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DREAM 20-20 AC

Manufacturer: STEALTH AUDIO
Price (when reviewed): 36 750 PLN/1,5 m

Contact: STEALTH Audio
Attn. Serguei Timachev
P.O. Box 1807
Olney, MD 20830 | USA


Provided for test by: AUDIOFAST


images Wojciech Pacuła

No 214

March 1, 2022

STEALTH Audio is an American company founded and run by SERGUEI TIMACHEV. They specialize in hand-made connection and AC power cables, such as the STEALTH DREAM 20-20 AC that we tested.

HERE ARE GAZILLION OF cable manufacturers, so to speak. The reason is simple - the cost of "entry", i.e. the funds needed to prepare a lineup do not have to be high, and the owner of a given company does not even need to know much about cables. It is enough to buy a few spools of ready-made cable from a well-known manufacturer, let it be Japanese Furukawa, look for nice, inexpensive plugs on the Internet, order them with the logo of one’s company, commission a graphic artist to design this logo, and then boxes - and voila, we have a "cable" company.

Interestingly, if this type of products are well priced, that is, if their manufacturer decides not to rob the customers blind (without breaking the law), the results can be very pleasant. Ultimately, everything will be based on research, expertise and techniques of other manufacturers of the cable and plugs.

However, it is also so that in this way we will never go beyond the average - and when I say 'average' I do not mean anything wrong, but just a certain average result. Going above the average is only possible when the following elements are combined: technical knowledge, striving for continuous improvement, proper funding, and musical sensitivity. And that means the vast majority of cable manufacturers will stay where they started for ever.


AMONG THOSE WHO MEET the above requirements, two subgroups can be distinguished: manufacturers who design and manufacture their cables from start to finish, for example Nordost, Furutech and Siltech, and those who design their own cables, commission the most of the production process but still perform the final stages themselves. Among the latter, I would mention companies such as Harmonix/Hijiri, Luna Cables or Acoustic Revive. Both methods can offer great results.

The STEALTH Audio, which we are dealing with this time, belongs to the latter sort. Mr. SERGUEI TIMACHEV, its owner and designer, designs them on his own, but the production of the cables themselves is outsourced to an external company. His approach to the issue is, in fact, extremely interesting. He cares about many aspects that many other companies do not fully understand.

In the case of AC power cables an important feature is, for example, the protective (ground) conductor. The designer believes that it has the greatest influence on the sound and therefore should be shielded like any other conductor. His cables are therefore complex electro-mechanical systems. From the beginning, they were not only complicated to build, but also expensive. As Marshall Nack recalled in the "Positive Feedback", the emergence of the Indra interconnect in 2003 "stirred the waters", so to speak. The cable was expensive and was made of "amorphous material originally developed for the Russian aviation industry" (more HERE ).

Combining sophisticated materials and proprietary topologies seems to be a distinguishing feature of this manufacturer. He is not alone in this, or even the first one, but usually these elements are combined by large manufacturers such as Nordost or Siltech. Small companies rely to a much greater extent on subcontractors or even other companies that produce plugs and wires. STEALTH Audio is an exception to this rule.

On the manufacturer’s website it reads:

Advancing the "State of the Art" in high-end audio cabling is our focus at STEALTH Audio Cables. This goal is achieved through perfecting all design elements: the use of highly complex non-resonant and impedance-matching, multi-layer and multi-core cable geometries in conjunction with the most advanced conductive media available: carbon-fiber based conductive composites, high purity silver and pure solid gold wire, single crystal metal alloys, and the most exotic of all: amorphous metal alloys.

Our top cables use Helium gas as a dielectric, and are terminated with cost-no-object custom proprietary connectors utilizing solid silver contacts, Kevlar composite inserts for strength, ultra-modified PTFE bodies, enclosed in carbon fiber shells, reinforced with machined aircraft Titanium.; accessed: 10.01.2022.

DREAM 20-20 AC

The DREAM 20-20 AC POWER CABLE we are testing is one of the newest products of this American company. Taking it out of the box, you will be surprised, as I was, by its dimensions - it is one of the thickest AC power cables I have ever had in my system, with a diameter of 25 mm. Nevertheless, it is relatively easy to arrange in a system as it is quite flexible, which indicates a well-thought-out internal structure and the use of a small number of conductors.

