Synergistic Research ECT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


For those keeping score at home that's 3 ECT's deployed. They come 5 to a box. Only used about half, already happy. Which gets us to, what's it worth? My longstanding Gold Standard for tweaks is Black Diamond Racing Cones. At $20 each and needing 3 per component they coincidentally come in at the same $60 per ECT. Comparing apples to oranges I would say one ECT comes very close to three Cones. Not quite there. But close. Considering nothing I've ever heard comes close to BDR for the money that's pretty high praise indeed.
Thanks @millercarbon! I am more confused now than before 😂😉  I know, not your fault 
Just wanted to share some advice on how to get the most out of your FEQ or Atmosphere without spending much $

Both these devices come with very generic power supplies. Wall warts for the FEQ and a phone like 5V USB charger and generic long USB cable for the Atmosphere

Unfortunately both devices are sensitive to the quality of the power they are getting.

So in the case of the Atmosphere change the mini 5V for a larger (e.g. iPad size) USB charger. Then use a better, and shorter USB cable. I imagine you could even try one of the stand alone USB power supplies sold for use with computer audio systems but I've not gone that far myself yet.

For the FEQs you will get good results by not plugging the wall warts into a wall outlet or conditioner directly -- they are heavy and this puts strain on the two prongs and leaves them susceptible to vibration. Use a cheap pigtail outlet extender, or build one yourself using your choice of power plugs and an in line socket like this.  

Every one of these changes should be clearly audible and lead to an improvement in image solidity, resolution, ease and naturalness on your system

I do think an excellent way to begin with using the HFT family of products is to order two packs of original HFT's and one pack of the HFT-2.0.
This approach takes into consideration  the Synergistic Research March special promotion of buy two packs and get one pack free.

This should give you an idea that they are indeed effective.
Yes you can place them on the first reflection panels.

Thank you for the great suggestions on upgrading the power supplies to the Atmosphere  and the FEQ unit. I am trying this asap.
David Pritchard
Good point, folkfreak, regarding "susceptible to vibration."

I use a small piece of dense foam, wedged in between
the wall warts.  With the larger FEQ plug taking the bottom
position of the outlet, the foam can snugly fit between it and the
plug in the top position.  The vibration control may now benefit both pieces!
The supplied Synergistic Research Atmosphere USB Wall Wart is rated at 0.5 amps at 5.1 volts. I have replaced it today a type folkfreak suggested which is rated at 2.1 amps at 5.1 volts. To see if I could get a further improvement I coated the body of the Wall Wart with the Perfect Path Technology Total Contact enhancer and also the prongs to the unit that plugs into the wall.

It will be a fun comparison.

David Pritchard