In 1999, Shunyata Research pioneered the original concept of a pure performance based, high-current power distributor. Within two years, Shunyata founder Caelin Gabriel had designed an entire series of Hydra products that quickly became the most professionally and critically acclaimed components of their kind. (please see our reviews section).
Hydras long-standing success is the direct result of painstaking electrical measurement (DTCD Analysis), patented design innovation, high-current capability and unfailing compatibility with high-performance electronics systems. The material quality and unique technologies used to forge the Hydras success are unlike anything used before in the manufacture of power-distribution products. Unlike the majority of marketing claims and obtuse terms used to describe old technology, Shunyata Research discloses the exact technical nature and material make-up of its designs. Below, are the series of core technologies that represent the foundation of all Hydra and Guardian Pro power distributor designs.
HYDRA AND GUARDIAN PRO CORE TECHNOLOGIES
DTCD (Dynamic Transient Current Delivery) Analyzer
DTCD is a method of current analysis that measures instantaneous current delivery in the context of a pulsed current draw. In layman's terms, it is a way of measuring current performance into typical electronic component power supplies. The DTCD Analyzer allows the measurement of pulsed transient current through a variety of AC power products, including power distributors and power cords. This Analyzer allows Shunyata Research to test, refine and improve instantaneous current delivery to the point that Hydra models are proven to be measurably superior in delivering power to high-current amps and entire systems. This analysis system is unique to Shunyata Research and is used to develop and perfect all Hydra and Guardian Pro model power distributors.
MPDA Multi Phase Differential Array
Scientist Caelin Gabriel spent several years conducting experiments using custom designed CAD (computer aided design) software that emulates typical power supply noise generation. This software allowed Gabriel to focus attention on building a multi-element array of micro-filters that represent an ultimate noise-reduction circuit. This complex circuit significantly reduces power-line noise without the audible or visible side-effects normally associated with conventional capacitive and inductive approaches. Shunyata Research also utilized its own DTCD Analysis (see web-content) to refine the circuit and to optimize it for massive current load capability.
The MPDA noise reduction circuit utilizes brand new surface mount technology allowing the entire package to be relatively small (less than the size of a single capacitor). With more than 30 elements in its design, the MPDA network targets very specific noise components that are generated by typical A/V power supplies. Unlike traditional capacitor-based designs, the MPDA network filters in all three phases--hot-neutral-ground. This network proved capable of miraculous performance in both audio and video applications of all types and immediately became Gabriel's in house reference five years ago as an ideal performance paradigm. Years in development, this new circuit is now available in both the Hydra Series, Hydra Triton and Talos Models. This technology exists no-where else and is unique to Shunyata Research.
Patented noise-reduction materials -- US#6,545,213
Shunyata Research's design approach avoids the use of conventional reactive elements that may limit or otherwise distort the free flow of current. Instead, Shunyata Research developed a materials science approach to noise reduction with the development of the exclusive ZrCa-2000 compounds. These unique compounds demonstrate an ability to reduce the perceived noise in audio-video systems when applied to any system of power distribution products. Quite obviously, no comparable technology exists in the industry. Shunyata's reference models Hydra Talos and Hydra Triton utilize this patented technology.
Noise Isolation Chambers
No one will come away from viewing the internals of the Hydra Triton and Talos without commenting on the massive cylindrical chambers within. Each of these three cylinders encapsulates Shunyata Research's patented ZrCa-2000 compounds, which have a proven ability to dissipate noise as heat-energy within their own molecular structure. Shunyata Research previously used this formulation only in its Hydra V-Ray and Hydra 8 due to the space and complexity of building an internal chassis to house them. In the Talos and Triton, the ZrCa 2000 compounds are encapsulated within the three sealed cylinders. These are separated so that the hot, neutral and ground wiring are each independently noise-isolated, one per cylinder. This insures an ideal coverage and contact area for the compounds to have maximum effect on power-line noise. The cylinders in the Triton are larger to accommodate more of the patented ZrCa 2000 material. This new implementation re-radiates high-frequency EMI energy back into the core of the hollow tubes, doubling the proven effectiveness of the ZrCa 2000 compounds. This represents an enormous step forward in the Hydra Triton and Talos ability to perceptibly quiet power-line noise.
