Review: Virtual Dynamics Master Series AES/EBU Interconnect

Category: Cables

I recently had the opportunity to compare two expensive five meter AES/EBU digital cables, the Virtual Dynamics Master Series(retail-$2250.) and Audience Au24 AES/EBU($1800.) cables in my modified TacT system.

Listening took place over a period of two months to allow
both cables to break-in.

Most of my listening was done using live jazz recordings.
The final show down was done using Kenny Werner's live
recording "Peace."

Recently, there's been a lot of talk about VD's "speed of light" magnetic technology, which is used in the Master Series cable.

The VD Master is much larger and heavier than the Au24(see picture). Its weight and stiffness can easily tip over light weight components.

When the VD Master was first installed, it sounded like
a loudness contour switch had been engaged. Everything
seemed to jump out at you. As the cable burned in, this
extra dynamic effect diappeared.

On first listening to the Au24, it seemed overly relaxed,
but with use it opened up, revealing musical information
I hadn't heard with the Audience Conductor cables I was using.

So let's fast forward two months and get to the bottom line.

After two months of use, the dynamic difference between the cables was greatly reduced. The VD Master still seemed a bit louder in the mid bass region.

The major difference between them was in their presentation of the soundstage, inner details and musical overtones. The
VD Master cable greatly reduced the size of the sound stage in all directions, rarely moving pass the outside of the speakers. Its sound was smooth and powerful, but once the Au24 cable was in the digital signal path between the Tact
RCS and digital amps, everything opened up along with all the excitement of the live recording.

I'm at a lost to understand how two digital cables could sound so different.

For me the choice was very clear, the wide open musical sound of the Au24 always won out.

Both cables are very expensive compared to my five meter Conductors($200.each), which also produce a wide open soundstage. I was very happy with them until I heard the additional information the more expensive Au24 revealed.

I'm sure there are other great digital cables out there,
but I recommend that anyone looking for a digital cable should take Audience up on their 30 day trial period and listen to the Au24s. I don't think many people will send them back.

Associated gear
Tact-2.2x,M/S2150,Budge Khorus speakers
Cal Delta,Genesis Digital Lens.

Similar products
Audience Au24 and Conductor AES.
5 meters?! Wow!! Nice review.

A few years ago I compared five digital cables and the ones I thought were the best were the Virtual Dynamics Nite and Acoustic Zen MC2. I opted to retain the MC2 in my system when I later went to an all AZ IC/SC configuration. Last year I switched my speaker cables to AU24 after doing a shoot out with them against my incumbant AZ Hologram II.

I just completed a comparison of an all Audience configuration consisting of AU24 digital and ICs against my long standing AZ IC line up, and preferred the Acoustic Zens. I loved how the AU24 speaker cables changed the sound, but wasn't as enamored with the effect the AU24 digital and ICs contributed.

However, your review has inspired me to try inserting only the AU24 digital in place of the AZ MC2. We'll see what happens.

Thanks for a good job!
Gunbei- I also use Au24 speaker cables. Don't know if you're using the Au24 SPDIF or AES/EBU, but they both take a couple of days to settle.

The TacT gear has multiple digital inputs, and adjustable levels for each input, so it's easy to A/B cables from the comfort of your listening chair. Please post some feedback on your results. Aloha, Dan
Dan, I am sorry it did not end up working out for you, we were off to such a good start when we first talked.
(Hope it wasn’t something I said)
Anyway I have not had this” worked then didn't” phenomenon before. If you find something like this in the future a quick call to the manufacture can often do wonders, often we can help you trouble shoot. BTW your may prefer our Testament Series, it is much more affordable and I think would find it more pleasing to you and a better comparison to the Audience.

Buy the way Dan I sure enjoyed hearing your Tact power supply modification sounded great good work!

Virtual Dynamics

Nothing you said effected what I heard eight months ago.
After two months of break in, the Au24 sounded better.

Glad you got a chance to hear the new Aberdeen Condor power supply at CP's.