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
After a strong recomendation from a local dealer, I took the leap of faith and invested in your product. I was impressed with the TAIPAN VX/ALPHA HYDRA MODEL-2 combination. It wasn’t till I added the TAIPAN HELIX to the mix, did I realize the full potential of this upgrade. The improvement in the micro dynamics was the first change noted. My soundstage grew ten feet. Sonically, theres a kind of “enrobing” effect, I’ve had many different power conditioners over the years, as well as upgraded power cords. With Shunyata, I’ve gone from “thinking” I hear a difference, to knowing it to be fact.
Jersey City, NJ
Matt, Words cannot discribe how incredible the HYDRA MODEL-6 and the PowerSnakes sound. I don’t know if I just happen to have the right combination of components but my sound stage is very 3 dimentional, absolutely incredible and tonal balance is perfect. Transient attacks are just explosive and precise. The low frequencies are tight deep and very solid. The high frequencies have that natural holographic harmonic resonance that you hear up close and personal as if they were live. Instruments such as cymbals actually sound as if they are a shower of sparks falling down right in front of you. Everything sounds warm, natural and very liquid, almost as if you were looking at your sound stage though a sheet of perfectly pure water. Stage positioning of instrumentation is very defined as well as delivering a very soft, precise presentation across the whole sound stage. Oh, and I forgot to mention, my system is dead quiet with no audible floor noise with the volume wide open (no music playing).
Caelin Gabriel did a fantastic job designing the HYDRA and Snakes. His electronic and electrical design principals are right on the money. The HYDRA is very simple, not bulky, non current restricting, and produces no heat or noise and has the most precise filtration points of any conditioner in the world. I have found that a direct AC line of twisted 8 gauge power wire from the electric panel with a dedicated 30 amp breaker at the top of the buss to the hubble connector in the rear of the HYDRA works extremely well. Shunyata has the best conditioning products in the world, no doubt about it.
Conditioning products used in the past:
Here are my system components:
Power Distribution : Shunyata HYDRA MODEL-6 with 5 DIAMONDBACK and 1 COPPERHEAD powersnakes
Tuner : Magnum DynaLab MD100 Phono : VPI scout with Benz Glider MCC and VPI Reference signal cable
Phono Preamp : Audio Research PH3SE
Digital : Theta Digital Data Basic with DSPro Prime II DAC connected with MIT Reference digital interconnect
Pre amplification : Spectral DMC 12
Power Amplification : Spectral DMA 90
Signal Cables : MIT AVT series1 for sources and MIT Shotgun 330 between pre and poweramp
Speaker Cables : MIT 750 HE +
Loudspeakers : Magnepan MG 2.7QR
Please feel free to use my system pictures and my review on your site.
I’ve evaluated your products and found them absolutely fantastic (TAIPAN VX, ALPHA and HYDRA MODEL-2). They smoked my Transparent PowerIsolator4 and Analysis PowerOval combo. I ordered right away 1m PYTHON VX for my cd-player (Bow Technologies Wizard 24/192), PYTHON ALPHA for my integrated (Bow Wazoo 50W no negative feedback-design, very tube sounding integrated) and two pieces of HYDRA MODEL-2’s equipped with TAIPAN ALPHA’s.
The HYRDA MODEL-8 roduces an incredibly quiet background, expansive soundstage, tight bass. It eliminated all hum from my phono stage. I never understood what people meant when they said “silence between the notes”: but now I get it. One can truly hear “into the music” and at times the notes seem to come out of space. Spooky details (that is great audio language). I like its small size and lack of external heat.
I AM IMPRESSED.
As I mentioned on the phone, I consider the new HYDRA MODEL-8 to be an almost “holy grail”, “one ring, crack of doom” type addition to my audio/video system! No kidding, the HYDRA MODEL-8 just seems to create this great synergy within my system that allows all of the components to perform their best. I’ve been pretty much telling all of my audiophile friends (and anyone else who will listen) the same! Please pass along my thanks to everyone at Shunyata for all the great power products.
I am sure I’ve passed the 100 hour break-in time for the HYDRA MODEL-8, so time for an update.
Rarely do I wax on in audio hyperbole, but I have to say the HYDRA MODEL-8 is the single most positive addition I’ve made to my audio set up in the past two years (since I purchased the VAC 70-70 Renaissance MkIIIS amp). There is greater coherence to the music, increased delicacy, and absolute quiet to the background. For me, this adds up to enhanced enjoyment of the music. I get closer to the heart and soul of the artist.
