Anticables Review

Category: Cables

I need to preface this by saying I don't have what y'all would probably consider an "Audiophile" amp: An Onkyo 805 receiver. But it drives my Vandersteen 2ce sigs wonderfully (and in Pure Audio mode has no video circuitry on. I use Pure Audio (no time processing, no sub) for this comparison.

Ok so I got two pairs of Anticables from Paul. He shotgunned them to bananas on the amp end and put vintage spades on the other (biwired to the Vandys). My other cable is a set of Canare 4S11 star quad: hard-wired on the amp end with BJC spades on the speaker. My conclusion: I can only hope that others in this forum are correct in saying that AntiCables need 400 hours to break in. Right now, they sound thin, tinny, and very lacking in bass and overall stage depth. Putting the Canare back on, Jacqueline Dupre's cello once again sounds like a Strad (instead of a high school instrument), and the bass section sounds full and present (instead of weak and distant).

This comparison duplicates results across genres. For example Alison Kraus' Live SACD, the guitar strum sounds precise with the anticables, but very thin. With the Canare you can hear the string depth through the pick.

My next step is to clip off the spades and hard wire the AntiCables, as some have suggested. Will post an update if anyone's interested :) But for now I just wanted to voice my dissatisfaction thus far, and hope that this magnet wire I paid $200 for might somehow 'burn in' to match my $30 Canare 4S11.
It has a lot to do w/ interactions and synergy, I think. On my Pass Aleph 3, the anti cables (actually magent wire I bought and terminated myself) sound a bit thin; MIT T3 sounds much better. Putting AtmaSphere MA1s into the system, the sound is very dull with the MIT, and much better with the Magnet wire.
I can only hope that others in this forum are correct in saying that AntiCables need 400 hours to break in. Right now, they sound thin, tinny, and very lacking in bass and overall stage depth.

I wouldn't dismiss them so quick. Give them time to break in.
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It seems to me that there is no magic here. They sound how they sound from the first moment you install them.

Maybe you're right. I don't know. I haven't heard them. But I'd give them more than a few days to cast judgment. I wouldn't give them 400 hrs, but at least a week or two to settle in. They might open up. If not, Paul has a 30 day return policy.
not worth clipping the spades off. do not ruin the cables for a tiny upgrade IMO.
Sound won't change after 400/600/ or 1000 hours.
However, your acceptance will. (Matrix at its best)
Don't they offer a return policy? Return them if you can even if it will cost you shipping and restocking fee, consider it a lesson learned and move on. Get yourself a nice speaker cable.
Within the same budget I would tell you to get a set of Audience Conductor speaker cables. Or add a few bucks and get Acoustic Zen Satori. I would not expect miracles from this magnet wire. At the best it will sound like your $30 Canare.
It was hyped up at some point here because of its price and few people that were fooled into thinking they had a deal of a century, replacing their Nordost Valhalla with the $200 magnet wire.....I don't think so. You get what you pay for. There are no miracles, especially in this hobby. Trust your ears.
I bought a used pair of AntiCables whose prior owner didn't like them so they were burned in when I got them. I found them to be fast and detailed by emphaisizing the upper frequencies but they also tended to be harsh with little stereo separation and less bass. Went with Kimber
03-14-08: Strateahed
Just installed Gregg Straley's Reality Cables. My search is finally over. After using Alphacore Goertz MI 1 cables for several years, switched to Signal cable Ultra's for fronts. IMO the Signals produced a fuller sound ... and just a bit on the warm side. I heard a system with some Transparent cables in place ... simply amazing, but I refuse to pay $2,000 for speaker cables! Then I got the upgrade bug ... auditioned Morrow Audio SP2, Speltz Anti-cables, and Audio Art SC-5. While all of these cables are excellent - especially at their price points - each was lacking in a certain area ... the Morrows (bass), Speltz (warmth/emotion), SC-5 (clarity/details). To me, of these three, the SC-5's are the best. Of course, YMMV. I eventually tried a shotgun bi-wire configuration with the Speltz combined with the SC-5's, which was actually quite good.

