Inside ANTICABLES: Scott, Product Assembler

scott4Each time you place an order with us, it is hand-assembled by our team in Lake Elmo, Minnesota USA. Scott is one of our product assemblers, specializing in assembly of our high end power cords.

A Long History of Interest in Audio
Scott’s first recollection of his interest in high-fidelity audio was as a kid; when his older brother had two different high-end stereo systems (of which Scott still has a few vintage Pioneer pieces).

Scott and ANTICABLES
Scott’s history with ANTICABLES is a long one– since he has known ANTICABLES‘ founders Paul and Judy since college in the 1980’s, when they would tinker with building DIY speakers together. Despite their long history of friendship, Scott first came to work with ANTICABLES in 2012 upon release of the Power Cords – a very labor-intensive, hand-assembled product, that required just the right detail-oriented person to take it on!

Outside ANTICABLES
When Scott isn’t laboriously building power cords for ANTICABLES, he is working on his licensing to become a building inspector (another highly detail-oriented job!) Prior to his careers in inspections and at ANTICABLES, Scott was previously a full-time gymnastics coach – for 25+ years! He is also an outdoor enthusiast with a wide range of hobbies from bicycling to hiking, snowboarding, kayaking, tennis and much, much more.

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Inside ANTICABLES: Evolution of Power Cords

ANTICABLES is never willing to offer a product until we are confident our design has the ability to outperform top tier offerings, at a fraction of the cost. After spending three years developing the best sounding power cord we had ever heard, in 2012 we released it as our Level 3 Reference Series Power Cord.

Wait a second- your first power cord released was the highest level?
We know what you’re thinking. Typical product evolution would be to first release a product, and then improve upon it. For our power cord line-up we released the best first, and then investing even more time into researching ways to reduce cost while maintaining a viable product. Thus came, the Level 2 Performance Series Power Cord, and Level 1 Classic Series Power Cord.Several years on the market, our power cords have consistently ranked among our top-selling products, and received outstanding reviews!

How can a High End Power Cord improve a system’s sound?
ANTICABLES high-end Power Cords are hand built using many wire strands drawn in a way that forms the wire into a cross sectional molecular shape, which allows noise coming from the component’s power supply to quickly escape the component on the skin of each wire strand.  In doing so, ANTICABLES  Power Cords help keep the component’s own power supply noise from contaminating the music. This processed wire also has the great advantage of time smearing any noise traveling in the wire in the opposite direction, thus reducing the amplitude of noise getting into the audio component from the wall outlet.

When should I use ANTICABLES Power Cords?
Since it is improbable that one would fully dive into investing in high-end power cords for every component in a system, the natural question is how to best invest progressively in ANTICABLES Power Cords. For the most cost effective strategy, we recommend this priority list:

Source (CD player, DAC, and phono preamplifier)
Digital Transport
Power Amplifiers
Preamplifier
Turntable Motor Supply

How do the levels sound when compared to one another?
This is one of the most difficult questions to answer! All three Power Cord levels and two other well known and well designed aftermarket power cables were compared in three different systems against the stock power cords. Below is a rough average of how they scored on a scale of 1 to 10. Our best advice is to buy the best scoring power cable that is within your system’s budget:
  • Free stock power cord scored 2.5
  • $700 Shunyata Research scored 5.5
  • $180 Level 1 ANTICABLES scored 6.5
  • $600 LessLoss Audio scored 7.0
  • $230 Level 2 ANTICABLES scored 8.0
  • $330 Level 3 ANTICABLES scored 9.5

Not sure which level to select?
Within 60 days of purchase, if you like your ANTICABLES power cord so much you want to hear how good a higher level will sound, we will give you full credit towards an equal or longer power cord of a higher level.

How do we come up with our product names, anyway?

Since ANTICABLES is continuously pushing for improvements in both our existing product line-up and new product development, we are never able to plan for what the next new product, or improved existing product, will be. Because of this, we don’t have the ability to “plan-out” our product line-up, and the product names evolved into what they are now.

For example, our top-of-the-line RCA and XLR ICs are at different Level numbers (Level 6.2 and 4.1 respectively), because there is a greater number of viable RCA plugs then XLR plugs that are feasible for our products.

