The Problem with Synergistic Research

The problem is one that a number of cable makers suffer from. I preface my remarks by noting this not a problem that is exclusive to Synergistic Research. I use SR as an example because I am more familiar with their cables than with the cables of other companies that have the same problem.

The problem is the cost of incremental improvements. SR makes some great products. But, in spite of their copy writing, not all SR products are great, IMO. Some SR products have made great improvements in my system -- like the Tesla SE Hologram D power cord. That having been said, in retrospect, despite the bally-hoo that surrounds SR product launches, most of their products have brought no more than incremental improvements to my system. Products from other cable companies have brought equal or greater improvements for me -- often at much lower cost.

The problem is that SR has such fast-paced marketing with products coming out at a gallop supplanting recently released products -- such as the SR line of PowerCell conditioners -- that I sometimes feel I have been left in the dust.

We cannot stop the relentless march of technology. But at the high price of most of SR's offerings one is often left with sense of being left out instead of left in when new products come on the heels of products one has just purchased. The SR trade-up program does not remedy this problem at all, IMO.

There are many other cable companies without fast-paced marketing that provide equal or better value for the money, IMO. Companies like Bybee, HiDiamond and Cardas. I am probably not the only one who feels as I do about SR and other companies with fast-paced marketing.
I don't feel that way, it's how a commodity base business work in a free market and the market will take care of itself if government get out of the way.

Companies have to release new products or updates to generate interest. If the market (consumers) don't like the tactics or products, the company will go out of business.

As a consumer, always practice CAVEAT EMPTOR.
Sabi I must take issue with not only the claims you make in this post, but in the way you contradict yourself from one post to another. In the interest of establishing a timeline for your claims and positions, as well as a pattern, I researched your posting history. I will now make reference to your past posts and call you on false claims and assumptions. My apologies in advance if what I write next causes you any distress however I can no longer sit idly by as you misrepresent my company or products.

First Sabi praising SR products

link to original posts

12-20-10: Sabai
I just got my PowerCell 10SE and will connect it tomorrow when my electrician arrives to install a 20-amp dedicated line from the power pole directly into my music room. In the meantime I have installed MiGs under my step-down transformer, CDP and integrated amp. Well, if there is a single no-brainer tweak in the audio world it is the MiGs -- and for the price a super no-brainer. They have already elevated my system -- sound stage width and depth -- resolution -- dynamics -- you name it -- far beyond what it was when I had my old power conditioner connected to the system -- one of the best names in the business. Before the MiGs I experienced the wow factor a few times in my system -- Ric Schultz's EVS Ground Enhancers being a recent example. But these MiGs ... man, they are outta sight.

12-20-10: Sabai
Tvad, it just goes to show you how we all have to take the measure of things in each of our systems. Sharing this information is extremely valuable but YMMV with each element added. I will not put a number on the EVS and the MiGs. I give them both a very high rating. In my system they transform the sound in a way that is not subtle at all -- like a major component upgrade.

12-30-10: Sabai
Joeyboynj and Flashunlock, I'm enjoying my PowerCell 10SE very much. I have my old Tesla Plex as my wall receptacle at the end of a 20-amp dedicated line. I had the new Tesla Plex SE plugged into the Tesla Plex on the end of a stock PC with a stock plug. Last night I took the stock plug off the stock PC and replaced it with an Oyaide P-004. NIGHT AND DAY !! SUPER WOW !! The PowerCell was transformed in every way especially the sound stage and fullness and dynamics and inner detail. I cannot over-emphasize what Oyaide plugs have done for my system. I also installed MiGs under all components -- two at the back and one at the front. I put the first set under my step-down transformer and this produced a massive change in the sound. Pin-point works best for most people so I tried pin-point under everything. I had to change to ambient under my amp and step-down transformer because the resolution was too bright with all pin-point. Now it's perfect.

01-15-11: Sabai
Hi Violin, I don't have a Hologram D in my system so I cannot comment. All I know is that the PowerCell SE (with Precision Reference power cord and Galileo MPC) has made a huge difference in my system -- sound stage, low level detail, dynamics. Bacardi, I have 4 sets of MIGS, one set under each component. They are out of sight -- very impressive. I am using the Tesla Plex SE in series with the Tesla Plex. When I removed an older power cord and swapped my Gabriel Gold Reflection power cord into the Tesla Plex which is my wall receptacle that leads to the Tesla Plex SE it was a day and night difference. The synergy changed completely. It was like taking the lid off the box. Everything opened right up. I hope this helps.

01-17-11: Sabai
Hi Tbg, sorry for the confusion. I have a 20-amp dedicated line from the pole outside the house for my music system. My Tesla Plex is my in-wall receptacle. My electrician installed my Tesla Plex SE into the Tesla Plex using a stock copper line terminated with a stock plug. I cut off the stock plug and spliced an Oyaide P-004 plug onto the end of the cord. That was a major improvement. Then I plugged the P-004 via a cryo-ed Schurter into a Gabriel Gold Reflection power cord that I plugged into the Tesla Plex. That's what made the really big difference. Previously the GG was my CDP to PowerCell power cord.

One more thing. Last night I piggy-backed two XLR ICs together and connected them from my CDP to integrated amp. I will not provide any description here about the sonic results because of the inevitable spammers who I will no longer reply to. Anyone who is interested and who has not spammed in the past can PM me.

link to original posts

02-27-11: Sabai
If your system is highly resolving and you have MIGs in your system try "super" ambient -- all 3 points in the north position. I am getting wonderful results with this.

03-02-11: Sabai
Hi Joeyboynj, I will be installing SR universal speaker and IC cells in August. I think that will be about it for me. The budget is over-the-top now. But the results so far have been worth the price. SR knows what they are doing. I also do tweaking and experimenting to get the best out of my system. So far, so good (Steely Dan).

09-13-11: Sabai
I am using the Gray on my PR power cord with very good results. There is a very distinct difference between the 3 Enigma circuits.

link to original posts

02-26-12: Sabai
Glor, you d have a problem with your system if the SR cables did nothing for you. LOL.

