Synergistic Research Goes Whole Hog
Ever since I learned that Synergistic Research planned to partner with Magico, VAC, and Anaheim, CA retailer Scott Walker Audio, I found myself extremely eager to visit the huge, Crystal Ballroom D exhibit on the Hilton’s ground floor. My reasons were many. First, I’m accustomed to hearing Magico displayed with MIT cabling, which combination, to my ears, yields a dark sound that emphasizes layering in the lower octaves. How different, I wondered, would the mighty Magico Q7 loudspeakers ($185,000/pair) sound with Synergistic Research cabling and devices?
Second, it was the first opportunity to hear the show premiere of Synergistic Research’s new top-of-the-line, all-silver Galileo cabling. The line, which consists of the Galileo LE interconnects ($7500/pair), Galileo LE speaker cables ($15,000/pair), and Galileo LE AC power cords ($5600/5 ft), with differently voiced cabling for different places in the equipment chain, took its place in an impressive Synergistic Research array that included SR’s “The Music Cable” complete computer front end ($3695) connected to a Mac Mini running Amarra, SR “EnigmA” tube power supply for the company’s actively shielded devices ($10,000), new Galileo PowerCell LE ($10,000), a complete Acoustic ART system ($9300you can see the bass stations on the floor in front of the speakers and farther out, aligned with system center), no less that 12 Tranquility Base XLs ($2995/each), and 14 sets of MIG Isolation Devices ($150/set). How would all this sound, and how would others experience it?
Finally, I was more than curious to see how the Magico Q7/SR set-up would mate with VAC’s 450 mono-amps ($116,000/pair), Reference preamp ($46,000), and not auditioned Reference phono preamp ($50,000). (A JR Transrotor turntable ($26,000) with Air Tight PC-1 cartridge was on hand for the latter.) As far as I know, Magico’s Alon Wolf favors solid-state designs. What would this major change to the Magico neighborhood sound and feel like? Would I still hear all the detail and control that I’ve heard when Magico has paired with Spectral and Soulution?
The news is very good. Although Synergistic Research guru Ted Denney makes no secret of the fact that it takes his cabling two weeks to fully settle in, by the time I arrived, one half hour before the show opened on Saturday morning, the new Synergistic Research Galileo LE cabling and PowerCell were capable of transmitting a huge amount of overtones and harmonics. On Leonard Cohen’s “Dance Me To the End of Love,” for example, I heard, as well, an easy and relaxed flow with room-filling images and impressive dynamics.
Switching to John Campbell’s “Down in the Hole,” I was deeply impressed by the different and varied colors of guitar and drums. In the classical genre, I noted the many colors of Angela Hewitt’s keyboard as she played Bach, and the colorful and impressively weighty sweep of a full symphony orchestra in music by Albéniz.
The cabling was still opening up, and Ted needed to carefully apply his silver, gray, and black tuning bullets to keep up with the sonic transformations that were occurring. I expect a lot more light entered the system by show’s end.
In the best of all possible worlds, the system would still be up and running two weeks after the show closed, Southwest Airlines would be all too eager to fly me to and fro for free, and I would be able to report on everything that this equipment combination can deliver. As it was, the exhibit provided a major preview of what this extremely expensive system can deliver under ideal circumstances. Even before it had fully come into its own, the Scott Walker/Synergistic Research/VAC/Magico system delivered some of the best sounds at the Hilton.