Virtual Dynamics Power 3 -- An initial, honest review
Jan 17, 2008 at 4:38 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 27

IPodPJ

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Virtual Dynamics Power 3 power cord -- An initial, honest review.

Why I Like it:

The Power 3 didn't sound as good as my Cobalt for the first few minutes, but that was short lived. After just a few minutes of break-in and mental burn-in it surpassed it. But in a different way. The Power 3 has incredible soundstage, dynamics, imaging, and musicality. Like any good power cord, it will lower your amp's distortion levels by a tremendous amount. I've noticed that a good power cord will make five times the enhancement to your system than a good interconnect will. Power is the life-blood of any audio system, and the Power 3 will allow your equipment to run as efficiently as possible.

This is an extremely euphonic cable. It has a very warm tone to it so if you're using tubes, I'm not sure it would synergize to well with them. The Power 3 paired with a solid state amp makes it sound like you are listening to tubes, but tubes that reproduce the entire sonic spectrum well. I am fortunate that the Opera is a fairly neutral amp (at least when used with analog inputs) and that every upgrade I make is easily discernable. I am hoping that some of this warmth tones down with burn in, but as it stands it is still quite good. I really need to give it at least a week of burn-in before I can give a solid opinion of it. Virtual Dynamics recommends 200 - 400 hours of burn-in on the Power 3, and just by the size of this cord I believe it. >> Fast forward to now: After about 15 hours of burn-in, its warmth has lessened significantly. That euphonic tube sound along with a warm, organic, and opiated glow-type tone have almost stabilized. Adding the Cobalt Ultimate Power cord (which has a neutral-to-cold sound compared to the Power 3) to my computer has neutralized the audio. The Power 3 is extremely organic, and that is one quality that stays with the Power 3 after burn-in.

My Cobalt Cable Ultimate Power places the vocals a little closer to you, has a bit more detail in the highs, and quicker transients, but it has also been burned in for about a month now. The Power 3 has a much wider soundstange, better imaging, improved depth, fuller tone, better dynamics, and places the center image further back which I find to be more relaxed. One of it's best features is the ability to present all the bass notes very accurately and with acoustic transparency. Bass is one of the hardest parts of the frequency for a component to portray accurately. Every instrument playing bass notes (as well as the mids and highs) should be well defined and easily discernable from eachother. The Power 3 does this effortlessly, while stock power cords have a tendency to muddy the bass and blur all the notes together in one big, bloated bubble. All in all, I wouldn't hesitate to get another Power 3. In truth, it's giving me my very first taste of the Virtual Dynamics sound and I am already extremely hungry for more. I can't even begin to imagine how good some of their higher-end power cords must sound but I will soon find out as I am on the loaner list for a Master LE 2.0.


Areas for improvement:

This cable is a beast. Quite simply, it is gargantuous. The thing must weigh at least 6 or 7 pounds. It requires some strenous bending before you can even plug it in and test it out. I had to move my amp forward by at least 8" on my desk so that the power cord would be able to rest on it without busting the jack on my amp or launching my amp up in the air like a jet taking off from the runway. On an included sheet of paper, Virtual Dynamics tells you that the cable requires a lot of bending before you use it. This is no lie; be prepared to spend at least 30 minutes bending the cable before you even attempt to plug it in.

The cord is 2.5 times thicker than my Cobalt and weighs four or five times as much. Be prepared to have at the very least 10" - 12" of clearance behind your amp. You will need that much to accomodate the support you need to hold it up as well as the 90 degree bend. You will need the same amount of clearance on the other end if you are using a power conditioner. If you have a conditioner with plugs on the top, you can get away with a little less.

When I first used my Cobalt cord, one thing I immediately noticed was an increase in volume. The Power 3 isn't quite as dramatic in this regard, having a lower volume level than the Cobalt. This is probably due to the enormity of the cable, but it's not a bad trade off for the added benefit of Virtual Dynamic's Dynamic Filtering technology.

As a graphics artist in the printing industry for more than half my life, it might be of mention that their packaging could use an upgrade. Whether it's their entry model Power 3 or their premier Master LE 2.0 power cord, they are supplied in a plastic bag with a digitally printed header card stapled to the top. While this has nothing to do with the sound quality and build strength of the cord, packaging and presentation always help to reinforce a consumer's confidence in a company.

Like they say, this is indeed a man's cable. I just wish the man had not used quite so many steroids.


Conclusion:

If you haven't had experience with aftermarket power cords, I strongly suggest you open your mind to the wonders they can do for your system. Like many others, before I tried one I was extremely skeptical and thought people were fools for using them. When I finally received my first one, I was speechless after hearing the dramatic difference it made -- I wound up eating my words and apologized for being such an ignorant skeptic.

