How Do You Feel about The Cable Game?


Synergistic Research has finally figured out what a lot of cable makers have known for a long time -- that you don't need active shielding and all the expensive gizmos that go along with it to produce good sound.

So, after you spent all that money on ground-breaking MPCs and Galileo MPCs -- and then the expensive ground-breaking Transporter to replace them -- all those wires snaking around back so you could not figure out what was attached to what -- and tuning bullets and improved tuning bullets -- SR has now launched their Ultra Performance Atmosphere cables -- sans active shielding -- thanks to Ralph Karsten of Atma-Sphere for the great name. Name poaching is back in fashion.

Trying to unload all of your game-changing SR cables with their active shielding gizmos should be fun -- at the same time everyone else is rushing for the exit. Good luck. Many of your beloved-turned-redundant SR purchases may already have found a new home -- in your Used Audio Gear Storage Closet.

I note that the famous-turned-mundane SR tuning bullets and improved tuning bullets have been supplanted by Red and Blue Ground Plane Tuning Modules. Sounds great. But just wait till Black and Orange Transducer Ground Plane Ultra Tuning Modules come along. Did you notice? Everything is a transducer nowadays at SR.

Speaking of transducers, I wonder why SR would call their resonator HFTs transducers when they have nothing whatsoever to do with real transducers such as speakers and microphones? I guess it's because transducer sounds better than resonator -- a term used by so many companies to describe a variety of room treatment products. I guess it's harder to sell your products when everyone is using the same product name.

I also wonder why SR would talk about their game-changing FEQs "exciting" HFTs when they do no such thing. FEQs look to me like souped up Schumann resonance devices. I have 10 Schumanns in my system -- and lots of DIY HFTs that cost a buck a piece to make vs. the famous SR HFTs at $60 a pop. Schumanns do not "excite" HFTs or other resonators. But saying they do sounds really good. What could be more exciting then a device that "excites" another device. Makes the head spin. The fact is that these room treatments may complement one another but they act independently of one another despite all the exciting promo material. Sorry for this digression.

With the launch of Atmosphere Ultra ICs and speaker wires SR finally admits that their earlier cable offerings were not really Ultra after all -- although they wanted you to believe they were via their promo material and all the reviewers dutifully in tow for the Tesla, Galileo and Element series. Did you notice? SR always finds ways to depreciate the value of their earlier offerings just as buying interest starts to cool for their recent "game-changers".

And this time is no exception. Just when you gave up on the Tesla series and Galileo series and you thought that the Element series was the cat's meow they have found a new way to keep you chasing the cable rainbow -- that merry-go-round fueled by wondrous marketing -- the Atmosphere series ICs and speaker wires. Of course they "set a new benchmark for absolute performance levels" and "deliver state-of-the-art performance" with their “cutting edge technology” while on the way to delivering their "legendary holographic sound" and “the highest levels of performance in the industry”. Did you expect anything less from SR? I note that the background with SR's new Ultra Performance Atmosphere cables is appropriately "ultra black" where before it was only "jet black" and "ink black". Sounds great. You can always depend on SR to come up with a darker shade of black.

As usual, to cover all ends of the market, there are 4 levels of Atmosphere. The good news is that Level 4 is only $5000 for a pair of speaker wires. I wonder how much they will fetch on Audiogon once their upgrades arrive? Shades of Apex and Apex LE. Remember Apex? "Apex is a paradigm shift in cable performance ... [a] no compromise interconnect for the listener who wants it all." Ah, the good old days when SR superlatives were in their infancy.

But the game is not over yet. Wait till SR's new Atmosphere "Ultra Performance" cables are supplanted by the Atmosphere MKII and MKIII. As sure as the sun rises in the east new game-changers will follow on the heels of old game-changers. You can always count on SR for a new angle -- and a good laugh. Stay tuned -- excuse the pun.
sabai
I couldn't have said it better Sabai.
I'm out of the cable game. No more speaker cables. No more interconnects. No more interconnects. No more digital cable. No more power cords. Only really really thin earphone cables. I'm out there and lovin' it, Jerry!
Somehow I was expecting more substance to this thread from the title. It seems that it is only a long rant against one cable company.

I am not defending SR, but why single them out? They are simply playing the same game as the rest of the industry.

