Panzer has comprehensively written about the IsoTek Titan power line conditioner, so I thought of doing something a little different. Instead of listening to the Titan on its own, I'd combine it with the Shunyata Hydra 8 that I am using. Anyhow, as the Titan has only 2 outlets, my Pass Labs XA60 monoblocks could be conveniently hooked up to it, while the frontend and pre-amp would remain on the Hydra 8 (the Titan actually has a facility for the user to add on a IsoTek power strip so more equipment can be plugged into it, but we did not get it from the distributor, Centre Circle Audio). Both the Hydra 8 and the IsoTek Titan were plugged directly into the wall.

So this write-up is to be read in this context - all comments on the Titan were when it was used in tandem with the Hydra 8, all comments on Hydra 8 were when it was used alone.

Now, are you ready for the things that have changed in my system with the Titan? Here we go:

One - Oh, my goodness! The BASS! The IsoTek at one stroke eliminated my nagging reservation about my system's bass performance where sometimes a bass note could come off as a 'blob'. The IsoTek tightened it up considerably, adding definition and power, now bass notes came off much tightly packed, more like a punch or a ball of energy. The amps had a better grip, listening to music with considerable bass content would make one think that the amps were not just 60w but probably 100w-120w.

Two - Oh, my goodness again! The entire sound became more energetic, not aggressive mind you, but the sound filled up my room easily, and the system handled much more easily anything that got thrown at it. This was especially so with music that had great dynamic swing. I wanted to wave my hands in the air and punch my fists in the sky. It was a thrilling ride!

This aspect was most influenced by the addition of a trio of Finite Elemente Ceraball Universals (you can see them in the picture above). With this result, I consider the Ceraballs essential for the Titan's performance, ymmv.

In all of these, the tone of the midrange remained rich and retained its natural body, a hallmark of the Shunyata I believe, the addition of the IsoTek did not alter this.

Three - complex music got unravelled better, simple music retained its composure (did not get rushed or overblown), giving an overall more confident sounding presentation. Each note was better formed - you can discern the beginning and end of each. Timing and pace became more precise.

Next, let's touch on one area where the two presented different perspectives: the highs. It is the area where the Hydra 8 and the Titan differed the most, in my opinion. The IsoTek's highs were slightly more extended and more open, Shunyata's were slightly more honey-like - sweet and smooth. IsoTek's highs were presented with details and in a straightforward manner, while Shunyata's emphasized on nuances and had a feathery touch. I can't say which one is better, both were attractive - one is more for the brain, the other the heart - but since I heard them, I've been thinking how I could get both. How indeed?!

I have a feeling that this will not be the last time you hear from me about IsoTek - I'll love to investigate them further. For me to add the Titan into my system now feels like an overkill, at least financially, at the same time the Hydra 8 will be severely under-used.

My final say is this - contrasting the two, the Shunyata Hydra 8's sound could be described as a sweet embrace, while the IsoTek Titan made it into a bear hug. Quite befitting the Titan name, isn't it?


Panzer said...

The Titan made it in to a bear hug! I like that. Ha!Ha!

GCK said...

Hifikaki, just a tip. Play with the Ceraball under your preamp, poweramp and maybe CDP, you would get the same tightening effect of the bass. Best is done with 3pcs as 4pcs will limit your movement. The added bonus is you can open up the sound futher with the bass tightening up.
The position of the Ceraballs must be very precise left and right. I placed them 2 infront and 1 at the back. Moving the 2 infront closer will increase the bass and make it sound more like a blob and soundstage closes in. Moving it out further will lessen the bass and tightening it up and open the soundstage. Move the back one further back will deepen the soundstage. YMMV. Give it a try and you might not need a bear hug after all.

hifikaki said...


I have ceraballs under my cdp, preamp and plc now. Will get the cerabases from maggielurva once he is done with them to try under the monoblocks and speakers.

Thanks for suggestion for ceraball placement, really interesting. Will check it out.