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).

es347's picture

Dave, you failed to mention Mpingo discs, Clever Little Pebbles, the Tice Clock...and countless others.  The power of suggestion is a powerful tool.  Seems that you are skilled in its use.  Happy listening!

Fivel's picture

I have no issue with readers requesting information on how these products work. It's just that their attitudes are way out of line.

Where I come from, snake oil refers to a product that DOES NOT perform as advertised. It appears that these products just might be doing what Synergistic claims they do. Real reviews and audiophile listening in true high end systems are necessary before all of this condemnation is warranted. 

SergioLangstrom's picture

Being gullible and considering these fraud products is a sign of being none too bright. It has nothing to do with attitude.

Fivel's picture

A silly response indicative of a Hydrogen Audio devotee.

SergioLangstrom's picture

Buy some of Ted's stuff and let us know how it works out for you then, you can be the one to set us straight.

Music_Guy's picture

This audiophile thing is pastime.  It is not "real."  It is not curing cancer or creating world peace.

The cool thing is that we all get to play with our music sources and our equipment to the extent our time and money allows.

I can scrape together, maybe, a thousand bucks a year to spend on this without eating into more important stuff.  Maybe every five years or so I can justify two (?) grand.

If I had the time and money, I'd love to play with all these "treatments."  I'd love to have a $10k or even a $100k system.  I do know, for me, that when you go from gear in the $100 range to gear in the $1000 range you hear a big difference...single blind, double blind you name it.  $1000 - $5000, yeah definitely better again.  $5,000-$10,000, maybe.  $10,000+ you're beginning to lose me.

If you have $100,000 invested in gear, these couple-of-thousand dollar trinkets are nothing relatively speaking.  Do they work?  Probably?Maybe/I doubt it?  Are they worth it?  That is up to YOU!.

Keep the "dialog" going, I love the show.

audiodoctornj's picture

to Archimago

There is no bigger skeptic then myself, if I don't hear a difference I don't buy the device. 

The fact that so many people have heard what these tweeks do to improve their systems, as well as verified by reviewers is generally all the proof I need.

The fact that some people haven't heard improvments doesn't mean that these products don't work, there are numerous reasons:

1: Listener doesn't know what to listen for.

2: Listener's system is compromised and doesn't have great resolution

3: Listener has compromised hearing.

4: Listener won't give in  to admiitting that he can hear the difference  but won't reconcile the fact that he shouldn't be. 

SergioLangstrom's picture

So everyone that thinks these devices work are right and those that hear no difference are wrong? Yeah that's using logic as entended.

1  Listener knows what to listen for, a change in the sound

2 That Bose demo sure isn't compressed and has great resolution huh?

3 Use some Q tips and stop listening to rock at volume 11

[text deleted by John Atkinson]

4 User doesn't hear a difference since the sound didn't change

es347's picture

Really?  So much for the 1st amendment..

John Atkinson's picture

es347 wrote:
So much for the 1st amendment.

First, you don't seem to realize that the First Amendment doesn't apply to private corporations. Second, while I apply a light hand to moderation on this site, I don't tolerate flames and personal insults expressed by posters who disagree with something someone else has expressed. Address the argument, not the arguer, is the golden rule on this site.

When I delete text that is nothing more flames or insults, I always indicate that I have done so, as in the instance you note. When I block someone from posting to our site, I always warn them first that their behavior - not their opinions - won't be tolerated. If they continue to flame and insult despite that warning, I block them, as I have had to do to several posters to this thread.

But I repeat: none of the actions I take as moderator concern people's opinions.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile


Archimago's picture

Sure, those are reasons why someone might not hear something...

I was simply replying to your comment on "flat earth idiots" as referred to those questioning the value of these tweaks. I just find this ironic given that logic, mathematics and science helped hypothesize then later prove the spherical nature of our planet. I am unclear upon which logical, mathematical, scientific, or engineering principle the tweaks you speak of including Mr. Denney's demonstration draws from.

