August 11, 2012

  • Shunyata Taipan Alpha - Original Version

    Well, it's been a week now since the original version of Shunyata's Taipan power cord was inserted into my system, so here are my impressions of it, to date.

    The Taipan Alpha was purchased from a private seller on the internet and when first introduced by Shunyata, retailed at $649 for a 1.8M length.  This particular sample is a little unusual in that it's marked on the IEC end as a 10 Amp 250 Volt cord.  Typical values for an American C13/C15 power cord would be 15 Amps and 125 Volts which leads me to believe this may have been terminated for a European customer.  However, I've experienced no difficulties since hooking it up to my conrad-johnson Premier 16LS2 preamplifier.  Quite the opposite, as a matter of fact --as you'll read below my impressions have been almost entirely positive.

    The review sample consists of cryogenically treated silver-clad copper wires in a clear Teflon outer sheath.  Both the plug and IEC connector indicate they were manufactured by Maranco.  I believe they power cord is 10 gauge. 

    The Taipan Alpha replaced a Shunyata Venom3 which had been pulling electrical duty previously on the preamp.  I have another Taipan, the 20 Amp Helix version, which connects my Hydra Model-8 to the wall.  The reader is directed to the second installment of that review for my impressions of those two items.


      Taipan Alpha                                                                                     Close-up of the power cord's braiding

    Maranco Plug End                                                                                 Close-up of Maranco Plug

    Maranco IEC Connector                                                                         Close-Up of Maranco IEC Connector

    Listening Impressions:

    • The music was more dynamic and the bass had more heft without any bloat or overhang.
    • The sound was clearer and more detailed with purer tones.
    • At times I detect a tizz to the uppermost registers which can be heard on some recordings.  Vocals can have a slight sibilance I never noticed previously.  However, I'm not sure if this is an artifact of the Taipan or if I'm hearing imperfections in the recordings not noticed before.
    • The piano has never sounded this good on my system.
    • Tonal decays are longer with musical notes simply fading away into a lower noise floor.
    • The sound stage is the best it's ever sounded with more distinct spatial cues.  The CD of The Alan Parsons Project's 1985 release Vulture Culture was a revelation.


    A fellow audiophile whose opinion I value very highly has recommended the following hierarchy for the placement of aftermarket power cords:

    1. Between the power conditioner and the wall
    2. Then the preamplifier since this is the system's control center and affects every component feeding it
    3. The primary source component
    4. The power amplifier

    In the case where there is a sole source component, you could consider placing the power cord there and then the preamp.  Experiment with this list as you add power cords and see what sounds the best to you although the initial placement should be on your power conditioner.

    Is the original version of Shunyata's Taipan Alpha power cord perfect?  Of course not.  But installing it on the Premier 16LS2 has raised the performance of my system to an entirely new level.    


Comments (15)

  • Blasphemy! Actually, what people neglect to understand is that a component sees the powercord first. In this perspective, the components powercord becomes a critical link. Rather large sonic changes can take place here. But the educated listener has to take an inventory of those changes, and evaluate whether they represent a loss, a gain, or quid pro quo. Versus stock throwaway powercords, the Taipan is often a universal improvement.

  • Which part of what I wrote is blasphemy? I'm not sure I understand.

  • I was just mimicking what the stereotypical audiophile says, when he's told that powercords effect great changes. He always gets diarrhea of the mouth: "How can a powercord make a difference?" "The power has come from the power company for miles. The last six feet can't make a difference." "The powercord doesn't carry the audio signal, therefore it makes no difference." "I don't believe in this voodoo."

  • @rpghero27 - 

    Gotcha. Sorry, sometimes I'm a little slow on the uptake. Thank you for spelling it out. :)

  • I was gonna purchase a Nordost Brahma but have never tried Shunyata before , just ordered a Taipan Alpha and will be interested to hear the improvements when attached to Isotek Orion

  • I currently use an Argentum Proteus 12 on my HeadAmp ( nothing has bettered this on my amp )and I have tried 6 in the last year from the likes of WireWorld, TCI ,Yamamura, Merlin ,Russ Andrews,and Furutech. I have now decided not to shift it in future. Using a Nordost Heimdall 2 on the cdp , which is truly a lovely Rhythmic cable and not bright at all.
    Thanks for the review by the way.
    Thanks for the review

  • Since these haven't been made in quite some time, I'm assuming you're purchasing a used model? Also, what cord are you using now between your Isotek Orion and the wall outlet?

