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An interconnect & speaker cable & AC power cable

Synergistic Research

Prices (in Poland):
IC: 2950 PLN/1 m | SC: 3190 PLN/2,4 m | AC: 2950 PLN/1,8 m

Contact: 17401 Armstrong Avenue | Suite 102
Irvine, CA 92614 | USA


Provided for test by: AUDIOFAST


Text: Wojciech Pacuła
Images: Wojciech Pacuła
Translation: Ewa Muszczynko

No 196

September 1, 2020

SYNERGISTIC RESEARCH is an American company set up in August 1992 by Ted Denney, its main constructor and CEO. It specializes in interconnects and its first huge success was the AC Master Coupler power cable, one of the first high-end cables of this type. This time, we are testing cables from the affordable FOUNDATION series.

he new FOUNDATION series is one of the most affordable Synergistic Research product lines. There is only one less costly series – the Core. For example, a 2.4 m speaker cable costs 3190 PLN, while the top-of-the-range Galileo SX cable is sold at the price of nearly 79 000 PLN. So, there is an enormous difference.

Synergistic Research is an engineering company where the most money is invested in the most expensive products and then the same solutions and materials are modified, so that they can also be implemented in cheaper series. That is why we will not get bored, reading about the company’s techniques and technologies that have been used in the Foundation series.

| Foundation

The interconnects and speaker cables from the Foundation series have been created by Ted Denney, the company’s Lead Designer. As we can read on the company’s website, his aim was to design “an affordable IC and SC loom with the performance for which other companies charge thousands of dollars”. In order for this to happen, Ted implemented solutions from the more expensive series, e.g. manual construction, 6N silver conductors in the Air String geometry, Matrix Shielding taken directly from the Atmosphere X series and the Blue Fuse treatment.

Matrix Shielding, a technology implemented in the Atmosphere X series, came into being when the company’s engineers were trying to improve their previous UEF Shielding solution. To make it possible, they used the UEF Technology (UEF = Uniform Energy Field), originally developed for the SR Blue fuses. It reduces the noise floor and consists in covering the connectors with UEF coating with an addition of graphene, helping to protect the inside from RFI and EMI radiation.

⸤ IC | The Foundation IC interconnect consists of four (RCA) separate solid-core 6N (99.9999%) monocrystal silver conductors called “Silver Air Strings” (six in the XLR version). In both cases, the dielectric used is mainly air, as the conductors are placed in a kind of a “pipe”. The whole cable is shielded using treated silver braid called “Quantum Tunneling”.

All the elements of the cable have been subjected to burn-in. It is a process which leads to such an arrangement of metal crystals that reduces the “diode effect”, i.e. distortion (noise) which occurs when electrons hop between the crystals. The company calls this process Quantum Tunneling. In this case, the burn-in process consists in subjecting the cable to a series of electric shocks of 2 million V and a very high frequency. Thanks to this, conductivity is optimized in the whole signal path, including the connectors and solder points. The process is carried out using a giant Tesla coil in the Synergistic Research factory.

The cables are equipped with very good Silver Teflon SR 20 RCA connectors that resemble ones developed by the Cardas Audio company. 4% silver solder is used.

⸤ SC | The SC speaker cables have two separate cores – a positive and a negative one. They consist of sixteen separate solid-core conductors, of which half are 6N (99.9999%) pure silver monocrystal “Silver Air String” and half are 99.95% pure “Copper Air String” conductors. Like in the interconnect, the dielectric here is mostly air. The whole cable is shielded using silver braid subjected to the “Quantum Tunneling” treatment.

The cables are equipped with fantastic tight-fitting BFA (banana) connectors called SR BoFa, hand soldered to the conductors using 4% silver solder. Before being packed, the cables are subjected to a five-day, two-stage burnt-in process. It takes two hours for a qualified worker to make a pair of these cables.

⸤ AC | The Foundation AC power cable is offered in two versions – with 10 AWG (ø = 2.588 mm) and 12AWG (ø = 2.050 mm) conductors. The first one is called the Foundation 10AWG HC AC, while the other one: the Foundation 12AWG HC AC. We tested the former one.

We can read on the company website that the cable connectors are first ”conditioned” using the Orange UEF Fuse treatment, i.e. a technology used in the top series of the company’s fuses. Both connectors are branded by the Synergistic Research company and called C07 Pure Copper and IEC G07 Gold. There are three pure copper strings in combination with two pure silver strings (99.9995%) in the cable.

