The Scott Walker Audio / Synergistic Research Room Featuring Ideon, JMF, and Estelon

Dealer Scott Walker Audio, which has showrooms in Anaheim, California, and Keller, Texas, and Synergistic Research presented several new products at FLAX including the Synergistic Voodoo streamer erver ($14,995); the PowerCell 8 SX conditioner ($3495); and SRX USB ($5995), Ethernet ($5995), and XL Power cables ($13,000).

Walker and Josh Dolye (also of Scott Walker Audio) were especially jazzed about a new line the dealership has picked up: French amplification company JMF Audio. On active display in the Scott Walker room were the JMF PRS 1.5 Preamplifier ($36,000) and HQS 6002 Stereo Power Amplifier ($42,000; see Jason Victor Serinus's Stereophile's review of the superb JMF HQS 7001 online or in the February issue.)

“Since 1988,” the JMF Audio website notes, “the most influential audio professionals, such as American studio designer Tom Hidley, and world-class studios (Nashville, New-York, London, Capri, Tokyo, Moscow, Toulouse, Paris ...) have trusted the HQS power amplifiers to monitor the quality of the recordings and productions, with great pleasure of listening.” All quotes are from the company's website.

The JMF Audio PRS 1.5 reference pre-amplifier is dual mono and fully balanced, with "PGP 24 carat gold analog printed circuit boards" with components mounted on both sides for compactness and a short signal path and "the exclusive CSV precision volume control. For improved immunity to vibrations, each channel’s assembly is mounted on its own sub-chassis and benefits from dedicated suspensions.” I’d love to hear this preamp in my system!

Scott Walker’s room also sheltered an Ideon Absolute DAC ($47,000) and Absolute Time Signature V Reclocker ($22,000) and a bunch of other stuff from Synergistic Research: a UEF Ethernet Switch ($2295), UEF Ethernet and USB Performance Enhancers ($295), plus cables (see the following paragraph). The excellent-sounding Estelon XB MKII loudspeakers ($49,000/pair; see Jim Austin's review of the XB Diamond Mk.II) completed basic system.

Cables were all Synergistic: SRX Interconnects ($12,995/pair), SRX Slimline speaker cables ($21,995/pair), SRX digital interconnect ($5995), and the new SRX USB cable ($5995). Providing power were the SRX Power Cable ($10,000) and the new SRX XL Power Cable ($13,000). Also present were Synergistic Master Tuning Modules ($425 each).

Finally, Synergistic Research supplied power conditioners and other power-system components: the Galileo PowerCell SX ($27,995); the new PowerCell 8 SX ($3495); the UEF Purple Duplex ($295); the UEF Carbon Fiber Duplex Cover ($149), and fuses both Purple ($199.95) and Master ($595); and the UEF Linear Power Supply ($2295). Synergistic Research also supplied room treatment, racks and shelves, and grounding devices.

Walker revved up this compact-looking but humongous-sounding rig first with London Grammar’s “Hey Now,” which cast a vast soundstage. Next came "Asturias" from Op.47 No.5, Suite Espanola by Isaac Albéniz, orchestrated by Rafael Fruhbeck DeBurgos (not sure whose performance). Serene, sweet highs washed over me within a large scale, pulsating soundstage. Given the density and complexity of the music, the presentation was absolutely calm, large, and quiet. (For a small taste of the experience, watch and listen to Mark Henninger's video, which follows, preferably with headphones.)

Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson came next, so I hitched up my trousers and fled.

georgehifi's picture

Lovely looking flowing curves 99% of it, then you get to the top and it's been guillotined off, heaven forbid the "missus" would love to stick a pot plant on it? Really!! (ugly to me anyway).

Cheers George