Capitol Audio Fest 2011

Capitol Audio Fest 2011

September 2011


Capitol Audio Fest 2011

"... 'The Voice That Is' is the name of a Newtown Square, PA, retailer and when I walked into their room, I had no idea what equipment I was listening to, as it was - again - totally dark!

But the music playing, Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Tin Pan Alley," took me back a quarter century, when all you heard at audio shows was this cut. But it never sounded this good back then!

As my eyes accommodated to the darkness, I could make two pairs of TIDAL speakers, the floorstanding Piano Diaceras behind stand-mounted Ameas. Both feature ceramic-cone woofers and a diamond-dome tweeter but it was the Diaceras that were playing,connected with Argento cable to a TIDAL Impact 140Wpc stereo amplifier and a TIDAL Preas preamp. Source was a MacBook Pro feeding USB data to a dCS Debussy D/A. 


As if to confirm that it was 1987, the next track played was "Le temps passé" from the Michel Jonasz CD L'Histoire de Monsieur Swing. This is what I am talking about - a huge, stable soundstage, extending way beyond the speaker positions; smooth, grain-free highs, tight, tuneful, deep lows, and a pure, coloration-free midrange - and all of this in service of the music, adding to the experience instead of substituting for it.
It doesn't get much better than this!"

"The room was not just special, it was damn near perfect....

...the decor, setup and gear were spectacular. The sound quality? Absurdly good. Doug White, president of The Voice That Is, totally hit it out of the park with this setup.

The look and feel of this unit, and the matching Impact stereo amp, were truly bespoke. Every exposed surface gleamed piano-black or liquid silver. This is some seriously upscale gear and quite easily ran away with the CAF 2011 Beauty Contest crown.

All TIDAL speakers feature custom-made-for-TIDAL Accuton drivers that were neither cold nor harsh (a criticism I’ve heard about ceramic drivers generally but still have yet to actually hear in person) but very linear and totally neutral.

While both speakers had a very full sound, the most arresting thing was how they nailed up a sound stage that had pin-point imaging and crystal-clear sonics. Ever heard how reviewers will trot out the cliche about how a given component provides “an open window on the music?”. Well, the sound in the TIDAL room is going to make me dig up another one: “What happened to the window?”.