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Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Source: Bel Canto Design PLayer PL-1A; Cambridge Audio Azure DVD player
Preamp/Integrated: Bel Canto PRe2; Onix/Melody SP3
Amp: FirstWatt F1 [on loan]
Television: Sony Trinitron 27"
Speakers: Zu Cable Druid Mk4; Gallo Acoustics Reference 3
Cables: Crystal Cable Reference single-ended and balanced interconnects and power cords; Zu Cable Ibis speaker cables; ZCable Cyclone power cord on BPT; Stereovox HDSE; Radio Shack 10-gauge copper
Stands: Worldmarket Akio 4-shelf
Powerline conditioning: BPT BP-3.5 Signature Plus; Furutech RPT-6
Room size: 30' w x 18' d x 10' h [sloping ceiling] in diagonal corner setup, with open adjoining listening room and living room for a total of ca.1000 squ.ft floor plan and significant 'active' cubic air volume of essentially the entire (small) house
Review component retail: $499.99

Quantum dots. Matter waves. Photon bombs. Artificial atoms. The Intelligent Chip by Golden Sound stirred up these and related terms in recent debates to hypothesize and hypnotize on how it works. Our jury is still out on whether it even works. Our first team of writers heard absolutely nothing with multiple transports/CDPs. They also alerted me that a high-tech lab specializing in fabricating machines which then produce chip wavers applied advanced microscopy to their sample chip. They found nothing but a piece of PCB and one applied dot. Calling this dot a quantum dot can be cavalier. When the Greeks coined the term atom, they theorized about indivisible particles making up matter. As the terrible events of Hiroshima and Nagasaki proved, indivisible can be a function of magnifying power and applied technologies. Quantum mechanics and string theory deal with subatomic particles and their apparently random, logic-defying behavior. From that perspective, everything material that is composed of atoms is also quantum. Singling out one metallic dot as though it were endowed with magical properties could be a dead-end alley.

Quantum Resonance Technology or QRT is a Santa Monica/CA firm which purportedly applies Quantum Physic theories on electron propagation to audio/video power devices. The Symphony Pro is a parallel device. It simply plugs into the AC line to release a "subatomic signal" activated by an oscillator/transmitter. This pulse or dither is broadcast by a small electromagnetic field generated by an RF detection coil and propagates across the power line. This pulse also acts as a "wireless electromagnetic field stabilizer up to a range of 50 feet or a room of 30' x 50' ". The Symphony Pro is thus dubbed an electromagnetic field conditioner said to be effective in conjunction with other noise suppression or line conditioning approaches. At 5.5" W x 5" D x 1.5" H and 2 lbs, the Symphony Pro is
a lightweight dwarf with a glass-covered blue LED upfront and a power IEC and mains switch on the rear. Quantum claims "increased periodic S/N ratio by 15% when installed into an audio signal transduction network."

Further explanations on the workings of this device include the following: "A sea of electromagnetic fields (EMF) from electrical devices, power lines, computers and wireless signals results in thousands of EMF frequencies containing many billions of electrostatic charged particles disrupting the signal path of every component in any high-end audio/home theater entertainment system. Like a magnet aligning iron filings, the Quantum coherent polarizing field effect "aligns" charged particles associated with EMF frequencies. The resulting coherent field enhances the signal path allowing greater audio/video fidelity." Elsewhere, the QRT treatment is said to "enhance the transfer function of conductive materials" and the effective range of QRT's own Symphony device is claimed to extend in a 35' omnidirectional radius (sphere) around the unit." [Note how EMF fields here are viewed as particle waves - Ed.]

QRT is also found inside such components as Kiuchi-San's ALS-777 Reimyo power line conditioner under the Combak/Harmonix flag and Lloyd Walker's Velocitor S. Unlike the mysterious Intelligent Chip, this technology actually employs definitive material components that don't require microscopes or nano-technology mysticism to - um, see. Lloyd Walker doesn't profess to fully understand how QRT works but like Kiuchi-San, his ears tell him that it does and his tweaker's nature has shown him how to improve and optimize the basic technology. Considering the parts quality and execution of the Symphony Pro, it's obvious why Walker Audio rebuilds the modules.

