Nordost Vishnu or Shunyata Copperhead Power Cord

Hi Fellow Music Lovers, I've come to a crossroad and could certainly use some assistance on this one. I'm looking to hopefully upgrade a sole power cord that is rotated seasonally between an Audiomat Arpege Reference 10 ( EL34 based ) and Sonneteer Campion ( Solid State based ) Integrated Amps, I've been using an Acoustic Zen Tsunami Plus with either based upon recommendations both here and on Audioasylum since '09 and as much as I adore the things it does through both amps, I'm looking for a little bit more bass definition along with added nimbleness of bass notes in themself. My dealer friend at the cable company has recommended using a JPS Labs Power A.C.+ as he feels this would add bass as well as feeling in that lost sense of speed. However after speaking with several other friends whom use either Shunyata or Nordost Power Cords and raving about them over and over again, I'm forced to come to all of you as a means of getting to the truth of the matter!, what's what with either of these?. Would one sound more refined and/or natural in a sense of allowing the music to shine through without added attention to a lost in overall purity?, or should I simply bite the bullet and settle on the JPS Labs and be done with it?. So dig down deep and share your opinions on both of these on my behalf as I would prefer to buy one or the other but don't know which direction would in fact prove worthwhile. Thanks in advance to those of you whom are willing to share your expeirence with either, and do enjoy the upcoming Holiday and above all a much better New Year to us all. Regards, Oscar
Anybody?. Oscar
Everything is System dependent..Also people dependent..We all hear things differently..That being said, I have found the lower Teir Nordost ( from years ago ) can sound quite
lean and threadbare ( to my ears )...But under the right circumstances could work very well..Tough call.....
Thorman, I wish to thank you for at least offering an honest opinion and I shall weigh that option in selecting either. Peace, Oscar
A Vishnu loom improved bass in my system by adding weight, refinement and speed. I've never tried Shunyata though.

Vishnu's strengths really come out when used with other Nordost power cords (they call this a loom). Shunyata also recommends using all the same brand for best results. So I think you might be better off sticking with the same brand that you use elsewhere - assuming of course that you have been sticking with just one brand.
Hi Kennyb, Thanks for responding. I've merely ordered both power cords four days ago. I'm aware of the importance of the cabling loom as I'm a firm believer in what Roy Gregory of HiFi + has been talking about for over 8 years now. Yet I've been told in some cases it's okay to alter the loom if one power cord from a certain company is better at producing bass whereas some aren't!, Synergy is a means of canceling out the negatives or weaknesses in ones system which enhancing or building on its strengths - and I'm a believer in the basic concept of purity of notes for the sake of musicality. Yet in the same breath I just can't justify spending $1.800 on any bodies power cord!, now maybe between $700 - $1.000 is where I'd tap out. Thanks again, Oscar
What improved bass more than anything in my system was swapping the Nordost Vishnu used at the wall with a single Nordost Brahma.  The first power cord really sets the tone for what will follow.  But, I imagine this might not be as effective when not using cords from the same manufacturer.

Mixing and matching may give you a short term gain.  But where do you go from there?  Another benefit of using cords from the same manufacturer is you gain a predictable upgrade path.  I have a half dozen friends who started with Nordost Magus and moved on from there.  There has been tremendous consistency in our findings as we've upgraded.  

When I added the Brahma to my Vishnu loom as described above, my results *exactly* matched the results a friend got when he did this same thing.  And I know exactly what to expect when I add a Valhalla power cord at some future point.  (That's my next move actually.   I will use a singe Valhalla at the wall.  This will then be followed by a Brahma used between my QX4 and QB8.  Then Vishnu cords will run from the QB8 to all my components.)

Lastly, I should mention that prior to using Nordost power cords, I used a mix of Lessloss, ESP, and PS Audio cords.  Those cords retailed for between $600 and $750 each.  A complete loom of the $180 Magus humiliated the mix of much more expensive cords.  Magus was a huge upgrade and confirmed for me that the loom theory is correct.