And now Sabi you take a turn just one day after telling another AudiogoN member his system must have a problem if SR cables did nothing for him. It seems you are upset because we upgraded the PowerCell 10SE (first version) to the Mk II version…

02-27-12: Sabai
The 10SE is basically a very good product but the retail price was excessive in light of subsequent events. It looks like SR brought it out with the marketing plan of bringing out a 4-module version a few months down the road for the same price -- the MKII. I agree -- by the time you got to the end of the block and turned the corner they came out with the MKII that made recent purchasers of the 10SE holding an already obsolete product with a resale value of less than 50%.

Ted, will you upgrade my 10SE to the MKII? Mine was actually shipped with the G-07 and twin Enigmas -- so I missed the MKII cut by a hair. Unfortunate and disappointing. When we're talking about a low or mid-priced item this may be something one can grow to accept. But when you are dealing with a $5000 product it is a lot harder to swallow -- especially for those of use who have to work very hard to earn the asking price. Yes, some (not all) SR marketing is at a gallop-too-fast, IMO.

Sr's marketing does not mean that SR products should be casually dismissed. They should not be, IMO. The 10SE should not be dismissed, either, when compared to other high-end power conditioners. In my experience, SR make some of the best high end power cords on the planet -- and they market them at a trot instead of a gallop. Which makes the obsolescence issue less of a problem. For instance, the Tesla SE Hologram D is a game-changer, IMO.

Talking about Quantum Tunneling, if you compare SR MPCs that are Quantum Tunneled versus those that are not QT-ed the difference is not subtle. Quantum Tunneling is not merely a marketing term or a low-value process. On the contrary. But the $500 price tag for each MPC means this is a serious purchase versus the standard MPC. SR products are not for those with a light wallet. But if you have the money and create the right synergy in your system with them you can end up a very happy camper.

I run SR cables in series with cables from other makers. Even though some SR cables are top-of-the-heap I have not found a single SR cable that performs nearly as well on its own as when it is in series with another high end cable, IMO. Of course, you need to experiment to create that very special sound -- and that can be a lengthy and expensive process.

Sabi you made a lot of claims and assumptions in that post.

You write:

The 10SE is basically a very good product but the retail price was excessive in light of subsequent events. It looks like SR brought it out with the marketing plan of bringing out a 4-module version a few months down the road for the same price -- the MKII

Sabi the original PowerCell 10SE was on the market for two years, not a couple of months before launching the PowerCell 10SE Mk II. For the record the Mk II came about as a result of research that developed our Galileo System cables and in particular, an accelerated development of the EM Cell technology as found in our PowerCell line conditioners and Galileo Universal cable cells. We had also recently launched our TESLA SE power cords with Enigma tuning circuits that you were raving about only a few months before. Since we had exhausted our supply of PowerCell 10 SE chassis’s, and needed to order new chassis’s, we elected to incorporate several new technologies recently developed during the Galileo research program as well as bundling in our new TESLA SE Precision AC power cord; all this without increasing the cost of the new PowerCell 10SE Mk II.

And now some good news. Sabi:

Mine was actually shipped with the G-07 and twin Enigmas -- so I missed the MKII cut by a hair

Sabi if you have the G-07 wall plugs and twin Enigmas then you have one of a handful of PowerCell 10SE Mk IIs in the original chassis

This was an interesting exchange between Sabi and Glory…

02-27-12: Glory
I remember Steve at GG let me demo his Reflection IC and as I remember it was as good and in fact better than the SR Apex cable with out all the BS MPC dookickies all over the place.

SR knows how to keep a $$$ flow going with SE/MK/Gold/silver/copper/QT MK3 ect... $1200.00 cable now is better than $3600.00 Apex of yesteryear.

02-28-12: Sabai
Everyone upgrades. That's not a valid criticism, IMO. It is the pace of the upgrades that is sometimes irksome. I don't think you can argue with quality when it works in your system. If SR didn't work in your system so be it. But for a large number of people -- including me -- SR products work very well when you pick and choose well. They are indisputably one of the very best cable companies out there.

The dohickies are part of what makes their cables work so well. If you don't like a bunch of wires snaking like a spider's web all over the place I can understand that. My wires are a mess and there is no way to change that except to get rid of some wires. The sound is more important than the aesthetics for me.

Sabi what you may not know this but between 1992 and 2006 Synergistic Research was a cable manufacturer exclusively- interconnects, speaker cables and power cords, that’s it. In October 2006 we launched TESLA Series cables to replace our X2 Series. At that time people were excited when they found the new $1,200 Accelerators outperformed their $3,000 Designers’ Reference X2 interconnects (a long standing pattern for new SR cable launches i.e. non Active Designers’ Reference vs. Active Designers’ Reference -or- 1st Generation Active Designers’ Reference vs. Designers’ Reference X Series which included the MPC power supply for the fist time and at no additional cost, nor has anyone ever before complained when we deliver greater performance for less money). It was not until Q1 2008 when we launched our first PowerCells: the PowerCell 6, PowerCell 10 and PowerCell 10SE that we became a manufacturer of non-cable related products. 2008’s PowerCells were then followed by the Acoustic ART System and TeslaPlex in Q4 ’08 and their offshoot MiGs in Q1 ‘10, Galileo System cables and their offshoot, Galileo Universal Cable Cells launched in Q4 ’09 which developed the technology to launch the PowerCell 10SE Mk II and TeslaPlex SE in Q1 ’10.

And while we released one new product category after another, we continued to build TESLA Series cables. In fact TESLA Series interconnects and speaker cables were in continuous production for over 4 years before we added Enigma Tuning circuits in their 5th year of production, at no additional cost. It was not until the beginning of their 6th year that we introduced the Element Series and only as a result of technology developed during the Galileo Research program. I can understand why you could be under the impression that we are continually upgrading existing cables but the fact is we are continually introducing new products in new categories with only one evolution to the TESLA Series in over 5-years of continuous production.

