Alpha and Delta NR VS Zitron and Older Line

ken6217

New Member
Sep 28, 2017
25
0
1
#21
If anyone is interested, I am selling my Sigma NR and Sigma HC power cords. Sounds wonderful but too much grief from the wife.
 

Indy

New Member
Dec 14, 2014
43
0
0
#23
I am finishing up a review this weekend on the Denali tower and the latest Delta power cords and signal cables. I have been very happy with what I have heard so far. Good value for the money.
Hey Lee, the guys on Computer Audiophile are still waiting for your answers about MQA. :D
 
May 10, 2013
48
0
6
Connecticut
#24
I finally acquired an Alpha ZiTron NR for a few weeks. I have to say, I expected more. It sounded similar to the Alpha Zitron HC in that the range where marching drums lie, as well as singers such as Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, sounded...diminshed, as though there was a dip in that frequency range. Certainly, Mr. Sinatra's voice did not have all the body and "feeling" that Sinatra had on say, a Cobra ZiTron, which I never felt lacked for lower midrange/upper bass solidity and tonal richness. Almost a "bleached out" effect, which some could hear as "flatness." I don't think so. Sinatra doesn't sound that way on any of the other three systems I have given to friends, and I gave those friends Nordost Heimdall 2s power cords and interconnects.
What's going on, Shunyata? Is the line, with it's NR technology, losing some tonal quality in the upper bass/lower midrange? Because it sure sounds like it. And I have the Sigma Analogue and Sigma NR, and the Delta NR and the Alpha HC. Not liking the tonal quality as much. I actually prefer the Python ZiTron (have that, too). While it may not have a lower "noise floor" it has more tonal richness. Not the "tonal richness" of the CX line, which clearly colors the entire frequency spectrum (that additional warmth), but a more natural richness. Sarah Vaughan, for example, sounds more like herself with the Python - heck, even the Cobra ZiTrons. Did you program the tonality out of those ranges, because they sound a bit "cold" to my ears. And we can't blame the Nola speakers for that: they have - if anything - a very good tonal equality throughout their range.
More and More, the one I like the best is the Sigma NR. And less and less do I like the Alpha HC and NR (although I hear their virtues). And please, for those who don't hear live music, this is not subjective. It's a deviation from live sound. Maybe something had to be given up so that those medical labs could hear quieter - and lower (in volume) sounds. Musically, I'm not so sure. The sounds seems to lean very, VERY slightly towards "bleached," a sound not heard before in Shunyata products. What gives? Is this a bid for the famed "neutrality" which, as a live music lover, never thrilled me. Nordost was once proclaimed "neutral." Even Harry Pearon thought so, although, when he and I would talk about it, I disagreed - and strongly so. It was also, in the original Valhalla generation, "theadbare," a point eventually acknowledged by HP. (But not until 7 years later, when Nordost came out with the Odin line and he finally heard it. The dope. He should have listened to me.) And it had a more pronounced suckout in the upper bass/lower midrange (more than the Shunyata, which is why I am making note of it since it diminished (tonally) the beauty of tenor male singers of the 40s and 50s, not to mention most Black male singers) a point not even remotely debatable if you listen to live, unamplified music. (I'm speaking of Nordost here, not Shunyata, but Shunyata seems to be veering in that direction,). I'm going to be looking for Python ZiTrons. I appreciate the whole "sounds-I-can-hear-I-never-heard-before-crowd." I'm just uncertain how often they are able to hear live unamplified music. And who among us, gets to hear unamplified male tenor singers - except in opera?
This may ruffle feathers. Too bad. I've always held Shunyata in the highest regard, or I wouldn't have owned it for the past 16 years. And they're entitled to change, but I'm entitled to note what I'm hearing. And questioning. So, which is it? Am I hearing things or am I not?
Oh, and keep in mind: this is with CJ electronics, which I'll assume, nobody thinks they have a suckout in those ranges. Cj is anything but "cool" in its sonics.
 