Hi Ken, I'm sorry to have missed your last response, I've just been out doing last second shopping with the wife. Yet I've taken your recommendation for the Brahma into account and shall in fact pursue one after the Holidays. I see that you're also a believer of Roy Gregory's Concept of Building a Foundation - which starts at the AC Outlet and works upwards from that point ending with the final interconnect or phono-cable as a means to voice ones system according to taste. Yet there're time when one can make one exception to the cabling loom theory and that's with a different favor in regards to that lone power cord on occasion - there're cases where certain cords produce slightly better performance then one it might've replaced. I'm not much into mixing cables either, yet there have been times where one has to address the strengths and weaknesses of ones system without feeling the need to trash it and start anew. Hence the logic that so many so-called music lovers find themselves replacing this or that comonents every other month or so, due to their lack of knowing the proper means of voicing it. Hence the term Synergy which goes hand in hand with tweaking in my mind. As someone whom uses and believes in devices like Shun Mook and Yamamoto Sound Craft Ebony Isolation Devices along with ASI Resonators and Sugar Cubes within my system and/or room. I understand to some it might be weird science and all, but how does the old addage go - hearing is beliving. Once again Thanks for sharing your insight, I know what has to be done. Regards, Oscar
I expect my cables and power cords to do just one thing: get the heck out of the way so I can hear the gear that I paid for. I think that's why I'm not too keen on mixing and matching power cords. I think the goal should be find the power cord that best gets out of the way - and use that cord throughout your system.

I'm not totally following Roy's loom theory right now because I'm using a loom of MIT signal cables with a loom of Nordost power cords. My Spectral gear requires that I use MIT speaker cables, but I'm free to use any brand of interconnect. I settled on MIT because I thought their cables did a better job of getting out of the way than the Nordost interconnects I tried. I suspect the Nordost signal cables were put at a disadvantage because they were paired with MIT speaker cables. I ended up with a hybrid that played to neither cable's strengths.

I ended up going with Nordost power cords as by sheer luck Roy/Nordost sent me and a few local friends a bunch of Nordost power cords to support a weekend event we had at my house involving some members of the Phonogram mailing list. We were sent enough power cords to complete two looms: one of Magus and one of Vishnu. We tried these in two different system and the results were consistent. This won me over to Roy's loom theory.

I believe that synergy comes when a system performs at a level that's greater than the sum of the parts. I certainly get this when using a full loom of MIT signal cables - not surprising since my gear was designed with this cable in mind. And I'd imagine I'd have even greater synergy if I also used MIT power cords. But given how well the Nordost cords have worked out, I'm not that interested in trying them.

I'm not sure it's correct to use the term synergy to describe the net effect of mixing and matching to achieve a certain voicing or a certain sound. In this case you are counteracting one cable with another so neither performs greater than it can on its own. But I totally understand where you are coming from. The only thing that I know about the Shun Mook products, is that those who have tried them find that they really like them. I should try some of their stuff one day.

Thanks for sharing your insight as well Oscar. Have a happy holiday!

