Shunyata Python Zitron RCA Interconnects on a VPI Traveler Turntable
After hearing the difference in sound quality the Shunyata Python Zitron’s make on my turntable set up, those who say that power cords and connecting cables don’t make much of a difference in sound quality are either just plain wrong or their preconceptions override their objectivity and honesty.
I installed Shunyata Python Zitron RCA interconnects after Music Direct burned them in for me over the last two weeks–300 hours. The upgrade is significant.
A pair of Pythons replaced the stock cables connecting the VPI Traveler to the Sutherland phono pre-amp. The second pair of Pythons connected the Sutherland pre-amp to a Marantz pre-amp. Whether I played my Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs reference records or my old rock classics from the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the difference in sound quality with and without the Pythons was astonishing. Even my iTunes MP3 playing daughter could tell the difference.
It is always recommended to remain consistent with the power cords and connecting cables in a music system. Therefore, my choice for connecting cables for my turntable and phono pre-amp was between Shunyata, Nordost, and Audience. I use Nordost Valhalla and Tyre RCA interconnects Shunyata Python Zitron and King Cobra CX power cords, and an Audience power conditioner feeding the PS Audio power pack to provide an uninterrupted power source.
Since a pair of Nordost Valhalla 2 RCA interconnects is a $6,000 item, purchasing the two pair I needed was not possible, especially during the holiday season. Therefore, the choice came down to Audience au24 SE and Shunyata Anaconda or Python Zitron RCA interconnects. Both are excellent choices, but Shunyata’s new Zitron technology demanded a closer look.
Shunyata boasts that, “The enormous price advantage that Zitron cables enjoy is the result of Shunyata’s decision to forgo the inflated price schedules that are common throughout the cable industry. The measurable and critically assessed truth is that the Zitron cables offer state-of-the-art performance that can cost less than one-thousand dollars, while other self-proclaimed SOTA cables can cost in excess of $10,000 to 20,000 dollars.” So how could I resist testing that claim?
Shunyata says the Zitron cables are most effective when they are used cumulatively. Since my pre-amp and my amplifier use Python Zitron power cables, I thought this might be a good opportunity to add Shunyata Anaconda or Python Zitron RCA interconnects to the system and see whether I benefit from the cumulative effect of the Zitron technology. Music Direct had a two for one and one half special on the Anaconda Zitron interconnects so I ordered two pair.
When they arrived, The Homeworks Group, my local home theater and music system installer, made a house call to help me install them. As soon as we put a record on the turntable, there was a loud hum. We checked the ground connection and looked again at all the settings in the pre-amp to see what was wrong. When I went on line to see if I could discover the problem myself I read that the Anaconda Zitron is not shielded. The VPI Traveler turntable requires shielded cables to avoid hum and it says so quite clearly in the instruction manual.
The next day I called Music Direct and they took the cables back without question and helped me solve the hum problem. They called Shunyata and engineers there recommended using the Pythons instead of the Anaconda’s. Unfortunately I could not get the same two for one and one half deal, but the Music Direct representative went the distance and arranged for a discount. They graciously agreed to burn in the cables for 300 hours. People recommend a 500 hour burn in for Zitron cables and I would never reach that amount of time on turntable cables without the help of Music Direct in advance.
When the Pythons arrived, The Homeworks Group was as anxious as I was to hear them on the system. They installed them the next day. There was no hum and the sound was incredible, breathtaking in fact.
For fun we tested the turntable and pre-amp by switching between the Pythons and the stock cables. The difference was not subtle and not discrete. The difference was clear and obvious! It was like listening to two different turntables on the opposite ends of the price spectrum.
I don’t know how the Shunyata Python Zitron RCA’s compare to the Valhalla RCA’s, nor could I tell whether the result we achieved is because of the combination of the Python Zitron RCA’s with the Python Zitron power cables. However, I could say this with authority: Before spending money on new components, you should spend money on good power cords and RCA interconnects. Technology changes and components wear out but high end power cords and connecting cables get better with age and last forever.