CAF 2018: VIMBERG, TIDAL Audio, TW-Acustic, Transfiguration, Antipodes, and Skogrand


I may have misspoke, or left a few of my earlier proclamations about the newest VIMBERG speakers less than acutely defined. If you are a listener of our Occasional Podcast, or reader of our little sister publication, then you may have heard me refer to the VIMBERG Mino loudspeakers as possibly the greatest bargain in hi-fi. To eat my own words for being less than accurate, the VIMBERG Mino loudspeakers are indeed not the greatest bargain in hi-fi. To be clear, they are the greatest bargain in Ultra-High-End audio.


The Story

I abandoned my usual show-going ritual of finding Doug White of The Voice That Is! on the first day of the show. I normally visit Doug’s rooms first as they consistently set the bar for best-in-show sound. Visiting a VIMBERG / TIDAL Audio room during a show opening imparts an audible experience I can call upon when touring and summing-up other showrooms. During my previous visit with The Voice That Is! at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, I had the pleasure of taking the first ever press photos of the new VIMBERG speaker line. VIMBERG is a new brand of ultra-high-end loudspeaker from recognized designer Jörn Janczak. You may know that name from his other company, TIDAL Audio. You know, the company famous for delivering cost-no-object loudspeakers, costing in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and each sounding every bit the part?

I’ve been drooling over TIDAL loudspeakers for some time now. So much so, that I’ve also been wishing for the day to come when a wealthy inheritance, or myself writing a best-selling novel enables me to financially make that leap. As of today, I wish no more. Entering VIMBERG; take the best material sourcing, pedigree engineering, and then draw upon decades of wisdom and craftsmanship — what you are left with is the VIMBERG Mino ($29,000 USD) loudspeaker. Possibly not the greatest bargain in hi-fi, but definitely the greatest bargain in ultra-high-end audio.

Imagine with me for a moment. Let’s say Bugatti decided that they wanted to build a car under a new company name that sold for under $30k (USD). This new car would look, smell, and drive like a $215,000 USD Bugatti. Albeit some minor engineering and production compromises would have to be made to achieve the desired new price point, but overall — the experience and emotions it would produce would be almost identical those known from Bugatti. That is what TIDAL Audio founder Jörn Janczak has just done with the development of the new VIMBERG company.

Speaking with the founder and creator of all things TIDAL and VIMBERG — Jörn Janczak — I learned about the personal mission he has with VIMBERG. Take everything he has learned with TIDAL over the last two decades and apply that wisdom and artisanship toward a new line (and market) of speakers.

The new VIMBERG venture will upset many competitors in, around, and above the $30k price range. Once I heard the new VIMBERG Mino loudspeakers, I began to question Jörn’s sanity.

On static display were a few familiar face-plates from Zesto Audio; the Andros Téssera phono-stage, and Leto preamplifier.


The Sound

During a listening session with “The Voice That Is!” owner Doug White — a premium dealer for VIMBERG (and TIDAL Audio) — I looked over at Doug shaking my head in disbelief, with that “Is Jörn Janczak crazy?” look written all over my face. Doug looked back, and without saying a word, his face said — “Yes.” #shining

With miles of experience listening to TIDAL Audio electronics, with TW-Acustic at the analog helm, I consider myself more than familiar with the The Voice That Is! sound. When Doug fired-up the music I couldn’t believe my ears.

Obviously the new VIMBERG models, of which the Mino is currently the smallest, will call into question the legitimacy of speakers from other manufacturers who have only ever designed and built their flagship efforts up to the $30-$50,000 (USD) mark. The new VIMBERG company mission is light work for Jörn Janczak.

The new VIMBERG line isn’t exactly going to run though its competition like a bull, it’s going to run through them like a whole herd of bulls. In some ways, I can’t bare to watch, but I also can’t stop smiling.

The Award Sighting


The audio show circuit can seem more like an audio show circus at times. However, every so often a standout show-going experience happens in an audio show room and we’re left as journalist wanting to eschew our journalistic duties and set-up camp for the rest of the day. As to what factors in achieving this award — it’s everything.

Everything from the system’s sound, to its synergy, to music choices, to exhibiting creativity, to an individual product blowing us away, to the overall experience and atmosphere of a room engaging the audience (both in system and the hosts), on down to having great literature on what’s new, and complete system breakdown sheets with pricing information available for take home. A great room entertains, engages, and informs. Everything matters.

The System


– Mino Floorstanding Loudspeaker – $29,000 USD


– Preos Preamplifier – $32,900 USD

– Impulse Dual-Mono Amplifier – $33,000 USD


– Raven AC-1 Turntable – $15,500 USD

– Raven 10.5 Tonearm – $5,500 USD


– Proteus Cartridge – $6,000 USD

Antipodes Audio

– DX Gen 3 Music Server (1TB) – $7,800 USD

All cabling by SKOGRAND CABLES
HRS VXR Audio Stands
StillPoints Aperture Panels and Isolation Devices