Synergistic Research PowerCell AC Conditioner, McIntosh MC462 Amp, Elac Adante Speakers, Bluesound Streamer

Scott Walker Audio staked out its own mini-empire at the Hilton Long Beach, occupying six of the hotel's largest suites on the third floor. The first one I encountered revealed the inimitable Ted Denney of Synergistic Research staging a pretty ballsy demo. Ted set up two identical systems in adjacent rooms, both with a McIntosh C2600 tube preamp ($7500) and MC462 Amplifier ($9000), Elac Adante AF61 floorstanding speakers ($4995/pair), Bluesound Node 2i streamer ($500), and Solid Tech Rack ($2600). The difference was that one system took advantage of a Synergistic Research PowerCell 8 UEF SE power conditioner ($2995), new Synergistic Research entry-level Foundation interconnect and speaker cables plus UEF Blue power cords ($4000), and a host of various Synergistic Research room acoustic products ($6500), which in my experience are quite effective if nonetheless baffling to many.

The other room, entitled the "Best Buy" room, used the same electronics, speakers, and rack, but exchanged Synergistic Research cabling for Best Buy-available AudioQuest Water, Rocket, and Blizzard cables; swapped Synergistic power conditioning for a Furman P-2400 IT ($3100); and—here's where it gets tricky—traded Synergistic Research Ground Block, MiG/MiG 2.0 Isolation Footers, Tranquility Base XL, five kinds of HFT devices, Black Box, and Atmosphere Infinity for AudioQuest SorboGel Q-Feet. The prices were more or less comparable until you got to the accessories and equipment isolation and room-treatment products. Which means, beyond the price difference, that one room was treated and one room was not.

Is there any need to tell you which room sounded better? Is there every reason in the world to wonder how the Best Buy/AudioQuest/Furman room might have sounded had it received the kinda-sorta equivalent of the same one-of-a-kind room and system treatment as was present in the Synergistic Research room?

Ortofan's picture

... a voltmeter to match levels at the speaker terminals and blindfolds so that the listeners couldn't see the version of the system to which they were listening?

What were the comments from the reps for AudioQuest and Furman?

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

They were two identical systems in two adjacent rooms. One iPad controlled both systems via WiFi. As far as I could tell, there was no messing with the levels between rooms. Frankly, there was no need to mess with them.

This was not a haunted house where people were led room-to-room blindfolded. Anyone was free to walk back and forth between the rooms to ascertain for themselves what was up.

I have no idea what AudioQuest and Furman think. Or Best Buy for that matter.

TedDenney's picture

This demonstration showed clearly the night and day difference when a system and room are fully treated with Synergistic Research products and we used high quality cables and line conditioning from major competitors in our second room to drive this point home and make it crystal clear. We don’t know why Stereophile chose not to report the differences between these two rooms or at the very least list a few of the improvements in their report but it was nice to see Jason again. We look forward to the next show at RMAF where we will expand on this dramatic new demonstration to show the clear superiority of Synergistic Research products in stark contrast to our competitors.

Archimago's picture

As the person who designs these things, of course you believe that there is a "night and day" difference. But let's see some independent reports.

Even better, if you can provide some measurements of actual differences the countless lines of "active" cables, bases, power conditioners, ground blocks, room treatments, and "atmosphere" thing make, that would be a very nice first step to show what effect the engineering has. This will also allow audiophiles to consider the circumstances in which they might desire such products.

Testimony and showmanship can only go so far given the options available to audiophiles and (I hope) the growing recognition of snake oil in this industry. Let's at least show some evidence that the properties of the electrical signals and sound waves were changed from the devices you're selling at rather premium prices in the thousands of dollars...

Ortofan's picture

... will you be using this piece of equipment?

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Question is, whether they will provide any free ear-canal cleaning services before such demonstrations :-) ........

Archimago's picture

Even before doing that with controlled listening...

Why not just publish simple morsels of evidence that their "tuning bullets" made a difference. That "quantum tunneling" helped the cable. That the Atmosphere sent out some level of "Schumann resonance" or whatever the active ingredient is in improving sound...

Pretty please?

TedDenney's picture

We build products for who people listen.

Archimago's picture

Audio hardware is engineering. Scientists identified the laws of nature and engineers created the devices.

If there is no actual engineering involved and controlled verification of design principles to show, then we're in the realm of voodoo, faith, and religious beliefs.

