Really appreciated where you said the resolution was clear enough that you could tell Cookie was/is a woman. That sort of solid knowledge makes it easier to understand the rest of your review. Thanks
22 responses Add your response
Paul sent me what he considers to be his best method, which he calls a set of shotgun parallel bi-wired cables.Am I wrong in ascertaining based on your excellent description of the cable configuration that you effectively have a double-gauge, single run with jumpers? Even though each positive and negative leg is composed of two wires, if they are connected to one set of speaker binding posts, then they aren't bi-wire by definition.
I think that Paul and I may have miss-communicated a bit. When I heard the words "bi-wire" my thoughts were in line with your thinking. I have since spoken with Paul who has agreed that the configuration that he made me was not "true bi-wire." What he sent me is however, what he had in mind and what he was trying to explain to me when we spoke over the telephone. The term, "Parallel Bi-wire" is what he used and his explanation to me was based on current flow... I still am a bit confused.
The point I wanted to make here, is that the Anti Cables made a difference in my system; a difference that I (of the "no golden ears club") can distinctly hear and measure.
Paul seems to like this configuration, although he may prefer terminating the double run at the low frequency posts and jumping the high, which I will soon experiment with.
Additionally, I can always try a true bi-wire with bare ends, in which Paul also recommends using the jumpers. This makes sense if you look at the description of parallel bi-wiring
Excellent post, Ben. Thanks!
A few questions and comments:
1)Did the arrangement with the Kimber cables also employ the jumpers?
If not, I would not necessarily attribute the differences you heard to the cables. In particular, as we discussed in the other thread, the presence or absence of the jumpers may have significant effects in the bass region.
2)As a point of reference, how long are the cables?
3)Re "Additionally, I can always try a true bi-wire with bare ends, in which Paul also recommends using the jumpers. This makes sense if you look at the description of parallel bi-wiring," keep in mind, as we discussed in the other thread and as Tvad commented above, that by any widely recognized definition a configuration that utilizes the jumpers is not "true bi-wiring."
One thing I don't quite understand. Are you guys referring to parallel bi-wiring as having two distinct sets of wires going to both the high and low connections on the speakers and then also using jumpers on top of that? What could possibly be the benefit of adding jumpers to a bi-wire configuration?
Rcrerar -- His Anti-Cables configuration is just connecting to one set of terminals (presently the high frequency terminals), with the jumpers establishing the connection to the woofer terminals.
The confusion stems from Figure 3 of the reference he linked to, which, somewhat unconventionally, uses the term "parallel bi-wiring" to refer to what would be a conventional bi-wire arrangement but with the jumpers in place. Which of course is not true bi-wiring, and as I see it will only have the effects of reducing overall resistance and inductance.
LOL, yes, I am a woman! You've uncovered my secret!!!
We build our own cables which is a silver copper alloy from Jean Marie Reynaud that we modify for our purposes. They sounds incredible. It's used for all our microphones and speaker wiring. I never realized my voice was disguised for some on that recording.
We were considering cutting that intro off for the next Collection, but, since it's being used for testing, well, IT STAYS!
Almarg; I understood the hookup scheme the OP is utilizing, and I agree it is not bi-wiring. I was referring to someone in this, or the previous thread, who was, I think, explaining that parallel bi-wiring is attained through a standard bi-wire configuration plus the use of jumpers simultaneously. I have never heard of this and it seems to make no sense to me as I can't see what could possibly be the benefit of such a hookup scheme. The explanation howevever lacked a certain clarity and I may have misunderstood.
What a pleasure! I’m honored that you answered my thread. I am an avid customer of yours and I absolutely love what you are doing at Blue Coast Records. If there is anyone on this site who has not downloaded or ordered recordings from Blue Coast, they truly don’t know what they have been missing out on. Indeed, I was never able to discern your voice in the background with my previous setup. From your post, it sounds like you were surprised that your voice may not be revealed via some systems. Well, there you go folks…this may well be a good “test” for resolution. Gee, I wonder how much clearer Cookie’s voice on that recording can sound!!!
Keep up the excellent work Cookie and pass along enthusiastic kudos to the outstanding artists who play so passionately live at Blue Coast Records…. P.S.: Do you sell your speaker cables?
Rcrerar / Al: Regarding the whole Parellel bi-wire matter, I sure don’t know why the method shown in “figure three” would provide, or even if it may hinder performance. I was hoping an electrical engineer sort may pick up and run with an explanation.
