I had a few questions when I walked into the Artisan Fidelity room at AXPONA 2023 and came face to face with a full TIDAL Audio system. Is TIDAL Audio going to sound okay in one of these small upstairs hotel rooms? Who is Artisan Fidelity, a TIDAL Audio dealer? Aren’t they the company that restores classic turntables and sets them into beautiful plinths? Why isn’t one of those turntables in the room so I can caress it lovingly?
Words and Photos by Marc Phillips
As it turns out, the answers are all yes except for the last one–I would have loved to see an Artisan Fidelity turntable in the flesh. But Christopher Thornton is a TIDAL Audio dealer, one of a very few in the US. (Doug White of The Voice That Is, of course, has been the guiding force behind this German company’s presence in the US for many years.) But let’s answer those questions.
First, was the TIDAL Audio system to much for the room? Not at all! While I would have picked something like the Vimberg Ameas for this room, the Contriva G2 Macassar Ebony loudspeakers ($75,000/pr USD) did not overpower the space. The rest of this Artisan Fidelity system was no less impressive: Ferios monoblocks ($85,000/pr), Prisma preamplifier ($41,000), Camira DMC DAC ($40,000), Arkas streamer ($29,000) and an Innuos Zenith Mk.3 used as a Roon core. All was connected with products from my favorite Greek cable company, Signal Projects.
I expected trouble in the Artisan Fidelity room–maybe it’s because I only hear TIDAL Audio in big whomping rooms. But this system settled into the physical boundaries, poked around and found out the best way to achieve a coherent and refined sound. In fact, I only have one comment scribbled in my notebook–“Beautiful!” It’s obvious that Christopher Thornton has expanded Artisan Fidelity into a full audio salon, matching the finest gear with those stunningly restored record playing machines. He evidently knows plenty about room set-up.
As for the final question, the one about the paucity of Artisan Fidelity turntables in the room, was never answered because I didn’t ask. At one point I wasn’t even sure if this was the same company. But an hour or so after I left the room, Matthew Partrick texted me and told me that Christopher Thornton said he has a Garrard 401 for me to check out. It took me a minute to make the connection, but then I realized yes, this is the Artisan Fidelity I know. I’d be honored to take a listen.
If you would like to hear even more coverage from AXPONA 2023, check out our recap report and highlights from our audiophile-oriented show The Occasional Podcast. You can stream the episode direct from the embed below, or from your favorite podcast platform including iTunes, Android, Google, Deezer, Spotify, iHeartRadio and more.
Also don’t forget to check out our collaboration to commemorate the event with our solid bronze record weight available only for a limited run. This 800 grams of solid bronze features the PTA roundel on the top with also acts as a 45 adapter. You can purchase direct from the PTA Approved Store here on the site.