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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 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.
Seeing this after 2 years. Interesting.
I’ve heard the Delta NR V1 (owned it), the Alpha NR V1(auditioned it) and owned the Sigma NR V1 (bought it).
I can’t agree with MillerCarbon and I’ve had every single generation of Shunyata power cords and 3 generations of speaker cable. I find the Shunyata highly musical, although I found the Sigma NR V1 the best of the group. To me, the Delta NR V1 was a bit too "tight" through the upper midrange, causing a reduction of the ambience retrieval that starts in the upper midrange and goes thru the lower/mid highs ( 4-8k). It sounded clamped down, even in conjunction with the Sigma.
I should note I’d previously had a Sigma Analogue and I have to say, it did not float my boat at all. I can’t explain why: it just never did anything.
Right now, I have a Sigma NR V1, A python ZiTron, a Cobra ZiTron, a Venom NR V2 and a Delta NR V2. I haven’t switched from Shunyata power cords in 18 years, and i’ve owned Nordost Valhalla, Tyr, Frey and Hemidall speaker cables and power cords. The Nordost is great, but just not as musical as the Shunyata, to my ears. Nordost has fantastic highs (a bit better than Shunyata), but Shunyata has great articulation on voices (Ella Fitzgerald sounds much better on Shunyata than Nordost: you can hear her throat tones, her moistening her lips, the pushing out of air when she start a word such as "push". You hear the aspirants). Nordost still has not quite enough meat on the bones.
As for Synergistic, I’ve had those, too, although it was 6 years ago. The interconnects seemed designed to compliment each other. I was given one for the preamp/source and a different one for the preamp to amp. The sound of one was "fattened up". It was clearly a compensation for the one earlier in the chain.
I stuck with Shunyata. I’ve owned top of the line MIT, top of the line Transparent (not the $30k stuff, just the Reference (circa 1995), MM1 and MM2 cables (2007-9). THEY lacked transient snap, although they had a great midbass and so, they made classical music sound majestic - if slowed down, rhythmically.
The Shunyata is the most accomplished of all the ones I’ve owned, although I think their highs are not the absolute best. They image great, soundstage great, have exceptional dynamic range, contrast and nuance. A flute, played through Shunyata in the Miraculous Mandarin (Mercury Living Presence), will bring you to tears, so delicate is the sound. Plucked harps, string sound and glockenspiel are gorgeous - except when the recording of it is not. And they are musical the way it sounds in Carnegie Hall or the Met or the Hartford Symphony Hall (the Bushnell). I haven’t hear the Musikverein in Austria in decades, but I’m sure it is still magical. Shunyata and Transparent’s musicality is closest to that Hall (one of the very, VERY best in the world!)
I once compared the Sigma NR V1 power cord to Nordost’s Odin, and did this at a local dealer’s I frequent. The Shunyata conveyed the power of Merry Clayton’s voice in the Rolling Stones’ classic "Gimme Shelter" much better than the Odin. It had grit (which Merry Clayton’s voice SHOULD have) and power. The Odin was quite good, but not a match for the Sigma NR V1.
So, all in all, having lived with every generation, unless MillerCarbon has more experience than me with Shunyata, I’d say he’s heard it poorly set up (even if it was in his home). I never let my Shunyata cables touch the floor, or even other cables. I haven’t in almost 30 years. It makes a difference and if you can’t hear it, it’s just that your system isn’t resolving enough or It IS - but you’ve got power cords lying on top of interconnects/speaker cable, thereby injecting dirt into the sound. Or your room acoustics or electricity is somehow sabotaging the sound.
And that’s my story. Oh, by the way, the Delta NR V2 is MUCH better than the NR V1 (which I didn’t cotton to after having had it for several months, so I sold it.) The soundstage on ALL the cables mentioned in this thread are excellent and voluminous. The Delta NR V2 in particular, has ambience retrieval quite a bit better than the NR V1 version. I could recommend that.
But I generally don’t go below the reference level, although i have a Venom NR V2 in house and have for the past 12 days. The problem is, when I went to change it to a different component, the IEC plug wouldn’t stay placed into a few of my components. Don’t ask me why: it just fell out. So, not for me. (Might just be a factory build error.) But then, it also doesn’t have the VTX hollow core construction, either, and I can hear it. I’m sure it’s great, but I’d start at the Delta if I were buying a current iteration of Shunyata power cords.
As for the Alpha? My only issue with that was that my ears heard a "lightness" in the upper bass/lower midrange, which made Black male singers sound a little "emaciated" or, less "gritty" and throaty, if you will. Since this is in the "power range" of music, I didn't spring for the V1 version. I'm told the V2 is superior, so...