Stringreen: I think that my soundstage is a bit more closed in too. It’s funny, but the central image is considerably deeper (farther back) than before. While this certainly increases the three-dimensionality of the soundstage – in terms of depth, for me it actually makes the vocals appear too far away. I am actually very surprised how much difference changing out speaker cables can make. With the Anti Cables, there is no doubt that the resolution in my system has increased. Now, I need to play around with the configuration to see if I can “shape” the sound to my liking. How are your Anti Cable runs configured.
Cookie -- I second Ben's thought that we are honored by your presence and your comment.
2chlben: Regarding the whole Parellel bi-wire matter, I sure don’t know why the method shown in “figure three” would provide, or even if it may hinder performance. I was hoping an electrical engineer sort may pick up and run with an explanation.Well, I am an electrical engineer (retired), and an experienced digital and analog circuit designer and manager, and to the extent that cable differences are explainable by generally recognized science I think that the only effects of "parallel bi-wiring" that might be significant are that resistance, inductance, and the possible impact of skin effect would all be reduced.
If the paralleled conductors are identical, all of those things would be cut in half (approximately, in the case of inductance, depending on how the twisting is done). However, none of those reductions would be significant unless the corresponding single cable configuration would have excessive resistance, inductance, or skin effect. And I would not expect any of those things to be significant, even in a single cable configuration, with a properly chosen good quality cable of modest length.
Also, capacitance will be increased as a result of using paralleled cables, but I would not expect that to be significant for an amp to speaker connection under typical circumstances.
In the other thread, as you'll recall, I addressed some of the effects of true bi-wiring, which are not realized if the jumper is present (i.e., are not realized by "paralleled bi-wiring"). Whether or not those effects would represent a net benefit, a net negative, or no difference at all, are, judging by many previous threads on the subject, dependent on both the system and the listener.
What are the answers to the first two questions in my first post above?
No, I did not use a set of jumpers with the Kinber set up. My current setup requires ten feet of cables.
What may account for the "closed in" sound as mentioned by Stringreen when he twisted his bi-wire runs? Also, what may account for the increased depth of soundstage in my current setup (which to me makes the central image - primarily vocals - appear a bit too far into the background)? Similarly, what may account for the increased clarity (resolution)? Can these (are these) results attributed to capacitance, inductance, resistance, etc
I have an almost similar setup with my Anticables. I purchased two sets and I also followed the same method of twisting the cables etc, etc, but at the speaker end I have 4 spades per channel, two reds, two blacks. One black and red to the upper frequency posts and the other black and red to the lower frequency posts. The amplifier end also has 4 spades for each channel, so I placed two reds on the positive post and two blacks on the negative post of each channel. It seems to work fine and my understanding is that biwiring eliminates the need for a set of jumpers, so your setup seems to be more complicated.
2chnlben, I think if you look at my system pictures you will see what true
bi-wiring looks like... two(2) cables per channel and from an amp that has
two(2) parallel outputs per channel to a speaker that has the ability to
accept a bi-wire input. Having one cable with a bi-wire end at the speaker
side and single ends at the amp isn't a true bi-wire config IMHO.
With the jumpers being present with the Anti-Cables, but not having been present with the Kimber's, unfortunately I'd have to say that it all amounts to an apples to oranges comparison, with two major variables having been changed at once (the cable type and the wiring configuration). So I don't think it's possible to say at this point what differences are attributable just to changing from the Kimber's to the Anti-Cables.
What may account for the "closed in" sound as mentioned by Stringreen when he twisted his bi-wire runs? Also, what may account for the increased depth of soundstage in my current setup (which to me makes the central image - primarily vocals - appear a bit too far into the background)? Similarly, what may account for the increased clarity (resolution)? Can these (are these) results attributed to capacitance, inductance, resistance, etcNot sure if Stringreen was referring to just twisting the + and - conductors of the high frequency cables together with each other, and twisting the + and - conductors of the low frequency cables together, or if he was referring to doing that and also twisting the high and low frequency pairs of conductors together.
In the first case, the result would be substantially lower inductance, resulting in greater extension at very high frequencies. Not sure why that would correlate with the subjective perception of a closed in sound; I would expect it to do the opposite.
If he was referring to a comparison between having none of the four conductors twisted together and having all of them twisted together, there would also be a reduction in inductance, and similar comments would apply except to a different degree.
