2016 RMAF Show Review by Enjoy the Music

dsc2949Some great press has been coming in from Rocky Mountain Audio Fest!  Here is a show review from enjoythemusic.com.

 

Why Power Cords Matter (Part 2 of 2)

By Paul Speltz

In last month’s newsletter, I presented my theory as to “why power cords matter” to the music. Here I will take that thought one step further and discuss Power Conditioners.

Many power cords make lateral changes, making the music sound “different”. You may have experienced this yourself at some time. Aspects of the component’s sound makes slight changes, some for the better, some for the worst. With those power cords, I believe much of the outcome has to do with how lucky you are with creating synergy between that particular component and that particular power cord.

Using our “first five feet” design model (as discussed HERE), I theorize that a properly designed power cord has the opportunity to help get the noise generated in the component’s own power supply out of the component (so it does not get into the music). Part of why I believe this theory holds true, is because early on, we found that with our power cord design, it sounds better when plugged directly into the mains AC wall socket. It seemed as though when plugging our power code into a power conditioner, it’s capabilities are notable reduced. How could this be the case?

My thought is, power conditioners that are filtering noise on the AC mains by adding series impedance in the noise frequency spectrum, goes both ways.  In other words, if the power conditioner adds an electrical “softness” in the path between the AC mains and the component, that means that same electrical softness is there on the same path from the component back to the AC mains. The theory is, that electrical softness is reducing our power cord’s ability to dump away the noise generated in the component’s own power supply.

The other common side effect of this electrical softness is a reduction of dynamics. For me, musical dynamics is a big part of the difference between live music and playback of recorded music, so I want all the dynamics I can get.

Like Don reported in his findings (as shown HERE), all but two customers have ever reported getting sonic benefit with their power conditioner when using our ANTICABLES Power Cords.  In working with those two exceptions, it comes to find out, in both cases their power conditioners were actually power regenerators.  This makes total sense because power regenerators are not going to have that electrical softness that a passive power conditioner has.

The Pros

If you have on your system’s “wish-list” to add a power conditioner to get better sound, you can re-budget those funds towards getting properly designed power cords. Or, if you already have an expensive power conditioner and find with our power cords you get better sound without it, you can sell it off to help pay for the new power cords.

The Caveat

Power conditioners are multi functional. Each power conditioner design can do any single or different combination of these functions: passive noise filtering, spike protection, over voltage shutdown, voltage and current meters, power up sequencing, over current fuses, power regeneration, transformer isolation, balanced power, etc.

power-regeneratorIf your purpose for your existing power conditioner is only to improve the sound, and if you find that with our ANTICABLES Power Cords you get better sound without it, it will be easy to abandon it. If your power conditioner’s purpose is to try to protect your equipment from power surges, yet you find that with our ANTICABLES Power Cords you get better sound with it, you will have to decide between improved safety or improved sound.

From the experience our customers have brought to me, if you want the protection of a power conditioner without the sonic compromise, try our power cords with a power regenerator.  And yes, our customers have also reported getting even better sound when running their power regenerator with our Level 3 Power Cord.

The Sales Pitch

We invite you to discover why our Level 3 Power Cord have become our top selling product, by trying one in your system. Like all of our products, it comes with our 30 Day Trial Period, our 60 Day Upgrade Option, our Buy Back program, and our 5 Year Warranty.

We think you will really enjoy them.

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It’s All About the Music: Mikaela Davis

by Thomas Speltz

mikaela2Last week I went to a concert at The Dakota Jazz Club  in Minneapolis. When I took my seat at the venue I saw that there was a big beautiful harp on stage. Excitement and anticipation bubbled up inside me as I was not expecting to see a harp. In fact, I had never even heard harp in any of the music by the artist I was about to listen to. Because I spend most of my time seeing theatre, opera, and orchestra it didn’t occur to me that there would most likely be an opening act. Sure enough, Mikaela Davis entered the stage, sat down at her harp, and took my breath away.

