Last month, we discussed the first of a two-part feature on Synergistic Research’s innovative system tuning components. At that point, we began by discussing the company’s Unified Energy Field system. The next step was to go ‘active’ with products like the company’s grounding system, its Tranquillity Base UEF active platforms, and its Atmosphere tuning system.
Also, as discussed in the last issue, although Synergistic Research follows the same observational and empirical lines of product development found throughout audio, the company’s epistemic foundations do not rest easy with those strongly welded to a “if you couldn’t measure it when I was at school, it doesn’t exist” world-view. Audio is a broad church, however…
To recap, last month we went ‘passive’, with Synergistic’s Unified Energy Field panels and pads in key places around the room, followed closely by the company’s High Frequency Transducers placed in key points on the loudspeakers, and finally the Black Box low frequency ‘stabilizer’ placed between the loudspeakers. All of these devices worked, all set up the system for some more hard-core tuning, and none of them needed to be plugged into a wall. That all changes this month.
The first stage in the ‘active’ component set is the grounding system. The core of this is a small black and copper block about the size of a large harmonica case (I never did quite get over that Bob Dylan obsession), and can be supplied with one of two types of grounding cables to match Synergistic’s ranges (we went with the High Definition versions). Plug the grounding block into a spare earthed socket (in the UK, that means ‘a spare socket’) and then systematically plug any devices in your system into the grounding block (Synergistic provides a range of 4mm, spade, RCA plug, and miscellaneous other connections to ground almost anything). Do not use this to replace conventional AC earthing or to replace a ground wire used between a turntable and phono stage.
This effectively creates a floating star-earth configuration, running parallel to any AC grounding or LP requirements. In fairness, Synergistic is not the only game in town here, and Audioplan, Entreq, Shunyata Research, Tripoint, and Vertex AQ (among others) all make some variation on the same floating star-earth concept and many find this an important exercise in lowering the noise floor of a system. Nevertheless, in the context of an all-Synergistic tuning protocol (which might ultimately include everything in the system and around the system apart from the system), it makes sense to use the Synergistic grounding system alongside the other devices. It certainly made a difference in our test room, making the system seem more organic sounding, more focused, with a bigger soundstage, and a significant reduction in low level hash. The Entreq products ultimately bring yet more hash-removal to the system, but the Entreq system is larger, heavier, and more expensive. Synergistic’s floating earth system is a good place to start, at least, and many will not feel the need to move beyond this system.