Last edited:

GrantS

Industry Expert
Oct 23, 2013
163
0
16
#25
I finally acquired an Alpha ZiTron NR for a few weeks. I have to say, I expected more. It sounded similar to the Alpha Zitron HC in that the range where marching drums lie, as well as singers such as Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, sounded...diminshed, as though there was a dip in that frequency range. Certainly, Mr. Sinatra's voice did not have all the body and "feeling" that Sinatra had on say, a Cobra ZiTron, which I never felt lacked for lower midrange/upper bass solidity and tonal richness. Almost a "bleached out" effect, which some could hear as "flatness." I don't think so. Sinatra doesn't sound that way on any of the other three systems I have given to friends, and I gave those friends Nordost Heimdall 2s power cords and interconnects.
What's going on, Shunyata? Is the line, with it's NR technology, losing some tonal quality in the upper bass/lower midrange? Because it sure sounds like it. And I have the Sigma Analogue and Sigma NR, and the Delta NR and the Alpha HC. Not liking the tonal quality as much. I actually prefer the Python ZiTron (have that, too). While it may not have a lower "noise floor" it has more tonal richness. Not the "tonal richness" of the CX line, which clearly colors the entire frequency spectrum (that additional warmth), but a more natural richness. Sarah Vaughan, for example, sounds more like herself with the Python - heck, even the Cobra ZiTrons. Did you program the tonality out of those ranges, because they sound a bit "cold" to my ears. And we can't blame the Nola speakers for that: they have - if anything - a very good tonal equality throughout their range.
More and More, the one I like the best is the Sigma NR. And less and less do I like the Alpha HC and NR (although I hear their virtues). And please, for those who don't hear live music, this is not subjective. It's a deviation from live sound. Maybe something had to be given up so that those medical labs could hear quieter - and lower (in volume) sounds. Musically, I'm not so sure. The sounds seems to lean very, VERY slightly towards "bleached," a sound not heard before in Shunyata products. What gives? Is this a bid for the famed "neutrality" which, as a live music lover, never thrilled me. Nordost was once proclaimed "neutral." Even Harry Pearon thought so, although, when he and I would talk about it, I disagreed - and strongly so. It was also, in the original Valhalla generation, "theadbare," a point eventually acknowledged by HP. (But not until 7 years later, when Nordost came out with the Odin line and he finally heard it. The dope. He should have listened to me.) And it had a more pronounced suckout in the upper bass/lower midrange (more than the Shunyata, which is why I am making note of it since it diminished (tonally) the beauty of tenor male singers of the 40s and 50s, not to mention most Black male singers) a point not even remotely debatable if you listen to live, unamplified music. (I'm speaking of Nordost here, not Shunyata, but Shunyata seems to be veering in that direction,). I'm going to be looking for Python ZiTrons. I appreciate the whole "sounds-I-can-hear-I-never-heard-before-crowd." I'm just uncertain how often they are able to hear live unamplified music. And who among us, gets to hear unamplified male tenor singers - except in opera?
This may ruffle feathers. Too bad. I've always held Shunyata in the highest regard, or I wouldn't have owned it for the past 16 years. And they're entitled to change, but I'm entitled to note what I'm hearing. And questioning. So, which is it? Am I hearing things or am I not?
Oh, and keep in mind: this is with CJ electronics, which I'll assume, nobody thinks they have a suckout in those ranges. Cj is anything but "cool" in its sonics.
Hi Glen.

I've had some trouble following along in parts, but understand enough to see that you favor the Zi-tron Cobra or Python over the Alpha NR in your system and to your ears, which is fine. No ruffled feathers. We've gone back a long way sharing impressions so I appreciate you chiming in with your thoughts.

Where we may diverge a little is in reference to impressions, components or speakers as not being subjective. Differences in system integration, rooms, cables, listening preferences and trial practices are all parts of a very subjective whole, with live music as the reference or not. Each system is unique, from the speakers we choose to the room, electronics, supports and cables. They all form our own subjectively experienced whole. Integrating and talking about this or that power cord's relative, or singular contribution versus another power cord in relation to "live" sound within a larger system, can't help but be buried in context.