As to how we compare to other cables and products from competing manufacturers, we make our products available for in home audition with the option for anyone to return our products to their dealer for any reason should they not work to their satisfaction with a 100% money back guarantee. We also have the longest running (20-years) and least restrictive upgrade program in the business; the Lifetime Passport Protection Plan with a 70% trade-in allowance toward ANY SR product. Unlike other manufacturers who either have no upgrade program what-so-ever, or who restrict trade-ins for like products (power cords can only be traded in toward new power cords and so on) we make no such restrictions. If someone wants to trade-in their TESLA Apex SE (or 20 year old Mark I interconnects) toward Element Copper Tungsten Silver interconnects, no problem. And if they need to make up the 2 to 1 trade-in qualifier they may add any SR product they wish including PowerCells and Tranquility Bases to make up the difference. In this way we make it easy for the long term SR user to take full advantage of all our different products and technologies, now and in the future.

Finally Sabi if you wish, contact me directly at SR so we can discuss whatever it is you have an issue with. I am especially keen to learn where you purchased your SR products as none of my dealers or distributors have any record of you as a client.

Yours in music,
Ted Denney III
Lead Designer / Owner
Synergistic Research Inc.
Hi Ted_d,
Thank you for your very long and detailed post. By the way, for the record, my ID on Audiogon is Sabai, not Sabi.

Not to worry. I'm old enough to have very thick skin. With all due respect, the issue on the table is not my posts. The issue is how I and other customers feel about SR products and the products of other audio companies -- both the quality and the perceived value. With all due respect, quoting my posts that praise SR products is a moot point.

I'm sorry if I was sloppy and inaccurate in my explanation about my own PowerCell purchase. It was a matter of only a few weeks after purchasing my own PowerCell that a new version came out. I received the upgraded PC (with the G07) but, I thought, not the upgraded PowerCell. By my count there have been 5 versions of the PowerCell out in about 3 years -- 2008 to 2011. That makes 7 months or a bit more per version, on average.

Thank you very much for this good news:
"Sabi if you have the G-07 wall plugs and twin Enigmas then you have one of a handful of PowerCell 10SE Mk IIs in the original chassis"

Yes, I received the old chassis. I was told by Mike that I had only received the new cord (G07 with twin enigmas) and that I had missed the new PowerCell 10SE Mk II by a few weeks -- that I was just unlucky. He was obviously passing on what he believed to be the facts. He apparently was unaware -- as I was unaware -- that some of the new MK II versions were shipped in the old chassis. Mike has always been a very kind and helpful person to deal with -- exemplary. You have a great colleague in Mike.

In an evolving audio system there are bound to be contradictions because what sounded good yesterday may change with the addition of a new product tomorrow -- like with the evolution of SR products. The Master Coupler may have sounded great in 2002 but I don't think you would be saying the same thing about it today given the evolution of your products.

Hence, my comments about the SR MiGs were relevant when I posted them. But my system evolved to the point where I sold the MiGs off when they were no longer useful in my system.

It was a similar case with the EVS. I have since upgraded my system to the point where the EVS are not in my system anymore.

I no longer have Gabriel Gold in my system.

I still have many Oyaide plugs and IECs in my system. One Oyaide plug can transform the sound of an audio system.

I now have an SR Hologram D in my system It is one of the best cables I have. I am still highly impressed with some of your products -- as I am with some Bybee products and some HiDiamond products. I run my cables in series now. I have found that there is not a single SR cable in my system that has not been greatly improved by an "upgrade" in series with another well-chosen cable from a different company.

Please note that the first remarks I made in my post were that this problem -- i.e. the problem of feeling left out by upgrades -- is not exclusive to SR and that SR makes some great products. I also commented that this problem *often* leaves me feeling like I have been left behind -- I did not say *always* left behind. $5000 is a very large sum of money for me to spend on a single audio product. If I spend $5000 and feel I have gotten very good to excellent value then I have nothing to complain about.

The Enigmas have helped a lot with my PowerCell. The problem I have with the PowerCell is that you do not appear to have designed it with customer upgrades in mind. Trade-up is not the same as upgrade. As I mentioned in my posts, my point is the pace of upgrades, and the feeling under certain circumstances that one is left behind after making a substantial investment.

Had your PowerCell line been designed as upgradeable you would have had the benefit of a great deal of customer goodwill. IMO it is preferable not to penalize customers with a trade-up policy that requires the purchase of a whole new product every time an upgrade to the line is made. It is preferable to reward customers with the possibility of obtaining the latest version at a reasonable cost.

Uptrade sounds good but if you look at the numbers there is a 30% loss with each uptrade. This would means 5 losses to uptrade to the latest version of the PowerCell if one did this successively. But if the PowerCell were upgradeable and one waited, there would be the possibility of an upgrade from level 1 to level 5. This would probably be a very reasonable way to go and would be a win situation for both customer and SR.

By the way, I am most certainly on record with SR. I live overseas. I bought my PowerCell through Sammy who is a great SR dealer. Over the years I have paid full retail for my PowerCell and other SR products including the Galileo Universal Speaker Cells.
Just out of curiosity - how do the current SR's compare with the big boys from the big names - top MITs, Transparents, Nordosts etc? Did anyone A/B SR's against, say, MIT Oracle?
Sabai, I am with you. I still have the original SR 10SE Powercell and about 4 power cords D, A and a couple of the precision power cords.
But, I have sold all of my SR Apex speaker and interconnect cables. I just couldnt keep up with all the new versions without a reasonable upgrade path.

why are you concerned with synergistic research products, when your recent posts have extolled the virtues of hi diamond cables ?
Do you guys change your underwear as often as you change cables? (insert silly smiley here)
Sabai, your'e nothing if not consistent...Like I said in the other thread: You always state your OPINION as a matter of fact that applies to all of us!

Now your'e unloading on SR cables....I have NO affiliation with SR cables BUT sure find it interesting to what Ted states above.
If you had the Apex you were at the top of the heap -- before the Element series came out. Is this what you are referring to when you mention upgrades?

I am concerned about SR because I like a lot of their products and I still have a lot of their products in my system. I run HiDiamond in series with SR cables.

Of course these are my opinions. Of course this applies to my system. Does this need to be stated every time I post or every time anyone else posts here? Do we need to walk on egg shells afraid to express our opinions? I think not.

