|Months passed and this conversation faded from my mind. Then, while at the Las Vegas CES, I ran into Ted Lindblad, importer of the Duevel line of horn-loaded omni-directional loudspeakers and Klimo electronics as well as National Sales Manager for Stealth cables. Ted suggested I come to his room. Serguei had brought some of his new Indra cable and installed a longish interconnect between preamp and amp. Ted assured me that I just had to hear what the cable had done for the sound. The sound in the Duevel/Klimo/Audio Logic/Pluto room was relaxed, natural, expansive and very seductive. I couldn't tell what contribution the Indra made to the sound but it obviously didn't hurt anything.
Then a little over a month ago, I received a phone call from Ted, letting me know that Serguei had sent him a one-meter beta-tester version of the Indra. Did I want to listen to it? After the first couple of beta-test runs against Valhalla, Siltech, NBS and other top contenders, Serguei felt confident that the interconnect was ready for commercial production.
I assured Ted that I was more than happy to have a listen. The next day an entirely ordinary-looking cable dressed in white and with very familiar top-line WBT RCA connectors arrived. I placed the cable between Reimyo CD player and Monbrison, fired the system up and went off to run a few errands. I returned about an hour later and figured the electronics would have warmed up sufficiently to have a listen.
What I heard
In a word (well, two): "Nothing" and "everything". The Indra cable had replaced the Harmonix Golden Performance interconnect that the folks at Combak encourage for use with all Reimyo components. Judging by the Reimyo's performance, their recommendation seemed fully justified, with the sound fully extended, detailed, richly textured, very natural and ever so slightly warm. Perfect really. So perfect in fact that it was with the Harmonix interconnect in place that I had drawn all my strongly positive conclusions about the Reimyo. With the Harmonix interconnect in place, the Reimyo was far and away the best digital playback I had experienced. I was sold on the Reimyo long before the Indra showed up.
|The Indra brought the Reimyo playback to another level in both completely obvious and extremely subtle ways. The change was inescapable in two ways. First, with the Indra in place, the walls of my listening room simply disappeared. While the tonal changes were minor, the soundstage expansion was not. Side and back walls disappeared. Nevertheless, everything remained incredibly well focused. I have had the experience of an enormous soundstage with other cables -- Acoustic Zen for example -- but that increase in size and depth was almost always accompanied by a much more diffuse presentation than I didn't find persuasive. Second, the Indra cable removed a large part of what, for want of a better description, I think of as a mechanical or electronic glaze. There is little question that when you listen to music playback through a system, there may be many illusions that you can experience, but the greatest barrier to whatever illusion you may be|
|seeking is the sense that you are listening to a system of electronic and mechanical devices. I was never really sure what the mechanical glaze sounded like until I experienced much of it being removed. Some of the obvious artificiality of the listening experience simply disappeared. The net effect was an extraordinary sense of immediacy.
The most persuasive evidence of Indra's impact on this sonic immediacy arises when you take the Indra cable out and replace it with whatever you had in its place before. With the cable in the system, the music coming from your speakers projects further into your room, so much so that it engulfs you - or better, places you squarely within the soundfield. You become a part of the experience and no longer remain apart or detached from it. Take the Indra out, replace it with your cable and it feels by comparison that you have become a spectator again.
Of course, the effect of this feature is constrained by your listening distance from the system. In my room, I'm set up so that I can sit either nine or sixteen feet away. When I sit nine feet away, the impact of the Indra is full; at sixteen feet, there is little one can do but be somewhat of a spectator. I did all my critical listening at the nine-foot listening position.
In that position, the Indra contributed to a level of immediacy the likes of which I had previously experienced only at Jeff Catalano's loft. This expanse and immediacy were not subtle. With so much mechanical and electronic glaze removed, there was a life to the music that was infectious. It was also incredibly resolving. The Indra simply appeared to let whatever came its way pass through unimpeded. This created the sense of speed and agility. The Indra is a cable that is very light on its feet but not tonally light. More than any other cable I have experienced, it is an open window to the sound. It gives the impression of clearing away barriers between you and the music. Whichever obstructions it cannot completely remove, it cleans them as much as possible. No roadblocks, no grime.
regard, the Indra reminded me most of the PGS. This was as good as digital could possibly promise to be; perhaps more accurately put, it was as good as it has ever been for me.
|The Indra effect on sources was dramatic in my home but even more so in a related system I tried it on. I was so impressed with the Indra that I brought it to the good folks at In Living Stereo in NYC to take a listen in a system that included the Reimyo CD player, similar Shindo electronics and a prototype of DeVore Fidelity's Silverback. Again, placed between the Reimyo and a Shindo Allegro preamp, the Indra utterly transformed the system. The moderately sized room completely disappeared and the sound exploded from the speakers.
In time, I received the Hørning Agathon Ultimates for review, a pair of Shindo interconnects and some Kondo speaker cable. I tried many different combinations of Indra and other cables and ultimately preferred the Indra from both digital or analogue sources, the Shindo cable between the Shindo electronics and the Kondo cable from the amplifier to the Hornings which are internally wired with Kondo. The Shindo interconnects are obviously voiced around Shindo electronics which may in fact use the same conductor for hookup wire.
There was a lesson here. In every location in which I employed the Indra, it maintained its character: Extremely revealing, expansive, refined, transparent and explosive. It doesn't follow, however, that in put-
Indra [foreground] and the Eternal dancer Nataraj [background]
|ting a system together, you are going to want that cable everywhere within it. For example, between the Shindo elec-tronics, the synergy of the Shindo interconnect was more desirable. However, when I tried the Shindo interconnect elsewhere in the system, it was no contest: The Indra just overwhelmed it along every meaningful dimension. Even with the best cables in the world -- and the Indra may well be the best interconnect in the world, or otherwise surely among the very best -- it is still a matter of system balance. I am quite sure that the Kondo speaker cable is not the best in the world but I found nothing in my stash that worked better with the Hørnings.
Nor is the Indra for every system. The Indra takes away layers of distortion and glaze; it leaves behind the components you have in place. If they are not up to the task, you will very quickly discover that. It may not always be pleasant and it need not always be welcome. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.
Serguei is inclined to view what the Indra does as allowing you to hear your components - nothing more. This is his way of saying that the Indra imparts nothing of its own. I am not sure this is true; it is in any case a bit misleading. As in the case of the Shindo electronics, to hear them as Shindo designed them is in part to hear them as he voiced them. After all, every design is created within the context of a system and not in the abstract. So it is not as if you can hear a preamp or an amplifier as such. What the Indra allows you to do is to hear how a preamplifier and amplifier sound together with little if any addition by the interconnect cable. And that in itself is pretty amazing, actually.
From the source, the Indra interconnect is the single best cable I have heard (or not heard). I have two of them installed in my system: One from the digital source, one from the analogue source. If you think you have put together a genuinely high end system and all you want is to bring yourself into it and not merely remain a spectator of it, you owe it to yourself to listen to an Indra cable from your sources. If you want the music to flow and engulf you, you owe it to yourself to listen to an Indra. If you want to remove the last barrier between you and your music, you owe it to yourself to listen to an Indra. You are not likely to hear so little from your cable or so much of your music again.
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