Shunyata Research Hydra Typhon

World's First Two-Chassis Power Conditioner

Equipment report
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AC conditioners
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Shunyata Research Hydra Typhon
Shunyata Research Hydra Typhon

In September, 2012, the TAS Web site ran a short piece announcing the introduction of the Hydra Typhon, an optional, dedicated, A/C-line noise-reduction unit intended for use with the Hydra Triton power distributor. Since I’d reviewed (and highly recommended) the Triton in Issue 219, I decided to give Shunyata’s add-on Typhon a listen.

The Typhon and Triton units have the same cosmetics, dimensions, and price ($4995 each). The heavier Typhon is an additional, passive, noise-filtering “slave unit” which simply plugs— via a Typhon Umbilical cord—into either an unused standard A/C receptacle on the Triton or into a Typhon-ready receptacle. (Note well: You will have to order an umbilical cord—preferably as short as possible—with one of two different terminations, depending on the type of receptacle you intend to plug the Typhon into.) Shunyata recommends using an unused normal receptacle, but all Tritons come with an auxiliary receptacle, so that all eight normal receptacles may be used for electronics if needed. Since the Typhon is not in the current path, as such, it does not alter the total current-delivery capacity of the Triton (2400W at 120VAC, 4800W at 240VAC). The Typhon simply provides additional noise-suppression capacity to the Triton. In effect, the Triton and Typhon pair becomes one power conditioner in two chassis.

Fairly early in the development of a new, higher-performing power conditioner, Shunyata’s designer Caelin Gabriel ruled out offering one large unit in favor of splitting up the two main sections into smaller chassis. This offers consumers more flexibility; they can start with a Triton and add a Typhon later as funds allow. I have to say, the two smaller chassis are also easier to place than a single, double-sized unit would be. In my setup, the Typhon is on the bottom shelf of a rack, and the Triton rests on a spiked platform on the floor next to the rack. Shunyata does not object to stacking the two units if that works best for you. Shunyata also offers sets of four 1.25-inch-tall stainless-steel spiked feet ($195) and matching protective discs for enhanced performance over the stock rubber feet when either unit is placed directly on a floor. (More on these optional feet later.)

Almost the entire internal chassis space of the Typhon is devoted to two large cylindrical Noise Isolation Chambers (NIC) filled with proprietary ZrCa-2000, a “ferroelectric” compound. The hot and neutral A/C power legs are routed through the NICs via Shunyata’s hollow-core, high-purity, CDA-101-copper “VTX” wiring. The large volume of ZrCa-2000 material, combined with the large surface area of the internal copper cylinders, is said to provide very effective ultra-high-frequency noise-dissipation characteristics through “an E-field coupling between the ferroelectric material in the NICs and the electric field of the high-frequency noise that rides on the AC signal.” The main unit of the tandem, the Triton, already has three fairly large NICs, so the add-on Typhon increases the total NIC capacity to a much more robust level.

Does the Typhon significantly reduce signal-obscuring noise? Yes, and I would add the Typhon’s most prominent sonic effect on the connected system is that it enhances the system’s ability to portray spatial cues. The Typhon does not alter tonal balance or macro-dynamic behavior, so listening for typical changes after you insert a new device is not a standard exercise with the Typhon.

What the Typhon does do is allow your system to better reproduce depth of both individual images and of the overall soundstage. Spatial cues around individual images are more clearly defined, with more body and solidity. As a result of clearing up the surrounding, obscuring, gray electronic “fog,” images stand out in greater relief within their ambient surroundings. The Typhon also expands soundstage width and height, though not to an appreciable degree in my setup.