The new four cable series from Synergistic Research called "Atmosphere UEF" (models are simply "Level 1" to "Level 4") are flat out incredible performers offering a level of performance at pricing we would not have thought possible.
Here are some highlights:
A. This is the first non-Active Shielding high end cable series Synergistic has released since the 2nd half of the 1990's. Why? In the last 18 months SR has developed what they call UEF technology. UEF stands for Uniform Energy Field, a concept based on the idea that everything in audio vibrates creating harmonic and sound wave confusion that congests and compresses the musical frequencies. The UEF products are intended to clean up this hash. As SR began applying the UEF concept to signal cables, it became clear that up to a certain point they could offer better performance for the money by incorporating UEF technology into their designs than by incorporating Active Shielding. (However for digital cables and power cords the benefits of Active Shielding continue to trump the benefits attainable with UEF alone, and so the Element Series digital cables and power cords remain unchanged.)
B. All of the Atmosphere UEF cables are thin, flexible, and black. The Level 1 interconnects are totally unassuming-looking and start at $695/1m pair (add $200 for balanced XLR). But, no fooling, these cables offer a level of performance that can be compared to other interconnects at multiples of the price.
Yeah, I know. You probably heard that before.
So let's just say that if anyone reading this doubts the importance of high end cables, we dare you to try the $695 Atmosphere UEF Level 1 interconnects through The Cable Library.
The companion Level 1 speaker cables are similarly skinny, black and unassuming and start at $895/8ft pair.
C. It doesn't cost all that much to move up to the Level 2 cables where a "Silver Air String" conductor, scaled down from their top line Galileo Series cables, is added to the positive leg, and a skinny little outboard grounding wire is also added that connects the shield to a grounded AC outlet. The differences between Level 1 and 2 are not subtle. The Level 2 interconnects start at $995/1m pair and the Level 2 speaker cables at $1295/8ft pair. Because this is still pretty reasonable pricing we would suggest it may be worth it to try BOTH the Level 1 and Level 2 cables in your system if you are in the market for moderately priced cables that play with the big boys.
D. The biggest percentage increase in price comes when you move from Level 2 to Level 3 in the Atmosphere UEF series. The Level 3 interconnects from $1495/1m pair) and speaker cables (from $3500/8ft pair) add an additional "Silver Air String" conductor, built in "UEF filters," and a red "tuning module" (similar looking to those on all of their recent active designs). Performance? Another very big step up.
E. Finally at the top of the Atmosphere UEF series sits Level 4 with interconnects from $2495/1m pair and speaker cables from $4995/8ft pair. Additional UEF filters, individually wrapped and shielded conductors, additional blue tuning modules, and yes, even more performance; close to the performance level of the top-line Galileo LE cables, at about 1/3 the price.
2 x Tricon 4th Gen Conductors: Silver Matrix: Mono crystal conductors with a separate ground conductor from shield
Shielding: UEF with Ground Plane Technology
Geometry: 6 channel single ended / 8 channel balanced per pair
Listening tests performed for signal direction before build
+2 x Silver Air Strings: 99.9999% pure mono crystal silver conductor
2 separate conductors RCA / 4 separate conductors XLR
Dielectric: Air (sealed)
Shielding: UEF Ground Plane Technology with external grounding for lower noise floor
+2 x Tungsten Air String: 99.99% pure conductor
2 individual conductors RCA / 4 individual conductors XLR
Dielectric: Air (sealed)
Shielding: UEF Ground Plane Technology
Each Pair of Level 2 Interconnects are actually 2 separate runs of Tricon 4th Gen cables for RCA -or- 4 separate Tricon 4th Gen cables for XLR plus 2 separate runs of Silver and Tungsten Sealed Air Dielectric cables RCA -or- 4 separate runs Silver and Tungsten Sealed Air Dielectric cables XLR. All geometries (Tricon and Sealed Air-String cables) are individual cables capable of carrying signal and ground running in parallel.
30 (RCA) -or- 42 (XLR) point-to-point hand soldered connections
Hand soldered UEF termination (proprietary)
Ground Plane Termination
Silver Solder 4%
Hand build time: 2.0 hours
Quantum Tunneling: 2-million volt on signal, ground and shield conductors / connectors RCA -or- XLR
5 day Burn In: 2 step process
Hand Made in California
You can further elevate the performance of Atmosphere Series Cables by simply adding an "Atmosphere" field generator or "FEQ" to wirelessly excite all of the UEF products in your system like HFT (for rooms), ECT (for components), HOT (for headphones), XOT (for speakers), PHT (for phono cartridges) and of course, Atmosphere Series Cables. The "Atmosphere" is an iPad controlled RF Field Generator engineered to eliminate RF issues in your listening room while wirelessly super-charging Atmosphere Series UEF cable shields. Both Atmosphere Series Cables and Atmosphere RF Field Generators are stand alone products capable of transforming any system. When combined they work together to create a whole that exceeds the sum of their parts. For long time SR users it is helpful to think of the Atmosphere Field Generator as a wireless Transporter or Enigma power supply for Atmosphere Series UEF Shielding. But unlike previous Active Shielded cables that required thick DC wires and power supplies to perform to spec, Atmosphere Series cabled require nothing but an included thin drain wire for UEF Ground Plane shielding to achieve stunning levels of holographic realism.
Note: Power cords perform best with Active Shielding as the relationship between the AC signal and DC shield forms a linear signal conditioner down the length of the cable due to the unique relationship between high voltage and current AC, and DC Active Shielding. Digital cables benefit from the combination of UEF Tuning circuits and Active Shielding for best performance. When combining with Atmosphere Series ICs and SCs use Active Shielded digital and AC cables for best performance.