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.
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.