"Flat earth" believers are those who ignore the findings of science rather than the "flatness" they "see" with their eyes (which is in fact what you're advocating). This analogy does not apply to more objective people who desire something a little more than subjective testimonials.

thyname's picture

Are you an actual person? Or a robot artificial intelligence? Ted has a company and had sold many products for decades. To thousands of actual people. And a successful one to boot. You think whatever he builds has no Engineering involved? Jealous a bit?

Do you use ears to listen, or just your Null Tester? Can a blind person be an expert in photography?

Archimago's picture

Whether I own a company that sold engineered products is irrelevant in the discussion isn't it?

If you need to know... No, I do not own a company making products. But I am involved in testing and verification of engineered technologies, some of which are still investigational pending regulatory approval of safety and efficacy.

Yes, I am a real person. Awesome if "robot AI" can be this good in chatting online I think!

Why would I be jealous? There are many ways to make good money. Some IMO more honest than others.

I didn't say there is no engineering involved. It would just be nice to have Mr. Denney give some evidence to demonstrate the effect. It is him who said the difference is "night and day". So surely in 2019, it would be nice to understand this difference and which (or combinations) of the myriad of devices he makes can achieve such remarkable transformation in the physics of electronics and sound.

RH's picture

"We build products for who people listen."

^^^^^ That type of dismissive/evasive comment didn't move the credibility meter in the right direction.

It only gives more justification for the suspicion many hold about the nature of high end audio claims.

Especially when it comes to cables and the tweakier side of the hobby, it seems the consistent pattern from manufacturers is:

Give us a technical story about an objective, technical problem that your product solves, and how it does it.

And then when it comes to showing the technical problem has been solved by the product, do we get objective measurements, provided by the company or repeatable by third parties? Nope. Instead we get a punt directly to marketing, showmanship and anecdotes. Then it's "forget all the technical've just gotta experience it!" And "You just have to have the subjective experience for yourself!"

The fact that this pattern is shared by any number of pseudo-scientific claims, not to mention everything from alternative medicine, numerology, astrology, dowsing, aura-reading and every other fringe claim you can grounds for reasonable skepticism.

And the flat earth reference was particularly ironic. The Flat Earth movement is built on the foundation of Trust What Your Sense Are Telling You! That's the whole problem "It looks flat to us, so it's flat" hence they ignore any truly rigorous method - i.e. science - that would help get around bias or naive inferences strictly from subjective experience.

The manufacturer who sells equipment on the "if you think you hear it, it's true!" method has much more in common with the epistemology of Flat Earthers than the cautious skeptic.

All that said, I have no idea if the Synergistic Research products work as claimed. I'm only pointing out that as a consumer trying to keep his critical thinking cap on, the sales pitch and appeal to anecdotal evidence doesn't engender confidence the way objective evidence could. (And it's the type of evidence that SHOULD, it seems to me, be readily available if the product is producing technical/real-world alterations of the sound).

TedDenney's picture

Are you Robert Harley?

RH's picture

I'm not Robert Harley.

As I said, I personally am not taking the stance your products don't produce audible results, only that I haven't seen the type of evidence I'd prefer to see.

In re-familiarizing myself with Synergistic Research I came upon an old Stereophile forum thread in which you were going to be submitting results to a third party for measured analysis. John Atkinson had apparently been part of commissioning this. That would have been great and I think a real feather-in-your-cap for doing so.
I'm not aware of any other high-end cable company stepping up to the plate like that. Do you mind my asking: What happened with that? Where the results ever posted somewhere?


TedDenney's picture

We just performed the ultimate demo, the ultimate proof of performance and we did it live before a live audience. Two identical rooms with identical systems, identical speakers, playing identical tracks at the same volume. One had a full complement of Synergistic Research technologies including acoustics, cable’s, power cords, line conditioning with ground electromagnetic and mechanical isolation all part of the Synergistic Research approach to total system synergy. The other had the industries number one selling cables and power conditioner at the price points Synergistic Research occupied in this test. These two identical rooms with identical systems could not have sounded further apart.

Ted Denney Lead Designer / Owner Synergistic Research Inc.

RH's picture

I guess I'll have to interpret from that reply that no third-party-measurements ever happened?

"We just performed the ultimate demo,"

Salespeople perform comparative demos all the time.

"the ultimate proof of performance "

Looks like we differ on what "ultimate" proof would look like.
I don't view that hyperbole as warranted by a sales demo.

