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It’s a matter of refinement: The Shunyata Hydra Triton arrives

KEF R Series

Had a bit of luck with scheduling yesterday, so I was able to slip out and pick up my newest toy, Shunyata’s (currently) top-of-the-line Hydra Triton. I’ve owned Hydras in the past and have been quite happy with their performance. This time through, I opened a vein (or three) and sprung for their newest and priciest unit.

For $5,000 US, the Triton is certainly expensive. Way expensive. Crazy expensive. I say this, still marveling that I had the cojones (or the dough) to actually order one. If you’re sensing some disbelief, well, that’s fair — I’m still in disbelief myself.

Let me tell you up front — the thing works. Yes, it passes current. And yes, it’s not current limited — I have my big ass Plinius SA-Reference plugged into the thing right now and everything is hoppin’. No issues whatever. Zip. Zilch. Full 2kw draw? No problem. Oh, and the sound quality? Everything is poppin’. Hoppin’ and poppin’. My new tag line, I think.

While I’m a long way from broken in on this thing — the manufacturer suggests something like 200+ hours to get past any break-in changes — the sound was very much a “whoa, nelly!” response. Everything got louder. Clearer. Yes, the blacks got blacker, blah blah blah. What’s immediately more noticeable is how clear everything is. There’s just no grunge. Or, rather, there’s less. A lot less.

The Triton has 3x the filtering that it’s $3,000US little brother, the Talos, has. It also has an additional outlet, for a total of 8 instead of the 6 on the Talos.

In my setup, I’m going to be running everything but the amp into the Triton, which will sit on a yet-to-be-delivered rack from AudiAV. Which brings me to an admonishment in the one-page user guide:

Hydra Support — Not On The Carpet Please!

The HYDRA is a high-performance unit and should be treated similarly to a quality amplifier by placing it on a proper shelf or other support. Under NO circumstances should the HYDRA be placed directly on the floor — especially on a carpet. The HYDRA will sound dull and dynamically muted when placed on the floor.

So, yes, I am getting it off of the floor, stop yer yammering.

I’m running the Triton on an Alan Maher Scorpion II “preamp” power cord with a “Reference II wire-in” parallel filter and a 20amp IEC. You can also see a bunch of other Alan Maher Scorpion power cords in the back of this thing, as well as one honkin’ big Synergistic Research Hologram A power cord that I’m currently (ha ha, get it?) trying out on my Plinius amp.

Some will argue that it’s more than a little blasphemous to use Alan Maher power cords on a Shunyata, given that the two companies do pretty much the same thing (go crystal power!) — and I freely admit it. Go blasphemy! But Alan’s power cords are so freakin’ good, I just couldn’t see any reason to pay another $3000 for the King Cobra CX, which was the only power cord to come close to Alan’s Scorpions. Not only does everything I wire up with them sound better with the Scorpions, they sound better with them than with any other power cord I’ve tried. I actually have a custom-made power-strip from Alan that has just about every darn thing he could add in to it, including a several handfuls of Bybee filters. But the Hydra Talos I borrowed a couple of weeks ago was the first power distribution unit that “sounded” better than Alan’s ultra-tricked-out Pulse Gen Power Center, and the Triton is significantly better than the Talos. So, mix and match it is.

Which brings me to a point about power cords for any Shunyata. All the Shunyata Hydra’s, for reasons that are completely opaque to me, require a custom 20amp IEC connector, commonly called a C19 IEC. It’ll look like this:

But … it also has one of these doodads:

I still have no idea what “Typhon” is, but whatever it is, it is most definitely not an inlet that supports a C19 connector. Rather, that one takes a C20 connector, which looks like this:

Okay ….

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that the “regular” takes-a-C19-20amp-IEC-connector on the Shunyata is actually completely hidden by a perfectly centered flush-mounted bright orange sticker that very helpfully says “Max Voltage 125v”. That is, that inlet was nowhere in obvious view when I unboxed this conditioner. What was, was that C20 “Typhon” inlet. I freaked out. I needed a new, different power cord? And no one saw fit to tell me this before I got the unit home?!?!

I sent a ranting email off to my dealer — “WTF is Shunyata thinking?!?” was a direct quote, I think — a query off to Alan Maher — “How do I alter this power cord you built me?” — and some inquiries off to various manufacturers of power adapters — “can you make a C19-to-C19 adapter?” I even posted scathing remarks on Facebook. 30 responses later and I went and looked at the back of the Triton, saw that sticker, got suspicious and peeled it off … and then promptly went and ate a pile of crow. Whoops. Okay, so today’s lesson? Don’t be like me. Remove the orange sticker. You good now? Great. Moving on ….

It’s a handsome unit, I have to admit. I think I prefer the older V-Ray massively over-sized aluminum faceplate, but that’s a nit. The “HYDRA” engraving is bigger, deeper, and more impressive than the old V-Ray, so I guess you get some and you give some.

Other than how beefy and impressive looking this thing is, I don’t have much more to report at this point. Stay tuned while I break it in — more soon.

About Scot Hull (998 Articles)
Founder, Editor and Publisher at Part-Time Audiophile and The Occasional Magazine.

5 Comments on It’s a matter of refinement: The Shunyata Hydra Triton arrives

  1. Take your Triton to another level completely by using the Shunyata Anaconda Zitron Alpha power cord. At $3k new, its a stretch but definitely worth the ride. Enjoy.

  2. Same problem with the fracking outlet cover and cord. Music Direct finally figured it out for me after 1 hour on the phone; that is the distributor. Guess there is too much expense to put a small slip of paper somewhere in the wrapping about take the orangy thing off the back and mfr./sellers should WARN about the nonstandard conductor cord.

  3. Decent review but you’re trying way too hard to be funny. It’d be much easier to read if you ditched the lame humour attempts and just got on with the review.

  4. I got my Triton 15 days ago and I love it, but the burn in process is CRAZY. The sound changes almost daily and after about 160 hours, it’s still evolving. Because I’m only using it on my front end and don’t have a high current component plugged into it, I suppose I have about another week to go. So far, it vastly improves bass extension, resolution and soundstage. I’ve also noticed improved coherency…everything sounds more of a piece.” I’m eager to read about your further experience with this groundbreaking piece of equipment. I love your site, btw.

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