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Just out and just arrived at The STEALTH House, an authorized STEALTH Audio Cables dealer, the much awaited Varidig Sextet Version 16T with new ferromagnetic user tunable collar. The main difference between the V.16 Sextet over the V.14 is in the ferromagnetic composite in the tuning collar best described by Serguei Timachev, chief engineer and owner at STEALTH Audio Cables:
"The Sextet is an unusual cable, with a number of features and details which are sometimes not obvious even to an experienced reviewer.
The V16T version is sonically more refined because of a newer ferromagnetic composite in the tuning collar, and the collar itself being made of machined Titanium – versus carbon in the V14T, and the difference is clearly audible. The reason for us to update the tuning collars is that while the ferrite is not conductive electrically, alnico and other nickel alloys are conductive, and it is well known in the dynamic transducers industry that it makes a big difference. Our V14 collars make use of ferrite, while our V16 tuning collars are made of conductive metal flakes, and this is where the difference comes from".
Available in any configuration with on average a one week build time. All STEALTH Audio Cable products are completely made in Maryland by hand including its proprietary carbon fiber connectors with solid silver tips.
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With the STEALTH Audio Cables Varidig Sextet V.16T, your digital system will be taken to another level never imagined. Read what the Sextet V.16T beta testers have to say and visit the STEATH Audio Cables web site for more info (keeping in mind the V.15 and V.16's are essentially identical. Your sextet would be the V.16):
I now feel confident enough to report my conclusions about the Sextet V14-T and V15/V16-T:
total burn in time for each cable was about 14 days.system conditions:
the cables were used between my Wadia 971 CD transport and Wadia 931 digital control/switching unit ( the Wadia 900 series is a 4 box design with double glass optical connections for word clock and data, (most glass cables are vastly inferior to your Sextet but the best from Aural Symphonics –the red first gen. Optimism (with the special polished metal tip) and the blue $5000 Exelon the later regrettably out-of-production came close -under certain system conditions).
The Sextet was used for data transfer, while the “red” Optimism was running the clock.
All listening was done with Reed book 44/16 CD´s but curiously the musical and analytical resolution is still better then I hear from most even ultra expensive high end systems using hi-rez-files as a source (this is only possible whe the disks get the full treatment: Audio Desk disk edge cutter, disk black painting, Nespa Pro light flashing at 120 seconds, surface spray, Bedini Hexbeam, Furutech).
starting the tuning process:
I moved the collar in 3cm steps alongside the cables and took a short listen (not considering the first and last 10cm of the cables)
during the process I made short notes, later returning to remarkable positions.
at the beginning it was hard to make decisions but at the end, with the help of a friend visiting me, it was a straightforward process to find the best position for each cable.
when every musical aspect was very close to optimum a few minute shifts finally made it clear.
the last audible shift to finally log-in the “sound picture” was only about 3 or 4mm.
both cables have a distinct “character” which doesn't change while shifting the collar.
for me the best position is simply the one with the greatest clarity which let me hear the most detailed sonic signature of every instrument and voice in the recording.
I would compare it with the effect of focusing a lens.
(in my opinion moving speakers in the right position is too complex to compare it with the effect of shifting the collar)
after then I verified the effect of the Shakti Stone:
this needs to be done carefully, because a Shakti in the wrong position can also darken or over damp the sound
in the right position and with the appropriate distance to the cable I heard more powerful vibrating energy and “image-density” !
(i.e after this final tuning process it was an even greater pleasure hearing a well recorded female voice swelling, getting louder and louder without loosing her physical dimension (as opposed to homogenous flat sound) captivating the listener with harmonically rich full timbre.)
(I don't now if I could succeed in illustrating the difference a Shakti Stone can make.)
description of the cables ( as I hear it):
most significant is the darker tonal balance of the V14.
a bit of high frequency information is missing with the V14 –(the ferrite effect ?)
I have heard a similar tendency in some “overfiltered” designs.
but don't get me wrong the V14 is still very resolving in the highs, but by comparison with the V15 there is a considerable amount of information missing.
with the V15 listening to Vivaldi's four seasons let me hear a beguilling sparkle and shimmer floating above the orchestra
in silences between notes the V14 gives a more “blacker” background, while the V15 sounds more atmospheric, keeping the lights on and let me better feel the ambience of the hall.
with the V14 the decay of the harpsichord sounds a little damped.
especially the violoncellos got a drier, tighter and spectacular raspy sound.
I could imagine the V15 akin to the acoustics of a wooden paneled chamber, then adding some absorbing foam and get the sound of the V14.
at first listen I thought that the V15`s more liquid slightly lasher presentation might result in obscuring some detail ( in the analytical sense) but this was not the case.
