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I just had the HC version on loan for my Spectral amp. I thought it gave a nice full sound, with three-dimensional body to instruments and low-end weight. These were factors I felt like I was lacking before, so I may have been focusing on them more - and not noticing other attributes, good or bad. I also don't have a real strong list of other cords for comparison.
From what I understand (not from personal experience), these are very close (say, 90%) in performance to the next model up (Python, I think) whereas the previous cord at this level of the Shunyata line-up was well below (Taipan, I think). Therefore, the Black Mamba might be a strong value.
Yes, I have compared both Black Mamabas to the Python Helix Alpha and Helix Vx and to the Python CX (along with Diamondbacks and others). The Black Mambas are both nice. I would take either of them over a Python Helix Alpha/Vx on a source, and probably on most amps as well. In the end, I found the Python CX well worth the additional cost for the far greater performance it offers over the Black Mamba HC or non-HC. To me, the CX series compared to the Helix series has a more refined sound with more dynamics and less upper-midrange glare.
I've just received my Black Mamba CX cord and, out of the box, without break-in, it is impressive. The clarity and suddenenss of attack of triangles and bells ( specifically on the RCA SACD Daphnis and Chloe) is really, really good with no "halo" around the instruments (what was once called "fuzziness") so that the sound expands (or blooms) into the space surrounding it. This, with only a pair of Hales Revelation 3s, is easily heard. Also, the articulation of voices on cut 11 (where the choirs sing the word "Lu, lu....") over and over again is great. I can hear the aspiration of the female voices so that, instead of it sounding like the word "lu" (pronounced "loo" as in the British word for toilet)it sounds like "hhhhluuuuu" as though they are breathing outwards (the aspiration part). Very lifelike if one is hearing it as the microphones do. I'd be happy even if they didn't break in any furthur, and I have Python CX cords on the Hurricanes as well as the CD player(s), and preamps (First Sound and Convergent). Incidentally, I had the Viper on the preamps.
Considering the Viper, when it came out, cost more than the Black Mamba does - NOT the (black Mamba)HC version, just the "basic" version - this is quite a jump in quality. The difference is, if not staggering, then "stunning". How Shunyata managed to make a far superior cord at a cheaper price is a testament to their desire - and ability - to advance their technology without breaking one's piggy bank. If you have a Viper, just have it upgraded to a Black Mamba. For the cost of the upgrade, you'll be thrilled.
This is a TRULY excellent advance over the Viper power cord, although I'm not sure Grant will want to see this in print.
I'm genuinely impressed. I could easily live with this instead of the Python CX (sorry, Grant, but they really ARE that good). But then, fortunately, I don't have to make that choice.
Excellent work, Shunyata. Excellent.
Adding the Python CX was like someone had turned up the volume and added extra bass using a tone control.
This was deemed in a positive light.
Like going from a lesser powered amp to a more powerful amp.
The amp controlled the speakers(Tetra's)better than with two well known "giant killers" and the stock power cord he also had on hand to compare the Python's to.
Expensive,but so is buying up an amplifier line from low power to higher power.
At least you have a choice.
Lacee: The Tetras?? Nice!!! I once had them for about 6 months (I reviewed them) and they were some nice speakers. I know John Atkinson panned them for the technical aspects, but with the Shunyatas and the First Sound and Hurricanes (but Nordost interconnects at the time ), that was one helluva nice sound. The microdyamics on voice were far better than my Hale Revelation 3s and pretty mesmerizing. And that was with first generation Shunyata power cords! I never understood why they didn't make a bigger impact in the market: they are terrific speakers, with a very low noise floor, and very 3D in their imaging. With Black Mambas, or Pythons, they should be knockouts.
And the bass on my Black Mamba, now that it's broken in (pluggged it in to the wall using a line conditioner I had lying around and then the refrigerator in the basement AND the freezer to really speed up the break-in), it's a GREAT cord. The highs are very pure, much purer than I remember the earlier Shunyatas being, and I still have a Taipan Helix cord on hand, although traditionally, I've used Pythons. The bass impact and clarity is excellent.