Dynamic Design THB and VLT AC Power Cords
Where Neutrality meets Reality and Becomes Musicality
After-market AC power cords have found their niche among the ranks of audiophiles around the globe. My first fling with an after-market AC cord, whose designer touted results similar to changing amplifiers or loudspeakers, was the python-thick Electra Glide AC cord back in 1997. The results were startling: greater dynamics, a more three-dimensional soundstage and far less hash. I never looked back. However, the arguments that ensued were just as ear-opening. “How could a five-foot cord change the sound when there were hundreds of miles of wire before it?” many exclaimed. Obviously, times have changed and it’s pretty easy to hear what a well designed AC cord can do for a system by clamping down on AC contaminants. Manufacturers have learned smarter methods of getting the best from your system by concentrating more on its AC power demands. One company in particular has taken these ideas to yet another level.
A relatively new company, Dynamic Design Cables, located in the Windy City of Chicago, has dived head-first into the already over-populated cable market. Chief designer Olu A. Sonuga has a lot of ideas for ridding one’s system of AC contaminants and his top of the line series of power cords the THB and VLT Nebula incorporate these ideas. Exclusive features include Multi-Layer InsulationSystem [MLIS], a high temperature, low storage insulation for high current delivery with no time smearing or distortion, resulting in a cleaner and clearer presentation; Unitized Multi-Layer Shielding Technology [UMLS], which purports to further reduce cross talk and noise through superior shielding; and High Purity Bi-Metal [HPBM] conductors, high conductivity internal wiring providing super-wide bandwidth and truer instrumental timbre.
I had the distinct opportunity to meet with Sonuga in Chicago last spring. This meeting left me with a strong admiration for this designer’s knowledge of AC behavior. BTW, Chicago is home to Stereo Times denizens Dave Thomas, Mike Wright, Craigy G. Fitzpatric and H. Courtenay Osborne. Both Dave and Mike used Dynamic Design cables throughout their excellent sounding systems. So you can imagine what a time we had during my short but ambitious stay. I returned to New Jersey thinking there might be more to Sonuga’s designs than sophisticated graphs and lengthy discussions.
With positive press starting three years ago from our own Joe Lamano, and Mike Wright’s present-day prose, it is apparent Dynamic Design has found their way. Their sights, aimed at discerning audiophiles seeking to better understand what neutrality can bring in smartly designed cables, has reached my doorstep with their newest series of AC power cords. When asked to review their THB and VLT Digital AC cords I remarked that I was really enjoying the thrills of another newbie: Virtual Dynamic Revelation Series cables, that Dave Thomas also was quite enthusiastic about in his review of their affordable David Series. But if Dynamic Design wanted me to evaluate their new AC cords, well, there’s nothing I love more than comparing top-of-the-line products. This I would be glad to do.
Two pair of reference AC cords made it to my doorstep via UPS: the THB ($2200.00) and VLT ($1500.00 with specific design for digital components). Both models are thick and heavy, the THB being the bigger of the two, and both bear some resemblance to the Electra Glide Fat Boy from years back. What sets each apart from other after-market cords is that both models come equipped with a battery pack that sits on the outside sleeve. Their website states, “Dynamic Design’s Dynamic Shielding™ technology is the combination of two innovative noise abatement processes. It marries our UMLS™ (Unitized Multi-Layer Shielding) technology with our new GIT™ (Ground Isolation Technology). Our UMLS™ technology utilizes an array of shields to protect and isolate the internal conductors from internal and external noise as well as to cancel the magnetic fields generated within the cable assembly; Our GIT™ also protects the internal conductors from noise and isolates the system ground circuit from noise. This is done by using a specially designed, self-contained DC powered circuit that prevent noise from being assimilated into the ground circuit and permeating the entire system.” Our GIT™ is powered by a 3-volt battery power supply using readily available and replaceable AA batteries. When not needed, the battery power supply can be turned off to extend battery life by up to six months.”
Having the Dynamic Design AC cords in my home offered me a very good opportunity to hear how each would perform in side-by-side comparisons with other more expensive designs such as Shunyata’s new Anaconda, and Virtual Dynamic’s Revelation Series. I also got the opportunity to try the Dynamic Design cords on a variety of components ranging from April Music’s incredibly affordable front-end combo (consisting of their DAC/preamp and transport) to the revealing and hideously expensive pair of Behold monoblock amplifiers. Loudspeakers ranged from the extremely affordable Hyperion 938s and Tyler Acoustics Linbrook series, to my long term reference, the Ascendo System M, and, dare I say new reference, the 7’7” hybrid DALI Megalinemonsters. (Yep, I said it!)
Dynamic Design’s less expensive VLT series Digital AC cords went through its paces first. The neutrality of this AC cord on the April Music transport and DAC/pre dynamic duo can leave one guessing as to its sonic merits. If you’re looking for immediate gratification from deeper and more dynamic bass, extended treble, or a more colorful midrange, seek elsewhere because that’s not what you get with the VLT. What it does offer is a sense of “sonic truth” and “musicality” in relation to the size of individual instruments and in voices that can qualify as uncanny when compared to other AC cords. In fact, this quality forces one to question which sound is “right” when both are so different. For example, the soundstage of the VLT digital is not as large or expansive as Shunyata’s Anaconda or Virtual Dynamics’ Revelation AC cords, and images don’t appear as large. If you’re experienced at setting up stereo systems, you know that large images are not necessarily a good thing, depending on one’s tastes, distance from listening seat and acoustic space. Personally, I like smaller images accurately presented in a large three-dimensional soundstage. I really don’t have a choice since my listening space isn’t large (17’ ½ by 21’). And the more expensive THB will give you a larger soundstage, in terms of both width and depth, but it still doesn’t quite match the immense (but never overdone) size the Shunyata or Virtual Dynamic cables provide.
Dynamic Design cables possess the least sense of character or color, for lack of a better word, of any cable I’ve heard in their price range. Whether this is a good thing depends on your taste and experiences. I’ve come away with mixed feelings because while I like the imaging and overall neutrality of the Dynamic Design cables, I would love to hear the immense soundstage presented by other premium cables with the smaller individual instruments and voices presented with the Dynamic Design.
Bass doesn’t suffer though it doesn’t quite provide the seemingly-limitless dynamics of the Virtual Dynamic Revelation. However, this should not be considered a slight against Dynamic Design because there’s no cable I’ve heard to date that sounds as dynamic as the Revelation, which sets a reference for “jump factor.” Taut and incisive, there’s no second-guessing Dynamic Design’s very detailed and authoritative, but more relaxed, low-end performance. Ditto, the upper high frequencies, which seem to shine in a way that’s not too excessive. There’s exists a quality to this THB that comes across as just right (read: neutral) while the VLT may appear at first blush a tad on the warm side. The THB simply lets the music play while attempting to add or take away nothing: a rare quality in and of itself. Ironically, this may seem an unattractive feature in a world full of “what do I get for my money” additives and colorations. The “non-character” sound of Dynamic Design will certainly find its devotees, the same way as single-ended tube amplifiers or Maggie ribbon tweeters.
One thing’s certain: Dynamic Design is a formidably designed AC cord aimed directly at the heart of the experienced music lover. Their design demonstrates the proverbial “less is more” approach, and from my vantage point, hit the proverbial nail on the head.
Two six foot VLT Digital AC Cords.
Price: $1,500.00 each
Two six foot THB Power Cords
Price: $2,200.00 each
Address: Dynamic Design
5540 Walnut Ave
Long Beach, CA 90805
Contact: Bill Artope
Email address: email@example.com
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