I purchased an original Hydra after speaking with Caelin Gabriel himself about these supposed different 'versions'. He basically told me that there is only ONE version, but that they changed colors from orange hospital-grade outlets to biege (off-white) somewhere along the line. This was done only for aesthetic reasons, and probably because of a product-sourcing change.
Caelin indicated that there is no sonic difference, and no model-name change was warranted by this update. But he is known to make running changes to his products - without changing names or model designations.
The Hydra-8 is the brand-new unit, and is a totally different beast then the original Hydra. It is supposedly better-sounding, has 3 layers of surge suppression that don't affect the sound quality, 8 outlets instead of 6 AND it costs $500 less at MSRP then the original. It also looks more like traditional audio gear, with a machined metal front panel and painted metal enclosure instead of the Granite/Corian/Purple Heart Wood chassis of the original. Finally, the -8 uses a standard 20-amp IEC cord instead of the NEMA twistlock connection of the original, making it easier to experiment with different cords.
Keep in mind that the original has nothing other then a 15 or 20 amp fuse acting as lightning protection. And Caelin may be persuaded to send you a copper slug to replace the fuse, as that even makes a sonic difference. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK is the moto here, but I use it and actually CAN tell a difference in my Pass amp's explosiveness on big transients. I look at it this way - I could be plugging the amp directly into the wall, which provides NO protection at all, and gives no sonic benefits like the Hydra seems to IMS.
I have seen no industry or owner comparisons of Old Hydra vs New Hydra-8, or Hydra-8 vs Stealth, but I am sure that is coming.
Thanks, I'm currently deliberating if I should go with a well established (used) Hydra at about $1600 or the newer Hydra 8 at $2000+. I'll have to pay slight more as I'm in 230v land.
Caelin has ceased supplying the Hydra 8 with a decent power cable as of January, 2004. It now comes with a generic PC, not the Diamondback as before. He gives you a $100. credit toward purchase of his mega buck optional cables.
My new Hydra 8 has performed nicely. I will be comparing it to a new Balanced Power Technology 3.5 Signature I just ordered.
Everything Bhouser said above is correct. I own the original version with the (off-white) outlets and a friend of mine has the Hydra 8. We are going to put the two side by side in the near future to see what sonic differences exist. I've heard from some sources there are a few, but not enough to make me want to throw mine on the Gon. It works beautifully in my system, that's for sure.
Rx8man, I'll be interested to know what's the outcome of the side by side comparison. Like yourself I've got the original Hydra in my setup (bought used of course) and its excellent. I'm currently using the "stock" Sidewinder and considering an upgrade to the Taipan or something equivalent.
How can you get the copper slug to replace the fuse?
I can't find it listed on the web site or a contact number
Ozzy, try Galen Carol Audio in Texas, nice guy.
Thanks, I contacted him. He does not think he has one , but he will get back to me.
Anyone else knwo where I can get one?
As I said above, contact Caelin Gabriel himself at Shunyata.
If you sweet-talk him and assure him that you will not hold the Hydra responsible for any lightning damage to your equipment, he may send you a Slug via Snail Mail B^D.
SKYTOP PLEASE LET US KNOW HOW THE HYDA COMPARES TO THE BALANCED POWER TECH 3.5 THANKS
I would also like to hear your comparisons on the Hydra 8 vs. the BP-3.5 Signature. I can let you know for a fact, the 3.5 Signature will go through some crazy "swings" in sonics the first 4 or 5 days, seem to be 80% there after 10-12 days, and about 18-20 days after being plugged in and used will be fully broken in. I currently own a 3.5 Signature, and my only caveat was hearing from Chris @ BPT it should sound great out of the box, in which it didn't :) to my ears, however make sure to give it a full 3 weeks. From my experience in power line conditioners, one word: revelatory.
I bought the BP-3.5 Signature several weeks ago. Mine sounded great (to my ears)right out of the box, and has slowly gotten better.
I use both the older Hydra (orange outlets) and the Hydra 8 in my system. Side by side comparison gives a slight edge to the newer 8. The newer Hydra sounds less dark and a tad quieter. I really don't need two hydras in my system, however; the older model is stunning and I refuse to give it away, as youv'e seen on Audiogon lately. It's a classic and extra outlets are always needed. I actually plug the old Hydra into the new, so both are protected. I do not feel there is a sonic difference in plugging the old into the new, rather than straight into the wall receptacle.
I have perhaps a dumb question as to the connections for the Hydra. Do you guys run all your gear (amp(s)/pre-amp/sources) through a single hydra which is obviously connected to a single wall outlet?
I run all my front-end gear through the Hydra 8, plus the subwoofer sections of my loudspeakers. The Hydra 8 has its own dedicated 20A circuit. My power amp plugs directly into the wall, no conditioner. It also has its own dedicated 20A circuit.
Not a dumb question, I asked the same when I purchased mine.
I plug all my gear into it and it works great for my system, it's a non-current limiting (passive) device.
Other sytems and preferences may vary.
I wired three independent armor shielded 10g 20amp circuits to my A/V closet where all my gear is. I don't have a lot of stuff (minimalist approach), but I figured one circuit for the front power amp(s), one for the sources & pre/pro, and the last for the rear and side amp(s) [this being a home theater and listening room].
I am still trying to figure out the differences between the various shunyata hydra models currently offered other than the number of outlets, and their respective prices. However, maybe all I need is one, and run everything through it.
I used to have the Hydra 8 and have had the PS Audio P1000 and now have the BPT 3.5 Signature. The BPT is so much more quiet and transperant than the other two, it really is in another league. It is by far the BEST PLC I have ever had in my system. I could not be happier.....I even have my VAC amp plugged into it. I draws 500W a channel and I finally have no limiting of dynamics that I noticed with the Hydra and it does not add anything, like I noticed with the PS Audio.
Balekan, thanks for the input. I recently saw that ZCables is packaging the BPT with their power conditioning sleeves. I may investigate that one based on your comments. I tried both the hydra and PS Audio and both made my system sound different but not better.
I have everything plugged into the Hydra 8. The difference from other is that it seems to relax any glare and produces better dynamics. I have had the Ps audio and Tice and sold them upon hearing the 8. It makes an unbelievable upgrade
I ordered a Hydra 8 and I am being told it comes with no power cord. I thought it was supposed to come with a Diamond Back power cord, what gives?
Replaced a PS300 and HC Ultimate Outlet (now in my second system) with a Hydra 8/Python Alpha rig. I had the opportunity to try a RGPC 1200 and a Tice unit in my system and neither performed as well as the Hydra. I've heard the BPT 3.5 in another, more expensive system but the results weren't ear-inspiring. The Shunyata gear stays, I'll focus on other upgrades.