These Reality Cables do everything well ... top to bottom. There's an ease and refinement in my system now. It now approaches the "high end" sound realm I've been seeking. I believe the Reality Cables are the final piece of the puzzle. I was most impressed by the timbre and tonality they produce. This is the closest I've been to hearing real instruments. It sounds like a sax, piano, guitar playing ... as opposed to a recording of the music. The best part is, at $250/8ft pair these are still in the "budget" price range ... just slightly more than the others I tried, but at higher performance level.

Finally, Gregg Straley is pleasure to do business with. He's got great service and he stands behind his product.

Thought I might weigh in with this discussion. My cable search started earlier this year ... in January; so each of the cables mentioned above were given adequate time to settle in. Of course, they had to be auditioned within the allowable trial period. What I can add is that there is an organic, natural sense to the music with the Reality Cables in place. The Anticables, while very clear and detailed, had almost an analytical character.

I kept the Anticables because they were an odd custom length and initially thought they were keepers (waiting for the proverbial burn-in to happen). The recommended break-in time is 200 hours. They improved with time, but never quite reached the level I was expecting. Anybody want a free pair (9ft/7ft) with bananas on both ends? Let me know.

"you get what you pay for" ??
I think most audiophiles know more money doent mean better sound.
The Anti-cables are a perfect example of this false thinking.
I have a single run with bare wire ends and I made jumpers from a bit of Anti-cable I didnt need.
I've owned speaker cable 5-6 times the cost,and the anti-cables are the best sounding speaker cables I have ever owned.
These cables were 'hyped' by people that bought them and loved them.
If a few people were fooled into buying the Anti-cables,there are countless people that werent fooled.
If people can afford Nordost Valhalla's, I think its safe to assume there's a very fine stereo system involved.
I highly doubt owners of a $$ rig would
sell their high cost cables for inexpensive cables if the Anti-cables didnt sound better.
Paul has countless testimonials on his web-site from people that sold their $$ cables after they bought and heard the Anti-cables.
Most audiophiles are a smart bunch and I dare say,arent easily fooled.

Audiphile 1,do you think audiophiles are dummie's? Your post srongly hints in that direction.
Have you ever heard the Anti-cables?
if so,did you get caught up in the hype of the Anti-cables and were fooled like the 'few' people you mention?
If not,you have never heard the Anti-cables.
Bless you, KontraBass, for offering an honest, un-varnished opinion. Too many times folks write how great everything now sounds and how much better their system is because they just bought XYZ cable (or interconnect, etc.)

This indicates to me that their system was a piece of junk before and somehow the cables magically transformed it into a world beater. Thank you for telling it like it sounds, a rare commodity on these pages...

Kontrabass, how have you configured the + and - leads -- twisted them together, tied them together? In my experience, they must be very close to one another or the sonics suffer dramatically. YMMV.
Kontrabass, thanks for the honest assessment.
I concur with the sentiment expressed by Tvad. My experience with swapping cables is that I usually hear an immediate difference which seems to dissipate with time. I don't believe the difference is gone, just that I become accustomed to the new sound and don't notice it so much. Sometime the change is positive, sometime negative and sometime I can't hear a difference. In any case the noticeable change seems to fade with time and listening.
David99, do I think audiophiles are dummies? Certainly not. But what I do think is that audiophiles tend to get too excited too quick when judgement(I'm guilty of it as well at times) is impaired. This is when hype starts.

I didn't mean to offend anyone, you included, but if you read my post and understood it that way, then there is nothing I can do.

You're right, I never got caught up in this hype, never heard the Anti-Cables. But I did get caught up in similar hypes before I learned what this is all about. So there is no need for me to try this cable to know it is hype.
I actually prefer the Anti-cable speaker cables in my system, but I have never owned any cable > $200. With my Modwright tube pre-amp and Class D Bel Cantos amps, I appreciate clear, distinct sound without any coloration and I think that is what these cables provide. Research shows that the match between the amp and the speaker strongly determines the character of the sound and this is where the cable used is significant. No one can ever say, "this cable is the best" because few of us have the exact same amps and speaker combinations. Magazine reviews of cables are meaningless unless you have the same amps and speakers as the reviewer. I would never buy a cable unless it had a return policy or I could buy used to recoup my money if it didn't sound right. You don't know what it will sound like until you install it in your system. For what it's worth, I also use Canare 4S11, but like the Speltz more. I twist the + and - for the upper module and separate them for the lower module. It seems to sound better and i have no desire to change. Good luck in your quest for the perfect sound.
Kontrabass, how have you configured the + and - leads -- twisted them together, tied them together? In my experience, they must be very close to one another or the sonics suffer dramatically. YMMV.

