I’m getting tired of talking about how perfect TIDAL speakers are, and how great of a dealer and exhibitor Doug White of The Voice That Is! … is. So I won’t. Instead I’m going to wax poetic about TIDAL’s electronics, and the emerging popularity of the obvious genius in buying into a one-branded-ecosystem.
For quite some time now TIDAL has been using the slogan, “We Build Emotions” and like many of the skeptics out there I just took it as more marketing jargon that is often worthy of being ignored. But as I’ve spent time examining and listening to the end result of TIDAL’s efforts, I have come to realize that it is specifically a true statement about the company. TIDAL hasn’t set out to create the best speakers or electronics possible, they’ve set out to develop a working harmony in sound reproduction that evokes the emotional responses that we yearn for when listening to music.
I’d like to quickly emphasize that the TIDAL Preos pre-amplifier and Impulse amplifier are not exactly new products, in fact these electronics have been around for a few years. Many times it is these existing products that are overlooked by show attendees as we naturally find ourselves focused on the beautiful TIDAL speakers or specific newly released products. As it is in this case with the Piano G2 speakers, they are nothing new, except maybe for their species of wood cladding. It is best not overlook the TIDAL electronics as they are so essential to the speakers performance, as without them could the speakers do more than stand up front and look pretty?
The TIDAL Preos preamplifier easily has my favorite volume knob in the history of high-end electronics, aside from its weighty feel (yes, I touched it) and supple hollow center, it is emblazoned with the company name and slogan; it stands singularly as one of the greatest hood ornaments in high-end audio. I dare you to find another. Behind the knob — hidden from sight, but not out of earshot — is a collection of three reference devices that could each demand their own separate enclosures. Firstly, it’s the volume control and preamp, itself being a Class-A dual mono design, each is implemented in a way to interfere less with the signal path, and introduce the music cleanly through to the amplifier. Secondly a full-fledged ladder DAC, and thirdly a world class MC phono-stage. It’s not often at this level of high-end performance that you find the principles of simplicity being implemented to reduce the clutter of overly separated components. No four-chassis dual-mono phono-stages here.
The TIDAL Impulse amplifier, is a single chassis dual-mono amplifier, designed to perfectly match the Preos in all aspects of design. Of course this amplifier is built out to the hilt with weighty components and gobs of power on reserve. But in the interest of delicacy and control, TIDAL offers the option to include a fully active crossover LPX-mono-module to actively control the bass section of various TIDAL reference speaker models. Each module is perfectly matched in phase and frequency, allowing different frequencies and bass response levels to be fully adjustable and to perfectly match the room (or taste) of the listener.
As tidy and spiritual as ever. Nothing exaggerated or considered of a particular house sound, unless you consider power, detail, and transparency to be a house sound. What is of note is that more and more I’m seeing one-branded-systems that sound extraordinarily good. This is also to include active loudspeakers which have found themselves now specifically tailored and considered to hold zero compromises. That lack of compromise is evident when I listen to a top-to-bottom TIDAL system. I’ve heard TIDAL speakers on other electronics and yet still fantastic at what they do, I don’t know if I’d choose going outside of the brand when trying to capture the magic. TIDAL has set out to create a holistic ecosystem-of-sound which not only impresses, it belittles the competition. Those who drudge through trial and error at this level in search for synergy often never to be found, will continue to puzzle me. Seldom do you find a perfectly executed showcase of synergy as what has been waiting patiently in a TIDAL one-branded-system.
Impulse Dual-Mono Stereo Amplifier – ($35,200 USD)
Reference Cables (prices vary with type and length)
DX Gen 3 Music Server – ($7,750 USD – $17,200 USD, 1TB – 8TB)
Neutron SW16 Digital ~ 1.5M Power cord – ($7,500 USD)
Raven AC-1 Turntable – ($15,500 USD)
10.5 Tonearm – ($5,500 USD)
Proteus Cartridge – ($6,000 USD)