Anticables speaker wire have no plastic jacket/insulation?
Yesterday I received in the mail a pair of Anticables "Level 3 Reference Series Speaker Wires". I bought them because I had heard good reviews about them and relative to other speaker wire they are inexpensive so I thought I would give them a try. I read the reviews of these wires several years ago so I forgot that one of their selling points is that they have no insulation. They are, as far as I can tell, red-painted (anodized?) bare wire. The second thing that was immediately obvious that I did not know before I bought them is that they are very stiff. Almost as stiff as a metal-wire coat hanger.
My question is, if these are bare wire, are they unsafe to touch while the amplifier that is driving them is powered on? I'm not an electrical engineer, but I would think yes. If that is not the case, I'd like to know why. If they are unsafe to touch these wires could be a hazard to children and pets (at the very least), which I do not have but some people might take that into consideration.
At this time the wires are still in "break in" period. Anticables recommends 100 hours. I will wait at least that long before judging them. Afterwords I will post my impressions of them, detail the equipment I'm using and compare them to my current speaker cables which are also inexpensive but good.
gdnrbob, thanks, I did before I started this thread. Anticables have not replied yet. I will post what they reply. Additionally, I wanted this discussion to be public in case any one else had the same question in the future.
I know my magnet wire is not exactly the same, but it does have a red, thin film covering the wires. I've read it referred to as enamel. The coating on my wire is very, very, thin- but preparing the bare ends took some elbow grease. I ended up using a razor knife.
I twisted the pos/neg legs with a drill to wrap approx 3x/inch. My cat, Brubeck, walks, lays on it, etc. I've handled it without incident, but I was careful to not maneuver it near my face during installation, for eye safety.
Mapleshade has been making a similar product long before Anti-Cables offered theirs. Same principle: enamel coating of the wire but they only come with silver coated bare ends. I believe Pierre Sprey got the idea when working in England on some military project that employed a similar style wire to great effect.
Anticables speaker wire is 12 gauge as are many other brands , but are stiffer because they are single-conductor rather than twisted or woven from many strands of smaller wire to equal 12 gauge . Those others are more flexible due to the smaller diameter of the individual wires . Enamel insulation is typically good up to 600 volts, ac or dc , but so thin it can easily be scraped off . Check if your amplifier case is connected to power supply ground, and if so make sure the cables can't scrape against a sharp metal edge . This happened to me with another make of enamelled wire and I shorted out one of my monoblocks . The manufacturer was understanding and repaired it . Now using their Level 3 myself , with 4" of techflex protecting the amplifier end .
I have been using them for close to ten years now and they still work fine and sound great. The idea behind the minimal insulation thickness is almost zero capacitance. They are so simple and so basic, just a solid copper conductor. Nothing to get in the way of the signal. I am not one to use cables as tone control devices and these fit that bill nicely. I use two twisted pairs separated by a few inches in a bi wire configuration (to prevent induction cross feeding of the the bass cable into the high frequency cable) feeding Vandersteen 3a signatures. The Anti Cables provide a very clean and clear sound.
Stringreen, read the post before you bloviate. The OP said the wire was "almost as stiff as a metal wire coat hanger". Big difference. But then again, what can one expect from someone who thinks exotic speaker cables make any real difference in sound. Ohms law rules..
I just love the different schools of thought. I have a friend that is a sound engineer. His playback system contains a $25,000.00 pair of Westlake monitors . He has them powdered with a pair of Bryston 4BSST's . He believes in the paper written by a former NASA engineer that says " WIRE IS WIRE ". He's happy with his $50,000.00 system . And his homemade speaker cables. I own a $6,000.00 stereo system that consists of a Dennis Had 12 wpc SET amp, a Rogue Audio RP-1 pre, an Oppo DVD , a Shiit Uberanalog Bifrost , Zu Omen speakers , an old Monster power filter , 10" sub , Silnote power cords . I use a laptop with an account on Tidal. I run a Cardas Clear Usb to the DAC. I have a large selection of top tier NOS tubes for my pre and power amp. I run different rectifier and output tube combos to run at 12, 10, and 6 watts per channel . My system is extremely revealing . Now to Anti-cables ! They were recommended to me by the person who advised me on my system . I have a pair of level 1 and level 3 speaker cables , level 4.2 interconnects and a digital cable ( number escapes me ) from the Oppo to the DAC . I own homemade speaker cables from Copper wire and silver wire . They are 10 and 12 guage stranded with commercial terminations . I also own Zu speaker cables , Audioquest interconnects and other various interconnects . My system is totally cost driven . I prefer the Anti-Cables to the other stuff I've tried . I have had a couple of email conversations with Paul and find him very nice to deal with . I must confirm what other people have said about the stiffness of his products . The advantage for me is that I have shaped the cables to fit and they don't touch other objects , like the floor and walls . I did ground out a speaker wire on a solidstate amp and it blew the breaker . So the difference I've heard is in the " CLARITY " using the Anti-Cables . The copper cables either commercial or homemade do not possess the same CLARITY . The silver interconnects and speaker cables were too BRIGHT . From my limited experience the CAPACITANCE ISSUES that hinder clarity were solved at a very low price point with the Anti-cables . The caveat is that they are COATHANGER stiff and don't look " ESOTERIC COOL "! IMHO you can get an equally good sounding flexible cable starting at about $1000 per meter pair ! But again I'm cost driven . In closing, I'd suggest you contact Paul and talk to him . Also see if he offers a loaner program to try his stuff , some places will loan with a deposit . And most important of all " HAPPY LISTENING " and the best of luck on your experience. Regards , Mike B.
buellrider97, Thanks for contributing a more comprehensive reasoning as to why /how you've come to your own conclusion.
While the OP did not seem to be "up" on the construction of Anti-cables, there is another contributing factor regarding Anti-cable vs. Mapleshade. While they seem to be similar, the purity of the cooper and how it's processed are not the same.
I don't find it constructive or informative to just give an up or down like or dislike. It doesn't serve anyone unless there is more detail of the system in which one found/made their decision!
Stanwal...years ago anti's were magnet wire. Paul's top cables today are silver/high quality copper...a totally different animal. ..they work well in some system, not so well in other systems...like all other cable.