Tidal for me will always be extremely special, a whole reason to start a dealership or even get into this hobby in the first place. The brand could quite happily have its very own luxury shop right in the heart of Mayfair or Knightsbridge selling just Tidal. It not only arguably deserves this but it would surely flourish exponentially if it did. Their recent partnership with Bugatti is a triumph of identity and market perception. It further clarifies their lofty status and the very highest design and manufacturing standards which they inexorably maintain.
For the size of the total world customer base, there are now too many High-end amplifier brands out there. Many of them are very competent and a select few are truly world class but not one of them can be built into a complete solution from end to end, streamer to DAC, amplification, cables and of course loudspeakers, everything perfectly sympathetic to everything else and designed by the same people in the same factory with the exact same principles, philosophies and know how. Added to this is the not inconspicuous price tag of the very top level Tidal system with La Assoluta floorstanders, a cool 1 million Euros, and it’s easy to understand why the company is simply out on its own, competing really only with itself.
Other brands have of course also tried to achieve a complete in house top to tail system, but being fair to the team from Koln, none even remotely near the level of a Tidal system. Then you get to the build quality, component choice and craftsmanship of this brand, recently aptly described by Jeff Fritz of Soundstage Ultra: “Their build and finish qualities, inside and outside the speaker, are the best I’ve seen on any audio product of any type.” Tidal is not only an ultra high-end product but also a true luxury product, in the same mould as say a Patek watch, a Leica M camera or indeed, a Bugatti hypercar.
Some customers might prefer Vitus and some prefer a vacuum tubed Allnic setup and a Tidal system does begin at a higher price point which will exclude some, but if you decide that the Tidal way of doing things is your bag, then yes, nothing in my experience will compete with Tidal at its own game. As all the reviews and awards point out, Tidal offers you the very highest levels of performance but in a package that is possibly unequalled for its liquidity, naturalness and feeling of sonic invisibility or “equipment not being there”. A “pure glass of water” is the phrase managing director Jorn Janczak likes to employ.