Tonda Vimberg-D and Tidal Contriva G2 impressions

Got a chance to listen to the Vimberg Tonda-D (TD) and Tidal Contriva G2 (CG2) today and wanted to share my thoughts.

Upon seeing both speakers I was immediately impressed with the fit and finish especially with the CG2. Placing hands on the cabinet and tapping each of them it was nearly as if I was tapping hardwood and while playing I felt absolutely 0 vibration when touch the top of the cabinet (I tried not to get too touch feely less I piss off the dealer). The TD has some very interesting honeycomb aluminum drivers. The white and black configuration looked nice and was surprised actually that it is quite large. The CG2 had an amazing deep wood finish with a strong reflecting gloss coating… the metal feet and rings were so polished they always sparkled under the normal room lights in the listening room. The TD has more modest brushed feet (aluminum, vs stainless steel on the CG2) but still im pressive looking nonetheless.

System:
The speakers were both compared on a system that consisted of a Tidal DAC and preamp, SOTM sms-1000 powered by an SPS-1000. As well as 2 Karan - KAM2000 monoblock amps. Crystal cable interconnects, not sure on power cables, and I was listening to tidal streams.


Room:
Modest treatments with drapes… its about 25 feet x 18 feet x 11 feet.


Tidal-D:
Going through my usual test tracks starting with nicholas gunn veracruz I was struck by a few things… an open airy sound stage. Excellent holographic projection and strong defined center image. Deep tight bass. Please note though that the dealer stated they were not in the optimal position given he set up both speakers for a side by side comparison.. Ideally they would be closer together and less toed in for a better soundstage and even stronger center image. The thing that impressed me the most about the TD was the absolutely beautiful relaxed yet detailed top end. The horn (perhaps a cor anglais or oboe) passed my eyes closed test… a sound so emotionally engaging I close my eyes.

With deniss solee - sax and romance I was very impressed with the fact that in the extreme highs which often can get a bit hot on many systems that wasn’t the case at all with the TD. It was detailed and extended well yet was extremely smooth and relaxed… I could just embrace the sound eyes closed without gritting my teeth when Denis got a bit too bright. I ekpt saying that word in my head…. It just sounds ‘beautiful’. Everything cohered well, the speakers did a great job disappearing and I felt enveloped in the sound.

Vonda7 - don’t hesitate is a favorite of mind to hear bass quality and precise fast transients as well as get a sense of imaging as electronic sounds pan left and right in this track often. The detail was all impressed very well with great tight bass.

Overall this is a great speaker that I would describe as an amazing balance of detailed yet relaxed and natural sounding with an absolutely gorgeous smooth detailed top end that is for me the star of the show! Please try to audition this. I will be heading back at a later time to listen to the TD again in a more optimal position to hear if it performs even better.

Despite all this praise I can’t say I fell of my chair in amazement and I do feel that I preferred the greater level of resolution and microdetail offered by the magico m2 (although its hard to compare as that was a different room and different [albeit more humble] equipment). Even the persona 9H probably was slightly more detailed but the top end of the TD is truly magical and I can see myself missing it when I want that smooth detailed lay back and get lost in the music type of sound (vs. the analytical microscope ordeal).

Contriva G2:
I didn’t expect all that much different from the CG2. They are the same size, same tweeter (as per the dealer) and the drivers seemed slightly but not hugely different.

Wow.

I was shocked when we started running through the same test tracks. Within 5 seconds of hearing the CG2 I looked over at the dealer mouth hanging partially open to see him grinning.

When Tidal dealer Doug White (not the gentlemen I met today) says Tidal aims to be a ‘clear glass of water’... now I know what he means. The detail was simply mind blowing. I could immediately hear a vibrato in the oboe in the veracruz that was made so much more clear… reverberation of the vibrato in the recording room that gave me chills. The details might have been there in the TD but here they jump out and make you aware that there is so much more hidden in the track. The soundstage extended further and became even more immersive.

Vonda7 don’t hesitate was like being in a club with laser light focused sound pulsing around me… I recall looking behind me and above at the back cornes of the wall expecting to find additional speakers… the speed intense focus and extreme holographic posititioning was simply intoxicating.

With Deniss solee - sax on the beach.. I could perceive him moving his saxophone around… back away from the mic and then to one side… it was so obvious it was as if he was there playing in front of me.

On celtic woman - isle of innisfree the initial harp strings which sounded beautiful on the TD now sounded other wordly… hanging in the air conveying the feeling of literal tangibility. Micro reverberation of vocal, instruments all became easy to perceive.

Overall I have to say the Contriva G2 is the best speaker I ever heard… again its hard to compare speakers when you’ve heard them with different electronics and in different rooms but it is a speaker that truly brings amazing microdetail, laser transients, an enveloping and truly immersive soundstage. Despite this detailed sound for some reason the speaker still sounds engaging and musical. Bass impact is solid but still precise, perhaps a notch less impactful than the TD but I didn’t feel it lacking. Having said that I always listen with subs on and would do the same with either of these speakers (but thats just the bass head in me).

The only criticism I have is that or or two times I noticed a bit of a compressed sound in certain tracks and thats clearly a fault of the track that was simply being revealed by the CG2.. the TD which is I think more relaxed and slightly warmer did a good job of hiding this imperfection.

Secondly I would a couple times with Denis Solee his saxophone got slightly hot at the peaks (the TD rounded those slightly and made it much easier to listen to)... but overall it wasn’t that problematic… I would gladly accept that slight hotness for all the rest of the amazing qualities of this speaker.

Now these are pricey speakers.. Especially the CG2.. but if your in the market PLEASE listen to one.. especially if you like a detailed immersive sound.

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