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 ($9300—you 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.

GeorgeHolland's picture

THIS is how Mr Serinus "reports" and "reviews". Talk about  a useless subjective gushing of praise. The whole article was full of mythical phrases and subjective poo. People wishing for a serious report need not read. As usual, all you will get is Mr Serinus opinion and zero measurements later on by JA for all the cabling and the "acoustic treatments" (Using those words for Synergitic's products is a long strecth of the imagination.). Isn't the world of audiophoolery grand?

Regadude's picture

Well, well... It is the return of Georgie the Holland... Still morose, cranky and a cry baby about high end audio!

Just because you cannot hear the difference between a Radio shack am radio, and a 5000$ double teflon dielectric biwire speaker cable with gold plated, platinum mono filaments, does not mean you can ruin it for us audiophiles!

Go play with Johnny R!!!!!

JohnnyR's picture

Nice comparison but typical coming from you. A radio will produce sound and a cable only caries a signal. If I had to choose I would pick the radio since just having a cable isn't much use unless you want to play jump rope with it. So yes, myself and everyone else can hear the difference.



ChrisS's picture

Please, Georgie, take your dictionary and measuring stick, publish your own web-zine and show us the real poo on audio reporting!

eugovector's picture

The good news is that I've found a new poster child for senseless tweaks.  You know how they say the lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math?  Well, the Acoustic ART system is a tax on people who are bad at science, except the only person who wins is the folks selling a tin cup mounted on a 2x4 for thousands of dollars.  There truly is a sucker born every minute...

"I cannot imagine living without my Synergistic Research ACOUSTIC ART Real-Time Analogue Room Treatment.”-Jason Victor Serinus, Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity


Mike Biggie's picture


"Orange County retailer Scott Walker Audio and cable manufacturer Synergistic Research teamed up to put on one of the show’s most elaborate and ambitious systems. The huge room housed Magico Q7s driven by top-of-the-line VAC amplification, all wired with the new Synergistic Galileo LE. This new cable incorporates the technology of the $50k Galileo that Jonathan Valin reviewed so favorably, but in a more friendly form factor and at less than a third the price. The room was also loaded with every Synergistic technology available, including Tranquility Bases under every component and Synergistic’s room-tuning devices. I heard the system briefly the first day and was disappointed that this magnificent loudspeaker wasn’t shown in its best light. I returned late on the last day for an extended listen and was floored by the way the loudspeakers and room vanished. This was one of the biggest and most open soundstages I’ve heard from a hi-fi system. The sense of immediacy and presence was hair-raising. Synergistic’s Ted Denney then demonstrated the effect of the Tranquility Bases and of the active biasing of the cable shields, both of which contributed significantly to the system’s overall sound"

Mike Biggie's picture

Link to discussion of SR's Acoutic ART at T.H.E. Show (scroll down to the bottom of the page to read the discussion)


*see "Best Vendor Demonstration"

eugovector's picture

"Was it a mass hypnotic trick?"

Much like a classic hypnosis performance does not turn people into actual chickens when someone says the word "pizza", the power of suggestion alone does not an actual difference in the sound produced make.  Now, did your perception change?  Yes, without a doubt.

The fact is, the trolls are the only one with scruples, otherwise they'd be off to the hardward store for 2x4s and booking a room at the next show.  The stockholm syndrome that exists between well-heeled audiophiles and tweak manufacturers is sad really. 

Psychedelicious's picture

It's absolutely easier to enthrall an entire audience than it is to convince an individual. From concert to churches to sporting events, to mob riots—when humans gather into groups, they act differently.

I agree, the only "trolling" that's going on is the act of posting all these fluff pieces extolling the virtues of overpriced knickknacks.

burnspbesq's picture

Come to the show next year. Listen for yourself.

Or are you afraid that the stuff might actually work and your carefully constructed, smug and supercilious, smarter-than-the-average-bear persona will be blown to bits?

GeorgeHolland's picture

Why did the demonstrator STOP the music while removing and replacing the bowls? Wouldn't leting the music continue to play while doing so give an even stronger demo of the bowls effectiveness? I never trust demos like that simply because they always give the person trying to prove their product the opportunity to perform "sleight of hand" so to speak. It is quite easy to change the sound of a presentation by simply equalizing the frequency response a bit, changing the phase or by changing a speaker's response a little. Doesn't take much to make things sound "better" and doing so is very easy without the audience being aware.

The FACT that JA and company refuse to test these magic bowls (look up the various threads about them in the Stereophile forums, one lasted for over TWO YEARS!) and come up with lame excuses for not doing so,yet lets Mr Serinus sing their praises like a choir boy year after year is proof enough for the rational person that something stinks. Synergistic Research ONLY makes "tweaky" products, magic bowls, magic cables, magic power cords, magic power conditioners, magic whatever. They are at least equal or maybe even beat Nordost at the game of talking nonsense while charging way too much for nothing. Of course they have learned that the more something costs, the better it will sell, to the foolish that is.

Psychedelicious's picture

They stopped the music? That's ridiculous, if the concept works then the music MUST keep playing when the knickknacks are removed. Otherwise it really is a "magic show."

GeorgeHolland's picture

They always STOP the music in these magic bowl demos,it's been the norm in all the reviews on here. Since the ability to recall audio memory is very short, that gives them a big advantage if they take their time removing and replacing those wonderous bowls and giving the audience a "Well?, isn't that a BIG difference?!?!" look when it starts back up again. They have learned well how to fool people.

ChrisS's picture

"These aren't the droids you are looking for.... Move along"

Psychedelicious's picture

Truly, it's the difference between putting someone in a box on a stage and then sawing them in half, versus simply sawing somebody in half. If they didn't stop the music, it would be a bloody mess.

ChrisS's picture

only for you, and you weren't even there.

Psychedelicious's picture

You are right, I have better things to do than play the fool. 

ChrisS's picture

Good! Then it was foolish of you to be here.

Psychedelicious's picture

You seem to be outnumbered by the non-believers; but you talk so much, sometimes it seems like there's more than one of you.

ChrisS's picture

and you must be hearing things! Are you keeping score on the word count of our respective posts? Who's winning?

ChrisS's picture

Are we picking teams? Who're the captains? What are we playing? What's the rules?

Archimago's picture

Had a good look at these SR "ART" things and realized that's what the doohickies are when I went to visit a friend recently to so some measurements on this audiophile gear!

LOL. Can't say I noticed a sonic difference whether they were on the floor in front of his expensive vinyl system or not :-).

It's seriously difficult to look through the Synergistic Catalogue keeping a straight face.

andy_c's picture

Elemental Voice.

Archimago's picture

Good one...  Almost got my credit card out cheeky

eugovector's picture

Those can't possibly work...too inexpensive.

remlab's picture

Whenever I see 26 comments...

Pro-Audio-Tech's picture

The room had a distinct forward presentation but a wide soundstage. Not my cuppa.