Friday, May 20, 2011

Tidal Piano Cera

If the Blade is outwardly a technological tour de force, the 2.5-way Tidal Piano Cera from Germany, with its new black-anodized ceramic drivers and graphite-coated ceramic tweeter, looks quite conventional by comparison. Priced at 15,500€ per pair, the Piano Cera shrouds its sonic prowess in piano-black lacquer of a quality that is quite uncommon. In fact, the slim proportions easily conceal that this is a 117-pound speaker built quite heroically. Even still, there are no exotic cabinet materials and the drivers are made to Tidal's specs by Accuton, another German firm. That description doesn't sound state of the art.
When it plays music, though, is when you begin to understand that this is no plain-Jane loudspeaker. With bass articulation and weight that belie its modest proportions and coherence that is nigh-on perfect, the Tidal Piano Cera is a stark reminder that the underlying design -- not the cosmetic flourishes or the story -- is ultimately what is key to sound quality. The Piano Cera isn't just different from most other speakers I heard at High End 2011; it's better.