What does synergy mean?

steve_1979

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Synergy. This word often gets mentioned in hifi forums and I'm interested to know what it actually means.

I assume that achieving the lowest possible amount of distortion is the aim of hifi equipment? So surely this means that any combination of hifi equipment that has a low level of distortion has good synergy. But for some people synergy seems to mean putting together a special combination of CD player, DAC, amplifiers, cables and speakers that adds something magical to music.

To me synergy simply means using a low distortion music source combined with a low distortion amplifier that has enough power to effectively drive a pair of speakers without clipping. Is this right or am I missing something here?
 

ifor

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The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.
 

CnoEvil

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ifor said:
The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.
Nice concise explanation.

Basically you get poor synergy by putting a series of bright (or smooth) sounding components together which exacerbates the trait....unless of course you like it that way.
 

steve_1979

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CnoEvil said:
Basically you get poor synergy by putting a series of bright (or smooth) sounding components together which exacerbates the trait....unless of course you like it that way.
This is interesting. So for example having bright components with warm speakers would be neutral overall and have good synergy?

I also assume that by bright or smooth sounding you are talking about the tone? If this is the case could you just take a system that has bad synergy and use a graphic equalizer to adjust the tone so that it has good synergy?
 

steve_1979

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BenLaw said:
Another thread inspired directly from AVI forums, snore.
Someone just had to mention AVI... :shame:

Please let's not have another 'us and them' argument. I really am genuinely interested to learn more about what synergy is. :)
 

CnoEvil

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steve_1979 said:
This is interesting. So for example having bright components with warm speakers would be neutral overall and have good synergy?

I also assume that by bright or smooth sounding you are talking about the tone? If this is the case could you just take a system that has bad synergy and use a graphic equalizer to adjust the tone so that it has good synergy?
TBH I don't get caught up in subjective semantics.

I keep it to its simplest level, which is not combining products that give me a sound I don't like.

I also think that absolute neutrality is hard to know for sure if it's been achieved, so I don't worry about it.....IMO you can over think this whole thing; it's as simple as doing a few demos and buying what you like the sound of.

I'm not a fan of graphic equalizers....which in my view, generally degrade the sound, and don't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear!
 

BenLaw

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I'm not in any camp, but don't try and pretend that this hasn't arisen from a thread on AVI forums where people are saying (I paraphrase, but not much) 'those idiots on WHF forums are saying x y z'. Fwiw I tend to agree with your point, but you very transparently are trying to set up a point, hence your comment about graphic equalisers and the much repeated line of 'I'm genuinely interested'. IMO this thread has been started in order to cause conflict, as it inevitably will. You know better.
 

busb

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As well as Ben's wiki link, it can also mean trying to get one deeply flawed product to work with an another product with an equal degree of flaws hoping that they cancel out. A "bright" amp on the end "dull" speakers equals synergy where the sum is certainly greater than the parts. Best to have stuff that's well-balanced to start with that will "synergise" with other decent products where the sum equals a big grin. Another problem with cancelling out flaws is when you want to upgrade. So-called synergy can also be when speakers match the room well. I always thought "system matching" was a workable description.
 

steve_1979

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BenLaw said:
I'm not in any camp, but don't try and pretend that this hasn't arisen from a thread on AVI forums where people are saying (I paraphrase, but not much) 'those idiots on WHF forums are saying x y z'. Fwiw I tend to agree with your point, but you very transparently are trying to set up a point, hence your comment about graphic equalisers and the much repeated line of 'I'm genuinely interested'. IMO this thread has been started in order to cause conflict, as it inevitably will. You know better.
This thread honestly has nothing to do with AVI forums. I'm just interest in learning about synergy.

At first I thought that synergy might all be about distortion levels but now after reading Cno's post it seems that it's also related to getting the right balance of tone aswell.
 

chebby

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steve_1979 said:
Synergy. This word often gets mentioned in hifi forums and I'm interested to know what it actually means.
The Shipping Forecast (including 'Sailing By') on BBC Radio 4 FM, from a Roberts R707 or Hacker RP38 (or a Sony ST-88 + NAD 3020 + Mordaunt Short Festival 2s), with a nice glass of Port, a slice of buttered tea loaf and a lump of Quickes Cheddar before going to bed after a geat Christmas Day with all the family.

Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols from Kings College (from BBC radio, not TV) with a glass of St. Peter's Golden Ale, homemade mince pie and sausage rolls on Christmas Eve afternoon.

The occasional weekend afternoon when I am not working and everyone is out doing stuff and I can listen to an entire BBC Radio Drama series from iTunes (no gaps like with CDs) for 3 or 4 hours.

To me the synergy is not just about equipment. (Although Rega do a bang-up job within all Rega systems as I have - with all but speakers - experienced a couple of times in the past.)

Edited by Mods - Please avoid antagonising

Gawd bless 'er (apologies to JD.)
 

CnoEvil

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As well as matching a room, there has to be synergy when matching sensitive speakers with a low powered valve amp.
 

steve_1979

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chebby said:
steve_1979 said:
This thread honestly has nothing to do with AVI forums. I'm just interest in learning about synergy.
Do you and Max have a rota?
With all due respect. If you have nothing constructive to add to this thread could you please refrain from posting in it. Thank you. :)
 

steve_1979

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CnoEvil said:
As well as matching a room, there has to be synergy when matching sensitive speakers with a low powered valve amp.
This actually make good sense. Having a low powered amp with difficult to drive speakers will add distortion which = bad synergy.

So this does this mean that good synergy is all about having low distortion with good overall tone. Is that right or is there anything else about synergy that I'm missing?
 

BenLaw

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steve_1979 said:
chebby said:
steve_1979 said:
This thread honestly has nothing to do with AVI forums. I'm just interest in learning about synergy.
Do you and Max have a rota?
With all due respect. If you have nothing constructive to add to this thread could you please refrain from posting in it. Thank you. :)
The reality is you know exactly what people mean by synergy (it's a common word, you're not stupid) and you've made clear in your OP that you feel all that is required is a sufficiently powerful amp. This whole thread is not constructive.
 

steve_1979

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chebby said:
To me the synergy is not just about equipment. (Although Rega do a bang-up job within all Rega systems as I have - with all but speakers - experienced a couple of times in the past.)
This is an interesting point. Surely one make system are likely to have good synergy but mixing and matching components is likely to be a bit 'hit or miss'?

chebby said:
Anyway. As someone has already mentioned. This entire thread is AVI inspired which is why I am filling my post with the thing they hate even more than Naim (and Naim users) ... the BBC!
Pleeeeese! :help:
 

chebby

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steve_1979 said:
chebby said:
steve_1979 said:
This thread honestly has nothing to do with AVI forums. I'm just interest in learning about synergy.
Do you and Max have a rota?
With all due respect. If you have nothing constructive to add to this thread could you please refrain from posting in it. Thank you. :)
I'm sorry, it was the wide eyed "I only want to learn"/'butter wouldn't melt' tone in your post that cracked me up. It was sooo Max.

Maybe I was wrong about the rota.

League table is probably more like it. Winners get more 'cuddles' from Ashley?
 

CnoEvil

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steve_1979 said:
So this does this mean that good synergy is all about having low distortion with good overall tone. Is that right or is there anything else about synergy that I'm missing?
....possibly harmony with this forum! ;)
 

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