In my opinion their amplifiers are probably the best in the world. Their power amplifiers are still in the top 5 but at least you can find some competition here
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Azjake, rest assured, Tidal's electronics are no alibi products: same build quality, same musical prowess, same window on reality. Only, as Geopolitis points out, whereas the speakers are in a more exclusive niche, there is more competition as far as amps are concerned and I am aware of other amps driving Tidal speakers with superb results!
Unless ... we are talking about the the Presencio preamp. Tbg, yes imho that is in a league of its own
(in any case the best I ever heard by a considerable margin)
My pleasure Tbg!
Yes I am located in Frankfurt, Germany (btw, I noticed Audiogon have updated the country information for most 'Goners lately, just click on the moniker). So, please bear that in mind when I comment on price/quality relation. It's the "way of the world" I guess, but I notice some distributors take healthy margins and that works in both directions across the big pond.
In spite of such caution, I will commence by saying that to me the acquisition of the Preos was a no-brainer. I still bought the former unbalanced-only generation back in 2007 (potential buyers, no worry these went off the market around that time). Costly in absolute terms, I consider this some of the best value I ever went for. Why? Because I have both an analog and a digital rig and this machine was easily one of the references in BOTH disciplines! To me, the synergy with the Contriva was of course another argument, but also combined with other gear the Preos holds its status. Until the advent of the Presencio the Preos was simply the best I had had the opportunity to hear. I should add that the phono stage of the Tidal preamps is not in any way comparable with the add-ons, optional or not, that some of the well-known brands offer. People at Tidal are very "analog-minded" and the preamp was primarily developed with that goal. In another thread I have therefore not hesitated to call this the best MC phono-amp with volume control. Then again, in accordance with the reigning philosophy, when it came to building the line stage that had to be superior as well, of course, and so, here comes Preos. I can tick the boxes that leap to one's mind when trying to describe the sound: true to life tone and timbre of voices and instruments throughout all frequencies, micro detail but never detached from the overall flow (yeah I know, my own personal buzz-word), immediate dynamic response no matter how brutally huge the dynamics may be, fastness, clarity, ... or just make one observation: Together with a superior amp Preos will show you entirely how good a recording is, whether the artist's passion and vibrancy were catched, and what your source and speakers are able to reproduce.
Enter Presencio. This is stellar. Period. Sadly, it is also stellarly priced. Then again, I found out it is - take a deep breath - reasonably priced. Lothar, Tidal's "amp-guy", told me he had been experimenting and came up with something that even in its raw form left everyone with the desire to explore the outer limit of The Possible. However the financial outlay for building this machine proved to become so huge, they had to find people willing to commit more or less in advance they'd go for it (a soon-to-be Tidalist yourself, it will not surprise you they succeeded in doing that, luckily).
I had the pleasure of witnessing the completion of the first machine in Lothar's "laboratory" and heard it the first time in his system next to the Preos. Fellow Mere Mortals, the Preos remains one of the greatest preamps out there. Presencio is otherworldly, or no, that is a wrong label, Presencio is actually the one that brings you nearest to the real world of real music.
Tbg, having heard both Tidal Preos and Presencio I agree with Karel that they are simply the number one and number two preamps in the world. The only preamp I would rate close to Preos is the Sovereign Director. Nothing else..
And let' not forget that you get the best phonostages in the world in the package!
no I haven't heard the Ypsilon gear but other people that I know and trust their opinion are not that impressed. For example an ex-Wavac distributor told me that the Wavac PR-X2 was clearly better preamplifier than the Ypsilon pre when they compared them a couple of years ago.
If you consider the fact that both Tidal Preos and Sovereign Director are miles ahead of the Wavac PR-T1 (I heard the differences between the Preos and the big Wavac with my own ears) then you understand that Ypsilon are not up there with the Tidal amps.
absolutely not. Sovereign amps are in a different league altogether. But I would buy the Aaron Cineast No.22 anytime instead of the Krell Evolution preamps or the cheaper offerings by Burmester or Octave.
When I replaced my Aaron preamplifier with the Sovereign Director was like I was driving a Porsche instead of a Toyota...