When she began to play her first song, My Light Is Always On, I immediately thought of the well known singer, songwriter, and harpist Joanna Newsom, but as soon as Davis started to sing I could tell that she undoubtedly had unique voice of her own. It was amazing to me how she was able to make the harp sound different throughout the piece. At times I heard a harp but other times I heard a mandolin, a guitar, a sitar, a dulcimer. “I think a harp can do anything,” Davis declares, and I’m inclined to believe her.
mikaela3After her 30 minute set I was eager to hear her recorded work. On listening to the two albums I purchased from the merchandise table I discovered that Davis is not a solo performer. In both albums, her and her harp are accompanied by a small rock ensemble. At first I was disappointed that the songs were a total change of pace from what I had listened to at The Dakota. The music was missing that intimacy I loved in a voice and harp. But as I continued to listen I found myself recognizing what loved about her live performance in the mix of the larger ensemble.
In exploring more of her music on iTunes, SoundCloud, and YouTube I was able to get a better picture of what Mikaela Davis is all about. Her compositions and arrangements cleverly combine elements of folkpsychedelic rock, and chamber pop and her voice reveals a wisdom and ruefulness that belie her years. She employee the harp as a pulse, a rhythm, or a texture that seamlessly integrates into the rock-band context. I hope, as I continue to follow her work, that she maintains her ambitious stride in being a singer, songwriter, and harpist.

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Just Released: Level 5 Signature Series Speaker Wires

starcomponent-newWe are proud to announce that our newly released Level 5 Signature Speaker Wires have already won Audiophilia’s Star Component Award, and we invite you to stop in and hear why, in room 1104 at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest this weekend (October 7-9).

Martin Appel of Audiophilia.com stated their “detail, resolution and transparency were off the charts”, and that they have a “life-like realism that was truly astonishing“.

We accomplished this by rolling our excellent ACElectrum™ Silver/Gold alloy metallurgy, proven in our upper level interconnects, into a much larger gauge wire to handle the current demands of speakers.

The outcome was so sonically successful, Martin Appel said they “got the musical timbres of instruments as correctly as I’ve ever heard“.

5speakerwires-awardThese new Level 5 Signature Speaker Wires are so good at resolution and dynamics that he went on to say, “This recording has massive dynamic swings from the quietest passages to full orchestral/choral crescendos and the 5 Signatures handled the performance without congestion, blurring or smearing.  In other words, you get all the music, all the time“.

Mr Appel boldly closes his review by flat out stating, “If problems occur with the sound, it’s coming from other pieces in your audio chain, not these speaker wires.

You can read the entire review HERE.

…and you can hear them in room 1104 at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest October 7th – 9th.

We are also sharing a lobby booth with Spatial Audio and Red Dragon Audio,  so be sure to stop in to say hello.

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Level 3 Power Cords have the effect of going from a 4-cylinder to an 8-cylinder engine!

To piggyback on our “ANTICABLES Lab” article, “Why Power Cords Matter” we wanted to share a few words from Don B., a customer who is thoroughly enjoying his listening experience  — more now than for the past two decades, thanks to ANTICABLES Level 3 Power Cords (and Level 4.1 XLR ICs)

We received a few notes from Don as he received some of the products – as well as a final round-up, below.

– – –

Aug 17th

The Level 3 Power Cord has me laughing and enjoying my system immeasurably more right out of the box! By the way, I took your suggestion to bypass my power conditioner.

The detail, tonal balance, depth and width of soundstage, and bottom-end are all significantly way improved. Who knew my speakers were capable of such deep, deep bass and crystal clear highs. Albums that I thought were a little disappointing in the sound department are actually dazzling!

Finally, using the ANTICABLES power cord on my DAC/preamp meets my fullness requirement!!! The true sound of the Level 4.1 Reference Plus Xhadow is singing like never before.

Don

– – –

Aug 22nd

Today, I received the second Level 3 Power Cord which I plugged into my amplifier. My first Level 3 power cord is attached to my DAC/Preamp.

Two albums that I thought were poorly recorded…now I will use them as reference test records. Those albums are full of nuances and dynamics that were not produced by my previous power cords that cost 6 times what the ANTICABLES Level 3 Power Cords cost!!!!

With the addition of your power cables and Reference 4.1 balanced XLR interconnects, my system has improved very significantly – I get goosebumps listening to my system. The soundstage is deep and wide with a highly stable image that sounds like I attending a live event.

Don

– – –

August 30th

The Level 4.1 Plus Xhadow XLRs are like a powerful vacuum cleaner that get every morsel of recorded sound.

OMG, the Level 3 Power Cords have the effect of going from a 4-cylinder to an 8-cylinder engine!

Again, thanks for producing such high quality products at more than reasonable prices!