It would be far, far more impressive and closer to "ultimate" if you had an audience correctly identify differences without the salesmanship priming, and without them knowing which they were listening to.

Or even better, to see that independent third party, using the prosaic, standard method employed every day around the world in science, produce results showing your products make measurable, audible differences to the music signal.

I mean, the phenomena you reference on your website - quantum phenomena, electron flow, your Quantum Coupling Methods etc - is real and measurable, correct? (If not, how did you ever surmise any of that exists? I'm presuming we aren't in the land of New Age Magic here.)

If the problem is measurable, and you are applying real-world engineering that physically alters the product and "fixes" the technical problem, that should be measurable. Where are those measurements? Can anyone see them somewhere?

I hope you see these as reasonable questions from a consumer who has to wade his way through countless advertising come-ons to figure out what-is-what.


thyname's picture

How about the old fashioned “listen and measure for yourself “? How hard is for you to try for yourself? Be it by listening (as in with ears), or by measuring, whatever that means, and however you prefer to consume your music. All this stuff is commercially available for people to try. You folks keep pounding the table, yelling “prove it to me”, when proving or disproving for yourself is so easy. I sense you have zero interest in trying such things

TedDenney's picture

There were no salesmen priming or anything of the sort, just two identical rooms playing the same tracks at the same volume where people were free to go back and forth as many times as they liked until they made up their minds as to which system sounded best to them. And again, the difference between these two identical rooms with identical systems playing identical tracks at identical volumes could not have sounded more different. Night and day.

Ted Denney Lead Designer / Owner Synergistic Research Inc.

RH's picture

Honestly, I don't think so. I'm aware you did a demo of two systems in two rooms. I keep asking about verification via measurements, and for some reason you haven't answered these reasonable questions.

As to priming: the various videos I've now seen of your demos on youtube show the type of "priming" I'm referring to: it can include hinting to the audience what they are going to hear. For instance mentioning before-hand that one setting you'll be using would "maximize the scale and air of the system."

But it's also a form of priming an audience to talk about all the proprietary gear they are about to hear, with the obvious implication it will be changing the sound, even if not directly stated. What I'm saying is that the type of demos you are doing are fertile grounds for perceptual bias effects, which is why a more scientific approach would control for those variables.

I'm certainly not suggesting that a company such as yours shouldn't be doing those demos. Of course not. You've got a business to run, and demos are a common method of selling products and gaining visibility. Good on you!

I'm merely asking about an additional, more rigorous form of evidence: measurable evidence.

So I wonder if you can answer my point? Do you not use any measuring devices in your production and testing? I presume you do of course. Do you have measurable evidence for the difference your products are purported to accomplish?

"And again, the difference between these two identical rooms with identical systems playing identical tracks at identical volumes could not have sounded more different. Night and day."

Then this is all the more reason to think that whatever is going on is real and measurable. Something physical is being altered...and significantly. And you are supposed to know exactly what it is, so you should be the first to tell us how it's measured. I's not "magic," right?

These are reasonable questions to pose to an engineer don't you agree?

TedDenney's picture

There was no talking about all the gear except to say one room was 100% SR while the other room had zero SR.


“There were no salesmen priming or anything of the sort, just two identical rooms playing the same tracks at the same volume where people were free to go back and forth as many times as they liked until they made up their minds as to which system sounded best to them. And again, the difference between these two identical rooms with identical systems playing identical tracks at identical volumes could not have sounded more different. Night and day.

Ted Denney Lead Designer / Owner Synergistic Research Inc.”

RH's picture


So if someone inquires if you have any measurable evidence to support the claims for your product....your default is to avoid answering and call him a "shill?"

Wow. What wonderful marketing.

It's obvious at this point you are not even going to acknowledge that you have been asked about measurements, let alone answer directly or provide any. Yet these are the types of simple, obvious questions most engineers would welcome.

I leave it to others what to make of this.

Thanks for


Sal1950's picture

More like you build products for the naive who are easily con'd and don't ask for solid supporting evidence to your claims.
Pseudoscience and magic dust are not replacements for solid engineering and scientifically designed testing procedures.

TedDenney's picture

We build products for actual audiophiles, who own actual high-end stereo’s. We don’t concern ourselves with trolls hiding behind a fake accounts and fake profile pictures. Our customers are knowledgeable audio enthusiasts and they know good sound, that’s why they love Synergistic Research products which are sold AFTER an in home audition.

