Cable Quality vs Customer Service

For me, it's the end of a short era.  I will no longer purchase, or advocate the purchase of Synergistic Research products.  There is no point in the acquisition of fantastic cables if after the sale the customer service lacks so bad that the value of the cable drops to nothing.

So, I would good cable quality worth bad customer service?

Here's the story, so you understand where I am coming from. I ordered an SR Foundation headphone cable.  It required a stereo mini-pin to source and mono-pin to the headphones.  Seems simple enough. When the cable worked, it sounded fantastic. The problem was that the mono-pins that were used didn't make a solid connection.  When you plug them in, they immediately begin to come out and you lose signal. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to listen to music only to have the audio cut in and out across left and right or altogether. I tested this against other headphone cables both OEM and 3rd party as well as other headphones.  The issue followed the cable. I compared the SR cable to the ones that worked and determined that the problem was the notch on the pin was too thin.  The conductive ball bearing inside the shaft couldn't lock onto the notch in the SR cable and the spring behind it would push the connector out.

So I got an RMA and sent it in to SR for repair.  I even sent two different headphone cables of mine for them to measure against and or to cannibalize if need be. After a week of confirming they had received the cable, I called them to get an update.  They hadn't even looked at it yet and claimed someone would call me the next day.  That day came and went with no call.  I waited a few more days before calling them again for an update.  They still hadn't worked on it but at least looked at the cables and hadn't decided if they should get a new part or use the parts from one of my cables.  They would call and let me know what they had decided.  Days without a call came and went. I called again to get an update.  They said they ordered a new part and I should wait an entire week and someone would call to explain what was happening.  I waited a week and the day they were supposed to call came and went.  I waited a few more days and called for an update and they said it was shipped out already and they couldn't give me a tracking number, but would email it.  I never received an email with the tracking number. 

When I finally got the cable back, it was worse than it was before. They replaced the previous mono-pin with a mono-pin that had a base three times the size of any of the other mono-pins.  So, of course, the connector wouldn't fit into the headphone. It couldn't clear the hole before the main shaft. It was wider than 1/4 of an inch with a 1/4 inch mono-pin sticking out of it. All other mini-pins in existence have a pin, followed by a slightly larger diameter secondary shaft before the much wider base. This was just the mono-pin and the much wider base.  It was missing the extended, smaller diameter shaft. Therefore, the mono-pin lacked the length required to reach the conductor.

So, I called Synergistic Research to ask what could be done.  They said they couldn't help me any further and that I should seek a refund.

Really?  No other options. Not, send in your 3rd party cable so we can use the connector.  Just...forget you, we're done here.  Spending $500 on a cable and they can't 'afford' to help any further? Suddenly, all the thousands of dollars I have spent on Synergistic Research cables and equipment are worthless because there is no integrity behind them.  It's almost as if they're happy to build you a cable and take your money, but don't seek out their help if the product doesn't work as expected. If I charged $500 for a 1 meter cable, I would certainly figure out a way to make it right so that the customer would spend another $500+ on another cable in the future instead of deciding, "we don't need his business."  Maybe they don't, and that's fine.  But I also don't have to be quiet about it.

Peace out.


Hi Guakus - I feel your pain.  There certainly should have been better, more frequent communication from the manufacturer.  HOWEVER- it should also be noted that headphone cables are a major PIA - there is nothing standard about the connectors at the headphone end and so many different connection options at the amp end that several manufacturers that were getting into this aspect of cable manufacturing have abruptly pulled out ( like your original cables - sorry).  It SHOULD be easy- a 2.5mm plug should be a 2.5mm plug and should all work the same, but it is obvious that they do not.  Whatever your headphone jacks in the headphones use to hold the connectors in is certainly not the norm/common/standard.  IN fact, with headphones, the connectors are anything BUT standard.  I feel your pain, however.. Not your fault... Hopefully this is taken care of in the way of a refund promptly. 


I sent a pair of 3rd party headphone cables with connectors that could have been cut off and used, but they opted not to do so. They were supposed to call me and ask if I wanted that as an option.  I would have selected it.  There was no communication and when there was communication, it was treated as an annoyance.