I'm very happy with my Tidal Preos.
It adds life to the music!
The only problem is that I don't have balanced input!
I'm using some XLR->RCA converters with some DACs and this is not good.
So, now I want to have preamp with balanced input but can't imagine what can be at least with the same quality?
Can someone suggest?
De-escallate guys, this is not religion, we're actually supposed to enjoy this.
For my own part, this is merely a way to share information on brilliant or not-so-brilliant music I heard and the gear that reproduced it.
Now, the mighty Tidal Presencio has been such a unique experience that I will actually use the qualification "best" for it. Might there be a hermite designer somewhere who could do even "best-er" provided he had access to at least the same quality of parts and assembly craftmanship - in itself a formidable feat! If someone knows one, please stand up and speak but no use jumping into any debate if one hasn't actually heard the Presencio as well.
Tidal Preos? One of the best for sure. Pinpointing it in second place? In my own world and opinion, yes. (To get that out of the way, Bill, I am of course biased because I already put my hard-earned money where my mouth is.) That being so, I'd urge everyone on a quest for their own "best" to have the Preos on the shortlist. Could it change? Why yes, the Presencio showed "better" can happen right in the next room. And if someone else's system, preferred music, personal taste, listening habits or indeed considerations of diminishing return lead to another personal champion that is perfectly valid.
What I would hope for on the other hand is that people only judge gear they've actually heard and don't discard things because they don't like the brand, don't like the place it's built, don't like others speaking in favor, don't like hypes in general or just because it's Monday.
I think this type of discourse starts when we use the term "best" and forget to include "to my ears" or "that I have heard" or "in my opinion" or "obviously others may prefer other types of (insert peice of equipment here)"...I would agree with the opinion that it should be about fun and sharing, but I also recognize not everyone thinks the same and so from time to time we end up debating the word "best"...
I don't always assume "in his own experience" is implied everytime someone uses "best" to describe a peice of equipment. I would agree there are times that is what is meant, but there are also times it is meant literally. If we wanted to avoid the debate altogether we could just say "my personal favorite" instead of "best" and remove the competitive nature of the word altogether...
I have no dog in this hunt, I was only commenting on why threads sometimes get into the attack and defend tone this one has in places.
I have not heard the Preos so I have no basis to describe it relative to anything else I have heard. There are several preamps I have heard that I really like, I bought the one I own now based on my enjoyment of it, but am under no delusion to the extent that I consider it "best" as I wouldn't even know what the rating system used to make such a determination would be. I just know I enjoy it immensely and if someone else should listen to the same pre and like it, good for them, if not, I could understand that too.
carry on and enjoy the listening!
I'm very interesting as well to listing to the Tidal electronics in my own system. They are not cheap, but not that expensive, looking at the prices of ultra high-end audio nowadays. (except the Presencio :)).
I've recently bought a pair of Tidal speakers and am waiting on delivery. Impatiently waiting, but will be well worth the wait :). Really thrilled since I loved the sound when I listened to them previously. It was a full Tidal system, speakers, amp and pre-amp, except for the CD player. It was actually the Presencio that was used as pre-amp.
Very natural sounding, fast and musical. Could listen to it all day long. And the room wasn't even acoustically treated. I like the fact that some (or maybe all, not sure on that) of the Tidal speaker can be adjusted based on room hardness, lots of reflections or not. Makes them easy to integrate in any listening environment. I enjoy that since I'll put them in my living room and choose the best setting. My wife doesn't allow me to have the living room decorated with all sorts of bass traps, acoustic panels etc. :)
When I get my Tidal speakers at home in a month or so (I hope), I'll try to get the Tidal Impact stereo amp at home as well for a more thorough comparison with my current electronics. Will share my findings on this forum.
Well thanks guys for this lengthy and interesting group of answers, Audiofeil not withstanding...
I'm 58 yrs. young with 30 years in the music business in audio/video recording and production. I have made my share of bad choices as well as greatly satisfying ones both as pertains to cables and components but have tried to learn by listening and perfecting my true audio goals such as they are for true musical enjoyment where a neutral presentation is tantamount to realism!