I als found the liquid flow of the V15 more natural relaxing and appealing.
my 2008 version of the Sextet has a similar tonal balance then the V15 but is significantly less controlled with an inherent extended reverberation which tends to slightly smear information (it is simply not as accurate but nevertheless can be very pleasent to listen to).
I will not rule out that people who are not preliminary listening to classical music or voices and like a tight, punchy sound might resign natural harmonic overtones and prefer the V14.
My clear choice is the V15 !
Tomorrow I will install the V14/15 in an Wilson, Spectral based system to explore if my findings are consistent in other systems.
I hope to have provided sufficient comprehensible and useful descriptions.
I have evaluated the Sextets in another system together with one of my best friends.
His system consists of an EMM Labs digital front end, Spectral amplification, cabling from MIT and HB design, Wilson speakers, extensive room treatment.
He is an audiophile, Audio dealer and musician in one person –a rare combination -playing percussion in an Austrian symphony orchestra.
my findings are similar to what I heard in my own system but with slightly different emphasis on which sound aspects matter more or less.
I want to give you an example that illustrates (our) thoughts and emotions we felt comparing the cables when listening to an ride-cymbal.
it sounds if different cymbal types were played depending on which cable was used.
with the V15 the cymbal is thinner pronouncing extended overtone shimmer , while the cymbal with the V14 is thicker and pronounces the (physical) metal attack with a lower tone, decay is shorter because of the different frequency spectrum.
…Here are some of my thoughts after listening to the V15. First of all, this is the finest Digital Cable that I have ever heard. Now that I say that I feel that this Cable is for the Audiophile that is going to tweak his system to very fine tolerances. At one point I was listening to Eric Bibb, a Blues Singer. He has a habit of producing fine recordings. And that's rare for a Blues Artist. At first I thought his voice was out of phase with the rest of his group. But, I went up and just tapped on the side of one of my Tidal Agorias. I had no idea if my speakers even moved since they weigh 550lbs each. But Eric Bibbs voice just snapped into focus. There was no phasey effect at all. His lead guitar player who was standing to Bibbs left and placed about four feet back was alive, dynamic and wonderfully focused. The same could be said for his Drummer. I could see all the way to the rear of the stage with no loss of focus, bass, and dynamics. Just so transparent. This is not the case with the V14. In contrast Bibb's voice was encapsulated. It sounded as though there was a soft bubble surrounding Bibb's voice. The problem with this is that less experienced listeners will think that this is more focused and detailed. But, a bubble outlining a vocalists head is not accurate. Close your eyes at a Concert and you will not hear this encapsulated effect. Also with the V14 as you travel back on the soundstage things are not as well focused or dynamic. The V15 really shines in its detailed and transparent abilities.
I listened to Dianna Krall's Love Scenes CD. Again the transparency was spectacular. The subtle details that give you the ability to more easily envision her fingers on the Piano Keys was there in abundance. It's trite to say but, the Piano just sounded more like the real deal. Her Guitar Player is sharply focused and the dynamics exceed anything that I am familiar with. Including the V14. If the recording is well done, the V15 just puts you there.
The V 15 is a very sophisticated Cable. The Cable is so open, transparent, focused dynamic and detailed that it's easy to just escape to the performance. It projects images that just allow you to be transported to the venue. If everything in your system is dialed in, this is an exciting experience.
From listening to the V15, I can say that the Cables require the system that they are inserted into, to be absolutely spot on. If the Speakers are off the slightest, things are not going to sound correct
I was waiting for that so natural or Organic Sound that I heard when the Cable was fresh in my system. After a few days of listening past the fourteen day mark I feared that this was gone. Lost somewhere where those fleeting memories of something we heard sound so good disappear. But what I found was that if you get into the correct range with the Collar placement most of this comes back. What you have to be careful of is that you don't place the Collar so that it's literally sounding more focused but slightly brighter. At this point, you have to move the Collar back in such a fine amount that you are asking yourself if it moved at all. Than you have to be very patient. Walk away if your tempted to move it. This cable is much more sensitive to movement and touching than the V14. So, when you hit this point let the cable settle. Yes it doesn't sound as focused but suck up that organic sound. After a couple of hours of waiting you will get it all, focus and that organic sound to die for. The Transparency is also that of a placid lake. You can see from the front of the stage to the rear with amazing focus. You can easily locate everyone on the stage and place them in descending order. And if that wasn't enough, the micro dynamics are amazing. The word that came to my mind was technicolor. This gives instruments a very real quality. They are just there playing to you with an uncanny realness.
So that's where I am in this process. I will add more as I spend more time with these amazing cables. And, I will give more of a comparison with the V 14's.
Well if you had any doubt that I'm nuts this should convince you. While I have greatly enjoyed the V15, I never felt as though I was getting all of what the Cable could achieve. So, I took all of the Stillpoints, Apatures, and Entreq products out of the system. I listened for some time and decided that I would try and tweak the tuning collar. So, I moved the collar so that I had to guess whether it really moved or not. Wow, everything just locked in. Suddenly that organic sound was back. The stage widened and deepened. I'm elated with the sound. This is such a revealing and demanding Cable. But when everything is just so, this is an amazing and by quite a margin the best available. Cheers to you!
