Review: Stealth Audio Cables Varidig Sextet Reference Interconnect

Category: Cables

For the last two years my reference digital cable has been the very fine Artistic Audio Vacuum reference. Before, I made this cable my reference in my system I had audtioned the following digital cables: 1)Nordost Valhalla 2)Acoustic Zen MC2=Zen 3)Transparent Audio Labs Reference 4)Goldmund Lineal digital reference. They all were quite good, but I thought the Artistic Audio Vacuum reference was superior in the following area's: 1)More transparent with more details offered in a very natural way. 2) More extension both on the top and bottom. 3)A bigger soundstage with more air around the individual players. 4) Lastly, timbres were very natural sounding. All cables in my system sound the best when ended with BNC connectors. One of my "Golden Eared" audiophile friends informed that he thought that the new Stealth Varidig Sextet was a great step up sonicly from the Artistic Arts Vacuum cable. My digital front end pieces are the same as his, so this lead to audtioning the Stealth cable. Thanks Brian! Stealth Audio Cables is famous/infamous for there highly aclaimed Indra IC's. They are hideously expensive at $5750.00 for a one meter pair! The Varidig Sextet is Stealth's attempt to build a digital reference that would match the sonic level of the Indra IC's. Well, I have never audtioned a pair of Indra's in my system, so I don't know if they succeeded in that area, but this new cable is great on its own merit. The only technical note I want to share is that Stealth believes that this cable is built on a similar concept compared with DACS that "stack" several DAC chips for upsampling the bit stream. If you have questions regarding technical information like what type of metal is used, shielding materials, Cryogenic treatment, Etc., please go to their website: www. for a full explanation. ON TO THE SONICS. Everything I described regarding the Artistic Arts Vacuum cable was improved across the board. A bigger and more refined soundstage with more precise laying/more air around the different players. More air on top with a great improvement in the dynamics/realism of the bottom end. However the last three sonic virtues were not just an improvement, but a qualitive shift: 1) There doesnot seem to be a noisefloor, black got "blacker", it seems that the music just floats out of the background. 2) All timbres, to my ears sound more real and refined in an "organic/natural" way. 3) The last qualitive difference might be a composite of the first two, that my system has even a higher degree of what I describe as "liquidity/easyness" without losing dynamics or details along the way. Well, I hope that this somewhat convey's the beauty of this cable. However, I want to be very clear that I'm not claiming or stating that this cable is the "BEST" in the world, but ranks with some of the finest reference digital cables today, based on my personnal taste and synergy with my system. If you own reference digital pieces I would recommend you audtion this cable and see if it brings your system to another level like it did mine. Finally, it's not cheap at $2400.00, but I believe it is worth the money based on its performance.
I'm using a Sextet AES/EBU and I agree that it's performance is detailed, clean, smooth and part of the audio range is accentuated or tonally colored...the sonics are honest to the source material...very impressive
Well, as some of you know, I have at least posted on a few occasions my criticism, and hopefully good natured, pokes at the founding father of the SixMoons website,the guru Mr. Ebaen. I find his long-winded, mystical, mumbo-jumbo writing style very entertaining, but not very enlightening. However, today he posted his take on the Stealth Sextet on his SixMoons website, which totally agreed with my GON review, posted before his, I want you to know, this proves three things (ALL OF THIS IS AN ATTEMPT AT HUMOR) : 1) I am not a accusing Mr. Ebaen of plagiarism, but having the sense/taste to agree with my findings. 2)That of course, my review was much more precise and readable then his. 3) Finally, he has come to his senses to agree with this skeptic regarding the subjective beauty of this cable. I never thought Mr. Ebaen and I would have so much in common. Maybe, in a past reincarnation I was him or he was me, na I don't think so, but we with both heard the same effects of this cable in two different systems.
Teejay-Very well writen review, IMO. Since I live in Europe it could be difficult to get my hands on Sextet.
Regarding 6Moons weg mag, I agree with you. Personally I find more and more reviews very biased. People are buying equipment because it is rated Class A in Stereophile and then think that system build out of Class A components will work perfectly together...