Short story...I have just signed on to purchase the entire Tidal line.4 Impacts, Presencio,Active crossover,Sunray wired with MY choice of Argento Flowmaster cables on F.E. racks and Esoteric digital,Technics Mk3 and Garrard 301 by Steve Dobbins...
I waited a lifetime to get off the merry-go-round and i have absolute certainty in my choices, but NO LESS RESPECT for others and they're paths!
Enjoy music,not hardware!
Azjake, I stand here facing west knowing I'm looking in the direction of a divine-system-to-be. And if my raving about my own experience with Tidal has helped the tiniest little bit of a shred of a fragment in arriving at your decision, I feel genuinely proud. In Munich, 37 days from now, I hope to hear the same Tidal amp/speaker set-up with a Da Vinci analog source.
Congratulations, dear friend, enjoy the music!
You will indeed be happy to know that both your love for music and descriptions of what you were hearing was indeed a healthy piece of the puzzle and for that i thank you!
Geopolitis, you have waved the Tidal flag almost from the beginning and have listed fairly all the other top 4 contenders out there [at least as you and i see it!] Your belief and passion for the hobby is obvious and it has helped me to audition Argento's line as well so a THANKS goes out to you as well...:0)
Finally, my dear Pinkus...As i have admitted earlier i have drank the Koolaid on MORE then one occassion and it's bitter aftertaste has made me much the better judge! So if this too shall be Koolaid then i shall drink heartily knowing much of what you listed i have already had so i was on the right track...:0)
I thank you all for your well wishes and shall now go into that mode of a child waiting for Christmas day!
There has been much discussion of the Sovereign, Tidal, and other electronics here. Now that I have my Contrivas at least initially broken in, I am beginning to wonder if the 100 watt H-Cat amp that I have may become congressed in loud passages.
The US importer recommends 200 watts into 8 ohm amps, but the Tidal Impact amp only does 140 watts into 8 ohms. The Sovereign Glory seems to be 240 watts into 8 ohms.
My question is whether any of you have found your amplifiers to lack necessary wattage on the Tidals?
Also I notice on the Glory review that it lacks binding posts or at least looks like it has only banana connections. Is this true and does it cause a problem?
I own the Sovereign Power and it is true that the binding posts accept bananas. But I managed to remove the protective plastic around them to use my Argento Flow speaker cable that have spades termination.
Regarding amplification power I believe that if you want to enjoy the full dynamic range that these speakers can offer, even a Sovereign Glory could be challenged. To be honest I believe that the Contriva should be driven by a set of Sovereign Eternity monoblock amplifiers. These speakers need a lot of power. I recently tried the Sovereign Power (165Wrms) with the Tidal Piano Cera and it had some difficulties when music was very loud. The Glory would be a perfect match for the Ceras.
Hi Tbg, although I have lately pleaded for generous amplification with the Tidals myself (it would indeed be a crying shame to leave these speakers famished), I would see the matter less dramatic as to define minimum requirements of 200w per channel for the Contriva. I perfectly understand it leaves one with a feeling of "must have" when Tidal's own web page states: "To use the whole enormous dynamic range of it and listening complex music also from time to time very loud we recommend 200 watts at 8 ohm." Yet, I have been living with the previous model Contriva driven by a Tidal Intra - which delivers something like 2x 120 watts - in a fairly large room. Sure, I have felt the desire to own a pair of Impact monos (and still do ;^)), but, in honesty, not because the speakers were in obvious need of more juice. Of course, stable and fast the appropriate amp should be, allowing the horse called "Music" to jump, run and kick freely as far and high and fast as it can but, by all means, never suffocate it with its bridle. I believe.
In addition to Geopolitis's list, an alternative product that may fill the bill where high power output is demanded is Karan, starting with KA-PAS 450 delivering 2x 360 watts into 8 Ώ and performing naturally and musically refined; no guarantee though, just gut feeling based on limited time spent listening to it in another system.
On my personal auditioning wish-list, I would like to hear what a couple of Einstein OTLs (The Final Cut MK 60) would be able to do paired with Contrivas, although that translates in 2x 60 watts only,... just being curious...