Synergistic Research, Estelon, Ideon, and JMF

Off by itself near Expo Hall, the Journey/Creation rooms sponsored by Scott Walker Audio and Synergistic Research utilized so many Synergistic Research products—eight models of cables, seven for power conditioning (including fuses), six acoustic room treatment thingees, four racks, three grounding devices—that I was tempted to adapt the product list into lyrics for an audiophile Christmas carol.

Also present in the room, which was hosted by Michael Vamos of importer/distributor Audio Skies, were Ideon Audio’s Absolute Epsilon DAC ($49,900) and Absolute Time Signature V ($22,000), JMF’s PRS 1.5 preamplifier ($36,000), and the same company's wonderful HQS 7001 mono amplifiers ($77,000/pair)—see my review in the February 2024 issue—and Estelon’s X Diamond MkII speakers in Cobalt Blue Liquid Gloss ($90,500/pair).

Let me say for the record, as someone who has witnessed demonstrations of several Synergistic Research products including the Black Box ($1995), HFT Acoustic Treatments ($299), Vibratron ($3995), and Tranquility Base—now Tranquility Base Carbon XL ($3495)—that these mysterious, frequently baffling devices work. Somehow. The new products in the room included the PowerCell 14 (not yet released) and SRX XL speaker, USB, ethernet, and power cables.

This was one of several rooms where I encountered a strange phenomenon: classical music played low, as though classical afficionados are people of delicate sensibilities. Pop, meanwhile, was granted significantly higher volume. Hence, Jacqueline du Pré’s magnificent cello seemed small, as did John Barbirolli’s London Symphony Orchestra in a 24/192 remastering of this classical analog recording. Regardless, even at such volumes, air and ambience were first rate, timbres gorgeous. As du Pré’s cello sighed again and again, the beauty of every note was there to savor. True, I felt a distance removed from the performance, undoubtedly due to the low volume level, yet I loved the groundedness of the presentation. This wasn't the best demonstration of what this system is capable of with classical music, but it sounded good.

The sound opened up when we switched to Nahuel Schajris’s “Oneness Blessing.” Voice sounded wonderful and warm, with bass not as tightly focused. After Bebe’s “Animales hambrientos” came John Martyn’s “Glory Box”: cymbals were excellent, highs were beautiful and devoid of glassiness. An impressive demo.

Glotz's picture

of each of the SR accessories was enlightening. Talk about modifying ones' soundstage!

Every single change-out of the Base, PC14, HFT's or the Heimholz radiator (I forget the name of the product) was stark and obvious. It was like a component change out each time. The full monty completely transformed the aural picture. Even with the ultra-expensive Estelon’s X Diamond MkII speakers, the sound improved markedly from these SR products. Theoretical dogma be damned- my blind friends heard the changes easily and this was their 2nd room ever- in any high-end stereo setting.