Its diameter results mainly from the desire to minimize vibrations that adversely affect the sound and to protect the conductors against electromagnetic interference. Although in theory this should not be a problem, because the 230 V/50 Hz (parameters of the AC supply voltage in Poland) sine wave is converted to low voltage and then filtered, experience shows that such solutions in AC power cables are often more important than in in the case of loudspeaker cables or interconnects.

⸜ CABLE The Dream 20-20 is made of interweaved copper wire, which was used in such a way that - as the manufacturer declares - it corresponds to a solid copper conductor with a diameter of over 10 mm. This translates into extremely low resistance, amounting to - again I will quote STEALTH Audio materials - only 0.3 Ω per 1 kilometer (!). The interweaved conductor was chosen by Mr. Timachev because of the complex anti-resonant geometry that can be achieved with it.

Not all Litz configurations are the same - 220 individually insulated round, intertwined conductors were used to for the tested cable. So it is a multi-Litz cable in which each wire is individually insulated. The manufacturer calls it "Litz distributed configuration". It is intended to help reduce the interaction between individual conductors. Each wire harness is enclosed in a separate, hermetically sealed "pseudo-vacuum" tube.

⸜ PLUGS The cable is one thing, but the plugs are just as important. The Dream 20-20 is terminated with some of the best Shuko and IEC plugs I have seen with excellent electrical and mechanical properties.

The body is made of carbon fiber braid and reinforced inside with inserts. The contacts are cast in solid silver. However, their surface is not glossy: the finish looks mate due to the way it is made. This effect was achieved in two stages: first by sandblasting the contacts with aluminum oxide, and secondly by sandblasting them with glass microspheres. As the manufacturer declares, as a result of these treatments the contact resistance has been "drastically reduced", which means better electrical contact.

In addition, the grounding pins are serrated (ribbed), which allows the cable to be better anchored in the wall socket. And this is important - usually the power cables have a some "slack", which is not good. The STEALTH Audio cable is securely plugged in and disconnected easily. To further minimize vibrations at this point, IEC plugs feature four Teflon inserts, which ensure a much better fit with IEC sockets, and the cables do not bend under their weight and do not come loose.

⸜ TUNING COLLAR And there is one more feature of the tested cable that needs to be mentioned: a carbon fiber tuning collar. It is movable and it is up to the user to set it up properly. As the manufacturer says, it a slightly different position may be preferred in various systems:

The best sounding tuning collar position is different for every two pieces of equipment which that cable connect, thus it is impossible to point at the same spot (location) of the collar, giving the same sound as without the collar. Finding the best position of the collar is a lengthy process and requires some time and patience. Usually two people are needed (one is listening, and the other is moving the collar). It is even better to have several people, and listen together. So, usually, an evening, or even entire day can be dedicated to finding the best collar position – for a particular audio system. But the result is worth the effort!

Technical Notes,; accessed: 10.01.2022.

All STEALTH Audio cables are handcrafted in-house. They are also tested on a machine designed and built by a team of engineers specifically for this purpose. The cables are connected to the terminals, and the tester twists and shakes the cable, mimicking its normal use. If, as a result of these actions, there is a brief loss of connectivity or changes in conductivity parameters, even for a few microseconds, the machine will be able to recognize these problems and display an error message.

Finally, a word regarding the name. I consistently use the spelling "STEALTH", which is in capital letters, and this is because the manufacturer used a clever trick: he assigned a word to each letter, which makes the name an abbreviation, and abbreviations are written in capital letters:

STEALTH = Sound, Techonlogy, Enabling, Audibly, Lucid, Transcomponent, Harmony

I am aware that this is a trick that allows them to stand out, but it is an inventive one, so we should honor it.


⸤ HOW WE LISTENED The STEALTH Dream 20-20 AC power cable was tested in the "High Fidelity" reference system. It powered the Ayon Audio CD-35 HF Edition SACD player (№ 01/50) and was compared with the Siltech Triple Crown Power reference cable.

It was connected to the ACOUSTIC REVIVE RTP-4EU ABSOLUTE power strip, and the latter via the Acrolink Mexcel PC-9500 cable to Furutech wall sockets. These sockets are connected to a separate line leading to the fuse box, which features the HPA fuse. And this line is made of a 6-meter section of Oyaide Tunami Nigo cable.