Don

– – –

Paul,

DonBakerEver since I bought my first separate preamp and power amplifier combination back in the early 1990s my main hobby has been listening to music. Through the years I learned that different components to include power cords and interconnects were instrumental to achieving the sound that I enjoyed. Moreover different combinations of preamps, power amplifiers, and interconnects tend to respond best to various genres of music.

Thus, my audio system is a hybrid of various components that are interchanged to go with the genre of music I am playing. If I want a more lush and silky mid-range image I tend to use a tube preamp and bloomy amplifier. When I want to listen to a brassy hard-driving album with lots of pizazz, shimmering highs and thunderous bass, I use a solid-state preamp/power amplifier combination.

As well, I use different types of interconnects to feed my electrostatic speakers depending on the genres of music that are playing. My various interconnects were viewed as separate components because they ran anywhere from $1700 to $4000.

However, all changed when I purchased my first set of interconnects from ANTICABLES! Once the Level 4.1 Reference Plus Xhadow balanced XLR interconnects were inserted into my system I found that I did not need to switch between my preamp and power amplifier combinations to get goose bumps as I listened to various genres of music. I was hearing harmonics and nuances not previously heard on albums that I have owned for over 20 years. I was astonished at how much music I had been missing without the ANTICABLES interconnects.

Since the Level 4.1 XLRs were such game changers, I decided to try the Level 3 Power Cords within weeks. I wanted to try the Level 3 Power Cords immediately after hearing the impact of the Level 4.1 balanced XLRs but I wanted to let the interconnects burn-in fully before making another ANTICABLES purchase. Basically I wanted to let my ears determine if I was taken with just a different sound or a truly better sound!

Since I am retired and listen to music an average of 5 hours per day, it did not take long to conclude that the ANTICABLES interconnects were better than my other  interconnects that were 6x more expensive!!!

When the Level 3 power cord was inserted into my DAC/preamp component I went gaga. The volume controls did not change but the dynamic range; forwardness of the music and harmonic balance resulted in goose bumps popping!

Long story short, I purchased a second Level 3 Power Cord for my Class D amplifier and was blown away with the increased clarity of the sound! My wife who knew nothing about what had been replaced came into my listening room and said, “…the music is really clear…keep whatever you bought…”

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ANTICABLES Lab: Why Power Cords Matter (Part 1 of 2)

by Paul Speltz

The development cycle for our power cords lasted three years. We spent two years first figuring out and understanding why power cords can make an audible difference, and then another year optimizing the design with that knowledge. The long development cycle paid off. In the four years since they first came out, we have not needed to make any improvements in the design. Customers that bought them in 2012 have the same performance as power cords sold today.

Power LinesIf you think of a power cord as the last five feet of getting power from the electric company’s power plant into your component, electrically it does not have much sonic advantage. But, if you model a power cord as the first five feet of getting the noise generated in the component’s own power supply out of the component (so it does not get into the music), power cords make a lot more sense.

Any manufacturer that markets their heavy duty power cords towards customer’s big power amplifiers, and offers smaller gauge power cords for customers to use on lower power components such as DACs  and PreAmps, is designing to the “last five feet” model, and missing out on the bigger advantages of what a properly designed power cord is capable of.

If I had only one ANTICABLES Level 3 Power cord (our heaviest duty offering), for my personal listening system, I would use it on my DAC instead of my power amp to get best sound. This is because DAC’s, by nature, are generally much more susceptible to noise than power amps. Noise in DACs causes timing errors call jitter, and it is jitter that makes digital audio sound flat, hard, and non-dynamic.  Jitter makes bass sound wooly, voices and piano sound harmonically uninteresting, and cymbals sound like spray cans. Our Level 3 Power cord is so good at removing noise from components, it is my top recommendation for Digital sources, CD players and DACs.

A properly designed power cord can improve the sound of any component, it is just generally true that digital components have greater potential for sonic improvement than other components, but that is only if the power cord used has been designed as the first five feet of getting the component’s own power supply noise out of the component.

Most audiophiles have been told the only noise source getting into their music is from all the computers, lights, and appliances running in their and their neighbors houses. But I believe the biggest source of noise getting into the music signal  is from the component’s own power supply (which can be an inch or two away from critical circuitry).  If you think about it, this makes so much sense, it is practically self-evident .

Our “first five feet” designed power cords have become so well received, that they have gone from a nice sideline offering, to now to being our customer’s favorite product. Our Level 3 Power Cord was ANTICABLES top selling product last quarter.

Next month, I will share my unusual perspective on power conditioners.