Incidentally, the notorious Bybee devices are based on and explained via very similar technology and terminology. In layman's terms, I've been told that while electricity propagates at nearly light speed, individual electrons move far more slowly. They actually create bumper-car traffic noise while passing through the crystal lattices of conductors. Both QRT and Bybee devices are said to align or orient this electron flow. This supposedly minimizes propagation noise. It also accelerates current flow due to more optimized and thus faster electron movement. Walker's clever name of Velocitor i.e. accelerator seems very canny in this context.

With Chinese-sourced parts and plainly cost-conscious execution, the opened Symphony Pro displayed a 5-volt switching power supply with slip-on connectors, the afore-mentioned coil embedded in a 'pulse block' and said contraption itself attached to the power supply and a board-mounted chip which presumably acts as the oscillator microprocessor. Like Walker with his latest S-version Velocitor, QRT's Bill Stierhout has recently applied an active bias to the detection coil that's sourced from the power supply.

Many power conditioner makers including Walker and Sound Application rely on visual feedback (exclusively so or to augment and confirm auditory perception) via television monitors. Audible differences translate to visual ones. Most would agree that with subtleties, eyes tend to agree far more with other eyes than ears with ears. Still the beneficiary of Bel Canto's phenomenal PLayer loaner, I headed straight for our 2-channel video rig and plugged the Symphony Pro into the BPT BP-3.5 Signature Plus currently residing there. My wife is a painter and has an exceptional sense
of color. It took her no time at all to pronounce the QRT effect visible in how color-based details and textures deepened. We used period movies like Girl with a Pearl Earring and Age of Innocence for their opulence of textiles and paintings and the opening of Art of War for its sheer intensity of colors during the Millennium Celebration and subsequent aerial escape. I had to agree. Color saturation and haze-free clarity had clearly jumped up a notch. A wooden doorway with sun-faded paint showed off more grain texture in the wood and a higher numbers of hues in the paint. Woven fabrics displayed dye irregularities and a sharper relief of surface patterns created by the threads. The Chinese balloons popped louder with their bright hues. Would what our eyes so clearly agreed on without deliberation, effort or second-guessing translate to the big rig?

In two words? No but. Despite the claimed field effect and reach of this technology, the Symphony Pro added something significant enough 17' and 24' removed from two plugged-in transmitting Walker Audio Velocitors to become visible in our television corner. Alas, plugging the Symphony into the very system already employing two QRT modules by way of the Walker units didn't add anything I could discern. This leads me to two conclusions. A/ Despite the cited 35 -50' reach for the QRT field or dither signal, proximity plays a far greater role than the claims would suggest. B/ Stacked QRT via multiple units and in the same system isn't necessarily additive enough to become audible.

Does QRT work? Quantumfiably so. Is it earth-shattering? As implemented here? I first thought no. Would I spend $500 on the Symphony Pro? In a video system of the PLayer's and Sony's resolution that visibly benefits, certainly - though comparing a $500 television to what's inside this box makes the latter seem unnecessarily expensive. But that's true for most of HighEnd audio. How about in a 2-channel system like mine above? There I couldn't say since I'm already QRT'd to the hilt. I have no way of knowing how much the quantum modules inside the Velocitors contribute to their overall performance and how much the remainder of Walker's address. Unlike with the Symphony Pro, you cannot turn off the QRT portion of the Velocitor to compare. For audio evaluations, I used the video system anchored by my new Zu Cable Druids run off Nelson Pass' phenomenal FirstWatt F1 10wpc current-source amp.

The audible contributions of the Symphony Pro remained subtle until I figured on unplugging the two Velocitor S in the adjacent listening room whose AC line terminates in the same sub breaker box as the video system. While the Pro's action was clearly visible on video even with the Velocitors on the same circuits 20 feet removed; while the Pro was not audible when inserted into the main rig already tricked out with the two Walker units; the concomitant triangulated conclusion that the two downstream Velocitors weren't affecting the video system proved erroneous. The moment I unplugged them, the Symphony Pro -- tapped into one outlet of the BPT 3.5 Signature Plus -- did its thing audibly enough over the Druids to become a de facto mini Velocitor: a babycitor.

Spinning a personal fave CD by Jan Garbarek [Visible World, ECM 1585] proved very telling in that regard. "The Healing Smoke" features potent low-frequency drums courtesy of Manu Katché, lyrical yet well-grounded bass work by Eberhard Weber and Garbarek's trademark piercing soprano sax wails. As with all Manfred Eicher recordings, recording quality is top notch and spatial cues there to be unearthed if your system is capable. Switching the Pro on netted more defined leading edges especially on the sax but also obvious on bass transients and my ability to listen into the soundstage and watch the decays die on the air improved considerably. While the soundstage per se didn't expand by moving performers further outwards, it certainly sounded a bit deeper behind them.