Recordings used in the test | a selection

⸜ CHET BAKER, Baker’s Holiday, Verve Records B0003279-16/SUHD 009960, Test Press SACD (1965/2004).
⸜ ENYA, 6 Tracks, WEA Records/Warner-Pioneer Corporation 20P2-2725, CD (1989).
⸜ MARK KNOPFLER, One Take Radio Sessions (The Trawlerman's Song EP), Mercury 9870986, Studio Digital Clone CD-R (2005).
⸜ HERBIE HANCOCK, Head Hunters, Columbia/Sony Records Int'l SICJ 10014, 7-inch paper sleeve, SACD/CD (1973/2020).
⸜ TOOL, 10,000 Days, Volcano Entertainment 819912, CD (2006).

THE FIRST SECONDS OF THE Evening Falls ... track from the ENYA album, released by Warner Pioneer Corporation in 1989 as a "sampler" with six of her songs, a low enter of a synthesizer, emulating to some extent the church organ, and then her voice and everything is clear: STEALTH Dream 20-20 AC is a cable aiming at developing as many colors as possible.

The tracks with the synthesizer had a creamy consistency with it, thick but also very well differentiated. In turn, the voice of the former Clannad lead singer was moved back into the mix, and the long reverbs that were superimposed on it were exposed. It was a kind of deepening and filling in. The withdrawal of the vocal, its warming, and at the same time the extension of the sound, which was large and tangible with the American cable, was part of something that probably started with rounding the attack and "tightening" the sustain.

For a moment it seemed to me that the sound with the tested cable was quieter, maybe even by 2 dB. After a while it turned out that it wasn’t so, it was only a psychoacoustically conditioned "shift" of attention from attack to decay. But the feeling of calming of the presentation stayed with me. Because I perceived the MARK KNOPFLER's voice and guitar in an almost identical way.

Recorded 100% live, but in a radio studio, the album The Trawlerman's Song EP of the former Dire Straits leader had the same thing. This is: density, full color, nice, low-set bass and slightly withdrawn treble. Most of all, however, the vocal was shown a bit further away than with the Siltech, I compared the STEALTH cable to. And I found it very interesting. The Dream 20-20 AC was a clearly "warm sounding" cable.

It offered an organic, well-organized sound. It was also a bit soft, but in the good sense of the word, i.e. it did not harden the attack, but "entered" the sound with energy, but with a controlled energy, not unleashed. And yet - and this is the interesting part - the presentation was not brought closer to me. And yet warmth = closeness, right? - Not in this case.

Do you remember what I’ve just said about Enya's vocals? That it was shown in the mix further away? Well, STEALTH does this magic trick of showing a lot of information, warming the sound up and adding breath to the sound at the same time. Usually, if we round the attack, the foreground will come closer to us and it will be bigger - this is exactly how compressors in the studio work. Meanwhile, the tested cable not only did not bring anything closer and did not enlarge what was in front of us, but also moved everything away and only enlarged it THERE.

So we have warmth, we have softness, we have breath and we have full color. It is probably already obvious that the American cable doesn't even try to be neutral. Instead, it proposes its own "story", which seems to be extremely carefully thought out. Energy is also a part of it. Another thing, after not bringing the deeper layers closer to the listener, is that with this cable the sound is dynamic, even VERY dynamic.

This is due to the transmission of very high energy. As in the opening track of the HERBIE HANCOCK’s Head Hunters. Released on a SACD disc in the "7-inch" format, perfectly remastered for this re-edition from the "master" tapes by Mark Wilder and Koji Suzuki, it was shown by the Dream 20-20 AC with all its power with a wealth of sounds generated by analog synthesizers on the one hand and electric guitars on the other.

| Our albums

Head Hunters

Columbia/Sony Records Int'l SICJ 10014
7-inch paper sleeve, SACD/CD (1973/2020)

THE COVER OF THE TWELFTH ALBUM IN HERBI HANCOCK'S CAREER says almost everything about its content. Its author, Victor Moscozo, placed in the background four musicians accompanying the leader who is sitting in front of the synthesizer, and instead of his head he has a dial resembling an electric measuring device. It is an album with not so much an "electric" jazz, but rather of an electronic one.

This album, which is better seen in retrospect, has revolutionized the approach to jazz music. It mixed funk with jazz and was the best-selling jazz album of 1973. Thanks to it, fusion music entered the mainstream. As Hancock mentions in his autobiography, it was not well received by the jazz community for a very long time.