After spending time with it, I realized that they don't magically add anything to your audio; rather poor quality cords will detract from your component's full potential. A good power cord will allow your component to run more efficiently and thus provide you with music that is more pleasing to your ears. They all have their own sonic attributes which will reflect on your audio. This is why it is important to have a good one (in addition to a power conditioner).

So if you've been considering upgrading your stock power cord or are intrigued at all by what you've read here, give this one a try. The Virtual Dynamics Power 3 is an excellent place to start. It will allow your music to come through with a lustre and vibrance that it never had before.
 
Jan 17, 2008 at 6:20 AM Post #2 of 27

lan

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Quote:

Originally Posted by IPodPJ /img/forum/go_quote.gif
This is an extremely euphonic cable. It has a very warm tone to it so if you're using tubes, I'm not sure it would synergize to well with them.


Maybe... or maybe that's just how your system really sounds and you need to switch to more neutral things... you know like K1000 or HE90.
biggrin.gif
tongue.gif
eek.gif


Thanks for sharing your impressions.
 
Jan 17, 2008 at 7:01 AM Post #3 of 27

IPodPJ

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Quote:

Originally Posted by lan /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Maybe... or maybe that's just how your system really sounds and you need to switch to more neutral things... you know like K1000 or HE90.
biggrin.gif
tongue.gif
eek.gif


Thanks for sharing your impressions.



No, thank you for reading them.
smily_headphones1.gif


The longer I use it, the more it's getting burned in and the less warm it sounds -- a very positive thing. It really had a very tube-like, organic sound, warm all over like an opiated glow. It still sounds organic, just not unnaturally so.

I found that hooking up my Cobalt to my computer also helped to neutralize the sound. The Cobalt is cold compared to the Power 3, so they synergize well. I'm also finding out that I can go back to using crossfeed on my amp without it detracting much from the detail like it slightly did before. That's a really good thing since Meier crossfeed greatly enhances the imaging. The Opera's DAC has greatly improved, now on par with the Juli@ and surpassing it in a few areas. (I really want that 840c sooner than later. But I must admit, my system sounds extremely good.) Steely Dan is sounding quite magical right now.

I wish I could afford an HE90.
smily_headphones1.gif
Maybe one day. I would love to have a complete, high-end electrostatic package. With regard to the K1000 (even though I'd love to hear one), I've never been partial to open air headphones and the K1000 is really open.
smily_headphones1.gif
I've never heard one that has the bass response and impact of a good closed dynamic. One of these days I'll have to go to a Head-Fi meet and shake hands with all of you.... and grab some listening time on your equipment.
wink.gif
 
Jan 18, 2008 at 3:55 AM Post #4 of 27

IPodPJ

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To give you guys an idea of how big and impressive this thing really is, take a look:


[size=small]This is my Cobalt Ultimate Power cord[/size]

0000079lu1.jpg



[size=medium]and THIS is my Virtual Dynamics Power 3[/size]

0000081br9.jpg


Matt, have you guys thought about making some kind of support brace that you could include with the cable? What I'm thinking of is a block of wood or metal with a cut out (as deep and as round as the cord) so that the power cord can rest in it. This way, when the cord pulls down it will put the force on the brace and not the amp's IEC jack.

Something like this:

0000089ki7.jpg


Obviously it would have to be adjustable in height since everyone's amp or source will be different heights. An iPod box is a poor man's solution.
smily_headphones1.gif
The bracket is from an external hard drive, but it's just so you can see a rough shape of what I had in mind.
 
Jan 18, 2008 at 5:41 AM Post #5 of 27
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Wow you really molded that P3 in there good... So how long did that take ya?
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I swear, if the thing didn't sound as good as it does I'd personally set fire to the Power 3 bench.
mad.gif


And for the records it weighs 3.5 pounds.. well, last time I checked anyway.
 
Jan 18, 2008 at 6:21 AM Post #6 of 27

IPodPJ

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Like I said above, it was just some stuff lying around, but I think the cable should come with some kind of brace, especially for small amps like mine that only weigh about 12 lbs.

But it does sound superb. I think I've mostly gone back to the Opera's DAC now (since the Power 3 has been in place) since it now has more postives than the Juli@. The Juli@ is still more defined in the bass though.

But the Power 3 opens the soundstage up so wide, and the center imaging goes deep. It is a great cord.
 
Jan 19, 2008 at 1:28 AM Post #8 of 27

IPodPJ

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Acoustic Chef /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Word,
cool.gif

ant no Master LE though
wink.gif



Fo shizzle, mah' nizzle.
biggrin.gif


Hope the guy before me burns it in good. Too bad I don't have a good source to try it on. But hey, the Power 3 brought the Opera's DAC to a level that finally surpassed the Juli@ in most areas, so that alone is quite an accomplishment.

When is VD going to start recabling headphones? I guarantee that you guys would get a ton of business from here if you did that.
wink.gif


I've also got another very good cable idea that I'm trying to find someone to manufacture. If interested in finding out what it is, have someone from your R&D department shoot me an e-mail.
 
Jan 19, 2008 at 1:33 AM Post #9 of 27

slwiser

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Quote:

Originally Posted by lan /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Maybe... or maybe that's just how your system really sounds and you need to switch to more neutral things... you know like K1000 or HE90.
biggrin.gif
tongue.gif
eek.gif


Thanks for sharing your impressions.



I am with you on this one. My cable provides better clarity than the stock cable I had been using.
 
Jan 19, 2008 at 7:54 AM Post #11 of 27

IPodPJ

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Quote:

Originally Posted by IPodPJ /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Hope the guy before me burns it in good. Too bad I don't have a good source to try it on. But hey, the Power 3 brought the Opera's DAC to a level that finally surpassed the Juli@ in most areas, so that alone is quite an accomplishment.


To clarify, since the Power 3 has been in my system the Opera's DAC has much better left and right imaging. The Juli@ has much better center imaging.

I've also found that I occasionally like using the SRC resampler @ 88.2kHz more than I used to. Music is much smoother to listen to than at 44.1 but you lose a tiny bit of dynamic range, which is rarely ever audible. Resampling at 96kHz seems to sound worse than 44.1. Perhaps this is because there are an uneven amount of steps it has to fill in from 44.1 to 96, whereas with 88.2 it is exactly doubled from 44.1 and only requires one extra half-step frequency to assign. The same applies to me favoring 176.4 over 192 (and actually sometimes 192 doesn't work at all, it adds skipping noises to the music).

Of course everything I have just mentioned applies to playback of redbook CDs only. If you do your own live recording and record at 48kHz, it would make sense if you're going to upsample to upsample to 96kHz or 192kHz. Even steps sound better than odd steps.
 
Jan 19, 2008 at 5:04 PM Post #12 of 27

Dan Millheim

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Preface: Cable bashing trolls need not respond. I have gone with stock then a variety of custom cables and there is NO WAY you can convince me that cables don't make a difference. PC cables make the greatest difference followed by analogue interconnects then digital.

After two months of burn in and repeated A/B-ing, I am now able to write that my Virtual Dynamics P3 cable has without a doubt "bested" my other PC cables. I will spare you the tired audiophile buzz words, but as much as I had NOT wanted this to be the case, considering the cost of some of some of my other PC cables, it is undeniable. The Virtual Dynamics Power 3 comes out on top as the clear winner.

Dang it, now I have to rethink my whole cable situation...ahhhh!

Questions: Does VD do custom length cable? I need (2) 2 1/2 foot lengths to start. Could I send you back my P3 6 footer and have you make me two for a price? What would it cost?
 
Jan 19, 2008 at 10:12 PM Post #13 of 27

chesebert

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Power 3 is just the beginning of what will turn out to be a very emptied wallet; you will be ridiculed by nonbelievers as crazy, hearing things, how can dirty AC line be cleaned up by the last 5in, can't prove the difference, etc. Its worse if you are an EE, you need to restrain yourself to never ever say PC makes any difference in a circuit, or risking getting laughed at and casted away.

you have been properly warned. now go back and enjoy your power 3
biggrin.gif
 
Jan 19, 2008 at 10:40 PM Post #14 of 27

IPodPJ

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Quote:

Originally Posted by chesebert /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Power 3 is just the beginning of what will turn out to be a very emptied wallet; you will be ridiculed by nonbelievers as crazy, hearing things, how can dirty AC line be cleaned up by the last 5in, can't prove the difference, etc. Its worse if you are an EE, you need to restrain yourself to never ever say PC makes any difference in a circuit, or risking getting laughed at and casted away.

you have been properly warned. now go back and enjoy your power 3
biggrin.gif



Ridicule doesn't bother me. I ridiculed others when I was on the opposite side of the fence.
biggrin.gif
My wallet is already empty so I have to replenish it before I can drain it again.
 
Jan 20, 2008 at 5:53 AM Post #15 of 27

Capunk

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Does Power 3 cable is shielded?
 

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