Shunyata Hydra Users....Your Opinion please...

I am thinking of obtaining the Shunyata Hydra. The Hydra takes an 20 amp iec vs the more common 15 amp iec variety. When I was in California recently, a Shunyata dealer stated to me that "the Hydra is pretty much a high end power bar/surge protector, and that it's the power cable that creates the magic...". I thought his statement was rather simplistic. Working on a tight budget, my plan originally was to buy a used high quality cable from Audiogon from either Audience or Cardas (with a 20 amp iec) to mate with the Hydra 4 instead of the rather expensive Shunyata power cords. I was wondering if there are any Hydra owners out there that have paired their Hydra's with other company's power cords....and what was the result? Is it the Shunyata power cords that create the magic? ....or can the magic be created with another power cord? Is the Hydra simply a glorified power bar/surge protector?

FYI...I currently own the PS Audio P300...and love it...but my room is rather small...and the fan noise is something that I want to get rid of....thus wanting to move to the Hydra.

Thank you!
I use my Hydra 8 (on a dedicated line) with a Virtual Dynamics Master power cord. The new version uses 8 gauge wire. I have many items plugged into it.
Before that I was using a Electraglide Ultrakhan Statement2.

On my Hydra 2 to my Amp I am using a Shunyata Anaconnda Alpha.

All of these power cords have their own sonic signature.
I dont believe the Hydras only improvement is brought on by the power cord.

The Hydra is a huge improvement with whatever.

Your best power cord should be plugged into the Hydra since other items may also be plugged into the Hydra and benefit.

Because the Hydra requires a 20 Amp cable I bought a 20A to 15A adapter from Voodoo cable and experimented with various cables that I already owned.

Remember, it will only sound as good as the weakest link.
I also use the Voodoo adapter that Ozzy mentioned above on my Hydra 8 with excellent results. I was planning to have my 15-amp Shunyata Anaconda Alpha cable reterminated, but I was so impressed with the Voodoo adapter that I decided not to mess with success. It's about 50 bucks.
I have not tried a Hydra with other than Shunyata cords but I will share my experience. I was generally dissatisfied with CD's and digital playback. In the past year I purchased about 400 LP's to about 10 CD's because the sound of the CD's was so, flat and lacking in musical depth. I did listen to a $6000 BAT CD player with about $30,000 worth of other equipment and it sounded so good I thought maybe one day. Well a freind brought over a demo Hydra 4, some python, tiapan, copperhead and diamondback cables to play with. I was not planning on buying anything but what the heck, I was going to give it a try. The results were amazing. I tried every combination I could think of and came to the following conclusions. The Hydra was the biggest difference and it affected the sound quality, depth, base extension and soundstage of the CD player more than anything else. I was not able to tell much difference between the Python pc and the copperhead pc, but ended up with the Python at a demo discount. I used diamondback to connect the hydra to components. I was and still am amazed at the improvement in my system with the Hydra and upgraded powercords. I think that it tripled my CD players value, (it would have cost me at least 3X the cost of my CD player to make similar gains) and at least doubled my amplifier value. If you can demo a hydra I would recommend it, just balance your check book first.
I am running all Elrod Statement power cords. Not cheap, but provides incredible speed, detail, and lower-end control. It literally energized my system to a much higher level. I have everything in the Hydra, including 600 watt monoblocks. They clearly sound better with the Hydra compared to dedicated high-end lines. I believe the powercord to the Hydra is important, and needs to be designed for high-power situations. I would advise you to get the Hydra, use it on a dedicated line with the best cord you can afford. I have each component plugged into it's own outlet, so the Hydra-8 is perfect for my 4 components. Also, try Walker SST Contact Enhancer. The cord does not have to be a Shunyata cord.

I agree that the Hydra does a great job sonically by itself. I have the Hydra 4 and use the Supra Lorad PC which could be the best buy in Audio. Performance approaching and surpassing most cords costing over $1000.

I have the Hydra plugged into a dedicated line and lined with Stillpoint ERS cloth.
This is an old thread, but I will add my experience FWIW.

In short, the Shunyata Hydra and Sunyata power cords are NEUTRAL. They will reveal sonic signatures and imperfections in other cords and equipment.

