August 11, 2012
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.
- 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:
- Between the power conditioner and the wall
- Then the preamplifier since this is the system's control center and affects every component feeding it
- The primary source component
- 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.