The Synergistic Research Grounding Block and High Definition Ground Cables

Device Type: Audio Accessory
Dimensions: (Length X Height X Depth) 3 7/8” X 1 3/8” X 3/4”
Price: $595.00
Included Ground Wires: 4 ground wires of 4 foot length and 2 ground wires of 8 foot length for use with Atmosphere Series Cables only.
High Definition Ground Cable: RCA / XLR / USB / Ethernet- $395.00 each of 4 foot length
High Definition Ground Cable: Banana for Tranquility Base, FEQ, and Atmosphere- $395.00 each of 4 foot length
High Definition Ground Cable: Spade for Chassis Grounds- $395.00 each of 4 foot length
Availability: Authorized Synergistic Research Dealers
Website: www.synergisticresearch.com

The Synergistic Research Grounding Block is a new accessory from Synergistic Research that allows one to make multiple ground connections to various products. More importantly, it applies Synergistic Research’s UEF (Uniform Energy Field) Technology to a grounding block for sonic enhancement. I decided to write a review on this product since it can be used with a number of Synergistic Research products I have previously reviewed that utilize ground plane connections. These include the Tranquility Base, FEQ (Frequency Equalizer), and the Atmosphere - Acoustic Wave Generator. What I found most exciting about these new products is that they can be successfully applied to most any component.

Physical Description
The Grounding Block is made from a solid carved aluminum body with a substantial solid copper top with 18 tiny receptacles for the Synergistic Research micro ground plug. Although this is a small device, it is quite substantial in weight and feel. An AC plug with a thin grounding wire protruding is provided that plugs into the side of the Block. One then attaches the ground leads that are terminated in tiny micro banana pins that are inserted into the top of the Block. This star grounding block is obviously not a very complicated device to use in one’s system.

A number of Synergistic Research’s products require a ground connection. Synergistic supplies a wall plug with a ground wire emanating from it for these products. The company recommends that this ground wire wall plug be connected directly to an AC outlet and not a power strip or AC line conditioner. Given that most of us have a limited number of free AC outlets near our equipment, The Grounding Block solves a potentially difficult problem. In my system, I have 2 Synergistic Tranquility Bases, an FEQ, Atmosphere, and newly installed Atmosphere Series Cables Level 4 that also requires a ground connection for each cable.

What is UEF?
From Ted Denny III, Lead Designer at Synergistic Research:

“Synergistic Research’s new Grounding Block is based on the same technology found in Synergistic Research HFT High Frequency Transducers, FEQ Frequency Equalizers and XOT Cross Over Transducers. UEF Technology actually cleans up high frequency noise that otherwise distorts harmonics in the music signal. When UEF technology is applied to Synergistic Research Active Shielding, Tranquility Bases, PowerCells, Atmosphere Series cables, and ground terminations, 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 holographic overall presentation.”

The Synergistic Research Tranquility Base and the Grounding Block
The Tranquility Base applies a variation of Synergistic Research’s EM Cell Technology to perform passive component conditioning by passing AC through an electromagnetic cell. The improvement in sound for computers, CD Players, DACs, and just about all other audio components placed on the base is quite significant sounding. I utilize a Tranquility Base under my computer and one under my DAC. The Tranquility Base also provides physical isolation of the component placed on it from vibration. Both of these Tranquility Bases have direct connection to my AC outlets for the ground connection.

When a computer or a component is placed on the Tranquility Base, benefits are heard in greater soundstage size, improved focus and definition of instruments and voices, as well as an enhancement in bass definition. I first listened with my Tranquility Bases’ ground plugged into a power strip. Changing this to a direct connection in the wall outlet improved the sound a little bit. Not huge mind you, but enough to be noticeable. I then used the ground wires from the Grounding Block and connected them to the Tranquility Bases. I was very impressed with the improvement in sound. All of the previous improvements mentioned earlier with the Tranquility Base were magnified. The soundstage, bass, and definition of instruments and voices were enhanced. But I must say that the soundstage was the most noticeable improvement that the Grounding Block provided with the Tranquility Bases.

The Atmosphere- Acoustic Wave Generator / FEQ Generators and the UEF Grounding Block
The Atmosphere and the FEQ are both Ultra Low Frequency generators that have a positive effect on the soundstage and general sound of one’s system by reducing the noise floor. The effects of the Atmosphere can be adjusted with an iPad app. Both the Atmosphere and FEQ require ground connections as did the Tranquility Base. While the direct connection of the ground plug sounded good, connecting the ground to the UEF Ground block again magnified the effect of both the Atmosphere and FEQ. The improvement with the Ground Block did not take much effort to hear, it was very obvious to me. Again, the soundstage was larger with better layering, enhanced detail and focus from top to bottom when listening to the Atmosphere/FEQ with the Grounding Block.

The Atmosphere Series Cables Level 4 and the UEF Ground Block
I recently upgraded my Synergistic Research Tesla Apex interconnect and speaker cables to the new Atmosphere Series Cables Level 4. I have enjoyed the Tesla cables for over 6 years and never felt the need to upgrade or change them. The Tesla Apex cables had the ability to put out a large soundstage with a relaxed but well defined sound when called upon to do so. The Tesla Apex cables utilize Active Shields that improve the performance of the cables. Synergistic Research has been using Active Shielding on their higher grade cables since 1998. Active Shielding reduces the negative influence of reactive capacitance (signal and cable interaction) and reduces the effects of the RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) and EMI (Electromagnetic Interference). Unfortunately, it adds to the complexity and cost of the cable.

The Atmosphere Series cables represent a new concept in cable design for Synergistic Research. Series 1 through Series 4 cables no longer utilize Active Shielding.; Series 2 through Series 4 utilizes an external ground connection for the shields. Series 3 and 4 add the Ground Plane Tuning Modules to the cables.

Before I discuss the application of the Grounding Block, I’m sure some of you are curious how the new Atmosphere Series Level 4 cables sound compared to Tesla Series they replaced. Attached to the input end of each cable and both ends of the speaker cables is a 4 inch carbon fiber cylindrical UEF filter that looks very similar to the one on the Galileo LE USB cable that I reviewed. There are also passive tuning modules to select from; Red and Blue. The Red imparts a warm or liquid sound to the cable while the Blue leans toward more focus and detail. I preferred the Blue tuning module for my system. The Atmosphere Series Level 4 cables retain the large soundstage capability of the Tesla cables with Active Shielding, but are far more revealing and detailed from top to bottom. Most importantly, the new cables are superior in the way they handle complex musical passages with multiple voices and instruments. The improvement in overall performance with the Atmosphere Series Level 4 cables was, quite frankly, simply marvelous.

I first listened to the Atmosphere cables with the ground connected directly to the wall. I then listened with the cables connected directly to the Grounding Block. While the sound was very impressive with the grounds plugged into the wall, connecting the grounds to the Grounding Block was significantly better sounding with a larger soundstage. The width, depth, and even height of the stage were increased with superior focus and definition of instruments and voices. There was most definitely a greater sense of bloom and three-dimensionality to the sound with the Grounding Block.

Other Applications of the Grounding Block
The Grounding Block can be used with other components to achieve the same sonic enhancement as heard with Synergistic Research products. Most components with an active circuit and or ground connection can be improved using the Grounding Block. Synergistic Research provided the following list of alternative applications for the Grounding Block:

  • Turntables – Connect to Ground Plug on Turntable
  • Digital to Analog Converters (DACs) – Connect to spare Digital Input, Output or Chassis Ground
  • Pre-Amplifiers – Connect to spare Analog Input, Output or Chassis Ground
  • Power Amplifiers – Connect to spare Analog Input, Output or Chassis Ground
  • USB Devices – Connect to spare USB Input, Output or Chassis Ground
  • Routers
  • Any Component with an active circuit inside – Connect to spare Input, Output or Chassis Ground
The High Definition Ground Cables
Synergistic has developed an upgraded ground cable that they refer to as the High Definition Ground Cable. The difference between the standard wire and High Definition Ground Cable is that the upgraded version has UEF shielding applied to it as well as hand built cable geometries with Synergistic Research’s Silver Air String technology that was originally developed for the flagship Galileo System Cables. It is a more substantial and complex cable than the standard ground wire that comes with the Grounding Block. Also, there is an upgrade for the Main Ground plug wire that is similar to the High Definition Ground Cable with a G07 wall plug that is found in Synergistic Research’s more expensive AC cords. High Definition Ground Cables are not recommended with the Atmosphere Series Cables as these already have UEF shielding. The application of the High Definition Ground Cable is suggested for Synergistic Research components that need grounding for their external ground plane connections and for various other components that benefit from a ground connection.

The High Definition Ground Cable vs. the Standard Ground Wire
I used the two Tranquility Bases for my initial comparisons of the High Definition Ground Cable with the standard ground wire. There was no question that the High Definition Ground Cable had the lower noise floor, superior soundstage, and overall clarity compared to the standard ground wire. A similar finding was heard with the Atmosphere and FEQ wave generator products.

Now some of you will rightly ask just how big can a soundstage get or how low can the noise floor go? One is not hearing a reduction of hiss or other overt noise artifacts with these cables. What you will hear is greater clarity and focus to singer’s voices and instruments. A subtle, but noticeable veil to the sound is lifted and one experiences a greater immediacy to the sound. The soundstage becomes more layered with a greater sense of front to back projection as well as a sense of height. I have also found that the bass has better definition and control with the High Definition Ground Cables connected to the Grounding Block. As good as the standard ground wires sound, the High Definition Ground Cables truly transform the overall sound of one’s system. The High Definition Ground Cables have removed a grey coloration in my system and replaced it with outstanding midrange clarity. Definition of the lows, midrange, and high end is improved. The bass is wonderfully controlled now with outstanding impact and slam. Simply put, the High Definition Ground Cable is a substantial upgrade from the standard ground wire supplied with the Grounding Block.

The High Definition Ground Cables Applied to Computer Audio
Synergistic Research sent me a High Definition Ground Cable with a USB connector on it and another with a male RCA plug termination. I connected the USB High Definition Ground Cable to my computer and listened to see if there were any appreciable differences in the sound. The improvement in sound with the USB High Definition Ground Cable was easily heard. Besides the improvement in clarity, soundstage, and bass definition, I heard a removal of a subtle sense of compression to the sound. The improvement I was hearing was not small or subtle. One of my friends has suggested that as computer noise is diminished, the differences in sound of music software are also lessened. The use of the Grounding Block with the High Definition Ground Cable seems to support this theory.

I then attached the High Definition Ground Cable with the RCA plug to an unused input on my MSB Technology Analog DAC. The improvement I experienced with my computer was now heard with my DAC. It seems that as more components are grounded with the Grounding Block, the entire system experiences incremental improvements in sound.

Many Components Can Be Grounded
I decided to try the RCA terminated High Definition Ground Cable with my Wilson Watch Dog II powered subwoofer. I connected the RCA connector to an unused input on the sub. The bass now had better definition and control. The midrange from the main speakers sounded more immediate with the sound appearing to be more delicate in tone and texture. Undoubtedly, controlling the bass of the sub reduced its negative effects on the mid bass that influence the midrange.

My Music Sounded Terrific with the Grounding Block
It didn’t take sonic blockbusters to enjoy the improvements heard with the Grounding Block. Listening to Diana Krall’s new album Wallflower (24/96) was a perfect example of this. The album seems to have gotten a number of negative reviews as being boring, but quite frankly, I enjoyed Krall’s relaxed soothing presentation of these classic songs. The Grounding Block not only increased the soundstage, but enhanced the clarity of Krall’s voice. The enhancement in focus and definition of her voice was significant. The deep sense of silence and increased immediacy to the sound was appreciated.

Don Grusin’s live recording The Hang (24/96) was also improved with Synergistic Research Grounding Block. This live recording was made with a 96 kHz 48-track digital recording. An impressive roster of musicians is found on this album including Don Grusin, Dave Grusin, Lee Ritenour, Alex Acura, Patti Austin, Sadao Watanabe, Harvery Mason, and Abraham Laboriel. The transient quickness and impact of the bass was greatly improved with the Grounding Block. The louder musical passages where all hell breaks loose were definitely clearer with better resolution of transient detail using the Grounding Block.

More Than Just A Tweak
When I decided to write about the Synergistic Research Ground Block and High Definition Ground Cables, I thought that this would be a short review of products that delivered subtle improvement to the sound of my system. I was not prepared for the major sonic enhancement that these products delivered. The extent of the positive enhancements goes far beyond merely those of a “system tweak”. For those that have the financial resources to add the High Definition Ground Cables to the Grounding Block, the money will be well spent given the level of improvement provided by the combination of these innovative products.