First of all I want to thank you for allowing me the opportunity to evaluate the Stealth Audio Sextet Digital V15-T and V14, this has been a very interesting evaluation and well worth the time spent. I have spent countless hours listening to both cables mostly alone, however I have had friends over to help me with the assessment.
One caveat or advantage to assessing both cables you sent me was in owning 2 Lauferteknik Memory Players along with the Behold APU768 Pre Amp, this allowed me to switch back and forth from cable to cable while using the remote. Allow me to explain. The Behold allows me to connect 2 separate SPDIF cables while operating 2 different Transports. I used the 16 Core Memory Player connected to the Stealth V14, and the 32 Core Memory Player connected to the V15T. I allowed the recommended burn in time by continuously operating one player at a time by alternating weeks, (total time 3 weeks). In between I never turned off either Memory Player during the approximate period of 2 months of having both cables in my possession.
I will admit in the beginning I was having a very difficult time figuring out which cable made the biggest and most notable impact, this was mainly because I was in awe of what each cable delivered in pure sonic presentation and musicality. I also love the signature Stealth Audio Teflon connectors, I also love their air tight fit and quality build. I believe it took the V15-T more time to settle in, I will explain my assumption later.
Using both Memory Players I loaded the same music tracks to both machines and synced them to play concurrently. I setup the remote so I could switch between each player and listened to the same tracks of a CD while listening for any differences that stood out, in other words, I was trying to discover if one cable sounded better than the other when I switched back and forth. In the beginning I found it very difficult to hear any major difference. I made sure each Memory Player was configured exactly the same. I even used the same make and model power cords as not to lend an advantage to either Memory Player.
After a good week after burn in, I was almost convinced that the V14 was the more dynamic and smoother sounding cable. I even had a friend over who helped validate my assessment. Both cables delivered flawless sound staging, incredible mid range, and voices to die for. However I was expecting a bit more from the V15-T. It really wasn’t until I just left my evaluation for a period of time and came back to it with the mindset of not expecting the V15-T to outperform the V14 simply because of the higher model number and the ability to tune the cable. Upon returning to my evaluation I swapped the cables and started over. That’s when I heard it (BAM). Someone opened the flood gates and the music poured in….the density of the sound was incredible, sound staging was deeper with increased dimensionality almost 4D if there is such a thing. Imaging was spot on, each instrument has spaced out like never before, the music cued up with such accuracy in speed from start to finish and the transients were defined to a “T” very fast and accurate. These cables allowed my system to perform effortlessly.
Upon switching the cables around, I wondered, How could this be…..why is the V15-T now performing better on the 16 Core as opposed to the 32 Core Memory Player. To make a long story short, I had missed setting up the 32 Core’s up sampler so the 16 Core was at a distinct advantage. I corrected my mistake, swapped cables and listened again. I would not be honest if I said the V15T blew away the V14, however although both cables performed better than any digital cable I have ever owned, I have never heard my system sound so immaculate. As though I did not recognize some of the material I was listening to, everything just got better, especially with the music playing out of the 32 Core.
The Stealth V15-T is a remarkable cable. At first I was unsure how far to slide the tunable collar, what increment should I use? 6 inch, 12 inch? With the help of a friend I settled on both. Then I found that it best to shorten to approximately 4 in, In my system I was able to detect a substantial difference when the cable was almost mid-way past the output of the Transport (Memory Player). I felt beyond midpoint and the closer I approached the input of the pre amp, the sound got thinner. The closer to mid-point, my friend and I reached consensus that the Stealth Audio V15-T digital cable rendered a sonics we have never heard before. At that point I have not listened to the V14 due to I have spent the remainder of my evaluation on the V15-T.
The V15-T in my opinion can be your best friend or your worst enemy in terms of reproduced audio. If this cable is not setup properly it sound like pure crap, please forgive my example, however at times I thought the cable was not engineered or built properly, however once I reached the sweet spot, I am convinced there is no other cable on the market that can compete. I also love the fact that the cable allows you diversification. To prove this, I noticed when I had it installed on the 16 Core Memory Player the cable performance was stellar, however when I reinstalled on the 32 Core Memory Player I had to make a slight adjustment of the tuning collar to capture and exceed what I had heard on the 16 Core.
I can go on and on and on, about the Stealth Audio V15-T’s sonic attributes, the quality of the cable, durability, and second to none connectors. This cable once installed in an audio system will speak for itself. It’s a truly remarkable cable, in my opinion and experience; it’s by far the best I’ve ever heard in my system. Hands Down.
Moreno Mitchell, USA