Synergistic Research’s HFT and FEQ Transform Bose Wave Radio

With up to 75 rooms to cover on multiple floors of the Marriott’s tower, I decided to check out Synergistic Research’s much-heralded new products before the show officially began. Inventor Ted Denney decided to dem his new babies, not with the expected megabuck system, but rather with a Bose radio. Positioned atop one of his Tranquility Bases, used as shelves on a Solid Tech rack, the radio played a vocal track by Anne Vada and Aki Fukakura as Denney demonstrated the cumulative effects of his tiny aluminum passive HFTs (High Frequency Transducers, $299/5 pack), active FEQ (Frequency Equalizer, $750), and Tranquility Bases. (In the photo, Ted is pointing to the HFT affixed to the front of the radio.)

My initial impression, with everything in the system, was that despite the radio’s glaring limitations, the room-filling size and depth of the soundstage were pretty amazing. As Denney progressively removed the 20 HFTs he had positioned around the room (including two on the front and back of the radio, and one on his Synergistic Research active FireWire cable), then the FEQ which rested on a table behind the equipment rack, and finally the Tranquility Bases, the soundstage shrank, bass lost impact, music became localized in the radio, and, most important, the listening experience became less compelling.

Activating just the Tranquility Bases made the bass more solid and the picture more dimensional. Even with just two out of the 20 HFTs returned to the front and back of the Bose radio, sonic depth increased. The more HFTs Denney added—there are five levels of treatment, each comprised of five HFTs—the larger and more room-filling the soundstage became. With everything restored, percussion seemed to be coming from all over the place, color increased, and the three-dimensional illusion was pretty uncanny.

Having said that, I wish I could have heard this experiment on a far more refined system. After all, a Bose radio can do only so much, no matter how much help it gets. Regardless, the demonstration sure whet my appetite to hear the HFTs and FEQ again, and experiment with them in my reference system (currently in storage [sigh] pending a move to new house).

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Comments
eugovector's picture
Finally, acoustic treatment for the person on the go.

The best part about the HFT, in my mind, is that they are small enough to be carried anywhere.  Next time you go to a movie or concert, bring a handful of these and mount them in the room before the show begins.  Better yet, they could be strung together and worn as a necklace so they are always right by your head improving the sound of rush hour traffic and your morning BM.  Perhaps they could be inserted directly into the ears, or ingested like tic-tacs?

Please try some of these implementations and let us know the results of your experiments.

fy415's picture
What exactly are these devices?

It would be very helpful, since these items are so unusual, to explain what exactly the High Frequency Transducer, the Frequency Equalizer, and the Tranquility Base are, what they're made of, and how they work. 

I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling disappointed (even frustrated) with the lack of information. The inventor is right there, after all. Why not ask him?

SergioLangstrom's picture
fy415, Asking Mr Serinus to

fy415,

Asking Mr Serinus to ask a valid question about a snake oil product is like asking Stereophile to test said snake oil product in a valid way. Not going to happen.

I suggest everyone vote with their pocketbook and not buy Denney's snake oil.

Audio Legend's picture
Classic Snayke Oyl, from a

Classic Snayke Oyl, from a carnival barker. The sad part is they make good products.  This "I'm a genius, trust me" marketing is B.S.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture
In understand your

In understand your frustration, and applaud your curiosity. However, there is only so much I can put in a short blog. Pls. check the website or call the company for more information. 

eugovector's picture
Yes, the who and the where is

Yes, the who and the where is critical.  The what, why, and how are inconsequential.

Perhaps there was room for even one critical question?  Maybe, "what does the HFT stuck on a digital cable do?"  You should do more than applaud curiosity; you should adopt it.

SergioLangstrom's picture
Stop Praising BS Products

Mr Serinus,

Why do you constantly gush praise upon Ted Denney's products, then turn around and claim there is only so much you can put in a short blog?

Snake oil is snake oil and regardless of your praise, those who have been around for a long time know that anything Mr Denney makes is pure bunk.

Telling us to go to his website or to call the company is laughable. He doesn't make anything that isn't pure BS.

tarquineous's picture
Synergistic Products

"Anybody that's been around knows" ? Are you claiming to know everyone that has been around ?