Thanks for making such a fine product.
Just a note to update you on the HYDRA MODEL-8. I am almost reluctant to tell you my reactions because, to some extent they will sound like a replay of my comments on the ANDROMEDA speaker cable and therefore you might wonder whether I overreact to each upgrade or improvement in my system. Well, I do not. Some are subtle. Some purchases are not upgrades or improvements at all. But the HYDRA MODEL-8 (and the ANDROMEDA) is not subtle, is not negative… is not a close call. It made a substantial improvement in my system — a material leap forward. And the improvement was not just in one area or component but in almost every area audiophiles use to evaluate a product. And the negatives, the drawbacks — none, nada, not yet.
I actually purchased the HYDRA MODEL-8 to provide me with surge protection rather than for an improvement. All my components plugged directly into the wall. My reasoning in buying the unit was that if it provided me with protection against electrical surges and did no harm, the cost would be justified. Additionally, I listen almost exclusively to vinyl and did not think the improvements I had read about would be as noticeable with records as with digital. Finally, another piece of equipment I had added for the turntable had resulted in overall improvements but they were subtle. So I thought my vinyl playback had reached a plateau with my current system. In short, I was neither looking for, nor expecting, dramatic improvements — if any appreciable improvements — from the HYDRA MODEL-8. I just wanted protection without the drawbacks I had read about with other products.
My expectations disappeared by the end of the first piece I played. The improvements in my system were stunning. First, the noise. Wait, there was no noise. A *slight* hum that I had always heard (with 3 different phono sections) with the phono gain turned up and no music playing was gone. The system was quiet. And better yet, the quiet translated into blackness during playback. What I mean by this is that small details were readily distinguishable and sounds and instruments had their own place, both in space and in the recording. The details brought the instruments more to life than I had ever heard. There was a richness and fullness to the sounds that made the instruments sound more like they do in a music hall or club rather than in my listening room. The string and wood of the violins were more there. And the saxophone? Well, sometime ago, I had heard Paul Desmond’s sax in Take Five (Dave Brubeck) on a different system and under conditions that made that sax sound like nothing I had ever heard. It moved me. In setting up my home system, I had always used that cut in making adjustments and as a measure. With the HYDRA MODEL-8, I heard that sax and thought — for the first time — that the sound was what I had heard that day sometime ago and had been looking for ever since.
On a classical piece that I have played over 100 times, there is an organ playing low notes. I was surprised when I heard the opening passage and realized that all this time what I thought was a single note was actually two notes. And the bass is punchier, deeper and tighter.
I could go on. The instruments are more clearly layered and placed on the soundstage, for example. My conclusion: the HYDRA MODEL-8 doesn’t make music but it allows my components to perform closer to their maximum potential than any product I have owned.
I’ve had the ANACONDA VX and HYDRA in my system for a few weeks, so now is a good time to offer my observations. First, some history. Before this, I had the KING COBRA II feeding a Sony SCD-1 and the BLACK MAMBA on a Bryston 14B ST. Speakers are Harbeth Monitor 40s. All powercords were hooked to a high quality outlet fed by an original KING COBRA. I first tried Shunyata products three years ago. I was utterly smitten by what the KING COBRA did in freeing musical reproduction from congestion; allow musical expression to flow, and allowing instrumental images to leap out in a more solid fashion. In particular, I appreciated the way it took digital playback so much closer to analogue standards (especially SACDs) in the way it deals with digital A/C noise problems. Thus, when the ANACONDA VX was introduced, I could not imagine how much better it could be than the KING COBRA. I supposed that might only be room for subtle changes, since the KING COBRA already effected such a drastic improvement. My dealer offered a home demo I had nothing to lose.
However, I had a great deal to gain. Replacing the KING COBRA II with the ANACONDA VX brought music reproduction to a new level of realism. I could allude to improved dynamics, imaging or detail, but these terms seem irrelevant with the ANACONDA VX, so radical was the enhanced presence of the instruments and the greater revelation of the intentions musicians were expressing. Adding the new HYDRA MODEL-8 to this setup brought performance to even more elevated level of sonic clarity and a reduction of that buffer zone presented by reproductive means between the original event and the listener. The new HYDRA is even more neutral and colouration-free than the older model which I had auditioned in my system.
