Dynamic Design AV Cables Review
Dynamic Design AV is a Chicago based cable company that was established in 2000. Frankly, I was surprised that I had never heard of Dynamic Design prior to this review. Since Dynamic Design AV has been in business for 22 years, they must be doing something right.
I was given the opportunity to review a full loom of Dynamic Design Lotus series AV cables that represent their entry-level cables. I contacted Olu Sonuga who is the Chief Designer at Dynamic Design, and he sent me a list of demo cables that were ready for review. I selected all the cables I could from the demo list and provided a list of the remaining cables I would need. The only cable I received that isn't from the Lotus series was a digital power cable from the next series up called the Spirit series.
Below is the list of cables I received for review:
The power cables arrived in May 2022 prior to the interconnects and speaker cables, which arrived in July 2022. As soon as the power cables arrived, I removed all of my power cables from my system and installed all of the Dynamic Design power cables. This gave me an opportunity to listen to the changes in my system from just installing the Dynamic Design power cables.
I want to mention that all of the Dynamic Design power cables were easy to work with. I am not a fan of any power cable where the cable and connectors are so huge and heavy they want to pull themselves out of the wall and the back of the gear you have them plugged into. That's why they had to invent what I refer to as "cable bras" to sit under the connectors to keep them parallel with the wall outlet and the source IEC connector in order to remove the strain. All of the Dynamic Design cables fit very securely into the wall outlets and the IEC connectors on my source gear.
My reference system consists of the following gear:
When I started this review, I did not have the HiFi Rose 150B DAC so the 1.5M Spirit digital power cord was connected to the PS Audio DSJ DAC. With the exception of my subs and tonearm cable, my entire system is balanced, which is why all of the interconnect cables listed are XLR cables with the exception of the 8.0M pair of Lotus AE15 RCA interconnects that run from my Ref 6 line stage to the Definitive Technology subs.
I honestly didn't know what to expect when I sat down to listen to my system with the only changes being the power cords. Would I hear any difference? If so, would it be better or worse? For the record, all of my gear uses the stock power cords that came with the gear originally, with the exception of my Ampex 350s that were changed over to 15A IEC connectors at some point in their life and use standard no-frills 15A power cords.
When listening to both digital and analog, the default volume setting I start with on my Ref 6 line stage is 24. When I sat down to listen to my system with Dynamic Design power cables the first thing I noticed was that the sound was louder at 24 than what I was used to. This occurred using the PS Audio DSJ as the source to break-in the cables. This surprised me and resulted in turning down the volume to 22, which became my new default. Of course that number varies somewhat depending on the recording because the recording volume varies from recording to recording.
The next thing I noticed was an increase in the bottom-end extension and more low-level resolution and ambiance from the recording venue. We weren't done there as the Dynamic Design power cables had still more to offer in my system. I primarily listen to jazz music, and the sound of all brass instruments took on a new level of realism and a "you are there" effect. Cymbals also sounded more realistic and they already sounded very realistic before I installed the Dynamic Design power cords.
I want to separate out the analog power cables from the one digital power cable I had to use as much as I can. When I installed the 1.5M Spirit digital power cable to my PS Audio DSJ DAC I was surprised at how it improved the sound. Everything just got "cleaner" and took on a new level of transparency. When my new HiFi Rose 150B DAC showed up, I wanted to listen to it at first with the stock power cord to see if the changes I heard with the DSJ carried over, and they did. The HiFi Rose also sounded better with the 1.5M Spirit digital power cable than it did with the stock power cable. I have to assume the shielding and insulation used in the Spirit power cable are protecting the cable from external EMI/RFI noise and lessening the amount that gets into the power supply of the DAC.
So much for being worried about not hearing any changes with the Dynamic Design analog and digital power cables. The changes they brought to my system were all positive.
The Dynamic Design interconnect cables and speaker cables showed up together in July, and I decided that I was going to install the Lotus speaker cables first to hear the difference between my existing speaker cables (Viero Equilibro Level 3). I listened to the Lotus speaker cables for approximately two weeks before I installed all of the Dynamic Design interconnects.