Yes, since Paul recommended twisting, I did twist the + and - wires. Initially I had them separate. This made no difference in regards to my review. It looks very hot, this red twisted wire suspending in mid-air. I'm not saying that others are in my boat - but I think I have to say that I bought into the 'sex appeal' of these cables more than anything :) And the image of "transparency" that the literature generates. IMO, they are "transparent" in that they strip away a lot of depth... sure the sound you're left with is incredibly clear...

Given that others with different equipment have identical experiences (weak bass, poor staging), I'm thinking that there are a class of listeners who just don't like much bass :) But as I sit here now, I cannot fathom how Sue Craft at Absolute Sound can say in her review that the bass is "extended, with remarkable articulation". Are the rest of us just doing something wrong? Or with a specific blend of equipment maybe this aspect of the cables is overpowered.

Anyway, moving forward, I'm curious... for those of you who have had identical experiences as me: What aspect of this magnet wire, could possibly have such a drastic effect on the bass frequencies? It's just solid copper right? How could copper strands differ so much? I'm just a newbie in this arena, and want to learn more... but if I had to guess, is it harder to "push" the low frequencies through the anticables or something?
All I can suggest is further break-in. I'm trying a pair between my Merlin VSM-MXe's BAM and preamp, and yes at first they sounded rather "steely" and strident, but now I have no complaints at all. The remaining cables in my system are Audience AU24 (including power, interconnect and speaker). Now that they are broken in, I plan to swap and compare them with the AU24s running from my CD player (McCormack UDP-1 Deluxe).

The aspect of bass reproduction that depends on different cables is illusory. There are too many factors in the perception of different frequencies, including the source, the amps and the speakers, and most importantly our minds. The science of psychoacoustics tells us that we adapt to sounds and our expectations are met by altering our perceptions. That said, these are fine cables and I believe present the true signal from amplifier to speaker. No "tone controls" with this wire. I don't doubt that there are differences in the "sound" of speaker cables, but pure copper wire in short lengths cannot be a bad thing, except if you sell expensive wire for a living!
Think of it like this: What's the most prevalent form of wiring inside most electronics? That should tell you most of what you need to know.
I use the ANTICABLE speaker cables(wires) in my system with spades. And can only say that there was an increase in detail and depth for my Thiel CS 2.3 speakers. My amp is a McIntosh 206. If the sound immediately sounds offensive or worse to you with a particular brand -CHANGE EM. Different cables gel different with different systems. I use a JL sub and bass is not an issue for me , $80 spent for a 8'pair is the HI FI bargain of the century to me. And these displaced cables that were expensive
I've had anticables for about 2 years--first with Von Schweikert's early speakers that sounded better biwired, then with Emerald Physics CS-2's, and now with VMPS 626R's with several upgrades and a VMPS VSS subwoofer. It took the anticables several weeks to sound their best in the VS speakers. Initially, I liked the highs and mids better with the anticable and I used a home made cat-5 wire for the bass on a recommendation by Albert Von Schweikert because the bass was rather lightweight with the anticables. After a few weeks, I tried the second pair of anticables on the highs and switched the other antis to the bass. I was amazed at the improvement in the bass with anticables now connecting both ends. The same clarity was also there with the EP-2's. Not lightweight or thin, but dynamic and with excellent transparency through the entire spectrum of frequencies. When I got the VMPS 626's, I only needed 1 set but they sounded incredible with the anticables--lively, fun and like you are there. Still, being the typical, 'there might be something reasonable that sounds much better and more impressive looking at that', I tried a used pair of Harmonic Technology Pro 9+ ($1199.00) garden hose sized cables after reading their great reviews--are there any other kind? Upon insertion, the joy, and transparency was gone, although the individual sounds were all very good. I ran that used cable for a solid week non-stop. At the end, a hair better, BUT I reinserted the anticables and all the missing parts came back. They don't look like much, have a long break in time, but they are not coming out again. The rest of my system is Edge amp, Audible Illusions pre, VSE cd/sacd, Avid Diva II table, Origin Live Silver II, and Music Maker III cartridge. Give the cables a good chance. By the way, I wound mine rather tight--10 turns/ft. I seems to sound fine and it allows the springy wire to go where you want it. Bob
I suggest not to twist the ANTICABLES. This keeps both +/- appart and I feel sounds better. Also it is easier to keep ANTICABLES from power cords etc,,,,,,,,,,,,,
The Canare 4S11 star quad is an over-achieving and surprising $ 1.25 per foot speaker cable. I agree that it might be better than the Anti-Cables in some applications (I tried both on my second system). I think this says more about the drawbackss of the Anti's (an its subjectively high price) than it says about the Canare. Do the math...
I feel like a broken record, but Paul told me that he didn't think I would like biwire and recommended parallel wiring instead. Turned out I didn't like biwire. He sent a pair of jumpers with the biwired cable and about three weeks in, I used them. Then all was well. Besides adaquate break-in, I would try strapping the Vandys before I gave up. The best cable I've used is Red Dawn Revlll, but the anticables are better than that.
FWIW, I bought a set of the Anti-Cables jumpers (w/spades), since I needed some jumpers and the new price is too reasonable to get worked up about. I must say I never gave them 200+ hours to 'break-in'. About 10 hours during comparisons against a comparably priced (and just as unfancy) stranded, twisted-pair design is all I probably logged. (The need was temporary, until I procured a second set of my regular cables and moved to a biamping setup.)

