I tried them in my system. They certainly work and impact the bass and if you have big problems they could be what you want. However they impart a certain tone to the sound, an artificial edge that I found grating. My room is heroically treated for bass management and room acoustics in general so in the context of a much more lively room they may work well
Haven't used the Black Box. But I have a whole bunch of the other stuff in the review, which I totally agree with, including the part about these things being designed to work well together. Definitely not a case of decreasing marginal returns here!
I started with PHT and ECT. Worked so well I have two PHT on my Koetsu, another on the arm, two ECT on the arm base and another on the motor. Two ECT each in the motor controller and Herron phono stage. Three ECT on my tube amp. The room has 10 HFT plus 2 Wide Angle HFT and the full HFT speaker kit on each speaker. That's a lot but every single one of these makes a difference. Add them all together its put my system on a whole new level. In terms of alternatives, honestly think there is probably no amount of money you could spend on speakers/amps/cables that would get you to where these do.
So on that basis alone I would have to say the Black Box is worth it. But it would probably make more sense to do the others first. Or if you want to go all-in high end-electronics.com has a special right now https://highend-electronics.com/products/synergistic-research-black-box That would be a huge, huge big deal if you did that. They seem to be one of the bigger Synergistic retailers in the country, or at any rate have been really good with me, no hesitation whatsoever recommending them or the SR stuff.
Reading the review it actually mirrors my experience with the BB. What it reads like (and what I heard) is that the BB exaggerates and emphasizes the leading edge of bass notes. Now while this can be quite exciting in a way it is actually a coloration and nothing like real bass. I also found that I could hear the effect of the BB even when it was in the room next door.
The effect of the BB is an amped up version of the ART bass station which I have long used. I have four of these and over time dialed back to only using two, and in a position that minimizes their impact. It seems the BB is a tool that needs to be used carefully and sparingly if at all.
So while I have over $100k in SR components in my rig at present at least for me the BB is one I tried and returned.
The Black Box is sensitive to placement and vibration control. I have brass fishing cones pushed through the spikes and rosewood blocks on top of the edge of the unit that is closest to the wall. I can hear a difference in the sound resulting from the smallest adjustment of proximity to the wall. For me the Black Box is indispensable.
@shkong78 it's simply a sympathetic resonance device tuned to bass frequencies -- the ART bass stations are one single small cup and I presume the BB contains many such cups tuned to different frequencies
As @sgordon1 notes the BB is sensitive to mounting and location (personally I never liked the long spikes SR use on this and the ART modules, far too easy to bend and actually rather dangerous) -- I wouldn't be surprised if decoupling also works really well (I love what that does to my FEQs and one day will try it on my Atmosphere as well)
Net net my experience is that this thing does work, it does have an impact but like all bass tuning you need to try it and be careful in how you use it. That's why SR offer the 30 day guarantee and return
I tried the BB for three months (mostly in the box). I use 32 SR HFTs and tried the BB with and without the Atmosphere XL4.
The BB made the sound more warm in the low end; but; unfortunately, it cut off the highs at about 8Khz. The highs just vanished. This was seconded by several friends and a cable manufacturer. Just lopped off the highs. Very dissapointing as my dealer said only 10% are returned. I placed it behind, in-line, in front, on the sides several locations, on the rear wall, all over. It's effects were most prominent in front the speakers and in the middle of the room.
The SR HFTs replaced a slew of absorption panels and nearly eliminated slap echo in a too reverberant room. I will be using them in my new home’s custom $165,000 listening room. The designer said that I could gain 100% more spacious sound with a quad diffusers at $30,000. I’m going to try my SR HFTs instead plus I don’t have the extra funds, don’t want two walls with 17" deep diffusers if I can help it.
when it comes to the black box or feq, what happens if they are plugged into a power bar and NOT the wall outlet like the instructions recommend. If its working at 100 percent at the wall outlet, why percentage would you get if they were plugged into a power bar? 70 percent? how bad do you think it would be?
The Black Box has no power connections so your question is moot
As to the FEQ -- there are actually two plugs to be connected. The power plug (a wall wart) is fine in any sort of power bar or conditioner -- I plug mine into my PowerCell. In fact I find it sounds even better using a short pigtail extender I made -- that takes some of the stress off the heavy wall wart. With this setup you actually get 110% of the performance of the straight into the wall setup
The second plug is for the ground connection. This must be plugged into the same wall duplex as the FEQ (or the power strip or conditioner that is powering the FEQ). It should not be plugged into the power strip itself -- if you do you'll get 20% of the effect, in fact it may make the system sound worse than not using the FEQ at all!
If you do not have a pair of duplex outlets available you can of course by a SR ground system and plug the ground into that -- however this in turn will need to be plugged into that same spare outlet -- you will at least need only one outlet no matter how many things you then need to ground
Hope this makes sense - it can seem pretty confusing
You’ve made a pretty serious claim without any follow-up information to substantiate your claim.
Just out of curiosity, which SR products have you tried in your system? What were the results? Did you find that they actually degraded the sound instead of improving it? If you found that they degraded the sound, or did nothing, did you have any difficulties getting your money back using the SR 30-day return policy?
I don’t have a lot of SR products in my system. So far, I’m using SR Level III power cords, the SR Blue fuses (prior to installing the prototype fuses) and ten HFTs spread around the room. All of these products have allowed for significant improvements. So I’m rather surprised at your above statement. Please elaborate.
"So go out and get everything they make its ok with me."
That's not the point. here's what you said:
"Almost everything they sell is over-hyped gimmicks"
You're basing that on a cable you tried "years ago," and what a friend said about a Black Box he tried? And yet, with that flimsy evidence you're willing to destroy the reputation of a reputable business?
Here's a match. Strike it and burn the business down.
@ozzy theoretically this is the same as using both outlets on a duplex and provided no other components share the strip (i.e. its just the FEQ and the ground) then I see no reason why it should not sound the same. Once you plug anything else into the strip then you are messing up the ground and that may be why things take a turn for the worse. I actually had a setup something like this back in LA where I had a bunch of MPCs plugged into an SR extension strip along with the FEQs, I still used a spare duplex outlet for the ground however -- it sounded OK.
Anyway experimentation is easy but it's surprising how easy it is to screw up these grounds -- for example you should take care to dress the ground wire carefully so it doesn't touch the floor or have any sharp turns or coils in it -- keeping it away from other wires and floating freely is quite audible (in a positive way)
Exactly @ozzy -- those grounding boxes really do work! You can also explore either springing for the (expensive) HD links or making up some improved ground cables using silver cable of your choice (or have your favorite cable maker build them for you)