I was using a mid-level Panamax power conditioner, fed by an Acoustic Zen Tsunami II and using an Electraglide Mini Khan Plus to my pre-amp and Kimber PK-10 and PK-14 Golds to my CDP and amp. And I was generally happy with the combination. The Mini Khan in particular, made a large improvement when I put it on my preamp (it was very sibilant on the CDP).

The equipment was well-resolved: Audio Aero Prima CDP, Rega P25 with MC, Audible Illusions Modulus 3A with Valvo NOS tubes, Belles 150A Reference SS amp, Kef Reference Model Two speakers; all kimber Select KS-1021 ICs and Kimber Bi-Focal speaker cable.

Before adding the Hydra, I was only using one of two dedicated lines I had put in with the Panamax into it.

I bought the Hydra with a 1 meter Python Alpha 20 amp cord (almost new, it was a return and I still had to break them in...which I did on other electrical items before plugging them into the audio system). I took out the Panamax, put the Hydra-2 on the dedicated circuit with the pre connected to it with the Mini Khan and the CDP with the PK-14 Gold; I plugged the amp into the other dedicated circuit with the AZ.

Music sounded cleaner, with more air, but generally awful: harsh, more sibilant, fatiguing. I was NOT happy. I conferred with the dealer (Galen Carrol) who conferred with Shunyata. Shunyata felt the Mini Khan was the culprit of the brightness. They advised that I stabilize the system by putting all my Kimber PKs back in (in Caelin Gabriel's words: "The Kimbers are a step up from a Belden; they don't do much right, but they don't do anything wrong either").

I did and the sibilance and harshness went away. So did ALOT of the resolution. :-( But I had to admit that the net effect was definitely positive.

I consulted directly with Caelin Gabriel, Shunyata founder/Head R&D guy/CEO, who was incredibly caring, sincere, and forthright. And boy, does he know about equipment! And the effects of different cabling. He said Shunyata's cables are designed to be neutral and also to create a synergistic effect when used in combination with each other. He advised me to get the new Taipan Helix Alpha for my preamp. (He even cautioned AGAINST moving up to the Python Helix Alpha as he said it would reveal some parts of the circuitry I wouldn't want to hear. Since when did you have someone tell you to spend less money on their products!)

I took the plunge and bought a new Taipan Helix Alpha (the first new item in my system!). When it arrived, I did some listening to my gold standard CDs and LPs with the Kimbers in place. Then put in the Taipan Helix. It was better out of the box, without break in, than either the Kimber or the Mini Khan. It was truly better than a component upgrade.

Both analogue and CD improved clarity, dynamics, speed, lost coloration and the veiling of inner detail. Especially the analogue. I've done alot of critical listening in the past, but I was really blown away. I tried some A-B-C's with the Kimber/Mini Khan/Taipan Helix and couldn't believe the dullness of the Kimber and the excessive harshness of the Mini Khan. It was now evident to me that the Panamax had a filtering, darkening effect and that the Mini Kahn had brightened the sound. Take away the dark Panamax and put in a neutral Hydra, and can hear the sonic signarture of the Electraglide.

I had told Caelin I was budget constrained and that after getting a Taipan Helix, I couldn't drop much more dough into more cables right now. He advised replacing the PK on the amp with a Copperhead. I picked one up for $200 on Agon, and again, the Kimber PK veiling was taken away.

I few weeks later, I got up a few more bucks and purchased another new Taipan Helix Alpha for the Aero Prima. I put it on the amp to break it in and immediately heard more bass definition and inner detail than with the Copperhead. Once it broke in, I put it on the CDP and my CDs sound magnificent.

However, haveing become accustomed to that level of resolution from my amp, my analogue has taken a small step backwards with the Copperhead returned to its service!

So I've bitten the bullet and purchased another Hydra for the amp circuit and will be adding a 20 amp Shunyata cord there as well.

This post has gotten to be a bit long, but I hope it is helpfule to someone. The Bottom Line from my experience is: There is synergy and there is SYNERGY. Small "s" synergy is when a defect in one product is compensated for by a defect in another. They balance each other out. But each defect means LESS of something is coming through. Big "S" Synergy is when a very highly resolved component or cable is combined with one equally lacking in sonic distortion or degradation. More music comes through untainted.

