Actually it is still a bit early to say much. The cables are very much in transition. The sound changes on an almost hourly basis. However, some early impressions:
I can’t say a lot about the internal construction (and I’m not letting these anywhere near Jude’s knives!). There are three separate strands of 9.5 gauge solid core copper, each in a separate jacket. This is what makes the cables heavy, and allows them to hold their shape when bent. Note that bending does change the mechanical properties of any metal. I haven’t heard anybody address the issue of how that bending may affect sonics. My guess is that this would be a bigger deal in these cables than many, if in fact it matters at all.
The system I wired first is the Creek CD53/EAR HP4/Sony R10. Both power cords and interconnects were replaced, so the system now has a complete set of VD Nite cables (I’m becoming convinced that at least some effects that are reported are a result of different electrical materials at different points in the system. I could be way off base here, but I decided to try the full system approach to see what happened).
The initial changes were subtle. There was no “wow” effect. My original setup of Homegrown Silver Lace and VD Power 3’s sounded very comparable. At first…however, these cables change characteristics as they break in. The real changes seemed to be occurring at a very minute level. This started as an apparent perception in the perceived image. Everything seems to be a bit more localized. In playing a Roy Buchanan CD, the individual instrument tracks were defined much more clearly. In fact, I was able to pick out an follow a rhythm guitar track on one piece that I hadn’t even known was there. However, there’s also a three-dimensionality about the imaging that feels very natural. Voices aren’t defined by a hard edge that locates them in space, but rather a localized presence that’s very easy to listen to. There are some setups in which localization appears to be done almost via some sort of sonic “edge enhancement”, in which the image has very sharp edges in space, and appears almost two dimensional within its borders (forgive my phrasing, but this is hard to describe). The Nites allow this this system to escape that trap.
The other change was in the bass. In the R10, bass seemed attenuated relative to the Power 3. If you’ve read my posts on bass in the R10, that may seem to be bad, but it’s not. Actual bass extension appears deeper, and bass inpact is stronger. Despite an apparent reduction in bass quantity, drums now have the underlying fundamentals to make them sound convincing. So, the Power 3’s were likely producing a slight hump in the mid-bass area that the Nite’s are not. The integration of the bass with higher frequencies is much better. It’s easier to hear the fingering on the bass guitar. Everything is right there.
So far, the system has not achieved neutrality with these cables. At first, it was a simple dark coloration to the system. This is not necessarily bad, as that darkness in a speaker setup can sometimes translate into image depth, IME. (Side note: one of the bigger problems with a high-rez headphone system may be the translation of ambient room cues to the headphone. When these cues are present in a speaker system, outside of the head, the brain knows how to process them. When they are present in a headphone system, in which the image appears to be within the head, the brain may not have a way to process them. The potential for confusion may be present.)
Back on track: The dark coloration has not remained constant, however. As of last night, there was an alleviation of the darkness at the top end…but not through the entire frequency response. So, the apparent impression is almost of a band of coloration in the midrange. Bass and highs are fine, but the upper part of the midrange doesn’t integrate with them as well as it should. Since this coloration has been changing with break-in, I don’t think it’s a big deal yet.
Repeat caveat: This is a very early impression, and subject to change on an hourly basis.