Review: VooDoo Cable LLC gold Dragon III Power cord
The gold dragon III power cord is quite an Easter egg of power cords. You usually won’t hear it mentioned in the same tone or as often as some of the other brands. Situated in Northern Ca., Voodoo cable LLC… has been making cabling for about ten years. As industry standards go that’s a fair amount of time. You don’t stick around long in high end audio or video producing components that do not provide solutions or value in the minds of the consumer.
Outfitted with a host of technical and voicing apparatus, bruce Richardson stays on top of his game with continued testing and development of his products. Customer feedback is also quite the thing for VooDoo. Bruce is most earnest in hearing what his buying public have to say about the products they have integrated into their systems. Customer satisfaction is the priority for Bruce Richardson. Introducing new lines, or iterations, regularly, to keep up with the changes of componentry in the audio and video industry. Yes, VooDoo Cable produces video cabling and interconnects, as well.
Personally I’ve tried several of his cables, both interconnects and power. Each I’ve tried has been a very good fit into my system, and the recommendations from Bruce as to the application have proven near spot on each time. ON the whole, not just with performance, but value as well.
In my system, two Gold Dragon 3s supply the amp, and the Black supplies which ever conditioner it is a attached to at the moment. I move cords around from time to time just for the sake of it. go figure. At one point, I did have two Black dragon supplying the BAT VK500 w/BP. The Gold Dragons were upgraded to from those Black Dragons, and have yet to be replaced. Though I have tried.
The first power cords I got from Bruce for my amp were the Black Dragons.
They made a tremendous statement. Resolving,
smooth, doubly deep in chocolate dark backgrounds, and a wealth of bottom
end punchy warmth, that carried up into the midranges. Seemingly an
Attenuation of the total harmonic register by maybe a half octave? Maybe
less. didn't measure it clinically, just couldn't NOT notice it. Most
pleasant. Far more an earthy toneality. One that suits my personal tastes.
No loss. Everything remains there - just is lowered a smidge. Like instead
of playing in C, we'll play in B, or B flat and that suits me to a ‘T’!
The Black Dragons now on the amp are according to Bruce, "A more
capacitant power cord." Hence the application is usually digital as the
norm. The Blacks introduced a warm and very full presentation with great presence. Well, I thought to myself, "If these are this good what about the next stop on the circuit, the Golden Dragons?"
Mr. Richardson was using a GOLD DRAGON 3 on his VK200 for testing. (he has a multitude of various preamps, amps, and speakers to test with so his recommendations are usually spot on). So after some arguments from the wallet, and some outstanding and compelling arguments from the heart, and some ardent wheeling and dealings with Bruce, GOLD DRAGON 3 were in the mix. He had to make them. I waited. They arrived. They got plugged in right away, foregoing any breaking in period. I was sort of excited I guess.
Whoa! Talk about resolution! I was in a whole different ballpark. . . and not one I was too thrilled with to be in. Initially. For a while too. I didn't understand. I did soon enough though. The GOLD DRAGON 3 have a sound all their own, and quite unlike the Black Dragons. The golds shine with higher levels of resolution and dynamics. Wanna hear the music, the component? GOLD DRAGON 3 will definitely do that for you. Excellent bass reproduction and immense sound stage. Extremely extended on each end with fine imaging and tonal balance.
However, they certainly took some time to run in. quite some time. 200 hours. Give or take a day or two. Disappointment was the watchword. For a while at least due to my lack of paitience. I had been told all along these cables take time to make, and they take time to open up and smooth out.
Funny how things can turn about given some time. They did. Once more the
VooDoo cords proved a winner. Darker back grounds. Wider soundstage. More
resolving. Greater 'air'. More layered depth. Though hard to believe better
bottom end resolution and impact. Like a big magnifying glass was being
used…though without hardness or edge.. The midrange of the VK5i still shone.
The warmth and liquidity was still there.. But not without more impact and
openness. Still the oft enjoyed harmonic register drop provided via the Black Dragons, had vanished. A pristine pane to view the music with had replaced it. That significant step up in resolution took a bit of time to get used to.
