Synergistic Research UEF Active Tuning Circuits

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Synergistic Research UEF Active Tuning Circuits
Synergistic Research UEF Active Tuning Circuits | AudioStream
http://www.audiostream.com/node/77769
CABLES & ACCESSORY REVIEWS
Synergistic Research UEF Active Tuning Circuits
By Steven Plaskin • Posted: Mar 10, 2014
Device Type: Tuning Circuit for Synergistic Research Products
Price: $250 for 2 Silver and 2 Grey devices for upgrade (the standard tuning devices provided
with new Synergistic Research products); $150 for 1 Silver and 1 Grey, $150 for 1 Silver right
angled and 1 Grey right angled.
Availability: Authorized Dealers
Website: www.synergisticresearch.com
The Synergistic Research UEF (Uniform Energy Field) Technology Active Tuning Circuits are the
new replacements for the Enigma Tuning Circuits (Bullets) provided with the Synergistic
Research Element and Galileo Series cables and AC cords, Digital Power Tools, Tranquility
Bases, PowerCell line conditioners, and older Tesla Series LE cables and AC cords. The Enigma
Tuning Circuits or Bullets were used to fine tune the sound of the Active Shields in Synergistic
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cable (see review), and the Element C.T.S. Digital AC cord (see review).
There were 3 different Enigma Tuning Circuits that were color coded: Silver, Grey, and Black.
The Silver imparted a feeling of greater high end extension with an open “airy” sound, the Grey
was the standard reference, and use of the Black Enigma Tuning Circuits resulted in a
warmer-less airy sound. The New UEF Active Tuning Circuits no longer include the Black
devices. They now come in the Silver and Grey Tuning Circuit plug-in devices. This is also true
for the right angled devices that plug into the Tranquility Bases, The Music Cable, and PowerCell
line conditioners. The new UEF Active Tuning Circuits can be identified from the previous
Emigma devices by a series of concentric rings on the cylindrical bodies. As with the previous
Enigma Tuning Circuits, the new devices follow the same sound pattern with the Grey being the
standard device and the Silver offering a more extended, lighter sound. But the difference in
sound between the new UEF Active Tuning Circuits and the Enigma Tuning devices couldn’t be
more different.
The new UEF Active Tuning Circuit utilizes the technology found in the recently released HFT
and FEQ products that I also previously reviewed for AudioStream. The High Frequency
Transducers and Frequency Equalizer are also based on Synergistic Research’s Uniform Energy
Field Technology. The new UEF Active Tuning Circuits are the standard tuning devices being
supplied with current Synergistic products. Synergistic Research is also offering these as a
simple-to-implement upgrade for former products. All one has to do is pull the old Enigma Tuning
Circuit off and replace them with the new UEF Active device.
From Ted Denny III, Lead Designer at Synergistic Research:
“Synergistic Research’s new UEF Tuning Circuits are based on the same
technology found in Synergistic Research HFT High Frequency Transducers, FEQ
Frequency Equalizers and XOT Cross Over Transducers. UEF Technology actually
cleans up high frequency noise that otherwise distorts harmonics in the music
signal. When UEF technology is applied to Synergistic Research Active Shielding,
Tranquility Bases, and PowerCells, you hear a lower noise floor, higher resolution
and a significant increase in soundstage air with improved mid-range clarity and
improved low frequency control for a more holographic overall presentation. By
cleaning up the DC signal applied to Active Shielded cables, Tranquility Bases and
PowerCells, all aspects of performance are enhanced in a noticeable and
significant way.”
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The Sound
I started my listening session by replacing the Enigma Tuning Bullets on my Synergistic
Research USB Active SE cable. I had been using the Silver Enigma Bullet and replaced it with a
new Silver UEF Active Tuning Circuit. I immediately heard a significant change in the sound. The
soundstage seemed to open up and was more holographic sounding. The noise floor dropped
with increased detail and resolution. I then proceeded to change out all of my older Enigma
Tuning devices with the new UEF Active Tuning Circuits.
More Than a Soundstage Enhancement
A total of 24 UEF Active Tuning Circuits were installed on my Synergistic Research Cables, AC
cords, Speaker cables, PowerCell 10 SE MKIII and 6SE line conditioners, USB and Thunderbolt
cables, and Tranquility Bases. The change in sound quality was substantial; nothing like that
previously heard with the Enigma Tuning devices.
The best way to describe what I am now hearing from the system is a soundstage “bloom” that
imparted a holographic dimensionality to the sound. The sound seems to have been pulled
forward from the speakers and is more enveloping in terms of front to back depth. I was better
able to discern a layering of the acoustic space in well recorded orchestral music. The side to
side depth was very large, but it is this added dimensionally previously described that grabbed
my attention. I have never experienced soundstage reproduction from my system as I am now
hearing with the UEF Active Tuning Circuits. Besides observing the added dimensionality,
superior resolution of instruments and voices within the recording’s acoustic space was plainly
evident. Complex musical passages were more easily discerned with improvement of the
reproduction of musical textures.
