You are invited to dive deeper into the philosophy of TIDAL for BUGATTI, what tipped the scales for this exclusive partnership, and what drives the never-resting creative mindset of TIDAL Audio CEO and owner Jörn Janczak. 

The announcement of TIDAL for BUGATTI has certainly caused quite a stir in the high-end audio industry. Would you have expected something like this?

Not that it created such a reverence, even to my partners who have known us for a long time. Maybe because at the end of the day we are talking about Bugatti - for many, the embodiments of superlatives in several aspects. And out of the blue, it must have been surprising, also to understand where this is going to, what is TIDAL, and what is BUGATTI in it.

Can you explain the original idea and what triggered the TIDAL for BUGATTI?

It all started from an idea and drawing I made of a speaker concept I had in mind in early 2012, something very specific which I wanted to skip incremental product development with in every way it is designed, executed, and combining diametric challenges. Something I also wanted to have for myself. 

The actual trigger then to bring it to life was a year later then - when I was circling around two Bugatti Veyron displayed in the harbor of Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy. Not that these were the first I ever saw, but Bugatti always embodied to me something I admire as an entrepreneur: not being afraid about bringing a bold vision into reality, to do something never done before. Of course, there is much more to it, but to answer it the simplest way, this switched the idea into second gear: to build my drawing the very same way these cars resonated with me in these particular moments and combining all we know, all we can do and all I wanted to do for a long time already. This is when we started R&D of several new technologies which we needed to make it happen…


What we did not know then – well, who would have – is that Bugatti in parallel was shaping plans to offer their clients high-end music systems and extending their luxury lifestyle portfolio with audio. So, we were both thrilled and excited to meet their team in 2019 at the Munich high-end show in our exhibition room. We quickly connected with the whole team and realized both our companies have very much in common when it comes to the company philosophy and execution and we felt honored when they shared their plans with us. I knew with such a partner we could bring our secret project from a vision in progress into a real chance. But to build the Bugatti of audio systems in a literal way is something I did not even dream about.

Does TIDAL for BUGATTI change anything at TIDAL?

First and above all it is another important milestone for our company history. And of course, this is like ‘knighting’ our company. But it doesn’t interfere with our TIDAL portfolio, since this project is incomparable. Many TIDAL clients and most audiophiles are traditional and like to play with all kinds of different audio components, connecting and tuning it - and of course there is nothing wrong with that. We will continue our way accordingly to the brand DNA and will launch new TIDAL masterpieces during this year. 

Yet we have very positive effects for the company itself, starting with the raised brand awareness. And synergy effects like transferring technologies within our portfolio in the next years to come. Currently, we also build, mainly because of this project, a whole new and bigger factory from scratch, so that we have VIMBERG, TIDAL, and TIDAL for BUGATTI properly under one roof, with much more space for everything being involved. 

And on a personal note: being a huge car enthusiast my whole life, it adds exciting moments into my work life as well and since this is long-term cooperation we do have some surprises more in the pipeline about to come. 

If TIDAL can be seen as Rolex and Vimberg as Tudor, what would be the analogy for TIDAL for BUGATTI?

If one knows about watches and the watch industry itself, using examples is always slippery ground given the maybe even more complex and diverse sensitivities around watch brands and what they offer and stand for. But I understand the intention and would answer: I would use A. Lange & Söhne or Greubel Forsey as an example, even if I know they differ a lot from each other, but I mean with it: even more exclusive, even finer finished and with an even more complex structure out of reasons, solutions, and executions behind what one can see.

Do you feel that TIDAL for BUGATTI pushes TIDAL even further into the luxury industry, or does it represent something else? Performance, high-tech, etc.?

Apparently, we do things in a way that people say what we build is ‘luxury gear‘ and one intention behind the new project was to develop things for sure further as we did it in the past and pushing the boundaries of our merits. Then yes, we push it even further.

What is the pricing structure of TIDAL for BUGATTI? 

The TIDAL for BUGATTI Royale starts at 260.000 € the pair a Monocoque version with all metal parts in velvet aluminum, the matching source controller MC-1 is 48.000,- €. We offer almost a small universe of choices, like the big diamond mid-woofers or the Duotone cabinets with different combinations out of lacquers, polished veneers, carbon fiber, and leather. 

All metal parts are also offered in polished stainless steel as another choice. Milling, for example, the stand-frame out of an 80Kg block stainless steel and polishing it up in watch quality at the smallest facets for example is breathtaking more complicated than for example working with aluminum. Taking this example just means we would not force clients to take something they would not love to have, so each pair can be as individual as the owner is and likes to have it and/or how far he likes to go to push the performance. This is part of the concept and it includes a bespoke process where the client is deeply involved. If one decides to take the most expensive options and details the price is north of 420K€ all together.

