Tributaries Offers Flagship Cables

John Atkinson and I recently spent a few hours talking to cable manufacturer Tributaries' president and founder, Joe Perfito. Perfito had come to NYC to meet the press and introduce his company's newest cable families, the high-end Series 7 and the higher-end Series 9. "The Series 9 cables are the best cables we know how to make," Perfito told us. "The interconnects are hand-made of 20AWF solid OFHC signal conductor and a 1.25% silver-plated 46-strand 20AWG OFHC return conductor. We use an LDPE dielectric and an OFHC copper-braided shield and a double-sided copper foil secondary shield for 100% freedom from interference. The conductors are double-soldered to the solid brass connectors, then pressure welded—they will not let go of one another."

Sounds good, Joe. What do they cost? "Less than $400 for the interconnect."

Aren't you leaving off a zero or two?

"I don't know what we could do to make this cable any better, much less worth ten times more," Perfito said. "We put all of our money into our materials and research. Here's something we're really proud of: look at this packaging on our best cable!"

Umm, Joe, that looks like an ordinary zip-lock bag.

"It's a heavy duty zip-lock bag, so it's reusable. We try to be as environmentally conscious as possible, so we don't construct elaborate boxes or use a lot of unnecessary packaging—all of which the retailer and consumer end up paying for. We keep it simple.

"All of our products are RoHS compliant, which means we not only meet the EU's standards, but the new California standards as well." Sounds pretty responsible, we observed.

"Tributaries is either the second- or third-largest cable manufacturer, depending on whether you're measuring by dollars sold or linear footage sold— and either way, we're a lot smaller than number one. But that's because of how we like to do business. We're not in chains or big-box stores, even though we offer a lot of sensibly priced cable options. We're in specialty stores and specialty installers—places where we know the names of our customers and they know the names of theirs. And when somebody sees a Series 9 cable in his specialty shop, he's not going to see it in a point-of-purchase display at Compuserve the next time he buys a printer catridge—that really takes the shine out of buying a 'special' cable."

But Joe, isn't that a power strip in your briefcase? Isn't that the definition of a big-box store SKU?

Perfito beamed as he pulled out Tributaries' new power strip. "Our dealers have been asking us for this—and for a power conditioner as well," he said. "Look at this, five of the receptacles rotate so that you can attach wall warts of awkward power plugs—and we offer grounding options as well. We sell this for under a hundred dollars and we're pretty proud of it.

They featured this on the website Gizmodo the other week, and a guy wrote in to say that WalMart had the same thing for 20 bucks, so we went down to WalMart and sure enough, there was a power strip that was awfully similar. In looks.

"This one is RoHS compliant; the WalMart strip had a label on the back that said, 'Warning: Wash hands after touching.'

"Which would you rather buy?"

Color us impressed—with Tributaries and Joe Perfito.