What current Syn. Research ICs are equivalent to

the original VD master series performance wise?
I had the VD Master LE, Revelation, Revelation Signature and Stealth Indra. I tried the SR but like something much better than any of these.

As an alternative, I'd suggest trying (with 30 day return policy), the Silent Source Signature ICs http://www.walkeraudio.com/special_deals.htm

how did the SR's compare? what models?
I have owned a complete system of Virtual Dynamics Rev 2 , Kubala Emotions, Purist Dominus and Synergistic Telsa series cables .
The SR Tesla consisted of the Apex and Precision Ref interconnects, Apex speaker cables and Hologram A, D and T2 power cords.

From my experience, the Virtual Dynamics cables were indeed very dynamic and had a very good sound. Bass was extended and the midrange was beautiful. The soundstage was pretty good .
However, beware, the cables are very , very stiff.

I am not the best in flowery discriptions like some of the reviewers on Audiogon, but I will do my best to descibe the major difference between the VD and the SR cables.

Here it it...
The SR takes the music out of the speakers and sends it in the air, the music becomes all around you. Best I could descibe it is, the soundstage comes alive.
The VD cables though good sound dead compared to the SR cables.
Hope this helps!
Thank you Ozzy :)

I have VD Masters at the moment, that replaced Cardas Golden Presence. I loved them at first because they were that much better than the GPs, but after two years they are just too forward for me... and the stiffness... uggg.

I'm looking to replace them and on paper I've narrowed it down to SR and PAD. I'm thinking the PAD might end up being a bit dark though... and they are much pricier comparatively.

I'm wondering if I start with say the magnetic tricon or that combined with the Au79, if that would put me on about the same level, below or above my old original masters... or do I need to start higher up? I'd love to try Accelerators or the reference cables, but my budget won't allow for it right now.
The PAD are very good, and the Purist Anniversary are the best in that line however, $$$.
Personally, I would take the upper SR before the upper PAD.

On starting out at the lower end of the cable spectrum to save money. It really depends on your equipment you have now or will have.
If you are like me, you will be constantly upgrading the cables until you get to the top of the SR line. In the end you will have spent more money.

I say buy one set of SR cables first, probably the interconnect to be used between CD player and Preamp.
Buy the best you can handle (Apex,or Precision Ref,$$$), then gradually keep adding cables.

Eventually, you may find some used SR cables on Audiogon and that will keep the cost down.

I know we all say this but if you can borrow some SR cables in the different ranges that would help.

Some say the cable company is a good source to try cables, I have not had much luck with them however.
I can pretty much echo Ozzy's experience with VD cabling. I had an all VD system w/Genesis and Revelation cabling/pcs, etc. System had lots of energy, but I felt something was missing. I tried a few SR cables and was hooked. I was also very fortunate in that I could get into the top of the SR line at the time with very little out of pocket after selling the VDs on Agon. I also tried Stealth and PAD before I got to the SRs.

The sound I now have is more organic, layered and realistic than I found with VD or any other cables I've tried. I knew I had a pretty resolving system, and now I can really hear the music as never before. A word of advice - there really is a "synergy" with these cables - the more you have, the happier you will be.

I would suggest finding a good dealer of SRs and working with them. It will save you lots of brain damage as well as a few bucks by minimizing purchase errors and easily being able to start you in the right place along the Synergistic line. If you'd like to PM me, I'll be happy to refer such a person who has both impressed and helped me tremendously.
thank you for the reply! I sent you an 'email'.