I am not allergic to people with strong opinions. In fact, it was Musicxyz's strong posts about HiDiamond that led me to experiment with them -- and I am very glad I did. Strength of opinion is very important for me to see. It is like a bio-marker for me. This is exactly what I look for because there are so many wishy-washy opinions that reflect nothing important. When someone has a significant experience with an audio product and they express their thoughts and feelings in no uncertain terms, this indicates to me there is something going -- and that something may be worthy of note. IMO.
Sabai, From what I understand of SR upgrade policy you have to buy an item twice as expensive of the item you want to upgrade and then they give you 70% for your old equipment.

In other words, to upgrade to the latest version Mk3 powercell, I would have to buy $10,000 worth of equipment to get $3500 for my SR Powercel 10SE.
This just doesn't make sense.
I can understand how Sabai feels. You want to stay on the leading edge with a product line but can't afford to. I don't blame anyone. We can't always get what we want. Wait a bit and buy used only maybe?
If one feels the need to chase the latest and GREATEST(?), then a price has be paid. This is NOT limited to Audio.

I wish Porsche has a upgrade program. Every year they manage to tweak out a few extra hp, lbs of torques and raise the top speed. I wonder if these are scheduled releases to stay profitable and in business or just a marketing scheme? Sure wish they can build a PERFECT car with no more improvements. Does anyone really need to top out @195 instead of @194 mph? LOL!!!
Just like Synergistic Upgrades, I can't afford a Porsche either. And if I could, I would spend the money on Audio Equipment instead.
Thanks for jogging my memory on these details. You are correct. This is what I was trying to get at. The SR trade-up program is no gift to customers. It is well conceived to be as profitable as possible. An upgrade program would never generate the same profit margin. Just figure the math to do 4 trade-ups to get to the top level of the PowerCell. For me that's big bucks. No way I could ever afford it.

Me too. Who needs a Porsche? I would rather spend the money on better sound. I just keep fixing my old beater and it keeps on rolling.

You make an excellent point. To be able to afford the best possible results within our budgets we have to buy carefully -- used preferably. With a bit of patience, looking down the road at the upgrades in the pipeline, you can usually pick up a really good buy a year or 2 after product launch.
Sabai - IMO you rise many valid points. It is worth noting, that not all companies have such a short product cycles.

AQ Sky - in prroduction since 2003
Nordost Valhalla - launched in 2002 ? with only a small connector change to WBT
van den Hul The First - launched in 1995, still beeing manufactured, with only two small production changes (new connectors and a different outer braid).

Even Shunyata - which cables I like a lot - changes models too soon, and that is every 2 years. 7 months ? Pls give me a break.
Porsche is just an example. It applies to boats, clothes, women ... Not all new are created equal. Some are just different and not better. Companies have to walk a fine line from alienating customers in releasing garbage just for the sake of revenue.

I like to improve international relations whenever possible. Sabai, here's an idea. If you can decrease the number of ICs, SCs and PCs that you run in a series from 100 to something more manageable, you got plenty of money for upgrades.

That's my contribution to world peace today and I would appreciate a fellow Agon member nominate me for the Nobel Peace Prize.
As much as I like my audio system, my next car will be a Porsche! Nothing wrong with having both.
In response to your remark "Pls give me a break." May I point out that my initial post said "one of a number of companies".

In response to your remark "If you can decrease the number of ICs, SCs and PCs that you run in a series from 100 to something more manageable, you got plenty of money for upgrades." I normally run 2 cables in series. Since this produces at least as large an improvement in my system as a component upgrade I think this is money very well spent.

If I could afford both I would not choose a Porsche. Don't ask me what I would choose. I have no idea.
"It is worth noting, that not all companies have such a short product cycles. "

Glad someone pointed that out!

FOr example, OHM Walsh speakers have been around for over 30 years and are currently in their 4th revision level I believe. I have owned the third revision level models for several years and am content and feel these do it "right", though if I had a few extra bucks laying around I would be tempted to take the next jump which is modestly advertised as "evolutionary, not revolutionary".

I've designed and worked with a variety of technologies for also about 30 years now. I find its a lot like baseball. Most good designers that want to get it right usually get it right by the third time around.

Three strikes you're out?
I think its great that Synergistic is always looking for ways of approving their products.
Heck, I even bought there Teslaplex and then a few weeks later the Teslaplex 2. But that cost was chump change.

But, because of SR quick turn around with new products, the older products lose value quickly and greatly.
And SR upgrade policy is not really helpful.
Surly there must be something in the trade in item that would have value to SR that they could come up with a better
trade up policy.
All PowerCell’s are based on my now patented EM Cell technology. To my knowledge the EM Cell is the first completely new technology to filter AC in over 20 years- all other forms of filtration are based on variations of old technologies like inductive chokes, transformers, regeneration, capacitors, and so on. As with any totally new technology, one can expect a rapid growth curve in the beginning that tapers off as a technology matures. That said, the original PowerCell 10SE won The Absolute Sound’s Product of the Year Award in 2009 and is still a world class power conditioner today. It does not limit current on demand nor is it subtractive in nature as is the case with virtually every other line conditioner on the market. That this brand new, never before thought of technology has undergone 2 revisions in a little over 4 years is understandable for a research and technology based company like Synergistic Research.

PowerCell roll out history:

PowerCell 6, PowerCell 10 and PowerCell 10SE launched 2008
PowerCell 6 and PowerCell 10 discontinued 2010
PowerCell 4 launched 2010
PowerCell 10 SE upgraded to Mk II 2010
PowerCell 4 SE launched 2011 (Both PowerCell 4’s are still in production)
PowerCell 10 SE Mk II upgraded to Mk III 2012

Clearly we have not upgraded our PowerCell 10SE’s every 7 months. We simply discontinued the PowerCell 6 and 10, added a new 4 outlet PowerCell, and upgraded the 10 SE to Mk II and again to Mk III.

Factors behind upgrading our original PowerCell 10SE to the Mk II version:

1. The EM Cell evolved during our Galileo Research Program that created among other products, our flagship Galileo System cables and Galileo Universal Cable Cells.
2. Enigma Tuning Circuits were added to our then 3 year old TESLA Series power cords (this upgrade was added at no additional cost).
3. After two years of production we had exhausted our stock of large PowerCell chassis’s and needed to order new chassis’s. Ordering chassis’s is a huge commitment of capitol and because we had recently improved both our EM Cell technology and Precision AC power cord, we elected to launch a Mk II version with the aforementioned upgrades.