COMMENTS
tubefan9's picture

from the pictures, a $4 leviton AC Plug is used. I used to make DIY power cables with this plug because of its cheap price. I found it decreased height and bloom, almost giving a sterile like sound to my power amplifiers. Interesting to see different results here.

Steven Plaskin's picture

Synergistic is using a significantly more expensive SR G07 wall plug on the High Definition Main Grounding Plug.

But even with the less expensive wall plug, improvements in the sound were heard.

Wavelength's picture

Steve,

This is what the boys at Shun Mook use to do years ago. I watched them do two listening rooms. They would go out in the back yard and push a huge copper spike in the ground and then bring a single cable into the listening room. Float everything and then attach it in a star configuration to that single cable.

They also had this bag of ferrite stuff that had velcro and you could place it over power cords. Then it had a long drain wire that you connected to the star ground as well.

It was pretty funny at Jonathan Valin's house they this stuff all wired up and the meter reader came out to log the power usage. They sent out a guy and he disconnected his power because of what they did. It was pretty funny, but I can understand why.

Gordon

Steven Plaskin's picture

Good story Gordon!

Synergistic Research isn’t the only company offering ground solutions.

Entreq, the Swiss manufacturer, has an entire line of ground products and cables that run from $399 to over $8000.

The latest Triton ver 2 Power Distribution Center from Shunyata Research has 4 ground posts that are connected to its power conditioning.

MSB Technology’s new Isolation Base also suggests a ground connection to the power amp.

CG's picture

Nothing New Under The Sun...

http://www.hottconsultants.com/pdf_files/aes-2007.pdf

That doesn't mean that this product doesn't work or isn't a better implementation.

For all the "this couldn't possibly matter" readers, lemme ask this: Why does swapping the line and neutral AC connections to a transformer in an audio product affect the sound?

joakland's picture

Hi Steven,

I have already heard good things about this new SR product and I am anxious to try it. Here’s my question. Because the individual cables are a bit pricey, where do you think I’ll get the biggest bang for the buck? At least a good starting point. FEQ, computer or DAC grounding? Thanks for your advice.

Joe

Steven Plaskin's picture

Hi Joe,

I would go for computer grounding first. The source with the largest amount of noise.

labjr's picture

With the level of improvement some of these tweaks & enhancements provide, I figure I should be able to exceed quality of the original recording at least ten times over by now.

VK's picture

...the same thing, but didn't say anything because i don't want to sound like i was trolling the review. But since you said that i have to agree with you.

There are so much tweaking devices around, and i see so much audiophiles simply using EVERYTHING they can get on their hands, that makes me think that their systems are SOOO GOOD, that Snoop Dogg sounds like BB King and Simon Rattle sounds like Fritz Reiner or George Szell ;)

But reality knocks on your door (or brain) when you go to a live concert and realize that 50%-80% of what you spent in your system was only a good old placebo, since you are miles and miles away from the real thing.

But... everyone can use his/her money the way they want. Some people love an expensive old 1960's V8. Other people prefer a tiny 3 cylinder with two or three turbo's for the same money and with way more performance and efficiency.

Best regards!

fmak's picture

''Synergistic Research’s UEF (Uniform Energy Field) Technology to a grounding block for sonic enhancement.''

Any such term to describe a block of copper and some terminations will do. If
conductivity is high enough then one presumably gets a 'uniform energy field'.
This is neither here or there except for perhaps an 'in-plane' ground arrangement.

VK's picture

Ted explained:

“Synergistic Research’s new Grounding Block is based on the same technology found in Synergistic Research HFT High Frequency Transducers, FEQ Frequency Equalizers and XOT Cross Over Transducers. UEF Technology actually cleans up high frequency noise that otherwise distorts harmonics in the music signal. When UEF technology is applied to Synergistic Research Active Shielding, Tranquility Bases, PowerCells, Atmosphere Series cables, and ground terminations, 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 holographic overall presentation.”

Well, as always Ted is all verbose, and never put the cards on the table.

I'm not an ignorant that don't use/believe in grounding, but SR products are always surrounded by too much fringe science or some secret formula.

I'm not and pure objectivist, and i'm not a pure subjectivist either, but some reliable info about the tech is always welcome. For example, i would never take some pills that wasn't tested before, or i would never buy something to put in my car that is said to enhance HP without some tech info and measurements from the seller/manufacturer. Just a bunch of marketing words won't convince me. I can die, or blow up my car engine! Or, in the best scenario, maybe i just paid a lot in something that doesen't REALLY work. But...

Best regards!

VK's picture

.

Steven Plaskin's picture

I understand where you guys are coming from. But if I could only have one Synergistic product, the Grounding Block and High Definition Ground Cables would be my choice. They made a big improvement in both of my computers and my Analog DAC. These products do work and they work well.

fmak's picture

But have you even tried to compare these with a large copper grounding block which is readily available at a fraction of the cost?

CG's picture

That was my point.

Other SR products have been questioned with regard to the science behind them. This set of products is based around well described engineering practices.

This afternoon I investigated what a bare bones similarly sized copper plate - no base or accessories - might cost complete with drilling. It wasn't cheap, by any means. The pricing here really isn't out of line considering the cosmetics and so on. There might be additional design aspects that go beyond a simple connecting plate, too. No idea on my end.

And, no, I have no connection at all to these guys - the only SR product I own is a fuse that somebody (not SR) gave to me. I just think that if you want to question a person or a company, that's fine. But, you should also give them credit where appropriate as well.

Steven Plaskin's picture
It would violate the county electrical code to sink another ground for my AC.
Steven Plaskin's picture
Sorry Fred, I misunderstood you. The answer to your question is no.
fmak's picture

How would you provide for lightning protection then. Sounds odd

Davidpritchard's picture

I have had the Grounding block for two weeks. Prior to this I have experienced improvements in my system using the Acoustic Revive RGC-24 grounding device.

I am quite happy with the improvement using the Grounding Block and the inexpensive standard wires.

Steve since I am using a SACD player to my amp, where would you suggest trying one of the High Definition cables? From the Block to the wall or from the SACD player to the Block.

Steven Plaskin's picture
Hey David, I would go for the High Definition Main AC; everything would benefit.
fmak's picture

bus bars are readily available and quite cheap. If you must have copper, then buy a block of scrap and polish it.

The thing sounds like a one point grounding unit, which, with a complex system like Steve's with perhaps many multi-point local grounds, is difficult to set up optimally.

To test the unit, one should perhaps first ensure that the system has a single point ground but even then, with a computer, there are many internal lumps of metal that may not even be grounded (like heat sinks).

My own PC system has all internal metal components grounded to the chassis but even then this may not be 'right'.

Dr. AIX's picture

It might be interesting for readers to know that professional studios do not use products from SR...and we're the ones making the records. I sank a long copper rod in the ground behind the building and ground everything to it. Works like a charm...and costs a whole lot less than the hocus pocus discussed above.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
You mean like HD recordings? Tons of people believe HD recordings are nonsense based on "science" so I find your view of this review as being based on "hocus pocus" to be not only ironic but ill-considered.

If you want to make that claim, back it up Mark.

VK's picture

... i'm not in Dr Aix side, i don't even buy HD music until we have REAL proof that 192/24 or DSD really makes some difference, but i think he has a point. These kind of "tweaks" never had a place in recording studios (or at least, i never saw one of them on some photo of some studio or in the equipment list used in some recording, so...).

The problem with SR products (as many others) is the lack of scientific proof. As i write above, Ted from SR is always verbose and when questioned about some more insight about some product, he dodges the question with some more XYZ and ABC combined with blah. How can i believe that some expensive gear will actually improve my system? 30 day trial? Nope... we all know that our mind is a powerful thing to the left and to the right.

The day i see some serious lab tests of SR products i will believe.

Man, from what i read about the benefits of SR products in their website, i can say that if i buy all products, an old radio will sound better than a million dollar system!!

But, everyone is free to burn money, so...

Best regards!

Michael Lavorgna's picture
...to anyone who reads this site, we provide sighted, subjective reviews.

My opinion regarding attributing every perceived sonic difference ever heard to placebo effect because they cannot be easily explained employs sillier science than any audio tweak.

Steven Plaskin's picture

I am assuming that you have never personally tried the products that I reviewed. And why would you attack Synergistic Research because you don't use their products? You speak for the entire industry?

With this post, I have lost whatever respect I had for you. You are very outspoken concerning hi-res and DSD; now it appears audio equipment.

Please substantiate your reference to hocus pocus.

fmak's picture

''It might be interesting for readers to know that professional studios do not use products from SR...and we're the ones making the records.''

And why would you not respect anyone who declines to accept nonsensical 'scientific' descriptions of how a product may actually work.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
He made that bit up and I find it offensive.
Steven Plaskin's picture

Fred,

He hasn't heard the products. It's like me saying that I think AIX records sound terrible but have never taken the time to listen to one.

Since I have no investment in Synergistic, I don't care if he doesn't like the company. But his remarks are a bit inflammatory-at least for me.

fmak's picture

How do we know that what you heard was not due to some specific grounding arrangement in your system?

If you test something like this, you really need to compare it with the rivals you listed, or with a high quality grounding block. The ones used industrially cost less than $50, are made of copper (sometimes plated) and use stainless steel screws.

Steven Plaskin's picture
I will be reviewing the Shunyata Research Triton Ver 2 / Typhon. The Triton, as I previously mentioned, has 4 component ground posts. The MSB product has not been offered for review yet.
stevebythebay's picture

I know you typically use either a PowerCell or Shunyata to provide juice to your components. Were you using either of these and if PowerCell was it the latest one (with UEF)? Seems that the only items not grounded using UEF would be any not connected via the latest PowerCell, right? That would mean just the Tranquility bases, FEQ and Atmosphere, all of which require direct grounding into the wall. So, unless someone's not using a UEF enabled PowerCell, they wouldn't seem to benefit from the special sauce of the Grounding Block and the associated cables (e.g. computer). Or am I misreading how this stuff is working?

Steven Plaskin's picture

Hi Steve,

For the record, I have the SR PowerCell UEF with PowerCell FEQ and the Shunyata Triton and DPC-6. I did use the PowerCell and then the Triton to see if there were big differences concerning the Grounding Block. The Grounding Block had an effect with components connected to either the PowerCell or the Triton.

I don't think the PowerCell UEF is doing the same thing as the Grounding Block. Connecting the Analog DAC, even though plugged into the PowerCell, seem to improve things. Ted will have to answer this question.

stevebythebay's picture

As this device seems a Transporter-like device for grounding that brings UEF with it, that's designed to benefit devices with separate grounding (rather than "system wide" grounding, I'm still puzzled that it would enhance devices that are not specifically designed for such grounding. In your case, I was wondering how your MacBook and MSB are being grounded normally. I know with my MacMini it's a two prong AC connector with nary any means to determine it's polarization.

Guess it will come down to acquiring a Grounding Block with all the enhanced High Def. Grounding cables (AC/Tranquility Base/USB) to validate benefits in my system. By the by, is the cost for each of these the same?

Steven Plaskin's picture

The cost of each different High Definition Cable appears to be the same save for the Main Ground Plug cable.

I have been using the Grounding Block for over 3 months. After about 2 months, Ted called me and told me about the component application and how good it sounded. He also replaced my Standard ground cables with High Definition for the Synergistic components. He also provided two HD Cables with RCA ends and one with the USB end. I was pretty impressed with how all of this sounded.

How this will all play out with your computer and your DAC will be interesting. Certainly nothing to lose but some time.

fmak's picture

For you maybe, for anyone else buying a substantial sum.

Steven Plaskin's picture

Synergistic Research offers a 30 day money back trial period. If you aren't happy with your purchase, your money will be refunded.

Davidpritchard's picture

Steve:
Thank you for the advice on where to try the high definition cable. Will try it on the Grounding Block to thr wall outlet location.
I have now tried the Grounding Block on one dedicated headphone system, and two loudspeaker systems. All three had significant improvements.
Ken, you were at t.h.e. Show at Newport this weekend. I am disappointed you did not go to the Synergistic Research demonstration.
Steve thank you for the review. Your description of sonic changes that the Grounding Block makes was accurate and did not hyperbolize the ampont of change.

stevebythebay's picture

Seems that the reviewer was not at all impressed with the room results:

http://www.stereophile.com/content/sound-trumpets-show-and-running

I gather Axpona was a success; as for Munich not much said in the press as I recall

But most show venues are hit and miss with challenging acoustics which are often immune to room "correction". Best to try at home no matter what you read!!!

fmak's picture

a grounding block and some cables to improve on a system which hasn't been 'tweaked' in a poor environment.

jimho's picture

not only related to this SR review. For me the constant feed of greatest bits for yet the next SR product feels a little strange and detracts from audiostream. It even lead to me visiting way less frequently.
Are you a SR marketing provider? I'm not going to argue about if the products are functioning as advertised, why or why not they do. It simply is that with complete predictability SR has a new product and Mr. Plaskin will have it reviewed in now time and bestowed a greatest bits on it. High end seems to be a pretty boring landscape as only SR develops note and review worthy products here?
And for SR. Besides the mentioned issues with the explanation, what strikes me as really odd is, that the head designer always comes up with these fully on his own - from own encounters in Tibetan monasteries (surely the ASI resonators where never reported on until that point),, Schumann wave related products - never heard of before etc. etc. etc.. What would help a proper review would be any context to similar products/solutions which then gives also context for pricing, sonic impacts etc. (and entreq is swedisch by the way). But if one is decked out completely in SR this dimension will be missing but is essential for a review (imo).

Michael Lavorgna's picture
Mine is that Steve has found the Synergistic products to be very effective, offering positive sonic results.
Steven Plaskin's picture

The last Synergistic product I reviewed was 5 months ago. I found the Grounding Block and High Definition Grounding Cables to be very effective in my system; particularly at the computer/DAC level.

Synergistic has released a number of new products recently that I have no immediate plans to review.

My next 2 reviews will focus on the MSB Technology Premium Quad USB Module for the Analog DAC and the Shunyata Research Triton ver 2, Typhon, and Hydra DPC-6 ver 2.

jimho's picture

I gave you my impression/take on the topic. Reflecting on why someone comes to his views/impressions sometimes helps or gives additional perspective.
Regarding the answers, these do not touch any of my points really (btw i never stated that all and only SR products are reviewed).
To touch on just one. Do we get some future reviews on Acoustic Revive, IPC, Stein, Bybee or Entreq, Tripoint + even more preferred some grounding solutions which are new to me? This then would enable references and context in terms of performance / effects / price points and most importantly system/sonic relevance. Otherwise we have (imo) just the singular review on yet the next SR product with yet the next best bits (and this is then in the realm to putting a systems together based on review points/awards).
As said, jimo so take it for what it is.

Steven Plaskin's picture

The answer to your question is yes. The Shunyata Reserach Triton v2 is apparently unknown to you and has a grounding feature tied to its power conditioning. I would also enjoy trying some of the products you suggested in the future.

I appreciate your suggestion.

Dr. AIX's picture

Michael and Steven, I've been quite outspoken about the hocus pocus of high-resolution audio of the sort that Neil Young and Pono and HDtracks sells. There is a lot of "so-called" high-resolution BS out there.

And yes, I have sat through extended sessions with Ted and listened to various SR products including Atmosphere. When asked why anyone would want to put high frequencies in a room for audio listening (BTW I just read that German company will sell you a device to get rid of high frequency in the room!), he told he couldn't reveal trade secrets.

If you guys want to believe in this stuff, fine. I would rather the music producers start making better sound recordings in the first place. Then maybe we wouldn't need to spend stupid money on unproven tweaks.

My statement was a fact. Professionals don't use the accessories and audio tweaks that pass muster for audiophiles...and audio reviewers.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
Regarding "unproven tweaks", we provide subjective reviews based on listening. If you find that approach does not meet your personal criteria, I'd recommend going elsewhere.

If you can prove this SR device does not work as described then prove it. Otherwise you are just spreading your own BS.

Dr. AIX's picture

Wow, I make an observation regarding the professional production of recordings and somehow I'm spreading BS? I was challenged as to whether I heard any sonic differences when listening to a first rate system and various SR products...I didn't. And I wasn't alone in that observation.

Anything can be said in a subjective review, some of us need a little more rigor and a healthy dose of skepticism.

Steven Plaskin's picture

I have purchased a good number of AIX DVD recordings I ripped for my computer. Purchases were also made from iTrax. I have enjoyed your work Mark and have a good deal of respect for you.

The fact is, very few high end audio publications, be they traditional press or on-line publications, are able to do the kinds of measurements to prove to you the validity of the products being reviewed.

Most of us have to do extensive listening tests. I can tell you the Grounding Block and High Definition Ground Cables work, and quite frankly, I would hate to be without these products. My friends have been impressed enough with demos at my home to purchase their own set of these devices and cables.

You may not like Synergistic products, but I know a number of people that aren't impressed with your recordings. You just can't get around subjective taste in this hobby.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
You claimed the SR product reviewed here to be based on "hocus pocus".

I'm a great fan of healthy skepticism as well, Mark. That's why I am very skeptical of anyone, especially an industry professional such as you, who chooses to go out of his way to comment on a product he has zero experience with.

Just because you've heard other SR products has no bearing on this product whatsoever. That would be like me saying - "Oh all high res downloads are nonsense. They sound like crap." based on one download from Pono.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
I missed this in my first response. Anyone reading our reviews understands what we are offering. If you or anyone else wants proof you'll have go somewhere else.

I've said this over and over for years - the ultimate goal of Hi-Fi is the enjoyment of music. Since enjoyment is completely subjective, the only valid form of proof lies in listening.

Steven Plaskin's picture

But you haven't experienced this product in your system. I guess I could use similar logic and state that Nicci Gilbert and the Soul Kittens - If You Love Me- doesn't sound very good. I haven't heard it, but I know what's up because I'm an outspoken guy.

joakland's picture

Hi Steven, I just wanted to let you know that I have purchased the SR Grounding Block and as per your advice I grounded the computer first. Wow! Mind blowing. In fact so mind blowing that I ran back to my dealer and bought two more HD ground cables to do my DAC and amp. This is the biggest single improvement I have made since I upgraded the USB cable from SRs Active SE to the Galileo LE. I can’t go into the improvements I’m hearing, it would take a book! Let me just say that every aspect of the presentation has improved dramatically. There is no way my modest little system should sound this good! Once again Ted has worked his magic, and to all the nay sayers out there, well you have no idea what you’re missing!

Steven Plaskin's picture
I'm happy it worked out for you. I was also blown away with the improvement the Grounding Block made to my computer.
stevebythebay's picture

I didn't debate very long in obtaining these new SR components, and adding them to my system. Having happily found that nearly all of items from SR I've acquired have added mightily to the quality of the sounds coming from my system I eagerly awaited receipt from my dealer. I added the Grounding Block along with the High Definition wall wire, as well as the High Def. cables for my Mac Mini, Tranquility Base, DAC, and PreAmp. Also replaced the grounding wire of my FEQ (though I didn't opt for the high def version in this case).

The results are consistent with your findings. I still find noticeable differences among software players, though these are mitigated to a degree by the new grounding components. Amarra still is top dog in providing the most realistic sound both in terms of naturalness and spacial placement of instruments and vocalists with greatest spacial information as well. JRiver and A+ run 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

An additional finding, which may be unique to my system, is that the "bloom" you've described is particularly evident, and appears to vary from album to album. The Spectral amp/preamp combination seems very sensitive to anything and everything that is fed into it. That seems to result in an apparently "louder" sonic presentation than previously -- as if the volume control had been turned up a bit. It's as if the amp is devoting more to real sonics and less to "noise" that it saw before.

The presentation of a larger, taller, and deeper soundstage also puts me both closer and, at times, into the sonic space, with far more "hall" information and sonic cues. Really well produced recordings are far more alive, dynamic, and the system reduces any sonic overhang. It's really tight and fast. Again I will credit the grounding for reducing whatever aspects of "noise" that contribute to this previous "smearing" or however you'd describe it. Even my Sonos Connect sounds much better -- and I use it mostly for local classical, jazz and rock stations along with Pandora. That was a surprise, considering the compression all of these over the air source are constrained to deliver.

All in all this latest technology from SR has lived up to my expectations.

Steven Plaskin's picture
Thanks for sharing your experiences with the Grounding Block and High Definition Ground Cables. It's always good to hear from you Steve.
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