STEALTH audio cables
STEALTH Sound Technology Enabling Audibly Lucid Transcomponent Harmony

John Fox


The affect of the STEALTH power cables in my system was unexpected. I have tried many cables this last 8-12  months and liked the Purist Dominus the most, but I was aware of its weakness to others. But it brought on a level of musicality other cables had not. With STEALTH cables, I had all the magic of the Dominus and the strengths of others such as the Kubala-Sosna but in a way that exceeded the combined best efforts of  each. With STEALTH cables I no longer felt I was compromising one thing for another. This to me results in long-term ownership of a product. And it allows me to focus more on the purchase of new music rather than the forever quest for hardware refinements. Of course I have not heard my system fully loaded with the Dream cables and the STEALTH IC and speaker cables. But I have enough insight now to have a feeling for the potential here. And I will be patient to work toward the exchange of each of my cables to STEALTH. But of course a system such as this demands pretty much all that the cable technology can throw at me and with this comes great cost. So it could take me a year or more to just switch over to the Dream PCs alone. This is the price I pay for mono amplifiers, separate line and phono stages, and DAC and transport and electrostatic speakers. Many many power cables here. And I feel putting in 4-5 M5000 and 4-5 Dream would be a wonderful way to start based on my findings with various components in my system. I can then decide if trying 2 or 3 pairs of Indra and the Dream speaker cables are the next logical step in this re-cable process or to instead go with all Dream PCs and then the other system cables. I have a system that has phenomenal capability. It will just be one cable at a time at this top-end cost. And this gives me the opportunity to know what may await me in the near future. Thank you so much again for your time and efforts here. I have never been so impressed by what cables can do in my system as with STEALTH cables...

I thank STEALTH and Bob very much for giving me the opportunity to audition the power cables in my system. I understand full well that a more accurate audition of these cables would exist if I was able to re-cable the entire system with the Stealth cables. But what I wanted to learn was if, and approximately by how much, each component might respond to and benefit from the M5000 and then up to the Dream. My expectations were far exceeded. And therefore the long process will begin to slowly change the Dominus power cables to the Stealth. I would ideally like to hear the benefits of the Purist Anniv over the Dominus before I start this process.

For the 7 Dominus power cables currently in my system, my goal is to start with 4 Dream and 3 M5000 based on the listening results. And then I can re-evaluate the situation before moving onto auditioning the Indra ICs and then perhaps updated speaker cables. This will be a year-long process with other home projects occurring simultaneously.


Test 1:  SoundApplication LineStage PLC, Dream (with 15A-20A IEC adaptor) vs. M5000 (20A IEC):


Used Alan Parsons CD, “Try Anything Once”, Track 5, “Mr Time”.


M5000 à Dream à M5000 à Dream


In a previous evaluation, I concluded the M5000 had far greater tonal coherency in the mids than the Dominus so no further listening with the Dominus occurred in this link. Compared to the M5000, the Dream has more attack on leading transients.  This is something I notice right away ever since I heard the CAT amps do this like no other amps.  And the Dream has significantly greater dynamic contrasts which are much more noticeable in the upper mids / lower trebles.  Female vocals indicate a greater degree of body as if the singer has more energy with each new breath but with this comes just a little bit of smearing and over-emphasis (often called “syrupy”) which diminishes the ultimate in clarity of the voice.  Massed strings have greater ambience, longer decays in space. And there is more air as if you can imagine the venue being a bigger space. There is definitely more bass rhythm and control but the M5000 performs very well in the bottom octave. 


With the Dream, it’s really about greater macrodynamics here.  But with all this comes a little bit of sibilance on the top.  M5000 is initially overall less “emotional” and less “dimensional” but I sense it is a little “truer” to the portrayal of the instruments in space vs. being almost bigger than life.  The M5000 makes the music feel more “distant” and yet I still sense the musicians are at the same place on stage as with the Dream.  But with the M5000, the stage appears farther back.  Because of the smoother leading edges and a little more silence between the notes, I feel the M5000 is more tonally coherent and “natural” than the Dream in this link of the system. 