Factors behind upgrading the Mk II to Mk III:

1. The EM Cell evolved significantly during the development of the Tranquility Base. In fact this latest evolution, which deals primarily with the EM Cells internal ground plane, is the most significant upgrade to the PowerCell since it was first introduced in 2008.
2. After a little over one year we sold our entire production run of chassis’s that took two years to sell through in the original PowerCell’s three versions- 6, 10 and 10SE.
3. Now 6 months into the Mk III’s production cycle we have again sold through our chassis production run- in half the time it took to sell that many Mk II’s and 1/4 the time it took to sell as many of the Original 6, 10, and 10SE PowerCells combined. For the record we just ordered a second round of chassis’s for the Mk III with no plans, or new technology, to build a Mk IV.

At Synergistic Research we don’t upgrade for upgrade’s sake nor do we obsolete our products prematurely. TESLA Series interconnects and speaker cables were in continuous production for over 5 years with only one running change to the LE version which included Enigma tuning circuits from our TESLA SE power cords at no additional charge. As for TESLA SE power cords, they are still in production with no plans at this time to upgrade them nor are we in development of a new line of power cords so, 6 years running and still going strong.

In the case of our new Element Series interconnects and speaker cables, technology developed during our Galileo Research Program existed to build a new breed of cables with higher performance that would be more flexible while offering never before achieved price to performance ratios, so naturally we retired our 5 year old TESLA IC’s and SC’s in favor of the new Element Series.

As for our upgrade program I don’t know what else I can say other then I am very proud of the oldest and least restrictive program in the industry. Back in 1992 when I was a young man sleeping on a futon in my factory to make ends meet I started the cable industries first lifetime upgrade program and called it the Lifetime Passport Protection Plan. Combined with the first line of cables designed to create synergy with target components, instead of the then standard (and now) hierarchy of price points where more expensive always equals better (according to the marketing engines behind most high end companies) Synergistic Research was and is different. Back then we offered four different interconnects and two different speaker cables. The interconnects all had the same price as did the speaker cables. My idea was simple- loan out four different interconnects or two different speaker cables and allow the end user to make his or her decision based on my cables subjective performance in their system. They kept what they liked and returned what they did not, or if they wished, returned all the cables for a full refund. Later as SR grew we introduced new cable models and users traded in their old SR cables for my newer designs- with a 70% trade-in allowance when they doubled up. This program has helped keep the supply of used SR cables relatively low and the resale value relatively high compared to competing brands. Do an AudiogoN search for Synergistic Research and then for other cable brands and you’ll see what I mean. Granted the plan is not perfect and we all wish our used high end audio purchases held their value better then they do, but at SR we do what we can to work with our customers.

The impression that we are aggressively marketing products with planned obsolesce is misplaced and based, I believe, on our development of new products in markets other then audio cables and power cords. This trend started in 2008 (from 1992 to 2008 SR was a cable manufacturer exclusively). I suppose all these new products in new categories have created the impression for some that we are continually introducing new products to replace old. This is simply not the case. What we’ve done is develop new products outside of cables like:

•Isolation devices (MiGs)
•Power conditioners (PowerCells)
•Active Electromagnetic platforms (Tranquility Bases)
•Upgraded power supplies for Active Shielding (Galileo MPCs and Enigma)
•Acoustic Treatments (Acoustic ART), and so on.

Many longtime SR customers like to experiment with our new technologies and products so we make them available through our dealers. When they find something they like, they can take advantage of our Lifetime Passport Protection Plan with no restrictions on like products being traded in for like products. For example many PowerCell 10SE users are upgrading to Mk III and purchasing Tranquility Bases or Element Cables to make up the difference. This also occurs with cables and everything else we make. For people who do not want or need to double up when making an upgrade, they benefit from a used market that has less products and hence better resale value compared to most other brands.

At the end of the day it’s all about the enjoyment of music. Very few of my personal friends have high end audio systems and while I don’t care for the way they sound, they seem perfectly happy and that’s as it should be. We should all enjoy our systems and not obsess over new products or fall into sour grapes just because something new enters the market. Personally I love research and the development of new technologies. Audio is what I do for a living and when people make new high end audio purchases, I want Synergistic Research products to be among the most competitive products on the market. Lately this means branching out into new markets with products I could not have dreamt of only a few years ago, while dramatically improving the performance of my interconnects and speaker cables. The fact is, new products are released every year in all markets, not just audio. Should a new product mean that we suddenly become dissatisfied with what we were completely happy with prior to a new product release? I still love my 1998 BMW M Coupe (the hot hatch based on the Z chassis that I later had modified by Steve Dinon with a blower and suspension work). Sure better, faster, lighter and more powerful sports cars have entered the market in the 14 years I’ve owned “The Bomb” as I call it, but I love that car and drive it every week.

Yours in music,
Ted Denney III
Lead Designer, Synergistic Research Inc.
I once had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours with Ted in a room he tweaked with acoustics and cables.

Seeing some of his perspective was a lesson in audio itself. In my opinion he is driven by his passion to get peak performance out of stereo systems.

I think many people here can relate to that, and those that can, I bet, have some of the best sounding rooms out there regardless of cost.

I recently had a version 2 situation where I lost some money, but decided to upgrade at the same time. Painful but really happy I did it.

Lastly, I understand the point about being unhappy with an upgrade policy, but I have never seen a policy that was better than just selling it myself. Has anyone else?

***Just in case you were wondering I am neither related to Ted, nor share any business interests***

Ones that feel like Sabai just don't understand how Capitalism works and the challenges in operating a business that doesn't have a staff of lobbyists in DC.

Sabai, what country do you live in?
You make good points from your perspective and I make equally good points from mine, IMO. This is like Rashomon -- different facets of the same subject.
With all due respect, I must protect my privacy. I don't divulge personal information. I understand very well how Capitalism works. I own a business. The challenges where I live are far greater that those faced by many in the US or the EU.
Yep Estoril Blue with the blue / black interior, 1 inch lowered, 385 bhp with 350 ft lb torque. The spiritual successor to the last of the air cooled 911's FUN, FUN, FUN!!!