I totally agree with your review of the Sextet. I've been searching for the right digital link for many years now and have tried a lot of them, including Nordost, Siltech, etc. At this moment, for me the Sextet is the best you can buy. I'm so enthousiastic about this cable, that I decided to write a review about the Sextet (see:
Hope you also can agree with the content of my review,

regards, Kuzibri

you can obtain the Stealth Vardig Sextet in Europe: of have a look the Stealth website to locate a dealer in your neigbourhood!
Kuzibri, I was having a wonderful conversation with my friend Nelly from Audio federation regarding my auditioning of the Stealth Sextet, when she mentioned that another good friend that lived in Europe, had just e-mailed her a note about the sextet. Nelly said that individual loved the cable and he had literally auditioned all digital cables known to humankind. Could it be that she was referring to you? If so, its really a small world and if not its an interesting quiescence, either way,thanks for sharing and nice to make your acquaintance here on the GON. I read your excellent review, and yes our ears', on radically different systems, came to the same conclusion regarding this wonderful cable

Yes, I'm the one who Neli is referring to and yes, it's really a small world. Will mail my review to Neli as well.
Teajay - Are the digital output/input of your transport/DAC
transformer coupled?
Can this cable be six to seven times better than the AZ cables which can be had for a sixth to a seventh per cent of the cost?
Kana813, to the best of my knowledge neither my DAC or transport are transformer coupled. I could be wrong, but I don't think so. Now, onto Unclejeff's question/comment regarding if the Stealth Sextet can really be that much better then the Acoustic Zen MC2 to merit the tremendous price difference between the two cables. I could go into a long preface regarding "the law of diminishing returns" or "what price do you put on subjective pleasure" or "how do you justify large expenditures for small increments of sonic improvements", but I won't, the short answer is YES. The Acoustic Zen is a wonderful sounding cable and quite reasonable priced, however the Stealth Sextet is just not a significant improvement but drastic qualitative shift towards analog like liquidity/musicality without a loss of details and slam. It's really that much better/different then any other cable I have heard in my system, therefore its worth its cost.
Another recent convert and fan of the Sextet (AES/EBU).
Agree wholeheartedly with your assessment.
Using it between my Tact pre and amp, replacing a FIM Gold, which was my previous favorite.

The FIM was one of the few cables to convey that "analog-like liquidity/musicality" with a digital signal, but the Sextet adds to that increases in clarity, focus, extension and detail.
IMS, provided greater improvement (along the same lines) than upgrading my Tact power supply.
Expensive, but in an expensive digital system, worth the cost (I think).

Another cable worth trying (at a lower price point) is the HT Cyberlight.
Some of the same virtues (ease with detail) as the Sextet, though not quite in the same league, re: dynamics and soundstage, providing a slightly lighter and more intimate sound.
Richards- Since you have TacT gear, I know it's digital
inputs/outputs are transformer couple. Upgrading these
transformers produces improvements similar to what you and Teajay desribe for the Sextet. The cost of this upgrade is very low. Aberdeen Components can give you more details.
Richards, thanks for sharing your experience/opinion about the Sextet. I now have gotten information from about six different people, who are extremely enthralled with what this cable did in their systems. What I find interesting is all of us use very different digital front ends and have radically different overall systems, yet the Stealth Sextet still provides the same "magic" to all our ears'.
I've been using this cable in my system for just over a week. Here is a short review:

Straight out of the package the Stealth Varidig Sextet had a transformational effect on my system. I wasn’t at all prepared for what I heard. My system sounded very good prior to inserting the cable but, as is true with all systems, it had its short-comings.

I am trying to drive 81dB efficient MBL 101E loudspeakers using EL34-based tube amps. Even though this combination produces a wonderfully natural sound, it is, as you might expect a light on slam and low frequency information. I figured that I could live with this and if it even really bothered me I could hunt for some solid state amps. Little did I know that a digital cable (of all things) would come along and help out my system in this regard? Drum hits now have a lot more attack, kick drum has more definition and everything has more weight and density. Bass guitar and drums are now felt as significantly as they are heard. In short, my system rocks!