Perhaps you should simply have titled the thread "I'm mad as hell at SR".
Sabai,
In another thread on GG cables, you stated :-

"12-22-10: Sabai
..........I just installed a Synergistic Research PowerCell 10SE power conditioner with Galileo MPC in my system. I have mostly Gabriel Gold cables in my system -- ICs, PC and SCs. The synergy between the SR PowerCell 10SE -- right out of the box -- and the Gabriel Gold cables is perfect. Wide and deep sound stage, wonderful resolution -- very detailed and warm, at the same time -- and superb dynamics. ......"

Something must have happened along the way for you to turn away from SR. Do share with us. It's good to ventilate, and at the same time, keep fellow forumers informed. :)
J.
Who's paying you to slam Synergistic Research? So a
designer continues to refine what he is doing; isn't that
what Transparent does with it's network boxes? Seems like
the old Reference line becomes the new Ultra line and
everything moves down a series when something new is
introduced at the top. At least Ted Denny's designs aren't
as absurdly priced as many other cables. I listened with
skepticism to the PHT cartridge tweek last weekend. First
no PHT was applied to the cartridge,then the Purple Haze. I
was dumbfounded by the obvious improvement to all aspects of
the sound presented. Then off went the Purple Haze and on
went the Blue Velvet. Again, obvious improvement easy to
detect! No convincing yourself you're hearing something,
just clearly audible improvements. What's more head
scratching is each of the PHTs are shaped the same and weigh
the same, yet the sound difference is clear. The Blue
Velvet elicits what you'd like; a luxuriously, dense musical
presentation as smooth as velvet. The Purple Haze is
anything but a haze; it is musical with pinpoint imaging,
instrument body and weigh, and without sounding analytical
or Hi-Fi sounding. Whatever Ted Denny is doing works and
while it may not make sense scientifically, it does in
listening tests. If you don't like his products, go
elsewhere. If enthusiasts listen to his new products and
choose to purchase them because they sound better than
earlier models, what's it to you?
Jmcgrogan2,

I'm not mad at SR at all. I am having some fun with this. Did you miss the humor? -- a blacker shade of black, harkening back to Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade of Pale? I saw Procol Harum live in 1968 -- simply great. I use SR as an example. They are so easy to have fun with since their marketing is so transparent, excuse the audio pun. But, as you rightly point out, they are no different from so many other cable makers.

Jon2020,

That's 5 years ago -- that 5 lifetimes in Audioland. "Something must have happened"? 5 lifetimes of "something" have happened to my system since then. I imagine most everyone who is as active as I am developing their system would be able to say the something similar. After all, that's what we are here for on Audiogon, to develop our systems and to share what we are doing with others.
Hifimaniac,

I'm glad to hear you're enjoying your PHTs. I like to have some audio fun. I have no connection whatsoever to any audio company except as a customer.
Jon2020,

I sold off all my SR gear a long time ago. I am not ventilating. I am just trying to have some audio fun. Did you miss the humor? a blacker shade of black -- harkening back to Los Bravos' Black is Black and Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade of Pale -- name poaching -- souped up Schumanns -- everything is a transducer nowadays -- the good old days when SR superlatives were in their infancy -- new game-changers will follow on the heels of old game-changers.

I love the 2 Peters in their YouTube with Peter B. staring at the camera, his head bobbing up and down like the doggy thing on your dashboard. I mean ya gotta laugh at that HFT for Dummies video with the 2 Peters teaching arithmetic, counting out their HFTs one by one while staring into the camera. This is as good as stand-up comedy except, in this case, they both have a straight face.

Responses need not be so serious. Let's lighten up here and enjoy the humor of cable companies doing their thing.
Hifimaniac,

You stated, "Whatever Ted Denny is doing works and while it may not make sense scientifically, it does in listening tests."

I think it is clear that SR is heading more in the direction of room treatments because their room treatments have more of a positive impact than their cables do. And the profit margin is much more favorable with room treatments. $60 for an HFT pimple -- imagine how much they cost to produce. My own DIY HFTs cost about a buck a piece to make.