Half a decade ago, when we started aggressively expanding our product line-up, we created different series names for the products to fit into. Since it is often confusing which series is better than the other, we added Level numbers to help describe the product placement. Here are the series we offer with a bit of description for each:

  • Classic Series (Level 1) represents our original technology that stirred up the cable industry nearly 15 years ago.
  • Performance Series (Level 2) is basically our Classics Series with some notable sonic improvements.
  • Reference Series (Level 3, 4, and 5) represents our best sounding offerings, and in our analog and digital interconnects, utilize our new ACElectrum™ Silver/Gold alloy signal wire.
  • Signature Series (Level 6) was never predicted, but was recently created as a way to differentiate how our top level RCA ICs are built with a much different topology than all our other analog ICs.

To further clarify, Levels ending in dot-1 or higher sport our new ACElectrum™ Silver/Gold alloy signal wire, and Levels ending in dot-2 came about when Keith Louis Eichmann came out with his new better sounding Harmony series of RCA plugs. This was our way to let our customer’s know the product has been improved upon. Also, when a notable RCA or XLR plug is used, we include it as part of the product name.

Hopefully that helps make sense of our unusual product names! Most people use just the product type and level number (ie. Level 3.2 RCA) to describe our product, which is fine by us.

INSIDE ANTICABLES: Factory Fresh

Last month in our “Inside ANTICABLES” newsletter, we featured some of our dedicated employees that hand-assemble, hand-pack, and hand-ship each order as it comes in. If you’ve placed a order with us, you’ve seen our distinct “FoodSaver” packaging and you may be wondering “how did we come up with that anyway”?

Since each ANTICABLES order is assembled when it is placed, we do not stock pre-assembled, pre-packed product. FoodSaver bags offer stiff, rigid packaging with dual-purpose: it both protects your product, and is better for the environment.

Less Waste = More Product for your dollar!

INSIDE ANTICABLES: Our Workshop

Inside ANTICABLES Workshop

I would like to give immense thanks to our customers, for their continued loyalty; and our dedicated employees who deliver outstanding service and quality products. This month we’re giving you a peek inside the ANTICABLES workshop, and at some of the folks that make things happen.

Paul Speltz, Founder; ANTICABLES

Ralph, Product Assembler
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Each time you place an order with us, it is hand-assembled by our team in Lake Elmo, Minnesota USA. Ralph is one of our product assemblers, specializing in speaker wires and interconnects.

Ralph has worked with us since 2006, but in 2011 timing collided when he retired from his day job and ANTICABLES was experiencing a period of growth allowing him to work for us on a more regular basis. Ralph’s previous career was in prototyping integrated circuits – a very meticulous job working daily under a microscope; a valuable skill-set to the detail-oriented nature of assembling ANTICABLES, and undoubtedly a factor in our outstanding quality control. Ralph says he enjoys the “relatively stress free environment” here as he puts it, which allows him time to devote to his many interests outside of the office.

When Ralph isn’t at ANTICABLES, he can be found immersed in his varied hobbies from tube amp restoration to model rocketry and gardening, as well as enhancing his own audio systems. Another great passion is vintage British sports cars, including a ‘61 Jaguar E-Type Roadster (below, left) which he has spent years restoring, as well as a ‘65 Triumph Spitfire (below, right). Ralph can often be found touring the rural Wisconsin country-side (and generally just babying and admiring them).

Judy, Co-Founder

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Every order at ANTICABLES is carefully managed from start-to-finish by our office manager and logistics coordinator, Judy Speltz (co-founder).  Judy answers many of your emails, and is “the voice” of ANTICABLES when you call. Judy also lends a hand to make products when production is back-logged! Being a small business, we consider ourselves a family, which creates a strong working environment and contributes to our success.  When Judy (originally a native of Ontario, Canada) isn’t busy keeping ANTICABLES running, you will most likely find her immersed in her passions for nature or the Arts. She’s the first to be out gardening after spring thaw, and the last out working as the snow starts flying.  She also enjoys spending time with her equine friend; her horse, Max. If she’s lucky sometimes she can even get Paul to ‘tack up’ for a ride now and then!  Judy is also passionate about the Minnesota music scene; from the Minnesota Orchestra to the Dakota Jazz club or a good old fashioned Rock Concert. She is also a frequent theater goer, and at one time, she even graced the stage as a member of the Brave New Workshop doing Improv comedy!

Paul and Judy are entering their 4th year as volunteers with the Courage Riders program (photo right, below), assisting kids with various disabilities ride horses. Judy also volunteers with the county’s Mounted Patrol, and assist with Search and Rescue efforts for their local sheriff’s department.

Paul and Judy met in college in 1981, where she notes, “Paul’s love of music was apparent. You could always count on Paul to provide the music wherever he went. He was the guy that had the best sounding and most complete audio system on campus. It was clear to me audio would always be a part of our lives!”   And, it still is.