HIGH END Munich 2023 Show Report – Part 4

TIDAL Audio GmbH
was demonstrating a couple all new products. The system at front included the all new Contriva G3 loudspeaker €65,000 / pr, its first show demonstration. This new speaker incorporates new drivers and new Tiralit cabinet for even higher performance. The Contriva G3 is a 3-way dynamic design that uses the all-new drivers: 30 mm Gen3 diamond tweeter; 173 mm Gen 4 black ceramic midrange and; twin 220 mm carbon-fiber aluminum woofers. The latest (August 2022) Piano G3 loudspeaker €49,000 / pair was also in rotation. I heard the Contriva G3 with a TIDAL Contros – digital music controller/DAC €45,000 and their Intra Stereo Amplifier €29,000.

This system was amazingly tactile, having tight controlled bass that was effortlessly dynamic. The top end was silky and seasoned with a beautiful sparkle, while the overall tone was incredibly realistic as exemplified by piano music. Yet, as amazing as the sound of this system was, I wasn’t prepared for what lie ahead.

TIDAL for Bugatti – Royale Series
Jörn Janczak and his wife Miriam, invited me to attend a private event at the end of the day on Saturday. Only a half dozen or so given this limited opportunity to hear the Bugatti – Royale Series.

Jörn personally provided me with an explanation on his inspiration and origin of the series and even showed me his original concept drawings. The Royale Series is comprised of the MC-1 fully discrete streamer / DAC €58,000 and Royale 4-way hybrid-active powered loudspeaker €355,000. The svelte and utterly sexy monocoque cabinet houses TIDAL’s T4B diamond tweeter, diamond midrange, twin 173 mm aluminum-magnesium woofers and hidden internal side-firing 270 mm subwoofers. The tracks played, included: Spiegel im Speigel (A. Dubeau); Bubles (Y. Horikawa) and; I Will Survive (Spinetti & Magoni). What I heard…well, it was magnificent! Without reservation, I can say that the Royale system is the most transparent and lifelike audio system that I’ve ever heard. The rendering was ultra-detailed…from the nano-to-macro-level. It seemed that the soundstage and performers were holographically projected in space, and the harmonics were complete and accompanied by lifelike micro-dynamics, fine textures and authentic timbre. Not only was I astounded with what I heard but I was instantly moved to emotion. Bar none – the Bugatti by TIDAL Royale system was undeniable the best sound heard at the Munich HIGH END, a game changer in high-end audio.

FYNE Audio
Within this FYNE room…pun intended, the Vintage Fifteen €35,000 / pr, along with the all-new prototype F703SP loudspeaker est. €20,000 / pr were setup with a choice of Unison Research Performance 25th Anniversary tube integrated amplifer or Rega Aethos integrated amplifier, with a Rega P10 turntable and a Rega ISIS CDP as sources. Cables were by Chord, their Sarum series.

The music in the room had immense natural warmth and an engaging tone. In the room, I had the pleasure of meeting Paul Mills; founding member and partner of Fyne and famed Tannoy engineer and designer of past years. It is amazing what Paul has accomplished with Fyne Audio, together with his partner, since the company’s first products launched in 2018.

Nagra & Modulum
The Nagra room hosted a system a gorgeous stack of components all set upon Modulum racks and stands. Rene Laflamme from Nagra, demonstrated the system for me.

The system was comprised of a plethora of components. On the top shelf: (left) Nagra’s 70th Anniversary Reference turntable and tonearm U.S. $185k with Reference MC-4 cartridge U.S. $18,500, while, on the right sat a Nagra IV-S analog reel-to-reel tape recorder.

On the second shelf (left) sat the all-new prototype HD Phono preamplifier (exp. fall 2023), with the Nagra VII 70th Anniversary Edition digital recorder, to the right. On the third shelf (left) was the all-new HD Preamp with its Power Supply below, while to the left was the Classic DAC II U.S. $18,500 with Classic Power Supply below. A pair of HD AMP monoblocks flanked the system, that was playing through a pair of grand black Wilson Alexx V loudspeakers.

Listing to vinyl, I took note of the delicate piano notes accompanied by a pristinely clear treble that was airy and cool. Bass notes were springy and articulate, with evident micro dynamics and liquidity. A vocal track with the new Classic DAC demonstrated very natural flow, inherent warmth and superb image separation.

PART V (coming soon)