Read Why Power Cords Matter, Part 2

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It’s All About the Music: The Dakota Jazz Club

by Judy Speltz

This past week, Paul and I caught Ruthie Foster playing at the Dakota Jazz Club in downtown Minneapolis. It’s a small venue — a restaurant with less than 350 seats around a small stage. It reminds me of the “MTV Unplugged” set— but with food and wine, and room to dance if the mood moves you, but cozy.

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Judy Speltz of ANTICABLES with Jack Broadbent

Prior to the show, the manager always comes out to engage the audience in conversation and promote upcoming shows. This particular night, he said “we have a surprise”.  A slender young man with long hair and a beard/mustache sauntered out on stage holding a pint and introduced himself with a British accent as Jack Broadbent. He then sat down on his small amp, lay his electric guitar on his lap, grabbed the silver whiskey flask he uses for a slide, and put the audience at attention with the first pluck of the strings.

If music were static, then we were all clinging to the whip of his wrist as the whiskey flask traveled up and down the neck of his guitar. I think we were in disbelief for a minute, but soon surrendered to the trance we found ourselves in.

Lucky for us, Jack had just finished a tour with Peter Frampton, and after ringing up someone in the Twin Cities, we found him playing ahead of Ruthie Foster that night. We’ve come to learn that Broadbent has already made quite a name for himself, starting on Youtube playing on the streets of London and Amsterdam. I guess Paul and I are late to the party — but if you haven’t heard of him either, familiarize yourself with this man cause he ain’t goin’ no where but up!

Ruthie Foster is no stranger to fame. She’s been singing since she was a young girl — at 14 Ruthie was the soloist in the church choir. If you Wikipedia Ruthie, her accolades are numerous, too many to mention here. It was a beautiful evening of music from Ruthie and her band. Ruthie’s gospel background flavors all her music and keeps you firmly connected to her southern roots. It was our first time seeing Ruthie, a woman who has been compared to the great Aretha Franklin. It was one of those evenings where you feel so damn lucky.

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Capital Audiofest Wrap-up

Photos Credit: Audiophilia Capital Audiofest Show report

Although we were not able to personally attend, the ANTICABLES products made an appearance last month at Capital Audiofest which is held just north of our nation’s capital. Mark Sossa of Well Pleased AV pulled together a listening room using electronics he represents including Aqua Audio’s La Voce DAC ($2700), Antipodes DS music server ($2800), and Clones 25iR integrated amp ($1200).

The room filled with music through Mike Levy’s new Alta Audio IO Loudspeaker ($3000/pair). ANTICABLES Speaker Wires, Interconnects, and Power Cords glued it all together.

The three of us are planning on putting together an even higher level system in a listening room this October at RMAF in Colorado. More on that soon!

Thank you Mark and Mike for your efforts!
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Paul

 

ANTICABLES Products at Capital Audiofest:
See show reports on the Capital Audiofest room in Audiophilia.

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Inside ANTICABLES: Thaine, Product Assembler

Thaine, Product AssemblerThaine comes to us from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He moved to Minnesota last August as a recent graduate of Michigan Technological University in Biomedical Engineering.

 

With his interests in restoring vintage electronics, such as a 1950’s TV, and a 1970’s Realistic Amp — Thaine found ANTICABLES and has been with us since February of this year, as a product assembler specializing in the production of Interconnects and Speaker Wires.

We are thrilled to have him as a part of our ANTICABLES family, and would like to extend our congratulations to him, as he will be getting married later this month!

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It’s All About the Music: The Jayhawks

The Jayhawksby Judy Speltz

For the past three summers we have been attending “Music in the Zoo” concert series at the Minnesota Zoo — a small amphitheater setting outdoors among the animals.

In late June we settled into a fantastic concert with three encores: The Jayhawks. We’ve had a couple of their albums for years, listening to them as they make their way through our music rotation. Paul noted, “I’ve always wanted to be able to like The Jayhawks more than I did, and seeing them in person achieved that”.

I have to agree — WOW, what a great night. Seeing live music is always exciting, especially when it’s an intimate setting, but their music is still resonating in my head a week later.

How do you define them: are they folk, are they soft rock? Greg Louris’s guitar playing could really grind out the Rock side of their music, yet the harmony and lyrics to their songs are soulful and steadfast.

The night was a pleasant surprise for us, and we hope you will take an evening to become more familiar with this long standing Minnesota original, The Jayhawks.

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