Review: VD Nite vs Stealth PGS IC
Jul 1, 2003 at 10:03 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

bluesaint

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Well, i got my hands on a pair of STEALTH's PGS IC finally and compared it to my VD Nite. These retail for $2000.

Here is a pic of the Stealth's:
gold.jpg


For those who missed my earlier review of the VD Nite compared to the Voodoo Reference can read it here:
http://www4.head-fi.org/forums/showt...threadid=38293

Here is a sniplet from Stealth cable's site on their PGS model:

But why using gold while silver is more conductive?!!!
Well, there are several reasons:


1. Unlike it is in the loudspeaker cables, in phono and line-level interconnects conductivity of the wires has not much to do with the sound quality - but oxidation, impurities, internal grain structure and GEOMETRY of the conductors have. Plus, some qualities of the dielectric used to insulate the wires ARE very important to the sound.

2. Silver oxide IS highly conductive (unlike copper oxides) - but silver is easily polluted with Sulfur and when "infected" by these other elements (from the outside air or from a contact with human skin) and when polluted, silver loses conductivity, uniformity and "plasticity". It's not a problem with thick silver wires or contact surface, but it IS a real problem with extremely thin wires or silver foil used in interconnects.

3. According to "The Essex Echo" article by Malcolm Omar Hawksford (which is the ONLY classical and acknowledged article on the on audio cables sound theory: 10 or 12 printed pages that explain what sounds best and why using a lot of math) interconnects sound more "focused" and "extended" if they are made of a VERY thin wire: the thinner - the better, in fact. Clarity, resolution, bass tightness - everything is better with thin wire. Why? Because thin wire allows to "move" the skin effect out of the audible range and eliminate (or greatly reduce) the time smearing of audio signal - i.e. the time domain distortion subjectively perceived as excessive upper midrange "brightness" and "boomy" unfocused bass...

4. However, thin wire is fragile. Plus - it is VERY difficult to make a very thin silver wire of high purity - since despite of using special measures, it gets terribly polluted in the production process. It is possible to get a chunk of silver of 7N (seven nines) purity (i.e. 99.99999 pure) - but when a thin wire is made of this silver, the wire will have only 99.9 purity or worse. It is close to impossible to make pure enough thin copper wire either. Plus, a very thin wire "ages" very quickly and becomes even more fragile with time.

5. So, the wire must be VERY thin and VERY pure to sound good. But - it's close to impossible to make thin enough and pure enough silver (or copper) wire.

6. Back to the dielectric. Vacuum is best. Air is almost as good. Teflon is best of solid dielectrics (because of the fast charge/discharge characteristics = less energy storage = better transient response). Foamed Teflon is better than solid Teflon (since it contains air bubbles). The more air - the better. But - how to protect our thin silver or copper wire if it 's surrounded by a lot of air?

7. So - gold IS the solution - since it IS possible to make a high purity VERY thin gold wire. How thin? Approximately a half as thin as human hair :) How pure? 99.99% or better (24 carat gold is only 99.9% pure). Plus gold is practically grainless, a properly made gold wire is considerably more uniform than silver or copper. And it stays that way!

8. STEALTH PGS (99.99% gold) cables are made with extremely thin gold conductors in a proprietary porous Teflon dielectric, and they do sound special...



Physically:

This cable is lot more flexible compared to the VD Nite and lot smaller overall. The Nite's can get you very annoyed when trying to bend it to fit your RCA's just right without exerting an enormous amount of pressure to it.

Sonically:

The PGS's are very close to how the Nite's sound in most aspects except the following:

-It is more laid back, or a bit warmer. I actually even borrowed someone's Cardas Golden Reference to compare as well and it has CGR's flavor, but a bit more dynamic and a bit faster.

-When listening to my SACD Diana Krall (Jazz) I prefered the smoothness of the PGS compared to the Nite's. At parts, the Nite's could almost be considered a little bright where the PGS is just perfect.

-When listening to my SACD "The Police" I noticed the Nite's are definately more energetic and the sounds more colorful, but at parts it can cause a little fatigue caused by high vocals compared to the PGS.

Conclusion/Summary:

I think the PGS are very nice in the sense it sets itself at the borderline between too warm or too cold. It found a nice sweet spot in my setup. The Nite's are more energetic in compairson and on certain CD's it can be a bit bright. Both IC's offer excellent sound staging.

Stay tuned, I will try to get my hands on the new PGS-3D and see how that compares.
 
Jul 1, 2003 at 10:09 PM Post #2 of 10

tom hankins

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bluesaint, your becoming the cable Guru! Next time your in my neck of the woods bring your cables.
 
Jul 1, 2003 at 10:32 PM Post #4 of 10

markl

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Hi Bluesaint,
Very interesting, I have always wondered about these gold cables, to be honest, I'm a fascinated, but skeptical. I think it might be good to do some burn-in on your cables before reaching firm conclusions. As I'm sure you're aware, they won't usually change *dramatically*, but there is a noticeable effect, plus psychological "burn-in" occurs too. It would be interesting to repeat the comparison in a couple weeks, see if your feelings have changed, more time to notice "flaws" and such. Anyway, interesting read, that's for sure! Thanks.

Mark
 
Jul 4, 2003 at 3:51 AM Post #10 of 10

ServinginEcuador

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Quote:

Originally posted by Matthew-Spaltro
2000 for interconnects
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How much for a real expensive pair?


Some go for as much as $8000-10000 for a 1m pair, so these are a bargain.

Thanks for the review bluesaint. always good to read about other competitors stuff out there to give us options on the next cable upgrade/change. Keep up the good work.
 

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