>>>"More and More, the one I like the best is the Sigma NR. And less and less do I like the Alpha HC and NR (although I hear their virtues). And please, for those who don't hear live music, this is not subjective. It's a deviation from live sound. Maybe something had to be given up so that those medical labs could hear quieter - and lower (in volume) sounds."<<<

A lot to take in, but I'll offer my thoughts. Individual preference and experience oriented system assembly makes this a very subjective hobby. I would imagine most of us use 'live music" as the frame of reference in building systems, yet our systems usually turn out being very different. Rather than taking high-ground and thinking my system, experience or perceptions are more well tuned, I tend to believe we all listen and experience music a little differently, so there is no absolute but there are some commonalities.

Regarding the NR power cords in terms of parts; they all use pure OFE copper VTX (hollow core) conductors, solid-copper connectors, small circuit filtering. The Alpha NR and Sigma NR are virtually identical in construction with the Sigma using more massive conductors and taking a lot longer to build. The Alpha NR is by far our most popular model of the three likely in part due to its middle price. Feedback over the past 1.5 yrs.has been extremely consistent and positive. This is not to discount your opinion at all, but again context and variables are everything and that's what we take in when people call or write. To answer your other point, no, there has been zero cross-purpose design in the NR power cords related to our medical business. In medical, we use only our simple shielded power cords.

In terms of comparison to Cobra or Python Zi-tron, I haven't heard from anyone else that has preferred them to Alpha NR, but I'll take your note since I know you listen carefully. I'm sure there may be others, but we haven't heard from them.

"And we can't blame the Nola speakers for that: they have - if anything - a very good tonal equality throughout their range."

No doubt, Carl makes great speakers but they have a very specific sound tuned to his choices -- that will match up well, or less well with ancillaries just like other speakers do. I know CJ is HOF tube gear and were carefully chosen to deliver your "live music" sound. Like anything however, there are no inalienable paragons of neutrality from my experience. There are many variables from racks to cables and a host of other choices we make to assemble our "perfect" systems. All contribute when you bring home a new pair of interconnects, digital cable or power cord to try.

From being in front of our dealer/customer base every day, the Delta or Alpha NR are what I always recommend because they have been so well received. Compared to the Cobra/Python Zi-tron for example, they are described more as more natural and even sounding, well balanced tonally and with lower noise. This makes sense because they use all matching pure-copper conductors and connectors versus the Zi-Tron line that used brass connectors and silver-plated copper conductors. I can't explain your results because I don't know the full context of your system, but your findings are different from the typical responses we've had. None of this makes your impressions wrong, so I will add your impressions to our feedback.

I appreciate you taking the time to listen and offer your thoughts, Glen. We are not attempting to veer toward anything but a more natural, true to life sound that is absent distortion. Whether we've succeeded is as always, up to the individual and their system.

Thanks, Glen.

Grant
 
May 10, 2013
48
0
6
Connecticut
#26
That's certainly a reasonable response, Grant, and I'll keep that in mind. I did find the tubed equipment brought out the better qualities of my Shunyata cables, although many others have transistors.

That said, perhaps I'm so used to the superb Sigma that the Alpha just caught me off guard, but I'm not used to not utterly loving ANY piece of Shunyata gear completely (absent the Viper line, which, by the time I tried it, years ago, I'd had most of the higher-priced spread, so it stood out from the others).

That said, I'm sure differences in equipment account for what we hear, and perhaps I need to retry the Alpha NR, but my system hasn't changed much in the past 5 years, and I've always "heard" Sinatra and other male/Black singers sound more "throaty" than they do with the Alpha NR, so I can't explain that. I was quite surprised myself.

The Sigma is quite the achievement, though. A friend brought his Keith Jarrett's 'Koln' series over several months back and was floored while it was playing, so authoritative was the presentation, with each touch of his fingers on the piano sounding absolutely dazzling.

Maybe i'm just too accustomed to the Sigma and everything else just sounds... really good.

Thanks for your usual, professional, measured response.
 