I asked a well-known cable company if they would make ever headphone cables as it’s a growing market, and he said he did a few but that some of the connectors are so hard to work with he doesn’t promote it anymore. My takeaway from this is to stick with dedicated headphone companies as they’re probably more experienced dealing with the various connectors and such.

That said, I looked around a bit when I was looking to upgrade the cable for my Hifiman Arya Stealths because I didn’t want to spend $500+ for a cable — at least not yet. During my search I came across LavriCable who sells direct, seemed well designed and uses quality components, and were much less expensive than the more well-known brands. I ended up buying their mid-level Ultimate Silver cable at 1.2m length with their best AECO connectors and it came to $250. It’s a nice looking and well-built cable, and most importantly it was a significant sonic upgrade over the stock cable so I’m a very happy camper. I’ve since ordered a USB cable, a phone dongle, and a pair of balanced interconnects from them and I’m very happy with all of them, and I’d highly recommend giving them a look during your search. BTW, what headphones are you using? Best of luck



I will look into LavriCable; especially after I get my refund. I have a $500 headphone cable budget ;).

I am using the Audioquest Night Owls. The stock cable isn’t very good. However, Audioquest did release a better cable called the Night Bird. Sonic wise it’s leaps and bounds over the stock, however it is still copper. I wanted to try my hand at silver. The SR Foundation primarily uses a silver conductor encased in a hollow tube made of Polyethylene. What PE as a dielectric does is tame silver’s heightened high frequencies by absorbing those frequencies. So it really wouldn’t be that harsh. The Night Owl was reconfigured over the original Night Hawk to no longer roll off the high end. So, paired with the SR cable, it was incredible....when it worked. I was looking at Kimber Kable....but the price tag for a hybrid silver/copper cable is $2000 :(. I would rather get a new DAC, than a $2000 headphone cable ;).

I also have the original Audioquest Nighthawk. I swapped out its stock ear cushions for an all protein-leather version. Which helps accentuate the high frequencies it does allow. I also got the perfect cable for those cans. The Corpse Killer, Grave Digger cable. It’s a perfect match for the type of mellow, musical tone those headphones have. Cool name, but it’s just re-branded Cardas cable. Nothing to sneeze at, really :)

I’ll save you a little work as I was already on their site.  Here are Lavricable’s two Nighthawk cables — all silver and can be had as low as $193 but even their top cable can be had for only $268 although I’d recommend upgrading the plug to the AECO Rhodium/copper plug for a reasonable upcharge.


I contacted
Lavricable last night.  They will be willing to make me a cable at their Grand rank.  They suggested using the Aeco pure copper plug and they have a custom gold plated 2.5mm mono plugs that they use on the other Audioquest cables.  So, I feel confident that I wont have the same problem SR had. :)

I've had great products and service from Analysis Plus but I'm not sure they make headphone cables.


I certainly understand your frustration. We are living in interesting (dark IMO)  times. Its seemingly everywhere. FWIW my wife is a safety coordinator at a large chemical plant who works closely with Workers Comp. insurance. She recently told me about their attorney's total frustration at not getting his phone calls returned by the Insurance company. These are calls in reference to cases (accidents with injury). Seems we have done a great job of destroying the systems which have served us successfully over the years. A big part of this IMO, is too much dependence on computerized systems for their customer service rep.

Seems we have done a great job of destroying the systems which have served us successfully over the years. A big part of this IMO, is too much dependence on computerized systems for their customer service rep.

Or worse — India. 

I contacted Lavricable last night.  They will be willing to make me a cable at their Grand rank.

Sweet!!!  I never called them — how were they over the phone?  Not sure the Master is worth the upgrade over the Ultimate line, but the Grand that upgrades to 20awg 6N silver and cryogenic treatment seems like a very significant step up.  I’d love to hear what you think initially and after break-in if/when you get it. 


