The Synergistic Research Tranquility Base UEF

Device Type: Active power–component conditioner
Dimensions (H x W x D): 1.5” x 18.5” x 16"
Weight: 15 pounds
Availability: through Authorized Dealers and Online Retailers
Price: $2250.00, MIG 2.0 Isolation Footers with HFT Technology $249.00 for a set of 3 if purchased separately
Website: www.synergisticresearch.com

The Synergistic Research Tranquility Base UEF represents a major upgrade for their popular Tranquility Base; a product I reviewed in 2012 for AudioStream. At that time, I was very impressed using the Tranquility Base with my computer and one under my DAC. The sonic improvements to both components were impressive enough to encourage me to continue to use the Tranquility Bases to this day. But if there is one thing I can say about Synergistic Research’s lead designer, Ted Denney III, is that he is constantly trying to apply new technologies to his products for improvements in their performance.

The original Tranquility Base was released in March 2012. It has taken Synergistic Research almost 4 years to come up with a replacement that they thought was significantly better than the original. As before, Synergistic Research has 3 models that progressively become larger for use with bigger components:

Tranquility Basic UEF
  • Level 1 Active Signal Flow Control
  • 7 layer laminate mechanical isolation
  • One set of MiG 2.0 isolation footers with HFT Technology
  • 17 inches wide x 14 inches deep, 1″ tall
Tranquility Base UEF
  • Level 2 Active Signal Flow Control
  • Level 1 Passive Ground Plane
  • 9 layer laminate mechanical isolation
  • Two sets of MiG 2.0 isolation footers with HFT Technology
  • 18.5 inches wide x 16 inches deep, 1.5″ tall
Tranquility Base XL UEF
  • Level 2 Active Signal Flow Control
  • Level 1 Passive Ground Plane
  • 9 layer laminate mechanical isolation
  • Two sets of MiG 2.0 isolation footers with HFT Technology
  • 20 inches wide x 23 inches deep, 1.5″ tall
  • Amp stand for large stereo and mono block amplifiers
  • A direct replacement for shelves on large Grand Prix racks
The prices for the new Tranquility Bases are $1250, $2250, and $3250. This review will focus on the middle of the line, the $2250 Tranquility Base UEF.

Why Use a Tranquility Base UEF?
The Tranquility Base UEF performs two functions to improve the sound of components according to the company. The first is to reduce the noise floor in the components placed on them by using “Electromagnetic Cells”, the same technology utilized in Synergistic Research’s PowerCell UEF power conditioner. Synergistic Research has improved the “Electromagnetic Cell” in the Tranquility Base UEF with the use of Graphene. Synergistic Research states the following for their new product:

"The conductive density of Graphene is the highest of any material currently known to man, making it nearly a “Super Conductor” at room temperature. The use of Graphene in the “Electromagnetic cells” results in a far more effective and efficient Tranquility Base UEF, achieving a much lower noise floor with higher resolution from any components placed on top."
Along with Graphene, Synergistic Research has applied their UEF technology to the Tranquility Base UEF. The Uniform Energy Field Technology has been implemented in many of Synergistic Research’s latest product offerings. Ted presented the following description of the UEF technology:
"The UEF Technology cleans up high frequency noise that otherwise distorts harmonics in the music signal. When UEF technology is applied to electronic components or to analog and digital cables, you hear a lower noise floor, higher resolution, and a significant increase in soundstage air with improved mid-range clarity and improved low frequency control for a more natural holographic sound."
The second function of the Tranquility Base UEF is to serve as an isolation platform to reduce the effects of externally induced component vibrations that degrade the performance of audio products.

Synergistic Research recommends that the Tranquility Base UEF can be used under a variety of components including:

  • Computer Audio – a significant upgrade to MAC and PC based file servers
  • One Tranquility bāsik has enough area to treat a Mac Mini, a hard drive and small DAC
  • Hard drives – A surprising but significant improvement
  • Under Turntables – Dramatically improves clarity and sound staging
  • CD Players, DACS and Transports – Sound almost analog
  • Pre-Amps
  • External Cross-overs
  • Amplifiers

The Tranquility Base UEF comes with another redesigned Synergistic Research component called the MIG (Mechanical, Interface, Grounding) 2.0 Isolation Footers with HFT Technology. Two sets of MIG 2.0 are provided; one set goes underneath the Tranquility Base UEF and the second set under the component placed on the Tranquility Base. The new MIG 2.0 with HFT Technology performs the following function as described by Synergistic Research:

"MiG 2.0 Re-tunes a component’s mechanical resonance while eliminating high frequency noise which is negatively affecting the performance of your components."
The MIG 2.0 actually adds an HFT (High Frequency Transducer) to the inside of the footer to improve performance. Synergistic Research provides instructions for the use of the MIG 2.0 that allows one to achieve a Pin Point Soundstage or an Ambient Soundstage.

Description of the Tranquility Base UEF
Synergistic Research now offers a choice of two different colored brushed aluminum rims: Silver and Black. The unit has a dark acrylic top that is very attractive. On the back of the Tranquility Base UEF are 4 receptacles. One for the power supplied by an external Mini Power Coupler, a receptacle for the provided ground wire that is plugged directly into the wall, a second ground receptacle to daisy-chain another Tranquility Base, and a receptacle for one of 2 UEF Active Tuning Circuits that fine tune the sound of the Base. The Grey UEF Active Tuning Circuit is the standard device while the use of the Silver UEF Active Tuning Circuit offers a more extended lighter sound. New for the Tranquility Base UEF are recesses on the bottom of the base for precise positioning of the MIG 2.0 footers. The new Tranquility Base UEF provides two settings for the MIG 2.0 feet allowing for the size of the component placed on the base.

How I Employed the Tranquility Base UEF in My System
Synergistic Research provided me with 2 Tranquility Base UEFs for this review. On one, I placed my Asus G501 JW laptop running Windows 10 Pro 64 bit with Fidelizer Pro 6.14. I used Roon with the HQPlayer to play music files for this review. On the second Tranquility Base UEF was placed the MSB Technology Analog DAC with Analog Power Base. My Analog DAC uses the new Premium Quad USB Module that represents MSB Technology’s most advanced implementation of USB for their DAC with superior isolation compared to their previous efforts. USB cables used were a Synergistic Research Galileo LE and the Wireworld Platinum Starlight 7 USB cables.

Just What Does One Hear with the Tranquility Base UEF?
My initial reaction to hearing my computer and DAC placed on the Tranquility Base UEF was a larger soundstage both in width and depth. This particular feature of the Tranquility Base UEF was very apparent since removing the power to the base resulted in a significant collapse of the acoustic stage. Remember, even with no power, the Tranquility Base UEF is providing the acoustic isolation that is built into the base along with the concurrent use of the MIG 2.0s.

I perceived a greater sense of background silence and a deeper black background to the sound. This allowed voices and instruments to emerge with greater clarity and focus. There is superior rendering of detail and subtle sounds of instruments. Both micro and macro dynamic qualities to the music are more easily heard. The Tranquility Base UEF seems to remove a subtle veil to the sound allowing one to get closer to the music.

I was very impressed with what the Tranquility Base UEF did for bass reproduction. Both deep bass and mid bass are leaner and better defined using the Tranquility Base UEF. No doubt, this is contributing to the midrange clarity I am hearing using this product.

How Does the Tranquility Base UEF Compare with its Predecessor?
I have 2 of the original Tranquility Bases to compare with the new Tranquility Base UEF. I know that what I am going to say will drive some of the original Tranquility Base owners absolutely crazy, but the new Tranquility Base UEF is more powerful and has a greater influence on the music than the previous model. Every performance enhancement that I previously described is simply more obvious with the new model. Soundstage, background silence, detail, bass control, and more are superior sounding with the new Tranquility Base UEF.

I did find a use for my original Tranquility Bases. I placed my hard drives with their linear power supplies on top of the original Tranquility Base with a subsequent improvement in overall sonic performance.

The MIG 2.0 Isolation Footers with HFT Technology
These new footers supplied with the Tranquility Base UEF are also an improvement over the previous MIG models. Not only did I hear greater clarity and control with the new models, but I found that their use extends beyond the Tranquility Base UEF. I placed 3 MIG 2.0s under my Ayre KX-R and 3 under each of my Ayre MX-R amps. I really liked what I heard using these feet. Bass was improved as was an improvement in clarity and focus. The soundstage also seemed to be enhanced with these footers. The position of the feet can alter the sound that one hears in terms of soundstage ambiance or enhanced clarity / localization in the soundstage. Synergistic provides easy-to-use instructions for optimal placement of the MIG 2.0s.

Music Sounds Better with the Tranquility Base UEF
I was quite fascinated with what the Tranquility Base UEF did for Sunday at the Village Vanguard performed by the Bill Evans Trio (DSD64). This Analogue Productions DSD release was mastered by Doug Sax from the original live 1961 analog master tapes. The Tranquility Base UEF took this classic recording’s sound to another level. Not only was the club atmosphere more realistic sounding, but subtle sounds from the audience and musicians were more easily heard. Bill Evans’ piano sounded more dynamically alive and real using the base.

The studio recording of Susan Wong’s Someone Like You (24/192) also benefited from the use of the Tranquility Base UEF with my computer and DAC. This wonderful recording was made in Nashville and was recorded, mixed and mastered at 24/192. The vocals utilized a vintage tube microphone with mastering performed by Doug Sax and Sangwook Nam at the Mastering Lab. The inner detail and resolution of transient detail sounded better with the Tranquility Base UEF. Susan’s voice emerged from a jet-black background with purity and liquidity to the sound. I felt that there was enhanced immediacy to the sound with superior impact of the bass.

The Tranquility Base UEF helped me to appreciate the rhythmic drive and dynamics of Eliante Elias’ Made in Brazil (24/96). The bass control and bass dynamics were better portrayed with the Tranquility Base UEF. Instruments such as the nylon strings of the guitar were more clearly revealed as was the percussion. Without the Tranquility Base UEF, the sound was more opaque and slightly veiled.

Enhancements to the Performance of the Tranquility Base UEF
Most of my listening was performed with the standard MPC (Mini Power Coupler) power supply and the standard ground cable both supplied with the Tranquility Base UEF. But for those interested, there are replacements for the power supply and ground cable available from Synergistic Research that improve the performance of the Tranquility Base UEF.

For those of you that own the Synergistic Research Grounding Block, be sure to ground the Tranquility Base UEF to the Grounding Block. Also, using Synergistic's High Definition Ground Cables in conjunction with the Grounding Block provides a nice positive bump in performance.

Substituting a Synergistic Galileo MPC for the standard MPC, or better yet, a Transporter Ultra SE also provides performance enhancements for the Tranquility Base UEF.

I would like to emphasize that it is not necessary to purchase these Synergistic Research products to experience what the Tranquility Base UEF is capable of. But for those of you that already own these products, be sure to take advantage of your previous purchases.

A Worthy Successor to the Tranquility Base
Synergistic Research's goal of improvement to the performance of the Tranquility Base been achieved in their release of the Tranquility Base UEF. I was very impressed with the improvements heard by placing my computer and DAC on a Tranquility Base UEF. The Tranquility Base UEF is one product that is going to become a keeper in my system.


Associated Equipment

COMMENTS
Fetuso's picture

Michael, I've never heard of anything like this until now. Is this product designed to work independently of other power supply upgrades? I'm very interested to know because I'm planning to make some power supply upgrades and I
just today ordered a shunyata outlet as the first step. I was planning on then adding a shunyata power distributor/conditioner. Lastly, if one was to only purchase one of these which component would benefit the system most? Thanks.

Steven Plaskin's picture

Yes, the Tranquility Base works independent of other power conditioners.

A power conditioner will generally service more than one product. This generally has a larger effect on the system. But I warn you not to try a Tranquility Base UEF because you won't want to return it:-)

Fetuso's picture

Sorry about that , Steven. I did not look at who authored the review. Thanks for answering my question.

Davidpritchard's picture

Steve:
Thank you for the informative and easy to understand description of the sonic changes the UEF Tranquility Base creates. Your comparison of this new model compared to the original model is most helpful.

David Pritchard

brucew268's picture

You mention overall sonic benefits for the hard drive and power supplies, but haven't fleshed that out. Could you give a little more on the quality and amount of change in comparison to yur other uses?

Also, sometimes I've found that devices which clean up the EM or RF impart a bit of leanness (loss of body) or coolness or even hardness to the sound, which is not noticed right away due to the increased detail. Any of that going on here? Does it impact the warm vs. cool tone of your system at all?

Steven Plaskin's picture

Hi Bruce,

It's a little more complicated for my Thunderbolt drives. As you see in the picture, they are being driven with HDPlex linear power supplies. The power supplies add an additional improvement to the mix.

I did find the sound to be a little leaner with the bass better controlled. That might sound "cooler" to some, but in my system the Tranquility Base UEF reduced "hardness" as well.

Steven Plaskin's picture

Sorry Bruce,

That should read the Tranquility Base (older model). The UEF model is even better.

Thanks