Still -- and my apologies for not going into descriptive detail here of either system (revealing) or sound -- even with just a few inches involved instead of a whole run, while I thought the Anti-Cables did have some particular strengths, they also had rather too much distinctive character, which to me wasn't sufficiently well-balanced or natural sounding overall. (After auditioning a while, and handling them during changeovers, I couldn't help musing that, materials aside, they sure look and feel somewhat reminiscent of coathanger wire -- might they possibly sound a bit like it as well? I hasten to admit I never tested that theory!) In any case the other jumpers won.

The Anti-Cables jumpers do seem well-enough made as far as it goes, and the buying experience was fine and as I said no great loss monetarily, but I haven't used them in another system since. Obviously others have had better outcomes, but based on this result I can't say I'm tempted to try a set of the speaker cables in place of my reference.
As I write this, I'm listening to Wes Montgomery's Tequila LP on a system wired with Anti-Cables and Anti-ICs. Here's my advice: Given that no one brand of cable will be right for every system – if you're in the market for an upgrade, forget all you've read in this thread and just try them. This is a hobby after all, and what's a hobby without some risk and experimentation? That's where all the fun is. AND, when you find a low risk (inexpensive) product like the Anti-Cables that 100's of intelligent and critical folks rave about, jump in, and share your experience with us AFTER you've heard them in YOUR system. I think it is absurd when those who have never heard a product feel like their opinion about it is in any way useful or valid.

BTW, yes, they do benefit from break-in of about 200 hours... and it's worth the wait. In 30 years of audio experimentation, these cables simply blew me away – from their first moments in my system, all the way to right now, when they worked in harmony with the rest of my gear to bring Wes and his band into my living room.

I wonder how Anti Cables sound compared to the alternate minimalist and well reviewed DNM IC? The DNMs are my favorite unshielded ICs to date though there are many I have not tried or compared.
Have anyone uses anticable for car audio system setup ?
I read that the cable is stiff but can be blended to follow the wiring path .
Just worry that the thin sexy coating on the cable will peeled off or scratch off under extreme weather condition ( heat ) and driving condition (vibration ) ? May be I should look for other alternative cable that is flexible ? Any recommendation on the same price point as anti Cables ?

Thanks . Raymond
I wouldn't try it. You need electrical isolation from RFI and EMI, and the coating is too fragile. With the vibrations and movement of the car, it could short out and ruin all the electronics.
Thanks for the advise , I thought so as well,
What about for the case of interconnect ? If t is double shield and jacketed .
Does it make sense to use it ?
I once tried the Anti-Cables when they had just come out. Right off the bat they made the system sound livelier with more attack than my Audioquest Ruby Bi-Wires. These cables, for some, could be all that should ever be needed.