CAF 2018: Bricasti, Tidal and the Last Word in Inner Detail

When Eric Franklin Shook and I arrived at the 2018 Capital Audiofest, we decided to mix up the coverage so that neither of us would be covering the same rooms as we did at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest just a few weeks before. I did regret that I wouldn’t have another shot at spending time with those Vimberg speakers from The Voice That Is, but I was relieved when I walked into the big Bricasti room and saw a drop-dead-gorgeous pair of Tidal Audio Contriva Diacera speakers. I knew I was in for a treat.

The Bricasti Ultimatum

I’m not quite as familiar with Bricasti as other members of the PTA team—this might have been the first time I’ve seen them in the flesh. All of these components are massively built and impressive in their no-nonsense, hyper-industrial style. As you might expect with a system powering a pair of big Tidals, these components are expensive, but the sound this system produced was so resolving, so clearly laid out and so meticulously organized that I could almost feel the detail brushing up against my chest. My notes echo a Radiohead song—everything was in its right place.

This system included most of the current Bricasti line—the M28 monoblocks ($30,000/pair), the M12 dual mono source controller ($16,000), the M5 network player ($2400), and the M21 D/A Platinum Edition ($19,000). The rack was also filled with a reserve of Bricasti brethren such as the M25 dual mono power amplifier ($19,900), M15 stereo amplifier ($14,900) and the M1 D/A special edition ($10,000). The cabling was provided by Gotham, all the components sat on Stillpoints and the room was treated with ASC IsoThermal TubeTraps.

The Last Detail

I know what some of you are thinking. Highly resolving? Tons of inner detail? Hyper-industrial? Sure, buddy, but is this gear musical? Of course it is. I was treated to an hour of symphonic orchestra pieces, and I immediately noticed razor-sharp transient edges and an overall super-fast sound. At the same time I noticed the system’s keen sense for realistic decay within the incredibly big soundstage. Room boundaries of the original recording venue had a spectacular sense of definition and were undeterred by the present space. This Tidal/Bricasti system also delivered huge crescendos with plenty of visceral impact without going over the top. Pipe organs and massed voices were exhilarating and not overwhelming.

This was yet another room that sucked me through the door, plopped me in the sweet spot and kept me listening for way too long. I’m not a music lover who necessarily needs this level of resolution to be happy, but when it’s surrounded by such a natural and musical whole, I find it positively intoxicating.

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