Reviews, Awards and Videos
The Synergistic Research SRX Power cord has me rethinking my entire system configuration and performance. It is the finest power cord yet to enter my listening room. Key design elements include a unique combination of six-nines pure silver conductors, silver ground plane connectivity, DC biased active shielding, and new Carbon Fiber IEC connectors and Rhodium contacts.
When only one SRX power cord was used with my Synergistic Research PowerCell 12 UEF SE power conditioner to drive my entire system, there was a correctness of presentation and life like experience that had not previously been realized. I can only imagine what might happen if I used the SRX for all my components! Clearly, a state of the art product.
Read more HERE
Synergistic Research is just one of many brands offering a better grounding solution for audio systems, but in my opinion, it is not only one of the better grounding solutions, it is also probably the most cost effective, because of the fact that one Active Ground Block can ground up to 44 of your audio components and accessories like racks and cables. That versatility should cover every single component even in very complex audio systems.
You would be hard pressed to find a tweak, at this price point, that gives you better bang for your buck. If there is a better grounding solution available for audiophile systems at this price, I have not encountered it yet!
Read more HERE
By Bill Wells
“2018 was a particularly interesting and revelatory year for me whereas my reviewing activities included various types of cable products – specifically power cords, speaker and power conditioning units. For me - the insights gained through auditioning and evaluating these products was enjoyable, enlightening and quite rewarding. Importantly, each of these products helped to enhance the overall musical enjoyment I experienced from listening to my reference system and basically – that’s what it’s all about.
—-“Now with lots of playing time under my belt and the cables fully broken in, I was now able to fully appreciate the level of overall sonic purity provided. In a very real sense – these newer Atmosphere X Euphoria cables essentially extended the type of sonic transformation of my system rendered by SR PowerCell 12 SE UEF. The overall impact was both wonderfully positive and profound. Definitely nothing subtle. At this point – my juices were flowing and my ears more than ready for the onslaught of some intense listening sessions.”
—-“Thankfully, the Atmosphere X Euphoria cable series represents a significant advancement and to my ears – enables my reference system to achieve a level of sonic purity that suggests that the designer’s goal of preserving the integrity of the signal passing through a system has been largely achieved. The degree of improvement of the sound of my system, with these particular cables in place, has been anything but subtle. In fact, what I experienced with these cables was very consistent with the overall improvement I experienced with the company’s newer Powercell 12 UEF SE. Improvements were literally across the entire musical spectrum and literally brought to my listening room a heightened sense of sonic realism that helped elevate my listening pleasure immensely. Indeed, the Synergistic Research Atmosphere X Euphoria power cords, speaker cables along with the Reference Ethernet cable are truly wonderful products and I give them my very highest recommendation.
Bill Wells, Stereo Times, September 2019
Synergistic Research showed with Scott Walker Audio at this years RMAF 2019. The system included Magico M2 Loudspeakers, Grphyon Electronics, Berkeley Reference 3 DAC, Acoustic Signature Thunder Turn Table and United Home Audio Reel to Reel. Of course, we used all Synergistic Research Acoustic treatments, including UEF Panels, HFT’s, Black Box, and Atmosphere, the new Galileo SX PowerCell SX, Tranquility Base XL’s and Active Ground Block SE. Lead Designer, Ted Denney was demoing our New UEF performance Elevator Cable Risers throughout the weekend, shocking Audiophiles with the effectiveness of this new product. In a system of this caliber and cost ($250k+ for speakers and electronics), we would typically run Galileo SX speaker and Interconnect cables, however, we decided to run the new Foundation speaker cables ($649) interconnects ($599) and phono cable ($699) to demonstrate that these new affordable cables can compete WAY out of their class.
Ted Denney and Andy Wiederspahn enjoyed seeing all the familiar faces and many new as well. We hope to see you next year if you were not able to make it. Or visit us at the Florida Audio Expo next February in Tampa, FL, Axpona next April in Chicago or Hifi Deluxe next May in Munich Germany.
Thank you to Positive Feedback and Dr.David Robinson for recognizing the fantastic sound with their RMAF Audio Oasis award.
Also, thank you to Eric Franklin of Part-Time Audiophile who wrote a VERY impressive room report.
“I decided to stake out the Synergistic Research / Scott Walker room on Friday afternoon instead of doing lunch. Figuring the Magico and Gryphon components might deliver the requisite sustenance my body was seeking that day.
At the center of things, not a component, not a blue suit, but a man. Ted Denney of Synergistic Research helmed the room, the system, and our attention. Moving around, installing and uninstalling, activating and deactivating Synergistic Research components from the system.
Ted’s classic A-B demonstrations are not to be missed, as he moves both passive and active acoustic treatments in-and-out of the system, numerous times, to hammer home the impact these devices can make on a system, and ultimately your listening experience. In truth, these particular acoustic treatments take into account all aspects of listener, components, and the room.
Most dramatic to witness going in-and-out of the system were the new cable risers that were debuting at RMAF 2019. These cable lifters come in quantities of four at a price of only $350 set USD. Typical systems will use eight, so for $700 USD you can take the Foundation series to truly unbelievable heights. For my money, there is likely no competition for a simple component like these cables and risers from Synergistic Research.
Galileo Phono Cable
By Lee Scoggins
“This was my first exposure to the new Synergistic Research Galileo SX phono cable. This $5,000 phono cable has transformed my analog playback, something I would have sworn was already exceptional. Am I finally hearing all that my VPI Scoutmaster is capable of? It feels like it, which is why I think the SX is the finest phono cable I have ever heard. I’m unapologetically a fan of Synergistic Research designs, but this may be the best thing they have ever done. It’s that good.
