Tidal Contriva Diacera SE Loudspeaker Review

August 10, 2010

Marc Mickelson has posted a review of the Tidal Contriva Diacera SE loudspeakers ($58,200/pair) at The Audio Beat. Here is an excerpt:

I have only praise for this quality of the speakers — no matter what is responsible for it. Ease and resolution are often at odds in lesser audio components, with one reducing the sense of the other. With the Contriva Diacera SEs, they coexist deftly. Music poured from the speakers like water, no matter its scale or dynamics. A light-footed, spacious recording like the Bobo Stenson Trio's Cantando [ECM 2023] showed a touch of the aridity that characterizes so many ECM recordings, while Hope Waits' robust self-titled debut [Radarproof Records 1019] could seemingly flex the walls with its big dynamics and potent bass. The Contriva Diacera SEs transported me into the Bobo Stenson CD, while bringing Hope Waits and her band into my listening room, which seemed just barely big enough for them.

It would be easiest to say that the Tidal speakers were simply conduits for the recordings, but that doesn't adequately describe them, because their own contributions were always apparent. Instead, they possessed an unerring textural connectedness and an innate sense of momentum and flow. Every recording sounded individual and distinct while either drifting or cascading from the speakers. This is an unusual quality, and heretofore impossible for speakers that use ceramic drivers to achieve — at least in my experience. So many of these that I've heard had a certain tightness — the exact opposite of bloom — that was immediately recognizable. Not so with the Tidal speakers, which displayed obvious, even copious bloom throughout the midrange and into the upper bass. It occurred to me while I was listening to the XRCD of Diana Krall's All For You [Impulse!/JVC 532 360-9] that its inherent sound was much like that of the Contriva Diacera SEs: more about natural timbres, tonal rightness and overall beauty than clinical precision and ultimate vividness. Recording and speaker were made for each other, the piano on "Deed I Do" sounding lively and vivid amidst Krall's always-relaxed singing.

You can read the full review here.