Tidal’s Bugatti and “Regular” lines

Time and again at AXPONA and Munich, I’ve seemed to play tag with Robert Harley and Tom Martin of TAS. In the Tidal room, my appointment followed theirs; at the Ideon press conference and Peter McGrath’s CH Precision / Wilson demos, Tom and I sat close to each other. Clearly, we’re drawn to the same quality gear.

Tidal was surely up there in the quality department. Making its second show appearance ever, the Tidal Bugatti active Royale System with MC-1 Digital Controller (base price $465,000 with starter cables) did itself proud by delving deep into Musica Nuda’s recording of “I Will Survive.” Vocal reproduction was as excellent as the depiction of space in and depth in Mahler Symphony No. 5. In an anything-but-ideal room, low bass from this elegant system was quite good.

Tidal Brand Ambassador Doug White (also a Tidal dealer; left in photo) and Tidal Founder, Engineer, and CEO Jörn Janczak (right) repeatedly emphasized that Tidal’s Bugatti line is something apart. To quote a follow-up email from White, “It is perhaps the most extreme audiophile product we have ever built. But it is not for those who believe that many big boxes make better results and who only value systems of that nature.” It is, rather, Janczak’s “vision of the future.”

Jancack first began work on the speaker design years before he was approached by Bugatti. When Bugatti contacted Janczak about creating a Bugatti-inspired audio line, Janczak set to work.

Technologies developed for Bugatti have trickled down to Tidal’s lower-cost Intra, Contros, and soon-to-be-released AP1 amplified speaker. Sounding almost as good—the system betrayed some hard treble edge—Tidal’s Contriva G3 speakers ($79,000/pair, shown in Mahogany Veneer that costs $5000 extra) received power and signal from Tidal’s new Ferios G2 mono amplifiers ($95,000/pair) and Contros digital controller ($61,000). The new Ferios G2 mono amp replace the original Ferios amp, which, like so many divas of the past, saw the handwriting on the wall and gracefully made its exit.

Towering quietly to one side and not photographed stood Tidal’s new Sunray G3 loudspeakers ($450,000/pair). A replacement for Tidal’s top-line La Assoluta, the Sunray longed for a demo all its own. In Warsaw perhaps, in a room that can handle deep bass with aplomb?

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