"What a refreshingly honest blog about listening to music through hi-fi. So happy to see views based upon the enjoyment of music rather than so-called sound 'quality'." - Peter Comeau, Director of Acoustic Design at Mission / Wharfedale

Tuesday 6 June 2017


TAD Reference System

TAD were in a very large room with no obvious room treatment.  They had 2 systems set up - one along the side wall using the standmount reference speakers and the other using the big Euro 87k floor standers designed by Andrew Jones a few years back when he was at TAD.  I visited this room 4 times. One of those visits was when the standmounts were playing and they didn't do anything for me - I find them too bright and hard - much as I've heard them on 3 previous occasions (they weren't designed by Andrew Jones).
The 3 other visits were to listen to the big system with the floorstanders.  Here we have a pretty straightforward digital front end, DAC, pre-amp, monoblock power amps and passive speakers.  Total?  Euro 250k without cables, which I didn't ask about, but they were provided by Absolue.
What did this system do that meant it was worth so many re-visits?  Well, a lot, and very little.  What does that mean?  Well, there was a lot of everything very important - particularly musicality.  Superb dynamics, flow, easy to listen to yet with masses of detail and information coming through. Stunningly deep but controlled, tuneful bass that didn't seem to excite the room.  Muddy Waters' voice was fully of detail and feel, there was so much subtelty in the slide guitar making a song full of meaning and flavour.
Taught without harshness, massive choral scale whilst lstting the soloist stand out clearly.  Bass was huge and filled the room without any notable boominess, all without any obvious room treatment.  As said above, I went back for more and more.  Truly superb - at last a system that deserves the description "high end" and whilst the kit is pretty substantial - its not blingy, it gets on with the important job.  Congratulations TAD. Stunning music.

Full show reports here:

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