Serguei Timachev and his STEALTH Audio Cables have a kind of cult status among their owners. STEALTH Audio uses many unique materials and techniques, and Serguei Timachev is always looking to break new ground and push the boundaries of high-end audio cable manufacturing with his unique vision and determination.
So when I was asked to evaluate various levels and designs of STEALTH Audio Cables power cords, it was an easy confirmation.
STEALTH Audio Cables
Serguei Timachev and his team’s goal at STEALTH Audio Cables is to advance the “state of the art” in high-end audio cables.
This goal is achieved by perfecting all design elements: the use of highly complex non-resonant and impedance-matched, multi-layer and multi-conductor cable geometries in conjunction with the most advanced conductive media available: carbon fiber-based conductive composites, high-purity silver and pure solid gold, single-crystal metal alloys, and the most exotic of alloys: amorphous metal alloys.
STEALTH Audio Cables top-of-the-line cables use helium gas as a dielectric and feature cost-no-object proprietary connectors with solid silver contacts, Kevlar composite inserts for strength, and ultra-modified PTFE housings enclosed in carbon fiber jackets and reinforced with milled aircraft-grade titanium.
STEALTH Audio Cables are individually handmade because STEALTH Audio cables simply cannot be mass-produced by machine due to their complexity.
All STEALTH Audio cables are bench tested and sonically evaluated to ensure uncompromised performance and quality backed by STEALTH Audio Cables LIFETIME WARRANTY against defects.
STEALTH Audio Cables are designed from the ground up with esthetic beauty and unsurpassed build quality in mind and to experience the standard of sound that comes from superior design, materials, and attention to detail, thus ensuring an unforgettable experience.
Dream V.18 UNIVERSAL
Dream V.18 is STEALTH Audio’s latest and greatest Universal Dream power cord. With a much more improved design compared to the older V.16 and V.12.
KEY DESIGN FEATURES
STEALTH Audio UNI cables can be configured by the user as Wall/Preamp. or Digital or Power – via different positions of the screws. One screw is solid silver and is made entirely in-house, the other screw is plastic. The solid silver screw provides silver-on-silver contact when used in the desired configuration. Each Universal Dream Power Cord comes with two sets of screws.
For the new series, V18 has been replaced by “DIGITAL or ANALOG” – also configurable via screws for the UNI version. Analog is intended for amplifiers, preamplifiers.
Its main goal is to provide an extremely low impedance and resonance-free ground path to the devices, thus significantly improving the signal-to-noise ratio and the transparency of the audio reproduction. For digital audiophile devices and/or devices with switching power supplies STEALTH Audio recommend either the Dream V18 configured as “digital” – or STEALTH Audio special dedicated “fixed” Dream V18 DIGITAL AC cable version – both with integrated filtering.
The standard Dream V.18 is available in Digital, Analog, and Universal configurations.
The Dream V.18 Special Editions have the configurations Digital, Power, and Pre-Amp and are marked with “SE” on the carbon fiber housing.
The Dream V.18 are available with USA and Schuko plugs. Both the male plug and female IEC connectors have solid silver contacts.
The Dream V.10-20
The Dream V.10-20 uses STEALTH Audio’s latest metal wire carbon fiber connector with integrated metal wire mesh, and is available in the combination of two configurations: Digital and Analog.
It is a continuation of STEALTH Audio legendary Dream V.10 power cables launched in 2010, 12 years ago.
KEY DESIGN FEATURES
The Dream V.10-20 ultra-thick body is just as flexible as the earlier Dreams, but the metalized carbon fiber connectors are extended further into the body for strength and durability.
The Dream V.10-20 conductive material is polished, double-insulated, oxygen-free copper without any coating. It is buttery soft as it is deeply annealed via cryogenic treatment in four stages, slowly immersed, kept at the ideal temperature in the cryo-chamber, stored to allow enough time for the built-up tension inside the wire to dissipate, and very slowly, gradually resurfaced – i.e. brought back to room temperature.
The Cryo-treatment undergoes a 72-hour special “audiophile” cycle.
Separation of digital and analog Dream types is necessary due to the nature of the noise that digital devices produce. Various types of filters and grounding configurations and arrangements are used.
The greatest advantage is given when all power cables in the system are Dream series. This significantly reduces the noise floor of the system.