The Lotus speaker cables are unique (at least to me) in that you have two separate speaker cables per channel. All of the speaker cables that I'm familiar with and have owned have a single speaker cable per channel with each cable having two connectors at each end for the positive and negative terminals on your amp and speakers.
The first thing that impressed me about the Lotus speaker cables was their bass depth and impact. My Viero speaker cables are no slouch in the bass department, but they are no match for the Lotus speaker cables. Using my HiFi Rose 150B, I clicked on The Beatles Yellow Submarine and played "Baby You're A Rich Man" from Qobuz (1999 remix 16-bit/44.1kHz version). I wasn't prepared for the way the bass pressurized my entire room. This was a totally new experience. I also have the German version of The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour LP which has really good bass on the "Baby You're A Rich Man" cut, but it doesn't have the bass power of the Yellow Submarine 1999 remix.
After spending two weeks with Lotus speaker cables in my system, I gained an appreciation for what they were bringing to the table. They are clean and dynamic (I'll return to those words later) with excellent bass power and extension. So the next step was to remove all of my Mogami interconnects and install all of the Dynamic Design interconnects.
The Dynamic Design interconnects were easy to work with in terms of not being too stiff and unwieldy. After I had installed all of the interconnects and being careful to ensure no channels were swapped, I fired up the system to make sure there were no issues, and thankfully there were none. After you have been a reviewer for some time, you learn to never take anything for granted.
I will have to say that the Dynamic Design interconnects maintained what I would call the house sound of the Lotus series of cables. I wrote in my notes if there was only one word I could use to describe the Dynamic Design Lotus series of cables it would be "clean." If I had two words to describe them, it would be "clean" and "dynamic." The Lotus cables seem to drop the noise floor of what was already a very low noise floor in my system, which increases the dynamic range while bringing a sense of ease to your system. According to Chief Designer Olu Sonuga, a big part of the sound you hear through Dynamic Design cables is a result of the insulation and shielding they use and this may explain my observation of how clean these cables sound.
I listened to lots of music in my time with the Dynamic Design cables, both digital and analog and it was always fun if not revelatory. One example of that was listening to the Dire Straits Brothers In Arms (MoFi 45 rpm version). This is a great-sounding LP that has the bass goosed up, which is not atypical of MoFi remasterings.
The cut "The Man's Too Strong" is a case in point assuming your system is capable of deep bass. After you hear the words "The man's too big, the man's too strong" comes a bass explosion that not only pressurizes your room, you can literally feel it in your bones. Being played back through the loom of Lotus cables, the bottom end took on even more weight and power. If your system is in a room anywhere near a china cabinet, I would be worried.
Now back to some relaxing jazz that soothes your soul while enveloping you in beautiful and dynamic sound. The Ornette Coleman Trio Blue Note box set 33rpm is a treasure for me. The album Ornette Coleman Trio, At The "Golden Circle", Stockholm Volume One is my favorite album from the box set. The first cut on Side 1 is "Faces and Places," and it kicks off this great-sounding live album. The sound of hand clapping at the beginning should "pop" with the sound of flesh hitting flesh. When you hear that, you know how real it sounds and that you are in for a treat.
The sound captured on the drums has wonderful dynamics and you don't realize how powerful and dynamic a drum can sound when struck by brushes instead of drumsticks. The sound of cymbals being struck by brushes sets off harmonic shimmers in your room. The entire LP is so clear and dynamic and all the instruments sound realistic in both tone and power it makes it a sonic pleasure to listen to. The Lotus cables let all of this information shine through.
Based on what I heard, if I was going to buy the Dynamic Design cables in sections, I would start with the power cables. Next, I would buy the speaker cables, and lastly, the interconnects. Yes, this is the order I listened to them in my system and it allowed me to hear what each of them brings to the total sound of my system.
In summary, I have enjoyed my time with the Dynamic Design cable loom. They truly took my system to a new level of enjoyment and I probably won't realize the full impact of what I had until the cables are packed and returned to Dynamic Design and I return to my cables. If you get the chance to hear Dynamic Design cables in your system, it might just be revelatory for you too.