SR cables are mid-performance cables, IMO. They are not the best bang for your hard-earned cable buck. I think Shunyata make far better performing cables at a fraction of the price of SR cables. But that's only for my ears in my system. YMMV.
Hifimaniac,

Do you still have your Synergistic Research Powercell 10SE power conditioner?
Sabai, are you still interested in an audio club, see audio club in forums, there's several people with recent posts. Check it out - Southeast Mass, RI
Love to play it its great.
Ebm,

Are you referring to a specific product?
Sabai has done this many times. He loved, then hated Grover Huffman. He loved then hated HiDiamond. He loved, then hated Synergistic Research.

He seems to think he is the cable god and everything he says should be taken as such.

I've pretty much quit reading anything authored by him and any of his responses.

He's lost all credibility, (with me anyway).
Mofimadness,

The OP was about having some fun with cable companies and how they market their products. It seems like you want to change that into a new OP called "Sabai's Love-Hate Relationship with Cable Companies". LOL.

I have gone through a lot more cable companies than that. Depending on the level of my system at the time, they may sound good for a while. Until another element in the system changes and then the cabling needs to go to a higher level, as well. This is easy to understand.

Cable god? I am flattered. I'm sorry to disappoint you but I cannot claim such a lofty position. I only have my own system and my own experience to fall back on. There's a ton of components and cables I have never heard. So, with all due respect, elevating me to the mountain top is clearly inappropriate.

And, with all due respect, I am not looking for "credibility". I have nothing to sell. And frankly, at my age, I really am not concerned about what others say or think about me. I am looking to have a bit of fun with cable companies and their marketing. That's all. With all due respect, if this does not suit your fancy no one is forcing you to participate.

I am surprised that so many posters are taking this discussion so seriously -- like they owned stock in the company. Sabai said such-and-such in 2012 and such-and-such in 2010 about such-and-such a cable company. I mean it is flattering that people either have such a long memory or are going to the trouble to look this up. Am I such an important fellow here? Not in my opinion. It would be great if some folks would lighten up and enjoy a few laughs. Life is too short. IMO.
TIme to play The game
Ahh yes, I do seem to recall him having issues with Grover Huffman, though I don't recall the HiDiamond.
I guess he is just one of those who like to complain. The world is full of complainers.
Sabai, yes, I do still have my Powercell 10SE and like it very much. I wish I had the model with the tuning bullets on the cable as friends do. It is amazing what the tuning bullets can do. I agree with the acknowledgment of Synergistic Research's focus on room treatments. I have heard them all at shows, but more importantly in real world systems in friend's houses and I can easily hear the improvement to sound when used versus when taken out. The ART system was the first, then the Tranquility bases, the ECTs (I think that's the name)and last weekend the PHT Purple Haze and Blue Velvet. Soon I will hear the new Atmosphere. One of my more memorable rooms of Ted's was at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest the year before last when he treated the room with his different treatments and played a Bose Wave radio as the source. You'd have thought you were listening to a tube system over Sasha's or YG's. It was the most amazing thing I have ever heard. If audiophiles would try some of his room treatments they might avoid the upgrade urge and mistake. His treatments can transform a sound stage and make it sound like you upgraded your electronics. I applaud the work Ted is doing and if others can't hear it, that is okay. At least demo some of his stuff and get recommendations on what might be the best first choice to try before purchasing anything. The support team at Synergistic Research are great and accommodating so audiophiles make a good decisions on Synergistic Research products.
Yes using Stealth V14 speaker wire V12 power cords game over.
The cable companies are all evil. Must be. There is no other explanation for it, is there? Either that or just smart business men.
"It's all about the game and how you play it.
All about control and if you can take it.
All about your debt and if you can pay it.
It's all about pain and who's gonna make it."

That pretty much sums it up.
I don't think the OP is being honest with us. He has posted what is essentially the same thread three times.
"I am the game, you don't wanna play me.
I am control, no way you can change me.
I am heavy debt, no way you can pay me.
I am the pain and I know you can't take me."

That is a wire company talking. Its how they play the game.

Ha Ha Ha.... (evil laugh).
EBM, look out! Are you sure you want to play the game?

Ha Ha Ha.....
When John Dunlavy was alive, he had some very strong opinions about the 'cable game'. He would do extensive blindfold tests with a variety of high end cables to see if differences could be consistently detected and then compared that to much lower cost cables. You probably can guess the results.

