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).

Richard Blade's picture

"Not all comments and reviews online are genuine, that much is certain. And the profiles used to post disingenuous feedback are known as sock puppets: fake online identities used to criticize, defame or create the illusion of discontent for a company. In most cases, these profiles are maintained by those on the receiving end of criticism within online communities"

Hmm, DavidL, Fiji555, SergioLangstrom, Tiny Lil' Weeenir, and now it seems, June McArthur and Ken Harley. So why would any1 go to so much trouble to attack products that, according the "them" do nothing and also come with a 30-day money back guarantee? Don't such products simply die in the marketplace all by themselves? What are the odds that a company founded in 1992 could build products that do nothing and yet grow year after year, let alone stay in business for over 21 years? LOL

KennithH's picture

[Flame deleted by John Atkinson and user blocked from posting]

es347's picture

I should first make it clear that I am not a troll.  We've all seen them...the "cables all sound the same" crowd that employs the seagull approach: flying into/over an audio forum, crapping on everything within sight then flying off to yet another "beach" to carpet bomb other cable threads.  I happen to believe that cables do indeed make a difference having driven myself crazy here in my listening room, swapping and reswapping until my wife threatened divorce.  But I am more than a little skeptical when it comes to things like the Tice Clock, clever little pebbles, Mpingo discs and now little apparently inert, skittle-sized doodads stuck to my walls.  The engineer in me sounds the BS warning for this lunatic fringe sort of thing.  Frankly I do agree with the poster who suggested that Stereophile (John Atkinson perhaps?) apply the tried and true scientific method to these little bad boys and hopefully be inscrutably honest with its findings.  I also agree that when one of Stereophile's journalists spends a handful of minutes at an audio show with a product such as this and effuses about it's positive effects, does indeed compromise the magazine's credibility.  I can't help but think the owner of Machina Dynamica, Geoff Kaitt, is having a good laugh posting his ads on A'gon (clever little pebbles and the like) and perhaps making a few bucks in the process.  But it seems odd that Synergistic Research having some real world products could be shooting themselves in the foot by venturing into the May Belt twilight zone.

drblank's picture

I don't know what else to say other than has anyone done any room measurement tests to prove either way if they work?  that's the first thing I would lke to see, so there would at least be an objective measurement.  If the difference can't be measured using a room measurement test that acoustic engineers use, then this would fall into the snake oil category, but if there is a test measurement that can show a significant difference, then there is some validity to it.

I would personally like to see some proper room measurement tests before and after conducted by a unbiased third party to validate or invalidate the claims.


Please.  room measurements before/after would make this product(s) credible if that's the goal.

kana813's picture

How do you measure soundstage air and dimensionality or the leading edge attack of low frequencies, mid-range?

John Atkinson's picture

kana813 wrote:
How do you measure soundstage air and dimensionality or the leading edge attack of low frequencies, mid-range?

As I said in the section on reviewing in my 2011 Richard Heyser Memorial lecture to the Audio Engineering Society: the audible effect of measurable defects is not heard as their direct effect on the signals but as changes in the perceived character of the oh-so-fragile acoustic models. And that is without considering the higher-order constructs that concern the music that those acoustic models convey, and the even higher-order constructs involving the listener's relationship to the musical message. The engineer measures changes in a voltage or pressure wave; the listener is concerned with abstractions based on constructs based on models."

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

es347's picture

is no doubt the result of him thinking "let's see...$40 msrp each for these little aluminum cost @ $0.20...hmm that's a profit of 2000%...(big grin)"...or perhaps "this is gonna be a hoot reeling in all these gullible dorks, let the show begin" cheeky


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