Now, I am addicted to this newish analog rig. I go down to my first-floor listening room every Saturday and Sunday and listen to jazz, rock, and classical music. What I am now hearing, every time I pull out an old favorite, is more musical information. I am hearing new things going on in the background. It’s mesmerizing.
It’s not a bold claim to say that this cable handily meets my four conditions, so let me go farther: the Synergistic Research Galileo SX is the clearest, most musical phono cable I have ever used in my reference system. Beyond expectation, this cable has transformed my analog playback. It is my new reference for what my record player is capable of, and as such, it earns my highest recommendation.”
Lee Scoggins, Part-time Audiophile, September 2019
SRX power cable
By Robert Youman
“Once connected to my Powercell and burned in for just over a week, I sat down and listened to my standard digital file set list for an initial evaluation. I have been using this group of tracks for well over five years and without much change. Typically, I bounce through the first dozen or so just to get a feel for what to expect. This time, I was immediately locked into each track from beginning to end and without interruption for several hours of listening. I cannot remember this ever happening before.
Why? Well, I could talk about the deeper blacker noise floor, the expansion of the sound stage in all directions, the holographic pinpoint imaging, and the rich full bodied textures, but there was something so fundamentally different with the SRX in place that I could just not skip through the music as usual”
….The Synergistic Research SRX power cord has me rethinking my entire system configuration and performance. When only one SRX power cord was used with the Synergistic Research PowerCell 12 UEF SE power conditioner to drive my entire system there was a clear correctness of presentation that had not previously been realized. I can only imagine what might happen if I used the SRX for all my components! Caveat emptor. Never say never. If you audition the SRX, you may never go back.”
Robert Youman, Positive Feedback, August 2019
Galileo SX Ethernet
By Robert Youman
Along with the SRX power cords, Andy also sent me a Galileo SX Ethernet cable to try between my router and the Aurender N10. I was using an off the shelf inexpensive Cat 5 Ethernet cable that came with some home router hardware (I know, sacrilegious at the very least). I also experimented with the Audioquest Vodka ($339/1.0M) and Nordost Heimdall II ($699/1.0M). Both were clear upgrades from the standard Cat 5, but neither persuaded me to use either Tidal or Qobuz for serious listening.
The Galielo SX Ethernet Cable ($2995 /1.0M) was a different story. Yes, based on MSRP alone, this is not a fair apples to apples comparison, but the differences were substantial. For a more detailed description of the sound, you can check out my earlier Galileo SX review that included interconnects, speaker cable, and power cords (HERE). The difference that the Galileo SX Ethernet cable can make was relatively the same as the other cables described in the review. I am sure that most are not surprised, but the bottom line here is that cable quality can make a difference—even for streaming, and even for Ethernet cable! I am now digging deep on Tidal and Qobuz, and just for the record, I am greatly satisfied by both!
Robert Youman, Positive Feedback, August 2019
Synergistic Research vs. No Synergy. Check out the two identical rooms and systems set up at this years The Home Entertainment show in Long Beach, California. The whole room A/B Demo, never done before, received fantastic reactions and feedback from Audiophiles able to make it to the show. If you missed it, you can now see and hear the rooms for yourself here.
HFT Acoustic Treatments
By Robert Youman
“the overall results were quite startling. When my wife walked into the listening room after the process was finally completed, she made one of those quick jaw dropping expressions and sat down without a word. Nothing more was said. She just wanted to listen to the music without interruption. I understood.
Images truly stabilized and were much more clearly defined—even on the most mediocre of recordings. There was considerably more air and immediacy around individual instruments and vocalists. The soundstage extended well beyond the outer edges of both speakers and seemed to reach beyond the front wall and all the way back into the listening position.
Mids were more rounded and saturated with impressive texture and timbral purity. Highs were less glassy with additional ease and liquidity but never lacked appropriate speed and detail—a very rare combination by my experience. “
Synergistic Research makes their first appearance at a CanJam this year. They’ve made headphone products for years but are debuting their new affordable Foundation Series line of headphone cables. Let’s face it. Without comparisons – you can’t really determine how much better (or worse) a product is. Well, instead of just telling you “our cables improve your listening experience” – Synergistic Research demonstrates it. They did so, on a much larger scale, at T.H.E. Show this past month.
Here we have identical systems with a Bluesound streamer, two pairs of Sennheiser HD800 headphones and Monolith (Monoprice) Tube headphone DAC/amplifiers. The only difference is the use of Synergistic Research cabling, isolation, and grounding products on one of them. If you aren’t a believer in the merits of the aforementioned peripherals, this demo would’ve changed your mind – immediately. The “generic” stack was unbearably sharp and grainy. I couldn’t listen to it for more than a few seconds. Switching over to the Synergistic Research rig and we get a crystal clear, warmer, and smoother sound. There was just more meat on the bones, more apparent decay in the resonances, and far better coherence.
Moving onto the ~$15,000 rig tucked to the side, and you start to realize what “You get what you pay for” really means. The combination of the Mr. Speakers ETHER 2, Headamp GS-X mini amplifier, and Synergistic Research stack (including the Foundation Series headphone cable) was one of my favorite combinations at CanJam. All of the components complemented each other beautifully – striking the perfect balance of body, tone, and resolution.
