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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.


The Typhon also subtly clarifies a few other aspects of music playback: tonal colors and textures are more vivid, fine details are more apparent, transients are cleaner and less smeared, and micro-dynamic shadings—which seem to be so important to reproducing “artistic expressiveness”—also come through more readily. What this all points to, in my estimation, is a reduction in underlying noise across the board. Essentially, the Triton/ Typhon combo enhances what your electronics can already do, not only by feeding them a cleaner A/C stream but also by reducing the noise those electronics feed back into the A/C line. If your system already has a good measure of the qualities you are looking for, you’ll get more of them with the Triton/Typhon pair.

Realizing the benefits of the Typhon/Triton pair takes some time. Just as most of us would not unpack a new piece of electronics and immediately set about conducting quick side- by-side comparisons against warmed-up, familiar gear already in the system, the Typhon, too, should be integrated into a system with some “settling time.” Shunyata recommends plugging it in to an active Triton for at least five days before critical listening. I plugged the Typhon into the Triton and left my system on for eight days before I did any critical listening.

When I first sat down to listen closely, the Typhon’s effect seemed subtle. As I mentioned, the typical cues we listen for with the introduction of a new piece of gear, such as a shift in tonal balance or macro- dynamic emphasis, are not there with the Typhon. Rather, the benefits of the Typhon become readily apparent when you pull it out of the system for a few songs and then plug it back in. Those qualities I mentioned (depth, spatial clarity, vividness of tone colors, etc.) were all better with the Typhon plugged in. I like the improvements so much that I would feel a bit short-changed without the Typhon, especially after living with it for over a month. Adding a Typhon will probably not transform a mediocre system into a “giant-killer,” but it will elevate an already good system another notch in musically meaningful ways. I imagine that most audiophiles who would contemplate purchasing two $4995 power conditioner chassis (and two good 20-amp power cords) have already invested a great deal of money in their systems and would truly appreciate the next level of realism the Triton/Typhon combo brings to the equation.

As for those optional spiked Stainless Steel Feet (SSF), they simply screw into the sockets of the stock rubber feet they replace. I tried them only with the Triton because the Typhon was sited in a rack without enough clearance to accommodate the Typhon with the 1.25″ SSFs installed. At $195 for a set of four, the SSFs are a good way to deploy the Triton directly on a floor—better than the stock rubber feet. The Triton’s ability to help my system’s electronics make leading edges sound more defined was improved when the SSFs were installed. Since the Triton is situated on a wood platform in my setup, I also tried a set of three Aurios Pro Max bearings between the Triton’s chassis and the platform. This yielded greater overall clarity than either the stock rubber feet or the SSFs. Since these sorts of individual tuning options can vary greatly from system to system, listen carefully for your own results if you experiment with Triton/Typhon footers.

In conclusion then, if you already have a Triton main unit and would like to ratchet up your system’s performance even more, adding a Typhon is a worthwhile option. If you do not already have a power conditioner and are comfortable with the $4995 price tag for each unit, the Triton/Typhon combo very much deserves your consideration. The Triton can get you started and the Typhon can be added later. The benefits the pair brings to bear serve the music well and do so without any negative effects. Highly recommended—especially for those with relatively high- resolution systems.


Connection: One 20-amp receptacle
Power rating: 2400W (120VAC)
Dimensions: 17.25″ x 5.75″ x 16.50″
Weight: 43 lbs.
Price: $4995 (requires a Typhon Umbilical cord)

Shunyata Research
26273 Twelve Trees Lane NW, Suite D
Poulsbo, WA 98370
(360) 598-9935

Basis Debut V turntable with Vector 4 tonearm, Benz- Micro LP-S cartridge, Ayre C-5xeMP universal disc player, Sony VAIO VGN -FZ-490 running JRiver MC 17, Hegel HD2 and HD20 DACs, Ayre P-5xe phonostage, Ayre K-1xe linestage, Hegel H200 integrated, Gamut M250i power amps, Dynaudio Confidence C1 Signature, Aerial 7T, YG Kipod II Signature Passive speakers, Shunyata Anaconda ZiTron signal cables, Analysis Plus Big Silver Oval speaker cables, Audioquest Coffee USB and Hawk Eye S/PDIF, Shunyata Anaconda and Cobra ZiTron power cables, two 20-amp dedicated lines, Shunyata Triton and Typhon power conditioners, PrimeAcoustic Z-foam panels and DIY panels

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