TAD Reference System
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
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.
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: