Written by 6:47 am Room Acoustics

What You See Isn’t What You’d Hear

Steven Stone looks at Synergistic Research’s 2013 RMAF Demo…

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At the 2013 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest the most talked about demonstration was undoubtedly in the Synergistic Research room. The demo, like many of Synergistic Research’s previous demos, involved listening to the system with and without Synergistic products installed.

But in prior years Synergistic had used triple-A-list components from YG, Esoteric, and Wilson Audio, to name a few. The problem was that many audiophiles came away from the Synergistic demos saying things like, “Boy I love the way the (fill in the blank) sounded. I’m going to look into buying (fill in the blanks).”

Since pimping other manufacturer’s gear was not the goal of the demo, the Synergistic Research brain trust had to rethink their demo, so they came up with another idea – “What if we use a Bose Wave radio for out next demo?” Their thinking was simple – most audiophiles are NOT going to want to buy a Bose product so that instead of fixating on the other gear in the room audiophiles would focus their attention on Synergistic’s stuff.

Did the demo work?


If you look at the video that EnjoyTheMusic’s Steve Rochlin posted, you would have to assume that the Synergistic products did nothing, because on the video there is no difference between before and after. But as one of the folks who experienced the demo first-hand, sans electronic intermediaries, I can tell you that the difference between with and without treatments was substantial, like going from a Bose radio to something more on the level of entry-level high-end sound. On the video none of the SQ improvement comes through. Why might that be?

I see two glaring reasons as to why Steve’s video doesn’t come close to the experience of the real-world demo. First there’s the issue of video quality. It sucks. Just as an ABX box will obscure subtle differences between components, Steve’s vid is far too low rez to even begin to capture the differences of the actual experience.

The second reason that the vid of the demo fails is that its underlying assumption that the Synergistic devices are doing something to the room that can be captured on a video. If the latest Synergistic “room treatments” work like the ART system, they don’t work on the room – they work on the humans in the room. Let me repeat that – the Synergistic devices don’t alter room acoustics. Instead the HFTs (High Frequency Transducers) and FEQ (Frequncy Equalizer) work on the way humans in the room perceive the room’s acoustics. Just as Buddhist temple bells focus meditators attention, these extremely high frequency resonators focus a music listener’s attention. Given the HRT’s extremely high frequencies and extremely low gain levels, it’s no wonder that Steve’s vid didn’t capture any of their “magic.”

Bottom line, there’s nothing like the real thing, whether it’s Coke, sex, or an A/B demo

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