Review Shunyata Venom V16 Power Distributor


I know I am new here, but I wanted to share my experience.


I just got the newly released Shunyata Venom V16 power distributor. I also acquired the Shunyata Reference line Delta v2 XC C19 cable to power it. I also purchased the optional SSF-38 shock absorbing feet. This is replacing Audioquest’s Powerquest 3 linear filter power strip.  I know, it’s quite a large jump.

I still have a few more days of burn-in to truly get critical, but right off the bat, day one, this product obliterated the Audioquest’s gains. The sound stage expanded to a degree where the desktop speakers vanished. You could be staring straight at the speaker and swear it wasn’t on. It created a sound “bubble” in the space where sound appeared to travel in three dimensions. The micro details became louder and had more depth. High notes carried further. Piano notes had even more realistic metallic reverb. You could definitively hear when a piano key was struck harder than another. You can hear the shuffle of the player's feet as they work the pedals. Mid-bass tones/instruments no longer affect vocals, as the singer's voice was separate. Words are clear, concise, and sound more life-like. In older songs, you can hear track hiss get louder as a new track is being added into the song. The bass got tighter and more forceful. Then there was the emergence of new bass rhythms that I hadn't heard before in some songs.

Here is the system I am currently using.

Speakers:
Audioengine A2+
Audioengine S8 subwoofer.

The A2+ is being powered by Kimber Kable Summit Palladian
The S8 subwoofer is being powered by Kimber Kable Ascent

I am running these through an Acer Helios 300 Predator using Foobar2000 via USB:

Audioquest FMJ Jitterbug
Audioquest Dragonfly Cobalt
Audioquest Yosemite

From the A2+ I am running Synergistic Research’s Foundation RCA interconnects to the S8 subwoofer.
From A2+’s powered speaker to the passive speaker, I am running a vintage, modified Audioquest CV-4 using their Suregrip 500 series banana plugs.

The laptop is running Shunyata Research’s Venom V14 Digital cable. I am also using Audioquest’s NRG Edison power socket and PS Audio’s Noise Harvester.

A few months ago, I had a full Audioquest loom, using their NRG X,Y, and Z product line. Audioquest refuses to allow their higher end power cable line to have C5 and C7 connectors. As a result, I became somewhat disappointed in Audioquest. It was as if you only get a real glimpse of what they offer if you buy their top-most products and they limit you on what areas you can upgrade. Anything beneath that line is essentially a “broken” version of their better cable, in order to ensure it doesn’t sound superior to the model above it. This led me to seek out other manufacturers. I discovered that even though other companies like, Kimber Kable, Shunyata Research and Synergistic Research also diminish their lower product lines, they don’t do so by damaging the audio signal. They typically reduce the amount of tech, but still use their best technical advances so as not to hurt the signal on purpose. In other words, Audioquest breaks their promise of, “Do no harm.” That doesn’t mean I dislike all Audioquest products. As you can see, I still have some of their product line within this setup and will keep it in the system. Besides, I like having a varying degree of manufacturers to balance all the different “house” sounds. :)

 In about a week or so, I am changing out the AQ Yosemite and AQ CV-4 for Synergistic Research’s Foundation cables. This way I will have a full loom in the direct audio chain.

I have to say, folks have underestimated the A2+, they are extremely well engineered. :)


Previewguakus
"In other words, Audioquest breaks their promise of, "Do no harm". So Synergistic is more "truthful to the source"? 
They aren't using materials that are specifically designed to destroy the signal.

In the Foundation line, their lowest, is using silver conductors, air dielectric and their matrix shielding. They didn't add brass connectors, Polyethylene insulation, or add non-conductive additives to ensure a loss in signal strength. 

Synergistic used their most basic foundation materials.  The higher tier adds active elements and more gauge and more geometry to the wire. Hence they broke nothing at the lower level.  Audioquest on the other hand uses inferior products in their lower line to purposely dull the singal...like "Long Grain Copper," "Purple Copper" and "Spray Foam Polyethylene."
Thank you for posting this review on the Venom V16 power distributor. I have been looking for reviews on this product. I am now leaning toward pulling the trigger with the options you selected. I am using Synergistic Research Foundation cables (speaker, jumpers, and interconnects). I think this will be good match for those cables.

Thanks! 
Very nicely done review, thanks! Good job telling us about your listening impressions. This more than anything else is what we need. As you’ve noticed there are some here who will ignore and skip right over all the great positive contributions just to nitpick and attack any little thing they can find. Ignore them. Keep up the good work.

I first learned the value of power conditioners 30 years ago but even now all these years later we still find people missing out. This upgrade, going from a decent power strip to a genuine power conditioner, is pretty typical of what a lot of people would do. In other words, a lot of people will find this useful. Thanks again for taking the time to write it up.
@femoore12

Thanks!

After about a month of use, it has settled in and performance is consistent. There is however something that it does not protect against and that is ground loop noise from ungrounded or poorly grounded devices.

