Review: Stealth Audio Cable M-21 special Interconnect
Music tested: Jazz, classical, vocal, pop, classic rock
Listening preference: Transparent, live sound
Turn-off system: harshness, muddy, out of pace, unbalanced
I owned and tried over 2 dozen of interconnects and they do make different sound. I was always skeptical about spending money on cables until I realized that it does make up 15% to 20% of sounic differences between cables. I've owned the M-21 special for 6 weeks now and it still sounds amazing since I used it out of box.
This cable replaces my Audio Note An-Vx between the CD player and the preamp.
My original sound prior to M-21 special is already very pleasant.
Musical, dynamic, sweet mids and transparent. Because of the speaker choice, I thought I was limited to smaller and less "impact" sound stage.
ATC SCM10 passive speaker is the MOST inefficient speaker out there regardless of the price and size. To drive and 80db speaker, it requires a lot of research and trial and error on the amp choice. To make a small non-ported bookshelf sounded like a floor standing is a real challenge.
I've tried 4 different interconnects from Stealth Audio Cables and it didn't really satisfy my taste. I spoke to the designer Serguei himself from time to time do discuss about his cables and the possibility improvements. Serguei is a very nice gentleman with great patience to listen to my needs.
He's always there to offer help on what I'm trying to achieve.
I've been asking Serguei about the M-21 since I don't know anyone else have tried it. He gave me a good sonic description of the M-21 and he told me that he can tune it to my needs. This really stir up my curiosity. I then ordered the cryo treated M-21 special from him and give it an audition.
I didn't expect too much improvement from my already great sounding system but I was wrong. Once plug in the M-21 special, the magic really happened.
I tried it on my second system first just to see how much improvement I get from the other interconnects I had. I was shocked and amazed that the sound stage, imaging, bass extension, and the mids blows away my primary system. This is one big step up from the other interconnects I have tried. Since I also replaced my speaker cable with Stealth Ultimate Ribbon, I couldn't conclude if the improvement is from the speaker cable, interconnect or both. I then plug-in the M-21 special into my primary system just to see the difference. Wow, this is it.
My primary system has lit up. The high and low extension are much well defined and less harsh than my previous interconnects. The mids is much full bodied sound with expansive sound stage. I never thought I can ever get bass so deep, tight and defined with the book self speakers but I was wrong.
The M-21 special made the speakers on both system truly disappeared. When I listened to Jazz at Pawn Shop, I felt like I was sitting in the middle of the jazz club right in the 3rd table away from the stage. The sounds are coming all over the place. The M-21 special has great separation of instruments that no other cables I tried in the past could achieve. The refined high extensions is truly airy and enjoyable too. I would expect a bit of edginess from silver but this cable doesn't have any harshness in it.
Strength: Huge sound stage, dynamic, live like sound. highs are refined and bass is very well extended sweet mid range
Weakness: None so far. Pricy for the extra improvement.
CD Player: Marantz CD17 MK II
Preamp: Counterpoint SA 5000
amp: Lafayette KT550
Spkrs: ATC SCM 10 passive 80db with target R-4 stands
Audio Note AN-Vx, Audio quest diamond X 2, Z-cable live 3, transparent ultra, NBS Signature II, Synergistic Research resolution reference MK II, Acoustic Zen silver reference II, Stealth Audio Cables PGS XL, Cardas Golden reference, FMS Microwave.