The album was recorded in the evenings mainly at Wally Heider Studios and at Different Fur Trading Co., located in San Francisco. The publisher was Columbia Records and the album hit stores on October 26th 1973. Four engineers were responsible for the sound, and Hancock and DAVID RUBINSON were responsible for the production.

For the If These Halls Could Talk book by Heather R. Johnson, sound engineer FRED CATERO said that he gave the musician complete freedom, and the musician "was just hanging around most of the time", and when the concept was ready, he recorded a kind of a jam. Rubinson says, it's mostly "live" album, but recorded in the studio. The main part of his work was therefore material editing, copying and overdubbing.

The material was recorded combining modern techniques with vintage systems - the leader was an incredibly technically talented guy and took care of every detail of the recording. They used tube devices and Heider's echo, but also the first drum machine and synthesizers. The latter were recorded in the director's room, not in the studio, which was a novelty at the time.

The version that I would like to propose to you is special for two reasons. One is about design. It was released as a 7” mini LP. Inside we have exact copies of the envelope and insert describing quadraphonic sound - simply because the cover from the four-channel version was used. The second one is related to the mixing process. Well, Hancock, unlike other artists, was very much involved in the mixing and mastering process. So it is all the more interesting that we are dealing with a new mix, which was supervised by the original producers - the pianist and Robinson. Mastering was done by Mark Wilder and Koji Suzuki.

The album was released on a hybrid SACD / CD disc, with stereo (SACD and CD) and quadraphonic (SACD) versions. It sounds great!

LET'S RETURN TO THE SUBJECT OF THIS TEST. After all, it is a "warm" cable. I can talk about its energy, excellent resolution, etc., and just a moment is enough for this aspect of its sound to come to the fore. As with CHET BAKER's voice from his Baker's Holiday album, which I have in the unique, single-layer version of Test Press, where it was burned up and enlarged. As with the Enya at the beginning, now I had the impression that the sound was set quieter. But only for a while. Right after that, I got fullness, timbre and a gentle “entry” into the sound, which is characteristic for the STEALTH Dream 20-20 AC.

So what is the difference between the tested cable and the reference cable? And it does differ, obviously. Well, what is probably most important is that it is not so clear in presenting details. This is interesting, because the Siltech sounds quite dark in most systems - as long as these systems are well matched. But also the presentation of the Triple Crown has something of almost unlimited resolution, which is presented with each recording. Meanwhile, STEALTH slightly restrains the sound, arranges it and only then "transmits" to us.

The difference is also visible in the presentation of holography. Both cables - the tested and reference ones - are perfect in this respect, to be clear. The American cable, however, moves the events deeper into the stage, modifying them so that they are connected more closely with the background, they are not so clear. It is not a bad thing, because this way the whole thing becomes organic and fluid. But it is also such a clear change that you have to check for yourself if it is what you want and are looking for.


THE MANUFACTURER RECOMMENDS DREAM 20-20 AC to be used with amplifiers. I agree, it is the right choice. However, I spent most of my listening sessions comparing it with the reference cable supplying the SACD player. And when used in this way, it seemed even more interesting to me. Regardless of that, however, it is a very versatile power cable that can be used for any device in the system delivering similar results.

And these will include a beautiful, unobtrusive timbre, high energy and dynamics, but most of all, calmness and tranquility. This was achieved by softening the attack of the sound and thus warming it up. And yet the presentation was not brought closer to a listener, nor compressed. On the contrary, it is as if the sound has opened up. It offered a warm, dark presentation that many people are looking for by replacing components with different ones, trying out various accessories, which won’t offer changes on a similar scale to that delivered by the STEALTH.

I remember very well that I had similar impressions after listening to the Harmonix X-DC Studio Master Million Maestro - the STEALTH Dream 20-20 AC cable represents a very similar way of thinking about sound and on a similar level. And at the same time it is a much cheaper cable. A unique products! That is why we award it with our ˻ RED Fingerprint ˺.

Reference system 2021

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2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|


Analog interconnect SACD Player - Line preamplifier: SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |ABOUT|
Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

AC Power

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Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Line preamplifier - ACOUSTIC REVIVE
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Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|


Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

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Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

Record mats:


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Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC