"Pure Gold Signal": a pure 99.99% gold spiraled signal conductor, surrounded by porous Teflon® insulation, and a complex cross-wrapped pure silver "return" (multiple individually solid Teflon® insulated thin strands).
This review is for the original PGS "pure gold signal" interconnect(.75 meter) from Stealth Audio.Although it is not manufactured anymore(replaced by the PGS-XL) it does occasionally show up on the used market.Having owned and used a number of quality-mid priced IC's from some well known manufacturers,the PGS is the Best IC I have used.Based on very thin 99.99% pure gold wire.All of the essential audio descriptions apply to the PGS in one high degree or another.Having used it in a considerably less expensive system before my current setup,surprisingly it is equally at home in both.Simply put,this cable allows the best of both worlds(detail and warmth) in a very magical way.The detail,both macro & micro is there;not hard line etched, but in a very holistic manner;as though the sound from each of the instruments and vocalists are merging in a subtle golden 3d soundfield.The inner resolution is so life like that for the 1st time "Live in the Room".I Highly recommend this IC.
My Gear: Audio Aero Capitole MkIIse
Sony SACD 333ES - cdp 5 play
Sony 550ES - tuner
Rogue Audio Magnum 120 - amps
Von Schweikert VR4jr - speakers
Virtual Dynamic Master pc
FIM/CRL Gold pc
RSA Poiema IC
Stealth PGS IC
Powervar power conditioner
I have spent the last two years devoted to analyzing interconnect and speaker cables in my reference system. I had put together what I thought of as a highly resolving but extremely musical system. I am an amateur musician (guitar) and have been in and around the music business all my life. I have also been into hi end audio (a hobby of questionable sanity) for twenty five years. A few of these years have even been enjoyable; most have tried my patience and some have taken years off my life.
I am committed to enjoying music no matter how unlikely or difficult it is. Listening to audio gear has that effect. the system is finally pretty much there and I have decided it is time to see what cables can do -- for better or worse (mostly for the latter I fear). I have had lots of very good cables in and at many price points. I was in fact happiest with what I would think of as the good value cables -- especially Music Metre Silver interconnects and Signature speaker cables. I have listened to the range of Acoustic Zen, Straightwire, Audio Note, Zu, Analysis Plus, Baton, Virtual Mode, Wasatch, Zu among others. Many of these were good; some were better than that.
I had been interested in Stealth cables from extensive readings and conversations with friends. I started with the Stealth CWS and was surprised by its performance. It was tremendously dynamic, coherent and informative. To be fair, while very detailed it did not unfold the layers of musical detail. It presented it all as one at one level. I still love the cable from the phono and it shares time with the quite excellent Audio Magic Sorcerer.
Eventually I emailed Serguei at the suggestion of a friend who has been using Stealth cables for three years. Serguei was very helpful and he sent me the PGS to try. At the same time I purchased a pair of M-7 on auction. (See review). I put the M-7 between preamp and amp where I had previously been very happy with a pair of Sorcerers. I then placed the PGS from SACD player to preamp. Within fifteen minutes I knew I had found what I had spent two years looking for. There are a million audiophile terms to use that would accurately describe this cable. But for those of you who know music and the difference between music and music reproduction, there is one term that describes the PGS in a way that makes the others irrelevant: NATURAL. This is the most natural sounding cable I have ever heard. Artifacts of all sorts -- from the spectacular hifi-ish sort to the unbearable glare and edge of some -- are completely eradicated. This is the closest music reproduction to music that I have ever experienced. To be sure, there is excellent bass, and extension, a glorious midrange, and an open window onto the sound, a huge soundstage and lots of information, lots and lots of information. But what counts is that the information is all there as a coherent whole, and it absolutely does not draw attention to itself. You can focus on it if you like: pick out a guitar line, a bass line, a piano line if you like. you can locate it and follow it. But no line calls out for attention. At the same time the sound is well focused in the soundstage, but not in an artificial way that makes it seems like not only the musicians but the music itself occupies distinct places on the stage. That's not how much projects from a stage. There may be better cables, but I have not heard them. I cannot attest to whether it makes sense to have more than one PGS in a system; but I can confidently assert that placing one in your system will take your system to another level. IMHO the PGS IC was the single best audio component I heard this year.
When I first installed the cables from my Pre/Pro to my amplifier, two things that really strikes me: (i) the brightness of the system mellowed but did not lose the detail at all and (ii) the background
is pitch black - no noise. The vocals came out very nice but slightly backward relative to my previous cable which I believe due to the change in the frequency response from the speakers. After about few hours of playing it, I noticed that the mid base was much better and clear with a fast transient response. The low base was also good and not boomy. After two weeks, the cables are performing extremely well and those characteristics also seemed more prominent.
I have owned my Stealth PGS cables for about two years, and they continue to provide a satisfying musical experience. The cables connect my EVS DAC-1 directly to a pair of modified Monarchy SM 70 amplifiers through EVS inline passive stepped attenuators. I’ve tried many different cables over the years, including interconnects from PSC, Silver Audio, Harmonic Technology, Tice, and Stealth to list a few. All of these were fine cables with strong merits. That said, until the PGS became available, the Stealth CWS had perfomed best in my system. I found that moving up to the PGS brought the sound to a whole new level.
The CWS are fine cables in their own right, offering an expansive soundstage, open and extended high frequencies and a good sense of pace. The PGS cables are even better. With the PGS, I experience even more space around instruments, better defined microdynamics, and greater feel of "acceleration" in the attacks of transients in drum hits, plucked strings, piano, etc. Massed strings in an orchestra sound more clearly like grouped individual instruments, and the sound of bowed strings is fuller, with better accuracy of timbre. I’m amazed at how well I can hear the wood in the violins (I’m a former string player). The sound stage is larger in all dimensions. Instruments seem realistic in size, and the image is precisely placed. At first, it seemed that the PGS did not play as loud, but after a several week break-in I found that I could set my attenuators at the same level as before and hear more. Even at low levels the PGS proved more dynamic than any cable previously auditioned. I listen primarily to classical music (solo, chamber and orchestral), but I also have analog and digital synthesized music, Rock, and Jazz in my collection. I feel that the PGS cables provide an enjoyable and involving listening experience with all these genres. They have excellent extension on both ends and plenty of "slam". I don’t find the cables at all "tame" on very dynamic music, rather they seem very balanced. They sound neither exaggeratedly etched nor overly smooth and mellow. Instead, they do what a good cable should do: They help draw the listener into the experience of the music.
Before Stealth PGS came along and I got a 1M unbalanced pair to try, I was
very happy with SCR, choosing it after long deliberation over both CWC and
CWS. Right away, PGS struck me as simply magnificent! Their "voice" is
quite different from the "silvery voices" of Stealth silver, either CWS or
SCR, and from the somewhat "darker voice" of CWC, but I can only describe
it as fuller and more "natural", more like what I believe the sound going
into the recording microphone was really like. I know that some find PGS
bass "soft", but I definitely don't. In the bass, and through the midrange
and treble too, there is a charming purity to the sound that was new to my
listening. But if the music is crisp and sharp, as with Mapleshade's
"Swinging' and Burnin'", the John Cocuzzi Quintet, you hear vibes, for
example, sounding more like life vibes than you've ever heard before. PGS
can make any kind of music sound as it should, I would say. Another
striking feature is an impression of "separate but together" that I get,
for example, from a jazz group when two or more instrumentalists play hard
together. You can sort it all out, thanks to a solid and very palpable
soundstage, but you also get a good feeling for its being a single,
cooperative musical event. A kind of unity of separate parts comes across
that is both impressive and very pleasing. Finally, I should add that with
PGS, dynamics were superior to any other cable I've used, with dramatic
peaks really "jumping out at you". This was especially apparent when,
after getting Atma-Sphere M60 II monoblocks and changing to 18" speaker
cables, I replaced my 1M unbalanced PGS with 8' balanced PGS. This is a
combo I plan to keep forever!