T.H.E Show Newport 2015: Synergistic Research HT Carbon Headphone Transducer
About eight months ago or so, Synergistic Research came out with a product called HOT ($299)which stands for Headphone Optimized Transducer. It says nothing about what it does or how it works on the HOT product page, just that "HOT maximizes your enjoyment with increased resolution and smoothness in the world's most holographic headphone experience."
Chatting with Elliot Nommensen about how the device work got me a little farther down the road. He said the HOT, and now its replacement HT Carbon, works as a "parallel filter" that cleans the audio signal. According to Nommensen, the passing audio signal induces a response in the surrounding material that is able to somehow further interact with the incoming audio to reduce noise and clarify the audio. Unfortunately that doesn't really give me much of a handle on exactly what's going on as I've never heard of a device that could do such a thing. But that, and the resulting controversy, is nothing new to Synergistic Research.
The HOT certainly did make a splash in the headphone world. Quite a few reviewers did praise its performance, but there was also some threads (here and here) on Head-Fi where objectivists uttered a resounding "BOOOOO!" In fact, here's a post where the device was disassembled, and another post where materials inside were chemically analyzed. Things got so spicy that Synergistic's owner and cheif researcher Ted Denny got drug into the dialog.
Sheesh, don't need any Sriracha sauce on that one.
Needless to say, I'm just going to keep an open mind and ear. Elliot will be sending me an HT Carbon and a Tranquility Base to play with during my upcoming month assembling and listening to some of the world's best headphone gear. I'll get back to you with my thoughts. 'Til then, I'll leave you with Elliot explaining the gear in the video.
Click here if you can't see the video.