Hi Ken, I'm looking into that Brahma cord as mentioned, and will borrow one from the Cable Company in the New Year to see what's what. And I do understand what you're getting at with the use of your MIT's with your Spectral Gear as well - after all as you've mentioned they were used in the design of your electronics and that's a no-brainer. And, no the thanks goes to you as you've opened both my eyes and mind to think outside the box when it comes to power cords, whereas earlier on I more then likely would've thought to spend over $1.000 on a cord, but in reality if I only need one to use between either a $2.000 and $4.500 Integrated Amp then I can see justifying the $1.500 power cord much easier now. Thanks again and once again do have an enjoyable and safe Holiday. Regards, Oscar
To respond as directly as I can to the question, both of the cables are good. I've never owned the lower-tiered generation of Shunyata, but I've had most of them, from the Black Mamba (first generation) to King Cobra (first generation) and usually have Pythons of each generation up to the Python CX (current) and Black Mamba CX (I also had the Viper - the most recent iteration - before it was replaced by the Black Mamba CX.
For Nordost, I've had Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma and Valhalla (still have the Brahma).
The two lines have different "sounds," generally speaking.
Nordost is usually fast, lean, great transients and details abound. Shunyata has (usually) great body, focus, weight, tonal richness (but not TOO rich, at least as far as in comparison to hearing, say, a trumpet in Carnegie and a trumpet on the recording). Shunyata has an EXTREMELY low noise floor - one of their hallmarks - so that instruments are not surrounded by interstitial matter (grain).
I can't say that I agree with the "we all hear different" comment. I COULD agree with either A), we may hear music in different halls than each other (in which case, it depends on how good your listening venue's acoustics are: Carnegie Hall sounds great -- at least, in the balcony, where I listen from; Davies Hall in San Francisco, where I USED to live: stinks. Maybe they've improved it, but a friend and I, when I wanted to test the acoustics, changed seats at intermission. I had bought first tier AND balcony seat tickets, and so we both heard different compositions on the same night in two different sections. His assessment (he had been a concert pianist) was that the "double bass seemed to disappear" from where he was sitting (pre-intermission). I just found it boring. Davies' highs are the opposite of Carnegie's: there's no airiness in the highs in Davies.
SO, if live music is the reference, combined with venue, then yes, we hear differently. Otherwise, the question is: what's the reference? Our components over the years? That's a poor reference, almost like thinking digital photography is equal to film (not really: it still doesn't "do" 46 shades of green in a be speckled forest. It's lucky to get 6 shades of green in one single photograph). Film will do all the shadings (within the (dynamic) light range it captures, of course).
Shunyata can sound jaw-droppingly "real", period. BUT. I'm talking about its better cords. Can't speak for the copperhead. The Vishnu, on the other hand, is a very decent cord, but, like the Shiva, still very lean. (I wouldn't use Shiva again if you GAVE it to me. Waaay too lean, and I had an entire system of both Shivas and Pythons simultaneously. Many cable that are lean are "fast"-sound, because they leave off the "body" of the instrument. Think of a room filled with 100 Kate Moss(es) and then 10 0Cindy Crawfords. You can see further "into" the room with a lot of stick figures OR you can see not QUITE as far, but there's more there "there." Moss: Nordost. Crawford: Shunyata. Both valid approaches. I'll take Shunyata.
Conversely, when I moved East and reassembled a new stereo in 2003, I had Quattro Fils interconnects, Shunyata Andromeda speaker cable and Python and King Cobra (V2s, not V1s). My opera singer friend, who'd heard the system before and wasn't much moved (the amp he'd heard it with, previously, was the Marsh A400. This time it was the Antique Sound Lab Hurricanes) was now dazzled (part of this was the Hurricanes, but everything else had to be doing its part, remember, or he wouldn't have heard what he heard). He kept saying on Bill Evan's Waltz for Debby, "I can SEE the drummer. He's RIGHT THERE, RIGHT NEXT TO YOUR DRYER! RIGHT NEXT TO IT!!!" So, even with ONLY Nordost interconnects and everything else Shunyata, it was still dazzling. It's not really a contradiction, it's just that even with a combined loom, it could still sound "right there, right now." (That was, by the way, the most REAL my system EVER sounded, but you know what? It was the fact that the basement, where the system was, at that time, was 23' wide and 46' long (the length of my mother's ranch house). In other words, wider rooms (with Tube Traps and covering the concrete walls -- which harden sound, so the delicacy disappears -- everywhere) allow better sound reproduction. So, it's not just the components, I'm afraid. It's also the room.
