As audiophiles, who knew there would be so much consternation about something relatively simple as electricity, easily defined as the flow of electrons through a conductor? Especially how it affects high end electronics.
My interest is definitely not in the theory behind the wire, but in the consternation, the never ending discussions whether the transport or conduit for those electrons is important to your stereo system.
I'll stake my claim. I hear a difference with better (different) cabling, whether interconnects, phono cables or power cords.
So, how did the top AntiCables Power Cords affect my system?
Introduction of three Level 3 Reference Series Power Cords into my system was quite a shock. The sound, when compared to the stock power cords, was more open, sounded louder, which surprised me, but seemed not to control the musical flow, the coherence of the sound to my expectations. Nothing deleterious but time for break in.
I asked Paul Speltz, designer and owner of AntiCables, how much break in the cords needed. He said: If I remember correctly, those were power cords that were used in some of my 3 demo rooms at RMAF, so they do have some hours on them. Even at that, since my power cords keep getting better for up to 2000 hours, and since when any cable gets disrupted (bent and flexed), it needs time to settle in again, I would consider them as sounding about 1/2 way between "new" and "completely broken-in".
As a nod to fairness, I played in the cables for a further 150 hours before I listened seriously. I also asked Speltz about the plugs. He mentioned that some folks think they are Wattgate plugs; Speltz’ plugs are designed in house and he has them built to his exact specifications. The Level 3s are each priced at $330 for 1.5m.
AntiCables says of its Level 3 cable: Level 3 Reference Series Power Cord is our jaw dropping triple 8 gauge "top-level" power cord. This cord is probably the best sounding affordable power cord made. It provides huge dynamic impact, maximum bass weight and authority, very open sound with full harmonic structure coming from a black background, and does so without causing any problems such as colorations. This is by far our customers' most popular power cord choice.
The 150 break in hours helped with the coherence—now, the music flowed, was rhythmically astute to each piece, and reminded me why I like my system so much. The good stuff remained. Just what I was hoping for. The openness was still there and sounding lovely on every piece. The perceived volume increase? I didn't check with a dB meter, but the sound being more fulsome, better resolved, with ample flesh on bone, felt louder and more substantial. In contrast, the stock cords robbed Peter and did not pay Paul. After listening to Speltz' cords, it would be difficult to return to stock cabling.
I used the three cords on my Antipodes CORE Music Server, Bel Canto Design DAC 3.5 and Jeff Rowland Continuum S2 Integrated Amplifier. All three cords were plugged into my Core Power Technologies Equi=Core 1800 Power Conditioner. The 1800 comes with a lovely power cord, which I left in place. I'll follow up with the 1800 plugged into the wall with a Level 3. AntiCables suggests the conditioning is so good with its cables, that it's possible to do without a power conditioner. Maybe for another time.
As only digital and amplification devices were used with the AntiCables, I played only digital files, both FLAC and TidalHiFi. The openness, with more musical information was my favorite Level 3 attribute. Much like my recent Raidho Acoustics’ loudspeaker upgrade from ceramic driver to titanium (X-1 to XT-1), little details crept in from extremely well known recordings. I could hear deeper into the recording and instruments and voices sounded fresher and more vibrant. Nothing earth shattering, but there it was, and quickly became the assumption after only a short audition after the lengthy break in.
Bass on my Raidhos does not shatter the listening room, but is scary accurate down to below 50 Hz. My go-to bass and speed test is the theme from American Beauty by Thomas Newman. Heard hundreds of times in umpteen setups, I can tell you that the detail was the best I've heard on my system—exquisite Latin Percussion, marimbas and synthesized bass in a maelstrom of rhythmic complexity. From layered synthesized glissandi to various timbral changes in the very low bass to the echo in the drum cylinders, the AntiCables really shone light on ultra minor details. I kicked myself for not noticing them before on a track I felt I knew intimately.
Power cords can cost far more than the very reasonable Level 3s. I auditioned (did not review) several AudiQuest power cords with the AudioQuest Niagara 5000 Low-Z Power | Noise-Dissipation System, and they all made a positive, qualitative difference concomitant with price increase (the top model was $1600). The same with the much less expensive Equi=Power cord ($100). So, considering the Anticables Level 3 Reference do what they do for $330, and come with a 30 day, risk-free trial, are beautifully made, a listen in your system is a no brainer. If you have quality equipment, these superb ancillaries will make a very musical difference.
Further information: AntiCables
- 7, 9, 11, 13, and 15 foot lengths available
- 30 day risk free trial
- Oxygen Free Copper wires with impurities reduced down to 5 parts per million
- 24 square mm of Copper (cable's total cross sectional area) = three #8 AWG build
- Integrated noise filtering technology
- Proprietary Oxygen Free Solid Copper plugs
- Easy to bend into shape making them highly manageable
- Made in USA (one at a time in Lake Elmo MN)