I really recommend reading the 6Moons interview with Caelin Gabriel: in which he takes the voodoo out of cable marketing and replaces it with good ol' empirical science.

Happy listening! - John

I bought the Hydra 2 and plug my mono block amps into it. As an experiment I put a Hubell 20 amp IEC on the end of a 20 amp dedicated line and bypassed the Shunyata power cord. In theory it should have sounded better- less connectors and all one cable.But the Hydra with the Diamond back sounded better than straight in with the dedicated line. So I then upgraded to the Taipan and haven't regretted it. In my experience there is something that the Shunyata power cords do to enhance the Hydra.
John (Ikkyu2),

Thanks for posting your experience. I think this is the type of clarification people seek on audiogon and dont get from the 'professional' reviewers that heap praise on whatever they put into their system.

It also is a good example of the 'weakest link' principle of audio. We don't like to admit it, but our system is held back by certain components or elements. Improving already strong components will improve the system, but will also 'reveal' the weak links even more. I've learned this over-and-over, most recently with shelving. That's why I keep my system as minimal and clean as possible.

I also fail to see why anyone would buy Electraglide. There are too many excellent power cords made by first-class people.

I also fail to see why anyone would buy Electraglide. There are too many excellent power cords made by first-class people.

Amen to that. January 2006, and Scott Hall has still not sent my Epiphany cord that I shipped to him in June 2005 for a retrofit.

I am presently using an Elrod EPS3 Signature and DCCA Extreme Reference power cords with my Hydra 2 conditioners, but I cannot say they are better in this application than Shunyata Python Alpha cords I once owned. Makes me wonder why I ever changed...Audiophilia Nervosa, I suppose.
I think you can find 20/15 amp adapters here. This is where I purchase item 1422($3). It is an adapter that allows me to plug standard electrical devices into a audio-type power cord for burn in. I think you will find the same device is $16 or more from an audiofool source.

Legal disclaimer: I make no recommendation for or against using an 20/15amp adapter for other than PC comparison purposes. (My lawyer makes me say stuff like that.)

My Hydra-8 came with a Diamondback 20 amp PC. I was not impressed with the Hydra performance. Shunyata reps advised me to upgrade to a Python Alpha 20 amp. I upgraded to the Python but did not notice much difference--at first.

After burning in the Python Alpha I did a comparison with the Diamondback which was already burned in. A friend was with me when I did the comparison. We turned to each other and made kaka faces with the Diamondback. I could not get it out of the system fast enough.

I still have the Hydra-8 and have no desire to replace it. I now have 5 Python Alpha power cords. One on the Hydra and 4-15amp versions on critical gear.

I thought the power cord to the Hydra would not be critical. Shunyata reps told me the opposite and I proved it to myself. I should add that I have a dedicated 20-amp power source.

Good listening.
I've used the original Hydra for four+ years. It came with the Sidewinder which I'm still using. I sold my Shunyata Viper's for BMI Whales because I felt the Hydra did much of the work regardless of the pcs I sampled. I auditioned Virtual Dynamic and Elrod cords and I'm happy with the current setup.
When I bought my orig Hydra a number of years back I did compare it with the PS Audio conditioner at that time. The Hydra greatly outperformed the PS Audio (in my system). A far more relaxed musical presentation yet more transparent and dynamic.

Since then I've replaced the stock Sidewinder PC to the Hydra with a VH Audio Airsine which opened things up further lifting yet another veil (albeit not to the same extent as the Hydra itself).

Has anyone compared the orig Hydra with the newer Hydra 8?
I used my Hydra2 with Shunyata Diamondback cord. It was very nice, but I upgraded to VH Audio Flavor 4 power cord with Furutech Gold connectors and it is an improvement over the Diamondback. This Hydra2 is for analog components(amp and pre), on my other Hydra2(digital components) I still use the Diamondback. Both cords are good and if the budget is tight, I would not hesitate to recommend Flavor4 with Furutech Gold connectors. It can be obtained for the same $ as used Audience. Audience cord is very good for DACs and CD players though....