Virtual Dynamics Cryo'd Audition Cables

Before I describe my initial impressions of my recently purchased Virtual Dynamic cryo'd Audition cables, I am listing the primary components of my audio system. They are:

A Spectral DMC-20 preamplifier.
2 Spectral DMA-50 amps used in bridged mono mode (100 wpc).
A new Electrocompaniet EMC1 CD player with factory- installed 24 bit upsampler 192KHz DAC.
Linn Sondek LP-12 Valhalla turntable with Kiseki Blue cartridge.
ProAc Studio 100 monitor speakers, (upgraded in terms of the use of new high-quality crossover parts, custom silver hookup cable, and Spectra Dynamics Deflex panels for cabinet damping.)
Custom-built transmission line stereo subwoofers, driven by Bob Carver's classic Phase Linear 700B amplifier. (700 wpc)
Four Sistrum SP-004 component platforms to reduce airborne vibrations (each placed under the cd player, preamp, and amplifiers.)
One Richard Gray 600B power conditioner.

Previous cabling had been MIT Z-Cord II PC's, MIT MI-330 IC's, and MIT MH-750 Plus speaker cables. (MIT cabling is required by Spectral for warranty purposes)

It's not my habit to purchase any audio product "sound-unheard." However, based on the many positive posts in this forum regarding Virtual Dynamic cables, I decided to make an exception, and ultimately purchased four PC's, two pairs of IC's, and a pair of speaker cables, all from Rick Schultz's Audition Series of cables, which as many of you know are somewhere in the middle of his product line.

As has apparently been the case for many of you, Rick was very helpful in the selection of the proper cables, and is a fine person to talk with, in general.

I initially bought only the four Audition PC's, as Spectral amplifiers 'supposedly' need MIT IC's and speaker cables between their amps and preamp. After installing just the Audition PC's into my system, my initial impressions were that all of my recordings had substantially more life to them. There was a slight initial hardness to the sound, but most of that disappeared after a few hours. (While Rick says it takes about 500 hours to fully break in the cables, he states that most of the process is completed after a few days.) There was greater increase in resolution to the music, while the flow and pace of the music seemed very natural, with separate musical passages much easier to follow. My MIT Z-Cord II PC's, while seemingly not doing anything wrong, had apparently not been doing too much right, either. After a few days, the soundstage increased in width and depth and bass note resolution and power was markedly improved. But it was the greater sense of dynamics and life in the music that made me call Rick to explore my options with his other cable products.

If any of you own Spectral amplifiers, I'm here to tell you that your days of slavery in using only MIT cables are over. Spectral equipment is known to possess ultralinear, extremely wide bandwidth, from DC to 15 megaHertz. Spectral states that "to prevent oscillations in the Spectral system, conventional "wire" cables have been replaced with precision tuned cable "networks" developed by MIT." Rick told me that he and his associate Brett believe that the reason Spectral equipment or any other precision ultra wide bandwidth electronics can oscillate is primarily due to mechanical vibrations traveling through cables into the amplifier. He also told me that my amplifiers would run far cooler and be less subject to ringing and other anomolies if I used any of his cables. Spectral claims that MIT tunes their cables for ultra-high frequency roll-off to achieve "the best of both worlds - very fast rise and settling time in the audio circuitry for exceptional signal resolution, and precise bandwidth tailoring for absolute amplifier stability and RFI isolation." If this were true, then why did my Audition IC's and speaker cables further enhance my already much improved system? Yes, I took a chance and replaced all of my MIT cables, and you know what; after running them in a few days, my Spectral power amplifiers were indeed running fairly cool to the touch, where they had been previously running very warm to hot. So then, tell me again how MIT is the only compatible cable for Spectral?

I again noticed an intitial slight hardness to the sound with the introduction of the IC's and speaker cables, but this too disappeared after a few hours. Instrument placement, while already much improved with only the PC's, now appeared rock steady within the soundstage, while musical images seemed almost entirely detached from my ProAc speakers. Dynamics had a greater sense of unlimited power, and if the recording was good enough and closely miked, I could, for the first time, clearly hear the breathing of musicians and the shuffling of their chairs, such as on the Teldec recording of the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 2, featuring Helene Grimaud on a Steinway. I found that these aural cues did not detract from the performance; rather it gave me the feeling of being in a live concert hall.

I told Rick that I had a Richard Gray power conditioner that I used to good effect and wanted to know what he thought about it's use with his cables. He agreed that it could improve a system without his cables, but that if I plugged his cables directly into a power receptacle, it would be "game over." Again, Rick was correct. While I will continue to use the Richard Gray unit in my video system, it was no contest when using the VD cables directly into the power receptacles. Everything was better. If the Audition is the middle of the line, then I can't wait until I buy one of their Nite PC's to use on my Electrocompaniet EMC1 cd player. My Integra DVD could use an Audition power cable, anyway.

I have had the opportunity over the years to audition many brands of fine cables, including some hand-built pure silver jobs. While it's certainly true that other cable brands may work better for some in other systems, I have never had a cable work better in my audio system, and I consider it to be fairly neutral. I could go on about how the Virtual Dynamic Audition cryo'ed cables yielded blacker backgrounds with less noise, exhibited greater speed, truer timbres, greater dynamics and pacing, etc.. but the truth is I'm simply enjoying listening to my recordings a whole lot more than before. Isn't that what this is all about?
Congrats Hshapiro! I've owned the cryo'd Audition Package for almost two months and have experienced a transformation very similar to yours. Initially, the center focus of my soundstage was a bit goofy, and there was a slight overall iciness to the sound, but that has since become a distant concern. I'm now enjoying free flowing, unrestrained, glorious music. Enjoy!
That's good to hear. And we're only talking about the Audition series. I was talking with Rick Schultz today about the issue of differences in channel balance and, therefore, center focus that anyone could experience when using new cables. He said that every new cable made has slight variations in resistance due to small differences in materials used in the left and right IC's and speaker cables. These variations in resistance, however, soon disappear as the materials used in the cables are broken in. In fact, this is why the cable-cooker products can make your cables sound so good; among the other things they do, they reduce the effects of resistance inherent in any cable, even those built to be low-resistance cables. Rick also mentioned that only high-resolution systems reveal potential center focus problems. For whatever reason, in my system, it was never an issue.
Interesting. Initially, I thought I was the only one experiencing this thing with the goofy center focus, but another A'gon member that was breaking in VD cables at the same time as me also noticed the same thing. He solved his problem by reinstalling the jumpers on his speakers even though he was using biwire VD SCs, my problem just went away with break-in. The best I can describe the phenomenom was that it sounded like the singer was standing front and center, but at a 45° angle to me. Really weird, but it did go away. I toed in the speakers another 20° to lock in the center focus, but didn't care for the resulting loss of soundstage width. After a few days I returned the speakers to their orignal slightly toed in stance and the center focus was much better and the monstrous soundstage returned.

Rick had also mentioned to me that with my new revealing cable set, I would be able to easily perceive any difference when tube rolling. That is definitely true. Threads addressing the benefits of cable cookers have been popping up again lately, and it seems people feel they can benefit even those cables which have been used for awhile.

Enjoy your cables, Hshapiro!