Virtual star grounding can be achieved if all Dream cables are matched to the equipment types. If the AC power cords are used that are not Dream series, one will have more than one path to the ground, and such a configuration can create ground loops. This is because other AC power cords do not have RF transparent ground paths, which cannot filter the electrosmog and noise in the ground. Most other AC power cords used with digital equipment allow the noise pollution from the clock generators/oscillators and switching power supplies in the digital equipment to “leak” through their straight ground path into the circuits of the pure analog components, compromising sound quality.
The shielding effect of STEALTH Audio carbon fiber enclosures is greater than that of full metal enclosures, regardless of whether the connectors are brass, aluminum, or copper, plated or unplated.
The explanation is that while carbon fiber composites are indeed conductive, their electrical conductivity is significantly (many times) lower than that of the metals mentioned above. Therefore, induced stray currents (from the AC current in the cable) and EMI interference currents picked up from outside dissipate much faster in a carbon fiber enclosure than in an all-metal enclosure.
The newly introduced STEALTH metalized carbon fiber shells are even more effective than pure carbon fiber: the built-in metal braiding optimizes the overall conductivity of the shells and further increases the shielding effect, making them even better than pure carbon fiber and still significantly better than pure metal shells.
The measured added noise reduction benefit of metalized carbon-fiber shells – for all types of noise – ranges from as little as 3 dB to as much as 10 dB, depending on the air noise in the environment and also on which outlet, AC source, and/or AC strip the cable is connected to, and also on the particular device the cable is delivering to AC (i.e., the AC current value in the cable). But the advantage is there in any case, and hence the remarkable improvement in the cable’s performance.
The Cloude Grande is conceptually similar to the Dream 20-20 but uses a different geometry to achieve a unique sound that no other power cord can match.
KEY DESIGN FEATURES
The Cloude Grande offers a thick and RF transparent ground path for the lowest electrical resistance and complex multi-path geometry, but the implementation is different: Cloude Grande uses flat conductors for both the AC conducting path and the ground path. These flat conductors are slightly spiraled to provide uniform and omnidirectional flexibility to the assembled cable. Flat conductors provide a reduced skin effect, promoting full transparency up to very high frequencies.
Each of the Cloude Grande’s 16 flat conductors is encapsulated in its own para-vacuum tube, and the flat conductor touches the tube only at the edges. While each wire is very reliably electrically insulated and could handle over a thousand volts if needed, such geometry is absolutely optimal when it comes to approximating the ideal “floating wire without any insulation” – to provide the lowest possible energy storage leading to the highest propagation speed, which could also be defined as “ultimate electromagnetic transparency.”
In this respect, the Cloude Grande is unique and superior to any other approach, design, or geometry STEALTH AUDIO know of.
The Cloude Grande all-silver combines the above features with the sonic characteristics of solid silver, including solid silver contacts at both ends, to provide the ultimate subtlety and delicacy of sound reproduction.
STEALTH AUDIO flagship of their Dream power cord series.
KEY DESIGN FEATURES
The Dream 20-20 features an extremely thick (nearly one inch in diameter, ZERO effective AWG – which would be equivalent to a solid 10 mm diameter copper conductor, for the lowest electrical resistance up to very high frequencies – only 0.3 ohms for 1,000 meters length), but much more effective than a solid, due to its complex anti-resonant geometry, an internal ground path that creates a highly transparent path for a common star ground for the entire audio system, reducing noise and improving the subjective clarity of audio reproduction.
This goal was achieved with 220 interwoven, individually insulated circular conductors in the Dream 20-20. Because of their characteristics, the Dream 20-20 cannot even theoretically be manufactured in either digital (internally filtered) or “UNI” configuration. The Dream 20-20 has been specifically designed to take full advantage of the high-quality AC power strips and STEALTH Audio upcoming all-silver power distribution ladder.
Music is all about staggering beauty. And every audiophile and music-loving listener strives in their way for music to be unfolded to the highest degree.
At different levels and with different affinities within the system, STEALTH Audio power cables have enabled to reveal different ways of music with a refreshing capacity.
My listening notes always look like the manifesto of the book idea. The most daunting task is to transcribe them into a meaningful whole.
This review is already extensive, and if I were to write down every single and particular insertion of the STEALTH Audio power cables and associated changes in the behavior of the system, it would be enough material for a small book.
As usual, I’ll try to point out particular qualities with a few spot-on highlights that explain the sonic and musical characteristics in detail and provide the reader with useful pieces of information. Based on all of the feedback, most of you this particular write-up.
STEALTH Dream V.18 UNIVERSAL
With different power cables, there can be a significant change in the music. This is of course closely related to power/energy and STEALTH Dream V.18 UNIVERSAL has proven that a properly designed cable can have a lasting impact on all types of music.
Among many different music references Fritz Reiner – Prokofiev: Lieutenant Kije/ Stravinsky: Song of the Nightingale perhaps most distinctly demonstrates the STEALTH Dream V.18 UNIVERSAL merits.
In this particular recording Reiner brings out the best in Stravinsky and STEALTH Dream V.18 UNIVERSAL makes this perhaps the soundest example of power cables potency in practice at this price point.
The sheer vehemence of the orchestra was resolute and vigorous, and STEALTH Dream V.18 UNIVERSAL power cables allowed the sonic depths to be fully revealed without being scrubbed or sheathed. With STEALTH Dream V.18 UNIVERSAL Song of the Nightingale desolated orchestral fragments without dissolving into meaningless parts and particles of some distant soundscape.
Fritz Reiner – Prokofiev picturesque material requires a constant and uniform power output, otherwise the music can sound too quickly become sterile and senseless.
Throughout the songs from the album, untrammeled music vitality has come to the attention in absence of dreary aural wastelands, that can be easily evoked when the power cable(s) are blocking the energy.
The STEALTH Dream V.18 UNIVERSAL power cord lets the cores of a great orchestra momentum fully thrive with an enchanting differentia. These qualities could be missing even in some of the far more expensive power cables.
STEALTH Dream V.10-20
Muddy Waters – Folk Singer is not only loved by many for its acoustic splendor. It is also one of the heartfelt blues musical recordings where the singer reveals all his aptitudes and puts his soul at a forte without compunctions.
Folk Singer is also a highly demanding recording with impressive dynamics almost reminiscent of sophisticated orchestra dynamic shifts.
To inhibit the listening room with Watters, who was a tall man of nearly 6 feet, requires high circulating volumes of sheer power to be delivered.
It’s not just challenging to present Watters credibly. Buddy Guy, Clifton James, and Willie Dixon are also challenging parts of the big picture needed to unfold with exact presence and form.
With so much detail spanning the most impressive horizontal and vertical range, the performers can too easily become absorbed in the density alone, making them less human and believable.
STEALTH Dream V.10-20 has managed to create an impressively dense sonic cloud without limiting the energy.
All the tracks on this legendary blues album are great, but “My Home Is in the Delta” is my favorite. With STEALTH Dream V.10-20, this song, steeped in emotion, was neither stripped of raw emotion nor dismantled frame by frame, as too often happens.
STEALTH Dream V.10-20 helped showcase the instruments and performers to a different degree than expected. Waters vocal could take presence with all the chestiness and almost roaring forceness.
It is most impressive that this recording still sounds so fresh and transparent after all these years and almost six decades after being recorded. Folk Singer is characterized by both fierce and subtle energy that is not easily conjured.
This dynamic juxtaposition dynamism can too easily happen by the absence of the proper level of acoustic nodes and anchor points.
On the contrary STEALTH Dream V.10-20 has not only demonstrated a unique ability to permit the listener to assimilate deeply with the original music but also formed exceptional clarity without a hint of a veil shading the aural presentation.
STEALTH Claude Grande
Oscar Peterson – We Get Requests provides a great basis for evaluation without getting too lost in the analytical segmentation of the sound. The music simply grabs you into the enjoyment.
The sonic surface and subsurface of We Get Requests may seem a bit miniaturist, but Claude Grande proved otherwise.
With STEALTH Claude Grande’s “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars (Corcovado)” the instruments did not sound like small sound projectiles, something that happens too often even with much more expensive power cables. STEALTH Claude Grande not only made the musician more credible than usual, but the music was more unambiguous and more resounding, with a grander feeling or reality.
The performers never sounded like projections, which again happens too often with many high-end audio cables, but seemed unpretentious, real, and tangible.
In addition, the sonic canvas was interwoven with a far higher number of sound particles permitting a much denser sonic scope than expected, which always proves beneficial in creating a more believable illusion.
STEALTH Claude Grande harnessed the Oscar Peterson Trio with ravishing impetus and made it sound livelier and more real.
As icing on the cake STEALTH, Claude Grande opened up the endogenous aural pathways mimicking We Get Requests distinctly clear, with highly involving quality, effortless dynamism, and splendid contrasting capability. All these are rare qualities that deserve high praise.
STEALTH Claude Grande Silver
No STEALTH Claude Grande is neither overshadowed nor dismissed by the STEALTH Claude Grande Silver power cable. However, there is a real and tremendous effect that elevates Claude Grande Silver to a level of its own.
As with anything in high-end audio, each cable needs its appropriate fitting place in the audio system, but STEALTH Claude Grande Silver’s unique translucency opens up new areas within the system to be set up and fully explored. With its natural transparency and lighting fast crux, it instantly shows any particular positive or negative attribute.
The ultra-snappy and translucent disposition of the STEALTH Claude Grande Silver was immediately evident with Charles Munch – A Stereo Spectacular: Saint-Saens Symphony No.3.
STEALTH Claude Grande Silver delivered a flawless presentation of this desert island record with a lustrous differentia that showcased all the subtleties and the remotest moments of the orchestra.
All too often, details in the music sound like trivialities and seem meaningless rather than clarifying the essentials. These lackings can be readily correlated with non-proper power cabling.
STEALTH Claude Grande Silver conveyed Saint-Saens’ Symphony No. 3 to magnificent effect. The music never sounded isolated or tedious. That can easily happen if the energy is not properly furnished and dispersed, which can be perceived as fatigue, lack of engagement, and dynamic freedom.
The STEALTH Claude Grande Silver’s pure, unadulterated power added to the much-needed energetic momentum, where the leading edges of the notes were never brushed off.
With the alternation and smoothing of the natural sharp attacks of the acoustic instruments, the orchestra and the instruments lose their hex. Something crucial also happens. The orchestra stops sound like a harmonious whole and the instruments scatter like unconnected dots in the chaotic kaleidoscope of sound.
Oppositely, with Charles Munch A Stereo Spectacular STEALTH Claude Grande Silver has rejuvenated this unique musical recording with insightful, eclectic, and enchanting quality.
STEALTH Claude Grande Silver’s translucent core presented a clearer but not ear-bleeding rendition that shimmered with grander expansions of detail and sonic focal points without forfeiting the music’s lyrical quality.
It’s very hard to get the balance right with any audio cable that’s made of silver. It is an art in itself to find the right level of transparency without destabilizing the harmonic order. Refreshingly STEALTH Claude Grande Silver manages this, unlike any other silver power cable I have tried over the years.
Again, this is a rare quality and a seldom metier to encounter. It just proves that the STEALTH Audio team is doing something fundamentally right with its cables.
STEALTH Dream 20-20
It’s always interesting to see how music can be rejuvenated just by experimenting with different power cords.
It’s never easy to understand the mechanics of cables and translate them into something tangible. Here, we reviewers do our best to provide the right vocabulary that ensures little is lost in translation.
John Coltrane Love Supreme is one of the rare masterpieces and perhaps a most unique mystical journey into the sublime music of Coltrane.
This is undoubtedly my favorite jazz record and another non-guessing desert island record. There is so much profound excellency hidden within this timeless masterpiece.
I can not count the replays anymore, but Love Supreme can never leave me bored or unaffected. It’s also one of those musical gems that, for various reasons, keep me going and align the mindset on the worst of the days.
There is something fundamentally right about these tracks that simply transcends time and space. Of course, there are many open mystery hints about this mesmerizing Trane’s exploration of scales and harmonies that point to the complicatedness and potency of archaic Indian music. That in part explains the high order synchronicity among other mind-boggling and startling qualities.
With Love supreme, I am usually quickly able to discern the crucial factors and when sufficed pristine power is served, the real contrast is revealed in a non-casual, captivating-deeper-experience.
Certainly the opening track “Love Supreme” sets the pace of the record, slowly expanding into the loftier realms of higher-level composing and lyricism.
But when “A Love Supreme, Pt. 2: Resolution” kicks in, the utterly complex Trane’s universe seems to be unveiled with a simple algebra. Everything appears to be a place and peace and revealed with the universal tempi that speak to mortals.
STEALTH Dream 20-20 cemented the timbre, the color, and the shape of the instruments giving a weightless real-world quality to the reproduction.
In addition, Dream 20-20 has permitted an enduring stable sound morphology and exquisite music structure with exceptional consistency, without altering the sound orbit.