After all, you are known for your dedicated perfection. Is the TIDAL for BUGATTI the continuation of the TIDAL genuine authenticity?

One hundred percent. We all were very particular that we would not build just some lifestyle products for a targeted market. ‘Purity in Purpose‘ is one of our major guidelines at TIDAL. The only purpose is, and always must be, the performance result from itself. Yes, there are more aspects around it - but only as part of the big picture and vision behind it. What we do together with Bugatti is symbiotic-authentic, and it must be. 

The true essence of luxury is not hidden in the price tag but encompasses entirely different qualities. What are these that are at the core of TIDAL, VIMBERG, and TIDAL for BUGATTI?

Luxury has never something to do with a price tag. Take time for example, to me time is the ultimate luxury. Things of priceless value, things of priceless care and passion behind without several kinds of boundaries around it. Like a handmade fresh bread from a baker who loves his work and gives his best is most consequential a luxury product in all criteria for me, a price just should reflect the effort. But too often a price reflects completely other things behind and luxury is a word that is too often used for things that are not. 

Just placing or rendering equipment into a posh environment or aside a fancy car doesn’t rub off back onto the equipment to make it luxurious. To prove it successful in the long term there must be a backbone created of authenticity, quality, and also to demand, often more than output. One cannot study or copy such things as a pattern to use, it simply must drive a brand from its inner core in a native way I think. And from there then it only starts and is a long journey bringing the evidence every day again. 

With VIMBERG we offer what I like to describe as “affordable super speakers” as a reviewer once said. Not less authentic than TIDAL, but with a different approach. I even think given the engineering, materials and how it is made there is no other brand out there in this price range being built like VIMBERG at the moment.

And TIDAL for BUGATTI… well, let me use this example to explain how far we stretched things: we manufactured even the smallest screws out of stainless steel and engraved three 2.3 mm small Bugatti logos into the polished socket head. Just to prove a point.

TIDAL products seem to have a specific emotional trigger with your customers. What would you say is this specific ignition key? 

Every brand in every field has proud owners, fans, and admirers ticking their boxes for different reasons. I think what all these brands have in common is that people need to feel and need to know - things must be authentic. So whatever it is we do seems to resonate with them in the same way as it does to us between initiated and executed. TIDAL is not for everybody, never can and never will be. It makes me happy to know, for our clients and admirers everything else is just everything else.

I do not think enough has been said about your heritage and where you come from and most importantly why you do things the way you do?

I’m not sure if this is too interesting to read but born and growing up in the Eastern part of Germany, the former GDR, a country not exactly famous for offering a colorful variety of technical things of beauty, I always had a passion for music and all kind of technical things. I was dreaming back then about things we could not get, so creativity to get it or mimic it was both fun and a necessity. After my education when I was in my early twenties and leading the production management of a company and started to feel bored with the job, I realized that this kind of creativity is the handle to grab to make what I always loved to do – bringing my own ideas to life, and constantly evolving with it at every possible level, to make things constantly better.

I could only say why I do the things the way I do this way: I don’t buy things that are not for real, as analogy and literally, so I only do it the way I would expect to have it. Otherwise, I would not enjoy the process to bring it to life, could not enjoy the result and I would never buy it myself. And what would be the point of making things only half-hearted in life? Of course the same counts for our whole team, since without it, my visions would exist only on paper or would be built only one time.

It seems that the TIDAL for BUGATTI is a crossroads for you? Why?

It is less a crossroad, but another milestone and development for us. With TIDAL for BUGATTI, I can do things the way I wanted to do for a very long time without changing TIDAL and yet coming from there. It bases on all we do and yet is different in terms of exclusivity and design and even more extreme in the details. 

Every successful brand proves the fact to be and stay successful it must follow its brand DNA and yet evolves it over time, a difficult balancing act. A nice pair of passive speakers connected to audio gear, to play and to adjust things with it, to have, see and enjoy it - this will be continued and develop further without changing the typical TIDAL design and losing the connoisseurs who are into this kind of a more, let’s say traditional, direction. The moment we would change this TIDAL would be not authentic anymore and it would be the start of the end of the brand. So the general transition with TIDAL is set, and always was. On the other side, I equally love things in different ways, like I love to drive an old Triumph or new Ducati, or being equally thrilled about a 50-year-old Alfa 33 Stradale or a new Bugatti Chiron - and performance is not the analogy I mean.

I can say the Royale is just the start - we do have a much bigger plan behind, starting with upscaling and downscaling. 

