Review: Interlink House Stealth M-21 Interconnect Cables Interconnect
I am glad to be able to make a review on this great interconnects that I have found to be the best I’ve ever tried. There is no doubt about Interlink House’s seriousness and dedication to produce real high end cables at reasonable prices. THIS IS CERTAINLY NOT A MARKETING COMPANY and I certainly hope it remains like that!
Along with the PGS-3D and GS50-50, the M-21 are “sonic-wise” Interlink House’s best attempt and accomplishment to date (09-2003), thus their top of the line Interconnect Cables. All these cables are called the New Generation.
Technology, geometry and construction techniques applied to all of them are the same. The basic difference amongst them is the internal main conductive material itself. The M-21s main conductor is pure 99.997% certified silver, while the others’ is gold (PGS-3D) and a proprietary alloy of gold and silver (GS50-50).
M-21s have twenty one strands of pure silver wire, each individually insulated with Teflon. Built-in gradual strain relief and 17-layer 3D non-resonant TCTA matrix geometry. As an option, you can also order a special audiophile extended cycle of Cryogenic Treatment for them, which by the way works!
Since subjectivity is always an important factor in music and high end audio systems appreciation and I’d like to keep this review as objective as possible, I’d like first to give you a bit of background about my ears: I am an opera tenor, I am therefore used to listen to live music within dedicated environments, so I hope my comments will serve the audiophile community and music lovers who are interested in these particular high end components. On the other hand, I want to underline that I am not an Electronic Engineer so I’ll leave technical issues and details apart from this review as much as possible and try to focus more on my audition experience, although I very much realize engineering is what made these cable’s existence happen… and I thank Serguei for that!. On the other hand, I think I have enough reference due to I’ve had the pleasure to own several other high-end systems including brands such as Krell, Classé, EAD, Theta, Forté, Proceed, Martin Logan, Celestion, Kimber, Tara-Labs, Audio Magic, NBS, Van Den Hul, Cardas, several Stealths, etc. Actually my previous standard for making this review was Stealth PGS-XL pure gold interconnects.
I got my Cryo-treated M-21s directly from Interlink House. Immediately after receiving them I connected them to the afterwards mentioned system. I first treated the cables with Purist Audio System Enhancer - Rev. B CD, and played it for 5 continuous times before playing any music. This process took all night and helped me also to speed the burn in timeline. Next morning I switched the Plinius SA-250 Mk IVAmp’s bias to Class A to start my critical listening session and waited for 60 more minutes until everything warmed up to its optimal temperature by playing XLO-Reference Recordings “Test/Burn-In” CD (tracks 8 & 9 specifically).
The time had come to see what these new babies could do. To be honest I was a bit skeptical about these cables improving my sound because I’ve had excellent ones with this same system in the past, and didn’t really think a big deal of a change could happen. In the meantime, I selected a few of my personal favorite CDs for critical testing, which I will mention later. I first selected to go with older audiophile selections (16 & 20-bit) and then switched to newer 24-bit recordings.
I started my critical audition with TELARC 80338 CD, The Fantastic Stokowsky, Transcriptions for Orchestra (this is one of the best digital recordings of all times). As usual I decided to receive the first attack with my eyes closed and guess what? I was wrong! I immediately sensed an important transformation had occurred in my system. About 1 minute after Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D minor (track 1) started I felt and thought I was somewhere else and those were not my machines, so I had to open my eyes to confirm that I was in the same place and yes, I was!
My first impression was that the room had grown by maybe a third of its current size the soundstage was larger, deeper, wider & taller. I also felt A LOT MORE of AIR between all instruments in the orchestra. Then I switched to Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain (track 10), because sometimes is hard for cables to cleanly reproduce this particular track’s detail and dynamics. I got truly impressed by M-21s capabilities to reveal all the fine details included on this track. This is a heavy orchestrated piece and the cables were able to present all the colors and transients with cleanliness and relaxation I had never heard in the past. Various times I was also able to hear for the first time the Conductor breathing in various passages.
Secondly I played another audiophile classic, POPE MUSIC CD recording of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto #5 (EMPEROR). I picked this one specifically to test how this cables resolve analog-like-sound of a Grand Piano in combination with a full orchestra which again is many times difficult to do for both components but also for cables. What a glorious recording and a performance by the musicians involved.
This true audiophile and music lover recording allows you to appreciate the grand piano’s sonority at its full given that you will be able to clearly perceive the impact produced by the touché over the piano keys and thus the hammers over the piano cords and also the huge associated harmonics. My ears also captured the surrounding reverberant environment of the Concert Hall as never before, I could even perceive perfectly the hall’s height, not to mention the high degree of detail… REMARKABLE!
Then I passed to HDCD mainly looking for deeper stage images, openness, dynamics, transient response, bass extension, and timbre truth ness.
Recently I found this particular HDCD Asian import of Patricia Barber’s “Nightclub” CD, which I found to be very interesting. In all songs Patti’s voice sounds warm and focused. The only thing I was missing was her presence itself. To the point that sometimes I even felt I was there with her and the other musicians.
The sound of this CD over the M-21s sounded very articulated. The sound of the drums and the bass is really acoustic. The bass player was breathing inspired at all times (but no smell at all) specially on track 7, as it happens many times in real life!. There is also a Steinway Grand Piano on the band that adds a round warm sound, which by the way I felt smaller with other cables (including gold’s). This CD sounds pretty analog over the M-21s.
After that I took out some very dynamic REFERENCE RECORDINGS titles. First I chose TRITTICO (RR-52CD) and played it all. The sound was much RICHER, open, dynamic, articulated and focused than ever before but without loosing detail.
At the same accustomed volume levels, in several passages my speakers could not take what the AMP was sending to them. These cables were really sending MORE INFORMATION to it and thus to the loudspeakers.
Then I played POMP & PIPES (RR-58CD), a true challenge for any sound equipment. Again the sound was richer than with any other cable I’ve owned in the past and I just loved how M-21s presented all the Brass Winds specially trombones and the tuba. The room was shaking with the great organ and I of course I perceived a greater deeper bass extension and detail than ever in the past. OUTSTANDING!
Under the circumstances I had to play RR-92CD, BOLERO. I will simplify by saying I was astonished by these babies ability to manage transients!!! I was literally transported to the Concert Hall and I sensed that air was really being moved! WOW!
To taste M-21s timbre truth ness capabilities specifically I decided to play Artie Shaw’s “Concerto for Clarinet” (RR-55CD). I was truly amazed by the sound of the wood these interconnects are capable to reproduce and also by the amount of subjective air they are able to move. The clarinetist was virtually there playing for me. It is also impressive the huge amount of harmonics this particular instrument and of course the system through the M-21s itself, were able to reproduce.
Finally, I played the classic Bill Evans Trio’s version of “My Foolish Heart” on ANALOGUE PRODUCTIONS APJ 009 because I wanted to move to a different environment and rather being at a bar and this particular track is glorious in every sense to do so! Once again I closed my eyes to receive the music and just loved it and I do not wish to be repetitive... just AMAZING, I was there and they were playing for me only!.
I wish I had more time to report further on these M-21 babies but unfortunately there are limits to everything, isn’t it? I really enjoyed the critical listening sessions, I learned a lot. This review process took me around 10 calendar days to complete and I am sure I will enjoy my system even more from now on.
The M-21s are the finest interconnect cables I’ve ever owned. They are the most
Musical, Articulated, Transparent, Harmonically correct, Detailed and Airy analog interconnects I have ever heard out of many I’ve tried.
At the end of the day if cables’ critical mission is basically to pass the right information to interconnected components, then the M-21s are certainly the best to fulfill this major endeavor!
I totally agree with other audiophiles’ perception that these cables is like there is NO cable linking your audio components. There is no sound coloration. These cables will just enable your music system to develop its real potential and thus perform at its very best. Of course if you are looking for fuzzy cable, then I do not recommend to get these ones!
Thank you all for taking the time to read this extensive review. I insist that Interlink House’s M-21accomplishment deserves no less than a serious may be long report like this one, in order to tell the audiophile community that they are here making real high end products at reasonable prices and without the big noise of Marketing Companies, which sometimes don’t even make real high end stuff.
I think Serguei and his team should be very proud of what they are accomplishing! Congratulations guys and believe me you have another loyal happy audiophile customer!
FYI: Nobody is paying me to say what I hereby express, I sincerely mean every single word I’ve written on this review... only a serious audiophile and most of all music lover!.
- Power Amp: PLINIUS SA-250 Mk IV (with most recent update by Advanced
RCA linked to Preamp (Single Ended as per Plinius Audio recommendation), with M-21 (Cryo-treated) interconnects.
- Preamp: PLINIUS M16p.
XLR linked to CDP (Balanced as per ML recommendation), with M-21 (Cryo-treated) interconnects.
- CD Player: MARK LEVINSON 390s CD Processor.
- Loudspeakers: Joseph Audio RM25si
Bi-wire linked to Amp with Stealth Hybrid MLT (as per my own taste and wish jaja!)
Kimber, Tara-Labs, Audio Magic, NBS, Van Den Hul, Cardas, several Stealths.