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I own the Wilson Sophia 2s and of course LOVE them. I just recently discovered a fantastic new line of cables from Virtual Dynamics. I was trying the Cardas Golden Reference power cords when I found these, and much prefer the Virtual Dynamics product. Here is a photo of my Wilson/Ayre/Virtual system they put up on their website:
I have since upgraded all the cables and power cords to Reference 2 model, with one Genesis prototype power cord on the CD player. Virtual Dynamics Cable and Power Cords are truly spectacular. They cast a huge pinpoint accurate soundstage with lots of depth and perfect focus. They are wonderfully musical, and come complete with tears and goosebumps when the music touches your heart.
I traded old style Transparent Reference cable to buy these, and I will never look back. My audiophile friends cannot BELIEVE the difference these cables made in my system.
I suggest calling the company and chatting with James. They are a very friendly company and it is a free call. Great prices on B-stock and demo cables, here on Audiogon auctions, and directly from the company. The reason so many people are selling is the stuff is so good, it is addictive, and like me, people trade up a lot. But even their lower end lines will FLOOR you. At least that is what happened to me, many weeks and dollars ago.
Virtual Dynamics is up there among the very best available, just read the forums here and see what others are saying. I am in no way affiliated with the company, just one of their biggest fans !!
Mert: How about first describing what you are trying to fix or how you want to tune your system? More detail? Warmer? Softer? Faster? Quicker attack?
I found the Cardas a little darker on top compared to the transparent, and a little warmer in the mids. But I would compare Cardas Reference against Super MM.
Tarsando: I find that Nordost cables add too much detail to an already detailed speaker, plus they provide a thinner mid range. Maybe a perfect match with warmer fuller tube equipment....
I prefer the Transparent cabling with my Wilson WP7's and my Solid State Theta Gear.
I own a pair of Wilson Watt Puppies 5.1's driven by T+A electronics from Germany. I have owned cables from Transparent (Reference XL's), Synergistic Research (X Series and X2) and most recently before switching, Nordost Valhalla's. Now let me say that these cables have all sounded different in my system delivering strengths where others had weaknesses and visa versa. I have initially been attracted to a cable and it's sound only to miss a strength from the previous cable so I was the preverbal dog chasing its tail in a circle- no perfect cable exists or so I believed.
I recently tried Synergistic Research's new Tesla Series cables in my system. My first audition was for two pairs of Accelerator interconnect and one pair of Accelerator speaker wire to go head to head with my Nordost Valhalla interconnects and speaker wire. Now mind you the Tesla cables all combined cost less then just one pair of the Valhallas, so I did not expect much but that's the cable my dealer had to loan at the time (The Cable Co.) so I gave them a listen- WOW. These cables had the speed and inner detail of the Valhallas, and the bloom and sound stage of my old Synergistic Research Designers' Reference Active, and the musical mid-range and sweetness of my old Transparent cables but with a sound field that is ADDICTIVE. To put it simply these cables sound like no other cables I have ever heard and I have auditioned many cables over the years. I have since upgraded my Accelerator speaker cables to Precision Reference and I am going to try Apex interconnect and Precision Reference interconnects as I feel these cables represent audio nirvana. I have just never heard cables that present such seemingly opposing strengths and do so with state-of-the-art performance. Warmth, detail, speed, bloom, pinpoint imaging, natural harmonic structure, musicality, and an amazing holographic presence like no other. Your results may vary (but I doubt it) however one thing is certain. Before you plunk down your hard won cash on expensive cables you must listen to them in your system first, and for at least one weeks time to let them settle in, and Synergistic Research Tesla Series should be on your short list. Then let your ears decide. BTW if your dealer will not loan cables for you to try perhaps there is a reason.
Don't mean to get off tangent. I agree with Leica_man. I just purchased a pair of Synergistic Research Apex IC and it is awesome sounding. Not dull, not bright, not thin, not fat, etc. Great soundstage, inner details and transient attack. It seems to have done a lot of things right unlike other cables. Definitely give the new Tesla series a try.
Ever consider using MIT cables? IMHO, I have found that the best performance from Wilson speakers comes through a system that uses network cables from MIT through the entire system. BTW, Dave Wilson has used MIT cables for years on his WAMM speakers at home. He should know what works on his speakers.
Yesterday morning I called Wilson Audio and asked which cables would they recommend for my setup. I was kindly informed by a gentelman ''it is not a secret that we use Transparant cables (reference)for internal wiring of wilson speakers. I was shocked and didn't want to hear rest of the story because I could guess the reason why they use network cables: they emphasize particularly on midbass and high frequency in trade of low bass. This was answer of two strange things.(at least for me) First: I was trying to find out how possible''old sock'' focal inverted titanium drivers sound so good,effortless, smooth...these values are not new to me since I am used to Focal be drivers. Second: Wilson Audio make show demos with underpowered, ordinary amplifiers.