I am not a detail freak. Quite the contrary. Give me a shade or two towards the darker side of neutral and I'm tickled. That’s me, or was me, before the
gold Dragon iii entered the mix.
Give me a sound that can be listened to without fatigue, one that can transmit to me sufficient musical cues and dynamics as to get me involved in the music itself. Provide me an experience that generates excitement and satisfaction free from glare or removed from any signs of brittleness. The Black Dragons did that for me exceedingly well in my system. Warm, rich full, and liquid with dynamics and presence. The GOLD DRAGON 3 did too, simply in a different fashion.
*The Gold Dragon 3 Power Cord is hand-built with gold-plated BLUE STAR AUDIO GRADE® Wattgate 350i IEC Perma-Lock™ Connector and Wattgate 330i NEMA Perma-Lock™ AC Plug. Each of the #8 AWG high-purity silver-clad copper conductors is wound in a low inductance, high capacitance geometric design. Each strand within the lay of the conductors is insulated with Teflon dielectric to suppress AC noise caused by micro-arcing within the individual strands of the conductors. All of the wire and connectors used to build the Gold Dragon are cryogenically treated in our custom cold fusion
deep-immersion process at minus 315 degrees Fahrenheit to structurally align and fuse the metallurgical molecular structure of the conductive metals for optimal sonic performance.
For the purpose of suppressing electromagnetic interference each conductor is insulated with Teflon dielectric and wrapped in a secondary dielectric jacket of cross-linked composite polyethylene to shield against invasive EMI. The power cord body is sheathed with double layers of abrasion resistant mesh sleeve for maximum durability and optimal flexibility.
• Reproduced from the VooDoo website, and subject to change without notice.
The bottom end of the harmonic bandwidth, is as with a good number of power cords, the last player of the performance to arrive. That’s not to say there was no bass during the breaking in period . No, not at all. Just nothing near the level I experienced afterwards. Unlike the elrod Sig III the VooDoo gold Dragon III are more striking in the fashion they attend to transients. Dynamic punch and thrust of the lower environs aren’t matched by the Elrod Sig II, as the Gold Dragon’s excels there with brutish forcefulness, by comparison. An abundance of bottom end resolution is quite apparent and surely enough to satiate the most deprived bass needs of any ‘cellar dweller’ audiophile.. the lower regions aren’t so brash as to become irritants either. Quite the musical event, the full and bold bass lines support the balance of the presentation blending well within it.
The midrange is as uncolored as anything I have tried in power cords. Transparency there is a must for me. I live in the mids. However the complete range is required to provide an involving affair. The gold Dragon III does indeed act accordingly with its reproduction of the midband. Proper delineation and scale are easily noticed and apreciated.
My favorite listening events are those of vocalists. Notwithstanding, I enjoy solo ventures of many artists in the jazz and blues genres. I detected no grain, or sibilance with vocalists, sax, violin, banjo or dobro. Not a wit of glare or shine. Simply a properly set melodic cast of the instruments range and character.
Up on top the gold Dragon III deliver with ease and openness that continues to impress me. So much so, that when a performances staging seems compressed or diminished laterally or vertically, I begin to think something wrong. It isn’t of course but then the sonic envelope is such a large one as a rule any lessening can not go undetected. I fault the recording on that occasion, not the GOLD DRAGON 3.
I’d not say the Gold Dragon III is aggressive whatsoever. It does engage, and attract. It extends and drives. Maintains transparency and resolve. I found no musical content however busy or sublime that the gold Dragon can not justify with the intent of the recording. Whatever is in the recording and able to be transmitted by upstream components is had without defamation. There is no reconfiguring of the tones. They are simply given breath and allowed to react with one another as was the intention of the artists original interpretations.
Susannah McKorkle is a recently found favorite of mine. I’ve made mention of her in past posts as to her restrained yet emotive content in her singing. On the “hearts and Minds” Cd , the cut entitled “Haunted heart” the gold DragonIII allow both the fidelity and emotion to blend. Aprising the listener of the recordings resolution and the emotion whith which Susannah’s voice is capable of transmitting. The slight warble in her voice on the trailing ends of lyrics is icing on the cake in this excellent offering. Some of the musical cues one might well miss and think nothing of them are heard easily in the song. The subtlety of the resolute minutia did not detract and were delivered without unatrual embellishment.