A return to the Dream and the presentation is rich, exciting, dynamic, sounds are portrayed out into the room.  This can be very addictive but a return back to the M5000 and all is back in place.  The sound is a bit dull initially coming off the Dream and back to the M5000, but in a few minutes, there is less attention to the sound and more to the music with the M5000.


One other observation: the return to the M5000 gives the impression that the height of the presentation has been clipped.  This reminds me of watching a 16:9 movie on a 4:3 display where the top and bottom of the image are clipped.  I think this is due to the initial attack of notes portrayed by the Dream to be a little bigger than life giving an impression of a very large sound spread. 


This system link will need to be revisited and re-evaluated with these 2 cables after the power cables are ultimately defined throughout the rest of the system.  The final result here could very well be affected by the outcome of cables set elsewhere.  But for now, the M5000 is the preferred cable into the SA LS PLC.



Test 2: Aesthetix Callisto Signature Line Stage with one Power Supply (Mix of Telefunken and 6DJ8 and Mullard 6922, Brimar 12ax7 in audio chassis, Mullard EL34 xf2 and Telefunken 12ax7 in P.S.)


Same Alan Parsons CD, but track 12, “Oh Life”.


Purist Dominus Ferox à M5000 à Dominus à M5000


The Dominus vs. M5000 differences are not as dramatic as expected.  Tonality is nearly identical but the M5000 has more reach and control in the bottom octave.  The M5000 also showed greater bloom and decays with instruments like the flute.  The one significant improvement of the M5000 was with piano.  As the faster tempo melody was being played in the upper registers, lower-register chords were much more clearly articulated with the M5000.  And there was greater initial definition with each key.  The M5000 also had more definition to bring quiet percussion tones, most notably cymbols a little more out to the front.


M5000 à Dream


This was the most dramatic change of this test.  The differences between these two cables were much the same as with the SA LS PLC.  But with the Callisto here, gone was the fatigue with the Dream.  Instead, along with the more solid bass foundation, the greater dynamic contrasts, richer piano textures, longer decays, the presentation with the Dream was truly wonderful.  The benefits of the metallic percussion coming through with the M5000 over the Dominus continued even more with the Dream.  And for the first time, I could hear how the flute player was not playing the flute with a consistent and continuous breath of air; there was a slight reduction in the amplitude near the end of a long flute note at the start of the track.  I wished I had two of the Dreams as one of them would have stayed in this link for the remainder of the cable evaluation.


A return to the M5000 and the initial flute notes were almost as long in space but they simply did not have the clarity as if floating in space.  And moving onto the singer, he too had very good tonality, much like the Dream, but with the M5000, his voice lacked body.  The M5000 was most impressive but after hearing the Dream here, it was darn tough to stay focused to the M5000 here. 


If I had to rate the Dream cable here as a “component upgrade”, I would rate the M5000 as getting me 40% there and the Dream the other 60%.  The M5000 over the Dominus was not subtle, but the benefits of the Dream over the M5000 were far more significant.  I learned even more why these Aesthetix products are so phenomenol with piano textures and decays.


The Dominus Ferox was returned to the Callisto so the M5000 and Dream could be used for the next test in the system.
Test 3: Audio Magic Eclipse II power conditioner to drive digital components


With 2 M5000 PCs here, I was able to compare the Sound App PLC to the Audio Magic PLC on the entire system.  For analog components, the Sound App brought on so much more life and projection and bloom over the Audio Magic.  But with digital components it was a different story.  The Audio Magic has greater clarity with the digital front end.  Perhaps the Sound App does not isolate the analog from the digital as well, or maybe another Sound App might be the key.  But driving the Audio Magic from the digital outlet of the Sound App and then driving the digital components from the Audio Magic was a significant improvement.  It ends up being a bit costly too.


This test tries various PCs from the Sound App digital outlets into the Audio Magic.


I used various tracks from the Vangelis,  “The City” CD.


Dominus Ferox à M5000 à Dominus à M5000 à Dream à M5000 à Dream


As the M5000 was over the Dominus last month from the wall outlet into the Sound App PLC, this was much a repeat from the Sound App into the Audio Magic PLC.  The M5000 has a way of filling in the lower mids with harmonic overtones that escape the Dominus.  The Dominus has great dynamics and detail on the top but compared to the M5000, the result of the Dominus is like a sound pieced together like an incoherent multi-driver speaker. 


A change back to the M5000 here is so far the most dramatic difference between this and the Dominus.  It takes a little adjustment to appreciate the M5000’s more natural top end but it blends in so much better with the greater harmonically rich mids and more defined bass chords.


Putting in the Dream brought on more life, openness, clarity, sparkle to the trebles and greater decays due to richer harmonics.  The bass foundation was also a bit more taut which also gave the performance a greater “boogie factor”.  And back to the M5000 immediately showed the subtractions due to this cable compared to the Dream and yet the M5000 was such a huge gain over the Dominus, that ultimately I could be very happy with the M5000 initially and save the money for the Dream cables elsewhere.


If I was to rate the Dominus-to-Dream as a component upgrade, the Dominus-to-M5000 would be maybe 75% of this and the remaining 25% would be due to the benefits of the Dream over the M5000.


The Dominus Ferox was returned to the Sound App to Audio Magic input so the M5000 and Dream could be used for the next test in the system.
 My digital front end is rather ancient.  Transport is the Pioneer PD65 CDP.  This unit is 12 years old and refuses to die.  I never got the PD65 updated to have an IEC connector so I am stuck with a captive power cable for now.  The PD65 into the Genesis Time Lens has shown plenty of capability to hear the differences of various DACs I have owned and tried for the last 8 years: Counterpoint DA10, ARC Dac3, VTL Ref DAC, Electrocompaniet ECD1, Classe DAC1 and my favorite modified unit by GNSC, the Manley Ref DAC.  The Manley is still being updated so I did all my listening with the Classe DAC1.  The Classe is a little bit soft on the top but it has a phenomenol low noise floor and portrays the dimensionality greater than any of the other solid state DAC I have heard in my home.


Test 4A: Genesis Time Lens


Dominus Ferox à M5000 à Dominus à M5000 à Dream à M5000


This link has reacted favorable with the Dominus over many other PCs I have tried.  The M5000 continued on with the same kind of improvements over the Dominus as above.  There is greater metallic sheen to cymbols, more bass foundation and tonal coherency with the M5000 but the differences are not as dramatic here as with other tried system links; the differences are also not subtle.  The Dream continues on with more body to vocals and further projection into the performance, a little more macrodynamics in the mids, but this benefit over the M5000 is not very significant either.


I would have to rate the Dominus-to-Dream as not quite half a component upgrade with the vast majority of the improvement here due to the M5000 over the Dominus.  Ideally, I would like to remove the Genesis from the system but only a “significantly better” transport will likely allow for this.  If I could sell the Dominus here and get the M5000 for the same cost, this would be all that I would do for this link. Investing in the Dream for this link would most likely not be a good value.


Test 4B: Classe DAC-1


Dominus Ferox à M5000 à Dream à Dominus


Most significant benefit of the Stealth cables over the Dominus was the bloom and portrayal of space of the piano.  Decays were longer, initial tone of each note had more structure and lower-frequency fundamental as opposed to the overtones being more dominant with the Dominus.  The Dream brought a wonderful degree of articulation and silence between the keys that almost makes the additional cost of the Dream worthy for this component.  I have no doubt that the Dream would be a killer PC with the Manley DAC as this component portrays the dimensionality with digital sources like no other I have heard.


A return to the Dominus resulted in very good tonality but a little edgy in the percussion leading to some listener fatigue.  The bloom of the piano was not as evident but this made for a more mellow presentation which some people might prefer.  But longer listening indicates the piano has too much compression with the Dominus after hearing the M5000 or Dream.


Ultimately I really liked the M5000 into the Genesis and the Dream into the DAC.  But I could not forget how this might sound if I also had a Dream on the Callisto and an M5000 into the Audio Magic PLC.


