My history with AC power-distribution and line-conditioning products is a fairly spotty one. Sonically, they give and they take away, and I generally put them aside after a few weeks. Nowadays I just grab a power cord and head for the nearest available outlet, avoiding power-surge-protection strips for critical components. I’ve come to view such “convenience” strips as a hangover from the days of tower computers, forty-meg hard drives, and 14" monochrome displays, when the fear of a brownout sent shivers down the spine. My listening room isn’t blessed with a dedicated circuit, either. I’ve considered remedying this but just haven’t gotten around to hiring an electrical contractor. The truth is that I’m a little skeptical of monkeying with power and conditioning products. My room is quiet with a seemingly low noise floor. Basically what I’m admitting is that my listening space is probably a lot like yours. Sensible but nothing fancy.
Shunyata must’ve seen me coming. It has designed a system that takes the existing AC power entering a listening room to the next step without engaging the services of an electrical contractor. There are three basic components to its entry-level Venom Series of power products, starting with a Venom PS8 power strip. Nicely constructed of heavy, brushed steel, the PS8 is 20-amp rated to cover even the most demanding high-current components, provides eight Hubbell outlets that are cryogenically treated using Shunyata’s Alpha process, and a tough Carling Hydraulic Electro-magnetic breaker. It sits on thick rubber feet, but steel spiked-footers with floor protectors are also offered as a $195 option.
The second component is the Venom Defender—a tidy little plug-and-play power conditioner. Chassis-free, it’s a plug-in module that incorporates the MPDA (multi-phase-differential-array), thirty-element parallel filters found in Shunyata’s flagship Hydra models. Ruggedly built, Defender is equipped with 20,000 amps of surge protection and its own LED fault-detector. It can be plugged directly into the PS8 or, ideally, into the same wall outlet.
The final link in Shunyata’s power chain are the Venom HC power cords. Big brothers to the original Venom cords (still a steal), they use heavier 10-gauge conductors, and employ hand-soldered contacts that are crimped to improve the metal-to-metal contact integrity.
All Shunyata components are cryogenically treated. Each can be purchased individually, but these three have been designed and priced to perform in trio. With three Venom HC cords, the complete Venom system Shunyata set me up with retails for under $1800.
Shunyata’s Grant Samuelson filled me in on Venom system particulars. He reiterated that “all home electronics are extremely peak-current-sensitive. Their power supplies draw current dynamically off the peak and trough of the sinewave. Any break or open contact in the electrical chain represents a loss that can affect system performance.”
Shunyata, he says, “views current delivery as a high-frequency event, not a low-frequency event because systems draw current at a high-frequency and they output high-frequency noise. It all starts and ends with junction integrity, material quality, material manipulation—all aimed to lower the insertion-loss of the device. The overriding design goal of this system is to minimize peak-current loss at every junction.
“The Defender builds upon the foundation the PS8 establishes. Its filters are computer-modeled to capture and filter the high-frequency noise that exists on any line and prevent it from re-circulating within the system. All of this is accomplished without any added connections and with no loss of peak current integrity—which is our baseline for performance.”