Ted Denney Lead Designer / Owner Synergistic Research Inc.

Sal1950's picture

Nothing fake here. You'll find my username registered at audio sites all over the internet. Feel free to stop by AudioScienceReview some time and tell us all about the REAL science behind your products.

thyname's picture

OK @Sal1950 --- name one cable company that provides "solid supporting evidence" to their claims. Further, how do you know that their "solid engineering and scientifically designed testing procedures" are any different than what SR does with their manufacturing process. How do you know?

Sal1950's picture

Can't, you got me there. To quote Peter Aczel,

"1. The Cable Lie
Logically this is not the lie to start with because cables are accessories, not primary audio components. But it is the hugest, dirtiest, most cynical, most intelligence-insulting and, above all, most fraudulently profitable lie in audio, and therefore must go to the head of the list.

The lie is that high-priced speaker cables and interconnects sound better than the standard, run-of-the-mill (say, Radio Shack) ones. It is a lie that has been exposed, shamed, and refuted over and over again by every genuine authority under the sun, but the tweako audio cultists hate authority and the innocents can’t distinguish it from self-serving charlatanry.

The simple truth is that resistance, inductance, and capacitance (R, L, and C) are the only cable parameters that affect performance in the range below radio frequencies. The signal has no idea whether it is being transmitted through cheap or expensive RLC. Yes, you have to pay a little more than rock bottom for decent plugs, shielding, insulation, etc., to avoid reliability problems, and you have to pay attention to resistance in longer connections. In basic electrical performance, however, a nice pair of straightened-out wire coat hangers with the ends scraped is not a whit inferior to a $2000 gee-whiz miracle cable. Nor is 16-gauge lamp cord at 18-cents a foot. Ultrahigh-priced cables are the biggest scam in consumer electronics, and the cowardly surrender of nearly all audio publications to the pressures of the cable marketers is truly depressing to behold."

thyname's picture

I thought so...

Archimago's picture

To be fair to the Best Buy room, JVS, why not also post a picture of that so online viewers can appreciate "the look" of it for comparison?

thyname's picture

Haters will hate. I’d say Ted Denney ignore these Archimago and Ethan entities. They only listen through their machines. Not sure if they even have ears. It’s like a blind person being an expert in photography

Archimago's picture

As far as I can tell, Ethan seems to be a nice guy who's knowledgeable, shares openly, and calls it as he sees it.

Here's a beautiful example of transformation into an ad hominem line of argument. Surely, thyname, you can do better. Yes, I do have ears. I'm in my mid-40's now so while frequency response may not be what it used to be, it's still decent. No, I am not blind either when it comes to photography. No, I don't listing "through" (measurement) machines - we all listen to recordings "through" DAC / turntable / amps / speakers / headphones still don't we?

I've examined Synergistic products before (just Google for a 2014 post) so I'm not without awareness or have never listened to or touched products from this company.

Think about it folk. Simply asking a consumer electronics company to show evidence for why their products make a difference should not result in a response from the principal designer that implies that one who demonstrates skepticism is a "flat earth" believer especially given the asking price.

"Good luck" with that, I guess...

thyname's picture

I am not the mighty keyboard warrior Archimago, but there is no better “evidence” than actual listening. Especially when listening is made available in an audio show open to general public. Or even better, dare I say, buy them and listen for yourself at home.

Archimago's picture

Google "Synergistic Archimago 2014".

Consider what I wrote about the Tesla cables and PowerCell. Given what I have heard, touched, and seen... Why do you think I might be just a little reluctant to send anyone money so I can "buy them"?!

thyname's picture

Otherwise I don’t understand you going above and beyond to burn the SR to the ground. Same as with MQA. Whatever you are fighting, it’s not so difficult to see your motives. Everyone has an agenda

jwh9's picture

..usually not a fan of things which might be easily written-off as 'audio voodoo' by the uninformed, but I could clearly hear a difference. The treated room was more coherent.. and also more 'lively' sounding, but not detracting from clarity. The app he used to affect the room acoustics via a tall, slender device in the back and a matrix of tiny dots mounted all over the walls, also produced clearly audible results.. quite interesting.

Archimago's picture

Looks like you're describing the "Atmosphere". If it makes such differences, it would be good for someone to objectively review the device and how it works.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

It is possible that the input impedances and the output impedances are changing, especially by the cables and interconnects ........ That could possibly change the sound ........ Just a thought :-) ........

