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The reality of break-in is if its good it will sound good right out of the box, and then proceed to sound better and better as time goes by. You should be happy from first listen, and proceed to deliriously happy over the next few days and weeks. If this does not happen it does not matter if it is Shunyata Alpha NR, it does not matter if its Shunyata anything, it does not matter if its a wire or component or speaker. If you are not happy at 20 hours your odds of ever being happy are somewhere between slim and none.
I find Shunyata's are best with mixing with different Shunyata models. They definitely each have a different sound to them in my opinion.
Right. And the reason they need to be mixed, they aren't really all that good. The list of sonic traits and characteristics is pretty much endless. Its very easy to make something that does a few of them well. Extended top to bottom. Incisive and detailed. 3D imaging. Whatever. This is why we constantly hear guys being impressed by one thing or another. When in fact what should happen is everything is better across the board and so evenly and equally we are overwhelmed and find it hard to say what is the real strength.
What we want is Arnold in his prime, a strength so beautifully proportioned, so awesomely across the board spectacular, that decades later when there's bigger/stronger all over the place we still look back in admiration and wonder.
When you find that then you will be singing a very different tune. I have some Shunyata and so I know. There's a reason I always recommend Synergistic. Ted ain't Arnold. But his wires....
I feel that in some case different equipment needs different types of cables to sound the best they can. Just like with Tubes and Components, I like to mix and match. The Alphas NRs sound very good with less demanding equipment IMHO (preamp and source.. Even if Shunyata says differently or you or Arnold. :P
I auditioned Shunyata NR power cords in March 2019 - both Alpha and Delta versions from The Cable Co. Based on notes made during the trial, the Alpha, more so than the Delta, went through a series of changes despite Shunyata’s KPIP tech and The Cable Co.’s pre-delivery run in.
Out of the box, the Alpha NR did not sound good and I preferred the Delta NR power cord to it. The Delta NR sounded good almost immediately though perhaps not all that much improved over a Venom HC I’d been using. The Alpha went from initially dark and rolled off, to too bright with little mid-range until it finally settled after ~100 hrs. At this time, imaging, resolution and soundstage were improved over both the Delta and the Venom HC cords that had been used on the same power amp
The Alpha and Delta cords were returned to The Cable Co. and a Delta NR cord was purchased from them. Later, a used Alpha NR came up for sale on A’gon and I bought it. This used Alpha pc required only about 20 hours of music playing to come alive. Notes from this point: "...[music] really pops - depth, soundstage, vibrancy."
I have the Alpha NR powering up the various amps I run. The Delta NR powers an eTP60 to which various analog pieces are connected.
Hope this helps.
I have an Alpha NR on my Luxman M900u, and an older Alpha Digital on my McIntosh C47 preamplifier/ dac.
The Alpha NR replaced a Ztron Cobra.
Very satisfied with both Alpha pcs.
Maybe you should try a Sigma NR on your source. It is said it is much better than the Alpha NR, which I doubt but I could be wrong.
Thanks ghosthouse, that does help. I heard the same dark and rolled characteristics you described. With around 20 hrs. on them now now, they do appear to be opening up a bit more but certainly not to the extent I'm expecting. I spoke with Shunyata and they said while their KPIP technology greatly reduces typical break in times, at least 50 hrs of "settling in time" is not unusual. Fingers crossed and thanks to all for the feedback.
You are welcome @jayh31 .
Hope things continue to open up and result in the sound you are looking for.
Note too - depending on your speakers (bi-wireable?) and speaker cable (single/non-biwire?) there are "tweaks" to the connection at the speaker that will alter ("tune") the sound.
See the discussion here about the AQ diagonal method (+ up/- down) vs Nordost method (- up/+ down). Both require jumpers and apply to use of non-biwire cable to a bi-wireable speaker.