I listen without much volume a lot of the time. No good reason for it, I can surely turn up the level anytime I choose. Just preference I suppose. Wether at low or moderate levels, or those instances where volume is the need for emotional purging the Gold Dragon IIIs reflect no real province for performance. They handle the transmission of power to the amp without adding artifacts of their own. I’m pretty keen on this aspect, as some cords do play well or better, if the current is increased. I noticed no difference in my listening tests with the gold Dragon III.
Neither adding to or subtracting from is a good thing in my book. Sure sometimes we look to fill some hole with wires, that ahs presented itself with componenet shortcomings. The VooDoo Gold Dragon III are not patches. They don’t fix things. They do ‘allow’ things however. They allow for presentations absent from aggressive behaviors, and with balance. They don’t spread the music thinly, or cover it with syrupy overtones. They simply let the music become it’s intended self. If your system is as mine, warm and possessive of great presence in the mids, they will be influenced positively with more body. If one’s system is a mite skinny on top or bottom, the top will get a touch of refinement, and the bottom more prominence and resolution to the ability the upstream devices are capable of affording the system. No more and definitely, no less.
Comnplex cuts involving multi piece bands for instance such as Gordon goodwins sixteen piece all star L.A. studio based ensemble necessitates a system with good to excellent quickness and dynamic control to be truly enjoyed. Well recorded and with a smorgasbord of content, this TV and film soundtrack empresario conducts and plays some really stellar bits of musical dexterity and composition. From the “XXL” algbum to his latest release “The Phat Pack”, Gordon gives us immense bang for the buck in terms of rhythmically driving cuts and masterfully managed strolls through the halls of world beat jazz and spriteful engagements. Most of these tracks pander to staccato rythyms and inadvertent asides which press the musicians aptitude. Gordon employs the vocal group “Take Six” on two covers of previous standard jump jazz tunes, “Comes Love” and “It’s The Right Time”. Johnny Mathis is also on the “XXL” album.
Without exception, the VooDoo gold Dragon III transmitted the whole of the busy cuts in a fashion unfettered by sibalence, glare, or by obscuring any portions of the songs. The vocals were surely closely miked and mixed creatively, yet the ‘background orchestra was possessive ’ of it’s inherent strength and at times, benign subtleties. The whole of each mix pushes the listener to almost unwilling engagement. I couldn’t help but be pulled into the album right off the bat. The Golds simply made for a coherent and cohesive interaction of all of the parts as one solid piece of entertainment.
One fact/myth I encountered along the way in implementing these two large power cords onto my amp was this statement… “they’ll allow your amp to run cooler, and make it last longer as the result”
Well I sit about four feet away from the amp while it’s warming up and I’m surfing the web or attending to things prerequisite of a computer. While I’m listening, now and then I have to step back into the ‘office’ if I’m using my main source, or just want to change to another source as my preamp is non source switching. (only volume and power are the functions availed to me via my preamp).
Consequently I am about it a great deal. AS to temperature, well, it’s still hot once warmed up. As hot as it was previously? Possibly not, but if so it is but the slightest of improvements. I did note this bit… using a small fan does help cool the amp and does seem to help the overall sound during lengthy listening sessions. That is no reflection on the Gold Dragon though. The BAT VK500 just runs hot. Regardless the cords I have placed upon it. Most often my routine is about 30 to 60 minutes of warm up, two albums, or perhaps a compilation, and a scan of the music channels, and I’m done.
Having the Golds in my system (s) for some lengthy span, I only recently have had the opportunity to place them onto something other than my amplifier. I had previously been so opinionated as to where they were at their best, I feigned the notion of moving them. That changed over these past few weeks as circumstances permitted me the chance to check out just how well or poorly perhaps, they would work with less power hungry devices. It didn’t take to long to find out just how versatile a power cord the Golds can be.
