Results with Shunyata Venom Defender

I’ve started my battle with noisy AC and while I’m waiting for my new Audioquest Dragon HC 20A to come in (for my TBD conditioner) my dealer loaned me a couple of Shunyata Venom Defender plugs, which are supposed to filter out noise on your AC line and provide surge protection. You simply plug these in on the same circuit as your gear. They are inexpensive buy audio standards.

Do they make a difference? Yes! Sound became noticeably more focused, more higher frequency detail, cleaner treble. But….. Unfortunately the tonal balance shifted. Bass was more reserved and too polite (but well defined). I’d say all frequencies below upper midrange became quieter, and all frequencies upper mid and higher got louder. All frequencies got clearer. Also, the overall volume was very slightly quieter with these devices plugged in. Maybe quieter by 1/3rd of one volume setting increment on my Diablo 300.

The improved focus and clarity really did improve the experience when listening to a lot of material - it was easier to follow what was going on. But bass guitars lost some presence and even some nuance because it was quieter. I was thinking I could live with that for the sake of the improvements, but then I tried listening to some leaner recordings, and it sounded better without the devices plugged in.

All of these effects were subtle, but after going back and forth and pinpointing the differences, the changes became readily apparent.

I’m not going to end up using these, but I’d highly recommend them for anyone who might want to tighten up their system’s focus and detail, and doesn’t mind a very slightly leaner sound.

Also, I suspect those with lower end (less resolving) systems may not hear any difference when using these devices.


I wonder if they will have the same effect when plugged into one of Shunyata’s power distributors? I bought a Venom PS 10. It is nice enough, but in the past, I’ve had Audience Adept Teflon capacitor conditioners, PS Audio Power Plants, and a few other line conditioners, going all the way back to the grandaddy of them all, the Tice Audio Line conditioners, which was released in 1989. Of course, technology has advanced since the Tice. It’ll be interesting to see how two devices from the same designer sound together!

I also agree that, depending on the level of resolution and the components involved, some people will hear little to no differences. There is a thread going on at Steve Hoffman’s form, which is now 35 pages long, the battle raging furiously with those who consider it "snake oil" and those who hear it. Interestingly, those who hear it have the type of components I would think WILL let them hear the difference. And in something that flies in the face of actual evidence, those who have never heard it are the ones arguing it is "snake oil." I find myself wondering if they also decide all vitamin supplements are the same, and the greenhouse effect is "propoganda." I can’t imagine commenting on something I’ve never tried myself. It’s a bit like saying, "I hate sushi" when one’s never tasted it. And then I take my friends to sushi restaurants and give them a COOKED sushi roll and they like it (they used to think all sushi is raw). Astounding how vehemently we protest about devices we know - literally - nothing about...


But thanks for the observation that the Defender might "lean out" the sound. Neil Gader did not mention that in his review in The Absolute Sound, a magazine I also wrote for, and Neil would notice that. But his system might be the deciding factor, which is something I'll find out when mine arrives this week. I bought a Furutech two months ago and also RE-bought a Nordost QV-2, which I had sold last year, just to hear the difference. The QV-2 had a slightly richer sound (but not rich in the way a Conrad Johnson component would sound rich: just "fuller"). And the Furutech was similar to the Furutech fuses, outlets and power cords I have had: tonally not as fleshed out in "color" as though things were more pastel colors than primary. I didn't post that on the site, because someone accused me of commenting on something I hadn't heard (fair enough), but I had pointed out at the very beginning of my post that I was referring to EARLIER Furutech devices and that they may have made advances. I still found the NCF similar to my NCF wall receptables: certainly not drab-sounding, but not as rich as say, MIT components, which sounded more accurate to a symphony hall experience, except I only had their interconnects and speaker cables, and those were from 1987-2002. Still, The Furutech has a "sound". I imagine if one has a "rich"-sounding system, the leanness will manifest mildly, but if your system is already lean (especially in the lower midrange/upper bass), you'll notice it quickly enough!

