Anticables Level 6.2 Absolute Signature IC and Level 4.1 Reference Plus Xhadow IC Interconnects

After reviewing Anticables’ top speaker wire in October, I put away all thoughts of reviews for three wonderful weeks in Italy. I’m still getting over it. Upon my return, owner of Anticables, Paul Speltz, contacted me to see if I had any interest in reviewing his new top of the line analogue interconnects. I responded in the affirmative and looked forward to their arrival. Paul seemed very excited and confident that his new cables would surpass anything he’d done before and rank with the top cables out there at any price. I adopted a wait and see attitude.

Both the 6.2s and the 4.1s use ACElectrum signal wire, a silver/gold alloy that has the benefits of silver without the edginess and overly bright quality that silver alone can have. The termination type has also been researched well and Paul has chosen the Klei Absolute Harmony RCA Plugs and Xhadow Precision XLR plugs in order to maximize the cable’s performance. 

As an additional option, for a $100/pair, you can order your cables cryogenically treated and burned in. This will add two weeks to your delivery date.  

To clarify, both cables have the same performance characteristics except 6.2s are single ended and the 4.1 is balanced. 

Anticables Level 4.1 Reference Plus Xhadow XLR Balanced Interconnects

Anticables Level 4.1 Reference Plus Xhadow XLR Balanced Interconnects

After arriving and unpacking the cables, I installed them in my system for an extended period of burn-in. Paul suggests a 100 hour minimum and states that they will continue to improve till 500 hours is reached. I am reporting my findings at around the 350 hour mark. The 6.2s and the 4.1s were cryogenically treated and partially burned-in. Taking no chances, I started burning in the cables as if there were no prior work done on them.

After a substantial burn-in of 350 hours, I must admit that I’m stunned and amazed at how good these cables are. If I said they cost $3,000 for a 1m pair, I’m certain you’d nod your head in agreement and enjoy the hell out of them. At $700 a pair with the cryo/burn in option included for the 4.1s and $670 a pair for the 6.2s with same option, they are an absolute steal.

The first thing you notice is how open and transparent the presentation is with oodles and oodles of detail and air creating a truly impressive three dimensional soundstage. Imaging becomes even more specific and solid.  Complex musical passages reveal themselves more fully, bringing greater understanding of the composer’s work. A great example of this is the Telarc two record set of Carmina Burana. I heard and experienced the choral and orchestral parts more vividly than ever. The harmonies were more easily heard and the orchestral interplay was absolutely scintillating. It brought back memories of live performances that I delighted in at Carnegie Hall.

Along with all of the wonderful spatial qualities the cables possess, was how well and accurately they reproduced the musical timbre of instruments. Oscar Peterson’s piano came to life in my listening room with full dynamics making it sound closer to a live piano than I thought possible. The same is true for voices. I can only report that they sounded closer to a living breathing human being, more lifelike, than ever before.  I think part of the reason that this lifelike quality is achieved is that all the little nuances and inner textures that were hidden or muffled before, now come through with these cables adding significantly to our appreciation of the recorded voice.

As part of a listening experiment, I used one of the most memorable and recognizable jazz record albums, Oliver Nelson, Blues and the Abstract Truth featuring a sextet of some of the greatest names in jazz: Paul Chambers/Bass, Eric Dolphy/Alto sax and Flute, Bill Evans/Piano, Freddie Hubbard/Trumpet, Roy Haynes/Drums, George Barrow/Baritone sax, and Oliver Nelson/Alto and Tenor sax. This was an original from Impulse Records recorded in 1961. Along with the original, l used a digitally re-mastered version from 1986. How well did the re-issue compare to the original and what role did the new cables play in determining the differences, if any?

Several listening sessions ensued. I chose the iconic, Stolen Moments cut for comparison. In a very short time it was apparent that the overwhelming winner was the original 1961 vinyl record. The new interconnects made the differences more evident, eliminating any doubt. The ability of these interconnects to place you at the performance was greatly appreciated by all (I had several colleagues over for some of the listening sessions). 

At first we listened to the digitally re-mastered version and were impressed with the sound, but comments like ‘it’s a little bright’ or ‘the soundstage sounds a little compressed’ or ’slight loss of instrumental body’ were being expressed. Still, overall not a bad sound. Then we played the original version and boy did that open our eyes and ears. The soundstage opened up with air and space. The separation of instruments in space was much more clearly expressed. The instruments came alive and ‘The Truth’ was out there, but not so ‘abstract’. Instrumental timbres were more musically accurate and instruments lost that edginess that was so evident on the remaster. The Anticables provided a more complete picture of those differences, seemingly closing the distance between the recording and live event. Once they were in the system, there was no going back.

The accompanying literature includes the line, ‘Reclaiming Music Lost in Typical Cables.’ I can’t think of a more appropriate statement. For those of you who can afford the best, buy these cables and for those of you on a budget, buy these cables. Do I need to say more?

Further information: Anticables