“I was excited to finally hear the new ultra-luxury line conditioner for the Synergistic Research Galileo series which had just been on “static display” at AXPONA. What would I hear? What would an even lower noise floor sound like to current owners of the superb PowerCell 12 UEF?
Getting to the perfect sound would be a journey as Ted and Andy and their distributor Frank started to build the room. Setup nights with new gear can be tough. Often in Munich, manufacturers are in new rooms using gear that they may be less familiar with. Also, the voicing and adjustments for the room can be tricky. But Synergistic had a secret weapon in the owner Ted. Ted’s done so many setups of his own products and he has good intuition of what needs to be done. Ted once set up a really humble system I had several years ago with the Magnepan speakers so I know he can improve things, especially when given a day or two to perfectly dial everything in. Synergistic Research’s room was part of the sister Hifi Deluxe show at the Munich Marriott hotel where I was staying. The HiFi Deluxe show runs the same days as High End Munich with the exception of the final day, Sunday.
This was one of the very best systems at the show with an accurate, musical rendering and fantastic imaging across an expansive soundstage. Synergistic’s Galileo SX products and new SX line conditioner have simply taken Ted’s technology to a whole new level of quiet that allows us to enjoy the entire frequency spectrum even more. It’s a brand new world of sound!”
By Howard Kneller
“The Galileo SXes are indeed audio’s Ferrari Monzas. No other cable I know of is fully competitive with them on any of their strengths: imaging, transparency, speed, leading edges, detail, noise reduction, dynamics. But don’t let my infatuation with their technical prowess diminish what seems to be these cables’ raison d’être: the reproduction of music. They offered musicality in spades, and on several occasions got me up off my couch and dancing. In “Love Reign O’er Me,” they conveyed Bettye LaVette’s emotional intensity to the point that I wanted to cry. Listening to Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” with the lights low, I felt as if I were on a futuristic set from Blade Runner. These cables should appeal equally to your heart and mind.”
- Howard Kneller - Soundstage Ultra - April 2019
Active Ground Block SE
By Malcolm Gomes
“Right from the get go the difference that the SR Ground Block SE made was immediately apparent. The Akiko Tuning sticks also made a very discernible difference to the sound quality of my audio system. I remember thinking, the difference was akin to, on one hand, breathing the air in the middle of rush hour traffic in a busy metropolis downtown and on the other hand, walking by a lake, through a wooded conservation area and enjoying the fresh, crisp air of the leafy hiking path. However, the SR Ground Block SE took it up a notch from that.”
“you would be hard pressed to find a tweak, at this price point, that gives you better bang for your buck. If there is a better grounding solution available for audiophile systems at this price, I have not encountered it yet! That being the case, it was an easy decision to make it a part of my reference system.”
Atmosphere Euphoria Cables
By Siao Jer
“With the Synergistic Research Excite cables, the soundstage extends just beyond the walls and begins to wrap you up into music. On the other hand, the Synergistic Research Euphorias completely envelop you in a cloud of music – with a bit more forwardness.
Sometimes with the larger soundstage; you get bits of music and notes at the end edges and at the very center. However, it was very evident in Harmony Hall and Ponta de Areia that you’re getting gradation across the entire space. The larger depth seems to allow busier tracks to be layered out with perspective.“
May 9th - 11th, 2019
Munich Marriott Hotel
Join Us May 9th through 11th in Munich, Germany at this years Hifideluxe Audio Show. We will be debuting a brand new flagship product as well as doing A/B demonstrations of many SR products through analog and digital sources. Our partners include MSB, Kharma, Thrax,
April 12th through 14th. Chicago, IL.
Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel
Journey/Creation Complex, First Floor
Synergistic Research and Scott Walker Audio set up our 2019 Axpona room in a time-lapse video. System includes Magico M3 Loudspeakers, MSB DAC, Gryphon Audio Amplification, UHA Reel to Reel, Acoustic Signature Turntable, Baetis Music Server, Synergistic Research’s new SRX flagship power cable, PowerCell 12 UEF SE, Active Ground Block SE, HFT, Acoustic Panels, Atmosphere Infinity, Black Box, Tranquility Base and more.
Join Us April 12th through 14th in Chicago at this years Axpona Audio Show. We will be debuting a brand new flagship product as well as doing A/B demonstrations of many SR products through Analog sources for the first time. Our partners include Magico, Gryphon Audio, MSB, Berkeley Audio, United Home Audio, and Acoustic Signature.
By Mike Girardi
“The design advantages provided by the implementation of an internal Active EM Cell, the ability to directly ground the Active EM Cell, and a new developed UEF Matrix Shielding were clearly demonstrated during the review. The approach taken by SR to conduct double-blind trials and selecting the preferred UEF technology based on the emotional connection to the music as one listens proved to be highly successful and validated repeatedly in my listening room. In similar fashion to how the SR Active Grounding Block SE performed in my system, the resulting lower noise floor and frequency uniformity delivered by the Galileo SX AC power cables have allowed me to listen to music at lower volumes without loss of detail, silence between notes, and dynamics. With the Galileo SX cables, it’s much easier to become emotionally connected to the music on many levels. Although the price of admission is high, the increase in system performance in relative terms justifies the cost outlay. The Galileo SX AC power cables are my new reference.”