The musical presentation is so entrancing that one simply wants to enjoy the music without desiring to categorize or quantify the effect. Thoughts of Stardust, certified copper purity, dielectric quality, dyes etc. simply slip away from one’s mind, as they should. These design issues are for Caelin Gabriel to deal with. The Shunyata customers’ job is simply to partake in greater enjoyment of music.
The SCD-1 has recently been upgraded to the magnificently fluid, uncolored, responsive and analogue-sounding Krell SACD Standard (which sets new standard for SACD playback.) Powered by Shunyata, the new generation of SACD players perform at their best to deliver vinyl standards of playback from silver discs, and way beyond that even! I dare say that Shunyata IS the equalizing factor between digital and analogue.
The Shunyata philosophy is 100% in line with my goal of seeking neutral, transparent and colouration-free reproduction. I can’t imagine how these products can get substantially better, but trust Shunyata to relentlessly lead the way in breaking new ground, and to surprise us in days to come with what is yet possible from musical reproduction.
K. Tang, PhD Asst. Prof. in Musicology/Composition
I recently compared a few power-line units, including HYDRA, Richard Grey and Audio Magic. I am very surprised how much difference there is in the sound of each unit. It (HYDRA) is the same kind of difference when I up-graded components, may be more. I definitely prefer the HYDRA. Sometimes I record CDs professionally. My angle is much higher sound quality, which the HYDRA is part of.
I bought the GUARDIAN 4-HT thru hifi at the soundstation and love it. Works great with my headphone amp — it’s a maxed out home reference and it sounds better with a DIAMONDBACK power cable and 4HT.
But when I plugged in my 31″ RCA and Direct TV receiver — a dramatic improvement in picture quality.
WOW! Its less fuzzy and colors more vibrant was using monster hts 2000 before.
The Shunyata HYDRA is a work of art. The looks alone are amazing, and craftsmanship is superb. Sonically, HYDRA is out of this world. After the first HYDRA was set up in my system, WOW, what a improvement, so much so that I am about to order my second HYDRA. The power cords such as the PYTHON will soon be throughout my entire system. Thanks SHUNYATA for making such a GREAT PRODUCT.
Just competed Burn-In Week.
All I can tell you, Richard, is that I am, well, astounded.
The system is transformed.
You probably have […]’s order for two more Sigmas (HC) for my amps
Although I can’t imagine what more these cords will do?
Thank you and everyone you work with for such wonderful (but expensive) gifts.
For years I had been using two or three so called “Giant Killer” power cables for my Wadia, (read cheap) thinking they should be “good enough”. Recently I bought the Black Mamba CX almost as a lark. Well, Richard, my first adventure in Shunyataland has been a real eye and ear opener! Did not realize just how much I had been missing, or how good the rest of my system really was. No audiophile verbiage needed, this Black Mamba CX just destroyed the Elcheapo power cables in all audible areas. I’m sure this is no surprise to you, but to me it has been a revelation. Thanks to this one power cable I now have an entirely “new” CD library to enjoy.
Today I received a Alpha HC power cord to be used with my Devialet D250 amplifier. I previously house a pair of Anaconda Speaker cables connecting the Devialet with my Magico Q3. This combination sounds fantastic in my opinion! I Listening to a wide selection of music – ZZ Top, Apex Twins, Opera, grand scale symphonic orchestral music, small jazz trios just to mention some – pretty much all kinds of music – and nowadays I am listening with a broad smile on my face. Both amplifier and speakers are very neutral and in combination with the Shunyata cable system, it all result in a convincing musical experience that forces me to play album after album. Thank you for manufacturing such great cables!
Björn W. Gothenburg
It’s now been about three weeks since I got my PS8 bundle. It’s been a great addition to my system. You can now add me to the list of people that believe power cables can, and do make a difference.
The amount of improvement/clarity to my system make this a bargain given how much I paid for this bundle. There’s no doubt that the next thing I buy for my system will be three more venom cables!
I just wanted to thank you for all you have done for those of us who enjoy listening to music.
Over the past year I was introduced to Shunyata Research through Music Direct. I acquired COBRA ΞTRON™ Power Cords to improve power delivery and the VENOM DEFENDER, DARKFIELD CABLE ELEVATOR’s and MINI’s to minimize EMI. I was so impressed by the dramatic effect these additions had in my system. The sound quality was transformed. It now resembles that of a live performance. There is such beauty in the highly resolved music I am hearing.
Thanks to you and your company for developing such advanced technology as “ΞTRON®” and for manufacturing so many value products. I feel privileged to have benefitted from your hard work.
Dear Caelin, Grant, and Richard,
I had replaced the KING COBRA CX that I was using on my Spectral 4000SL CD player. I was initially underwhelmed by the ALPHA’s lack of bottom end weight and majesty. Then I let the cable burn and settle in by putting the player on repeat for a couple hundred hours. Then came the sonic transformation of a level of an improved magnitude that blew me away! Up until now, my experience is that your power conditioning “boxes” offered more “bang for the buck” than your power cables. Not that your cables aren’t most excellent, which they are (I have plenty of em!), but that a $5000 TRITON or TYPHON box offered more value than a $3,000 ANACONDA wire. Not any more! In fact, if I had to (reluctantly) relinquish, say one of my TYPHON’s or my ALPHA DIGITAL cable, the TYPHON would be the one to go!
The ALPHA DIGITAL cable is a game changer. This may be the most important product that you have ever introduced to the market! The improvements, not differences, but improvements that I hear, in the context of my reference audio system are many. I will try my best to describe some of them. The soundstage is now much more clarified with an increased sense of imaging placement. Digital glare is tremendously reduced, and with that reduction of glare comes and increased sense of richness and density of timber of both instruments and voices. The sense of increased richness of harmonics and overtones of the instruments on the soundstage has been vastly improved. A guitar sounds more like a live guitar with the warm woody resonance of the soundboard with the interplay of the vibrating strings and their overtones on the harmonics. On piano recordings, I swoon at the hearing the sound of the individual mallets striking the strings and that instrument’s resonance. The piano’s sound and positioning on the stage is much better focused than ever before. Removing the glare from the human voice makes it sound, well, that much more human! Voices now seem to hang in space better than ever before, with every word more intelligible, particularly the ending of words. For example, lets say the vocalist sings the word “last”. Before the ALPHA, the word would sound closer to “lass” (with some digital “spit”), and now sounds like “lasT” (and that enunciated “T” fades off into space). Vocals are SO much easier to follow! The ALPHA also allows the dynamics (macro and micro) of the recording to come though as never before, as I am now hearing each performer’s individual contribution to the collective performance in the rhythm of the tune much more easy to discern. Combine all that I have mentioned and the increased sense of RPT and overall musicality in the sound of my system have gone WAY UP over the price of the ALPHA cable, which is less that a third of the price of the KING COBRA CX that it replaces! In fact if you had marketed this cable for the same price as that KING COBRA, it would have still been a fantastic value. Yes, it’s that good.
You have embarked on a new frontier with the ALPHA DIGITAL that in one fell swoop, has allowed us to hear the improvements that the designers of digital equipment and the designers of their internal componentry have worked to improve in over the past generation. Using an Alpha Digital cable is like taking digital’s sound ahead of where it currently resides into the future by a decade! It is that big of a deal!
With awe and appreciation for what you do…
I just received the PYTHON ordered from you by Sound Hounds in Victoria, BC. It is a bit hard to install unless I twist the cable so it will lie in a reasonable position and still hook up from my Oyaide outlet to my PS Audio Premier regenerator. How much can it be twisted to make the connections line up. Sound Hounds say just don’t kink it and twist as needed. I just want be sure as it is far more money than I have ever spent on a cable. I replaced a new VENOM HC with it. The VENOM was a great improvement. My wife and I are still trying to describe the difference the PYTHON has made. We installed it last night. We can feel much greater sound pressure at about 70 db. We have a concrete carpeted floor but the leather couch cushions were vibrating with Jack Johnson at 70 or so db. The Venom HC did not do that but improved the sound immensely. We have only listened for 45 minutes so we will see as burn-in continues. I think the PYTHON will improve the openness, soundstage and add dimensions and detail when compared to the awesome Venom HC. We are planning to use COBRA ΞTRON® for our other power cords and Shunyata speaker wire. I love what you are doing. Bringing great products to the market that a person can justify buying. I have spent most of my life trying to get vinyl and cd’s to sound good without going broke. I can finally say at 61 years old I am almost there.
Ladies & Gents:
I recently purchased a new HYDRA 6 with the VENOM HC power cord. It replaced a APC H10 power conditioner. I was expecting an improvement. I was shocked at how big of an improvement this device has made. It is not broken in yet but already there are great improvements being experienced. The bass is tighter, clearer, fuller and more detailed. Of course the soundstage is wider and deeper. There were some cds I could not play properly especially with low bass. Now they play fine and can be enjoyed. Even the volume level has increased. More music is being heard at all levels. Keep up the good work.