I've been into audio for about three decades, and have tried a few Synergistic Research products. Out of the six products I tried, I liked and still own four of them. The other two, I did not care for, and sent them back. I would say with experience, their products vary from very good to rather poor, factoring in both performance and cost.

I would not however say that "everything" they make is this or that. Like you, I have not tried all of their products, nor is it practical. I therefore cannot make a valid judgement on every product Synergistic has made.

Archimago's picture
Peter Belt redux?

Wow. This sounds like a flashback to the 1990's with the Peter Belt's PWB Rainbow Foil. Just stick those babies anywhere and voila, audio euphony for all!

I see the foil and PWB cream might still be on the "Recommended List" here still? At least they sent out free samples to try which was really decent of Peter and May Belt.

Jason, it would be nice to get a close up "macro" shot of what that HFT looks like - no need for Denny's mug with unsightly red eyes in that photo, please.

On more thing - for the Wave Radio to have music "become localized" to the unit is actually a good thing IMO given how the WaveGuide (TM) diffuses and distorts the sound to exert its intended effect. Seems to be an improvement taking those stickies off!

I wonder if many of the attendees leave that demo shaking their heads in horror at the insult to their intellect.

eugovector's picture
And I would take it a step

And I would take it a step further and say that it's an insult to real inventors and engineers that submit their products for review and advertise in the pages of stereophile.  When obvious bunk is priased, how do we take serious the review of seemingly-well engineered speakers and associated equipment?

It's not enough for readers to walk, the manufacturers should to.  ATTENTION MANUFACTURERS OF WORTH:  The perception of your products are being dragged down by Stereophile.  Take your reviews and advertising elsewhere, if only to the now-sister publication Sound and Vision.  Of the two, Stereophile is more Cain than Abel, though let's hope that S&V is the one who survives.

John Atkinson's picture
Now that's funny!

eugovector wrote:
ATTENTION MANUFACTURERS OF WORTH:  The perception of your products are being dragged down by Stereophile.  Take your reviews and advertising elsewhere, if only to the now-sister publication Sound and Vision.

An unexpected benefit of Stereophile's reporting on Ted Denney's products at shows is that it attracts all the trolls to one place so they don't contaminate the rest of our show coverage :-)

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

ChrisS's picture
What's that on the road...a-head?

...and they're so small!

Mygaffer's picture
Strange

I find your comment about trolls strange and out of place. A reader brings up very valid points about this article, the fact that many if not most "audiophiles" will see articles like this and begin to lose trust in your company's ability to faithfully present products without letting money get into the way, and you call them a troll?
This kind of article reflects very poorly on your publication. I don't know if these products do anything, based on my knowledge of audio and physics I would guess not but I am open to some blind testing to prove me wrong. This article was as soft as they come. Was this a paid advertisement masquerading as standard content? I know that thing is common online and I have not read much of your publication up to this point.
This is actually one of the first articles I have read here and having read it I know I won't trust any other article I read. Who I will trust are of the knowledgeable people who populate your forums.
Thanks for your time,
Mygaffer

John Atkinson's picture
Not Strange

Quote:
I find comment about trolls strange and out of place. A reader brings up very valid points about this article, the fact that many if not most "audiophiles" will see articles like this and begin to lose trust in your company's ability to faithfully present products without letting money get into the way, and you call them a troll?

Thank you for making my point for me.

Quote:
Was this a paid advertisement masquerading as standard content?
 
No. Thank you again for making my point.
 
John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
SergioLangstrom's picture
You're Funny

Now if you could only find the time to do some tests on Denney's products instead of calling those who question his products as being trolls, you might have a valid point.

Till then, you haven't much to argue with.

es347's picture
..really John?