- Mike Girardi - Stereo Times - March 2019
Synergistic Research 2019 Video Series Intro
with lead designer Ted Denney
By Bill Wells and Clement Perry
“Over the years, power conditioning has become a more recognizable, valued and important aspect of sonic improvement for high-end audio systems. Also, due to significant technological improvements made in this area, there is no longer the need for you to have to wait for those so-called magical moments when the incoming AC is just right (i.e., late night or wee hours of the morning) and for the ultimate listening experience. With the Synergistic Research PC12 UEF SE power conditioner, I was able to experience magical moments whenever I listened to my system. In fact, at no time throughout my time with this unit did I experience any sort of variation or degradation in the sound that I would attribute to changing AC quality. In fact – it was all good.
Essentially, the PC12 performed sonically beyond my expectations and without any sort of operational glitch. In terms of how I would rate this particular product – basically, it’s overall performance improvement capabilities easily make it a no-brainer. In fact, I was stunned
- Bill Wells - Stereo Times - December 2018
In short, the SR PowerCell 12 UEF SE is a breakthrough in what one can expect from an AC line conditioner. It moved my system in a direction that I have always admired and desired. How it improves specific areas like quiet, dynamics, bass
- Clement Perry - Stereo Times - December 2018
Writers Award 2018
Without question, the Synergistic Research Galileo SX are the finest cables that I have used in my system. Through this new innovative design, Synergistic Research continues their all out assault on the noise floor which allows for a blacker and deeper background. Music just seems to naturally flow and radiate from the soundstage. Two words kept coming up in my notes as I listened to these cables extensively. Those two words were “ringing” and “smear” or the amazing lack of both. This is all executed without the traditional Synergistic Research implementation of active shielding which has been succeeded by a combination of Matrix UEF shielding, ground plane connectivity, and extensive use of graphene materials. A must audition for those seeking the very best.
Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2018
with lead designer Ted Denney
The World Debut of Galileo SX was presented at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2018. Watch lead designer Ted Denney demonstrate how many of the Synergistic Research products added to the “Gold Show Award for Sound” system.
Synergistic Research Galileo SX review
“My goodness! I thought that I knew this LP inside out, but there is something scary going on here. I feel like I just walked into the actual recording venue. There is a feeling of space and resolution that I never realized was on this recording. By the way, please tell Ben Webster to stop spinning around and to stand still!” And then that gorgeous smile.
It’s an interesting thing (at least for me), that when evaluating new components and seeking specific improvements in your system, many times you know pretty much what you are looking for. Better bass. More detail. Improved harmonics. And so on. When you discover improvements for something that was not all that
- Robert Youman - Positive Feedback - October 2018
Synergistic Research Galileo review.
Like Father, Like Son
By Jonathan Valin
“According to Ted, yours truly played a part in the voicing of the Galileo UEFs, at least to this extent: After all these years Denney has a pretty good idea of the timbral and dynamic balance I prefer and he made an effort (or so he tells me) to engineer higher energy, higher resolution, and more neutral timbre into the
Jonathan Valin - The Absolute Sound - Issue287 - Sept. 2018
“The resulting impact of these three products is more than the sum of the parts. By that, I mean that with these devices it’s more of a “1+1+1 = 5” effect. The noise floor drops significantly, and with that, I feel like I am hearing everything my system was designed to perform.
Honestly, I wish these three devices did not matter as much as they do. It’s a new can of worms to unravel and makes system setup a lot more complex. However, I would never go back to an “untreated” system. The new system sounds more dynamic, more detailed, more lifelike in the soundstage and timbre of the various instruments. In short, it sounds more musical, more real. “
- Lee Scoggins - Part-Time Audiophile - September 2018
by Mike Girardi
“One of the most significant effect results of reducing the noise floor and signal compression via the SR AGB SE allowed me to listen to music at much lower volumes without any loss of detail,
- Mike Girardi - StereoTimes - September 2018
by Robert Youman
“The Synergistic Research Atmosphere X Euphoria (Level 3) interconnects and speaker cables, along with the Atmosphere UEF (Level 3) power cables, have rekindled my passion for the very best in sound and performance. I had not realized that there was so much more musical information available that could transform my system well beyond flavor or personality. I can only imagine what Ted and Andy can come up with next. My guess is that the future will bring even more innovation and exciting new products from Synergistic Research. Highly recommended!“
-Robert Youman - Positive Feedback - September 2018 - Issue 99
“How does Galileo UEF sound? Well, when you hear something that is “real” enough to give you goosebumps it is almost ipso facto obvious that it is getting everything of audible musical importance “right” —timbres, dynamics, durations, pitches, imaging, soundstaging, etc. And it is delivering all of them with the inimitable immediacy of real music being played live. This sense of every musical element being delivered with lifelike pace and in lifelike proportion is what fools and delights you. And it’s this sense of lifelike pace and proportion that Synergistic Galileo UEF offers up on a more regular basis than almost any other cables I’ve tried. Though UEF isn’t cheap, it is a no-brainer top recommendation, as is the PowerCell 12 UEF SE that you plug your gear into and that has precisely the same neutrality, fidelity, resolution, dynamics, and realism as the cables. (Review forthcoming)”
-Jonathan Valin - The Absolute Sound - September 2018
by Howard Kneller
“Synergistic Research’s complex and difficult-to-manufacture SR25 Limited Edition power cord so stunningly demonstrates the relationship between high-quality power and high-quality sound that it may represent the apotheosis of power-cord design. When I said that the SR25 transformed virtually every aspect of my system’s sound, I wasn’t exaggerating. It was difficult to believe that these improvements were caused by a single power cord, or that my system already contained a high-end power conditioner and cords“
-Howard Kneller - SoundStage! Ultra - August 2018
by Siao Jer
“The Synergistic Research set of cables are expansive in all three dimensions, revealing with resolution and raw details, incredibly quiet in its noise floor with a lot of bass extension in treble energy. Sometimes describing these characteristics can imply that the system is bright, sterile, dry, and even a bit artificial. But where we were truly impressed is their ability to maintain a sense of musicality, immersive liveliness, and natural energy.“
-Siao Jer - August 2018
“The HFT/FEQ combination serves to make your listening room canvas more pristine so that when your audio system paints the music on it, the end result is a lot more true to life. Needless to say, the Synergistic Research HFT/FEQ combination I used in this review is not going anywhere. They are now an integral part of my reference audio system.“
-Malcolm Gomes - June 2018 - Issue 97
““These HFTs surprised me the most – their effect on the room was immediately audible. With just a few in our system and we were beginning to hear the holistic changes in the room. We started with the speaker only sets of HFTs, one module per side at a time. Over the course of testing and tuning, we hear subtle shift and changes that end up accumulating to a significant change. The soundstage would grow bigger and provide more depth.”
