Sakra* is our newest flagship analog interconnect. It's been in the "pre-release state" since December 2008, and we plan to release it "officially" in mid-Summer 2009. The exact release date will be announced separately.
For almost 5 years, making and gradually improving the Indra cable, we thought that the Indra would remain the pinnacle of our designs (in the line-level, analog interconnect domain). As with all our designs, we improve them as we go, introducing new "revisions"; Indra has gone though three revision changes, and each next revision sounded better than the previous one, but the overall, general sound character of the Indra remained similar through all revisions. However, while the SAKRA can be considered just the next, updated revision of Indra, it has a different name, and it IS a different cable overall: it is a clear upgrade from any Indra revision, and the magnitude of the difference is very substantial. What makes such a profound difference? - it's simple: better geometry and better dielectric. How does it sound, compare to the Indra? - we will know more once reviews are published, and we accumulate feedback from the Sakra users, but as of now - after testing the Sakra in a dozen of very good systems, and collecting comments from a couple of dozen of experienced listeners, we are certain about three major Sakra performance advantages over Indra:
1. Sakra offers considerably better low-end extension, more subjective "body" to the sound AND better midrange transparency AT THE SAME TIME. These two characteristics: better transparency and better "body" (and bass performance) practically always contradict each other - at least, it's been true in all cables and in all gear we have heard. Usually, it's "either-or": improved midrange transparency or improved body.... But the Sakra offers BOTH!
2. Without any break-in, right out of the box, the Sakra sounds more "relaxed" than a well-broken in Indra... And it improves further as it breaks-in!
3. Sakra offers more layered, larger, and better defined soundstage; the effect of changing the Indra for the Sakra is similar to adding a good preamplifier to a system, where a DAC was connected directly to a power amplifier...
...We will add more comments as we receive and analyze them. But for now, before the Sakra is officially released - we suggest you talk to your STEALTH dealer about special, introductory offer to upgrade your Indra to the Sakra! It is a major upgrade, and you will not be disappointed - or your money back!
KEY DESIGN FEATURES
• Amorphous conductive media (wire) - which is perfectly homogeneous, grain-less – i.e. identical in all directions, since it has no crystal structure at all;
• Ultra thin wire: 0.001” (one-thousands of an inch) thick. Very thin wire is important for:
· minimizing skin effect (no harshness in the upper midrange and treble);
· minimizing time-domain errors (necessary for the clean, well defined bass, and perfect imaging);
· in realistic cable dimensions, allows the use of the STEALTH proprietary distributed LITZ geometry**:
• Proprietary non-resonant cable geometry: STEALTH multicore distributed LITZ**:
· Individually insulated strands (to eliminate direct electrical contact, i.e. galvanic interaction between strands – otherwise the multiple bare strands behave like a single thicker wire)
· Non-inductive bifilar winding - the advantage of the STEALTH multicore geometry.
· Electrical resonance control: the advantage of the STEALTH distributed LITZ geometry.
· Mechanical resonance control: dielectric and jacketing mechanical properties: optimized density and damping. Too much damping usually sterilizes and deadens the sound, while too little damping is even worse because of excessive “ringing” (unwanted uncontrolled resonances).
• Characteristic impedance control: optimized relationships among capacitance, inductance and DC resistance: the SAKRA characteristic impedance and its resonant behavior (“Q” at RF frequencies) are different from any machine-made cable.
• Ultra low energy storage dielectric: STEALTH para-vacuum*** (Helium gas) + porous - i.e. foam-like Teflon. The Helium dielectric, combined with the multicore geometry, are the MAIN technical advantages of the Sakra, compare to the Indra. Porous Teflon has the lowest dielectric constant of all solid and semi-solid materials. Low dielectric constant = low energy storage = low distortion = fast sound. Helium gas dielectric properties is much better than even porous Teflon, better than air, and better than realistic (commercial) vacuum.
• Proprietary STEALTH connectors: custom and highly advanced; very low overall mass, solid silver contacts, machined ultra-modified PTFE (Teflon®) dielectric, Kevlar composite frame, Carbon Fiber/Titanium shells.
• Advanced termination technique (high pressure crimping = cold weld) – a direct contact = seamless transition between the wire and the contact – no intermediate agent (solder) involved;
CONNECTING THE SAKRA CABLES WITH RCA
When connecting the Sakra cables with the STEALTH RCA connectors to equipment, please remember that you need to apply a significant axial force to make sure the Indra connectors go all the way onto the RCA females (on the back of an equipment piece). When you insert these connectors, the feel is like forcing a knife through a cold chunk of butter: it goes slowly and smoothly, but with significant resistance. Please be patient to overcome this resistance and DO insert the connectors all the way (deep) onto the RCA females. This usually requires either approaching your equipment rack from behind, or partially removing a component from a rack - to have a clear access to its back panel to insert the connectors using the axial force (along the connector's axle, along the cable).
The internal part of the connector is made of Teflon, and the internal diameter of the Teflon cylinder is slightly smaller than the RCA female diameter. When the connector is fist connected, the Teflon cylinder expands to reach the internal part of the titanium housing (the outer titanium ring on the connector). Once connected, the connector sits very tight on the RCA female, and the three solid silver strips, that make the actual contact, are pressed to the RCA female outer part. If the RCA female was cleaned right before inserting the Indra into it (with a contact cleaner or with simply rubbing (isopropyl alcohol), the connection between these trips and the RCA female is very firm, close to air tight, so it doesn't oxidize or deteriorate with time.