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Synergistic, Thrax, MSB, Kharma | High End 2019

Dropping the Noise Floor. Again.

High-End 2019 show coverage brought to you by The LSA Group

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.

Ted and right hand man Andy got to work Thursday and began to “voice the room.”  Using new Kharma DB11S  Signature speakers and beautiful Thrax electronics, they also had a brand new star of the show, the aforementioned Galileo PowerCell.  This is a new flagship product with point to point wiring using six nine silver wiring directly to each plug, not just to each outlet.  As we listened we realized the noise floor was going to be destroyed by this device which uses four times (!) the filtration of the already excellent-sounding PowerCell 12 UEF SE.  Using a single “meter within a window” display much like the Audio Research REF 160 mono blocks, the new Galileo completely eliminated noise.  I was actually surprised how well this worked.  At nearly $20,000 with the new SRX power cable, it’s expensive but likely worth every penny.  

The proof was in the pudding as they say.  The noise between the notes playing on the Kharma was vanishingly low.  Dynamics were improved.  This appeared to be another level of quiet than I have experienced with the more affordable PowerCell 12 UEF SE.  Music just jumped out of a completely jet black background.  Like the prior conditioner, plugging in the big Thrax amplifiers actually enhanced their dynamics.

The SRX power cables are a derivative of the phenomenal 25th Anniversary power cables and incorporate knowledge from creating the 25th Anniversary line.  They do have one small consideration though.  The need lots of break-in!  After playing the SRX for a full day and a half, they opened up and some initially dark sound totally vanished.  By Friday night, things were really humming along.  There were SRX power cables on everything and Ted had deployed the active ground block to further lower noise and banish any grounding gremlins.

The net result of the new power cables and line conditioner were a very musical and organic sounding system.  Voices just floated in the air.  The soundstage was as big as a football field.  The dynamics were delicious, on both a macro and micro level.  This system had that elusive duo of power and finesse!  Limbo from Swiss electronic legends Yello had deep power and speed.  The MSB Premiere DAC ($35,000) was another star with both grace and force.  Digital in this room was spectacular.  Ted had his tall Atmosphere tower in white sending signals to the HFT acoustic devices in the room.  Switching between “scenarios”, Ted was tailoring the room to the music requirements.  Things snapped into place with depth, width, and less smearing of the instruments.  With the right scenario, I heard the impressive’y analog-like abilities of the Premier DAC.

For analog, Ted cued up a favorite LP of mine, Dream with Dean, a spectacular sounding 45 rpm record from Analogue Productions that I like to say, “has sonics so good, you can smell the gin on Dean’s breath.”  Well this did not disappoint!  Dean was in the room and the chestiness of his voice was captured perfectly as was the sparse side instrumentation like Bass.  Was this the last word in resolution like Synergistic’s Magico-based systems?  No, but it was some of the most organic music I have heard lately.  Ted even had a lower-priced cartridge than he usually uses at these shows.  But it sounded quite good anyway.  The cartridge was the Sculpture A from a French firm called Ana Mighty Sound.  Guiding principles were as follows:

  • low effective mass of moving assemblies in phono cartridges
  • high tracking abilities exceeding 90 micron @ 315 Hz lateral
  • fine tuning by earring and measurements sessions in order to achieve best sonic and measurement figures
  • innovation with carefully chosen materials teamed a unique and functional design
  • full emphasis on the signal path coming out from the cartridge through our dedicated phono stage, phono cables and step-up transformers

The Ana Mighty Sound Sculpture seemed to meet these goals and was quite good.  For around $3,000, it was quite good.  The Thrax turntable had some very nice isolation and created a very stable sound.

System components were:

  • MSB Premier DAC $35,500
  • Pinkfaun 3.4 Music Server $3,500
  • Thrax Yatrus Turntable with Schroeder CB Tonearm $17,550
  • Thrax Orpheus V2 Phono Preamp $19,488
  • Thrax Dionysos Preamp $19,488
  • Thrax Terest Stereo Amplifier $19,488
  • Kharma DB11S Signature Loudspeaker $54,000
  • Synergistic Galileo PowerCell SX with included SRX Power Cable $19,995
  • Synergistic Black Box $1,995
  • Synergistic Atmosphere XL4 with ATM $3,495
  • Synergistic UEF Acoustic Panels $595
  • Synergistic HFT $299
  • Synergistic HFT X $299
  • Synergistic HFT Wide Angle $399
  • Synergistic Vibratron $1,500
  • Synergistic MiG 2.0 $249
  • Artesania Exoteryx Rack $5,360
  • Synergistic Tranquility Base XL UEF $3,250
  • Synergistic Active Ground Block $2,995
  • Synergistic High Definition Ground Cable $395
  • Synergistic Galileo SX Interconnect $7,500
  • Synergistic Galileo SX Speaker Cable $17,500
  • Synergistic Galileo SX Digital Interconnect $2,995
  • Synergistic Galileo SX USB $2,995
  • Synergistic Galileo SX Ethernet $2,995
  • Synergistic SRX Power Cable $10,000
  • Synergistic Transporter Ultra SE $2,895

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!

High-End 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.