Archimago's picture

But then we'd be looking at cables as "tone controls" to change the net impedance of analogue wires like speakers cables primarily.

If so, why not measure the net impedance of cable + speaker and show the difference this makes. By doing this, it'll also be doing a favour for audiophiles to help understand what speakers should be paired with what cable and the "improvement" this could bring.

Same thing with those MIT and Transparent cables.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

I agree with you ...... Let me give some examples ...... If we lower the output impedance of an amplifier or increase the input impedance of a loudspeaker/headphone, we can increase the 'damping factor' of the amplifier ...... hence better control of the transducers ....... For example, if the amplifier output impedance is 1 Ohm and the impedance of a loudspeaker is 8 Ohms, the damping factor is 8 ........ If the amplifier output impedance is lowered to 0.1 Ohm, then that damping factor becomes 80 ........ More damping factor by the amplifier means better control of the transducers ....... That will produce better sound quality :-) .......

About those tuning dots on the walls and that app, I don't have any explanations :-) .........

Ortofan's picture

... with an output impedance of just 0.01Ω - or a damping factor of 800, relative to an 8Ω load. Surely the sound quality must be ten times better.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Yes, you are right ..... There are others with almost similar very low output impedances ....... Some examples ...... Parasound Halo JC1 (your favorite), the old models of Mark Levinson No.20, old models of Threshold, Linn Klimax solo, Hafler new and old Transnova models (also your favorite), old and newer models of Krell, old Accuphase are some examples ....... The speaker cables have very little effect on these amplifiers ....... All these amplifiers have the proverbial 'iron fist' control over the loudspeakers ....... Several of these models were reviewed and measured by Stereophile ....... All the reviewers had a very favorable opinion about those amplifiers :-) .........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Ortofan, you are always right for all the right reasons :-) .......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Recently reviewed, affordable Audiolab 6000A integrated amp by Hi-Fi News also has 0.01 Ohm output impedance :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Amazon sells Audiolab 6000A for $900 :-) .............

Bogolu Haranath's picture

To further elaborate on the same point ....... The McIntosh 462 was reviewed and measured by Stereophile ....... 462 output impedance changes with the output tap chosen ........ If another amplifier is chosen or another loudspeaker is chosen, the results may be different :-) ........

jwh9's picture

..he did an interactive demo using the app, which controlled this emissive tower at the back wall, and switching the modes, you hear changes. I'd like to know more about how this tower works in conjunction with these tiny resonant 'dots,' All of that isn't in the signal path, but had an apparent effect on the music. Suppose you can think of it as a passive ambience amplifier, of sorts. There was also a box on the floor that helped cancel room modes. I saw the same box in various other rooms, actually.

WELquest's picture

Kudos to Ted for putting it on the line, for provoking productive awareness.

As I'm unfortunately missing the show due to a college reunion and other activities. I'm a thousand miles away and wouldn't try to comment on the sound of the two rooms -- however, I accept as a given that the Synergistics accessorized room is the better sounding room.

Would using a less expensive but superior AudioQuest Niagara instead of a Furman have swung the comparison? Maybe, maybe not.

What I think is likely being well demonstrated is that any system is an accumulation of things going wrong to various degrees. In sales language, things only go right or more right. In fact, things only go wrong or more wrong -- a not-optional crucial perspective when investigating performance. For greatest effectiveness, every piece of a system, including the room, must be controlled to minimize its "contribution" to the resulting sound and emotional experience.

My guess is that the message that rooms are extremely important, and that Synergistics has developed significant expertise towards taming room interaction, would have been more effectively communicated, and not been so buried in the noise of too many variables changing at once, if everything was the same except for the room treatment. Just an observation from a fellow industry veteran :-)

Bill Low Founder/AudioQuest

TedDenney's picture

Bill I don’t believe we’ve spoken since CEDIA in Florida in early Y2K. Indeed this demonstration was down to more than just a difference in cables and power conditioning, it was down to a system wide synergy of Synergistic Research products including cables, power cords, line conditioning, mechanical and electromagnetic isolation of components, and room acoustics all designed by myself and engineered to create a system wide synergy. We chose your cables because we believe them to be the best selling interconnects (Water) and speaker cables (Rocket 44) at the price point of our new Foundation Series. $600 for interconnects, $650 for speaker cables. And while all of the differences people heard cannot be attributed solely to this difference in cables, it would be wise for anyone considering cables in these price points to audition Synergistic Research alongside AudioQuest. Fortunately The Cable Co. can make this side-by-side demonstration happen for people seeking top performance from their cables at this competitive price point. :-)

Ted Denney Lead Designer / Owner Synergistic Research Inc.

Jim Austin's picture

The reason, in both cases, was personal insults.

It's a very simple rule. You're free to disagree intensely about hi-fi-related issues--no problem. But when the subject becomes each other, and the substance is a flame, that won't be tolerated. It doesn't matter who you are, either: industry pro or pseudonymous audiophile--although I will admit to having less tolerance of those who choose not to stand behind their posts personally--that is, who don't use their real names. (No, it's not against Stereophile policy to post anonymously or pseudonymously, but that doesn't keep me from exercising ... judgment.)

Please note, too, that I took these actions on my own volition: No complaints were received.

Jim Austin, Editor

JackWlwi's picture

As the article points out, nicer than I would, to compare a room that has acoustic treatment, and as claimed by the MFR, they did use acoustic panels, with a room that has no treatment is stupid. It is deceitful in the ultimate. A few panels at key reflection points can dramatically change the tone of a room. To then claim that the $10K plus of expensive cables, and "stuff" and/or lower cost speaker cables / interconnects contributed to the differences is absolutely ludicrous.

ChrisS's picture

No different than running a performance comparison between a stock Subaru WRX vs one that's heavily modded...

If you can't see the difference using a simple comparison, eg. using a stop watch, or by just listening in the case of a modded stereo system, then save your money.

JackWlwi's picture

It is equivalent to comparing a stock WRX to a modded one, then claiming the $5,000.00 tint job on the modified one had some impact on the quarter-mile times and the cornering g's.

ChrisS's picture

...then go with the tint job.

And prove it yourself.

Or, if you are a smart shopper, you save your money on the tint and get everything else.

This is retail.

(But....what if the tint is really a hi-tech film that knocks down the drag coefficient by 0.001%... and you're ahead by a second?)

ChrisS's picture

Why do you feel Ted Denney is obligated to tell you anything?

(If you don't think his demo is valid because he's the OM, then why would you think that SR providing "lab measurements" would be any more valid?)

This is retail.

Not medical research.

RH's picture

"Why do you feel Ted Denney is obligated to tell you anything?"

He's not.

If you tell me you have some ocean-front property in Nashville to sell me, I'll ask you how that is possible. You aren't obligated to tell me. But then, I'll just explain to you why I'm not going to be handing you money any time soon.

Same if you claimed to sell me a car that got 500 miles to the gallon. I'll ask you how that works. You aren't obligated to tell me. And I'll just explain why I am skeptical of the claim.

I'm an audiophile, I am attracted to the idea of further tweaking my system. But I don't want to throw money or time away on stuff that doesn't actually work, and there are many dubious claims in high-end audio as elsewhere. It should be obvious that none of us have the time and money to try every product and every tweak, and it makes sense to discriminate when investigating which products seem promising or not. I don't know if Synergistic Research's product work as advertised or not. I'm curious. I'm asking questions.

Do you have something against consumers using critical thinking and asking pertinent questions about products? Are we to simply be credulous in the face of every claim by a manufacturer and not bother asking these questions?

(If you buy your stuff that way...sorry, I'm not going to follow that model).

thyname's picture

And no! You are not asking questions to learn. And you know it. Which makes your posts trolling.

thyname's picture
thyname's picture
Ortofan's picture

... anything.
However, if he wants me to consider buying any of his company's products, then I'd like to see some objective information.
Or, maybe I'm just not a target customer for Synergistic Research.

Perhps Mr. Denney can address the following:
If, indeed, the effects of your company's products can't be readily measured, how do you verify that every product off the production line performs as claimed?
Do you listen to each product before it is shipped as a means of implementing quality control?

Also, running a blind, level-matched comparison with instantaneous switching would lend more validity to the demo.
Maybe fewer hi-fi enthusiasts would be on the equipment merry-go-round if (more) dealers offered comparisons structured in that manner. But then they might all be out of business.

ChrisS's picture

Listen more.

ChrisS's picture if you were addressing the makers of Twinkies, you will see what I mean.

Ortofan's picture

... the sound of Twinkies®?

ChrisS's picture

...junk food!

ChrisS's picture

...for Synergistic Research".

Your words.

I know of people who will never buy a Ford product, even though they haven't been in a Ford vehicle for decades.

Ortofan's picture

... the location of a local dealer without having to place a phone call or submit a form and wait for a response.

ChrisS's picture

Websites don't matter to these people!

Bogolu Haranath's picture

The sound of music? :-) ........

thyname's picture

Just by reading your very last paragraph, it is 100% clear to me that you have zero interest in trying such things. None whatsoever. Which makes your posts trolling. The very definition of it.

If you are so interested in level-match, ABX blah blah blah stuff, you are 100% free to try and do for yourself.

Ortofan's picture

... years ago, most hi-fi stores had a wall of speakers connected to a switch box. The salesman could select any two pairs of speakers and would hand you a push-button on the end of a coiled cord that you could use to instantly switch between those two pairs of speakers. For a blind test, you could have someone else operate the button. Some of the switch boxes also had pads that could be used to match levels.

Then Linn started pushing the "single speaker demo" concept and most high-end stores seemed to have bought into that trend.

thyname's picture

What is to prevent you from doing that yourself if so inclined?

ChrisS's picture

....his products without any listening or doing any investigation of your own, then that's fine.

He doesn't have to prove anything to you either.

This is retail.

RH's picture

"He doesn't have to prove anything to you either."

Again...what a strange thing to say, after I just explained how it misses the point.

Asking the type of questions I've asked IS doing some investigation.

This is retail.

It's a product that makes claims based on purported science. Which makes asking questions about the product's claims relevant.

Again: if a car manufacturer introduces a car they claim to get 500 miles based on appeals to principles in physics and claiming engineering that produces this result....those are claims about physics and engineering, and in fact have implications even beyond the product in question. It's not just "retail."

It would be ridiculous to say "don't bother asking questions of this manufacturer to see if how they justify their claims...this is 'retail.'

And if you hadn't noticed, audiophiles tend to be interested in audio gear and how it works to one degree or another, which is why every selling point for a new piece of audio equipment comes with some technical story for how it's supposed to work. Inquiring about how/if something works is a natural part of being interested in audio gear. Lots of us at least want to see the technical explanation make sense.

Advocating that one not ask these questions is to be strangely incurious and credulous. "Well, here's an expensive proposition...I guess I'll just spend money to try it, without investigating whether it makes sense or not."

ChrisS's picture

Sure, there's asking questions, and doing your own research, but then there's badgering... Even the staff of Stereophile get unsatisfactory answers to their inquiries.

If a product is under review, then the Stereophile staff try to find answers the best they can.

You are just shopping.

You and others feel you are not well informed enough to try or buy any SR products. That's it.


RH's picture

Asking a few questions about the evidence for a product is "badgering?"

You sure set a low bar for skepticism and critical thinking for consumers. Yes, we should be much quicker to accept whatever the next car salesman or high end manufacturer tells us. Wouldn't want to go "badgering" them with silly questions about how it works, evidence or anything like that.


Anyway, the bait has gone stale: that's all the nibbles you'll have from me for this thread ;-)

ChrisS's picture

...good "bait".

Your posts are a few questions?

Again, this is retail shopping.

Not a lab.

ChrisS's picture

..."Don't ask"?

Third party testing?

Looking back at the previous posts, your questions are appropriate for a lab, but here, your lines of inquiry go nowhere.

This is what I mean by "obligation"... Ted Denney doesn't have to do anything for you.

That's why I keep emphasizing, it's just retail shopping.

thyname's picture

Trigger Trigger Chicken Dinner!

This stuff never disappoints. It always triggers certain types of “Slayers of Snake Oil” and “ABX Audiophiles”

ChrisS's picture

...all good stuff in the right place!

But who shops that way?

thyname's picture

These folks don’t buy anything. They just like to talk about it. In the Internets

ChrisS's picture

I don't usually hear of anyone who engage in these lengthy "enquiries" and requests for blind testing actually purchase anything(?)

thyname's picture

Their hobby is to make fun of and rebut our hobby. That’s how they get their fix. No music, no actual audio gear ownership

RH's picture

"Their hobby is to make fun of and rebut our hobby."

Your hobby?

If your hobby happens to entail being enthusiastic about high-quality sound reproduction, then that's my hobby too.