I don't know you personally only having shaken your hand at the RMAF a few years ago but it seems to me that your getting involved in this level of sarcastic back and forth with S'phile posters..."trolls"...is beneath you.  It makes you look at least as petty as they might appear.  That's it from me but just for the record I, like the other trolls here, feel a sense of outrage with these nonsensical devices that do nothing more than extract money from ones wallet.  I haven't heard all of the "tweaks" out there but the fringe dwellers like those listed above that I have heard make no difference whatsoever...zilch...nada...zero...except for the lowering of my checkbook balance.  Over and out...your photo is ridiculous by the way :-)

eugovector's picture
People also laughed at the

People also laughed at the idea of the titanic sinking.  Maybe the best advice is not to ignore the icebergs.

andy_c's picture
Business sector success vs. magazine success

It's my understanding that Sound and Vision and other incarnations of AV mags have struggled, yet Stereophile has done well financially. How does this come about?

If you look at the AV business, it is thriving, with boatloads of new products each year and forums like avsforum awash in posts. That forum had to turn itself over to Huddler because the growth was too much for the previous operators to handle. And yet the AV-oriented mags don't do well. As far as I can tell, the reason is that the AV audience is a self-reliant and community-reliant bunch, who support each other and share knowledge mostly in online forums. Rationality rules in that world.

Audiophiles are a different matter though. They are an insecure group. Despite the "trust your ears" meme, they do anything but. They depend on validation from self-appointed gurus. And these so-called "gurus" have no clue. It's an ideal opportunity for all sorts of shenanigans from the audio press. In the last few years, it's taken the form of a transition from snake oil agnosticism to snake oil cheerleading at Stereophile. It would be a mistake to underestimate the ability of Stereophile to not only survive, but thrive in this environment. MBAs call this "a strategy of milking" from the book of the same name.

Atkinson is all too aware of the ignorance of his own readership and is, I'm sure, plenty willing to exploit that in the foreseeable future, thus guaranteeing Stereophile's success in the short to medium term.

John Marks's picture
You are drawing the wrong conclusions about the two industries

I have been writing professionally for more than 30 years in several overlapping areas--not only consumer audio (and music) but also pro audio, custom install-systems integration, and even car audio.

From my experience, the major difference between audio magazines and home theater magazines is the "engaged hobbyist" aspect. You say "credulousness," I say engaged hobbyists. And I am the one (along with JA and other people in NYC) who reads the Letters to the Editor directed to me or directed to John A. about something I wrote.

Once a person has taken up audio as a hobby interest, that person tends to continue to read the enthusiast publications until he loses interest. To state it somewhat differently, most of the customers for most of the products reviewed in Stereophile and advertised in Stereophile are "audio hobbyists." It is very rare to find someone who is not an "audio hobbyist" driving $35,000 Sonus Faber loudspeakers with $40,000 of electronics in a system including $5000 in power distribution products and $15,000 in cables.

I will now make my point by a logical reduction. Most of us would prefer not to have to live without a clothes washing machine and a dryer, or without a vacuum cleaner. However, very few of us subscribe to appliance industry or homebuilding industry trade publications to keep up with the latest in appliances large and small, even though we all realize that at some point between next week and 10 years from now, we are likely to need a home appliance. Nearly all of us take the attitude that when that day comes, we will get advice however we can or think necessary.

In my experience, home theater products from projectors to processors to screens to flat panel TVs are for nearly all the people who buy them just another home appliance. They enter the marketplace, do whatever "due diligence" they want to, get the stuff installed or set it up themselves, and then EXACTLY like the washing machine or vacuum cleaner, it is what it is, and it is here until it breaks. I will then look around again.

To restate, most of the customers for home theater products are not hobbyists, they are just buyers of a home appliance. That is why consumer home theater magazines have an easier time attracting advertisers than subscription renewals. Some people bite on the teaser first year subscription. That becomes their due diligence, and then after that, they are fine. Some people buy a newsstand copy or the Buyer's Guide, and that is their due diligence. The percentage of people in the market for home theater at any given time who are in it as a continuing hobby, and who are always striving for "more" and "better," is a small fraction of the percentage of similarly-motivated people in audio. Home theater product buyers usually have no idea whether they are really buying something "right," but nearly all of them know they are buying it "once."

A close friend is a major regional systems integrator. His repeat business comes 10, 15, or 20 years after a big system install. Nobody who bought a big home theater calls up the next year to ask, "What is even better today than what I bought last year?"

It was good then, it is "good-enough" now. I am not saying that there is not a small band of videophile crazies who are after continuous improvement. What I am saying is that the video and stereo industries are very different in that regard.

So, the two industries are totally different at the consumer end. Your casual swipes about "insecure" audio readers are off the mark. My readers are not insecure, they are curious, and they want to get better sound without breaking the bank.

And exactly what are your audio engineering achievements? Or even professional memberships? You are insulting some people with some real-world, non-snake-oil accomplishments.

BTW, I was at TAS when they were trying to keep The Perfect Vision alive as a print magazine. As far as I could tell, what was going on was a whole bunch of "Clapping for Tinkerbell"--that there must be some magic bullet that would make home theater buyers more like audio hobbyists. Nope.

I myself always chalked it up to the fundamentally different nature of the neurological, perceptual, mental, and emotional components of the experience of listening to serious music (of whatever genre; Coltrane and David Gray count too) versus "watching a movie."

Netflix is popular because most movies are only worth watching once. I am sure that I have heard Oistrakh's Brahms Concerto with Szell and the Cleveland at least 100 times in the past 35 years, and I still want to get more deeply into it.

It's a matter of a compulsion to experience spiritual enrichment versus, "watching a movie." But based on the content and tone of your post, I have little confidence that such a distinction will mean a lot to you.

Have a nice day,

John Marks

es347's picture
well said John..

I've read a number of your reviews and must hand it to you...you have a talent.  Bravo!  I also agree with the point you made regarding HT vs 2ch audio.  I have a full blown HT in my lower level and it sports some of the best AV eqpt available.  I also have a $60K +/- stereo system in a dedicated room.  I have no desire to upgrade anything in the HT unless something explodes.  But with my 2ch system I am hopelessly hooked, reading all the audio rags, visiting countless audio forums daily, etc.  You are correct sir.  The 2ch crowd is comprised of true devotees to the sport.  Again, well said John!

Ken Harley's picture
Well

"An unexpected benefit of Stereophile's reporting on Ted Denney's products at shows is that it attracts all the trolls to one place so they don't contaminate the rest of our show coverage :-)"

 

I have noticed that the rest of the coverage has very few to none in responses. Without the side show that is Ted Denney's products, it looks like no one cares much. Also why do you use the term troll when you don't allow anyone else to use it? I agree that calling people who disagrees a troll is being small minded.

ChrisS's picture
She's a Witch! Burn her!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrzMhU_4m-g

You assume JA and Stereophile are witches because you dress them like one...

SergioLangstrom's picture
Thanks

Thanks for proving our point. You do realise that at the end of the sketch that she is shown to be a witch? Perhaps you should watch what you want others to see beforehand next time.

ChrisS's picture
Yes, proven with "science"!

SergioLangstrom's picture
What ever you say pal

What ever you say pal

ChrisS's picture
Same ol' SerGeorgio!

Now you think you're someone else!

(While not understanding the paradox of the Monty Python witch sketch...)

[flame deleted by John Atkinson]

jeffca's picture
Wow!

It's interesting to see that, unlike when I asserted that Wilson Audio's $200,000 speakers were drastically over-priced, that the general readership isn't buying into this crap and that, other than the clown who made the post, the rest of the writer's at Stereophile are avoiding this subject like the Ebola Virus.

Let's state one thing up front: a transducer is a device that converts a signal from one form of energy to another form of energy such as a microphone or speaker. What exactly are these HFT's converting? Acoustic foam turns sound energy into heat but it's not considered a tranducer in the strict sense since its function is to absorb sound not faithfully convert it.

I'd be interested in finding out exactly what it is that these things do and how they do it. At the Synergistic Research web site, they offer no explaination.

It seems, though, that these are like those little ceramic cups that were being sold a few years ago that made your room sound better in spite of the fact that there was no physics or physiologically based proof that was the case.

The biggest mistake made in the audio press is presenting the falacy that everything that can be heard can't be necessarily measured or quantified. In actuallity, it can. Where the science starts going  a little sideways is in its understanding of how the brain perceives it. Using the case offered by Synergistic Research, smoking weed is a valid way to condition the air in the room so that it more acurately represents the sound waves recorded by the engineer. No wonder Snoop and Willy partake!

