Anti Cables with Simaudio

Here is yet another opinion/experience with speaker cables.

I use Green Mountain Speakers, a Monarch DAC24, and was using an Arcam A90 amp. As a non-believer in expensive cables, I seek out well made reasonably priced cables. For a long time, I didn't even think any cables made a difference. I now have a different opinion.

Three cables compared:
Cobalt Cable - 10 gauge heavy multi-strand solid copper.
KnuKfoncepts - 10 gauge light multi-strand silver coated copper.
Anti cables - solid copper cable with no shielding or insulation other than a light coating.

All these cables cost under $200, I run 4 meter lengths.

I bought Cobalt Cables Ultimate cable and used them with the Arcam/GMA setup. This setup had a very tranparent and detailed sound. I could listen to this for hours without losing interest or fatigue. For an experiment, I bought the KnuKoncepts silver cables. The sound was compressed, the highs truncated and well, the magic was gone. So I packed them up in my closet and forgot about them.

Recently, I sold the Arcam and bought a Simaudio Moon I-5. Nice little amp with great reviews. I hooked it up and wham - it sounded bad. Compressed sound, hard to listen to with little detail or definition, exagerated upper mid-frequencies. Needless to say I was disappointed and thought about listing the amp immediately and buying another Arcam. As I read some articles and got some feedback, I decided to experiment with some cables - so I pulled out the silver stranded cables and hooked them up. The transparency and detail returned but with some additional benefits, the amp sounded more dynamic, more powerful. I went back and forth for a couple days but the silver cables were significantly better sounding and brought the magic back.

So next, I thought, this can get even better and bought some anti cables after reading so many great reviews, hooked em up and the highs and detail were gone again. They still sounded pretty good but not nearly as refined as the silver stranded cable. Again I was dissapointed, the anti cables will be available on audiogon soon.

As I have heard very expensive cables at my local high-end dealer, I have come to the following conclusions from this experience:

1. a speaker wire that sounds good with one amp may sound terrible with another. It doesn't matter how much you spend.
2. The configuration and material (silver vs copper, twisted vs solid, etc).
3. All these cables are decent, one is not better than the other, it depends on the synergy with the amp and speakers.

The reference tracks that I use for my testing are:

Kaki King - "Legs", track 1 - Frame (this is a great close mic'ed acoustic guitar track with ringing harmonics, and natural reverb.
Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, - "So Far" - track 2 - Helplessly Hoping and track 10 - Gueniverre.
Rachel Podger, Solo Violin - Bach Sonatas and Partitas - various.
Bruce Cockburn - "Breakfast" - Track 4 - That's what friends are for.

If you made it all the way through this, you must be more nuts than I am for writing it - thanks!
I would just add to this that the type of power cable used on the amplifier can affect the synergy between speaker/speaker cable/amplifier as well - just to muddy the waters a little further.
Did you allow any break-in time for these cables? Anticables can take up to 100 hours before sounding their best. The others probably require somewhere in that ballpark as well.

I have to admit to being a skeptic about cable break-in. There is no physical property of metal that I am aware of that changes due to electrons bumping into each other in the wire. This has been described as one of the top-ten audio myths in a number of articles.

Even anti-cable's website describes the break-in as being due to the plastic insulator used on most cables and since anti-cables have very little, any break-in affect would be minimal.

It is more likely our ears and brain that break-in (adapt to the cables) and not vice-versa. (In another article, I mentioned Oliver Sach's book "Musicophilia" that describes the amazing intersection of neurology and music. In one experiment, sections of music were ommitted from the recording and listeners did not notice, the brain had actually "filled in" the missing bits). This is different for mechanical devices like speakers, that do change because of mechanical movements.
Just my humble opinion.
Drewh1- I certainly understand and respect your opinion.

My experience however is that burn in with interconnects and power cables is indeed real with many cables. I can clearly hear the difference. And with the Anti-Cable ICs and speaker cables, they can sound congested and closed in at the frequency extremes for awhile. They do however blossom nicely as they are used frequently.

What really matters is how it sounds to you, so I would recommend following a burn in procedure with a cable and then comparing it to your initial impressions. Or forget the whole thing and enjoy some music!
Danlib1 - I am interested in trying this - since I have already changed my opinion about differences in speaker cables (though not about spending too much on them), I am open to being swayed on speaker cable burn-in! I will hang on to the anti-cables and give them a shot after I put some hours on the ones that are in there. (my next big area of skepticism is power cables).