So, if you were standing on the other side of the fence. Would you and why would you buy TIDAL products?

I would be a bad salesman if I would say no, but of course, I would, for all the reasons I answered before. And I mean it. There is a reason why there are so few pre-owned available, once one is locked into our brand it is hard to find something similar, if at all. A complete TIDAL system has something very special to it, a ‘Grandezza’ which is hard or maybe impossible to describe. 

While a few have participated in collaboration with sports car industry brands and have not made an impact. What makes TIDAL for BUGATTI different?

I think too often companies forgot to ask three important questions: why do we build it, why do we build it this way – and for whom? This and the result would be always the first thing I would decipher as a client. So I could only tell the reasons why all examples I know did not have an impact on me, reflecting from multiple angles, both as a private person and as head of a company: softened purpose, lack of authenticity, and lack of a true synergy behind. And in general: car people are car people, audiophiles are audiophiles. Other than bringing music into a car, there is little to combine or bring together. Just putting a famous logo onto a product from another category does not make the product any better or more desirable nor does it rub back onto the product to have a fancy halo around. Actually, this causes even the opposite to me and at least I would not want that either on my audio system, my watch, or my sunglasses. Merchandising for a brand fan base in all fairness, but that hardly works on upper price levels on a wider scale, since mostly one wants the original thing then, and not something relabeled which has nothing to do with it. I believe things can only be extraordinary if cooperation captures both partners' DNA and then combining and transforming it into something new and exciting. 

Maybe this is interesting to read, a statement from Bugatti:

Wiebke Ståhl, Bugatti: “The challenge is to not run after the obvious but to find the right partner, to search for hidden champions being innovative, ambitious and perfectionists in their fields. A brand which produces around 80 units of its’ automotive masterpieces per year, each of them a one-of-a-kind in itself, cannot simply do what other brands do and produce a perfume or handbag line under its name,” says Ståhl, “products under our name are diligently developed, their technology needs to be extraordinary, with a clear association to our brand DNA, whether they are watches, sportswear or audio-visual equipment. Everything needs to have the same uniqueness and equivalent quality as the brand’s hyper sports cars.”

The difference here starts already with who was asking? Bugatti. There is a reason for the reverence I mentioned in my first answer above. Maybe this is interesting to read: Bugatti is and always was more than just a car brand, given the history of the Bugatti family being artists and engineers in different fields. Today they offer a 360° lifestyle habitat following always the same philosophy, even if ‘lifestyle’ might be a word not describing it adequately. But we did not start there, since I was never staring onto a white sheet of paper and thought: how would a speaker look like if Bugatti would build it or if we would design it like one? And yet it started with Bugatti as a trigger for me back then in Sardinia and inspired me to move boundaries with the very same spirit. I am sure every given answer from us starting after a request from Bugatti would have most likely failed authenticity, since then one would have tried most likely to build a car- or brand theme into an audio product, on purpose or subconsciously. Such a way could work very well with watches or maybe furniture, but an audio product has to be designed, first and above all, only around acoustical parameters - at least for us. 

If one would like to ‘mimic’ a particular Chiron design theme with the Royale, this door is wide open of course. 

On the other side, one could make it ‘TIDAL pure’ as a black piano finish monocoque and polished metal parts.

One can take every element of the Royale, like the stand for example - there is no other way the stand could have been designed differently for this speaker to match the shape of the cabinet and give a firm stand. The similarity to the famous Bugatti grill just makes it icing on the cake and was forced then of course. Or take the backside-fin as an example, this part has only one function: it is a vibro-elastic coupled counterweight with a specific mass designed for breaking up and absorbing the last remaining vibration modes of the back part. And yet the way how design and function came together does offer incredible combinations of beauty as a contrasting theme. And this makes the whole project what it is: 100% Bugatti and 100% TIDAL.  

We can answer the three mentioned questions above like a reflex and explain each detail in depth for hours. The Royale for sure is the project with my most personal fingerprint and passion following my visions and inspirations of the perfect sonic transducer concept in every possible detail. Working together with Bugatti created something how I always defined the grail in industrial design for me: a perfectly round loop out of a.) the only reason why it exists and b.) answering it with the only possible perfect execution for it. In that very ranking, wording and meaning. 

The way things came together for this cooperation leads to a successful path already, is a wonderful story for all of us and we like to see it as ‘kindred spirits meant to meet’. I understand people often tend to look for labeled drawers to fit things inside for simplified understanding, but here it is as simple as that: no other labels than TIDAL and BUGATTI do fit this project - and this makes all of us very proud.