Synergistic Research ECT

Many years ago, I'm going to say about 20, a fellow named Michael Greene came out with a rack that purported to improve performance by clamping components between the shelves. Preposterous, I thought, and wrote a letter to the editor telling him so and asking to please not waste my valuable time with such nonsense. A letter I soon came to deeply regret. Because within a year I had heard for myself what vibration control can do. Today the value of vibration control is (or should be) clear to all audiophiles.

So that's Preface Part One: Don't knock it if you haven't tried it.

Preface Part Two: Don't be so sure its not there just because you can't hear it. Learning to recognize and describe what you are hearing ain't necessarily easy. I used to drag my wife along to audition CD players, because I wasn't entirely sure myself if what I was hearing was there or in my head. When time after time she said, "yeah it sounds better, I can't say how or why but this one definitely sounds better" I knew it was for real. Now I'm able to hear in a flash what I used to agonize interminably over. But it did take time. And effort.

And so with that out of the way and everyone understanding this review is for those who either have the listening skills or at least would like to develop them, my recent experience with the Synergistic Research ECT.

Now according to Synergistic, and a ton of reviews, these things work pretty much everywhere. Well, to a guy like me, them's fightin' words! Nobody ever said anything about using them on a turntable motor. So that's right where the first one went. Right onto the top of my Teres Audio rim drive Verus motor. Just stuck the thing on there. Its not gonna work. No way it can work. On a motor? No way. Waste of time. Sat back down and... what the.... dang... seriously? Its on the bleedin' motor! How's that work?? BS! Witchcraft! Got up and removed it. Uh, no, bad idea. Put it back. Ahh. Much better.

With the ECT stuck on the motor everything in the soundstage took on a more palpable reality. There was a greater sense of depth, and air or space around each source. Not wider or higher, nothing moved around from where it had been. When I say greater depth, its not like anything moved closer or further away. The feeling of depth is hard to describe. A lot of it comes from a greater sense of being more immersed in the recording space. Bigger recording space, bigger room, greater depth. Something like that. Removed, the presentation went flat and grainy. Funny, never seemed there was any grain or etch before. One New York minute with ECT and remove them though, yeah, there's grain. Stick that thing back on there. Inner detail. Sense of ease. All better now.

That's just one. On the one place nobody said they would work. What about where they ARE supposed to work? I stuck one close to the base in front of the D101 power supply tube on my Melody Integrated. OMG, here we go again! Same thing. Here I also noticed improved dynamics and a lower noise floor. Heard this with the one on the motor too, and its hard to say which location had the greatest effect on which. I guess, to be really systematic about it, you could move one around trying a dozen different spots, looking for the biggest effect. Actually did that a long time ago with a Shakti Stone. Overpriced waste of money, that. Not so these. When something works this good, you just want more.

But first, I did of course try removing it. Just to be sure. Still hard to believe. Putting it back, this time I placed it behind the tube. Same result. What about transformers? The power transformer on the Melody is big and heavy, and encased in some sort of shiny black stuff, plastic or whatever I don't know. For sure there is no way a tiny little dot of aluminum (for the record, I have no clue what its made of) gonna have any effect on something that big and massive. Only, it did. Same. Exact. Results.


For those keeping score at home that's 3 ECT's deployed. They come 5 to a box. Only used about half, already happy. Which gets us to, what's it worth? My longstanding Gold Standard for tweaks is Black Diamond Racing Cones. At $20 each and needing 3 per component they coincidentally come in at the same $60 per ECT. Comparing apples to oranges I would say one ECT comes very close to three Cones. Not quite there. But close. Considering nothing I've ever heard comes close to BDR for the money that's pretty high praise indeed.
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I use the Synergistic Research ECT’s in my components and am very impressed with the sonic improvements they create. It is an easy experiment to do as there is no break in time after installation. 

Both front end equipment and amplifiers ( Tube and solid state) respond. It is a bit of try a location and listen. If better leave one there and try another location. If no change or worse remove.

Most pieces of equipment will benefit from 3 to 7 ECT’s being installed.

With the December sale of a free Blue fuse with a Box (5) ECT’s I think this is a very good deal.

David Pritchard
Yes, forgot to mention that, thanks for the reminder. Highend-electronics has a promotion through the end of the year, one free Blue Quantum Fuse with your ECT. Killer deal. 

I also have something interesting to add to my review.

My first ECT placements, based on info from Synergistic Research as well as users, were near electrical components. Well they are after all SUPPOSED to be ELECTRONIC circuit transducers. But for various reasons I won't go into I was pretty sure they are in fact vibration control devices. Very, very amazingly effective vibration control devices!

That is why the first thing I tried, mounting one on my turntable motor, was a place no one had suggested they be used. The improvements I heard were at least as big as what I heard using them in the usual placements near tubes and transformers.

Well, last night I decided to try one on the base of my tone arm. The Origin Live Conqueror has an aluminum base that extends out to first the cueing lever and then the arm rest. Sticking out as it does this would seem to be a prime target for vibration control, as indeed OL seems to agree, as they put several curved cutouts in it. There really is no reason for these I can think of other than vibration control.

In fact, they cut out so much it was hard to find a place wider than the ECT! 

Now being ELECTRICAL CT's nobody should ever think to try this. Nothing electrical about an arm board. But if they are, as I think, really doing vibration control then there may be no better place for them.

Which does indeed seem to be the case. Because when after sticking one on there I sat back down the results were staggering. 

Everyone I'm sure is familiar with the sound, often at the end of a recording, or even sometimes during a piece, where the music suddenly stops and you're left with the reverberation of the recording venue. That sound that gives you a real impression of the space around the musicians. I always love that part.

Well, with the ECT on the Conqueror I wasn't just hearing that space at the end, I could SEE that space AROUND the singer DURING the song! Yes the noise floor dropped that dramatically. Dynamics, especially micro-dynamic shadings, took a big step up as well. All the little timbral signatures that contribute so much to the sense of a say a sax really being a sax, or a human voice an actual human being, they got so real I still can't believe it.

Okay, granted, this is on one mighty fine turntable. The Conqueror is a superb arm. Koetsu Black Goldline, PH-3 SE. You get the picture. Every single one of these components was chosen for its inherent ability to present fine detail naturally and effortlessly. But still. Never heard anything like this before. Not. Even. Close.

I'm ordering more.

Interesting products for sure. Has anyone tried the SR PHT's on their phono cartridge? If so, what were the results?  

Thanks ...


@ozzy @davidpritchard @millercarbon  Thank you, gentlemen.

Any advice on trying out their HFT or GCT accessories, in addition to the ECT? Thanks.