Yours in music (and speeding tickets),
Ted Denney III
Lead Designer, Synergistic Research Inc.
Anyone that throws in prior posts as a defense that does nothing to defend their position is lame sauce IMO.

I've never thought to buy SR stuff because at one time their website was unorganized (still needs work) and lacked information about their products (always got "Information Coming Soon").

They - for me - sell "questionable products": Acoustic resonance control; the tranquility base et al etc etc...

And I agree their updates/upgrades to their cable and PC product lines is way to quick like most all hi-fi businesses trying to make a quick buck with little or no ROI
ted - awesome!
love the breadvan, got so much character that the new ones don't have. it's a modern classic. dinan are good tuners.
996gt3's are good value over there at the moment. they are still a bit too expensive here (aus); hifi is my main hobby.....

back on topic - i think your products are great! i bought my first ones on a visit to ny in 1998, they still sound great in my sytem and have been slowly adding to them since.
keep up the great work!

The reality is that you made the decision to spend your money, and you were obviously happy with your purchases. If you took your "outdated cables" out of the system and put them back in you would find they are still doing what they did when you bought them.
If you expect all future purchases from that manufacturer to be at factory cost, they would be out of business and your purchases would be unsupported.
To go on here and whinge about the cost of upgrades, target specific companies and yet claim that you have to respect your own privacy is hypocracy.
Even if the product were snake oil, you bought it, grow up and stop blaming other people for the outcomes of choices you made.
Protecting my privacy is my right. It is not "hypocracy" [sic]. This claim on your part is clearly a non sequitur. If it were not, the question remains, is everyone required to divulge where they live when they post here? I don't believe country of domicile is an issue on Audiogon.

I am not the only one on this thread and other threads who has made this same observation with regards to SR and other companies. With all due respect, if it irks you to read what people feel please feel free to skip these posts.

You stated: "If you expect all future purchases from that manufacturer to be at factory cost ..."

I did not state this and I did not imply this. I have made the very good point that the SR trade-up policy is not favorable to customers -- contrary to what SR would like customers to believe. Many others have made this same point before on Audiogon. This is not the first time that my observations have been made on the forums. The fact that Ted_d is sensitive to my remarks shows they hit a nerve.

With the SR trade-up policy, you have to buy a product or products of twice the value to get 70%. If you can, it makes more sense to wait, buy on the aftermarket -- and sell on the aftermarket, as well.

I have not given up on SR products. I have many SR products in my system that are excellent. But some people have stated on Audiogon that they have given up on SR because they cannot keep up with the upgrades and have found that their SR products have become too-quickly outdated and the value of their SR purchases has depreciated. I believe this is a reasonable point. Now, some may argue by presenting time lines, that this is not factually correct. However, customer perceptions, even though they may not agree with company time lines, are important to note. Feelings are as important as statistics.
Sabai -

SR 70% trade in deal :

The Lifetime Upgrade Passport Program works as follows:

You receive up to 70% back on the retail value of your original SR purchase regardless of the price you paid. This applies to any Synergistic Research product, even if it is 20 years old. There are only 2 requirements to initiate the program.

1. You are the original owner, (the product was purchased from an Authorized SR dealer). A receipt may be required.

2. You are upgrading to a Synergistic Research product or products whose value is twice the price of the original purchase to receive the full 70 % rebate.


If you purchased an X Series Resolution Reference interconnect in 2001 which retailed for $1000 and you want to use your Passport to purchase a new pair of Element Copper Interconnects ($1200 120 volt US version) and and a Tranquility basik ($950 US 120 volt version), you’ll get 70% or $700 credit toward your purchase. Any combination of new products can be used to reach your two times qualifier so you can take advantage of all our new technologies."

This is actually quite generous. If you assume dealers mark up of 50% then the dealer in the above example makes $300 on a $2000 sale. No business can operate on $15% margin. Yes, they can onsell your tradein, but the reality is this then represents a lost sale of another new product at 50% margin, notwithstanding they may have to dump your tradein at a loss. I dont think many products get more than 50% of new price on 2nd hand market and yet you are offered 70% irrespective of what you paid.

I do not own any SR product but stand by my comments, your arguments are bollocks.
Since you have to purchase a product for twice the price I do not call this a "deal". With all due respect -- which is unfortunately not always reciprocated on the forums, alas -- you have the right to your opinions. I have the right to mine. I stand by my comments.

How or why would someone think or bother to apply for a patent on work that was displayed by Franck T Chang in 2004 "The Original Acoustic Resonator". I suppose a U.S. Patent office agent doesn't have access to the world wide web. I would like to see info as to why one is unique from the other. Tom
Not sure what the point of all of this is. SR has the right to operate its business model as it sees fit and protect its intellectual property whether or not you think all of their products are great or not. Likewise , you have the right to make the choice of buying its products or not, upgrading within SR's line or not. If you don't like SRs business model then switch to a brand that better suits what you are after versus agonizing over the fact that how they operate doesn't suit you. A company like Apple must really give you heartburn!
You make a good point. Since this was already in the public domain one wonders.
In my most humble opinion on high end audio wire companies and the rapid release of model numbers, the consumer could be most at fault here. It appears that the majority of high-end audio is consistently driven by the “what’s new” demand for products that is always required by the audiophile. I definitely identify with the hobbyists demands for the next newest product or technical achievement as I too am often found guilty of the same.

Adding to the “newest out there phenomena”, the cable end of audio appears to be very heavily oversaturated with manufacturers, brand names, used merchandise with huge quantities of varying technical approaches for these products. Based on the limited size of this industry and competition, business owners must have difficulty just staying open.

Is the rapid release of new products just a method of staying in business based on consumer demands?

Cable manufacturing also presents itself as one of the least expensive ways to open an audio business and before the sparks begin to fly in rebuttal, I deeply relate to the fiery desire for personal achievement and believe every DIY audio person looks to someday invent the next futuristic product and open a company of their own related to their love for music.

Although I often wonder how a cable manufacturer suddenly becomes expert in acoustics, vibration, speakers or electronics bringing additional products to market in what appears to be a very little time spent on the research and development stages for product development. The same is true with a few other companies appearing to be focused in on one category of merchandise then overnight expanding into new fields of audio sciences and with production.

