AntiCable Audio Company

by Karl Sigman on March 11, 2015 · 4 comments

in Cables

Lately, I have been reviewing audio equipment for which very high end speaker cables (expensive, thick and heavy) are not necessary or practical. I am talking about integrated amps that weigh as little as 2.9 pounds and speakers that weigh as little as 15 pounds each. Wanting audiophile quality cables nonetheless, but not knowing what to do, I first tried lower level cabling from some well-known companies; but I was not satisfied with either price or sound quality. So I decided to start from scratch to find something suitable. Luckily, I stumbled upon the USA company ‘AntiCable Audio Company’, from Lake Elmo, Minnesota, named such by its owner, Paul Speltz, for the following reason:

Since these simple red coated wire products don‘t look like, sound like, or cost like typical cables, and since the usual sonic signatures, hyperbole, and high prices of typical speaker cables have been eliminated, they are called ‘The AntiCables’. Their sonic neutrality and transparency will allow you to hear how great your components actually sound.

Not having much time on my hands, I took a gamble and acquired a 10’ pair of their Level 2 Performance Series speaker cables with banana BFA style Z-plugs on both end; they retail for $140. Speltz was very kind and got them to me within days. They also can be made with solid copper spade endings (the default) or higher-level solid silver Eichmann bayonet banana plugs.

When they arrived I was somewhat taken aback: the pair were so light–about 13 oz–and the package they were sent in so small that it had been left in my tiny NYC apartment mail box, and when I opened the package there were two very skinny tightly coiled red-in-color bare, solid and twisted copper wires. They had no jacket; just a red treatment/coating as a mild dielectric on the bare copper, AntiCable Audio arguing that jackets can cause dielectric effect distortion and smear the audio signal. Instead, they argue, just use air: ensure that each cable is entirely suspended in the air between amp and speaker. Turns out that there is a lot more to this copper than meets the eye: The copper is solid core 12 gauge, highly annealed, super long drawn, continuously cast high purity and oxygen free. And the red coating keeps the copper oxygen free thus preventing the negative sonic effects of oxidation over time.

After carefully uncoiling them as instructed and being able to snap those banana plugs in to both speaker and amps so quickly, I was very pleasantly surprised. Quite frankly I was baffled–not just by the red color, skinniness, bareness and such–but by their sound: They indeed offered an impeccably neutral and transparent style that I like, and an additional very practical benefit of being able to bend them any which way. Not only was it easy to suspend them in air as advised, but also manipulate them like coiling them around a post while switching amps or speakers so as to keep them in place. You can bend them 90 degrees and have them stay like that no sweat.

They were a saving grace, matching extremely well with the small/light equipment I was currently experimenting with; they allowed me to focus on the equipment and music as opposed to worrying about cabling.

After a while, I of course became curious, and wanted to know how the highest level—Level 3 Reference Series—would sound in comparison; in particular, they are 9 gauge versus 12. (Level 1 Classic is discontinued; it was the original model from 2003.) Speltz very kindly loaned me a 10’ pair, with the same basic banana plug on both ends, that arrived two days later. They retail for $300 per pair; if you go down to 6’ with spades at both ends, the price drops to $184. The Level 3 were described to me by Speltz as follows:

The Level 3 Reference Series Speaker Wires are simply a doubled-up heavy 9 gauge build of the 12 gauge Level 2 speaker wires. Having twice as much copper provides additional bass weight and authority, greater musical dynamic impact which makes the music sound more alive, and greater harmonic structure through the midrange. Electrically, this 4 wire woven configuration has lower resistance, lower inductance, and lower capacitance then the Level 2 design.’

As for the specs of the two versions:

Level 2 Performance Series: Resistance = 0.0032 Ohms/foot run Inductance = 0.0003mH/foot run Capacitance = 0.048nF/foot run

Level 3 Reference Series:
Resistance = 0.0016 Ohms/foot run Inductance = 0.00026mH/foot run Capacitance = 0.044nF/foot run

Even before a proper burn in (about 100 hours recommended), the bass had noticeably more punch and articulation than the Level 2. After burn in, they opened up admirably, adding more detail to the mid and high range too. They were exceptionally neutral and transparent. Very nice indeed. Acoustic music in particular benefited; delightful harmonic examples include ‘GR Airport’ from the 2010 album ‘Guitar Republic’ by Guitar Republic and ‘Never Going Back Again’ from the album ‘Rumours’ by Fleetwood Mac (24/96 digital version released in 2011).

The AntiCables are not going to win any beauty contest, but they are not meant to, so if you are looking for cables that will adorn your living space, or you have an unlimited budget, then you might wish to look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you are looking for a bare-bones no nonsense solution for obtaining fine audiophile quality sound at a low price, then you should certainly check these out. Highly recommended.

AntiCable Audio also make jumpers, analog and digital interconnects (including USB), power cords and auto transformers, in the same spirit as the speaker cables, at reasonable prices and at different levels.

AntiCable Audio Company Inc.
11200 Stillwater Blvd. N. Suite 104B
Lake Elmo, MN 55042
USA

website
Phone: 651-735-0534
Email

{ 1 trackback }

AntiCables Reference 3 Speaker cables – A follow-up — Audiophilia
10.14.15 at 1:24 pm

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

stewart margolis 03.03.15 at 1:15 pm

the anticables were on everyones shortlist 5 years ago – there are many discussions about this on audiocircle and audiogon etc

totally passe now

Karl Sigman 03.03.15 at 2:02 pm

Just because their cables are not fashionable for some people at the moment, does not mean they are not worthy of consideration for those who have not tried them.
(Anticables were never meant to be `fashionable’; part of their point is to be `Anti-fashion’). And AntiCable Audio have been making higher tier cables in much more recent years than 5 years ago including very new cables shown at the 2014 RMAF.

bluetooth pa speakers 10.26.15 at 11:13 am

I go with Karl, but however it still best to put it all in one list or post.
Thanks though.

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