All Brass Buss System
Possibly the most under-recognized contributor to the performance of Shunyata Research products is the metallurgic integrity within its designs. The all-new solid brass alloy buss structure within the Hydra Triton and Hydra Talos is yet another innovation that has benefited from more than ten years of trial and metals research. Even the custom manufactured terminations and end caps are made of solid brass. Matching these metals and connecting them directly to Shunyata's own all-brass SR-Z1 outlets reduces the diode-like reaction that can be evident when mixing and matching dissimilar metals at major AC and signal junctions.
Why brass instead of silver, gold or another precious metal? Brass has exceptional contact integrity and heavy copper content but more importantly, it does not have the obvious sonic accents of commonly applied silver, gold or rhodium plating. All artificial plating metals may sound different but do more to add highlights to sound and visual frequencies than to fundamentally improve electrical integrity. Electrical integrity is the signature of all Shunyata Hydra designs. Fundamentally, the Brass Buss system minimizes the number of metal to metal contact junctions and as opposed to traditional wire connections, creates a zero-point for current. This not only improves measurable instantaneous current delivery, it increases the effectiveness of Shunyata's 30 element MPDA network. The Buss systems in the Hydra model 4, model 6 and Guardian Pro 6 are similar. They are constructed from Shunyata's own pure CDA 101 copper.
VTX Wire Geometry
Shunyata Research is well known for its use of ultra-complex wire geometries that have evolved from the early Matrix Geometry to the patented Helix Geometry and most recently the CX geometry used in Shunyata's award-winning power-cord line. These geometries ability to measurably reduce signal resistance, self-induced reactance and electro-magnetic interference is well documented and remains a core element of all Shunyata designed wire products.
With the aid of DTCD (Dynamic Transient Current Delivery) analysis, Shunyata created a wire geometry that would in essence function as a virtual-tube, vastly reducing the internal skin-effect distortions common among traditional solid-core or stranded wire types. Hollow, or tube-like wire is by nature extremely difficult to use because of its stiffness, but is an ideal signal and power conductor. By creating the VTX wire geometry, Gabriel has formulated a way to achieve the benefits of using a hollow tube without the impractical drawbacks. Similar to his other research and science based innovations, this technology contributes significantly to the performance of the Triton and Talos model Hydra designs.
For more than ten-years, Shunyata Hydra designs have proven to deliver the ultimate in electrical protection for thousands of professional and consumer audio-video systems with their three-stage (Trident) defense system. Over that time, Shunyata Hydras have maintained a near zero-failure rate both domestically and overseas. All Hydra and Guardian Pro models have a similar three-stage protection package on board that includes Shunyata's proprietary MPDA filter network, surge protection and the Cadillac of protection breakers, a custom-made electromagnetic breaker (described below). The Guardian Pro and Hydras passive design and three-stage protection circuits insure they will remain the most trouble-free power-distribution units on the market.
Shunyata Research's SR-Z1 AC Outlets
The Shunyata Research SR-Z1 AC Outlet is built by Hubbell to Shunyata Research's exact requirements. It is designed and measured to be ideal for the high-current needs of even the most demanding audio and video systems. The SR-Z1 is a critical design element incorporated in the manufacture of all Shunyata Hydra and Guardian Pro power-distribution products. Research, measurement and continued testing has confirmed that the SR-Z1 is the finest performing outlet regardless of price, construction or custom plating processes that do more to alter performance than to improve it.
SR-Z1 Features: Proprietary Shunyata Research Alpha Cryogenic process - Pure low carbon brass contacts (no surface platings) - Heavy gauge contacts with 3-point contact clamps - Oversize internal volume for improved heat dissipation - Elimination of all magnetic materials
Custom manufactured Electromagnetic Breaker
Electromagnetic breaker systems are extremely rare in any type of commercial power distribution product because of their inordinately high cost. Common fuses and inexpensive thermal breakers are the norm in commercially available conditioners and regenerators These fuses and breakers heat up well before they approach their operational limits. This causes voltage drops, contact impedance, distortion and current limiting. They are popular among manufacturers only because of their low cost -- but following Shunyata's design approach, they are unacceptable due to the measurable drawbacks in DTCD Analysis, which shows significant resistance to current compared to the electromagnetic breaker.
