Synergistic Research IC Active Shielding

Syn. Res. IC users that have the ICs with the "pigtails", ie set up for active shielding are probably aware of the $1000. box that provides the power for the active shields. Well, SR now has "wall wart" power supplies for a single pair of "pigtail" equipped ICs. I got two of these a couple days ago and like them a lot. SR has an introductory price of $50. apiece ($75. list). Mine came from A Sanctuary of Sound-- a good Audiogon Dealer.

I first plugged these wall warts (they have about 3 ft. leads) into a Monster HTS 1000 power strip, which was plugged into a dedicated outlet-- but forgot to turn the power strip on-- and listened for 3 hours. Duh! These first 3 hours, music sounded too bright, analytic and gave me a headache-- I think there may have been some kind of negative antenna affect going on? And I was wondering if the dealer would take them back?

But when I went to unplug them, I realized that the Mini's were not powered, and the shields not active. After ACTUALLY GIVING THEM POWER, music had a completely different and improved character, whehter compared to the non-powered Minis or compared to my system without them. I don't want to use a lot of Stereophile verbiage here, but I will say music was natural, some edge was gone from what I thought were overly bright CDs, but the most striking improvement was in soundstaging-- stronger and wider, while still sounding natural. The overall improvement was definitely worthwhile, but not dramatic. I sure recommend them. Cheers. Craig.
........I should note that I've only used the Mini's a couple of days, and so don't know if there is a "break-in" factor. I will report back if anything significantly different happens. Craig
Fully agree. Those things took away the 'edge'. I have them 2~3 weeks now. I haven't noticed any break-in effects. I'm told by the dealer that the leads supplied by the 'mini's are different than the original active shielding leads. (According to him) Synergistic will now be using this 'new-and-improved' leads.
Ikarus; thanks for confirming that I wasn't having a "placebo moment". Anyone else out there with experience with either Syn. Res. Active Shield Box or these new "Mini" shield devices. Thanks. Craig.
I see you went back to SR cable. I am still using the res. reference with the active sheilding. The word of wisdom is if you ever pick up a used box, make sure it is the new kind with new type of cables. The older type of cable had a bad connectors on them which will get loose and burn the unit. It happened with me and SR guys were too nice and sent me for the free the new type cables with a new module.
good luck.
Completely agree with the "smoothing of edginess" and "enhancements in staging" but I would say that the dramatic staging improvement is most immediately noticable. I also noticed a blacker noise floor with the active shielding.
There are two major differences between the wall wart power modules & the Master Control Center. (1) With the MCC you can change AC cords, which has a definite effect on the sound. I don't have a clue about why this happens because in my mind it shouldn't have any effect at all, but it definitely does. When I borrrowed a dealer-demo MCC before ordering my own, I also borrowed every AC cord made by Synergistic. Best sonic results were achieved with their best cord, the Designer Reference Squared. It's a lot more $ but worth it.
(2) The MCC DC output modules actually have two different DC shielding voltages available; 15 volts & 30 volts (you don't have this choice with the wall warts). J1 & J2 are 30 volt active shields. J3 is a 15 volt active shield, and according to Synergistic's Scott Novak the lower voltage may work better on source components. I found that this sounded better on my CD player source, but my turntable & tuner seemed to sound the same using either voltage. Preamp to poweramp also seemed to sound the same either way.
(3) Also: the MCC offers availablilty of a second output module, allowing up to 6 pair of interconnects to be active shielded. I bought the second module also because now I have two lower-voltage shields available for experimentation, and I have a number of SR interconnects so I needed it anyway.
Overall I would recommend this active shielding system mainly for "better" rigs, where you can really appreciate the improvements. I would probably not use it for just an average quailty A/V setup.
Hi Bob; Thanks for the detailed report on the Syn. Res. MCC, I've been curious about it for a long time. I only have two pairs of shielded ICs, so I probably won't go to the MCC, but the Mini power supplies for shields certainly seem to be worth it. In fact I had to decrease speaker toe-in to accommodate the cleaner, more dynamic presentation of the SR Mini shield modules. It's interesting that the MCC provides a choice two voltages. Do you happen to know the voltage of the Minis? Cheers. Craig.
No Mr. Garland I don't know that shielding voltage, but a VOM test would tell very quickly. I wonder if S.R. offers a choice? Or if you might be able to swap out the one-chip DC regulator inside of a wall wart supply?
For myself I asked them for an ADJUSTABLE range of shielding voltage, but the reply was a humorous "no" as customers would then be asking them "is it better at 14.7 volts or at 22.3786 volts (you get the idea).
I was also looking at the Master Control Center, but thought I'd investigate this new MPC product - since it;s only $50, much less than the big unit! Synergistic says they do the same thing, though the big unit is "more refined" and has a big power cord. I was told that it passes a current into the shield and "turbocharges" the shield, while it charges the dielectric at the same time, so it secures the conductor purity or something (that's where he lost me). I did a demo on the dealers system and it sounded AWESOME - richer and more dynamic soundstage - but I haven't been to this dealer before, so I wondered if anyone else tried it. Glad to hear others have had positive results.
I have the Designer ref. with the updated module and have found after months of switching between the 3 outputs that indeed the J3 sounds better on CDP. A more alive musical presentaion . I was unaware of the difference in voltage between J1-J3 thanks for the info Bob.
I would like to try SR cable son my system
I have tried TaraLabs The 0.8, huge soundstage dynamics, my speakers for the first time disappeared completely, and Silversmith Silver, soundstage is constricted between speakers, but resolution is incredible and harmonics are giving me goose bumps. Midrange is just magical. Tara in comparisons sound blurred and dead when it comes to voices.

I would like to have Tara dynamic impact, vast soundstage with Soundsmith resolution and magic, maybe SR are the answer.

Problem is some of my components are connected to 220V and some to 110V power source.
Are SR cables (PC, IC) galvanically isolated from wall warts ?
So I could put SR IC between 220V power components and at the some time connect wall wart to 110V source ?
Sorlowski, I would suggest that you call Synergistic Research and ask your questions.

I would strongly suggest that you guys visit

Much of it will be of interest to you.
Mr Sorlowski: The power supply/voltage to the shield is completely isolated from the actual conductor of the IC. The characteristics of the signal conducted by the interconnect are the same whether the component(phono, pre or power amp) is operating at 240 or 120V. There's no way for there to be any interference/interaction, do to the difference in operational voltages.
Thank you for pointing me to that great thread !