“After our initial testing of placement, an insanely easy A/B test. We listened with the box resting near the edge of our rug, put the box outside into the patio, listened again, and put it back in after listening. While the Black Box seems like it’s advertised as a bass tuning and improvement device — it’s more than that. It seems to build upon what the HFTs were doing and takes it up another notch.”
“As good as everything sounds, it only got better with the Atmosphere XL4. Amazingly, what you read in the scene descriptions is exactly what you get. As mentioned, we were very fond of the “Ethereal” + “Air & Grounded” settings. The improvement in resolution, contrast, and control almost sounded like a source upgrade. I wish I were exaggerating. “
- Siao Jer - June 2018
Synergistic Research PowerCell 12 UEF
by Siao Jer
“The Synergistic Research PowerCell 12 UEF SE is the quietest and most transparent power conditioner we’ve ever heard. As a consequence, micro/macro details are in full view without losing cohesion, texture, and body. You basically hear more of the music without losing musicality. It provided a new level of clarity, insight, dynamics, and authority while being smooth and euphoric. It is simply an enthralling piece of gear.”
Synergistic Research Galileo UEF AC power cables Part 2
by Mike Girardi
“Like the SR Galileo UEF speaker and interconnects, the SR Galileo UEF power cords make components sound exceptionally neutral, rich in texture, full of body, powerful, fast, spacious, and detailed while allowing my system components to reach their full potential. The Galileo UEF digital and analog power cables on all system components checked all of the boxes for me.”
New Videos from AV Showrooms
Synergistic Research’s Lead Designer, Ted Denney, visits Peter Breuninger and Mike Malinowski
SR25 Limited Edition power cable, Galileo UEF, HFT acoustic Treatments
Synergistic Research Active Ground Block SE Review Going Low to Get High
by Siao Jer
“The Synergistic Research passive Grounding Block and Active Ground Block SE have become an indispensable part of our systems. It improves the sound in a way where component and cable swaps just can’t mitigate. That’s because proper grounding is a foundational element and is an essential part of any Hi-Fi system. If you want to maximize the potential of your system and experience fresh musical highs, we have no hesitation in recommending either of these Synergistic Research grounding blocks.
The Absolute Sound, Editors’ Choice Awards
Nine products across five categories.
Power Conditioners - PowerCell 12 UEF SE
Digital Interconnect - Galileo UEF USB
Power Cords - Galileo UEF Digital, Analog and High Current
Audio Bacon Best of 2017
Atmosphere Level 3 Power Cables
The Stereo Times 2017 Most Wanted Components
UEF Blue Fuse and Galileo Series Cables
Atmosphere XL4, UEF Panels and HFT
Reviewed - by Jonathan Valin
by Jonathan Valin (The Absolute Sound, January 2018): “Several issues ago, I told you about Stein Music’s Harmonizer H2 room treatments-little black cubes with battery-powered crystal circuits inside them, which emit an electromagnetic signal that reduces ambient noise and broadens and deepens the soundstage, better disappearing your loudspeakers. According to the H2’s inventor, Holger Stein, this disappearing act is the result of a physical change in the distribution of air molecules in your listening room. How a set of vibrating crystals could bring about such a change-and why that change would result in a seeming expansion of the soundspace, as if the walls of your listening room had been pushed back several feet-is a mystery that even this old mystery writer can’t fathom. And yet…the thing works.
Comes now another room treatment from Ted Denney, head honcho of Synergistic Research, which effects an even more dramatic lowering of the noise floor and expansion of you listening space, with concomitant changes in ambient acoustics, soundstage/image size and focus, spectral balance, and transient response. ”
Those of you who have attended hi-fi shows across the country-from Newport Beach to New York City-may have already witnessed a demo of Denney’s Atmosphere/UEF Panel and UEF Acoustic Dot system. For those of you who haven’t, here’s what the system comprises and how it is said to work.
The Atmosphere XL4 (the latest Atmosphere with “8 times the power” of the original Atmosphere XL) is a cubical pillar containing electronics, activated by a USB bus, that generate a “two-channel, multi wave” RF signal. This RF signal is said to be “modeled and shaped” to counteract the ambient “man-made and solar” RF that Denney contends degrades the sound of every hi-fi system, particularly during the daylight hours-i.e., when the sun is shining. Denney’s reflections on the role that solar disturbance play in creating higher ambient RF are just about as persuasive as Stein’s explanation of how his crystal-filled cues create denser air in your listening room: nonetheless, like the Stein Harmonizer H2, the Atmosphere is audibly doing something that not only lowers ambient noise but also changes the tonal balance and dispersion pattern of loudspeakers and the sonic signature of the room they are playing in.
Sitting on top of the Atmosphere XL4 is a small cylindrical object called an Atmosphere Tuning Module (ATM). There are two different kinds of ATMs included with the XL4-named “Red” and “Green,” after the color of their bottom plates. The modules rest, unattached, in a circular indentation on the upper surface of the XL4 pillar, and can be interchanged at will.
I have absolutely no idea what is inside either of these devices, or how they work with the active electronics in the pillar. What I do know, and what everyone who has heard them in my room or at shows knows, is that when the Atmosphere XL4 and the ATMs are linked via a free Synergistic Research iPad app to one of six sonic “base scene: programs (“intimate Acoustic,” “Holographic,” “Grand Canyon,” “Amplified,” “Ethereal,” and “Expansive”-the first three for use with the Green ATM, the second thee with the Red ATM), the character of your loudspeaker-its tonal balance, resolution, image focus, soundsatge breadth and width and height, transient sharpness, bass definition and impact, etc.-changes, as do the acoustics of your room. What is equally startling-and a little appalling from an observational, much less a scientific point of view-is that these sonic changes are exactly the ones that Denney (or whoever wrote the copy for the iPad app) claims you’ll hear.
For example here is how Denney describes the sound of the “Amplified” base scene: “Maintain[s] the energy of amplified music with sharp leading edges and powerful dynamics. Ideal for live and studio recordings like rock ‘n’ roll, pop, and modern amplified jazz. In the default setting low frequencies are tight and punchy; midrange is immediate with high frequencies that are not overly smooth, or etched. Advanced Settings: “Crunchie” removes any politeness from hard-driving electric guitars, horns, and leading edge transients, leaving nothing but the raw amplified event. “Stadium” opens up the soundfield and is perfect for larger-scale venues.”
Folks, if you choose the “Amplified” base scene (with the Atmosphere XL4 and the Red ATM it is designed for) and play back a rock recording, you will get precisely the sonic attributes that Denny says you’ll get: Tighter, punchier low end, greater midrange presence (along with tight image focus), and a treble with increase sparkle and shimmer but without excessive bite. Moreover, if you dial in “Crunchie” from the “advanced setting” sub menu you will, indeed, get sharper leading-edge transients on guitar, cymbal, snare, and greater impact on bass and kickdrum within a more intimate soundspace, as if you were listening up close in a rock club. If you dial in “Stadium,” you will get the same base-scene virtues within a much more expansive soundspace, as if you were sitting at a greater distance in an arena.
Working independently of and in conjunction with the Atmosphere/ATM system are so-called “UEF”-don’t ask me what the initialism stands for-panels (rectangular frames with black panes coated with a paint that is said to react to sound) and UEF dots (round constrained-layer-like wafers that are also sound sensitive), both of which you white-tac to your walls. (Synergistic supplies instructions on where to locate each of these devices in your room.) If you’re lucky enough to own Synergistics’ superb Galileo UEF wire-which I will review in our upcoming Cable and Interconnect issue-this same technology is built into them, as well. (You can also add Synergistic’s HFT’s-tiny thimble-like objects that act like miniature Helmholtz radiators-to your UEF system.) The UEF devices are used with the Atmosphere/ ATM system, the disappearing act of both room and speakers is kind of amazing.
Even though parts of the Atmosphere/ATM/UEF/HFT system may sound voodooish, these things work, making smaller rooms sound like larger ones and making big multiway speakers disappear in them like two-way mini-monitors. Moreover, the Atmosphere/ATM devices give you options that no other analog room treatments I’ve played with can offer the ability to change acoustics to fit both the music and the venue it was played in. Indeed, in conjunction with Synergistic’s UEF/HFT devices, the Atmosphere/ATM system is so predictable, astonishingly, and completely adept at this, it raises an interesting question: Do you really want to “superimpose” a predetermined acoustic and ambient pattern on each and every piece of music you listen to? Isn’t this a little like passively re-engineering your recordings?
Maybe, it is. That said, Synergistic offers “base scene” choices that are fundamentally source-neutral, and I, for one, wouldn’t want to do without the lowering of noise and the subsequent clarity, definition, and boundary expansion that are part and parcel of the Atmosphere/ATM/UEF/HFT experience.
In sum, most highly recommended (even if I can’t explain it)-indeed, so highly recommended the Atmosphere/UEF/HFT system won TAS’ 2017 Accessory of the Year award.
2017 Product of the Year
Atmosphere Level 4 Cables and PowerCell 12 UEF
2017 PF Circuitus Maximus Award
2017 PF Gizmo Award
Circuitus Maximus Award- The second award goes to Synergistic (aha!) Research, for its latest (2017) line of system enhancements. And that’s a long list; see my Brutus Awards Part the First for the details.
In both cases, everything that I’m looking for is embodied in these products…congratulations to the PASS Labs and Synergistic Research teams for these accomplishments!
Gizmo Award – Long-time readers of PF and PFO know that Harvey Rosenberg (AKA “Gizmo”) was a close friend of mine, and a valued member of the PF writing community for a number of years. His untimely death a couple of years ago was a real blow to fine audio, the loss of a uniquely creative writer. In Harvey’s memory, we have created an annual award that (like Harvey!) will be unique: a one-only-per-year recognition of a person/design that is surfing the edge of audiomania, going all-out to push the frontiers of fine audio. There will be no multiples of this prize… no hard-and-fast categories… and if nobody floats our boat in a given year, it won’t be awarded.”
