Reviews, Awards and Videos
“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