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Synergistic Research | AXPONA 2019

with Magico, Gryphon, United Home Audio, and MSB

AXPONA 2019 Show Coverage brought to you by the LSA Group

It’s almost a tradition now.  I stumble into the Synergistic Research room on the night before an audio show opens and Ted Denney, Andy Wiederspahn, Scott Walker and crew are drinking beer while doing the voicing of the system.  This is one of the hardest working crews in audio.  Usually, it’s mid-evening and people on the team have been working all day to dial stuff in.  Ted and Scott then work to try different “bullets”, silver or gold, which can change the character of the system.  They try different acoustical devices like HFTs to improve the acoustics.  In a way they sort of “tune” the room.  It’s actually a fascinating thing to watch as the sound steadily improves and Ted fusses over every possible configuration.  In between, several bad and good jokes are told.  But usually at the end of the evening, the entire team has VASTLY improved the room sound.  Then in the next day, the team continues to experiment with minor tweaks that sometimes make another major step forward on sound.  In this case, they had some truly excellent gear to work with.  Phil O’Hanlon had lent Ted a huge Gryphon Audio amplifier to power their Magico M3s.  Greg Beron had sold Ted a United Home Audio all-singing, all-dancing tape deck.  As is typical for Ted’s room, the openness and clarity were excellent.

Things were a bit different this time.  I’ve written about how Ted’s gear can drop the noise floor to below basement level.  But this time I heard just a bit more texture on the instruments.  I heard just a bit more clarity.  The music just seemed to appear from a completely and totally black background.  What was going on?

New cable technology. Ted, not content to leave the very well Galileo alone, has now released the Galileo SX cables which leverage some new learning that he had from his semi-outrageous 25th Anniversary power cable.  The new power cables are called SRX and Ted feels that they are a significant step forward but at a lot less money than the ultra-limited edition 25th Anniversary power cords.

In addition, Ted has been playing around with geometry and materials on interconnects and speaker cables as well.  The new Galileo SX was in the room at AXPONA, and the sound was extraordinary.  The quiet between notes was among the best at the show.  This new SX series is one to watch for if you have the means and want the best.

Even more exciting was a new product introduction that will have internet objectivists losing their minds: the new Galileo Powercell.  Ted wanted to push the envelope and this new PowerCell he believes is the ultimate power conditioner.  Visually it’s quite appealing too as it uses. front window that overlay a meter showing amps, a bit reminiscent of the new Audio Research Ref 160 mono block meters.  There is a top window and inside the Galileo many of the parts look frankly like jewelry with shiny metal and beautifully laid-out wire.  Ted feels it is an order of magnitude improvement on the PowerCell 12 UEF SE that made a huge difference in yours truly’s system.

I asked Ted about the new technology:

Why bring out an ultra luxury line conditioner in Galileo PowerCell?  What prompted the desire to bring it out?  What does it improve over the 12 UEF SE version?

The Galileo PowerCell was an unrestrained development program to evolve the PowerCell line conditioner to its highest performance in its current configuration. We used 59 feet of pure six nines silver in an Teflon / air dielectric to point to point wire each of the 12 AC receptacles to there Active electromagnetic cells. All conductors are treated exactly as we treat our BLUE fuses. To accomplish peak performance we went from six electromagnetic cells to 11.  We also made the cells larger and more densely packed for four times the filtration of the PowerCell 12 SE. we also made significant circuit refinements starting with a new quieter power supply. We re-tuned the harmonic of the earth’s Shuman resonance through a study of blind listening tests, to create greater musicality depth and holographic realism through some subjective design decisions.

You are now introducing the SRX power cables.  How does these improve performance on power?

The SRX power cord is an exact match to our Synergistic Research 25th Anniversary power cord. The only caveat, they’re made with a different grade of 6 nine silver.  In essence the cable is one long flexible electromagnetic cell, with two folded cells, one for a hot and neutral AC and this is incased in carbon fiber.  It can be grounded to the active ground block to lower circuit noise further still and this can be tuned with attached UEF tuning bullets. Gold bullets for warmth, silver bullets for air.

What new products are you excited about?  Is the new phono cable on the list?

It’s no secret I’ve fallen in love with vinyl. Again. The Galileo SX phono or cable is my ultimate expression of this newfound joy. It is utterly transparent, yeah harmonically rich. It transmits everything. It uses all our latest UEF technology including all components blue fuse treated.

Ted’s demo was done in classic SR fashion where he plays the system with all the SR gizmos fully on.  We heard Brian Taylor’s Beat Hotel.  The clarity and openness of the Magico M3s were so natural sounding.  By the way, Alon Wolf of Magico is now a fan, following a visit from Ted to the Magico factory outside of San Francisco.  Alon was upstairs showing off his new Magico M2 speakers and he had a full “loom” of the new Galileo cabling.

I have been a fan of MSB since visiting Mike Bovaird’s showroom in Sarasota.  Ted played digital with the MSB Reference acting as a preamp.  Sound quality from this digital source was sensational, with a lot of analog-like feel to it.

Back to the demo…now Ted starts turning off things like the PowerCell technology, the Tranquility Bases, the Atmosphere Infinity towers…and each and every time things fall apart.  I wrote in my notes that “percussion got less distinct”, “soundstage narrowed”, “the image seems more in the speakers”.  The Ted flips some switches and restores everything.  Ahh, our ears are in heaven again.  

Usually, Ted likes to do a digital demo via iPad but this time, he had brought a turntable and a reel to reel deck.  But the tape deck is what won me over.  Ted had a tape from Yarlung Records that was magically lifelike.  It just seemed like real musicians in a real space and it connected emotionally.

Greg Beron, of United Home Audio, has been selling upper-end reel-to-reel decks for a while and they always look as good as the sound.  Greg always brings a boatload of tapes and he’s fairly famous for a quality late night listening session through the show.  Saturday night I stumbled late into the SR room, loaded up on happiness from seeing Shelby Lynne do a spectacular acoustic set…and to be quite honest, a couple of martinis.  Greg was playing tapes and it just sounded fantastic.  The M3s were singing!  We listened to Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer”.  It sounded so clear and everything was working. Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean” was thumping heavy bass and MJ’s voice was as real as I’ve heard it.  Amazing sound.

This was a Top Three room for me at AXPONA.  Ted continues to make some of the finest power foundation and cabling products on the market.  The room acoustic devices continue to evolve and tame tricky room challenges.  Sadly, the Galileo PowerCell was only on static display but worry not as one will be active in Munich in just a few days.  Very well done Ted and Scott!  What else can I say?  Just keep on pushing the envelope and creating these reference caliber systems!

AXPONA 2019 Show Coverage brought to you by Core Power Technologies

About Lee Scoggins (127 Articles)
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Lee got interested in audio listening to his Dad’s system in the late 70s and he started making cassettes from LPs. By the early 80s he got swept up in the CD wave that was launching which led to a love of discs from Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs. Later while working on Wall Street in the 90s, Lee started working on blues, jazz and classical sessions for Chesky Records and learned record engineering by apprenticeship. Lee was involved in the first high resolution recordings which eventually became the DVD-Audio format. Lee now does recordings of small orchestras and string quartets in the Atlanta area. Lee's current system consists of Audio Research Reference electronics and Wilson Audio speakers.

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