I added a defender in both of my systems a while ago and have not found them to have caused any "lean" sound; rather they added to the benefits already provided by the Blue Circle power conditioners i use

I have 3 plug  in devices currently in my set-up, I use the Defender with the line that feeds my subs. I use an Isotek Isoplug on my 4 gang with an AQ Edison and Furutech ncf outlet , reason for this particular configuration is exactly as you described the Shunyata does indeed lean out the bass, it works very well with my subs and there it stays. The Isoplug preserved tonal balance while lowering the noise floor.. Now enter the Furutech clearline! All I can say is try it ! Worth it’s salt!

How many of them are you using? Have you tried a single one? I have one in my system with no complaints whatsoever. This is one of those pieces that I will not get rid of. It does everything you described but have no effect on the lower register. Sometimes less is more. Give it a try. Congrats on the new conditioner.

I tried up to two of these devices.  The “lean” effect was increased with two, and noticeable with one.

It’s possible this is specific to my setup. My Diablo 300 draws a lot of current. And all my gear is on one 15A circuit.  This is not ideal, and maybe adding the Defender was an added strain on the circuit… Remember the defender had the effect of lowering the volume in my system very slightly.


Don't have a dedicated circuit, defender didn't drop the volume slightly or otherwise in either of my systems

I have a single 15A dedicated circuit also and no drop off in my volume. Everything in my system is connected to my SR conditioner. The Defender is connected to the first wall receptacle outlet and the conditioner to the second. It would be interesting to ask Shunyata about this. It sounds weird. 

I forgot to note one other anomaly - my sound cut out for a second on three occasions when I plugged in the Defender. Most of the time plugging in the Defender this didn’t happen. Might be a sign my system is strained to it’s limits with my one circuit? Not sure. My Gryphon amp is high A/B bias and draws a lot of current, even when idle. It gets rather toasty. So again, my results with the Defender might be unusual.

I also tested a Niagara 5000 and noticed a lot more bass energy and rhythm. In fact, quite the opposite of my experience with the Defender, where the top end detail actually diminished with the Niagara (however I suspect it was because I was using a low end power cord to power it). With the Niagara this increased bass drive effect is a result of their “power correction” feature as this effect only occurred when I had the power correction switch set to on. Again, maybe a sign my circuit does not have the current reserves my system can benefit from.


I would contact Shunyaya before you buy a Defender for your PS10.  I have the Venom V16 Power Distributor and they told me not to get a Defender as the system basically already does what the Defender would do.  Make sure you aren't doubling up, because it hurts your audio rather than helps.

I understand where you’re coming from. However, the PS 10 is a power distributor, not a line conditioner. It is a continuation of the PS 8, which can - and has - been used with a Defender. Many years ago, when it was reviewed in The Absolute Sound, Neil Gader used a combination of the PS 8 power distributor along with a Defender.

I’ve already spoken to Richard at Shunyata. Other than steering me towards the DP 6 line conditioner, this didn’t even come up. I’ve been a Shunyata customer for about 20 years and Richard knows the level of components that once made up my system, particularly during my time as an audio writer. These days, I have a considerably more modest system. (I’m a little too old to lug around 90 pound amplifiers: 60 is about my limit!), and I refuse to buy anything I can’t lift easily. So, for now, it’ll be a PS 10 and Defender, although I also intend to listen to the Venom V16 as well!

Thanks for the heads up, though!

Also try and get a demo of the Puritan PSM156 - great piece of kit for not much money

I use a defender in the outlet my REL is plugged into  Its a dedicated 20 amp/ 10awg line. I also feed the REL with a Shunyata Delta EF

I'm glad this topic came up as I tried the Defender on the new setup I'm running and must eat crow! Sounds good ! So good it's staying there as no ill effects are noticed and bass digs deeper with better articulation and all the other benefits it brings to the table lower noise floor etc.. are stunning.

One of the things that Nordost warned me about when I asked them about conditioners (I have Valhalla 2 speaker cables) is that all filters / conditioners / regenerators have an impact on tonal balance.  They also warned that you cannot predict how a particular conditioner/filter/regenerator will impact a particular system, so you need to test yourself.  I’ve seen this message repeated on YouTube conditioner shootouts too.  Basically saying that their results are for interest only but not to take their results too seriously because the effects will be different in each system.  I suspect my experience with the Venom Defender is an example of this, possibly influenced by my shared 15A line (that is soon to be replaced with two dedicated 20A lines). 