If he was referring to having + and - twisted together in both of the cases being compared, and comparing having the high and low frequency cables twisted with each other vs. not twisted with each other, there would be effects on inductance, and perhaps even to capacitance to a marginally significant degree, but frankly I'm not sure how to quantify that, much less correlate it with subjective perceptions.
Re the increases in soundstage depth and resolution that you noted, given the reasonable parameters of all of the cables that you used, and the moderate length, I don't know how to explain those findings. But my instinct would be that the insertion of the jumper may have been a more significant factor than the change of cable types.
Hopefully you don't take my post as being a thread jack but I though I would post my recent experiences with these cables also. I figured it would make more sense to add to this thread then start another one of a similar purpose. If you disagree please feel free to move/remove this to post..Thanks
So far my first impression of these cables and Jumpers has not been very good. I am not using a Bi-Wire configuration in my system as a point of note. My cable run is just the run of the mill 15' to each speaker terminated with the Anti-Cable Spades. Every effort was made to keep the cables off the ground and the Left & Right channels are separated by several feel as suggested in the paperwork I received with my purchase.
Please understand that this is not an attempt to bash this product and I have full intentions to give them their recommended burn-in time before making a final judgment
On to my findings:
I first installed the cables and the Jumpers at the same time and have since removed the Jumpers after realizing that it wasn't a very good method of assessing a the Pros and Cons of a cable swap.
During my time with the Jumpers and Anti-Cables in place the treble regions sounded very harsh and overly amplified. I listened to them together for several days and wasn't very happy with what I heard. For now, the Jumpers have been placed in the drawer until the Cables themselves are fully burnt-in.
On to the Anti-Cable by themselves.
The Anti-Cables by themselves sounded much better in my system by themselves then they did teamed with the Jumpers but so far I'm still not very happy with the outcome. The only thing that has kept me from removing these and returning to my old cables are the many accounts of people saying the cables require 200-300+ Hours of burn-in time before opening up.
I have experienced similar effect to what the original poster described as a shrinking of the Sound-stage. In addition to that, I have experienced the opposite outcome in terms of detail. There are certain CD's in my collection that I have grown to know very well over the last few years and would always give me goosebumps to hear with my previous cables in place. Now with the Anti-Cable there are many details that I know exist which have all but disappeared.
The pace of the music has also slowed quite noticeably and the lower registers of the bass are no longer there. As a side bar, on some songs the mid bass seems more detailed but the lower bass is not as extended as it used to be.
I will be keeping the Anti-Cables cables in the system for now in hopes of the stories of things getting better as the listening hours increase.
As far as my previous cables go, they are ones that were purchased several years ago from a vendor on Ebay called "Raymond Cables" which has since disappeared but they appear visually to be of good quality. They are a muti-strand type of fairly significant gauge (10ga) and are terminated with heavy duty gold plated spades. I believe I only paid about $300 at that time for a similar 15' foot run.
I am glad you added your experience with these cables. I have not come to any definite conclusion yet. I too am willing to give them a thorough breaking-in before I make my final assessment. In my system, the Anti Cables have added more resolution (clarity) in the upper-midrange, which I originally found to be very appealing. I believe that this added clarity benefits my speakers, which are slightly rolled off in the midrange. This rolled off midrange has always allow for a very rich sound (“warm” if you will). This warmth always attributed to a very smooth sound. While the extended resolution, or clarity, in the upper-midrange is quite apparent with the Anti Cables in place, I am now beginning to wonder if this is necessarily better (it certainly is different).
I would have to say, that if the sound stage didn’t narrow, as it has with the Anti Cables; and if the lower bass extension wasn’t decreased, as it is with the Anti Cables; then the added midrange clarity that the Anti Cables impart on my system would lead me believe the change was/is for the definite better. It’s the tradeoff that I am not too keen on (isn’t that always the case).
I am going to experiment with how I interface at the speakers to see if I can retain the clarity but add to the bass extension (i.e.: by going directly to the low frequency posts and then jumping to the high frequency posts). Even if I can accomplish this, there’s still the case of the diminished soundstage (or, more specifically, the “changed” soundstage).
While I have definitely lost soundstage width, I have gained greater depth with the Anti Cables. For some, this may be a fair tradeoff. As I stated above, however, the depth actually tends to put the central image (most notably, the vocals) too far into the background for my liking; this does provide great three-dimensionality though. Time will tell if the proper burn-in can alleviate some of these issues.
I’d appreciate it if you could continue with your assessment of what happens in your system.
I wanted to update this post with my final conclusion on how the Anti-Cables faired after further break-in on my system.