The custom manufactured electromagnetic breakers used in all Shunyata power-distributor products use massive surface area contacts to allow unimpeded current flow to electronics -- even when operating at maximum current loads. The Hydra and Guardian Pro electromagnetic breakers incorporate a current sensing circuit that opens the contacts when the current levels exceed the designed limits, without any of the heating related power degradations of thermal breakers and fuses. Although some might view the extraordinary E.M Breaker's parts cost excessive, Gabriel feels it's another of many critical design elements necessary in achieving superior high-current system performance.
Base Metals: CDA 101 Copper
In the game of cable marketing, everything can become exaggerated. For example, for years some cable companies played the 9's game, referring to their copper with a series of 9's to represent elevated purity. It started out as a legitimate idea, but within a year this had escalated to claims of nine-nines (99.9999999) pure and greater! How is this possible? To put it simply, it's not. The purity of copper can be measured, but the limit of the purity tests is 99.99 (four nines) pure. Copper quality is never referred to with a series of 9's in the metals industry, it is referred to with CDA numbers. The CDA number verifies that the copper is measured and certified to a specific purity standard. There are many grades: CDA 104, CDA 103, 102 and 101. CDA 101 copper is the highest purity copper on the metals market. It comes with papers that prove its authenticity. This is the copper that Shunyata Research purchases and uses in every product from signal cables to power cords as well as in Guardian Pro and Hydra Model conditioners.
The majority of cable manufacturers buy their wire pre-made from major US or overseas suppliers. In many cases, it will be the least expensive wire available given that it is hidden from view. There are a few exceptions such as Siltech and Cardas, among others. Shunyata Research is one of the few companies that purchases its own CDA 101 copper in raw ingot form. The copper is then drawn into all the wire forms that are used throughout the Shunyata line. The power cords, power distributors and signal cables all benefit from this top quality material. More than that, using completely matched metallurgy lends a symmetry and coherence to the performance of any system. Given the sheer volume of wire that connects and powers all the components, a power and signal wiring system is an integral component unto itself. Purchasing CDA 101 copper and having it made from scratch into the many wire compliments is an expensive process but is a critical component of Shunyata's success -- attention to_every_detail.
Alpha Cryogenic Process
A normal cryogenic process consists of the treated materials being lowered to an extremely low temperature through the use of liquid nitrogen. Ideally this process is controlled by a computer that regulates the temperature descent and ascent in slow and controlled increments to avoid cryogenic shock to the material. Cryogenic shock can cause the material being treated to crack, shatter or incur severe internal molecular damage. Shunyata Research uses the finest computer-controlled laboratory grade equipment available. This device lowers the temperature in single degree increments. Then, there is a stabilization period before the temperature is again lowered. This continues until the temperature has reached a frosty -320 Fahrenheit. The normal cycle for a treatment is 72 hours.
During the past 7 years, Caelin Gabriel has been researching methods to enhance the cryogenic process specifically as it relates to electrical conductors. Many of these experiments involved modified atmospheric conditions involving the use of various inert gases and combinations of gases in an attempt to improve upon the effects of conventional nitrogen based cryogenic treatments.
The result is a proprietary process that creates an ideal atmospheric environment for the cryogenic process to occur. This enhanced treatment is called the Alpha Cryogenic Process. This process is applied to all Shunyata Research conductors, connectors and current carrying metals.
The Sum Of Innovation
The amount of pure design innovation, intellectual and material investment in the Hydra and Guardian Pro model development gives them a clear advantage over all products in their category. The resulting well documented success these models have enjoyed is equally compelling. All Guardian Pro and Hydra models offer peak and continuous current delivery with never before realized efficiency and performance impact. Shunyata Research power-distributors offer superior noise, spike and surge protection without any of the trade-offs normally associated with traditional power conditioning. Before considering multi-outlet power distribution of any kind, it would be wise to audition the brand used by more recording and industry professionals than any other.