Salamander Designs' Synergy System has been around for years and has become a leader among audio-video racks and furniture. The system I am reviewing is the third Salamander system I have owned over the past decade. This is for good reason. I have come to find Salamander's products to be of high quality and the modularity of their offering is highly adaptable with my needs. The setup I am writing about today is the Synergy Triple 10 with an 11 inch riser. The Triple 10 has three doors behind which sit my preamp, amplifier and source componentry. On top of the Triple 10, but below the riser, sits a Revel C30 center channel speaker. Finally, on top of the 11 inch riser sits a Pioneer KURO 60-inch plasma television which weighs about 130 pounds.
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• Find audiophile grade source components to stack in the Synergy System.
Initially, configuring this system was a challenge because the Revel speaker is tall and wide and thus I needed a system that could support the television yet have no center brackets which could block the speaker. Salamander's website is excellent and made it easy to configure a system that would support the significant weight of a 60-inch plasma and accommodate the wider than usual center channel speaker. The total retail price of this system is around $1,600.
• The Synergy's adjustable shelves are deep and easily hold heavy components. One of the biggest problems I have had with AV furniture is finding a unit that can handle the depth of my Proceed AMP5 amplifier which is 19.5 inches deep. And this is before attaching any speaker wires. Having deep shelves are a definite plus.
• The Salamander Synergy System is highly attractive in virtually any combination of woods and trims and will fit most home decors. My previous Synergy system was walnut with silver trim and the current system I have is walnut with black trim. Both look excellent. Furthermore, you can customize your Synergy by choosing frosted or metal perforated doors as well as metal or wood sides.
• Modularity is key when choosing AV furniture because no two systems are alike. The Synergy System comes in tall or wide configurations and are highly adaptable. If you decide down the road that you want to change your system by purchasing add-ons such as additional shelves or a riser, growing your system it is a snap do to.
• Salamander has excellent customer service. I ran into a small problem with putting my system together because the instructions were not clear (see below). I called Salamander (I did not tell them that I would be reviewing their product) and in moments I was on the phone with someone who was familiar with my problem and knew exactly how to fix it.
• The instructions were somewhat unclear on how to install the spammer post using a cross dowel to the riser posts. This part of the assembly is absolutely critical. If not done correctly, the spammer post will be loose, the riser shelf could sag and your television would not have adequate support. Correcting the problem became clear after I called a very friendly and helpful customer service agent who indicated that the cutout in the dowel needed to be facing a certain direction for it to lock firmly into place. Salamander needs to make their assembly instructions more clear.
• Attaching the hinges to the doors and the riser post is easy, however, adjusting the hinge so that the door lies perfectly straight is not. It would be great if Salamander would include some literature on how to adjust the hinges to make sure that the doors are properly aligned. I have been tinkering with mine and they are still a little misaligned. They look acceptable, but if you are like me, when you spend your hard earned cash you want something to look perfect.
The Salamander Synergy System is a great product and outside of spending thousands - or tens of thousands - on a custom installation, it should be a front runner in consideration if you are shopping for a new AV rack. I rent an apartment and need a free standing and attractive unit to house all my AV gear. Salamander was the clear cut solution. Coming in a variety of colors and available with a plethora of accessories such as wheels, feet, doors, sides and drawers, the Synergy System should be high on your list when considering a free standing AV furniture setup.