I had a relative that would drink nothing but RC Cola. After years of insisting on having it at every family function I set up a blindfold test with Coca Cola, Pepsi, RC etc. You can probably guess the results of that as well.
Oh, I get it. Dunlavy was deaf. Good one!
No way you could get an RC Cola or Pepsi past me!
Jmcgrogan2,

It is unfortunate that so many posters are so serious here. A few have appreciated the humor in my OP -- but some seem to prefer to live in the past, digging into the Audiogon Archives to try to discredit the messenger rather than appreciate the humor of the OP. As we know, this sort of thing is very typical of the way some OPs are handled by some seasoned posters on the Forum -- sling a little mud and try to sully the thread and get the original poster to give up and disappear. Fortunately, I am too old to care about what others think about me or what I write. Anyway, each to his own -- Different Strokes for Different Folks -- as the song goes. I actually saw Sly and the Familty Stone back in the 60s. They were great!
Hifimaniac,

You stated, "If audiophiles would try some of his room treatments they might avoid the upgrade urge and mistake." I agree. Actually, I still have the SR ART system in my room and I like it very much. It is part of my extensive room treatments that you can view with my system. SR's room treatments are being well received by many audiophiles lately. Their cables less so these days. They don't make the Big Splash that they used to. I think the reason is obvious.
Hifimaniac,

I used to have the Powercell SE. There are much better power conditioners out there these days. I have the Shunyata Triton now -- a great unit. Have you considered upgrading?
Ebm,

Thanks for the tip about Stealth. I have never heard them. I will look these up.
Mapman,

Sorry -- I don't agree that all cable companies are evil. I think that some have inferior products they will do anything to flog. Some are less scrupulous than others when it comes to business ethics.
Onhwy61,

When I queried Audiogon about the thread being taken down it turns out there is a new person working there and they got things mixed up. So, this was not my doing -- nothing nefarious happening here. Just an honest Audiogon mistake.
Brauser,

Your comments about John Dunlavy are interesting. I have never heard about this before. But I mentioned somewhere in an old thread that if you did double blind A/B testing with different cable manufacturers in the room I don't think many makers would be able to single out there own cables. This is an interesting thought because if makers don't know their own cables what are the rest of us to make of them?
It might be an interesting thought though probably not true, who knows? Michael Fremer over at Stereophile came THIS CLOSE to blind testing some $15K high end cables and win The Amazing Randi's Million Dollar Challenge.
I am grateful for the improvements in my system due to the improving quality of interconnects and speaker cables.
Also appreciate HDMI. May materials and designs (knowledge) continue to improve. I'm sure they will; our (tech) world is so young. Cheers.
Geoffkaik...Dunlavy most certainly was not deaf and designed some of the best speakers ever offered to the public. I talked to him on multiple occasions and he felt very strongly that past a certain threshold, high-end cable manufactures were just playing around with differences that were tradeoffs at best. His listening tests almost always ended with very little correlation of cost to discernable performance improvements. In fact, most listeners couldn't even tell their own cable from anyone else's cable in the test group. I suppose I should also mention that when it came to room acoustics and speaker placement (and such), he was very passionate about those topics and wrote a number of 'white papers' which have become something of a standard in the industry. In fact, if you go to one of your local high-end audio shops and talk about these kind of things, it's likely the advice that will be given will be a rehash of Dunlay's empirical findings, without the salesperson even knowing the source.
Here is how I played the game. Seven years ago an audio buddy and major collector send me home with a bunch cables to try, all leading brands at the time. It took weeks to audition them all. I ended up buying mid level MIT because they sounded the best to me. I hate those ugly boxes on the cables. BTW, I have seen the video on youtube of some Guy cutting them open. Don't care, they sound good to me. I went from being a sceptic, to less sceptic after the 2nd set of cables.
Brauser, lots of people have negative (null) results with AB comparisons, blind tests, whatever. Don't mean a thing because no one person and no single test can prove anything one way or the other. Even if the person is passionate, is sincere, is a good scout and helps older women cross the street. The best advice I can give is to throw out the tests that obtain negative results, there are lots of reasons why even well meaning people get them. They are just outliers.
We are ALL waiting for someone who can demonstrate that two cables can sound different given that they have 1) same length, 2) same gauge, 3) same connectors, 4) same copper quality.... just different geometry, and insulation.
I think the differences heard are because of different gauges and/or connectors. Nothing else.
Brauser,

This is really interesting information. I will have to look up Dunlavy. His findings mirror my own feelings and, I imagine, the feelings of many others. Having heard a lot of cables in my system from different makers I agree that most are trade-offs -- if not trade-downs. I also believe that room acoustics are the most important area for improvement once your system is at a certain level. Witness the 30 to 40 room treatments in my system. This is an incremental process. At each stage the sound improves to some degree, depending on the element that is added and its placement. Placement is crucial when you have so many room treatments. Making them work well together is a real challenge -- and a lot of fun, as well. It sounds like Dunlavy is right up my alley.
Chrisr,

I think you're right. The differences will be slight if the construction is similar. Differences heard may be most affected by the conductors, gauge and connectors.
02-26-15: Chrisr
We are ALL waiting for someone who can demonstrate that two cables can sound different given that they have 1) same length, 2) same gauge, 3) same connectors, 4) same copper quality.... just different geometry, and insulation.

No, YOU are waiting for someone who can demonstrate....blah, blah, blah.

Don't assume you are speaking for everyone.

I think the differences heard are because of different gauges and/or connectors. Nothing else.

That's better, you are certainly entitled to your opinion.
Well, I am pretty sure wire directionality certainly comes into play. Mid you can't hear the difference in sound by simply flipping your interconnects around you're probably in need of a good old fashioned candle waxing. I won't even mention dielectric material, purity of conductor, the actual conductor metal, the size of the conductor, whether shielded or not, gee whiz, that's already a boatload of variables.
Jmcgrogan2,

IMO, some of us need to lighten up and take comments as they come -- and enjoy the humor. "Transgressors" do not have to be met with the "audio guillotine" falling each time someone steps over an imaginary line. Let's keep things friendly and enjoy the ride, shall we?
Let's face it, if a base, generic cable worked perfectly, someone would make a $1000 version, numerous customers would buy it, and many of us would want to believe and dream of owning it...lust for it. It's part of 'phile's world.
Sabai, I owned at one time, the complete top of the line SR products. But, I couldn't keep up with the constant "new and better" products. When the "new" version came out, my recent $$$ purchases became worth a fraction of what I just paid and I was unable to purchase the latest and greatest version.

So, my biggest complaint with SR is that they don't provide the customers a meaningful upgrade path towards the "newest and greatest" version.
I finally had to cut my loss and move on. In doing so I found many other cables for far less money that provided much more audio enjoyment, including some DIY versions.

But, you gotta give SR credit for continually searching for improvements to their products. Albeit at the cost of alienating there customer base.

P.S. I'm glad you like my DIY version of the HFT's.
Ozzy,

You stated, "... I found many other cables for far less money that provided much more audio enjoyment." I believe many people feel as you do. I was upgrading SR cables for quite a while then gave up when I discovered other cables delivered much better sound at a much better price. It's as simple as that. I believe SR may still have their uptrade policy but that is like going to the casino. The house eventually wins. I pointed out a long time ago on another thread that if you continually uptrade with SR you end up with zero and they end up with it all. But they make it sound attractive to lure those who are susceptible. As you rightly point out, they alienate their customer base and end up encouraging people to look elsewhere. I do give them credit for innovation in the area of room treatments. I think this is their strongest card at the moment.

Thanks for the useful information about the DIY HFTs. I like what mine do in my system. I live overseas and was never able to source the right sized cap on Ebay. They always ended up sending caps that were too wide. So, I have a modified version using the best sized cap I could get hold of and that works well.
Ozzy - someone should have explained to you that Synergistic Research has a lifetime "passport" upgrade program that provides you with 70% of the price you paid for your older S/R cables towards the price of brand new S/R cables. It is one of the very best programs in the industry! No meaningful upgrade path? Absolutely they have one and it is one of the best!
Jwpstayman,

The SR program is called an uptrade program. As I pointed out in another thread a long time ago, if you continually run on the SR treadmill and continue to trade up you end up with nothing and SR ends up with everything. Just do the math. This is a great marketing illusion -- and one of the most profitable ideas SR has ever come up with, IMO. It relies on the susceptible to get on board. And I imagine they do. I did a long time ago until I finally realized that I was losing out on better valued cables from other companies -- and losing a lot of money staying on the treadmill.