Still, for me? Shunyata
P.S. Brahma is ALSO a great cord. I'm a Shunyata fan, but the Brahma is an excellent cord as well. My post must have posted immediately after you posted, because your comment about trying out the Brahma wasn't there when I started writing this (shows how long-winded my posts are). I could suggest Brahma, but I would NOT go lower in the Nordost line. I would also then suggest you audition the Python CX power cord. The lower line of Shunyata compared to a Brahma is NOT a fair comparison, no matter how good the Shunyata's lower line is. Brahma vs. Python? That's a more level playing field.
Hi Ken/Gbmcleod: First of Ken I've just looked at your system - great taste. Gbmcleod - thanks for adding your voice to this topic, as it's always nicer to hear from people whom have actually owned/listened to something in question as opposed to someone chiming in whom doesn't have a clue on what's going on. As mentioned I'm trying to rotate a single power cord between my two different Integrateds ones Solid State while the other is Tube based, and having done the math - I'm not affair to invest in a $1.500 power cord in the least, as I'd rather do it right the first time around and be content. I'll certainly be taking into account what you've added as well, as it appears I've to set my sights a little bit higher............, so I shall. Here's wishing you and yours a pleasant Hoilday as well. And both of you guys have been very very helpful to say the least. Regards, Oscar
I hadn't seen Ken's system when I wrote this. I like his components and share a few of them: the Quantum units and, as previously mentioned have had the Vishnu power cord. My system is a First Sound Deluxe MK 1 1/2 (I haven't fully upgraded to a Mk II or MK III THIS time around (I had a Mk II before, but sold it), ASL Hurricanes, Odyssey Khartago amps, Shunyata Andromeda speaker cable (their first generation speaker cable), Alpha Core Goertz AG 2, Shunyata Gemini, and, until a year ago, Transparent Audio Ultra MM2 (also a killer speaker cable!), Shunyata Python CX power cords (4) and Black Mamba CX (1), Arcam FMJ 23 CD player, Sony DVS 9000 (with so many letters after it, I can't even recall them all) SACD player, JVC 1050 (still a phenomenal player and one that showed that the CLOCK in a CD player made all the difference and trust me, it can sound QUITE realistic for a $700 player), a Teres turntable (I think it's the 135, which they don't make anymore), Nordost Quattro Fil, Tyr and Valhalla interconnects, Shunyata Aries interconnects (with WBT connectors), Finite Elemente Spider equipment rack. Nordost Sort Kones....oh, right, speakers: Hales Revelation 3, Alon Viper Plus (alnico magnets on tweeter and mid drivers), Mirage 490s, Sequerra 7.7, Usher 718 (non-BE) and a few others, including Nola Thunderbolt subwoofers. And 6,000,000 tube traps. Only slightly joking here. The room is constructed with ASC's Iso-Wall Damp system throughout.
Heading over towards acquiring Magnepans if only because it would be great to have a non-cone speaker, and because the 1.7/3.7 are reference-quality speakers and they sound like the actual instruments as I hear them live. I think I can make them sound superior to what I've heard in dealer showrooms, but then I don't have to keep 8 difference sets of speakers in the same room (not good for the sound) and owned enough top-tiered stuff in the past (Watt/Puppies, Versa Dynamics 2.3 turntable, Goldmund Mimesis 9, to name a few) and wrote for a couple of mags (TAS briefly -- VERY briefly) Fi, and Ultra Audio, that I think I can reliably tell the difference between what sounds good to me (we can ALL be fooled by some aspect of sound dazzling us) and what sounds more real (meaning, has 7 out of 10 qualities that one experiences live as opposed to 4 out of 10 qualities one experiences live. (Especially bass "slam" which seems to knock some people out of the park so far that they ignore things like grain, and worst of all, assuming that fullness of tone is a "tubey sounding attribute. It is not, unless you don't hear instruments in person, only thru equipment)
Just getting back to this now as the holiday kept me otherwise occupied. Thanks for the compliments about my system guys.