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The UEF Active Tuning Circuits imparted liquidity to the sound that I was not previously
experiencing in my system. I have to chuckle to myself with these audiophile terms like liquidity.
When I listen to a live orchestra, I never think of the term liquidity. Yet, most audiophiles know
exactly what I’m talking about. Our systems impose, for lack of a better term, a form of distortion
that does not exist when listening to live acoustic instruments or voices. The UEF Active Tuning
Circuits stripped away much of this subtle hardness and glare that prevents our reproduced
music from sounding real. This reduction of subtle low level distortion and noise is what I feel is
the greatest accomplishment of these devices. As I listened to my favorite musical titles, I could
not believe the improvement I was hearing. It was akin to going from a solid state amplifier to a
Single End Triode tube amp, but without the limitations of this design. A relaxed presentation of
the music resulted without a subtle electronic quality or smearing of the sound as previously
heard with the older Enigma Tuning Circuits.
The noise floor dropped with a blacker background. Definition of voices and instruments were
improved from top to bottom. This ultra-quiet back ground resulted in superior resolution of low
level information. Micro dynamic changes were now more obvious and easily heard.
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Bring On the Music
I have always enjoyed the sound quality of 2L Records recordings; especially those titles
provided in the original DXD 352.8 kHz format. But I have always felt that the 2L recordings were
a touch hard sounding. Quiet Winter Night by the Hoff Ensemble is an example. Listening to this
DXD recording with the Analog DAC / Analog Power Base and the newly installed UEF Active
Tuning Circuits gave me a new perspective on this recording. The subtle hardness I previously
heard was eliminated with the music now exhibiting a more open and airy sound. Hymn to the
Virgin by Schola Cantorum, another DXD title, not only sounded less grainy and without the mild
glare I was previously hearing, but the contrapuntal voices were more easily identified with a
beautiful relaxed presentation.
I moved on to one of my favorite Crosby, Stills, Nash titles, the 24/192 HDtracks download of
Daylight Again. This is a big sounding recording with good drive to the low end. My newly
updated UEF Active system made this wonderful recording shine. I noticed that the weight of the
bass was increased with better focus of the voices. That wonderful grain-free sound was heard
with great sonic ease and detail.
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Next up was the impressive Carol Kidd recording Tell Me One Again with Nigel Clark on guitar
from Linn Records (24/192 download). The UEF Active Tuning Circuits dropped the noise floor
with the deepest black background I have ever heard my system reproduce. Nigel Clark’s
fingerings on the nylon string guitar were never as obvious as they were with the UEFs. The
overall clarity of Carol’s voice with the guitar was a new listening experience for me with this
familiar recording.
And finally, my favorite Diana Krall album, All for You: A Dedication to the Nat King Cole Trio
24/96 (HDtracks). The overall sound of this recording seemed to move forward in the
soundstage with improved clarity and focus of the instruments and Diana’s voice. The pace and
rhythm of the group seemed improved over my previous listening experiences with the Enigma
Tuning Circuits.
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Other Applications of the UEF Technology
The XOT Crossover Transducer ($399/pair) represents another new application of the UEF
Technology. These high frequency filters for speaker crossovers attach directly to the speaker
cable connectors. I attached a set to each of my Wilson Sasha speakers and found an
improvement in the sound of my system similar to what I have described for the UEF Active
Tuning Circuits. It appears to me that the improvements with this technology are additive for
each segment of the system treated. I then replaced 2 sets of Walker High Definition Reference
Plus Links ($725.00/pair) on the back of each upper module of my Sasha speakers with 2 sets of
XOT Crossover Transducers. 1 set is attached to the midrange terminals and 1 set to the tweeter
terminals. I immediately noticed an additional improvement in clarity, definition, and overall
bloom with the Synergistic XOT Crossover Transducers compared to what I was hearing with the
Walker HDLs.
Summary
The UEF Active Tuning Circuits have made a significant improvement to my system when
compared to that attained with the Enigma Tuning Circuits. The UEF Active Tuning Circuits
revealed the existence of a subtle distortion-noise that was degrading what I had previously
thought was a very good system using the Enigma Tuning Circuits. Given that the UEF Active
Tuning Circuits are now the standard Tuning Circuits supplied with Synergistic Research
products, new owners will not have to shell out additional money to benefit from this new
technology. And for owners of products with the older Enigma Tuning Circuits, this is one
upgrade I recommend without hesitation.
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