Shunyata Research AC power products Michael Fremer Comments

Michael Fremer wrote about the Shunyata Research Hydra 8 in January 2004 (Vol.27 No.1):

Despite the Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista kW's choke-regulated power supplies, and perhaps because of the amount of current these amplifiers pull, their performance was enhanced to an enormous and quite surprising degree by plugging them into Shunyata Research's entirely passive Hydra 8 power-distribution device ($1995).

During my first month of auditioning the kWs, they drew power from the original Hydra. When I was ready to check out the new Hydra 8, I unplugged the original Hydra and plugged the kWs directly into my dedicated line's Hubbell hospital-grade receptacles.

The difference was not subtle. The kWs' basic sonic performance remained, but the picture lost cohesion, the highs had a touch of grain, and the bass seemed in a slightly different time zone—as if these revealing amps were putting my ears in touch with the quality of juice from Rockland Electric's grid. After letting the kWs warm up for another day and continuing to hear the same sound, I turned them off and plugged them into the new Hydra 8, which, as instructed, I'd broken in using a dehumidifier (though I was told an electric fan would work too). The Hydra 8 was connected to the wall with a Shunyata Research Andromeda vX heavy-duty AC cord. Damn if the system didn't return to its former coherent glory, only more so.

There's no space here to go into the technology or theories behind the Hydra 8's operation, but you should give it a try. It's every bit as effective as its supporters say it is, and despite my initial skepticism, I've fallen in line. The Hydra 8 is an amazing product.

Cables were important, but for this review, the Shunyata Research Hydra 8 was the real key to musical satisfaction.—Michael Fremer