I am an illustrator and sometimes I use a light table or my electric eraser. When I use the light table, it makes a loud popping noise on the speakers. The electric eraser also makes noise on the speakers when I use it. These are ungrounded, and both are on the 2nd zone away from the power cables that power the speakers. So the Venom V16 will not protect against those types of devices if they are connected. To be fair, this happened on the Audioquest Powerquest 3 as well. It was even worse because those tools were connected to a power strip that was connected to the Powerquest. Also, I had a Panasonic Point-O-Matic pencil sharpener that does have a ground that also made noise on the line when in use. So I moved it to a different socket. It seems I should do the same with the light table and eraser, but there are no sockets near there and I use these at the same drawing table (the pencil sharpener doesn’t need to be by the drawing table.)
@millercarbon 


Thanks!  I was very excited to have this.  It seems Shunyata hadn't sent out any review product for folks to review.  I had been in constant contact with someone at Shunyata before I got it, so I had the inside scoop; so-to-speak.

Since these discussion boards are searchable in any search engine, I thought it was a good idea to write up a review. :)
I like, "someone at Shunyata" because when I bought my Cobra there was no "someone" there was only Caelin! He brought it out, we tried it, that was it. You get a LOT more for your money nowadays! Hard to say for sure without comparing but my guess is you got more for your $2k than you could have got for just about any amount of money back then.  

The improvements you noted with dynamic shadings, micro-dynamics, together with the lower noise floor revealing greater detail, these kinds of improvements just go on and on. As you notice there are other things that still create noise even with a conditioner. That is just the way it is. No matter what you do there will always be some simple thing that makes it even better still.  

If you want to blow your mind some time, try flipping off a lot of the breakers in your panel. You can also unplug stuff but this is a lot easier. Listen with breakers off and you will hear a lot of the same improvements you get with the Shunyata. Mostly due to eliminating a lot of RFI, and this will give you some idea the effect of RFI on sound quality. 

Another one is vibration control. You mentioned getting the optional feet but not what difference they made. Were you able to listen with/without for comparison?


@guakus
After about a month of use, it has settled in and performance is consistent. There is however something that it does not protect against and that is ground loop noise from ungrounded or poorly grounded devices.
Thanks for additional data on your review! That is an interesting phenomenon. I wonder it it's simply related to not having a dedicated ground on those plugs. I may experiment with that scenario with my current power conditioner when I get home this week. I do keep my switching power supplies on a separate power conditioner (Panamax unit) to try and isolate those. That seems to work for my system.

Cheers!
@millercarbon   

I have not tested the Venom V16 with its original feet vs the optional feet.  Largely because when I set it up, the system needed to burn in, so doing any sound comparisons would have been skewed. The second problem will be the delicate wiring situation I have going on.  I have all cables balanced just right on risers and in positions where they don't touch each other.  Pulling the unit out of its small shelf would wreck my current wire setup :(. 

If the option comes up where I am forced to reposition the unit and or cables, I will take that opportunity to test it out. :)
@femoore12  

The fan and desk lamp I used to help burn in the Venom V16 (per the recommendation of the Shunyata rep) are ungrounded and had no effect on the speakers.

In regards to the Point-O-Matic and the Steaedtler Electric Eraser, I think it has something to do with mechanical electric noise, versus standard electrical noise.  I seem to remember reading something about the effect electrical mechanical noise has on an electrical line.  For example, how you could turn on a blender in the kitchen, and the speakers in your living room receive a hum.

Sadly, I am renting this house and can't make changes to the wiring. I requested, at the time, to be able to change out the electric sockets themselves and was granted that.

If it comes to pass that we are allowed to buy this house, I will reconsider re-wiring because it is an older house and the ground wires are all aluminum.
UPDATE:

I contacted Shunyata to discuss what they thought about the devices connected that were making the noise on the system and the answer I got back was intriguing and new to me.

It seems that some devices when "off" or not in use are still drawing power. Phone/device chargers are never "off" and are constantly drawing power waiting for the device to be connected to complete the circuit. Two of the lamps that were connected both have this type of switch.  One actually has a USB device charger built in.  The other uses the exact same type of transformer as a USB charger. The Steadtler Electric eraser was also drawing power.  It's on switch is spring loaded and only activates while the button is depressed.  I also had a USB hub connected.

It was advised to disconnect all those devices and have them on a socket not connected to Venom V16. Not just because of noise.  But because those devices were leeching power that could be used to power the speakers and amps.

Sure enough, I disconnected all those devices as instructed.  I had the speakers going while I was doing this, and once I pulled the lamp and USB hub specifically, the sound got louder. Which was weird; it could have been my imagination, but after all things were removed, the sound quality was richer and louder. The computer and monitor are on Zone 2 and the Sub and Speaker are on Zone 1.  That's all that is currently plugged in. The monitor was more bright and vivid.  I had to have my wife verify.

So, does that mean that the more devices that are plugged into the Venom V16, the lower the power output or lower the quality. *shrug*? Possibly.
Thank you for taking the time with your follow up post. 

I have never had electricity described to me the way it was to you in terms of available power. The power draws on those other devices shouldn’t have impacted the available power to your components at all. I do believe the power systems of the chargers, lamp, and eraser are “dirty” and would generate noise. They describe the Component to Component Isolation (CCI) feature filters noise and doesn’t reflect back into the system. It does make me wonder if the Venom 16 has the ability to filter harmonics associated with those types of power supplies. I wonder if the unit you received has a defect and it isn’t working properly?

Before I make my final decision to purchase the Venom 16 I think it would be wise for me to contact them with some questions regarding the CCI feature. 

Cheers!