I returned the Dominus PCs for the Genesis and Classe DAC to continue the next test, the Aesthetix Io.


 Test 5: The Aesthetix Io Phono Stage with one Power Supply (fully loaded with Telefunken 12ax7 tubes throughout except one pair of Brimar 12ax7 on final stage to give just a little added extension at the frequency extremes.  Telefunken 6DJ8 on output stage and Mullard EL34 xf2 in P.S)


The Io has been a strange component in how it reacts to power cables.  With the AudioMagic and SoundApp PLCs in place, differences between PCs is immediately evident.  And all of my components reacted more favorably to the Dominus Ferox PC vs the older Dominus rev B power cable……all but the Io.  All the other components had greater tonal coherency with the Ferox.  But the Io locked in so beautifully with the Rev B.  I never could understand this as the Io tends to be a rather “warm” component and the Rev B exacerbates this with the other components but not here.  It’s almost like a minus and a minus sums to a plus.  Weird.


So it was no surprise on the final outcome here as they too made little sense.  The Io is indeed an oddball component in how it reacts to PCs.


Dominus B à M5000 à Dominus à M5000 à Dream à Dominus à Dream


LP was Pink Floyd, “The Final Cut”


A change to the M5000 was immediate: far greater clarity on the top, wonderful macrodynamics and a little more punch in the bass.  But right away tonality of Roger Waters’ voice and piano did not sound “right” at all.  The singer and the piano had way too much “midrange bleed” from on note to the next, i.e., there was not as much silence in between.  The sounds became annoying as the midrange tones were so dominant without the presence of the harmonics continuing on.  A return to the Dominus and there was a definite reduction in clarity of other instruments, mainly guitar and percussion, but the tonality of the voice and piano was back in check.  And then back to the M5000 to confirm the “syrupy” midrange as observed before.


The loaned M5000 had not exhibited this with other components, and all day and night it was plugged in to drive the digital components to get burn-in time.  By the time of this test, the M5000 had nearly 100 hours on it.

I then went with the Dream into the Io.  There was a far greater projection of detail than the M5000 …. AND ….. the tonal coherency had come back into check.  I played the entire LP side as I did not want to change anything….except to perhaps put the M5000 into the Callisto.  But I went back to the Dominus into the Io and tonality was nearly identical but a great reduction in the openness and less spread of the instruments.  The Dominus works well here but after hearing so much more information with the Dream, it is very clear that the Dream suits this component as well.


The Dominus-to-Dream change was not as dramatic in the Io as was with the Callisto, maybe 75%, but unfortunately I would have to go all the way with the Io here….no chance to do an intermediate PC upgrade with the M5000.


I then put the M5000 into the Callisto and the music was simply phenomenal.  I can only imagine Dreams on both of these.  And I did one more cross check: the Dream on the Callisto and the M5000 on the Io: amazing that even with all the openness now due to the Dream on the Callisto, the M5000 on the Io is consistent in how it over powers the middle frequencies.


I returned the Dominus PCs into the Io and Callisto.


Test 6: Rives PARC Parametric Equalizer


My room is 18x13x7.5, basement, two concrete walls to exterior.  With the SoundLab A1 speakers, I have far greater bass energy than with the previous Magnepan 3.5s.  As much as I tried to deal with the bass peaks, there was only so much I could do with ASC tube traps along the front wall behind the speakers, speaker placement trials, etc.  So I went with a PARC and this flattened the bass which allowed for quite a dramatic improvement in clarity and coherency in the upper octaves.  Removing the PARC indicated that there was just a slight loss of dynamic contrasts with it in the system, but the benefits far outweighed this one weakness.


I use a Dominus IC from the Callisto to the PARC and a 10m Dominus IC from the PARC to the amp(s).