I am sorry to hear that :(. Worker's Comp is people's lives at risk, so I would say that situation would most definitely take precedence over my complaints. O_O

With that said, Synergistic Research doesn't employ computerized customer service, at this time.  I was thinking about something; they are based out of California. There is a 3000% markup on even the most basic things.  So I wonder if SR believes that $500 is a pittance and thus won't waste any customer service charm for someone who buys in that product bracket?  I am certain they wouldn't be so passe to a customer who bought any of their $20,000+ cables. :(  Then again, I remember that every single time I have ever called Audioquest with a complaint or problem, they have been beyond courteous and helpful and willing to do whatever to maintain customer service; even when the highest amount spent was $50.00; they are also based out of California....


I have looked into Moon Audio and have sent them information requests and they don't answer :(.  Otherwise, I would have likely gone with them rather than SR.


Wow!  Analysis Plus has some very interesting cable geometry.  I had always wondered what square geometry would be like.  I will keep them in mind for future projects, now that I am kicking SR to the curb.


Oh, I contacted them through their website Contact Form. :) They answered back this morning.

Yeah, 6n silver is not too dissimilar to what SR uses.  I am considering paying for their burn in service.  Why not, after all when I ordered SR's cable they burn it in for 5 days before shipping. 

I didn’t do the burn-in service (too cheap) and very surprisingly I have to say I didn’t notice much of a change in sound, and the Grands are cryo’d so they may sound pretty darn good right outta the box. Just trying to maybe save you some $ FWIW.

Speaking about cables and customer service...few years ago I've contacted Nordost because I had 3m long Nordost Odin ic, bought at authorised dealer, At the time I wanted to change my system and I needed short(er) runs of that IC. By the way, Nordost (had than, do not know now) stated that its possible to reterminate their cables at the factory. I have kept the mail, in which they inform that they will not reterminate the Odin ic for me and advise me to sell it and than buy the new one in length that I need,,,now, 'beat that (story about customer service), if you can'...


I think you may have misunderstood my post. I was not trying to downplay your incident at all. I was just trying to say that poor customer service is everywhere and is hitting everyone now


I understand.  I didn't think you were downplaying my incident, but at the same time I wanted to ensure that I recognized the severity of the situation you were relaying.  I am genuinely sorry about the state of Workerscomp as it reflects a certain amount of social divide and turmoil currently going on.

It is weird that poor customer service would be the norm considering how desperate a lot of businesses are after COVID shutdowns caused numerous industry issues. I was in the customer service industry for 20 years (technical support.) What I learned is, poor customer service tends to reflect the state of the business. If a business feels their product is so important that customers are almost forced to buy it, they will drop customer service as a priority because you'll buy their product anyway. Businesses who aren't that large have a tendency to focus on customer service as a way to get more business.

With that said, it would seem Synergistic Research believes their product is so important that they believe people will buy it regardless of customer service. They're wrong.


Wow, I had come very close to buying Nordost power cables. What's interesting is that I had a brief conversation with Ted of Synergistic Research on this forum not too long ago.  At that time I found it odd that he was trying to talk me out of buying one of his $3000 power cables in favor for one of his $500 power cables because I wanted the $3000 power cable terminated in a C7 connector (figure 8).  He felt that his "Foundation" power cable would best Kimber's Palladian power cable ($1500 cable) without ever having heard the Palladian.  I immediately felt like I was being talked-down to, as if how-dare-I request one of his precious high-level cables for what he considered a low-end application.  This planted the seed of mistrust against Synergistic Research because if Ted was truly a good cable maker, he should know that certain materials are extremely important in cable making.  Such as the use of Teflon/FEP as a dielectric. Or properly calibrated filters placed on power cables. Something the Kimber Palladian uses both of that SR Foundation does NOT use either of. IN fact, the $3000 SR cable I wanted uses both of those features at twice the cost.  The difference was that SR used silver conductors in combination with copper conductors as well as more advanced geometry. Which was why I was willing to pay the extra cost.  The only caveat was that SR would have had to loop off the ground cable; big deal. It made me start to 2nd-guess Synergistic Research.