I’ve used a number of very good linestages in my system but I was never able to get the depth of soundstage that I was looking for. I had assumed that this was either because I had not found the right linestage or that my speakers and room were not working well together. Here we go again: the Varidig Sextet added what appears to be about 9’ of soundstage depth to the presentation.

Though I never had trouble getting the soundstage out past the front axis of my speakers, the Varidig Sextet took this to another level as well. I sit about 8’ from the speaker plane and on a number of recordings, the leading edge of the soundstage is now behind me! This is all well and good but what is most important is that this cable helps the music to flow out from the performers to the listener. The listener is not left ‘watching’ the performance; she is immersed in it. The listener doesn’t have to go looking for images on the soundstage; those images breath and send their music to her. It has always been my opinion that if a system can’t do this then one is left listening to a stereo, not music.

Good digital is hard to find. My tube amps helped to flesh out images but my system still sounded to thin and two-dimensional for my tastes. I thought about switching to a tubed DAC to try and remedy this problem. The Sextet Varidig helped enormously in this area. Images now have a much more complex harmonic structure. Acoustics guitars are incredible well-drawn. The physical appearance of all instruments is so much more real and tactile. Singers are no longer just a face; they come across as real people with throats and chests. Their words are clearer and their presence is more prominent.

The Varidig Sextet is so good that I now prefer to listen to the Redbook layer of SACDs through it rather than listen to the SACD layer through the proprietary cables provided by the manufacturer of my digital front end.
I've had the balanced Varidig in my system for three weeks and agree with all the positive comments posted here. In my system it is superb. I would recommend an audition to anyone in the market for a digital cable.
Rja, I'm glad that you to have found the Sextet really adds something special to one's overall system. Would you be nice enough to share what digital pieces, along with rest of your gear, you have in your system. I'm always interested in how different pieces go together to create system synergy. So far, it seems that what ever digital pieces are connected by the Sextet are only/totally influenced in a significant postive way. I'll thank you in advance.
I'm using the Varidig for datalink between a Wadia 27i and 270SE both with reference mods from GNSC. These units use 2 connections, one for the clocklink on AT&T and one for the datalink. For clocklink I'm using an Optimism V2 AT&T. The Varidig was purchased with the Stealth titanium, silver and teflon XLR terminations which are one of the finest XLRs I've seen. I don't know if they are sonically superior to the standard XLRs as I've never compared the two.
The Varidig replaced a Marigo Labs Apparition 5.7 and a second Optimism V2, both used for datalink.
Yesterday, one of my dear audiophile buddies asked if I would bring over my Stealth Sextet cable so he could compare its performance towards a TARA Labs digital reference cable that he had in for audtioning.

We were both shocked on how much better the Sextet was compared to the TARA Labs reference cable. Across the entire sonic spectrum ( timbres-layering in the sound stage-air around players-transparency-microdetails-decay trails-speed-natural musicality) the Sextet totally and completely out performed the TARA Labs reference cable.

The TARA Labs cable retails for $6900.00 vs $2700.00 for the Stealthy Sextet! Well, I guess you can figure out which cable my friend sent back and which he ordered later that day. I still have not heard a better digital cable then the Sextet and I have heard a bunch more since my original review. Without being nasty towards TARA Labs, this is a pretty rotten sounding cable for an awful lot of money.
tagging into an old thread, but I just put a Stealth Vardig in-between a Puccini U Clock and Puccini player/processor and wow...could not swing the $ for the sextet right now, but someday...awesome cable, and it was brand new so lots of improvement in store I am sure as it burns in

If you have an opprotunity, consider the ASI Liveline IC. This was compared to the very fine Stealth Sextet and found to be better for much less money per Srajan Ebaen`s review of the liveline in his 6 moons review. Just a thought.