Sa-dono

New Member
Dec 29, 2016
22
0
0
#27
Regarding the NR power cords in terms of parts; they all use pure OFE copper VTX (hollow core) conductors, solid-copper connectors, small circuit filtering. The Alpha NR and Sigma NR are virtually identical in construction with the Sigma using more massive conductors and taking a lot longer to build. The Alpha NR is by far our most popular model of the three likely in part due to its middle price. Feedback over the past 1.5 yrs.has been extremely consistent and positive. This is not to discount your opinion at all, but again context and variables are everything and that's what we take in when people call or write. To answer your other point, no, there has been zero cross-purpose design in the NR power cords related to our medical business. In medical, we use only our simple shielded power cords.

In terms of comparison to Cobra or Python Zi-tron, I haven't heard from anyone else that has preferred them to Alpha NR, but I'll take your note since I know you listen carefully. I'm sure there may be others, but we haven't heard from them.

.....

From being in front of our dealer/customer base every day, the Delta or Alpha NR are what I always recommend because they have been so well received. Compared to the Cobra/Python Zi-tron for example, they are described more as more natural and even sounding, well balanced tonally and with lower noise. This makes sense because they use all matching pure-copper conductors and connectors versus the Zi-Tron line that used brass connectors and silver-plated copper conductors. I can't explain your results because I don't know the full context of your system, but your findings are different from the typical responses we've had. None of this makes your impressions wrong, so I will add your impressions to our feedback.
The Zi-tron Ananconda and Python were both listed as using CopperCONN connectors, and copper VTX conductors. I had thought all of the Zi-tron PowerSnakes & Greek power cords used copper conductors, and silver-plated copper conductors hadn't been used in power cords since the first generation and 1.2 cables. Is that incorrect?
 

GrantS

Industry Expert
Oct 23, 2013
163
0
16
#28
The Zi-tron Ananconda and Python were both listed as using CopperCONN connectors, and copper VTX conductors. I had thought all of the Zi-tron PowerSnakes & Greek power cords used copper conductors, and silver-plated copper conductors hadn't been used in power cords since the first generation and 1.2 cables. Is that incorrect?
The Cobra zi-tron Glen referenced did not have the CopperConn connectors, the built-in noise filter or the VTX OFE conductors. We did begin to integrate the CopperConn connectors in the Python and Anaconda Zi-tron power cords. If people are looking at past generation power cords for best value, I would not recommend the Cobra as one of them. The CX model power cords are simply amazing for the money you'd pay used; likewise Python, Anaconda Zi-Trons. There was a notable progression in performance with the Alpha HC and the original Sigma models-- Analog, Digital and HC. Of course, the NR series takes another step forward in filter performance and parts quality, but all the power cords mentioned at their respective current prices offer exceptional value for the $ spent.

For a timely response, always feel free to contact me directly at grant@shunyata.com.

Best regards,
Grant
 

ken6217

New Member
Sep 28, 2017
25
0
1
#29
The Cobra zi-tron Glen referenced did not have the CopperConn connectors, the built-in noise filter or the VTX OFE conductors. We did begin to integrate the CopperConn connectors in the Python and Anaconda Zi-tron power cords. If people are looking at past generation power cords for best value, I would not recommend the Cobra as one of them. The CX model power cords are simply amazing for the money you'd pay used; likewise Python, Anaconda Zi-Trons. There was a notable progression in performance with the Alpha HC and the original Sigma models-- Analog, Digital and HC. Of course, the NR series takes another step forward in filter performance and parts quality, but all the power cords mentioned at their respective current prices offer exceptional value for the $ spent.

For a timely response, always feel free to contact me directly at grant@shunyata.com.

Best regards,
Grant
You would, or would not recommend the Cobra? Recommendations are always personal preference.

I started with the Alpha HC, and then moved to the Sigma HC on some components and Sigma NR on others. I now have King Cobra CX on all my components in my system and it has never sounded better. I found that even though the newer power cords have more resolution, they sound too thin with no meat on the bones in my opinion.
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,209
20
38
Boston, MA
#30
You would, or would not recommend the Cobra? Recommendations are always personal preference.

