As a veteran of the RMAF and AXPONA shows, I have come to expect great sound from Ted Denney’s Synergistic Research room. Having reviewed his products, I am aware of how they set up an important foundation for stereo playback by lowering noise to infinitesimal levels. However, this year Ted, Scott Walker and team outdid themselves with a whopper reference system that included Magico M3 speakers powered by reference level Constellation electronics.
The sound was among the most realistic I have heard on the Eva Cassidy cover of What A Wonderful World. The highs were ethereal. Full of clarity and panoramic in width. Bass was sublime. Vocals in general were among the best I have heard. When it came time to narrow the best rooms down to just five for our Part-Time Audiophile podcast, I added in Synergistic to the list. Ted says this was the best room he has ever done. I have to agree. A true standout among the many rooms at the Denver Marriott.
But how did Ted get to this level of performance?
The first thing that was new was Ted’s new flagship cable, the Galileo SX. Derived from learnings from the 25th Anniversary power cord, the SX uses UEF shielding deployed in a grid fashion like the SR25. Ted added better grounding and used his “folded cells” which basically act like a line conditioner within the power cable. The voicing “bullets” have been redesigned as well for higher resolution and more musical sound.
The net effect is more detail but more musicality as well with super low noise.
Best of all, the higher resolution made Ted’s already intriguing demo even more powerful as you could hear even more clearly the impact of his various accessories and components as the grounding and EM devices were switched on and off. The demo went like this:
- The resolution of the system is demonstrated as everything is turned on and Ted plays a Dark Side of The Moon half-track tape on a Sonorus-modified Revox PR99. The clarity is compelling. At this point, we are hearing the cumulative effect of Tranquility Bases, an Active Ground Block, the latest Powercell 12 with Blue outlets, the latest “white” tall Atmosphere Tower, grounding wires with a full loom of Galileo SX speaker cables, interconnects and power cords, Black Boxes, HFT room treatments, and the mix of EM cells embedded throughout.
- To start the demo, all the EM cells, active grounding, Tranquility Bases, and any other active device are turned off.
- Total collapse! The sound is much worse despite the premium gear in the room. The sound is phasey. Eva’s vocals are sibilant and unnatural. The soundstage is noticeably less spacious. It just doesn’t feel right. It feels like more of the music is originating at the M3 speaker baffle.
- Now Ted turns on the EM call within his PowerCell UEF 12SE power conditioner. Ah, more clarity is available. A bit of space unfolds into the room.
- Now Ted turns on the Active Ground Block. Noise is suddenly noticeably lower. A great amount of space is unfurled. Now we are getting somewhere!
- Now Ted turns on the Tranquility Bases. Now much more space and things are starting to sound like the near-perfect rendition we heard earlier.
- Now Ted adjusts the Atmosphere Tower which is now available in an appealing white that compliments both the SR signage and the Constellation amplifier. We hear the spaciousness from earlier.
- But Ted has one more card up his sleeve. Black Boxes. Well, okay, now Ted is debuting these compact boxes in white. “White is the new black”, as Ted says. Ah, the bass is controlled and natural within the room. There is a sense that the bass is working with the room and not against it. More space is added and Eva is singing her heavenly voice in a wide and deep space. It actually sounds like she is in front of us in the room. We are now complete in our return to the reference sound we heard before and we got there by incrementally adding in the impact of all the devices.
Now having $75K Magico M3s with the QPod feet, a $10K option, is certainly playing a role as are the reference level Constellation electronics but it makes you wonder if you would hear the $85K of speaker without Ted’s magical noise-dropping, soundfield-expanding devices. As usual, Scott Walker had their team next door taking orders from a near circular display of the entire Synergistic product line.
I guess the demo was convincing to others as well. They sold $200K of merchandise at the show.