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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Okay so check this out. Look real close at the ECT. Look down inside to where the horn ports into a chamber at the bottom. There's a very fine mesh screen. Just past the screen there's something. What?

Then take a look at the lateral x-ray. What? You don't have x-ray? Good thing I do!

The horn curves down to a port that opens into a cylindrical chamber. The chamber is partially filled with something. What, I don't know. X-ray only shows density. All I can say, whatever it is, is less dense than the surrounding material. The space above appears to be the same density as air.

In other words, this thing looks EXACTLY like a horn speaker. Only with a chamber instead of a driver. In other words, it looks EXACTLY like a bass trap. Only, if you understand how bass traps work, one designed to work on very high frequencies. On the order of 40 kHz, I would say,

Hard not to notice the distinct similarity between the ECT, PHT and HFT. My hunch is they all work on essentially the same principle and are simply sized or tuned a bit for different applications. 

This would explain why the ECT works so well on my tone arm, even though to go by what SR says its for electronics. But it works great on my arm.

One of the first things I will do when I get some time this weekend (after a good dose of time bathing in the splendor of amazing sound I'm experiencing lately!) is try the ECT on my cartridge. Then when I get PHT will try them on the arm, etc. Meantime for the guys with HFT, would be nice to know if they work on turntables, arms, components. As I think they will....

millercarbon ...

Thanks for the interesting analysis. I'm looking forward to your take on the tonearm experiment. 


Working 12 hour days I won’t have time to listen at all until Saturday.
Why not try it yourself? Pull one off the wall, tack on the turntable, tone arm base, or right on the arm itself. Placed directly over the pivot point it won’t affect VTF at all. I will even bet you notice a bigger effect there than on the wall.