If you have some other hobby, I wonder what you'd be referring to?

"No music, no actual audio gear ownership"

You have no idea what you are talking about. And unfortunately, this is a too-common strawman tactic. Should someone dare raise a question about objective evidence, folks like yourself come out and paint them as emotionless "Spocks" who don't really care about music or great audio gear. This is just a hackneyed strawman.

I'll provide a personal counter-example to your strawman:

First, I'm nuts about music. Son of a jazz musician, grew up in a house filled with 3 pianos, drums, guitar, bass, sax, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, etc...played in bands myself. Dad was also an audiophile. Like many stereophile readers I'm a music omnivore. I'm swamped in music from my digital collection to my vinyl collection (which is still growing at a crazy pace).

I own a high-end digital front end, a high end vinyl front end, various amps including Conrad Johnson tube amps and preamps, and a variety of speakers, from Jim Thiel's last designs to MBL radialstrahler. And I've had plenty more great speakers and gear in my room over many decades.

I also have "auditioned," owned or borrowed varieties of high end cables, power conditioners, and have also tested out well-regarded high end AC cables.

So you are just shooting in the dark with your mischaracterization.

I don't know how or why you buy your audio gear. Maybe it's just 100 percent pure subjectivism and you are happy to buy anything no matter how dubious the technical story is, as long as you try it and you feel you hear a difference.

If that is your approach, or WHATEVER your approach, I'm not here to reprimand you for it. Everyone has to make his own decisions on how to buy gear. Let freedom reign - I have no reason to say you shouldn't buy gear however you want.

But here's the weird thing: why do YOU seem to have trouble when someone else holds a different opinion from you, or has their own different approach to this hobby? If YOU don't happen to be skeptical about something that means no one else should be????

You do not represent the only approach to this hobby. It's not just "yours" as "you" practice it. It's a broad spectrum. Some people understand the technical end way better than I do, and are all about using almost strictly objective, measurable results. Good on them if that's what turns their crank. I"m not going to send underhanded insults their way for doing what makes them happy.

Personally I find myself somewhat in the middle: I luxuriate in the subjective aspects of listening to music on my system. But I also care about truth. As someone who has some some knowledge of the scientific method, and it's justifications, and having looked at many different "fringe" claims over the years, I recognize when I'm looking at areas where skepticism is warranted. I've learned from personal experience, e.g. with blind testing, and from absorbing lots of information from seeing debates between technically knowledgeable people, when to have my skeptic hat on, and what types of questions to ask when I don't feel like being duped.

It's not controversial among technically knowledgeable people that, say, speakers are measurably different in the range well known to be audible. So if someone is claiming "speaker A design sounds different from speaker B design" then that's a perfectly plausible claim.

But in areas where the claims are controversial among experts, when I may *want* something to be true but wish to be more cautious, I have an idea about what questions to ask. And sometimes I'll employ my own blind testing, for fun, and to learn something.

Then...I'll go right back to flipping through my records and having a blast with my system.

So..again...why does this bother you, that I or anyone else may seek answers to something that YOU are not curious about? Does someone else being skeptical of a claim about a cable or something somehow ruin your hobby for you?

If you don't care about the technical claims made by any particular high end company...fine. I won't cast aspersions at you, saying you aren't in to music or good audio gear. No one is forcing you to care.

But some of us who really also care about high end audio find claims interesting, or perplexing (or may have a more cynical take, weeding out b.s...which is fine) and want to ask critical questions. And, yeah...we are a part of this hobby too. I'm sorry this bothers you but...too bad...maybe loosen up and realize there are many approaches in this hobby ;-)

thyname's picture

You keep saying “I want answers”, keep talking about “the truth “ and “where is the proof”. Yet, this is very simple: it’s extremely easy to try for yourself. By actually owning it or borrowing from someone, friend, dealer, the Cable Co. lending library and more. You really think all this will be magically answered in the Internet. There is no substitute to own experience. Everything else is theory or imagination. Why is this so hard? Why do you have to spend hours writing a thesis, when you can simply try for yourself?

RH's picture

So...about your claim that people like myself asking critical questions are not really listening to music and don't own hi-fi gear....that didn't work out too well, right?

Well, I guess from the tone of your posts I couldn't really expect you to admit to making bogus mischaracterisations.


ChrisS's picture

Now that was interesting!!

Ortofan's picture

... sound?