Congrats!  Hope you like it.  My cables took I think about two weeks to arrive — they come from Eastern Europe somewhere, but I forget which county.  Look forward to hearing your thoughts.  Did you spring for the burn-in service?


I will indeed impart my thoughts when they arrive.  :)

I did spring for the 150hr service. It's difficult for me to do burn in on a headphone cable.  There will still be some burn in when I get it, but it will be very short (maybe an hour) as the dielectric bias field re-forms from the absence of the field that was created.

I have Synergistic Research centric system and have had the opposite experience with SR. Andy Weiderspahn in particular has been very responsive. It helps to have a dealer like The Cable Co advocate for you, no matter which audio manufacturers you’re dealing with.


So sorry to hear about bad experience’s with any HiFi companies. While I am in the market for a longer PC for my Hegel, I guess I won’t be looking at SR.

All the best.


I bought the cable through The Cable Company. The old guy, Peter was good and always helped, but he changed positions.  The new guy didn't try to advocate for me.

I tried to message Ted to help and he never responded, but he might not have checked his messages here.

It wasn't the first time I submitted questions and concerns through SR's email form and they have never answered back.

IF you need a third party to "advocate" for you because the customer has no sway....that's bad customer service.


If it helps, Soix's suggestion of Lavricable has been exceptional.  They have excellent customer service thus far. :

I get it, customer service is A #1, especially in these crazy times when it’s nearly impossible to reach a human being. Guess I’ve been spoiled by The Cable Company’s Peter Hansen over the years. A++ customer service & advice from Peter. He’s moved on to Audio Denmark Group. He personally has handled any SR returns, and there have been only a few. I’ve always been impressed with the quick turnaround going that route. However, any questions I may have had for SR directly I’ve sent directly to Andy Weiderspahn’s company email. He’s always responded promptly. I’m a big fan of SR gear because, with very few exceptions, it does exactly what they claim.

I've bought two pairs of Lavricables this year and I'm pleased. Aside from the SQ, they are very comfortable during use. Keep in mind that they are located in Latvia. I had no problems with shipping but it could be an issue now? 

The owner of Synergistic chimes in here now and then. I hope he responds to you 

Yeah, Peter would have called me if I had a problem.  This new guy has kept his distance.

Yeah, it is a shame because SR products do give results. I bought quite a number of SR products:

Atmosphere Level 1 Mini-pin to RCA cable.
Foundation RCA pair
Foundation Speaker Cable
2 x Purple Fuses
Tranquility Basik with MiG 2.0

I was planning on getting an Atmosphere level power cable and sub-woofer cable.   Looks like I will be giving that money to someone else since SR doesn't have the advertised integrity to stand by their product when they get it wrong. :(


I have this feeling that they will be wonderful cables.  They just may take some time to get here.  That's fine. :)

Yeah, I have seen him on here.  Since the title of this thread doesn't have the words "Synergistic Research" I doubt he will stumble into this thread, unless directed. I won't lie though, he has the power to make this right, if he was interested.


OK, so I kept ruminating on my experience and I decided to talk to Dave @ SR and detailed the issue and he took the time to listen and will try to make it right. So...we'll see what happens.

@guakus I stopped buying (or recommending) SR cables many yrs ago b/c of there poor customer service so understand your situation. Good luck and hope it all works out but personally I'll not use SR products.


WOW!  Lavricables is FAST!!!  I will be receiving the cable TOMORROW!  Shipping from Latvia was only three days O_O.

I will post the results when I listen to them. :)


Unfortunately, I am invested fairly deep in SR products.  There are too many components that I would have to replace with no guarantee that I would end up with the same sound quality, to risk kicking all the equipment to the curb. :(  I just won't get any new or updated equipment.

HOWEVER, depending on how awesome the Lavricable cable is when I get it, I might very well replace some components.


I already got the Lavricables O_O

Very interesting. I need to really spend more time with them, but from I can tell so far, they are HYPER revealing. There is a sense that there is reduced bass response, but I think it's because the bass has been tightened all the way up, so the bass isn't flabby.

