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To Jeff Fritz,

I was very interested in your Shunyata Hydra Alpha A12 review. I am about to undertake a home demo of the UK version here in England.

You didn’t mention trying your power amp via the Hydra, just [using it] straight from the mains. Did you actually try this, since the Hydra supposedly doesn’t restrict current at all? I appreciate that you mentioned that your Boulder was “silent” (so how do you improve on that?), but thought it might have been worthwhile to have just tried it, even to see if it was a backwards or sideways measure. Unfortunately, my power amps are remote from my speakers (ATC SCM300 active studio towers) due to their fan cooling noise, so I can’t try the amps and other system components at the same time (unless I buy two!).

The rest of my system comprises Melco N10 music server and Jays Audio CDT3-MK2 CD transport front ends driving a Tidal Audio Preos preamp-DAC. My ATCs are 14 years old now but are still going strong. They can play at very realistic sound levels without distress in my room, which is 30’L x20’W x 9’H. I sit approximately 20’ from the speakers. My musical taste is very varied, but often (not always) I like to really crank it up.

The Vimberg Tonda is on my list of possible replacements. Although the ATC is basically a studio monitor, with the other gear in front, the pair never fail to impress me -- very musical with no hint of clinicity, so I’m a bit reluctant to make a change. I’ve heard the Vimberg Minos at the UK’s sole dealer, but his room was tiny compared to mine. Do you think the Tondas would A) be able to drive my room fully, and B) be a genuine improvement over the ATCs?

Hope you and your family are safe and well in these troubled times.

Regards,
Graham Rush
England

In regards to your first question, no I did not try the Hydra with the Boulder 2060 amplifier. For me it was really a question of logistics. Had I connected the Shunyata to the Boulder, I would have had to disconnect it from the Hegel HD30 DAC. Perhaps I still will try the Boulder/Shunyata -- the Shunyata is still here -- but I felt having the source component connected to the Alpha A12 was my best bet in experiencing a system improvement, which turned out to be easily heard -- and quite an improvement it was. Good luck with your audition -- I suspect you’ll be adding an Alpha A12 to your system.

As for the Vimberg Tonda, you do have a very large room, and I’m not sure just how loud you listen (though you say you like to crank it). What I can tell you is that I heard a pair of Tondas at Munich’s High End in a room very similar in size to yours. When I was there one cut that was used during the demo was a very bass-heavy house music track played at a chest-thumping level. I was very impressed that the Vimbergs could drive the room easily and with a full, immersive sound. This was actually one of the reasons I chose a pair of Tondas -- I hate when I sense I’m going to break a set of speakers when I want to play something loud. I was listening to some classic Kiss tracks the other day and cranked it up and it sounded absolutely amazing -- super-clean highs and powerful, pounding bass. I loved it! I have not heard your ATCs, so I can’t make that comparison. . . . Jeff Fritz