On a somewhat different subject, I just got the latest Steven Wilson album on Blu-ray. While not perfect, it is the greatest rock recording I've ever heard when it comes to pure fidelity. Any of you LP nuts want to explain to him what he's missing by not ruining his work by putting it on vinyl? Please tell Steven Wilson and me how it would sound better. That would be a hoot! Fremer? Atkinson? Serinus?

I didn't think so.

Cheers,
jeff

audiodoctornj's picture
Flat earth idiots

To the doubters reading this, I have not heard Ted's latest series of tweeks,  but becuause you haven't heard it or it doesn't seem rationale to you, is no reason to bash his or any other product.

We are all on a journey to make real music appear in our rooms, a difficult and demanding task. 

I will tell you about five years ago, my neighbor Clement Perry, the editor of Stereotimes, came knocking on my door, by the way, the likelyhood of a mega audiophile reviewwer, living within 200 feet of a major audio retailor, Audio Doctor, was a bizzare concidence. Clemment wanted to introduce me to Frank Chang, the creator of the Acoustic System Resonators, long story short, we were given a demo of this amazing product, and even my incredibliy sceptical wife heard the dramtaic difference this product makes. A resonator for those who don't know is a thimble sized piece of precious metal on a wooden block these things sell for $300-$3,000 a piece, a basic setup sells for $3-5k. 

Now for those who don't get it, the resonators made my $150k plus reference system sound dramatically more like real music, without the resonators, no magic, it was only when you heard a system with them could you grasp the magnitude of this discovery.

In fact a German Lab was hired to do an analysis of the product and they concluded these little devices did indeed influence sounds in the room.

After the resonators came out Ted came out with a more affordable version of the original French product, and came out with many more influential products that work on absorbing emi/rfi and removing them from a system. 

Ted is  a pioneer, and his products do indeed work, his cables are breathtaking, and if you ever get to hear an active vs in active demo of active shielding the difference is startling, 

Back to increduality, go back in your minds to the discovery of radiation, or the concept of a rounded earth, or the fact that  a particularly adept astronomer proposed the outragous concept that the Earth revolves around the Sun and not the other way around! We know now that invisible rays can kill you, the Earth isn't flat, and we are part of a much larger Galaxy and an even larger Universe, all truths that were considered at the time to be radical if not prepostorous heritical concepts.

We live in a world filled with newly discovered concepts and products which seem to the rational mind that they can not work or affect the outcomes of our systems, in fact can and do,  I personally use:

Three different brands of acoustic resonators,

Shakti Stones

Shakti Hollographs

Stillpoints, racks and vibration devices

a  black body 

Stein's magic boxes 

Walker HDL, Walker Talismens, and many other tweeks.

I bought all of these devices and wouldn't think of using any of my many demo systems without them, and if you think that I would have purchased $50k worth of these products if I didn't hear a meaningful difference you are crazy, and given the fact that I don't sell some of these products is proof positive that they work.

So before you get on the snake oil diatribe, go to a store that sells these products and see for your self if they work you might even learn something.

Sincerely,

 

Dave Lalin, President, Audio Doctor

SergioLangstrom's picture
Flat earth idiots? So anyone

Flat earth idiots? So anyone who questions snake oil is not only a troll but also devoid of a brain? Haha funny stuff coming from someone who lists all the obvious snake oil as being valid then signs the post as president of Audio Doctor. [text deleted by John Atkinson]

Sorry but just because you say it works isn't proof.

Archimago's picture
Interesting reply Audio

Interesting reply Audio Doctor.

Realize too that some of us have tried the stuff you list but have noticed no improvement.

Who's the "Flat Earther"? The ones who bother to run measurements and blind tests, willing to consider the complexity of mental phenomena including subtle biases while considering > 100 years worth of scientific understanding, or those who seem to partake apparently only in sighted listening with apparently little curiosity to find empirical confirmation to their own impression of some ephemeral experience? All the while spending significant resources.

I wonder what position Copernicus or Galileo would have chosen...

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