⸤ Made in USA | All the company products are handmade at the company’s main seat in Irvine, a town which belongs to the metropolitan Los Angeles area. A lot of corporations that use high technologies, including semiconductors, have their headquarters there. The city was given its current name only in the year 1914.

All the cables from the Foundation series are treated in almost the same way as the most expensive products of the company. An appropriate choice of conductors and dielectrics matters a lot, but their geometry is even more important. However, the company devotes most of its time and energy to “refining” materials with the use of the Tesla invention and modern materials, such as graphene. It may be an inexpensive series, but it has been treated as if it belonged to the top high-end.


THE WAY WE LISTENED | The cables were tested in the “High Fidelity” reference system and compared to our absolute reference, i.e. the Siltech Triple Crown cables. Our other points of reference were also the NOS Western Electric (speaker) and Bleden (interconnect) cables. I also used the Acrolink 8N-PC8100 Performante Nero Edizione cable. The test consisted in listening to and comparing A/B/A (A and B known).

I started the listening session with the most important cable in the whole system, i.e. the power cable, as the whole audio path starts with it. Although it is a high-current version, I used it in the SACD Ayon Audio CD-35 HF Edition player. The second cable we tested was the interconnect, while the third one was the speaker cable. I both listened to each cable individually and to their cumulative effect on sound as well.


The Art of Fugue by J.S. Bach, wyk. Charles Krigbaum, Red Rose Music RRM 5, SACD (2001)
⸤ Charlie Mingus, Tijuana Moods, RCA Records/Original Records Group ORG 174-3, SACD/CD (1962/2015)
⸤ Michael Jackson, Thriller. 25th Anniversary Edition, Epic/Sony Music Japan EICP-963-4, CD+DVD (1982/2008)
⸤ Patricia Barber, Companion, Premonition Records/Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab UDSACD 2023, SACD/CD (1999/2003)
⸤ Priya Darshini, Periphery, Chesky Records JD446, Master CD-R (2020)

| Foundation AC

The Foundation AC power cable offers a vision of sound based on nice meaty bass and smooth sweet treble. The tonal balance, at least in comparison to both reference cables, is set lower here, because of which our attention focuses more on the midrange and bass. At the same time, the sound is exceptionally smooth and nice. Percussion plates from both Billie Jean on Michael Jackson’s Thriller and in Dizzy Moods from Charlie Mingus’s album had a very nice tone color. There was neither any aggression, nor “pressure” in the sound – it was rather relaxing and “easygoing”.

It is probably the most important thing about this cable, perhaps except for the way it organizes space. Our attention focuses on what is in front of us, as it is where most things happen. And quite a lot happens here – the musical message with the American power cable is dense and has a lot of shades. At the same time, it focuses on direct sound, so reverberation and decay are of secondary importance. There is everything, which I could hear both with Black Magic Woman from Patricia Barber’s album and with the incredibly spatial Priya Darshini’s Periphery album straight afterwards.

| Our albums

⸤ Priya Darshini

Chesky Records JD446 | Master CD-R (2020)

The album entitled Periphery, released on May 15th this year, is a musical mixture of styles, genres and cultures. It was created in cooperation with the world-famous cello player Dave Eggar, the veteran of the hammered dulcimer Max ZT, the well-known drummer and ecologist Chuck Palmer and the Living Color band drummer – Will Calhoun. Elements of traditional Indian music and improvisation were mixed with American folk and pop music here.

Periphery was recorded in a way typical for Chesky Records, i.e. with a lot of air and reverberation, so without an exact definition of sound sources. The record label calls this method “a new way of recording”, i.e. recording all musicians together, 100%, without adding any material or editing, using omnidirectional microphones. The album has got to be listened to loud in order for us to appreciate it – and then we obtain incredible dynamics and naturalness, alongside with very good saturated colors. We will also hear noise very well – noise produced by air in a large recording room.

The album was only released in the form of WAV files – we can choose between 44.1/16. 24/96 and 24/192. However, thanks to the kindness of the head of recording, I received the Master CD-R burnt at the studio directly from source files. The CD has been signed by the female artist :)

As for Patricia Barber’s album, I could clearly hear what I talked about at the beginning – good sound organization and arrangement within the soundstage . That is why the sound of the tambourine that is a little distorted at times, was smoothly and nicely presented, and a bit emphasized sibilants in the artist’s voice were softened. I could hear how the album was recorded, but it was not stressed, but smoothened a little.

| Foundation IC

The interconnect has most of the features of the power cable. Using these two cables in a system does not lead to the exaggeration of any of the features that I wrote about. So, it is not yet warmer, yet smoother and yet more meaty. We will find it all in the sound, but “deeper”, not “more”, as if these features in a system featuring two Synergistic Research cables were reinforced towards the depth, not upwards.

