Before I tell you just how excellent I found your products, let me tell you how excellent I found your customer service! I live in a remote area — it’s only 5 miles to the north to the Arctic Circle. This is a nice and highly developed small town, but it sure is no place to go shopping for High End audio. Even though in the age of the internet it is possible to get anything anywhere, it is difficult to get products home to audition them. So I am very dependent on both consumer reviews and on customer service.
Well, as far as consumer reviews go, choosing Shunyata power conditioning was a no-brainer. When Skywalker Industries, David Gilmour, Sony Recording Studios and — most important from where I stand — the Viennese Philharmonics tell you a product is excellent, I don’t expect to find out otherwise. Ordering a HYDRA 6 through the local High End service was an easy decision. But, alas, I am a difficult customer. Much as I would like to change that, I can’t. There are always a million questions I have. What cabling to use, where to place the HYDRA, should I spike it, can I burn it in plugging my refrigerator into it, is there a plug in order for my components etc. etc.
As a rule, I get decent enough replies to the first one or two questions. Then whoever is responsible for costumer service cannot be bothered anymore. Not with Shunyata! A guy named Matt went out of his way to answer each and every question in detail. On top of that, he always found the time to be really nice and personal about our communication. That is rare, and I made a note to keep this in mind when the time came to give my feedback. Thanks again, Matt! (By the way, to save Matt some future time, here are the answers to the questions above: Put the strongest (best) cable between the wall and the HYDRA. Place it on a shelve, not on the floor. Spiking enhances performance. Fridge
works great for burn in. Plug in order is not so important since the exits are clearly separated, but amp first, digital last, is the natural choice.)
So I finally bought the HYDRA 6 along with DIAMONDBACK cabling. 20AMP cable between wall and HYDRA, ordinary Dbs between HYDRA and amp/CD. First of all, the cables got here first and I was amazed! I am interested in physics, so it was clear to me, that good power cords would make a difference. But this big a difference? I never would have guessed! I got more clarity and openness in the treble along with a very deep and tightly controlled bass. On top of that, the whole sound became more dynamic without being in your face in the least. To be sure, I never had considered treble or bass or dynamics to be weaknesses of my system. I thought they were great already! I do a lot of my serious listening with headphones (two very small kids in the house). I use Sennheiser 650s through a Musical Fidelity X-Can V3. Recently I had upgraded the headphone cable, exchanging the stock cable for a Zu Mobius, which set me back 300 Euros, but was worth every cent. By way of comparison, exchanging the stock power cords on my Pathos Classic One (hybrid) amp and on my Densen 400 XS CD-player for DIAMONDBACKS made as much of a difference as the Zu Mobius. Also, I had at some point chosen my other cabling, which is by Goertz (Alphacore) to be either copper or silver, with the silver adding 1000 euros to the cost of my system. I liked the silver so much better, I was willing to spend the extra money. Again, just the DIAMONDBACKS alone made as much of a difference! They are more than worth the money. Actually, if you can only upgrade your interconnects or your power cords, I would opt for the power cords now! And they would have to be Shunyata.
So how about the whole deal, HYDRA added? Well, the most amazing additions to the quality of sound were a) an enormously widened, deepened, heightened and better structured soundstage and b) a much more integrated sound. For all I know about physics, this is beyond me. The effect on the soundstage, which is so much bigger and which every musician is clearly placed in, is far beyond anything I could have expected. Saying the sound is more integrated means, everything just seems to be part of the same performance, more than it used to. There is one musical happening taking place, as opposed to different notes forming a whole.
Again, I’ll try to compare. I chose my speakers, the Dynaudio Confidence C1 over the also excellent Dynaudio Contour 1.4, because there is that extra sparkle to the sound. Like comparing champagne to a really good white wine. This decision cost me an additional 2500 Euros. Getting the HYDRA most probably made more of a difference, at less expense! I also choose my front end, the Densen 400 XS over the 400 Plus — adding 1500 Euros to my bill. Again, the HYDRA makes as much of a difference.
No matter, what you are having or getting for a set up. Start out with a HYDRA and Shunyata cabling. It will make more of a difference (for the better) than most of the other choices you might be considering. And on top of that, you’ll get some excellent customer service!
HYDRA 6 with DIAMONDBACKS
Pathos Classic One hybrid amp
Densen 400 XS CD and 800 Tuner
Goertz silver cabling (Veracity MI2 and Triode Quartz)
Musical Fidelity X.Can V3 with Senneheiser 650s, Zu Mobius upgrade cable