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Tidal Contriva Diacera SE
Piano black, Gorgeous, musical, and at a steal of a price!
Traded in on a pair of Vivid G2 Giyas, These Piano Black beauties are in 8.5/10 condition (only because of the drivers being Accuton white, not the latest black color.), with flight cases and all accessories included. A rare opportunity to own a beautiful, classic loudspeaker at a fraction of its retail price. Featuring the outrageously expensive 30mm diamond tweeter as well as the crossover technology deployed in the Sunray. The finish is without blemish on either speaker, evidence that they have been very well taken care of.
The sound is open, airy, slightly more forward in soundstage placement than the Vivid loudspeakers, with spectacular image width, depth height and placement of instruments. If you like midrange richness, layering, presence and "snap", this is a phenomenal speaker. This is a physically large speaker, that in my opinion needs a decent amount of power to get the most out of them. I would recommend the Luxman M800 or the new NCore NC1200 based Atsah monoblocks with a tube preamplifier like the Modwright LS 36.5.
About the speakers
The Contriva Diacera SE is a large floorstanding speaker of exceptional visual style. Its swept-back appearance and gleaming hand-applied lacquer finish give it a striking visual aesthetic. It looks expensive, and (at retail) it is. $58,200 per pair to be exact.
Tidal uses drivers from Accuton along with capacitors and inductors from Mundorf. The headlining part of the Contriva Diacera SE however is the tweeter. Tidal incorporates Accuton's largest diamond-dome model customized specifically for Tidal. The 7" midrange and dual 9" woofers use ceramic cones whose extreme stiffness yields greater output at lower levels of distortion. The diamond dome of the Contriva Diacera SE's tweeter pushes resonance up far beyond the limit of human hearing.
The Contriva Diacera SE's cabinet is constructed of HP-MDF, a variation of medium-density fiberboard that's created under high pressure. Cabinet walls are up to 3.6" thick, and the cabinet is extensively braced inside to increase stiffness and rigidity.
These speakers do like to be out away from the wall behind them, but don't need a huge room or listening distance to sound cohesive. I listen from about 7-8 feet away, with the speakers about 4 feet away from the wall behind them. Tidal has a bass tuning system it calls the "Aerotune System." It involves plugging one of each speaker's rear ports, or plugging neither of them. Tidal provides a nicely made, fist-sized foam stopper for this. With one port plugged, the speaker is said to be essentially flat at 30Hz and provide the most linear bass. With neither port plugged, there is a 3dB rise beginning at 35Hz. The differences are clearly audible, with no plugs offering a fuller, warmer sound (too warm in my situation, so the plugs stay in). The second feature has no spiffy name, but it involves removing a jumper to effect a 2dB dip in the speaker's treble range. Installing the jumper adds the 2dB back, producing what's referred to in the manual as "full open treble." As with plugging the port, this jumper makes an obvious difference.
Residential lift-gate shipping via freight (500 pounds) is required. I will carefully plastic wrap the speakers before inserting into the shipping cases to avoid abrasions on the finish.
"...I can say confidently, that I have not encountered a better made speaker, prior to the time the Contrivas arrived in my listening room. That includes most of what I can remember of my speaker reviewing experiences and all of my CES experiences....
...Phrases such as “high frequency air”, “midrange presence” and “low frequency performance”, seem mundane in comparison to what's really going on. The performers, especially musicians, and vocalists, came through with more realism than what I had experienced before...
...I’d be hard pressed to imagine that there is a loudspeaker significantly better than the Contrivas. When you take into account their thoughtful design, quality of finish, solid build quality, and stunning musical virtues, you get a speaker that could be on anyone's short list of the ultimate loudspeaker." - Full review here:
"If we had a category for “component of the year”, this would be it for me personally. The Contrivas took my musical enjoyment to a height I didn’t know was possible in my listening room. I’m still going through withdrawal with having sent them back to the distributor.
I first heard these speakers at this years CES and thought they were exceptional then. Having them at home did nothing short of convince me of how wonderful they really are. I reached new heights of realism, presence, performance at the frequency extremes, and most importantly, a level connectedness to the music I had not felt before.
Every time I turned on my system, each album or CD I played, I was not just sitting there listening to music, it was more like an “experience.”"
"... On to the sonic attributes, this system has a truly unique approach, combining resolution that totally unveils a recording, with musical conveyance that directly addresses our inner feeling. From the first listening moments, focus is inevitably drawn to the stark realism in which the musical event is presented, as well as to minute details of the production that hadn’t been observed before, even on the most familiar recordings...
...The Contrivas don’t care to butter their audience, or their ancillaries, or the recorded material for that matter. They cast light inside every dimple of the musical sheet, leaving no shadows. As time goes by and the initial impression fades, music starts talking to the feeling, showing how easily this setup can establish communication with its audience, through the Contrivas...
...So, generous and “big sounding” as the Contrivas may be, they neither disrupt the “order” of proportions nor do they tend to favor gigantism. At the same time, they seem inexhaustible when it comes to dynamic transients and tireless when it comes to bringing out all the detail that made it, through the recording console, to the production.
The overall experience of auditioning the Contrivas could be filed under those rare moments when someone is put in front of the truth, but without experiencing any discomfort, whilst having their senses cleared-up and readied to follow the music."
"...My persistent thought about the Contriva Diacera SE's was that they are for true connoisseurs, for experienced listeners who have made the equipment rounds and come to value tonal and harmonic rightness along with high-frequency sophistication over boom and bluster....
...The Tidal speakers urge you to lean into your music, to lose yourself in it, instead of simply to listen to the sound coming from them...
...While Jörn Janczak set out to design a speaker that strictly adheres to the scientific principles of reproducing sound, I think he's created something that's much more than this: a speaker that is immediately likeable and forever engaging, a speaker through which you want to experience your music, not simply play your CDs and LPs.
A litany of the Contriva Diacera SE's merits -- its unique and varied treble, its chameleon-like ability to change with each recording, the way it absorbs listeners -- doesn't come close to summing it up, and that's much of its charm.
More than anything, it provides a unique standard of beauty -- not the cloying kind we've come to think of when the word is applied to sonic reproduction, but one that's universal -- like a sunset over the ocean or a rose in full bloom....
We have come to value beauty in just about every facet of our lives, so why not with our music as well? Music is beautiful, and the Tidal Contriva Diacera SEs were a constant reminder of this."