The interconnect is not a clone of the power cable, anyway. They share the same sound features, e.g. smoothness, low and meaty bass or slight rounding of the treble, but they are not the same. The interconnect builds larger phantom images and presents sound a little closer to us. We are still talking about focus on music, but with the interconnect and power cable in a system it is complemented with a closer perspective and stronger reverberation. The abovementioned artist Priya Darshini was recorded in a way typical for the Chesky Records record label, i.e. from a distance, with a lot of reflections. The Foundation IC interconnect showed this really nicely, tightly fitting the space between the speakers with sound.

So, if I were to point out any specific feature of this cable, that would be the ability to show the energy of instruments and vocals and to keep the sound smooth and pleasant. It was possible even with the strongly compressed Jackson’s album. The interconnect presents the energy of a recording very well. It produces good meaty bass, but it is also forgiving towards recordings – on the one hand, it differentiates them well but, on the other hand, it is not that demanding towards worse recordings.

| The Foundation SC

The speaker cable is the final element of the system. It is probably clear, anyway – all its components have been built using the same techniques and materials. So, the whole loom of cables is what we should listen to in our system in order to hear what the manufacturer really meant and what the cables really can do.

The speaker cable is the final element of the system. It is probably clear, anyway – all its components have been built using the same techniques and materials. So, the whole loom of cables is what we should listen to in our system in order to hear what the manufacturer really meant and what the cables really can do.

In spite of the similarities, the speaker cable sounds a little different. Compared to the other two cables, it emphasizes contours the most, i.e. it stresses the upper treble and low bass more. It is still smooth and nice sound, but with more information on what is happening at the bandwidth edges. And there is a lot going on – it is a cable system which shows a lot from a recording, without concealing anything. However, it is also forgiving (see the interconnect).

The Foundation speaker cable adds yet more energy to a recording. The interconnect and power cable were more reserved in this respect. It is interesting that, despite the clear sound, the speaker cable does not overemphasize anything and does not exaggerate, even if we deal with such direct sound, so closely recorded as in some tracks on Patricia Barber’s album or the sound of wind instruments on Mingus’s album.

On the latter album, the cable wonderfully shows the difference between the almost monophonic rhythm section with the piano and wind instruments arranged on the sides. The ability to place sounds at the right location in space was demonstrated even better by the Periphery album. When it was played quite loud, it (literally) showed the air between the performers, as well as their placement in the room where the material was recorded. It was good, strong, dense and pleasant sound.

| Conclusions

The Synergistic Research Foundation cable system is an antidote to the omnipresent “hi-fi” in the sense that it does not prove or impose anything. Its sound is absolutely smooth and incredibly pleasant. The high treble is smoothened here and even withdrawn a little with the interconnect and the power cable. On the whole, this is beneficial, as the low bass is much more audible thanks to it and the plasticity of recordings is shown more clearly.

The American cables do not exclude any recordings. The ones that were better made and produced will also sound better, but worse ones (with good music) will not be thrown out of the party. This is thanks to the rounding of sound attack and slight warming of the midrange, mostly because of the fact that the low midrange is deeper. This adds depth to recordings and the speaker cable is the best in this respect. These are cables suitable for long listening sessions, for pleasure and for fun, i.e. for something that most audiophiles have forgotten about – it is time to refresh our memory! RED Fingerprint.


Reference system 2020

1) Loudspeakers: HARBETH M40.1 |REVIEW|
2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|


Analog interconnect SACD Player - Line preamplifier: SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |ABOUT|
Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

AC Power

Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - SACD Player: SILTECH Triple Crown
Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Line preamplifier - ACOUSTIC REVIVE
Power Reference Triple-C (2 m) |REVIEW|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Power amplifier - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Power Receptacle - Mains Power Distribution Block: ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power Receptacle: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE |REVIEW|
Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|


Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

  • HARMONIX TU-666M "BeauTone" MILLION MAESTRO 20th Anniversary Edition |REVIEW|


Phono preamplifier: Phono cartridges: Tonearm (12"): Reed 3P |REVIEW|

Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

Record mats:


Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC