I took advantage of Shunyata's recent "buy one get another at 50% off" promotion and acquired a pair of Anaconda ZiTron power cords for my power amps. I was intrigued by the ZiTron technology, which works as described below:
"ZiTron technology reduces dielectric distortion within a signal wire by neutralizing the electric charge differential between the signal conductor and the insulating dielectric material. This is accomplished with the use of a conductive shield that surrounds the signal wire's dielectric material. The electric signal carried by the conductor is also imposed upon the shield through an electric field compensation circuit. The electric field of the conductor and the electric field of the shield oppose one another and create a near zero equivalent electric force within the dielectric material. This effectively neutralizes the charge/discharge distortions created by the dielectric material in the presence of an alternating signal. Since the conductor and shield both carry the signal electric field, they dynamically track the varying alternating signal to create a continuous net zero charge differential within the insulating dielectric. The electric field compensation circuit allows the signal's electric field to be imposed upon the shield, while at the same time limiting current flow and eddy currents within the shield."
My AudioQuest Sky and Everest signal and speaker cables use a similar concept (AQ's Dielectric Bias System) to condition the cable's insulation.
Shunyata specifies a 500 hour break in period, but I was initially only offered a one week trial period by the dealer. Therefore, this is more of a "first impressions" report than a full review. After I had emailed my feedback to the dealer, he emailed later that day that I should keep the cables for the full 500 break in period. However, the dealer's reply came to my smartphone while en route to deliver the cables to FedEx. I considered keeping the cables longer after arriving at FedEx and reading the dealer's email, but since I had not been hearing steady improvements over the seven days I had the cables, I decided against further evaluation.
What's In The Box
The Anaconda's packaging was excellent. Inside the thick corrugated box was the power cable sealed in a plastic tube with dissicant packet, a canvas storage bag, quality control inspection certificate, instruction booklet, warranty card, three reviews of other Shunyata products and an interview with Shunyata's founder.
Figure 1. Shunyata Anaconda ZiTron power cord.
Figure 2. Anaconda IEC connector end. Each cord comes with a serial number.
Figure 3. Anaconda plug end, with assembler's signature.
Figure 4. Anaconda canvas storage bag and quality control certificate showing date of manufacture and
Power Cord Construction Comparison
The power cables currently used on my power amps are PS Audio AC-12s. The primary material differences between the two:
Shunyata Anaconda ZiTron Power Cable
CDA 101 copper conductors
7 AWG effective wire gauge
Proprietary "CONN" connectors with nickel plated pure copper
1 year warranty, extendable to 5 years with completed warranty card.
Made in the U.S.A.
Weight: 2.85 pounds, 2 meter length
Price: $3,300, 2 meter length (1.75 meter length ($3,000), was auditioned for this review)
PS Audio AC-12 Power Cable
PCOCC copper conductors
8 AWG effective wire gauge
Proprietary cold welded connectors with gold-plated high copper content brass
Nitrogen-injected polyethylene foam conductor insulation.
1 year warranty
Made in Red China (Get Over It)
Weight: 3.3 pounds, 2 meter length
Price: $1,200 2 meter length
The Anaconda presents a more impressive aesthetic. However, its much larger outer jacket is largely empty and is compressible by pinching between thumb and forefinger down to about 1/2" diameter, similar in size to the AC-12's jacket. I received this prompt response from Shunyata to my inquiry about the hollow outer tube:
"This outer corrugated tubing was used for several reasons. First and foremost it was used for protection for the conductors. Secondly it was also an aesthetic decision and during the prototype stages of this product we also found there was a sonic advantage to having the conductors inside of this tube. We chose to make it this way for those three main reasons; performance, protection and aesthetics."
I appreciated the Anaconda's flexible body compared to the stiff AC-12.
Figure 5. The Anaconda's inner jacket is about the same size as the AC-12's. The Anaconda's outer jacket is
a flexible, hollow tube surrounding the inner jacket.
Figure 6. Anaconda and AC-12 plug blade comparison.
Figure 7. Close up of Anaconda plug.
Figure 8. Close up of AC-12 plug with wider and thicker than standard blades and removable ground pin.
I expressed some disappointment to the dealer about the comparatively loose fitting Anaconda plugs. The Anaconda plugs fit loosely in my audio grade Power Port Premier receptacles and in my ordinary household receptacles and sagged in the receptacle under the cord's weight. The AC-12 plugs fit tightly in both receptacles, even with the AC-12's heavier weight. A loose fitting plug can be affected by vibrations in the room and induce noise at the plug blade/receptacle junction. The dealer said this about the Anaconda's blades:
"Regarding the blade width, this is intentional, and it is a product of the metal they use. Thicker blades actually ablate the outlets, which is not good for longevity of the outlets or cables."
Figure 9. AC-12 plugs do not sag in my receptacles. The stiffer body can add some support depending on