Archive for March, 2009

Event: Synergistic ART System, Power Conditioner, and Cables

art.jpgLast Saturday, we had another great event, this time featuring two technologies that would drive by-the-numbers audiophiles batty:

  • A room/acoustic treatment system consisting solely of small metal “cups”; and
  • Cables whose outer layer contained a powered “EMF” element.

Say what? How could these designs possibly affect the sound at the listening position, let alone improve it? Well, subject to a couple of small caveats, about 30 audiophiles agreed that they did effect changes for the better. (This is tantamount to blasphemy in some folks’ minds, cf. these forum threads: Stereophile 1, Stereophile 2 and AudioJunkies.)

First, the ART system. Synergistic CEO and designer Ted Denney began with a fascinating tale of their genesis that included single-handed trans-oceanic sailing, Buddhist temples, and advanced metallurgy. Then on to the demonstration, wherein we played various tracks with and without the various ‘ART pieces’ (couldn’t resist).And damned if the didn’t make a difference – often a big one and almost-always for the better (IMO). To my ear, the more bass content in the piece, the better ART worked.

OK, but how do they work? Resonance, of course. The little devils vibrate and – like Shakti Holograms or absorbent panels – when placed in strategic positions (e.g., first-reflection points) they diffuse the reflected sound field. Thus, the ear gets more direct sound energy and the brain is less confused. Not as exciting as magic, but cool nonetheless.

As for the Tesla cables and PowerCell, we did not have the opportunity to compare them to anything, and so few real conclusions could be drawn. We did hear them in the powered and unpowered state, and the system sounded much better with them powered (as one would hope). But who’s going to buy them and not power them? Kinda like listening to an electric guitar without the amp. It plays music, but….

We thank Ted and Jason, and wish Synergistic Research the best. You can learn more about Synergistic here.

by Bob Walters

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 Bob, Equipment, Events 2 Comments

Building a Music Server By Lee Mincy

zalman.jpgEarly last year I began listening to a number of dac/music server combinations with the hopes of discovering a better alternative to my 16 bt/44k cd player. I’d already been considering a used turntable and phono pre as one possible option. But I had sold all my records years ago and the thought of buying back into vinyl all over again was a tough swallow. Fact is, my modified Shanling cdt-100 tube player sounded pretty good and was silky smooth, even did upsampling to 24/96k and native HDCD. Well, that player is now for sale on Audiogon. In the end, my listening and research paid off and now I have a pretty solid music server storing all of my 500+ cd’s and much downloaded music on a 4TB NAS drive (along with reams of photography).

Now, is that really such a big deal you might think? So, my cd collection is now ready for eBay. Yeah, I’ve got my Redbook collection, along with a handful of HDCD albums and HRx DVD’s, accessible from a networked hard drive. Big deal. So what’s it sound like? Well, my answer to that is pretty darned good, significantly more analog than my previous digital rig (to get the attention of some of you vinyl hard-liners) but more importantly, the collection is unified, like a jukebox, so that I find myself playing all of my music, discovering stuff I didn’t know I had, and actually feeling so in touch with my collection that I actually want to commence lessons in guitar (yet again). And piano. And maybe after that, sax… It’s amazing! Read on. You might too…

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Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 Equipment, Member's Systems, Music Server 1 Comment

Telarc Lays Off Half the Company; Will Outsource Recordings

510kfjj5xsl_sl500_aa240_.jpgIt is another bad day for audiophiles.

The label that many of us – including myself – turned to since the early days of CD is radically changing course (i.e., heading south). Click here for the details, as reported by Home theater Review.

One can only hope that they will outsource their new recording sessions to high-quality studios – like Blue Coast and Yarlung.

by Bob Walters

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 Bob Comments Off