In terms of the Vishnu being thin, I think it depends on which direction one is heading. If using cords at or below the Vishnu's retail price, I suspect one won't consider the Vishnu thin at all. The increase in low end weight was one of the improvements that most impressed me about the Vishnu. That quality improves dramatically as you move up to the Brahma, of course. I'd expect this would be true for just about any manufacturer's power cord when moving up to one that costs around twice as much.

Interesting comments about the Shunyata cords Gbmcleod. If I wasn't already so heavily invested in Nordost & Quantum products, Shunyata cords would be at the top of my list.

Gbmcleod mentioned the Magnepan 1.7/3.7. A friend upgraded from the 3.6 to the 3.7 not too long ago. The 3.7 was a huge upgrade from the 3.6. The 3.6 couldn't disappear - all too often the drivers would call attention to themselves. The 3.7 disappears completely. I'd say that the 3.7's greatest strength is treble and midrange purity. The treble in particular is excellent. Ultimately though, I could not live with the 3.7s due to how it performs in the lower frequencies - unless maybe I added a pair of subs. The 3.7 certainly lets you know low bass is present in recordings, but it does not deliver the weight I'd expect to hear in real life as very little air is moved. This may be partly due to my friend's electronics or cabling, or the fact that he tends to listen at moderate volume levels. I'm a drummer and get easily distracted when drums aren't properly reproduced. Bass drums just don't sound right to me from the 3.7s. I hear the frequencies that suggest a certain size bass drum, but the heft I'd expect to hear from that drum just doesn't follow. The beater hitting the head doesn't carry the weight I'd expect either, particularly at lower volume levels. I'm guessing a pair of subs would remedy this. Or maybe a full loom of Brahma. :-)
Speaking of the Nordost power cable loom effect....

Check this report from the Shanghai Audio society

Lars Kristensen himself was there giving a demo, he stated that using 1 Odin to the power distributor, with all Blue Heaven power cables (Magus rebadged), will outcompete an all Valhalla system.

So Kennyb it may be worth your while to downsize those Vishnu and Brahma eh?
I don't doubt Lars for a minute. The Brahma demonstrated to me how the power cord used at the wall sets the tone for the rest of the loom.

I won't be downsizing, but this finding did cause me to adjust my plans for upgrading. Normally I would have just continued replacing Vishnus with Brahmas. Instead I will leave my Vishnu loom in place and only upgrade the cord at the wall. So next I hope to replace the Brahma at the wall with a Valhalla. And following that at some future time I hope to be replace the Valhalla with an Odin.

I'm guessing that the ability to make these kinds of advances by only swapping the power cord at the wall point to another benefit of using the same brand of power cord throughout.

12-19-11: Kennyb
What improved bass more than anything in my system was swapping the Nordost Vishnu used at the wall with a single Nordost Brahma. The first power cord really sets the tone for what will follow. But, I imagine this might not be as effective when not using cords from the same manufacturer.

This has been my experience to. Use your best cord first and try to stick to one manufacturer.
Resurrecting this thread to report on upgrading my loom. I'm now using Brahma throughout. In my earlier posts, Brahmas were used from the wall to my QX4 and from QX4 to QB8. Vishnu cords were used between the QB8 and all my components.

Last weekend Brahmas took the place of all the Vishnus. This delivered significant gains with improvements in all areas. Bass now has more weight while being faster, more dynamic, and more extended. Tonal density has increased across the board, and there have been improvements in low level detail, clarity, color, ease, naturalness, dynamics, focus, speed, high frequency extension, dimensionality, and soundstage width & depth.

Most importantly - what I hear sounds much more like live music, particularly when the volume is cranked. I couldn't be more pleased.
>>Lars Kristensen himself was there giving a demo, he stated that using 1 Odin to the power distributor, with all Blue Heaven power cables (Magus rebadged), will outcompete an all Valhalla system.

Anyone tried this kind of experiment, e.g. putting the first tier like a Valhalla or Brahma (just as example for the NordOst brand) in the first leg and entry level ones for the rest, resulting in a very good overall effect?
I just got the last Power Cord I need about an hour ago. 4M Blue Heaven running from a dedicated line to a Nordost QB4 Power distribution box with 4 1M BH cords plugged into it. I had the 2M Vishnu running to an extension cord and I'm sending it in to the seller as part of a trade. The Vishnu is a good sounding Power Cord as are the BH's. An all Odin loom would be pricey, but I'd love to hear my system with one. I have 150 hours on the 1M and was told I'll need 200 on the 4M. It does sound better already. Best of luck.