Scott Walker Audio Surprises with Estelon, Soulution, Synergistic Research at T.H.E. Show

First things first. This was one of the best-sounding rooms at T.H.E. Show. Given its sheer size, I have no question that some of the success was due to the various and sundry magical Synergistic Research accouterments—I counted 10 so-called "Acoustic Room Treatment" devices and 5 Synergistic Power Conditioning devices (including Purple fuses)—along with new Synergistic Racks (intended for internal use) and, no surprise, Synergistic Research cabling.

But all that would have amounted to little if the rest of the components hadn't been up to snuff. No problem there. In a surprise move, Scott Walker chose Estelon X Diamond MkII loudspeakers ($78,000/pair) and went with Soulution's 725 preamplifier ($60,000) and two 511 stereo/monoblock amplifiers ($38,500 × 2). The "bargains" among this richness were the Berkeley Audio Reference Series 3 DAC ($28,000), Aurender N30SA server/streamer ($24,000), Sonorous ATR 10 reel-to-reel ($19,995), and Synergistic Research Ethernet Switch UEF ($2295).

For all that cash—a single Synergistic Research SRX interconnect costs $12,995, which is certainly lower than premium cables from some other brands—one would expect to be blown away. I was, in the best possible ways. Over and over, I noted the absolute rightness of instrumental colors and timbres. Everything was perfectly controlled and solid, top to bottom, including huge percussion. Many of us have heard tracks from Steely Dan's Gaucho enough times to be able to hum them backwards, but rarely have I heard this music fill a large space and open up so beautifully.

Listening to this system left me feeling as though I was hearing some of the best the high-end has to offer. A major achievement.