I started with the Alpha HC, and then moved to the Sigma HC on some components and Sigma NR on others. I now have King Cobra CX on all my components in my system and it has never sounded better. I found that even though the newer power cords have more resolution, they sound too thin with no meat on the bones in my opinion.
For what is worth, I never moved "up" from the CX line, which offer tremendous instantaneous current delivery (as also documented on the Shunyata web site's spec sections, that I have been watching). The connectors could be better, but overall, truly great as is.
 

GrantS

Industry Expert
Oct 23, 2013
163
0
16
#31
You would, or would not recommend the Cobra? Recommendations are always personal preference.

I started with the Alpha HC, and then moved to the Sigma HC on some components and Sigma NR on others. I now have King Cobra CX on all my components in my system and it has never sounded better. I found that even though the newer power cords have more resolution, they sound too thin with no meat on the bones in my opinion.
Given the many choices at various price points, I normally don't recommend Cobra zi-tron because from overall feedback, it did not compare favorably to other past models like CX or Python/Anaconda zi-tron models, for example. My recommendations are listed above. I don't factor in my personal preference, but the wealth of feedback we have received over the years. Richard, at the factory and I speak to an extraordinary number of customers and dealers, so our recommendations reflect that feedback.

King Cobra CX and Anaconda CX were amazing products, as was the Black Mamba CX HC at its price. I would characterize the KC CX as having a warm, natural sound with full body and a characteristic _weight_ in the lower midrange and bass befitting a near 5 gauge power cord. The Sigmas are definitely more resolute, nimble and neutrally balanced based on feedback, but I can understand someone favoring a KC CX in one system versus another. The NR models are all heavy-awg.copper products beginning to end, so they don't typically present as thin or lacking weight or body. We've received favorable responses in terms of Sigma NR's tonality, but certainly depending on the system I wouldn't argue with anyone who prefers the KC CX, which leans into the expression of body, warmth and richness in sound over timing and low-level detail. Again, each system and listener is unique so there are no wrong answers in terms of what may be favored in a given system between the KC CX and NR models.

Regards,

Grant
 
Jul 18, 2014
624
34
28
#32
^ Beautifully put Grant. The development of presentation between the various Shunyata pc models is great to be able to capture. We build on our understanding even though so many good things have been written about the cables over the years.

Everything is relative and there are a range of factors that might lead some to prefer different iterations of these over others on the context of each system and on simple personal preference.

While there is a mix of strengths and constraints between them you could build a great system pretty much around any of the cables discussed over the last dozen posts. For me also the Z Cobras were a bit problematic in that while they had a keen resolution which I found attractive coming from Black Mamba HCs but overall the balance was then a shade leaner than most of the other cables in the higher end of the Shunyata spectrum. That said they still had way better bass qualities in terms of agility than most ‘ordinary’ cables by a mile. But clearly from these earlier generations both Zitron and CX Pythons just dig deeper and have a better balance and body with Anacondas more so again. If KCs are even warmer still they could clearly be perfect for some systems and just as logically not as ideal in others where the system asks for less contribution in that quality over other sonic deliverables.

So the reality is that through time we build our systems around critical elements such as cables setting and shaping the sound beyond the essential base qualities of the speaker, amplification and source components. My systems enjoy/rely on the characteristics of the cables that I already have so a significant shift in balance or tone would require additional resetting or rebalancing. Like many I have hit something of a personal relative Shunyata happy place, in my case with a mix of Zitron Python and Anacondas and some CX pythons. I doubt that bringing in Alpha HCs or Sigmas would do any harm either :) so the horizons going forward are good. The one thing I do realise though is the essential importance of having these cables throughout the sound chain in the context of their capacity to help in building a properly scaled and very clear soundscape with a rather rich and immediate sense of musical connection... both vast and fast.
 

Sa-dono

New Member
Dec 29, 2016
22
0
0
#33
You would, or would not recommend the Cobra? Recommendations are always personal preference.

I started with the Alpha HC, and then moved to the Sigma HC on some components and Sigma NR on others. I now have King Cobra CX on all my components in my system and it has never sounded better. I found that even though the newer power cords have more resolution, they sound too thin with no meat on the bones in my opinion.
I would be wary of buying Cobra Zi-tron power cords. This isn't about sound quality, but it is one Shunyata cable that China decided to copy. They've done an amazing job, including a box, materials, and serial number. There is one seller on eBay selling the counterfeit Cobras and many other counterfeit cables. I've reported his Shunyata ads, so eBay seems to just care about the money.
 

