only known from native high resolution formats or analog sources.”

“The TIDAL Camira uses none of the existing technologies like upsampling, oversampling, clocking or re-clocking. None of this is necessary since it uses an unique FPGA technology remediating the 44.1 KHz signal back to analog in combination with a fully discrete non-oversampling ladder DAC.
Of course it also has all the TIDAL classic build details, for e.g. such as the original TIDAL reference pure silver hollow conductor cable inside from the power input to the PCB input. But first above all it is delivering one hell of a sound quality. We would go so far and say even: second to none.”

Published specifications:

  • pure discrete designed 24 bit non-oversampling R2R ladder DAC without pre-ringing and post-ringing
  • proprietary USB-to-I²S interface directly into the I²S interface of the ladder DAC without detouring USB-to-SPDIF > SPDIF-to-I²S > I²S-to-DAC
  • proprietary ASRT Analog Signal Remediation Technology: Field Programmable Gate Array for most precise timing informations for and between the left and right channel incl. timing correction and remediation processing of 44.1 KHz signals
  • true balanced output concept without any sound-changing inverted signal generation (like with transformer outputs)
  • every function-module has its own voltage supply, separated for each channel, left and right, for e.g. such as for the amplification, the DAC, the PCM-unit and the USB-module and others. All together 20 ultra low noise voltage supplies.
  • the best cables are: no cables at all. Therefore you will not find any connectors, cable bridges or anything like it at the Camira. The only wiring we are using inside is an original TIDAL Reference hollow conductor silver cable from the power input directly soldered onto the PCB board – no compromise.
  • 2 x digital input AES (XLR)
  • 2 x digital SPDIF (coaxial BNC, cinch RCA)
  • 1 x asynchronous USB class 2 input for PCM and DSD/DXD audio formats
  • up to 384 KHz sampling rate
  • 384 KHz/24 bit PCM and up to DSD256 over USM
  • no drivers needed for MAC OS and Linux
  • drivers for Windows
  • DSD by DoP and native over ASIO interface for Windows
  • 0,01% tolerance precision resistors
  • femto clock ultra low noise oscillator (-169 dB)
  • fully discrete Class-A output amplifier
  • ultralow-ESR organic capacitors
  • Dimensions: 44cm x 13cm x 39cm / 17.3″ x 5.1″ x 15.3″ (width x height x length)
  • Weight: 24 lbs. / 11 kg

From the press release:

“We have pushed the concept of the Impulse stereo power amplifier to its extreme and developed an all new 1.600 VA power supply with a true power regulation. Thus, the TIDAL Ferios mono amplifier board is certain for all practical means and purposes to be supplied with never failing power reserves and a lavish feed of clean current that will drive every imaginable speaker with ease.”

“The generous supply of additional power is merely a welcome byproduct, really. The real goal was the absolute relaxation with which the Ferios performs, to the extent where any attempted description of sound attributes becomes meaningless. The Ferios is quite simply benchmark with regard to amplification in this size.”

Published specifications:

  • true mono reference power amplifier with linear power supply
  • pure silver hollow conductor EMF transformers
  • regulated active power supply with 2 x 800VA non-noise toriod transformers, completetly magnetical shielded and mechanical decoupled
  • linear voltage power supply for ripple-free voltage and current stabilization for the two amplifier modules
  • 410.000 µF stabilisation capacity, ultra fast response with high-grade-long-life-capacitors
  • elimination of deleterious resonances by all massive aluminum parts and braces inside, excellent torsional and longitudinal rigidity
  • in-house made multilayer PCB (printed circuit board) with 105 µm copper per layer
  • hand selected transistors, measured and matched with a precision better than 1%
  • DC-coupled input circuit, without coupling capacitors or relay in the signal path from the input to the output
  • no relay in the signal way from XLR input to speaker output
  • ultralow impedance capacitors directly at the transistors for most shortest connection
  • TIDAL proprietary APM system (amplifier protection management) is completely outside of the signal path
  • TIDAL APM System is an isolated and completely autarkic system to manage and control the power amps safety: output current in relation to output-voltage, short circuit current, DC- offset, under-voltage und excess voltage
  • optional: fully autarcic working active crossover LPX-monomodule for active amping to control the bass section of TIDAL reference speakers, perfectly matched in phase and frequency, different frequencies and level adjustable to trim bass response perfectly to each room and/or taste
  • intelligent softstart system, remote power on/off by TIDAL pre amplifiers via RJ45 ethernet cable
  • rated power output at 8 ohm: 2 x 300 watts continuous rms power
  • rated power output at 4 ohm: 2 x 580 watts continuous rms power
  • rated power output at 2 ohm: 2 x > 700 watts continuous rms power
  • bandwith: 1Hz – 400 kHz (-3 dB), measured with impedance load
  • dimensions: 17.3″ x 12.4″ x 17,3″ / 44 cm x 31 cm x 40 cm
  • power consumption: < 1 W in stand-by mode
  • amplification bandwidth: wider than the highest resolution sources
  • damping factor: ideal damping factor for life like music reproduction, perfectly even over the whole spectrum

About Rafe Arnott 389 Articles
Editor of InnerFidelity and AudioStream