If you are as you claim - "no bigger skeptic" - then I would like to know what you have done to verify your impression? Would you say the tweaks your speak of resulted in major changes? How did you test out those Shakti stones or Hollographs for example?

You see, I'm happy to be proven wrong and don't mind listening to some of this stuff that audiophile friends have in their setup (many moons ago one of the first tweaks I borrowed was a set of Totem Tuning Beaks). I have yet to be convinced by tweaks that do not have clear principles of how they modify the sound waves in my room or change the electrical signal through the audio system.

eugovector's picture

I find the “flat earth” (I’ll be omitting the idiot part from here on out) analogy a bit misplaced. I mean, weren’t the flat earthers the one who believed only what they could perceive their senses in the most convenient setting possible, refusing to seek and trust scientific data (the measured curvature of the earth), or to broaden their sensory experience by personally testing their hypothesis (hopping in a boat and sailing to the “end of the earth”). Which camp does that sound more like? Are you in the boat, or are you sitting on your throne, relying on your positional authority, waiting for others to test these hypotheses at their own expenses so that you may reap the benefits of their labor? Who wants to get in the boat? PS. My analogy completely ignores that most of the explorers turned out to be conquering jerks, and while their contributions to the knowledge of the world are undeniably positive, their overall impact skews from neutral to bad depending on which indigenous perspective you adopt. I’m hoping we’ve moved beyond that point.

DPM's picture

I sat through one of the demonstrations of the HFTs and FEQ.  In short, they work as advertised.  Ted's explanations was these devices work on the ultrasonic noise in the listening environment.  Though this noise is too high in frequency for humans to hear it does negatively impact those frequencies we do hear.  Taming said noise results in better system performance by removing another impediment.

Scott Walker informed me that there is a 30 day trial period for purchasers to ascertain for themselves if the products improve the sound in their listening rooms.  I would have bought several of the cylinders (HFTs), but I had already overshot my budget in the music vendor's room.

SergioLangstrom's picture

"I sat through one of the demonstrations of the HFTs and FEQ.  In short, they work as advertised.  Ted's explanations was these devices work on the ultrasonic noise in the listening environment.  Though this noise is too high in frequency for humans to hear it does negatively impact those frequencies we do hear.  Taming said noise results in better system performance by removing another impediment."


Uhhhhhhhh sorry but NO. This bogus explanation by Ted is pure BS.

Sleight of hand is easy if you don't know what is going on.

Ultrasonic noise hmmmmmm?  Did Ted show you this noise that was in the room?

I'd have to say that it's a poor explanation for a snake oil product but then again he is reaching for straws to begin with.

Don't get him started about quantum anything by the way.

Audio Legend's picture

Synergistic has been in the cable business since the 90s, so they are definitely not fly by night. Unfortunately, TD has gotten into these comical mad scientist products. He has accomplished his creat a stir...45 posts!!!!!!

As they say in Hollywood, it does not matter what they are saying about you as long as they ARE talking.

eugovector's picture

Hmm, 30-day trial.  My brain is spinning towards a single blind listening party.  Heads, the HFTs are placed in the room, tails they are removed.  Listeners are escorted in, literally blindfolded, and a familiar track is played.  They mark whether they believe the devices are present, or not, and then we repeat from the coin toss.  20 times should suffice.

30 days should be more than enough to get that done.  I may just be contacting Mr. Denney to take him up on his offer.


Edit: As an addendum, I just realized that I may have left out a valuable step: Letting folks do a sighted listening first so they know which is which.  Gah, my research profs would be so disappointed.  Anyone else that wants to chime in on experiment design is more than welcome.

...and one last step.  If anyone from Stereophile wants to join, you are welcome.  You'll need to get to Portland, but I'll pick you up at the airport, drive you to my home, put you up in the guest room, serve your drinks, and cook your meals.  Seriously, I will.  Even if you've called me a "troll", I'll make you breakfast and let you bask in the greatness that is Oregon beer, or even my 17yo Balvenie.

SergioLangstrom's picture

Make it happen. I am curious as to how many if any will take you up on this. I would come but I live on the east coast  sad  Serinus could do it doesn't he live in San Francisco? Also I'm sure there are others on the west coast that could if they are willing to that is. Some might be afraid they might just discover that sighted vs blind will show them how wrong they are about what they think they hear.

eugovector's picture

Okay, my other post got deleted, so I'll sumarize here.

The way I approached this was unbecoming, and 2 wrongs don't make a right.  I was a jerk and I apologize.

I'm going to flesh this out a bit more, but to summarize:  I am prepared to be proven wrong and willing to work at it.  Seriously, I would love to believe in magic again.  I'm inviting any member of Stereophile to join me for a test of audibility on this product.  You can even pick the terms.

I realize this is a lot like a big time football team being called out by a regional lower-division team, but that's what exibition games are for.  And, the big guy hardly ever loses, so how big is the risk here.

Just like a football exibition game, someone has to get paid.  Here, I'll turn the tables.  While it's usually the little guy that make a check, I'm willing to extend al the hospitality I have to offer.  If it's going to take cash, I will put up some of my own, and fundraise the rest.  Stereophile, let me know what it will take to make this happen, and I will meet your terms with the caveat that my job doesn't really allow me to travel, so if this needs to happen in NYC, we may need to put it off a while.

As these comment systems are unruly, I'll start a thread on a home theater foum and post the link so that folks fan follow as we progress.  My preference is Audioholics, would that work for you?

John Atkinson's picture

eugovector wrote:
my other post got deleted

Because you posted a comment about the Synergistic devices in a thread devoted to the Music Hall exhibit at the RMAF. We don't like such thread high-jacking and will delete such a comment without warning.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

John Atkinson's picture

I have just deleted a bunch of postings of yours, SergioLangstrom, in which you gratuitously insulted other posters to this website. Please address what is said, not who is saying it. If you disregard this warning, I will block you from posting, as I have done with GeorgeHolland and JohnnyR, both of whom preferred flaming to debating.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

SergioLangstrom's picture

Will you or a representative of Stereophile be attending eugovecto's blind testing of Ted's product? Ignoring his invitation is being quite rude and avoiding the issue.

[flame and meta-discussion deleted by John Atkinson]

Ken Harley's picture

JA will you or someone from Stereophile attend the testing and if not why not?

dalethorn's picture

Reading the negative comments here, I can almost feel the heat of the fire, hear the painful screams, and even catch a whiff of the odor of burning flesh. How far are we from the Dark Ages after all?

eugovector's picture

Back when people believed in magic?  Not very far it seems.

joelha's picture

I am blown away by the arrogance of those who have never heard Ted's devices and not only don't believe they work but are sure they're snake oil.

Your skills of reasoning are so superior that they trump the first hand experiences of those who heard the devices at the show?

Say you don't believe they'll work. Say you don't understand how they could work. But please, don't tell everyone you know they can't work.

Or if you do believe you know, please state your credentials to make such an assertion.

When did this hobby stop being about audio and start morphing into a pursuit which values (often very poor) philosophizing over experience?


Fivel's picture

Well stated Joel !  Thank you.

eugovector's picture

I'm ready to believe.  Joel, if you can make it, you're invited to the listening.  Location will be Oregon, Monmouth preferably.  Date TBD.

joelha's picture

Thanks for the kind invitation, eugovector. Please post the date when you know it. Candidly, I doubt I'll be near Oregon when the event is held, but you never know.

All the best,


eugovector's picture

Maybe we can get a couple tests going around the country.  It can't cost much to ship those little buggers.

ChrisS's picture

Tweaks, new components, cable arrangements, etc. work for you and your system or they do not. If they work, then you decide to buy, or not. If they do not, then no loss. What's the fuss?


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