I got a Defender after my above posts. I had it installed in a PS10 power distributor. What was interesting is that I did not hear the improvement in the music i played when the CD player was plugged into the PS10. I’ll go so far as to say I found the PS10 sound a bit "gray-ish", but then I find anything in the Venom line to be slightly gray-ish sounding, so I was not surprised. For that reason, I ended up keeping the Defender, but sold the PS10 (The PS10 has a Venom 12 power cord attached to it).That may account for the grayish sound I heard through the PS10. I  certainly don't hear that grayish sound with my Delta V2 NR, or my Sigma NR V1 power cable. I find the Venom level components to have less of the "color" of real orchestral instruments that I hear at the symphony live. And less of the color that should be on CDs I've had for 40 years. (The Nutcracker on Mercury Living Presence has a rich color palette). Quite beautiful. Plugging the CD player into The PS10 reduced the (almost) Technicolor qualities which are part of the CD to a noticeable reduced color palette. I find classical music is the easiest music to allow one to recognize when the "color" is being bleached out  by a component, because it has minimal processing (well, my recording of Mercury, RCA, Decca, and other classical music labels are from the '50s, when I was young). As such, they do not have much "processing" of the type that pop music suffers from, so the music sounds the way it does in the symphony hall. (There are exceptions on records, of course. But it's a safe bet that a Mercury Living Presence is not going to sound washed out. One can't say the same of Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Drake or Lizzo or most of the pop artists whose music I've heard. That's the disadvantage of compressing music and dynamically limiting it. I think the artists who escape that fate  on their records should count themselves fortunate!)

Back to the Defender. When I plugged the Defender into the wall ac receptacle - a month ago - I heard the improvement immediately. BUT, I had gotten a PS Audio Ultimate Outlet (20 amp version) in the interim after selling the Shunyata PS10. And in THAT setup, first with the Ultimate Outlet alone, I heard more transient information, so that string sections in an orchestra had their "bite" but not "glare" and I could hear the section as individual violins (not all 20, though), whereas with the PS10, I did not.

My next step was to insert the Defender into the wall socket. NOW WE’RE TALKING! It was obvious, it was immediate! And it was not simply different: I’ve had a great deal of experience in the upper stratospheres of audio equipment back in the 80s and 90s. Goldmund amps, VAC amps, Jadis amps, VTL amps. The BIG BOYS, so I trust what I hear. (The rest of the system was equally illustrious: WATT/PUPPIES, Convergent, Audio Research SP-11, Rowland Coherence preamp and much more. Top-of-the-world equipment back then. The point is, from listening to that kind of equipment, I learned more easily how to listen perceptively.

SO. The Defender dropped the noise floor in orchestral music so that the instruments in the back, no matter how softly they played, were audible, distinct and separated from each other. Transient attack was more what I am used to in the symphony hall. So, the noise definitely dropped.

I heard NO "leaning out" of the bass or reticence. I am not disputing what the other poster heard. I am simply stating that it did not happen in my system. The Audio Research Vsi60 already has a leanness in the lower midrange and upper bass, and I would’ve heard a furthur reduction in those frequencies. But, in my system, that was not at all the case.

I just bought a second one tonight. I have one plugged into the outlet for turntables and CD players. The second one is for the amp outlet.

Quite an effective device, no two ways about it. (I liked it better when it was cheaper, though!)


i experienced the same. I’m wondering how long you had the defender plugged in before you started your session and how long it was in total.  it was suggested to me that I let it settle for a few days. And seems t the warrant that I love of my system returned

@andrewkelley , I don’t recall exactly how long I had it plugged in prior to my listening session, but it was definitely a good while. I had it for a few days.

Funny you should revive this thread. I was just now thinking that I have pretty strong bass in my system now with a rich and full bodied sound. And as such it had just occurred to me that a Defender might not be a bad thing in the context of my current system.