As stated by "2chnlben", I can confirm that the soundstage has definitely deepened and the width has narrowed.
On familiar CD's that used to sound as if they would extend beyond the outer boundaries of the speaker cabinets (far left/right) using my old cables the sound now appears to be coming from each speaker cabinet with very little musical information extended beyond that point. The sense of the speaker disappearing in the room that I became accustomed to is no longer there.
In addition, the performance is no longer as intimate as it used to be since the performers seem to sound as if they
are further away and more centralized between the two speaker cabinets. For some this would not be considered a bad thing but for those of us who prefer a more "Reach out and Touch The Performer" feeling it is.
On dynamic recordings with quiet music that transitions into very loud passages at the drop of a hat I feel that the sense of energy at the musical peaks is not as dramatic as it used to be. The sound now seems more one dimensional and flat with little change in volume
during the transition. This was very noticeable on several tracks found on Jeff Beck's new CD titled "Emotion & Commotion".
In terms of bass energy the Anti-Cable seemed to mute the lower octaves by what seemed to be a few DB leaving me wanting more instead of leaving me speechless. Some CD's that I have used to always provide a nice sense of "Room Lock" during the low bass sections of a song using my old cables. With the Anti's I would need to turn up the volume by 5-8 clicks to achieve a similar result while still not really "Locking" the room with bass energy as before.
As an example, using another familiar CD of mine that I like to use to demo a wide range of sounds and system capabilities I played "Paul van Dyk's - In Between" Album. On this Album I would typically have the volume of my Bel Canto DAC3 (using a Pass Labs X250 Amp) set to 75 if I wanted to really get some air moving in my listening room. This CD has allot of dynamic swings in it that pan from floor to ceiling and left-right with great speed but when listening to it thru the Anti-Cables it seemed dull and very muted from what I had remembered.
IMO and based on my findings with my own audio system I think the Anti-Cables are a good match for those who feel their soundstage is too close or intimate to there listening chair and or who's speakers tend to be a bit boomy or overly bright. I feel they would do an
excellent job at toning down an aggressive more in your face system then my own
To wrap up this review I must confess that I have removed the Anti-Cables and reinstalled my old ones. This turned out to be the biggest eye opener of all for me. The difference here was not subtle and all the enjoyable qualities of each CD that I used to have returned
If your in doubt of what your hearing with your new cables as being an upgrade or downgrade I urge you to take the time to switch back to your old ones one more time to confirm your findings. It's funny how the sound of a downgrade is not as dramatic while your listening to it as it is when you switch back to your original configuration. My wanting to change from my original speaker wire was
more of an experiment to see if I was missing anything that I would otherwise be unaware of. In this case it appears that I'm not missing anything compared to a well known and well reviewed brand.
Hopefully some folks find this helpful...Thanks
These cables seem to slightly "mute" or "blanket" the sound on my system. They also seem to limit the sound stage somewhat. It is only fair to point out however, my ref point are cables that cost anywhere from 15 to 200 times more money!! From a cost/preformance perspective, these "anti-cables" are a great value and should be on everyones short list.
I would have to agree with the cost/performance perspective.
I have a 6ft. pair (unterminated), and though I have better that I prefer, these are excellent cables for the money.
They really shine on loud hard rock music, a frat house dream cable!
What I don't care for, is how hard they are to work with.
Twisted pairs may fair better.
I think they sound pretty good considering price.
Nothing wrong with bang for buck!
I agree with eniac26's assessment. I've burned in both anti cable speaker wire and ICs. Transparency and treble and speed increased but I believe it is due to bass information lacking. My cardas neutral reference sound more musical and full range with much more dynamic presence and a wider sound stage. The anti cables had clear/pronounced top end and deep sound stage and micro placement but within a narrower sound stage. I may keep the anti cable ICs for my musical fidelity tube headphone amp powering my sennheiser hd600 where I need more sparkle and transparent sound.
@ 2chnl -- thank you for that refreshing review. Good read. Also enlightening, as I have that very same recording of "Cookie". Picked it up as a sampler at the CA Audio show this summer in Emeryville. I had no idea anyone was even talking in that space...i thought it was just silence. Knowing Cookie actually spoke there (let alone that she was a woman) prompted me to listen closely to that passage again. Only when practically putting my ear to the right speaker can I tell that anyone spoke, but I can discern it's a female voice.
That cables made this difference for you is surprising and telling. Thanks for the insight. Hearing vs not hearing a voice in the background is as good a gauge as any.