What I didn't know is that the cables and connectors are cryo treated, and the silver groups are lamented in Teflon and they use Graphene as well.

Oh, and connectors fit and stay connected. :D

Thanks so much for the suggestion.

Hey @guakus 

I let mine run in for 100 hours before critical listening. I think your thoughts about the bass is on the mark. Happy listening! 



I paid for the 150hr burn in service.  However, the dielectric bias field generated during that session would have decayed by the time of arrival.  So, a good hour or two of listening would reestablish it.

So, I finally got a good, long, listening session in. Wow.  If a sheet of music is turned over, you hear it. If a singer dares to take a breath between notes, you hear it. If they're wearing jewelry and are too close to the mic, you hear it.

The Audioquest Nightowls aren't particularly tuned to high frequency resolution detail, but they are better than the original Nighthawk release. However, with these cables, I think they'd give Senheiser 800s or mid-range Planar cans a run for their money. :) I am very impressed.  They are definitely better than the SRs were for the money.

Now...I am wondering if I shouldn't ask them to make other custom cables for my reference system O_O.

Glad to hear they seem to be working out so far as cables are always a bit of a crapshoot recommendation, but are they maybe a little too detailed or potentially fatiguing (just reading a little between the lines of your initial impressions here)?   How would you say the Lavris differ/compare to the SR?


I have finally had a solid few hours plus listening to music and the Lavricables decimate the Synergistic Research cable by leaps and bounds. Not a subtle difference.  The SR cable was clean and clear, which is great....but...the Lavricable pushed that same clarity out with MUCH more force. You could feel those snare drums in your head, and there was more decay/echo on kick drums.  And if you're a fan of classic guitar or delicate piano...HOLY CR@P!!! Such incredible depth; my jaw dropped to the floor.  As I have posited many times, you just don't know what you've been missing in music until you hear it for the first time. Even my reference system can't best it.  So now I am seriously considering replacing some of my reference system cables with these Lavricables. O_O

So, in short, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!

In regards to high frequency fatigue, I didn't experience this, however, I can tell if you already experience it on your headphones, these will only accentuate it.  Consider this, the Audioquest Carbon Nightowls were engineered to allow more high frequency information than the original Nighthawks, these cables did not allow the headphones to roll off any high frequency information. When I first heard a pair of Sennheiser 800s, I recalled the level of high frequency clarity.  With these Lavricables, the Audioquest Nightowls sound very similar.

Thanks for the interesting insights.  Reason I asked is I’ve held SR cables in high regard for sonics so was curious how the Lavris would stack up.  I’m gonna compare my Lavri interconnects to my beloved Acoustic Zen Silver Ref ll and will share my findings if you’re at all interested.  The only thing is the Lavri is balanced and the AZ is single ended, but I’m thinking the main sonic characteristics will still be there and so still worth comparing. 

I don't normally visit the Cable sub-forum but I have some experience with Analysis Plus. I am a HUGE fan of AP and love their Silver Apex for IC's and they made me a custom S/PDIF cable from Silver Apex that is simply amazing in my digital rig. When I asked them to make me a set of headphone cables using Silver Apex for my ZMF Verite Closed they tried. It was a fail. They were quite expensive ($2K) and they took them right back and refunded my money immediately, no questions asked. I felt terrible. The guy they have in charge of making custom cables warned me that he had never made headphone cables before but would give it a try. It was a "fail" because they were constructed of two complete runs of Silver Apex right up to the cans that were WAY too heavy, and way too stiff practically tearing the heavy headphones right off my head. It was largely my fault for not remembering that headphone cables need to be fairly light and flexible. So the lesson learned is to leave headphone cables for headphone cable specialists. And let me say it again, I love the folks at AP and their product(s). 

So the lesson learned is to leave headphone cables for headphone cable specialists.

Yup, I found the same thing.  I was speaking with another cable manufacturer and he said he tried making headphone cables and some of the connectors were a nightmare to work with so he doesn’t offer them anymore.  With a few notable exceptions headphone cables do seem to be a bit of a sub specialty that requires unique skills and experience — and patience. 

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