More than this, my Pacific NW audio friend, now long departed, Terry Cain of Cain and Cain, explained the Gizmo Award at its launch.
For Terry’s very moving essay, please go HERE.
This will explain the award and, I hope, give you a sense of why I chose Ted Denney III of Synergistic Research as its recipient this year.
No further explanation is needed.
SoundStage! - Product of the Year
by Howard Kneller (SoundStage! Ultra, September 2017): “Synergistic Research’s Galileo UEF interconnects and speaker cables are technical tours de force that demonstrate just how far the art of cable making has come since the Golden Enz days of electrical-grade copper conductors and connectors of gold-plated nickel.”
The Absolute Sound - Cable of the Year
“JV has heard a lot of Synergistic Research cable over the years, but Ted Denney’s latest creation, the Galileo UEF, is quite simply the best wire Mr.D has yet designed- better even than the original Galileo, which cost four times as much. Although it is still a bit of a pain to use - because of the various grounding connections required - Galileo UEF is far less of a pain than previous SR wires, simply because the dielectric biasing circuit is built into each cable. (No more wall-wart power supplies stuck in every outlet and power strip of your home.) More importantly, the UEF marks a dramatic shift in SR sonics, coming far far closer to neutral in balance than the darker-sounding originals, without sacrificing any of the speed, color, resolution, or power-range solidity and slam that SR is famous for. A genuine breakthrough for Denney and Co., a relatively good deal compared to some of the six- and seven-figure competition, and a shoo-in for TAS’ 2017 Cable and Interconnect of the Year Aware. (forthcoming)”
The Absolute Sound - Accessory of the Year
Atmosphere XL4, HFT and Acoustic
“Synergistic Research’s High-Frequency Transducers are mini-thimble-sized objects, which you Blu-Tack to your walls and gear: its UEF Acoustic Panels are framed black rectangles, coated with a sonically-reactive paint, that are also strategically fastened to walls around your room. Why would you go to the trouble of doing either of these things? Because the HFT’s and UEFs are actually sonic radiators that generate different blends of harmonics to “sweeten” the sound of loud-speakers and sources. To get them to work ideally, you must also use Synergistic’s Atmosphere XL4 Tuning Module, which produces signals that cause the HFT’s and FEQs to “ring” salubriously (and in different patterns). This may sound like BS, but the HFT/UEF/Atmosphere system actually works. What’s more, it works precisely in the ways that designer Ted Denney says it does, changing room acoustics almost to order. Perhaps the most ingenious room treatment JV has ever used - and certainly one of the most versatile and effective - this SR package was another easy choice for Accessory of the Year. (forthcoming)V has heard a lot of Synergistic Research cable over the years, but Ted Denney’s latest creation, the Galileo UEF, is quite simply the best wire Mr.D has yet designed- better even than the original Galileo, which cost four times as much. Although it is still a bit of a pain to use - because of the various grounding connections required - Galileo UEF is far less of a pain than previous SR wires, simply because the dielectric biasing circuit is built into each cable. (No more wall-wart power supplies stuck in every outlet and power strip of your home.) More importantly, the UEF marks a dramatic shift in SR sonics, coming far far closer to neutral in balance than the darker-sounding originals, without sacrificing any of the speed, color, resolution, or power-range solidity and slam that SR is famous for. A genuine breakthrough for Denney and Co., a relatively good deal compared to some of the six- and seven-figure competition, and a shoo-in for TAS’ 2017 Cable and Interconnect of the Year Aware. (forthcoming)”
Great Audiophile Gifts 2017
Mig 2.0 and Blue Fuses
Dr. David Robinson’s 2017 Brutus Awards
Atmosphere XL4 ATM, Active Ground Block SE system, HFT system, PowerCell 12 UEF SE w/ Glass Top, Galileo UEF Analog and Digital Power Cords, Galileo UEF Speaker Cable, Galileo UEF Interconnects, and Black and BLUE Fuses
“The Powercell 12 UEF made a remarkable change right from the get-go. No need for substantial break-in, either…I heard the greater clarity, lower noise floor, and great dynamic swing immediately. Several veils over the sound, unsuspected until then, hit the road, Jack.
I’ve always been amazed by the first generation Atmosphere that we’d had in this room since late summer of 2015, but the setup of the new XL4 model left me shaking my head at the improvement. Soundstage shifted increasing to soundfield, enveloping me more firmly than ever before. Righteous!
The SR Galileo UEF power cords and interconnects seriously advanced the clarity and the detail of our systems, taking imaging and soundstage depth to places that I hadn’t heard before. And the Active Ground Block SE knocked down distant hash and grain, further enhancing transparency. (More, more, more! Always more!) And those bloody little HFT units! I was familiar with the way that they seemed to extend the sonic envelope, but Ted, the master designer, did things with them that expertly pushed back the boundaries in our listening room. Having three days was really helpful; it gave him time to assess what was happening, and what things could be done to further improve the quality of the listening here.”
By Dr. David Robinson, Editor-In-Chief, Positive Feedback, Issue 94
Writers’ Choice Awards for 2017
When my audiophile buddies ask me for recommendations to help improve their system, it is typically about some specific component. Usually they are all excited about the latest rave review for an amplifier, preamplifier, DAC, cabling or even speakers. Rarely do they look at the big picture. The focus is consistently short term and limited.