As an all-transistor rig, this system excels in ultra-low noise floors, bass articulation and grip. Where it arguably plays second fiddle to my valve rig is in soundstage layering and tonal color density. As it did so obviously already on our television monitor, the Symphony Pro also kicked up the harmonic saturation values of instrumental voices for a more vibrant, fleshed-out rendering. Naturally, how these particular aspects come to the fore and line up will also be a function of what kind of power conditioner or distribution bar you'll use. The balanced power unit by Chris Hoff is a noise killer rather than pace setter whereas the QRT effect is clearly about melting fat and sluggishness.

This makes for a number of appealing potential match ups to add to or shift a particular conditioner's sonic signature. To pursue the specific Velocitor S quality likely mandates mating the Symphony Pro to a passive bar like Furutech makes. Mixing and matching the electron alignment and current acceleration of the Pro with capacitive filtering like Sound Application, Shunyata Research and Audience pursue should generate different results. Ditto for the capacitive/inductive solution of Running Springs Audio. Once you think about it, the possible permutations become quite the handful and are, in fact, inescapable since you can't plug anything directly into the Quantum unit. It will always be an add-on, not a primary player.

In our upstairs system, for example, the Quantum unit plugged into a Furutech RTP-6 which connects to the wall via an older Shunyata Research Black Mamba. Here its audible presence became even more obvious as though the absence of the BPT lightened the burden to make its own point. The combination of Furutech's passive approach (it uses what appears to be a liner material similar in concept to the ERS cloth) with the Quantum Resonance protocol now truly became a family member of the Walker sound I've personally subscribed to as something that does it for me - fast, highly resolved, incisive and exciting yet not bleached, zippy or lean.

While DLP and plasma screens are all the rage, the picture quality of a good but affordable CRT like a Sony Trinitron hotrodded with QRT would be my first recommendation for anyone wanting mondo performance at a sane price. And since QRT affects the audio performance as well as the video image, you can get excellent results without going off the deep end of expensive active AC filtration. All you need is a passive power distribution bar that gives you the requisite number of outlets and badabing, babadoom, you could be scott-free. Unlike more questionable inventions and so-called paradigm-shifting proposals in audio, QRT appears to be everything that is claimed for it even though it will likely require an advanced engineering degree to truly understand how it works. The Symphony Pro is thus recommended and videophiles in particular should think twice about ditching that ol'e CRT before they've taken a second look at its picture quality with QRT removing the haze. Good things do come in small and lightweight packages at times!
Bill Stierhout responds:
The material conductive treatment process, QRT or Quantum Resonance Technology, remains proprietary information. Incorporated into an electronic oscillator/transmitter design with specific pre-programmed frequencies generated at 20MHz, a small signal radiates or "broadcasts" throughout a given space up to 60, with the given antenna coil. The influence of this field is akin to a noise reduction technique, albeit applied wirelessly.

Random electronic noise is reduced but the content of information within the signal (low frequency to RF) is enhanced. The QRT field begins to induce significant qualitative change. All signals (power, wireless, analog, digital) are being affected by the Quantum field. The frequencies generated by the Pro "resonate" or "harmonize" with frequenices within the above range present in the environment. The existing fields are being "tuned" to a specified pattern so as to bring out more harmonic content in the envelope of the signal. The units are not power conditioners but are wireless electrical field or signal conditoners.

I appreciate the fact that you thoroughly evaluated the product in several audio systems. You observed changes to the computer monitor, the Sony television as well as in your elaborate home theater rig. The Velocitors use a customized version of a QRT oscillator/transmitter platform. The technology has a cumulative affect. The point of diminishing returns depends upon the amount of electrical appliances or the electrical load, the em field intensity, and the electrical space area. Perhaps because of the QRT x 2 already in your system, the influence of the Pro may be difficult to perceive but the Pro is providing further noise reduction to the environment.

Thank you for your kind comments and interesting review. You have given many audiophiles and videophiles a strong incentive to try a Symphony Pro.

Bill Stierhout
Manufacturer's website