Reviews, Awards and Videos
Synergistic Research Atmosphere SX Excite series cables
As expensive as the Atmosphere Excite SX series may seem to many, those who thought they needed to spend a lot more to get this level of sound quality may be pleasantly surprised. You will quite likely discover, as I did, that cables of this quality bring out more sound quality than you thought your mid-priced gear was capable of delivering. All three of my moderately priced source components delivered far more than I thought possible. Buy higher up the ladder if you wish, but don’t be surprised if your new cables beg you to buy better components or commandeer the living room as your personal listening salon.
At some point, later in life, we acquire fine components, realizing that they will become our “forever” amp or loudspeaker. The Excite SX cables qualify for that status for me. I wish I had reached this level a decade ago. But in the case of Synergistic Research cables, who can really say “forever”? Ted Denney and Synergistic Research are showing no signs of slowing down their creativity or technological innovation.
Rick Becker - Enjoy The Music - April 2022
Synergistic Research FEQ Carbon
“OK folks - we all know that when a newer, updated version of a familiar product is released, often it’s met with a bit of skepticism and possibly doubt. So when during a recent email exchange with Andy Wiederspahn (i.e., SR’s right-hand person), followed quickly by a phone call, he mentioned that the former FEQ X4 unit had been recently updated and he’d like to know if I’d be interested in checking it out. Also, being aware of the positive effects of the now discontinued unit, my response was — absolutely. Anyway - what I wasn’t prepared to experience is something that totally caught me off guard. Without question, once installed in my reference system and per instruction - left turned on for an initial period for the unit to settle in and acclimate to my listening environment - the newer FEQ Carbon unit immediately let me know it’s ability by providing a noticeable improvement over the older unit.
First and foremost, the FEQ Carbon device simply helped to more completely saturate the entire sound field and by enhancing the sensation of openness and dimensionality including width, height and depth. Additionally, my listening room took on the proverbial sensation of the walls simply falling away. Beyond this - the sound simply poured forth more effortlessly and natural than before. Interestingly, in addition to the immediately noticeable enhanced organic texture to both voice and instruments, the bass became a bit more robust, not in a negative, forward-sounding way, but with enhanced impact and umph. Throughout the midrange - there was a greater sense of presence and with a wonderful sense of fullness. Bottomline - the new FEQ Carbon literally impacted (and enhanced) the entire frequency spectrum and in a most enjoyably musical manner.” - Review forthcoming
Bill Wells - Stereotimes - February 2022
Synergistic Research Purple Fuse
The sonic changes to Synergistic Research Purple UEF fuses were immediately noticeable in several ways, with other benefits revealed after the initial flurry of changes. The first change is an increase in smoothness and refinement in the midrange and especially in the high frequencies. The higher frequencies are less congested and restricted too, which makes the top treble appear to have a greater extension. All of which is heard most readily with solo female voice or piano, but unless your record collection is made up of white noise, catfights and people running their fingernails down chalkboards, you’ll hear it regardless.
After that initial impressive change comes the other benefits in short order. Perhaps predictably (at least for those who’ve heard fuse-free Schuko plugs in their system), there’s a distinct sense of music rising out of stillness and calm; the absence of a subtle background hash that too often gives the music an electronic sheen. However, you also notice that the imaging has improved, mostly in terms of image stability but also in soundstage size and precision. Dynamic range is improved too, again perhaps a part of that removal of background hash. In systems that are already dynamically powerful sounding, the worry could be that it would send the sound over the top and into exuberance; in fact, the sound just seems to expand a little, a little like you just got access to a better master of the music.
-Alan Sircom - HiFi + - February 2022
“I’ve got this title on Music Matters and Blue Note Classic vinyl. One of my favorites, so I know it well. With the Ethernet Switch UEF leading the way, we have something very special here. I was amazed at the amount of dynamic headroom and lifelike immediacy, all without the typical digital glare that seems to be the norm when streaming. Even piano, which when recorded by Rudy van Gelder can sound so feint and heartless, has just the right amount of sonic texture and impact. Trumpet and tenor are properly burnished and full of attack. This is digital done right.”
“There are products that can be considered just the icing on the cake. This is not that. The Ethernet Switch UEF provides a dramatic step forward for streaming and digital performance. It is an important component and without question a real game changer. Congrats to Synergistic Research for another outstanding design and for the superb product execution.“
-Robert Youman - Positive Feedback - December 2021
“From the opening seconds, I could feel the atmosphere in the venue. The music had a clarity, presence, and natural feel that, for the first time, made me think there was something worthwhile to streaming music. The sibilance was finally controlled. The soloists were so realistic I could feel something like their personalities in their voices. Musicians were solidly placed in realistic, identifiable positions on the soundstage. Jackson Browne sounded like I had heard him on my reference CD & LP rig. And the applause came from real people in the audience.“
-Rick Becker - Enjoy The Music - November 2021
Synergistic Research Galileo SX Ground Block
“My apologies for some of the hyperbole, but along with the Synergistic Research Galileo SX PowerCell, the Galileo SX Ground Block is possibly the most impressive new product that I have reviewed in the last couple of years. I have mentioned many times that the PowerCell might just be the most important component in my entire system. Now, there is some definite competition. Though each have different functions, both can offer something similar in terms of impact. Both provide a rising tide that can lift all boats.
With the Galileo SX Ground Block in place, I stopped critiquing the sound and was able to just focus on the music. As a typical audiophile, this is always a challenge. Bottom line. The emotional connection and level of personal satisfaction has never been better in my listening room! That’s the biggest compliment that I could ever offer. If you are seeking state of the art performance, the Galileo SX Power Block is a must audition. Innovative design. Superb execution. Wonderful results. Highly recommended.”
-Robert Youman - Positive Feedback - April 2021
Synergistic Research Atmosphere X Series Power Cables.
Atmosphere X Alive - “Playing Night Train by the Oscar Peterson Trio, I immediately heard a firmer sound with increased separation between the instruments with this cable in place. Peterson’s piano tone had noticeably more sheen to it, while Ray Brown‘s bassline displayed greater solidity. Pitch definition was better, too. I have been using a pretty good specialist mains cable with my current reference Moonriver amplifier, but this design delivered noticeably better sound, giving worthwhile improvements in clarity and overall definition. Rhythms were more pointed, and there seemed to be greater space around the notes.”
Atmosphere X Excite- “I heard improved timing and more subtle rhythmic inflexions. Returning to my original power cord, the sound went a bit flat and matter-of-fact, lacking presence and projection. Changing back to the Excite Level 2 improved clarity and immediacy; everything was pin-point focused and better detailed. My Musical Fidelity suddenly seemed to be sounding a whole lot better. Or was I imagining it? I switched power cables back and forth several times just to make sure I wasn’t fooling myself, but each time I went back to the Synergistic Research cable, the improvements outlined were apparent.”
Atmosphere X Euphoria - “Finally, moving on to the Euphoria Level 3, and once again I heard more of the same. I made out a firmer bass line and more articulate piano playing. The decay of the notes seemed more evident, and overall the sound had noticeably greater subtlety, finesse, and delicacy. There was something more, as I felt more drawn into the music. Suddenly, I’d be aware of how a cymbal was struck or how a series of piano chords was phrased. The music had greater emotional meaning and felt more communicative.”
~ Jimmy Hughes, Stereonet
2020 Positive Feedback Brutus Awards
The Synergistic Research PowerCell SX
“With the PowerCell SX swapped into my system, the sound was spectacular, the space produced was immersive, the percussion was thundering, the guitar was densely textured, and the bandoneon was liquid and breathy. The PowerCell SX infused sheer physicality and visual solidity of the production that always kept my attention from the start of each cut… you are in the recording space. There was also an astonishing level of heightened resolution and significantly lowered noise floor that manifested itself as tranquility with the music emerging from a darker backdrop “
“The SR PowerCell SX and Galileo SX power cord are engineering breakthroughs that are well made, deliver on their promised performance, and have taken my system to a level I never thought possible. Ted Denney pulled out all of the stops on this iteration of the PowerCell. Although the admission price is high, the increase in overall system performance in relative terms justifies the cost. Far worthy of a StereoTimes “Most Wanted Component” award recognition… My new reference.“
~ Mike Girardi, StereoTimes, December 2020
The 17th Annual Positive Feedback Writers’ Choice Awards for 2020
The Synergistic Research Tranquility Pod
“I began the review with Miles Davis Kind of Blue album, which is one of the all time great jazz standards and which is revered by many jazz fans as one of the greatest jazz albums of all time. I have heard this album well over a hundred times, and every time it never fails to remind me of the genius of Miles Davis. However, when listening to this album with the Tranquility Pod activated, it helped increase the presence of Miles Davis’ horn in my listening room with nuances and subtleties emerging to the extent that I am now able to better connect with the emotions and mood that Miles decoded into his music.
Next up, was the Shirley Horn album You Won’t Forget Me. This is an exceptionally intimate album that belongs in every audiophile’s music collection. Shirley Horn has this incredible ability to make you feel that she is singing only to you. Her lush, husky voice caresses your soul in a way that few divas can. With the Tranquility Pods in the equation, the noise floor was perceptibly lower, allowing Shirley’s voice to come through with more presence and texture. Even when her voice is barely above a whisper, the increased dynamic contrast made it sounds more full, voluptuous, and evocative. Every track in this album comes through with an extra dollop of seductiveness than I have ever heard before. “
~ Malcolm Gomes, Positive Feedback
The Synergistic Research UEF Record Weight
“I could detect more dimensionality and timbral accuracy to the whole performance. The guitar sounds sweeter and more detailed while the percussion sounds tighter and with better PRaT. There is no doubt that the UEF enhances the level of listening enjoyment and reduces listening fatigue quite substantially.”
“In comparison to the UEF, the Shun Mook has slightly more focus and makes the music tonally a bit richer. However, if I had to choose between the two, I would opt for the UEF because, to my ears, the enhanced stability that it renders to the sound stage trumps the improved focus and tonality of the Shun Mook.”
“If you do not have one of those fancy 5-figure or 6-figure price turntables with those crazy heavy platters, you owe it to your ears to try out the UEF. There is a good chance that it will make your turntable sound like you just upgraded it to a model that sports a significantly higher price. If it does not, you can always avail of Synergistic Research’s no fuss return policy.”
Malcolm Gomes - Positive Feedback – Issue 111 - September 2020
Above and Beyond - The Synergistic Research PowerCell SX Power Conditioner
In my earlier reviews of the PowerCell 12, I stated that the PowerCell might just be the most important component in my entire system. The basic logic is that “all boats rise when the water rises.” This famous quote by John F. Kennedy could not have said it better. The PowerCell SX reaffirms this logic and takes it above and beyond.
When every component is plugged into the PowerCell SX, the performance of each is improved along with the aggregate performance of the entire system. “Synergy” is the word that often comes to mind (please excuse the pun in this case). Nothing is throttled back—including the amplifier. This is important, as amplifiers are often the chink in the armor for many power conditioners. Not here. The music just flows.
Using the same logic, when you feed the PowerCell SX with a Galileo SRX power cable, you get additional if not substantial results across the board. See my review of the Galileo SRX HERE. The combination is a killer—almost as if some type of Venturi effect has been realized. Bottom line, you just cannot ignore the results and the value of the bundled price mentioned above when combining the Galileo SRX power cable and the PowerCell SX. This is the configuration that I used for all the comments in this review.”
Will the internal struggle to reach nirvana ever end? Probably not. As much as we like to complain about the journey, this is what provides much of the joy and interest in this hobby. The PowerCell SX has the ability to get us amazingly closer and without major upgrades to the rest of the system—closer than any other cable or power conditioner that I have heard in my listening room. The PowerCell SX clearly pushes the envelope. It’s only July, but I now have my first nomination for the annual Positive Feedback Writers’ Choice Awards. Highly, highly recommended!”
Robert Youman - Positive Feedback – Issue 110 - July 2020
Synergistic Research UEF Record Weight - Aspired to Inspire
“As stated earlier, everything can make a difference. Compared to no record weight at all, the VPI Signature did a fine job of bringing out a significant level of detail and extending the sound stage in all directions. For the price, this is still an excellent option. However, the Signature offered nowhere near the abundance of fleshed out information and effortless liquidity as that of the UEF.
It’s not clear that the Shun Mook is still out there and generally available for purchase. Said to be manufactured from a rare dried ebony wood from Africa, it has acquired a very loyal following over the years. Extraordinarily expensive at $4800 and difficult to track down, I was finally able to find a few European dealers on the Internet. I was also recently informed that The Cable Company here in the USA carries the product line. An audiophile friend shipped me his Shun Mook for use in this comparison. He claims that it was purchased more than 10 years ago.
Bottom line, the Shun Mook was also extremely impressive and added a bit more warmth and color over and above the UEF, though it did not provide the killer level of micro and macro dynamics of the same. This enrichment of the sound was not simpatico with my system needs and my personal taste, but I could see that it might be a better fit for others. Be careful though, apparently there are many knockoffs out there.
Up until now, the HRS ADH was the bench mark for my system. Like the Signature and Shun Mook, the ADH had plenty of dimensionality and drive well beyond having no record weight at all. It managed to dig out an additional layer of harmonic texture and presence that for years was very satisfying to my ears. Bass performance in particular was both tight and weighty—a very nice combination.
I would have never noticed a lack of anything until the UEF entered the team picture. With the UEF, there was now a more clearly defined sound stage with even more layers of inner detail. Performance at both ends of the frequency range had an urgency and flow that had my head spinning. Mids were even more seductive and tangible. Tone, timbre, and pitch were spot on for a variety of instruments and vocals. The number of goose bump generating spacial cues now seemed endless. I clearly discovered a new bench mark!
Robert Youman - Positive Feedback – Issue 109 - May 2020