Applying them to mass fi sources, HT receivers, and as supply cables for some PS Audio power filters I own, I found the Golds to be quite the versatile player after all, delivering gains in every respect of the harmonic structure and removing etching and much of the grain that lies inherently in many these components musical reproduction abilities. An absolute step up in performance was had regardless the positioning of the gold Dragon 3s. Actually, I was stunned, but pleasantly so.
With these power cables in your system, or even just one, rightly placed (preferably on the power amp), you will definitely hear any and all of the upstream components. Changes. Additions. Improvements or mistakes. The Golds are quite revelatory in their nature yet accomplish it without aggression.
Dynamics abound, transparency looms large, extension is readily apparent. The music is set onto a deep blackness that contrasts itself in fine relief. The stage remains in focus and both deep and large, though not cavernous. Images are realistic in size and are distinctly placed. Busy passages are rendered with sufficient detail as to not lose each pieces singularity and thereby become a masked covey of sound.
The gold Dragon IIIs sonics resemble its construction. Ample, yet flexible, Sleek and supple. Weighty, and firm. A super value in power cord that I have found most difficult to replace… and as recent endeavors have disclosed, it is quite the versatile player. A must audition for anyone serious about musical recreation. I doubt this cord is the end all be all in the power cable realm. Although not an inexpensive appliance, it is surely an overachiever and competes well above itself in the current power cable arenas in high end audio. Highly recommended.
So are the Gold’s that good? Once you get past that lengthy break-in period which takes the upside of 200 hours, they might be.
For the money, I’d say yes indeed. At the level of construction, performance, and cost, the Gold Dragon III’s provide transparency, balance, and an open sound stage. No harmonic or phase shift, or any attenuation of the bandwidth. Refined, dynamic, and with dimensionality in the whole of the sound stage. Given the going rate of power cords, along with the attributes the gold Dragons bring to the sonic table, they also represent a very good buy.
Designed for higher current draws, the gold Dragon III still possess the ability to perform in other roles as well. I used them on all but my preamp, and would have used them there as well were two other power cords of the same type available to me more often than the few occasions I had others present for comparisons. Naturally, the constraints inherent to the expense for “a pair at a time”, power cords was also prohibitive. I should also pass on the fact that I had both gold dragon III made at the same time, so they were identical. Well as identical as can be and sonically … and I have switched them from amp to amp to make sure of that bit.
BAT VK5i w/Matsushita 6DJ8’s, Amperex PQ US 7308 white label w/emblem, telefunken ECC188, & Tung sol 5881’s
BAT VK500 w/BAT pk.
Sony SCD xa 777 es CD Player
VSA VR4-JR (cherry)
Phase tech PC 10.5
Phase tech PC 6.5
M.I.T. Magnum 3 III RCA 1.5m (source IC)
Nordost Blue Heaven 2m (source IC)
Monster M1000 (source IC)
Synergistic Resolution Ref X2 Active 1m XLR (MAIN ic)
Synergistic Signature 10 X2 Active bi wires (shotgun to top of JR)
Synergistic Alpha Quadd series X Active on JR bass driver only.
Elrod Signature 3 20A 6ft.
Shunyata Python helix VX 6ft. 15A (CD)
Shunyata Taipan helix alpha 6ft. 15A
VooDoo Black Dragon II 6ft. 15A
VooDoo Gold Dragon III 6ft. 15A ((X2 for amp)
PS Audio UPC 200
PS Audio Duet (s)
Sony STVR 444es
Sony DVD/VCR combo player
Sony 400 Cd carosel
Sony S30 61” RP TV
HD cable box
Dell optiplex 620 Desktop
Dell Dimension 4600 Desktop
After market spikes for JR’s.
Herbies Audio Labs halo tube rings
Herbies Audio Labs Iso cups w/Ebony ball footers
Mother Nature wood footers (Mahogany, teak, Coco, and others)
All devices draw power via 4 dedicated 20A ckts. Using hosp. grd duplex outlets
Shunyata Python helix Alpha; PAD Venusta; Audience; Elrod Sig 3