If there ever was a high-end company building audio components that could corrupt a monk, TIDAL Audio is it. Much like Vito Corleone’s offer you just can’t refuse, TIDAL wares are in a very exclusive club of luxury products that make everyone trustworthy ‘I couldn’t say no’ list. That is to say, if I were offered an all TIDAL system as my only way of listening to music, I would be unable to refuse the offer.
Most of this comes down to the sound of course, where TIDAL Audio is simply perfect in execution. Every piece of TIDAL gear I’ve heard just sounds premium. Their bandwidth is wide, distortion low, and dynamics as varied and controlled as one could ever wish for, but even with all of its technical finesse, TIDAL equipment always lets the most important parts of the music come through, with a purity and focus that many high-end brands (and listeners) miss. This is the Bugatti to several other brands’ Bentley or Rolls Royce.
Words and Photography by Grover Neville
Supporting these efforts in America is Doug White of The Voice That Is — a man I can comfortably call one of the classiest in hi-fi. I have had the pleasure of interacting with Doug over the years at international trade shows like Axpona and regional hi-fi shows like Capital Audio Fest, and he is consistently organized, insightful, warm and genuine. It doesn’t hurt that any exhibit space he sets-up will almost certainly clinch a best-of-show prize for sound before the expo is over.
I recently had the pleasure of hearing a few of TIDAL’s newest creations during their public debut in North America — that would be the Contros Digital Controller and the Contriva G3 loudspeaker. Paired with the immensely powerful TIDAL Intra Stereo Amplifier which my fellow co-conspirator Eric Franklin Shook is well familiar with, I was struck by how much value this system provides. In the realm of summit-fi this system has a level of convenience and synergy you’ll be scant to find elsewhere; one could easily spend much more and get very much less.
The simplicity of Mr. White’s expo system was comprised of a TIDAL Contros Digital Controller handling digital source, digital-to-analog conversion, and volume control duties, using design principles found in the TIDAL for Bugatti Royale MC-1—while the Intra Stereo Amplifier handled amplification duties. Doug played track-after-track of sheer excellence, music that drew me in and simultaneously supplied plenty of ear candy. We just don’t get to hear things like this very often.
While I have laid ears on several TIDAL systems before, there was a rightness and purity to the sound of this system I found surprisingly more irresistible than in my past experiences. Perhaps the immersion came from the new completely exclusive TIDAL Diamond Black Ceramic and Carbon-fiber Aluminum drivers in the Contriva G3 that were just a little more effortless than before, or the Intra which seems less a class-D derivation of amplifier and more an amplifier in its own class entirely — one devoid of notions of class topology, and simply transmitting music like pure water.
Or maybe it was the Contros with its R2R and ASRT² Analog Remediation technology, which seemed to take the system even further into refinement and coherence than other third-party converters have. Regardless, everything here just worked, and the more TIDAL that gets into the system, the more I like it. With each generation the house sound becomes an even purer expression of the coherence and beauty at the core of the TIDAL Audio ethos: “We Build Emotions.”
I cannot think of another manufacturer with such a seamless product line. I’d go as far as to say TIDAL products are symbiotic, they deserve each other. All are top notch separately, yet they deserve to be heard together, where they coalesce to harmony in that uniquely TIDAL way. If you happen to find yourself in search of new peaks to ascend in the world, include amongst them: the view from K2, sunset atop the Salar de Uyuni, and an all-TIDAL system from Doug White at The Voice That Is.
About the Author
Wanderer, Wonderer, Musician, Actor
Grover Neville resides in
sunny Los Angeles, California, and is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music where he studied music and creative writing. After graduating he pursued a freelance career in audio, and professional research in the fields of Auditory Cognition, Psychoacoustics, and Experimental Hydrophone Design. He is a native of Chicago, Illinois and previously did work there as a mixing and mastering engineer, working in music genres such as Avant-garde Classical and Jazz.
As a transplant to Los Angeles, Grover still works in the music industry, but now adds the video game and film industries to his calling. He is actively pursuing a career as an independent musician, composer, and producer.
Grover previously contributed to Innerfidelity, Audiostream, and Part-Time Audiophile—before becoming an editor and co-founder of INDULGR magazine.