GrantS

Industry Expert
Oct 23, 2013
163
0
16
#34
I would be wary of buying Cobra Zi-tron power cords. This isn't about sound quality, but it is one Shunyata cable that China decided to copy. They've done an amazing job, including a box, materials, and serial number. There is one seller on eBay selling the counterfeit Cobras and many other counterfeit cables. I've reported his Shunyata ads, so eBay seems to just care about the money.
We haven't run into this at the factory or heard from customers about it that I'm aware of, but would of course like to know more about this if anyone has interaction with the seller. We are always happy to vet any product people are considering buying used and can check serial numbers if someone is considering a purchase. E-bay can be a tricky place to buy audio related products if you don't check on products ahead. If the seller represents as, or looks like a dealer we would know something about them. Never hesitate to contact us for more information whenever there may be a question. About 15 years ago I saw one instance of some terrible looking copies of signal cable with our name on them. Other than that, we haven't run into issues, but I'll certainly have a look around e-bay since you've mentioned it.

Regards,

Grant
 

Sa-dono

New Member
Dec 29, 2016
22
0
0
#35
We haven't run into this at the factory or heard from customers about it that I'm aware of, but would of course like to know more about this if anyone has interaction with the seller. We are always happy to vet any product people are considering buying used and can check serial numbers if someone is considering a purchase. E-bay can be a tricky place to buy audio related products if you don't check on products ahead. If the seller represents as, or looks like a dealer we would know something about them. Never hesitate to contact us for more information whenever there may be a question. About 15 years ago I saw one instance of some terrible looking copies of signal cable with our name on them. Other than that, we haven't run into issues, but I'll certainly have a look around e-bay since you've mentioned it.

Regards,

Grant
For the unassuming buyer, they look very authentic. There are a couple major differences, especially, looking at the connectors.

Real:
https://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/649229361-shunyata-cobra-etron-175m-15a/
https://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649235573-shunyata-cobra-etron-175m-15a/

Chinese counterfeits:
https://www.aliexpress.com/wholesal...d=SB_20180921102607&SearchText=Shunyata+cobra
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https://www.ebay.com/ulk/itm/263942669472
 

GrantS

Industry Expert
Oct 23, 2013
163
0
16
#36
There are certainly defining differences with the connector, but but its apparent some care was put into these old-generation copies. Thank you for the information; we'll follow up on this with e-bay. This reaffirms that some care must be taken when purchasing second market products. Its never wasted time to check with the manufacturer. We have dedicated people available via e-mail and phone at the factory to help whenever a question arises. We are always happy to help with serial number checks and visual identification whenever asked and are just as eager to lend a hand whether the purchase is of a used product or new.

Thanks again for the links.

Grant
 
May 10, 2013
48
0
6
Connecticut
#37
You would, or would not recommend the Cobra? Recommendations are always personal preference.

I started with the Alpha HC, and then moved to the Sigma HC on some components and Sigma NR on others. I now have King Cobra CX on all my components in my system and it has never sounded better. I found that even though the newer power cords have more resolution, they sound too thin with no meat on the bones in my opinion.
I had suggested, about the Alpha NR (but NOT the Sigma,) months ago when I posted, the same thing you observed about the Alpha NR sounding "too thin with no meat on the bones." Grant replied that that was not the experience of other Alpha NR owners, and I believe him. That said, despite my aging ears, I continue to hear live, unamplified music frequently (symphony, opera, chorus), so I am familiar with acoustic instruments. With the Alpha NR,, some of what I am accustomed to hearing on recordings for many years (in a system populated with each generation of Shunyata power cords and speaker cable since 2003), just isn't as much in evidence with the Alpha NR. The resolution is excellent, however, as you've pointed out. It just feels slightly..."ethereal." And I have no explanation for it. The Sigma doesn't sound that way, for sure. What can I say?
 

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