What I am really enjoying is having a system that allows me to hear very subtle differences. The combination of the Green Mountain speakers and the Simaudio really allow me to evaluate nuances.

I also appreciated the way you communicated your opinion, thanks.
Let us know what you think after some burn in time :)

I have found that quality power cables have made the largest difference in the sound of my system of any cable type added to date. Perhaps this is because I had already upgraded ICs and speaker cables, and the last cables added benefited from, and added to, higher signal integrity and resolution of the overall system. Whatever the cause, the larger power cables on my integrated and CDP have had a noticeable and positive impact on the overall presentation - way more space and much better bass. Highly recommended.
Drew, I don't think it's so much to do with synergy of amp and speakers, but more to do with your own personal tastes when it comes to the way YOUR ears hear and YOUR mind interprets the signals.
The change you noticed (more detail and better dynamics) is also what I found when I switched to stranded silver cables, along with a lift in the upper treble; such characteristics are often applied to silver cables. But are my silver cables "better" than the copper I replaced? I don't know, but they sound better to me, and that's what matters.

I hope I made it clear in my post that I was not favoring one cable over the other, merely pointing out that a certain cable performed differently in one system than the other.

However I do not agree that it is only a matter of personal preference. There is clearly a goal of recreating the music the way that the artist and engineers intended it to sound. I do not think that Rachel Podger or Yo Yo Ma would want to hear there million dollar instruments on a system that truncated harmonics and bloated the base, which is what some people prefer to hear. As a musician that has been in and out of recording studios my whole life, I can tell you that artist work diligently at getting a specific sound during the process in recording and audiphile gear should strive to reproduce that sound faithfully, not create a sound that is pallatible to the consumers ears. It is a matter of experience and education learning how to hear faithfully reproduced music.

So I do believe there is a synergy between components that more faithfully reproduces the intent of the artist and that is what I spend my hard earned money on!

I also understand this is a long standing debate among audiophiles.
The statement "There is clearly a goal of recreating the music the way that the artist and engineers intended it to sound" is certainly an ideal aim. I too have spent many years playing live gigs and recording, so I know where you're coming from.

The big problem with this, however, is that the vast majority of 'audiophiles' (you and I included) were not in the studio when most of our fave tracks were recorded, nor have we heard the original master tapes in the studio. We only have the CD/LP, and ultimately cannot know how closely our system reproduces the music compared to the original.

I've argued in other threads that unless our system is comprised of the same source, amp, cables and monitors as the studio, it simply cannot sound the same as the original.

That's why I tend to believe chasing perfection in a hifi setup is a bit pointless. To me the key is choosing components by specifications, then fine tuning with your own ears to achieve a sound that sounds balanced, accurate and of course "musical" (very subjective term).

Happy Listening!
I have to reverse my position a bit on my earlier declaration that the silver cables were superior. AFter spending some weeks with them, I have been starting to have that feeling that something was not quite right, definitely a bit of magic missing. The sound was a bit "too bright" on many recordings with a sort of fatiguing upper mid range and lack of mid-bass. So I went back to the Anti-cables and discovered a rounder, more musical sound, a bit more mid-bass and although the highs were not as "sparkling", I feel that the sound of most instruments, especially horns and flutes, is more natural. (still no break-in period)

I think I was initally impressed with the highs of the silver wire and more so since I listened to so much guitar in my comparisons. Long listening to a variety of music left me feeling that they were cold and too sharp.

Anyway, I am happy to report that the anti-cables seem to have brought everything back to where I really enjoy listening to everything again. Really good cables and I personally like that they are stiff and can be shaped to fit my runs.

and Carl109, if you happen to read this - I agree with you, perfection is not the goal! I don't know what I would do if I actually did get anything "perfect" in my life.

Ahhhh- report back from time to time and let us know how things are sounding. Enjoy!
Simaudio uses Cardas golden cross, speaker wires , interconnects and powercords at audio shows on their equipment. I have cardas golden reference ic's and golden cross speaker cables in my system.

I did try silver ic's , but found them to be too bright, especially after adding a second one into the system.
I use the anti xlr balanced cable between my P7 and W7 as well as Supernova to P7. I have tried other balanced cable and found the anti is very good in all areas. to improve on the IC's you will spend more money. I have not tried the speaker wire or RCA anti wire.
My gear is very sensitive to "dirty" noisy power and good PC's will make a difference.