Belden ICONOCLAST Interconnects and Speaker Cabling

I’m just happy we’ve gotten a break from the fire and smoke for a bit. Though it is turning the sky from blue to white again over the last day or so as smoke from the west coast curls down this way.

Ultrasonically Welded Spades and Locking Bananas - The long anticipated “ultrasonically welded spades” are finally here in both the WBT size and the larger 9MM size. This rounds out our “standard” terminations including the ultrasonically welded, locking bananas. A significant investment has been made in the welder and custom made dies. This was necessary to be able to offer and complete the weld on our connectivity products. The results are amazing. Please see and read below.

From the www.iconoclastcable.com website,
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"### Terminations:

The Iconoclast speaker cable isn’t particularly suited to bare-wire termination, as the strands are a bit unruly to manage. Accordingly, we offer a couple of types of termination which will work with the great majority of speaker binding posts.

For these terminations, we use our own special method: ultrasonic welding. Where gas or arc welding result in high heat, which can damage cable and connectors, ultrasonic welding takes place near room temperature, fusing metal to metal by intense vibration with less resultant heat than one would get from soldering. The welded joint is strong, has extremely low contact resistance, excludes oxygen very effectively, and does not introduce any other material to the joint – the copper wire is fused right to the connector.

Our welded spade lugs are made of rhodium-plated copper, and come in two sizes: a 6.5mm opening, and a 9mm opening. The smaller spade fits the majority of binding posts, but some require the larger version. The spade is angled at about 25 degrees from the axis of the cable, but because these are made of copper they will tolerate a bend – so if you need to change the angle, a couple of minutes with a couple of pairs of pliers will do the trick.

For tighter post configurations, or for those who simply prefer them, we also offer banana plugs, made from brass and plated with gold. These are the same “locking type” banana plugs you may have seen on Blue Jeans Cable products. The plug’s locking feature – enabled by turning the outer collar after the plug has been inserted in the binding post – ensures tight, mechanically stable engagement with the post.***

If you have particular custom requirements – such as a need to attach to terminal strips, Speakons, or what-have-you, let us know. We try to accommodate custom termination requests whenever possible, usually at no increase in price.

***All cables are accompanied by a test report showing final measured values for capacitance, inductance and resistance."

The cost for “Re-Termination,” connectors of choice is $390 per stereo pair or $200 for one end of a stereo pair. That includes return FedEx shipping. Please keep in mind that the techs have to remove the old connectors and prepare a possible 192-conductors on a stereo pair and 96-on a one end only refit. Cardas, silver solder connectors will remain an option for those who might prefer.

Call or write with questions.

Hope everyone is well!!

Bob

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Hey Bob
Let me be the first re. re-terminations: Will we hear a difference?
Thanks
ron

And while we’re here, I’m so happy and convinced with my Iconoclast OCC IC’s, that I can’t help wondering why OCC conductors are not available in the spkr cables, especially since so many competitors offer them.
I felt that the OCC IC’s just blew away the other materials.

I second that inquiry. The OCC for me was easily the best of the lot, despite Galien’s research that showed it measured differently only in the extreme high frequencies.

Oops…I think I may be referencing the silver plating on the Iconoclast speaker cable, not the IC’s.
In any case, I like the OCC/SPTPC combo best and it has a sonic signature very different from the rest of the family to these old ears.

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Good Morning Ron, I do not believe that you will hear a difference. My note and announcement was to let customers and friends know that if they order cables in the future they will be getting an improved connection. We have had a few customers that let us know that when the “ultrasonically welded” connections were available that they would like to switch.

In addition to what was mentioned on the site… " The welded joint is strong, has extremely low contact resistance, excludes oxygen very effectively, and does not introduce any other material to the joint – the copper wire is fused right to the connector," there are other benefits. The bananas are “locking” providing a rock solid connection to the speaker and the spades are slight thinner allowing the axis to be shaped, many times making the connections easier to deal with. This is especially helpful for the recessed binding post pockets that we see on some speakers.

UPOCC copper is the one copper that we do not draw at the Richmond, IN Belden plant. We must source it from a vendor. The cost is crazy high and lead times when they are even met sometimes takes months. The aviation, space and military industries seem to buy a significant portion of what is produced. We suspect that the companies claiming to offer UPOCC copper speaker cables “may not” really be providing a true 5-9’s copper produced as designed by Dr. Ohno.

In 1991, UP-OCC patents were granted to Professor Ohno PHD, of the Chiba Institute of Technology in Japan to introduce the innovation of the Continuous Casting Process into the Hi-fi industry. This process produced the purest copper to date using a single process heated mold instead of a cooled mold to produce the pure single crystallized copper. My understanding is that the process also includes pressure in the manufacturing of these stranded conductors. This is a time consuming and costly process. Again, I will as Galen to comment on the nature of UPOCC speaker cables. I sure agree with the consensus that UPOCC is hands down the best copper for Hi-fi applications. At least to my ears.

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I could not agree more! It simply doesn’t get any better to me.

New “in-stock” Tech Flex color options for BAV power cables. Carbon top with black and tan below.

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Hi Bob,
I have a few new pieces going into my main system and will need power and speaker cables once I get everything positioned. I’ll contact you soon with an order.
Vern

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Bob meant 96 TOTAL wires for each polarity (48 on each end or 2x12x2 polarities). Ya, I know, lots of wires! So 96 x 2 for BOTH polarities R+L = 192

Best,
Galen

On speaker cables, we need to use a “bonded” pair to lower inductance and this means we use a super high speed extrusion machine that “wastes” a good deal of wire at start up. But when it runs for a week straight, that’s no big deal. True. But when we run a REALLY, REALLY short comparative run of wire for speaker cables it is NOT insignificant.