As all we know network cables have ability to play music how they are ''fine tuned'' by their dedicated crossovers.(big ugly box, sometimes black, sometimes white)
One of my friend has transparant cables and Wilson Maxx2. I asked him why he uses tranparant cable. He said transparant corrects Wilson's some characteristic faults. He was ''wrong''. Not the transparant corrects faults, but any cable which has anyhow a particular character forces wilsons play ''incorrect'' in my opinion.
I was using VDH mc gold between dac and preamplifier, VDH second between pre and power amp. I thought all carbon cable ''second'' was limiting factor of my system. Everything started from this point. After a quick research I ended up testing various cables: Sonoran, Acrolink,Vdh. This weekend I will test Cardas and transparant. Tomorrow I will explain my further findings.(here now 12.30 a.m.)
After much auditioning of cables for my new W/P 8s including Audioquest Sky/Everest, Synergistic Apex, JPS Aluminata, Virtual Dynamics Rev 2.0, my reference Cardas GR and various Tranparent Audio products, I chose the TAs even before I knew that there was an association between the companies.
Of course the cables cost as much as the speakers but after hearing the result of the combination it really didn't matter.
Except to my accountant.
Rhyno, I ended up with a combination Ref MM phono cables, Ref XL V or XL SS ICs depending on the components connected and Ref XL SS SC. These are all TA's latest "MM" technology as XL has now simply become a model designation in the Reference series. Kind of confusing.
I listened to the whole new Reference line hierarchy including basic Ref, Ref XL, Ref MM and even Opus MM (big mistake!).
I have nothing but praise for the other cables I auditioned but there was clearly a special synergy between the TAs and my Wilsons.
Today I have spoken with A.J. Vandenhul via telephone. He told me to change order of cables, between cd and pre ''second'', between pre and power ''Mc Silver mk3 balanced'', and finally Supernova speaker cable. Since I have ''Second'' XLR I couldn't employ it between dac and pre since Musical Fidelity kwdm25 dac has only rca output. I put my reserve VDH Jubilee silver hybrid between dac and pre and Kept ''second'' between pre and power. To be honest, when I heard first my setup after cable change, I felt like midbasses improved, detail, clarity improved, but most importantly I had a feeling that sophia's tweeters are upgraded to Focal Be tweeters.(I wish David Wilson will see ''Be'' tweeters on his designs before he passes away)
I own Wilson Audio Sophia Series 2 and began an audition of Purist Audio speaker cable and interconnects this evening, courtesy of a wonderful audiogon member and Purist Audio dealer, Albert Porter (a personal friend of mine...for over 30 years). Since it is very early in the demo, all I will say at this point is that the early results are very promising. (WOW!!!!! she really means).
Mcrheist, hatchet hopefully buried and genuine interest in your experience appreciated, which PADs are you auditioning with your Wilsons?
I found the Aqueous Anniversary to be a fine value and the Dominus Ferox nearly incomparable with most speakers except Wilsons.
Transparent Audio Cables are allegedly voiced with Wilsons and do seem to have a special synergy with them, IMHO.
But I understand my credibility with you may have been compromised.
With no disrespect meant to your friend/ PAD dealer, I humbly suggest you try some TAs with your Wilsons.
Or don't bother as you can hardly go wrong with the right PADs.
I have a pair of Wilson Sophias (not 2s unfortunately) driven by Lamm M1.2 hybrid mono blocks. Preamp is Ayre K-1xe. Sources are Ayre C-5xe and SME 20/2 / Graham Phantom / Dyanvector XV-1S / Aesthetix Io Signature.
I started with 100% Transparent cables: PowerIsolator MM PCs, Balanced Reference (MM technology) ICs & Ultra (MM technology) speaker cables. The base was totally awesome and the tonal balance was fine. But they did not provide the deep and high soundstage I was looking for and they did not have the 3-dimensional imaging within the soundstage I was looking for. After a year of living with them in my system, I tried Virtual Dynamics Revelations PCs (not 2.0 then), Masters balanced ICs and Purist Audio Aqueous Anniverary speaker cables. The PCs were in a dead heat with the PowerIsolators so brought nothing different. The Masters balanced ICs improved both soundstage width and depth and imaging, were just as dynamic with excellent tonal balance and gave up only a little base. The Aqueous Anniversary speaker cables supported a wider, deeper soundstage, had more air and better imaging, the highs were to die for, but they sacrificed a good bit of base.
Next I substituted a pair of VD Revelation speaker cables. These brought back 90% of the base and gave the music a fuller, richer sound, more like real instruments and voices without seeming to sacrifice anything.
Then I tried one Purist Audio 20th Anniversary power cord on my preamp. It immediately improved everything, putting the musicians with their instruments and voices in the room with us. So I replaced all of my Transparent PowerIsolators with 20th Anniverary PCs (except I still have the Revelations powering the Io Signature), which made a big difference.
