Synergistic Research system tuning (Part 2)

Power filters,
Equipment racks and stands,
Room treatments
Synergistic Research Atmosphere,
Synergistic Research Atmosphere Tuning Module,
Synergistic Research Black Box,
Synergistic Research Grounding Block,
Synergistic Research HFT,
Synergistic Research High-Resolution Grounding cables,
Synergistic Research Tranquility Base UEF,
Synergistic Research UEF Acoustic Dots,
Synergistic Research UEF Acoustic Panels

The Tranquillity Base UEF platforms are active units, a nine-layer acrylic and aluminium platform with built-in mechanical isolation, resonance control, and – where the powered part comes into play – electromagnetic interference reduction. The Tranquillity Base UEF is a ‘one-size fits all’ update on the previous three grades of Tranquillity Base, you can tune the platform with the company’s UEF Tuning Circuit, which replace the Enigma Tuning Bullets in the previous versions. Although the effects of the mechanical isolation and resonance control are immediate, the EM reduction takes up to 72 hours to permeate through the device resting on the platform.

I don’t like reviews based on names or properties of a thing (“this silver cable is bright and shiny”) but sometimes the name just fits. And the Tranquillity Base UEF is one such product. It’s a base for a device that seems to calm that device down. Not in a ‘medicated’ manner, just more tranquil; the noise floor drops and the product’s presentation gets less overtly ‘electronic’ sounding. Although in the continuum of Synergistic’s tuning pattern, the Tranquillity Base UEF comes close to the end of the process, I feel it’s one of the most marked changes of the system. Of course, part of the reason that it is so significant is thanks to the ‘organisational’ skills of the products that precede the Tranquillity Base UEF, and I suspect the benefits these platforms bring wouldn’t be so profound were they the first step in the chain, but even so, this brings the system up several notches, seemingly irrespective of component.

By now we are ready for Synergistic Research’s ‘WTF’ moment. Having applied a lot of dots, blobs, panels, boxes, platforms, and grounding blocks to the system, finally, now out comes Atmosphere, the Atmosphere tuning module, and the iPad app that works with this. Atmosphere is a single active tower, which works on higher frequency RF than is usually covered by most audio treatments, paradoxically by building an extreme-low frequency (7.83Hz) resonator in the room (this is the Atmosphere tower). Then by effectively ‘directing’ this Schumann frequency in room (thanks to the tuning module, controlled by the iPad app), the listener can apply one of several ‘scenes’ (Amplified, Ethereal, Expansive, Holographic, In My Listening Room), which can be further adjusted through a series of sliders on the app itself.

These scenes in use are not far removed from DSP modes on a home theatre amplifier, although without the obvious processing effects. This is more like you have moved into a different position in the room, or into a different, yet equally musically attractive, space. What’s telling about this system is its consistency. You can adjust the scenes through the iPad app behind the back of a listener, restart the track, and the listener will – over the course of the next 30 seconds or so – move forward ‘into’ the music and listen more intensely with the ‘Amplified’, ‘Holographic’, and ‘In My Listening Room’ settings, or sit back and relax with the music with the ‘Ethereal’ and ‘Expansive’ scenes. Change nothing and the same listener will stay in the same position. They will almost always ask ‘did you change something?’ within that same 30 second time-frame too, in a way they simply won’t if you leave the system untouched.

Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.

There is a distinct order to these tuning devices that seems best followed closely. Begin with the UEF Acoustic panels and dots, then add the HFTs, then the Black Box bass ‘sorter outer’, as discussed last month. Then add the grounding block, connecting it to all the active electronics in the system, addding the Tranquillity Base UEF, grounding them to the blocks, too. And then finally, the Atmosphere system takes the basic Synergistic concept to new levels. You can approach this system from any starting place in theory, and I suspect that many will begin with the Tranquillity Bases, regardless: no matter how much we might think of tuning as a complete room and system oriented concept, most still start with things that are either in the system or somehow make physical contact with the system, and platforms are easier to hide under components than trying to sneak a wall full of panels, pads, and dots past the domestic searchlight. However the best order is the one suggested. That way, you get the right level of change in the right order.

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