    At 10 gauge it should be more than adequate on your conditioner.

  • yes it is used in excellent condition. I have used a number of cords to the Orion , the last 1 being a PS Audio xstream but have not found that right sound. I received the Taipan a couple of weeks ago but I am yet to use it as I am awaiting Schuko - UK adapter.
    Have to settle for a below par Wireworld Stratus 5 for now

  • And as I was typing the last paragraph the adapters arrived so .....this should be good

  • XSNoise, hope the original Taipan Alpha suits your needs. Power cords, although I never would have thought so years ago, can and mainly do have a profound effect on a system's sonic character. Although really expensive the Satori I'm using between the wall outlet and the Audio Excellence AZ Power Wing II appears to be my final destination for this application. It came with the original model Linebacker and Super Enhanced Ground Plane built-in.

    I'd be very interested, if you don't mind letting me know, how you find the Taipan Alpha once the Schuko adaptor is in place. Thanks.

    Okay, our comments crossed.

  • At the moment JDA it sounds rather bright for my liking , I will leave it to settle for a couple of days before giving a solid listen over a wide variety of music.
    I will post my opinion later next week.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply.

  • By the way my current system consists of the following. Bryston BCD1 , Lehmann Audio Black Cube, Grado GS1000. Interconnects are Graditech Kide 3
    As well as the Orion I use a Vertex aq Jaya ,Nordost AC sort cones on cdp, Shakti stones on both amp and cdp.Wei Zhi Precision & Madrigo Labs Ultima HD Signature damping mat for cd playing, Walker audio Ultra Vivid and Talisman.
    You system looks so good it scares me JDA.....I will get there.....1 fine day

  • Thank you for the kind words regarding my system. You've prompted me to post an update, as of today, showing the current configuration.

  • This has been sitting in my system for about 3 weeks now and I am still uncertain to my opinion on this 1.
    On a plus side the detail retrieval is exceptional. The bass is very tight and the cable gives a fast presentation. On the negative I find the treble a bit too revealing and at times tiring. I moved the cable from the power conditioner to the pre amp first and then the cd player and found it was way too bright sounding on either.
    Unfortunately I am using a rather cheap adapter and hope to get an audiphile grade grade fuse and plug when next wage arrives.
    On another note the soundstage seems to have shrunk a fair bit.
    JDA I would be grateful if you could recommend fuses , both internal ( cd player ) and for mains adapters . I have a HiFi Tuning supreme in the amp and 2 AMR in the Isotek , but looking for something a bit fuller in sound as the detail is more than adequate.I have been told the Synergistic Research red is rather impressive.

  • Sorry that it may not be working out for you. I never noticed the soundstage shrinking. As a matter of fact, if you look at my listening notes above, I thought just the opposite. But that was using it on a tubed preamp that erred slightly to the sweet side but was nevertheless very revealing in my opinion. Also, please not that I did describe a "slight tizz" with this powercord. You may be more sensitive to that -- probably younger ears on your part. :)

    I have not heard the SR RED fuses. The first commenter on this thread, rpghero27, has written extensively on fuses including the RED. You might want to search through his reviews. I've used all three flavors of the HiFi-Tuning brand and my preference has been for the SilverStar but they'd be exactly the opposite sounding from what you describe you want. I think you'd find the RED to also not be your cup of tea. From what rpghero27 has written, unfortunately, I think the best candidate for you would be the Audio Magic Beeswax Supreme. I say unfortunately because they're really expensive. Barring that I've found the HFT Gold and the AMR Gold to be the warmest of the lot.

    I really do recommend that you check out his postings, though.

    If you don't mind, please continue to let me know how this turns out. Thanks.

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