These days, my first thought is to redirect their priorities and recommend the Synergistic Research PowerCell 12 UEF SE power conditioner as a first step. In most cases, these have been decisive and unequivocal recommendations based on my past experience with the PowerCell 12 and a variety of systems. Those who have followed my advice have been very pleased.
I have considerable experience with power conditioners over the years, and yes they do have some impact. Until the PowerCell 12, my typical gut reaction was that the sound was invariably “different” but not “better”. In most cases, the end result was performance that could be slightly throttled or truncated in some way. Pace, rhythm and timing (PRAT) was almost always impacted and not for the better.
With the PowerCell 12, all ships rise with the tide. Yes, we have superior levels of isolation which results in an impressive reduction in the noise floor, but all the excitement and dynamic contrast of the recording as originally intended is now laid out for all to hear. In terms of providing clean power, every component in the system has now been maximized for it’s best performance and the results have been very clear.
Before spending one dollar on any other upgrade, I highly recommend auditioning the PowerCell 12. This product has made more overall positive impact on my system than any other component over the last several years! Please see my review for additional information about the cutting edge design and the outstanding sound.
Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2017
Best Sound at Show
Synergistic Research Factory Tour
with Lead Designer Ted Denney
Galileo UEF Speaker and Interconnects Cables
“If all this makes it sound as if the Galileo UEFs do virtually everything at the breathtaking levels of a Zenvo TS1, Bugatti Chiron, or Hennessey Venom GT Spyder, it’s because they do. Of course, for the money, they’d better — although, as I’ve said, the Galileo UEFs are by no means the most expensive audio cables ever made, or even the most expensive that Synergistic Research has ever made.
There are too many audio cables out there for me to be foolish enough to proclaim any one of them the state of the art. And in this hobby, you can never discount the importance of personal taste in sound. Still, I’ve heard a lot of cables in connection with reviews, and heard even more at trade shows, and in showrooms and audiophiles’ homes — I have a pretty good idea of what’s out there. The Synergistic Galileo UEFs are serious contenders for the designation SOTA.”
Howard Kneller, SoundStage Ultra, September 2017
Synergistic Research Galileo UEF Series Cables
“Although the Atmosphere UEF Level 4 cables are excellent cables within their price point, the technology employed in the Galileo UEF cables significantly improved upon the performance of the Atmosphere UEF Level 4 cables. Inner detail, low level musical signal retention, and the ability for the listener to easily pinpoint outlines within a well-defined soundstage were exemplary through the Galileo UEF cables. Instruments and vocals sounded lifelike and not electrically constructed through the Galileo UEF cables. The lower noise floor conferred many benefits in the areas of micro and macrodynamics which for me, is at the heart of enjoying recorded music… I have a new reference.“
Mike Girardi, Stereo Times, September 2017
PowerCell 12 UEF SE
UEF Acoustic Panels
“Ted Denney’s absolutely ingenious and amazingly effective Atmosphere/UEF panel/HFT system is the latest (and greatest) in a long line of Denney-concocted room treatments. Comprising a tall, thin, USB-powered rectangular column with a small cylindrical RF generator on top, a set of black-framed, wall-mounted panels coated with a patented RF-reactive paint, and/or a set of Synergistic Research’s thimble-like HFT’s (High Frequency Transducers), the Atmosphere system generates a variety of very-low-frequency, user-selectable (via an iPad app) RF signals, each of which causes the panels and the HFT’s to oscillate in different ways, masking the noise generated by electronics and resonant objects in your room and, thereby, changing room acoustics dramatically. If the Stein Harmonizer gives you a new room, the Atmosphere gives you 12 different, larger, airier spaces that you can dial up to order. (Review forthcoming)”
Jonathan Valin, The Absolute Sound, September 2017
Hong Kong High-End Audio Video Show 2017
Special thanks to our friend Creevy and Lowther China, SR’s Chinese Distributor
PowerCell 8 UEF SE
Atmosphere Level 2 and 3 power cables
“That the products reviewed here (PowerCell 8 UEF SE, Atmosphere Level 2 and Level 3 power cords) surpass my other Synergistic Research products of only six years ago by such a wide margin attests to the fact that this entire category and Synergistic Research in particular, is making enormous progress through their research and development”
“For my system, in my room, these Synergistic Research upgrades represent an extreme value, bringing out the very best I’ve experienced from my components so far”
“The PowerCell 8 UEF SE and Atmosphere Level 2 and 3 power cords revive the goosebumps with my favorite music and let me feel the bass vibrations through the leather of my listening chair”
“I wouldn’t have believed they could have made such a difference. Combining the two, there is not much sonic distance between my system now, and those costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Rick Becker, EnjoytheMusic.com, July 2017
Los Angeles Audio Show 2017
Demonstration from Lead Designer, Ted Denney
Intoducing NEW Active Ground Block and Atmosphere XL4
PowerCell 12 UEF SE
Synergistic Research has another winner with the PowerCell 12 UEF SE. I was pleasantly surprised if not astonished at the improvement in sound quality over my past benchmark—the excellent PowerCell 10 UEF. Unlike other power conditioners that I have auditioned, the PowerCell 12 UEF SE never feels like it throttles or diminishes the music. Yes, we have superior levels of isolation which results in an impressive reduction in the noise floor, but all the excitement and dynamic contrast of the recording as originally intended is still laid out for all to hear. This one will not be leaving my listening room.
Robert Youman, Positive Feedback, Issue 91, June 2017
Positive Feedback Audio Oasis Award
More Coming Soon