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Great Sounds Feb 2017 Spot-Lite
Spoiler alert....I liked what I heard!
Written and photographed by
Paul Elliott


Doug White's, "The Voice That Is"...Boutique audio studio in a west suburb of Philly


This was meant to be just a factual report, for I do not consider myself any sort of reviewer, but what I experienced was very powerful in a much understated way. Yes, to some that might sound like a contradiction. Yet as I write this, what is in my mind’s ear is still as vivid as if I was in a small venue with live performances by Coltrane, Burrell, Winton Kelly, or Oliver Nelson. This was as close to “being there” as I have ever experienced. A time machine indeed, we mined non-audiophile lp’s from the 1960’s and 70’s.
"Music is a big part of my life, and has been since the 60’s. I played drums in various bands for eleven years performing Rock, R&B and Fusion music"

Even with Doug’s digital source there was not one bit of the glassy, hard edge, over definitional excess one hears with the other ultra-high end systems I have heard at Rocky Mountain or Axpona. These mega systems just turn me off to the ultra-high end.
"Music is my passion and I want to share that passion through audio. The system needs to sound like music - period!"

Yes, this is a very high end system, stratosphere and beyond. If you are one of means this is where you want to be! For the rest of us, this system shows what can be accomplished by the careful choosing of audio gear that comes together as a whole far beyond the individual components.
"Many dealers seem to be only interested in a transaction. I started The Voice that is” in order to help people find the music in an audio system. Many of my clients find me after trying many of the “products of the month”

This is not a system in which the speakers just disappear, but the whole system just melts away, and nothing is left but the music. The silence between notes was a black hole, and the notes were round and full of life.
"When I have the opportunity to work with a person where music is very important to them, I can manage the equipment I’ve chosen to build a system that satisfies sonically, technically and visually. I try to find what is absolute for them. Starting with equipment that does not have a sound of its own I can tailor the sound with different source materials and different cables."

There are so many choices out there; too many to even begin to put together a system. This is where an experienced, highly qualified dealer can help you. Doug first goes through a discovery process to educate himself on the client’s needs and desires. With his extensive varied background and knowledge audio experience he will discover what the client has in his or her heart and present a system that answers the question….”What is it all about?”
Doug’s tagline is "Music is the most powerful language we have."
"We do not listen to specifications - we listen to music. Specs can be manipulated to look good yet the sonic performance in a system does not always follow those specs. Live music gives one a base line of what an audio system is supposed to sound like. The goal is to recreate the performance in a home that resembles the enjoyment of the live performance. We must do this with our ears then, more importantly, trust what we hear."

Reference System :
TIDAL Audio Akira Speakers - Midnight Black
TIDAL Audio Presencio Reference Preamplifier
TIDAL Audio Impulse Monobloc Amplifier
Aurender W20 Music Server
Bricasti M1se DAC
TW-Acustic Anniversary Turntable
TW-Acustic 10.5 Tonearm
EMT JSD P6 Cartridge
Power cords from TIDAL
Interconnects and Cables from Signal Projects, Dynamic Design, Purist Audio Design
StillPoints ESS GRID Rack
Signal Projects Poseidon S40 Power Conditioner

"Equipment needs to pass the audio signal without a sound of it’s own. TIDAL designs it’s equipment to “clearly” pass the signal. They do not want the speakers or electronics to add any coloration of it’s own to the signal - being only a messenger and telling the story they were given to deliver. TIDAL believes, if you’re looking for a particular sound, that should be obtained by the choice of cables or the source device (i.e. CD/SACD player, server, turntable/arm/cartridge combination)".

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