• WiMP / Tidal Headquarters - Oslo, Norway

    I spent the last two days at the WiMP / Tidal headquarters here in Oslo, Norway. I am very impressed by the company, its lineup of partners integrating lossless streaming, and its vision for the future. The Tidal office buzzes with activity from the energetic staff. I was fortunate to talk to several employees in different departments from marketing to the editorial team to ultra technical guys working with massive amounts of data. Everyone felt a sense of pride for the product, not only because it's from Norway but also because each member of the staff has input into the product. Everyone I talked to appeared to be in love with their job at WiMP / Tidal. I walked away with a sense that it's a very hip and cool company for which to work. Speaking of work, HiFi industry veteran and Peachtree Audio co-founder David Solomon is now Tidal's Director of Sales and Marketing in the United States. Speaking of the United States, I predict Tidal will launch its lossless streaming service in the US at the Rocky Mountain Audiofest in October, given the company is listed as an exhibitor! Members of the CA Community attending the show are likely to see Tidal streaming in many rooms this year. Based on the number of partnerships Tidal has established with manufacturers seeking to embed the streaming product into components, RMAF and the months to follow will be exciting times for the CA Community. Given that WiMP / Tidal is a public company it's nearly impossible to squeeze information from the team. There are strict stock market rules about what information can be shared with non-employees. Fortunately, I attended the annual WiMP / Tidal company party Wednesday evening and talked to several hardware manufacturers who are currently working on embedding the lossless streaming product or who may embed it in the near future. Journalists, even in HiFi, have ways of getting the inside scoop. I lined up a review or two with some well known component manufacturers while at the event and I look forward to sharing all the information with the CA Community as soon as possible. Until such time, here are some photos of my trip to Tidal headquarters in Oslo, Norway.

    In addition to visiting manufacturers on this trip, I brought with me an array of mobile audio goodies. Here is what I've been listening to since boarding the plane to Oslo.

    Aurender V1000 portable headphone amp / DAC
    Calyx M portable player
    Astell&Kern AK240 portable player
    Beyerdynamic A 200 p portable headphone amp / DAC for iOS and Android devices
    JH Audio JH13 in ear monitors
    Audeze LCD-XC headphones
    MIT Vero headphone cable for the Audeze headphones (not publicly available at this time)
    Enough Tidal offline content to fill my iPhone 5 64GB. An iPhone 6 Plus with 128GB should be waiting for me when I return home in October.

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    Comments 13 Comments
    1. Kelly's Avatar
      Kelly -
      Sweet! That is awesome that you got to visit headquarters. I am awaiting Tidal anxiously. Given that NAD/Bluesound and Auralic are both onboard with WiMP, perhaps my computer-free-multiroom-lossless-online-streaming fantasy will finally see fruition!
    1. bobflood's Avatar
      bobflood -
      With the much publicized difficulties Qobuz has had of late in securing additional financing, it is good to see a well capitalized public company coming to the lossless streaming market. We really need to break the mentality that music is free and only a fool pays and the way to do it is with a clearly superior product. This means not just the lossless streaming but also the whole backend such as robust player software, support, marketing , R&D and management with vision and a plan. The music industry will fade to a shadow of its former glory without this type of innovation. And without a vibrant software side (the music and the recording process) the high end hardware side we all love to play with so much will disappear as well. I wish them well and hope to be one of the first to subscribe here in the USA.
    1. Elberoth's Avatar
      Elberoth -
      IMO it is a great idea and the future of digital audio. The downloads, NAS, constant drive upgrades/replacements will be the past.

      We still have to keep them to store our HD files, but a Wimp emploeee I have talked to last week told me, that HD streaming is also coming. And we are talking about the near future, certainly more like 12-months than 24.

      I recently got their VIP 6-months trial, but didn't have the time to install it yet.

      BTW - do you know why Wimp is called Tidal in the US ?
    1. maxicek's Avatar
      maxicek -
      WiMP / Tidal is already available on the Electrocompaniet ECM 2 streamer, as you can see in the photos. Content is excellent.
    1. esimms86's Avatar
      esimms86 -
      I don't think I'd want to publicly circulate a picture of me under a sign that says "Wimp." But maybe that's just me. ; ]

    1. rossb's Avatar
      rossb -
      On an unrelated note, I will be interested on your comparison of the AK240 and Calyx M. I have both and found the AK240 to be very disappointing for its price. The Calyx M, on the other hand, I find to be a stunning player, despite some UI quirks (and irritations).
    1. Fridolin's Avatar
      Fridolin -
      You will be disappointed when you realize that many of the albums you want to listen to are not lossless as advertised.

      If your musical taste is a bit out of mainstream, there are many missing albums.
      Don't give away your precious CDs - you will regret it.
    1. Lowreslife!'s Avatar
      Lowreslife! -
      What's a VER? That second row, picture on the left.
    1. AvilleAudio's Avatar
      AvilleAudio -
      I attended AXPONA 2014 "Meet the Editors" panel and asked them their thoughts on streaming. All were very negative except Ed Momkus from Dagogo (a friend) who threw me a bone by volunteering that Linn's streaming was interesting and sounded okay. I'm wondering if Tidal's streaming product (and marketing campaign/charm offensive) will change any minds.

      BTW, I thought MOG sounded okay through a Sonos Connect outputting to a decent DAC. I was usually able to distinguish MOG from a CD when I A-B'd it, but just barely. When I was just enjoying the music it didn't much matter.
    1. bobbmd's Avatar
      bobbmd -
      AvilleAudio/Fridolin/others above: MOG is dead/BeatsMusic is ok,soundquality is the same and they transferred my hundreds of playlists but someone elsewhere on this forum said BM is dead or will be soon will be/nothing beats 24bit-44.1 lossless FLAC like Qobuz delivers(and you can get it in USA), so if TIDAL/Wiamp has same number of songs/albums and Qobuz dies also who cares if some obscure artists or albums or songs are not available-Qobuz has stuff i never knew existed that will probably go for TIDAL and it's less expensive- all i care about is soundquality ie lossless FLAC AND a desktop app itunes and BM offer neither-thanks for the TIDAL info JIM, I will buy it as soon as it comes out-bobbmd
    1. theoctopus's Avatar
      theoctopus -
      Yesterday I set up an account for myself with WiMP using a VPN, and today I've just done a comparative listening test, comparing WiMP against AIFF files played back through my iTunes library via Amarra. WiMP doesn't sound the same or as good as the raw AIFF files. It does sound pretty good (and is a big step up from Spotify and Beatsmusic), but it is not the same thing as the raw AIFF. I'm not a codec expert in the least, so I couldn't say what is or isn't happening, but to my ears the top end via WiMP is slightly shinier and grainer, and the music isn't as dynamic. WiMP will bring a higher quality portable service for sure, but I'm going to have to keep buying CDs, sadly. Having said that, anybody know of a resource for accurate album credits? Allmusic.com is getting worse and worse in that department...
    1. yetis's Avatar
      yetis -
      Not sure if people saw this, but Tidal is about to launch with several manufacturers here in the future. Tidal Announces Integration With 16 Brands' | Hifi Pig