We used the NuForce Icon Mobile amplifier, the Beats By Dr. Dre Solo HD headphones, and the Apple iPhone 4 for our initial trials, using both versions of Moon’s LOD cables.
How does the Silver Dragon LOD affect sound quality? Simply put, musical transients are better delineated. You hear transients with more accurate articulation, yet without artifacts that would suggest added distortion. Of course, one place you hear this most often is on high frequency percussion instruments like guitar or cymbals. There, you experience a more open and dynamic sound, which sounds more natural. A second benefit comes through greater resolution of ambient sounds, particularly as transients die away. This benefit is particularly important for giving a sense of a real venue being involved. Finally, and most intriguing to me, bass has better definition. Presumably this is because bass—particularly plucked bass—has plenty of harmonic content and this is affected the same way other upper frequencies are.
As for the differences between the two different LOD cables, I have say the full-on LOD cable takes what the IEM LOD cable does (compared with the very nice non-LOD-type signal cable that NuForce supplies) and ups the magnitude of transient improvement by about 50%. Once again I noticed the difference on bass transients as much as on high frequencies.
I will also add that there could be a “season to taste” element of choosing between the two cables. The Solo HD headphones can use as much resolution enhancement as you can provide, but some brighter, more splashy-sounding headphones or earphones might potentially pair better with the somewhat softer-sound IEM LOD model.
Finally, let me note that the sonic improvements I’ve described are subtle, but real. Those of you who believe that reviewers are on LSD, and who believe that wires can’t possibly make a difference, might not be persuaded by the Silver Dragons.
But those of you who have tried accessories to good effect will want to check out these Moon Audio cables. They offer a meaningful improvement for a very small price.