We gained experience in the vibration and acoustics control end of audio and spent over two years sampling products seeking to improve the sound in the recording studio. It seemed that each year five new companies arrived and ten disappeared and most of the existing companies had released a series two or three or four to their existing line up so cable companies are not the only category experiencing this type of industry trend.

Are audio companies in the accessory support end of business running out of market percentage influenced by oversaturation? Man, I thought the food industry was tough!

So in closing, do we blame audiophiles, industry trends, a starving economy for rapid increases of upgraded, similar looking or new products costing more with minimal increased performance values and such?

I would rather put the blame on Music. That’s the darn culprit responsible for all this discussion.

It addicts and compels us towards always listening, to learn more.

Disclaimer: My father works with a commercial company that employs various forms of vibration management so I am biased, have had greater access to knowledge from experience and have applied various techniques, multiple grounding principles working in recording studio settings.

I fully understand your points but don't you think this is a bit pointless?. You have started other threads pointing out the same issues. I ask you... ultimately, what do you really want from all of this since there must be a motive behind it all. Even though I agree to some of your points doesn't mean I don't get bored of you nagging on. Move on my friend and enjoy the music.
Sabai is entitled to change his opinion. I have bought audio products that I thought were good, said nice things about them here or in other audio forums, and then realized later, after some experimentation, that I could get better sound for less money, often much less money. Strange that the high priced but underperforming products employed the same business strategy as SR, while the less expensive but superior products were from companies that have a more "stable" product line (Pass, BPT, Crimson, Clear Day.)
I took the time to look thru Mr. Denney's patent application
for his acoustic resonators. They appear to be well explained
and different enough to be considered for a patent. Just my
opinion and not one based on a legal backround. Good luck
thru the process.
Post removed 
The point is to stimulate discussion on a sensitive point. When you live overseas and you want to try out a cable -- or trade up -- the shipping cost can be hundreds of dollars in one direction. Multiply this by a few transactions and you are talking about a large sum of money. The problem is exacerbated by duty.

People in the US can avail themselves of relatively cheap shipping so that trading up -- or trying out cables -- is quite reasonable. If you try to do this overseas the cost can quickly become unreasonable, alas.

I have found that it takes a lot of buying and selling to come up with a solution that works for my system. This has meant going against "the grain" -- not opting for a loom from one maker. I have found that there are some excellent products from non-SR companies that produce extraordinary synergy in series with some SR products. Because my approach is unconventional and I live overseas it costs a lot more in shipping costs to put this together than if I were living in the lower 48. Making mistakes is very costly. There is loss through buying and reselling products as well as the loss on the cost of shipping them back and forth.

I appreciate your post very much. It examines the interrelationship of various factors that inform our audio choices. As you rightly point out, we are compelled to improve the quality of sound that our systems produce. But I have found that most products, especially in the cable department, provide incremental improvement at maximum cost. This goes for most high end cable companies, IMO. You can burn a lot of cash trying to find out which are gems and which are not worth the price.

For instance, how does one evaluate a product such as the SR Galileo Universal Speaker Cells? I have not read a testimonial anywhere about them. I have had them in my system for over a year. They bring a refinement in the sound that is significant. But, in series with Bybee Golden Goddess SE Speaker Bullets, the effect is much more palpable. Alone, each product offers an significant incremental improvement.

How do I evaluate the cost-effectiveness of each of these products? Well, that's the $64,000 question. Although I would not want to listen to my system without this combo I would say both products are over-priced -- compared with some other cable/tweak products I have in my system.

One nice thing that the Speaker Cells allow me to do is add one more level of speaker cables. With the Cardas Golden Cross sandwiched between ASI Liveline and HiDiamond (top-of-the-line) the sound is incomparable. Bybee Speaker Purifiers are in there too. There are 6 levels of cables/tweaks between amp and speakers. Each level makes a significant improvement to the sound. This is not for everyone.

In my system, in the cable/tweak department, dollar-for dollar by far the biggest bangs for the bucks are the old Bybee Quantum Purifiers -- AC, IC, speaker -- and HiDiamond cables. The Bybee Ultra PC (on the aftermarket) also provides excellent value -- in series with other PCs with Bybee Purifiers sandwiched in the middle the sound is elevated to a much higher level.

The SR Hologram D is a killer PC -- but at a killer price. I have yet to try HiDiamond PCs -- coming soon. I have all my PCs in series and will try the Hologram D in series with HiDiamond after A/B-ing them individually. The quest for the best possible sound -- within a diminishing audio budget -- continues.
Wow Sabby D nailed you to the wall LOL yet you manage to write back with your messy answers/thoughts.


That was some great come backs in defense to Sabby's beef. You are a very smart man and you have stood up in an intelligent way. The best response from anyone who would have started such a thread would be an apology for being a hypocrite.

I have written a bunch of trash on these threads myself about your ways D and I do turn from my foolish writings in light of your rebuttal.

Keep up the research D and have a good one.
I appreciate your comments since they stimulate a deeper discussion of the matter. One can find the predictable responses to my posts:

1. Most companies do the same thing. If you don't like it move on to companies you like. Stop complaining and let us enjoy the music and the forums.
2. Way to go company!! Keep those great products coming so they can trickle down to us.

Both of these responses avoid the issues that I am encouraging discussion of, which are:

1. How much are you paying for the sonic improvements you are looking for? Do you feel you are paying too much -- or way too much -- for incremental improvements?
2. How are companies marketing their products? What motivates some companies to stick with a slower tried-and-true line that attracts a loyal following through good word of mouth and that evolves slowly -- while other companies gallop ahead with one fantastic improvement after the next --- accompanied by assertive marketing claims, to be sure, and replete with superlatives.

In hindsight, most improvements turn out to be no more than incremental. Customers are hyped to pay top dollar with the promise of something dazzling in return. A whole new line is usually rolled out to satisfy every budget interested and to give the illusion that no matter how lowly one's budget, everyone will participate in the latest and greatest, to one extent or another.

Frankly, I think it's all about getting audio buyers as excited as possible to motivate them to buy new. This may be an obvious point but I feel it cannot hurt to mention it. The pricing structure of new lines will be whatever new buyers are willing to bear. That is usually dictated by historical pricing -- what has become the pricing norm for individual manufacturers.