Next, I replaced the VD Masters between the C-5xe and the K-1xe with a VD Revelation 2.0. Huge step up in everything. Much less digital, much more like analog. Made CDs, especially SACDs much more like LPs.
Then I replaced the VD Masters between the Io Signature and the K-1xe with a PAD Dominus. Again a big step up. Vinyl leaped way ahead of digital once again.
My experimentation with cables continues.
Just one man's opinion and one man's ears with different cables in his particular system and room.
Best to all,
No problem here, your opinion is valued, and I appreciate your advice in the post above. Thank you for taking the time to respond. Transparent cables have a stellar reputation but are likely out of my current budgeting strategy.
Due to financial constraints because of the need for a different amp in my system, the audition includes the PAD Venustas loudspeaker cable; PAD Opus balanced interconnect (Ayre AX7e CD player to ARC LS26 preamp); and PAD Venustas RCA interconnect (from ARC PH5 phono preamp to ARC LS26). Currently own Cardas Golden Cross interconnect (using between amp and preamp). So far, these cables are working out extremely well, and Albert has been extremely patient & gracious to provide an extended demo due to some recent issues with my equipment (nothing to do with cables or interconnects) which led to quite a bit of down time. These cables will also be synergystic with all amps which I plan to demo during the upcoming months.
The prior cables I owned would likely be categorized as entry level by cable enthusiastes; the PAD Venustas and Opus have made a significant impact in soundstaging, imaging, and more refinement in the highs/mids/lower octaves. And the price is right.
By the way, you have an extremely enviable system. I hope to own WP8s one of these days, and still intend to give the MacCormack DNA500 an audition because of your opinion.
Ed (Cipherjuris), your cable odyssey is very interesting. Sounds like you've attained an enviable synergy but I'm wondering why you didn't try Transparent cables in the same league (and price) as VD Rev 2.0s or PAD Dominus?
Interesting that you didn't go VD or PAD (or new TA) all the way like most do. How did you decide where to put what? I'm wondering if I should try mixing cables.
Mcrheist, like I said, you can hardly go wrong with PADs at any level but if you like your Cardas Golden Cross, definitely try Golden Reference which IMHO is a significantly under-rated cable. And do try the McCormack DNA-500 although I recently found the T+A A 1530 to be another remarkable performer for even less $$$ than the DNA-500!!
I didn't go all the way with any brand after the TA because I wanted to try different brands in my system over an extended period. With PCs I was already at the top of the TA line, and I didn't go further up the TA line in ICs & SCs because I had already listened to everything in the TA line at my dealers and knew the TA house sound. I was looking for improvement in imaging and depth of soundstage that I just could not get with TA. Moving up the TA line yielded noticeable bass improvement - TA is the best in bass.
Deciding where to put what mostly has been a result of opportunities available on Audiogon and focusing on what I thought was the weak link in the system at any given time.
I keep trying to find cables that provide the bass and dynamics of the TA with as good or better tonal balance and much better imaging and soundstage. Along the way, I've discovered interesting differences in perspective -- some cables are more forward, some more laid back, some warmer, others cooler, some seem to render voices, acoustic guitar and violins more realistically, others render piano better.
The journey continues!
I regret to say that I have changed my cables with ''Acrolink, Furutech, Oyaide'' Only cable left ''unchanged'' is Vandenhul ''Supernova''. This is a sad matter for American Cable manufact. Simply because my all American system depends on %80 jap. cables, %20 Dutch cables. Reliability matter of American made cables is a open debate. Very Sad.
I somehow missed this thread before.
FYI - Dave Wilson uses TA cables (Opus) at home. Last time I visited him, his system consisted of ARC CD 7 / REF 3 / VTL Sigfried / X-2. Wilson Audio also uses TA cable inside all Wilson speakers, although AFAIR with no boxes.
In turn, Transparent Audio exclusively uses X-2 speakers in their listening room for cable evaluation. They also have a pair of Maxx 2, but those serve as rear channels in a HT setup.
Having said that, ARC, who also uses Wilson speakers at their factory (WP 8 and Maxx 2), preferes Shunyata cables throughout, and that system also sounds very good.
It all comes to system synergy IMO.
recently sold my transparent reference for the prana speaker cable (review to come Q4 2007 on dagogo). prana is the top of the mountain in staging, almost equal in bass impact, better leading edge, but potential to sound cool if system isn't properly voiced. my WP6s can sound bright, so it takes a bit of work for me, but very doable.
with tubes, i'd go w/ prana. SS, transparent. either case, you'll be happy.
and transparent + wilson is a no-brainer recommendation. very, very musical, and the end of the road for most casual audiophiles / music lovers.
its just that i think the transparent + wilson combo can be improved upon for those willing to work at it. and what the prana does well, it does better than any cable i've heard (transparent, jorma, nordost, isoclean, TG, JPS).