Dominus à M5000 à Dominus à M5000 à Dream


LP was Supertramp, “Brother Where You Bound”


The change to the M5000 was immediate.  It was phenomenol.  The bells and the middle-C range distinct keyboard strikes were quick, clean, floated in space far longer.  This is an excellent recording and the M5000 here brought much more out.  And the singer’s lyrics were much more clear.  A return to the Dominus and the presentation simply collapsed.  And back to the M5000 came life to the performance.  Just the initial strike of instruments made the performance more lively and dynamic and fun.  The Dream carried on with the M5000’s strengths but here many little subtle sounds that were hidden behind all the other sounds were now coming through.  And the contrasts increased as well as if like from a previous test, the height of the performance grew.


Ideally I would like to remove the PARC from the system and correct with room treatments what the PARC is doing for me. But this is not likely to occur in my current home so I am stuck with the PARC for awhile.  A 1-for-1 swap with the Dominus to the M5000 would be a great starting point.  And then when other links in the system are upgraded with Dream and M5000 PCs, I will come back to evaluate the ultimate value of the Dream here….but this affect of the Dream here is VERY significant.


For a Dominus-to-Dream upgrade, I would rate the M5000 at about 70% of the benefit here.  We are not quite at the point of diminishing returns with the Dream in this link, and perhaps upgrades elsewhere will bring the Dream farther beyond the M5000.


I returned the Dominus into the PARC.


Test 7: Sound Labs A1 speakers


This was the last part of my system were I put attention to upgrading my power cables.  The differences were not as significant here until I increased the resolution with cable changes elsewhere.  The Dominus was a nice improvement over stock cables but I got even more openness and detail and soundstage expansion with Electraglide Epiphany X (EX) power cables.  The Dominus does bring on a little more midrange texture but overall the E X works more to my liking.


With the Dream into the Sound App (via an IEC adaptor), I was able to use my M5000 with an IEC adaptor and the one on loan to compare the pair of M5000s to the E X into the SoundLabs.  But I wanted to listen with the Dominus vs. the E X to become familiar with their differences.  And with the Sound App now in the system and the Dream, some things had changed since I last did this test.


E X à Dominus à E X à M5000


This time around the E X conveyed greater openness and an expansive soundstage beyond the speakers’ edges than before.  And the Dominus tended to muffle the singer’s voice more than I would have expected.  But the Dominus was a bit more full in the bottom. It was as if the Dominus favored the bottom half and the E X favored the top.


A change to the M5000 brought on greater snap and quick transients with keyboard and guitar but the sparkle of percussion was muted ever so slightly.  I preferred the M5000 to  the Dominus but ultimately the E X was the power cable I like the most here.  A test somewhere down the road with a pair of Dreams might prove interesting with the speakers.


Test 8: Amplifier:  I used the Counterpoint NPS400 stereo amp as the CAT JL-3 amps did not come back from an update in time. 


Dominus à M5000 à Dominus à M5000 à Dream


As good as the Counterpoint amp can be, it is not great like the JL-3s.  But the Dream and M5000 as well as the Dominus cables here allow the Counterpoint to perform like I suspect few if any have heard it perform before.


Into the Counterpoint, the Dominus severely lags behind the M5000 in macrodynamics.  This is immediately clear with intricate piano playing.  There is more definition to each key and this also gives the M5000 more silence between the notes.  Surprisingly, the M5000 also brought on more low frequency presence and rhythm going on in the background of the Piano.  When I first changed to the M5000, I thought there was a loss of energy on the top but actually it removed just a slight edge in the trebles that with the Dominus was perceived as added energy.


Thinking that I had reached the end of the road with power cables into this amp due to the Counterpoint’s limitations, the Dream took the piano richness and life and fullness to a most surprisingly level.  I quite frankly never anticipated this amp to perform like this.  There were definite benefits when I put Telefunken 6DJ8’s into this amp, but this cable was a far greater gain in 3-dimensionality.  For an amp under $2k, this is an absolutely phenomenal amp as a backup.  It just seems kinda insane to pay so much for a power cable in comparison to the amp.  And in a more realistic priced system, the M5000 would easily bring on more of the magic from this amp that few systems would ever be able to bring out from it anyway.


If I was to rate the Dominus to Dream as a component upgrade, the M5000 would be 65-70 % of this with the remainder achieved by the Dream.


John Fox