STEALTH Dream 20-20 constituted an impressive astute rendition that ran throughout the album and magnified the sonic enchantment on a whole other level, bringing out the gut of the musical charge with a newly found sacrosanct quality.
The STEALTH Dream 20-20 have never poised itself as some sort of causal intersection of quickly fading attributes. It acted with the rarest consistency and fixed steadiness that is hard to find, no matter how much money you spend.
Among the STEALTH Audio power cords, the Dream 20-20 delivers perhaps delivers the utmost splendor gamut of expression uniquely and potently. But as with anything, this is always subordinate to the quality of the cable and associated high-end audio paraphernalia.
If we’re speaking of high-end audio reproduction, music can never be fragmented. It is always tenacious, uncompromising, full of fiery intensity, serene yet vibrant. A complex set of multiple attributes that make it harmoniously whole.
And all of the STEALTH Audio power cables have proven across the different tracks and albums to be a prime example in proving their raison d’être.
If we look at audio cables from the perspective of the veins, which play a crucial and fundamental role for the human body system to work, similar audio cables are fundamental in furnishing the primaries for high-end audio reproduction.
While (among other things) the other high-end audio cables are predominantly concerned with different forms of distortion, impedance matching, etc, power cables are primarily concerned with providing pure, raw, and unadulterated electricity.
Any high-end audio designers know the importance of a properly designed and executed power supply, and this is where it all starts with the electronics; receiving pure electricity throughout the properly designed power cables!
But even before that, the first encounter with electricity is of paramount importance. This happens with the power wiring that connects the power distribution ladder to the power outlet. I have witnessed and demonstrated this on many occasions as it is one of the easiest ways to show what a properly designed power cable can do, or on the contrary, how poorly designed power cables contribute to bad performance. More or less anyone can easily try this and hear the changes.
Many high-end audio power cables can have an indelible imprint by default, and no burn-in period will remedy this. This is strictly connected with the poor design and numerous mistakes that can be made. Perhaps it is not spoken loudly enough and often enough how considerable sonic degradations are primarily caused by power cables.
Therefore, in a grand scheme of things closely related to building a high-end audio system, power cords are certainly a valuable target for examination and correction.
Replacing power cords usually has positive effects, and it’s easy to see how quickly the sound changes and what kind of functional uplifting or degradation power cords can bring.
When pure, raw electrical energy is tinkered with or too tamed the core energy of the music is being deprived of its fundamentaries.
Such restrained energy does not allow to trigger the needed physical and psychoacoustical consequences. On the contrary, the insertion of a potent power cord a steady current, and a cascade of raw energy results.
STEALTH Audio has music slaking effect that rarely occurs, but when it does, the music can easily be illuminated, intensified, and fervent.
With adequately designed and linked power cables, any music can and should be easily perceived in its full potential.
Properly distributed power cables not only constitute a higher order of energy delivery but also provide a higher density of anchor points.
Power cables are and should be buoying this particular attribute and allow for even distribution in the necessary energy unison.
Of course, this requires experimentation and sometimes lengthy trial and error. But the result will not be a mere resemblance, but greater insight into remarkable realms of music, and power cables are the essential tools to provide a tactile sense of triumph to remember every time the music is played.
The differences and merits of the various cables are not always as apparent as they are across the STEALTH Audio power cables. One can easily decipher where the dedication has gone in.
STEALTH Audio cables are the embodiment of a clean, powerful sound recurrence, full of exuberance, permitting endless varieties, where the music can triumph at full.
There is little doubt that the team at STEALTH Audio works with restless dedication to envision, design, and produce these cables.
All of the different STEALTH Audio cables I have tested have shown and confirmed with ease how important power cables are, and more importantly, how important it is to get it right. Technically and system integration-wise.
When the pure raw energy is provided and a desired balanced system synergy takes place and music playback shows all of the virtues without spinning the fibers of the music, where the music is not punctuated like with an old mechanical music box, but where it can interpolate naturally between the elements of various sonic forces. Then, the sonic effect is fathomable.
At the end of the day, it is all about lasting magic and permanent enchantment and all five of STEALTH Audio’s cables deliver it, albeit at different, logical scales. ⧉
- STEALTH Dream V.10-20 – 3300 euro
- Dream V.18 UNIVERSAL – 6500 euro
- Dream 20-20 – 7200 euro
- Claude Grande standard – 10200 euro
- Claude Grande all silver – 15000 euro
All prices are including 21% VAT