In other words, you will rarely see a manufacturer cutting the price of their top-rated new product by 50% vs. their previous comparative market entrant. You will likewise rarely see a manufacturer doubling the price of their top-rated new product vs. their previous comparative market entrant. To a great extent, once the cost of production and reasonable mark-up have been taken into account, prices are related to marketing when we are looking at the very high end companies.

Each new line is the absolute best, of course. So, when you look back, by corollary, if you bought 2 lines ago you paid way too much for way too little. The faster this marketing process is speeded up the truer the statement, IMO. Each successive line is highly touted, of course. It becomes a game that only the very well-heeled can participate in from start to end.

If one is budget-conscious, one is in a bind. It may take 2 or 3 years to get a really good buy on a line you may have a strong interest in. This means waiting longer than many people are willing to do. Patience is hard to come by when the latest and greatest is dangling before your eyes.
You stated above that you own a business, so my questions to you are - Do you not market/hype your business and products or services? Do you not try to differentiate yourself from your competitors? Do you not innovate to attract customers? Do you not look for unexplored market niches? Do you price your products or services without a mark-up that allows you the returns you want? Along with great customer service companies who want to stay in business and succeed do these things. So if your answer is yes to most if not all, then why shouldn't audio manufacturers be able to do the same. Presumably your customers have the choice of doing business with you or not. Likewise, you have choices to make audio purchases from whatever company you like within the context of how each operates. Good luck on your quest and, yes enjoy the music!
I have a modest one-product business. I am rather conservative. I have made 3 revisions to my product in going-on 20 years. I obviously do not believe in making revisions unless they are important. My customers are pretty happy the way things are.

The issue at hand is not about differentiating one's product from others, nor is it about attracting customers. It is about the pace of changes in the modern world. I was brought up with ink wells and a penny bought you 3 black balls. There are many things about the break-neck rush toward technological perfection in our modern world that are very troublesome to me. High end audio has been infected with this compulsion for new products at nearly break-neck speed.

I am happy when I discover a new product, component, cable or tweak that brings improved sound to my system. But most of the products I have put money into were not worth the price. I have not been afraid to spend $5000 on a product. The only thing is that, in the end, after closer assessment, there have been few products that have been worth it. The rest have been sold off.

If I started to tell the stories of some high end audio names -- 3 in fact -- some of the most touted names in the business with world-class designers behind them -- and how they blew up and nearly took down my system I would cause more forum problems for myself than I have the time to reply to.

With regards to components, not only are manufacturing standards and testing standards often poor, the quality of parts is often a pathetic joke. I opened one unit that suddenly had a "major malfunction" and I instantly knew why I had never seen a photo of the inside anywhere on the internet including on the manufacturer's site. The quality of the parts was pathetic. A piece of junk. We're talking about a product in the $10,000 to $15,000 range from one of the top makers in the world. Shocking. I had it repaired and sold it off.

With regards to cables, I took apart a multi-thousand dollar cable from a very high end company and was shocked to see a cheap plastic dialectric, substandard plug and IEC and the cheapest manufacturing quality one could imagine. Shocking. I sold off the other cables I had from the same company.

Beyond the issue of product quality, I feel that most of what is brought to market in high-end audio could well have remained a glint in the eye of whoever came up with the brilliant new idea -- and the audio world would not have been one iota worse off. In high end audio you need to tread very carefully if you have budget constraints, which most of us do.

Someone asked me about Apple in an earlier post. The only apple I have is the one I eat. I do have a cell phone -- very convenient. It is 11 years old -- still going strong. I am looking for a used one so I can keep going with the same model. In many ways I am an anachronism in today's world. My mother passed away recently at nearly 100. I was brought up very old-fashioned. I am still very old-fashioned in many ways.

Need I say -- all the above is IMHO.
Hey Gloria,
Long time no hear. I have no idea what you are talking about. Frankly, anyone who is trying to nail anyone to the wall on these forums needs to get that old blood pressure cuff on to check if things are within the normal range -- especially the diastolic. Too many people take things too darn seriously here. After all, this is just an audio forum, is it not?
We found that there are a few audio companies now offering thirty day trial periods for their products. This offering would solve most issues of paying more money for the latest or upgraded product versus the value realized from the performance (knowing that perceptions by each person will be as different as each other’s listening room).

Trade in programs are great incentives for maintaining a client base but Sabai does make a financial point on having to pay additional import tax, duty and freight fees thus governing ones decision to make the trade and without knowing if said trade is worth the money. If SR provided a return guarantee then Sabai is only out the return freight costs and could possibly remain a satisfied customer.

Granted in that cable manufactures may fear too many returns based on client listening objections or having to pay for the added administrative costs in providing such a program but would not a long time well spoken loyal customer be worth that risk and expense?

You may also find that the companies offering return policies are extremely confident in that their products are on a one way trip and truthfully I love to see that attitude of certainty in a company. Some of these companies have products still being sold today that have not changed for ten to twenty years so what does that say about their company?

My opinion is if you are involved in this controversial high end audio business and truly believe that your products are some of the best offered a thirty day return policy will strengthen your bottom line and customer base over time. If not then it is back to the old drawing boards.
I used to own lots of Synergistic wire. I owned the Resolution Reference cables. They sounded great at the time. I got tired of all the Active Shielding mess. It really became a pain to plug all that stuff in. When SR replaced it with the new line I looked into trading up. Much to expensive. Also it took months to get a Quattro fixed. So guess what, I took a chance on the Signal Cable line. I found it did everything the SR stuff did for far less money and without Active Shielding!! So what do you know, I found that cables are very hyped. They all do sound different but it is hard to out do high quantities of good old pure copper for the speaker and power cords. I do use the partially Silver Resolution interconnects. Throw in high quality connectors and one has a wire that will stand head to toe with anything I've had in my system. Frank at Signal Cable is to be commended.

Besides I really believe one would achieve better results by spending $20,000.00 on a new DAC or preamp than wire. If I had tens of thousands of bucks to spend I might get interested in new wire again. I'll keep my Signal Cable.