Add the fact that the UP OCC is in length that equal the VOLUME of the input copper ingot and you get short pieces that aren’t real good for high speed extrusion (1200-1800 Feet per Minute, FPM). The supply runs out before we can center and set the wall! A whole bunch of things have to reach a stable temp and at 750F for TEFLON this isn’t quick as the higher the heats, the more external influences change the extrusion process.

Materials are easy to market, exceptionable design aren’t easy at all. And, my work has shown again and again that better DESIGN is in front of materials every time. Where we can do BOTH we will. Where we can pick one or the other, I pick the design every time. So far it as proven to be the right choice. When a material property eclipses a DESIGN somehow, then we’ll talk. Until then our speaker cables excel in comparison to any I know of today and, we are far, far cheaper for what we provide you and the papers to support the REASONS we aren’t cheaper. These are hard to make cables.

The speaker cables do exhibit a more pronounced patina across the coppers…and I hate that as it is a currently, “can’t measure that” variable. Even if we could, every measured or calculated variable is a, “can’t hear that” fall back position in isolation UNTIL you use the cables. Then even I had to admit defeat to prove audio cables aren’t really better than standard fair…which are pretty good. But, ICONOCLAST is better than pretty good so there we have it.

Best,
Galen Gareis

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“Design” = geometry+spacing of conductor+insulation

We always say, “physicals equals electrical”!

Best,
Galen

@rower30 Galen it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on the Thownsend cable measurement article just published in the PS Audio Magazine: https://www.psaudio.com/article/the-sound-of-speaker-cables-an-analysis/. It seems thorough to me and he draws a similar conclusion as yourself, that the design matters most. What do you think?

Nieuwro,

Correct. If you design to “known” EM properties you have R, L and C to work with and how they alter the non linear properties of signal travel trough the audio band.

The equations will tell you HOW your physical design decisions alter the “distortion” that is inherent in cable.

That leads to the EM relationship that the physical geometry inside the cable provides. And, we can use one or more wires superimposed one on top of the other to do it.

The end result is all about the trade-offs you are making and WHY they were chosen to improve R, L and C values that ALSO change related attributes such as Vp linearity and current efficiency. The absolute value of R, L and C aren’t the be all to end all…what did they change arriving at their bulk values?

As stuff gets better, the question remains, what are we hearing? My guess is we are most sensitive to time based changes, and that property decides if we like a cable or not, or if a change is enough to even hear.

My aim was to use real cable calculated and measured properties to minimize time based relationships in cable and see what happens. To do that, much more complex designs need to be used.

Some R, L and C values can go “up” while others need to go “down” in bulk measure. It all depends on the frequency a variable is impacting, and what attributes the designer feels are most audible. Phase? Attenuation? and the like.

Last, we can all look at any one variable and say, “we can’t hear that”. At some point this has to be true. ICONOCLAST, as good as it is, does sound better so it isn’t good enough to not be heard. Better DESIGN still makes a difference.

There is no perfect cable as L and C alter time based variables we hear more than just simple attenuation. Resistance does change time based variables in cable, though. So to ignore “R” as a passive variable is a mistake. The bulk value of R, and how you got there matters.

The series II interconnect cables alter how “R” is reached, and it changes time based properties for the better. The cable sounds different doing that. Bulk “R” went DOWN, but that wasn’t what makes the cable better, what it did to Vp linearity is what we are hearing. I actually INCREASED “C”! The improvement to Vp linearity was “better” than lower “C”. I decided to improve Vp and not worry about the -3 dB filter point of the cable in the MHz region or amp loading as capacitance is still low enough to not be an issue making amps ring!

When we get to where we can’t detect CHANGE in the sound we need go no further, true. Right now the changes are evident. We know 100% for certain cable has distortions as L and C exist. We have to balance what they do in the physical design.

AFTER we have a good design does material really matter as most materials are pretty darn good; copper, textiles and plastics.

Best,
Galen Gareis

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I just added 6 of the 10 ga. BAV power cables into my system. 2 of them are for my P20’s and they have the 20 amp end that you have to call and ask for. I have them on my P20’s, BHK 300’s and my X5 Spatial speaker powered sub sections.
These are amazing power cables especially for the money. The first thing that I noticed is the bass became much more clear and effortless in the system and the entire presentation is cleaner. I think I will populate my sources with these power cables next. I do have some pretty good aftermarket cables in my source rack that will be replaced by the BAV cables.
As with all of the Belden - Iconoclast products the fit and finish is first class and delivery is usually only a couple of days from order entry. You also get a 30 day no questions asked return policy.
What a great group of people to work with.

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I recently replaced most of the power cables in my main system, including the PSA AC-12’s feeding my BHK250, BHK Pre, and Direct Stream Dac, with the BAV cables. Each time I replaced a cable I heard improved focus and tighter bass. Switching back a week or two later reversed the improvement. (I know others, like Lonson, have had different experiences so it’s obviously system dependent). I used the 12 ga. for everything except the amp. I never got around to comparing the 10 ga to the 12.

I also upgraded my Gen 1 ETPC XLRs (I was a very early adopter and happy customer) to Gen 2 OFE’s. I also tried the Gen 2 ETPC. I found the improvement from Gen 1 to Gen 2 to be significant and the improvement from Gen 2 ETPC to OFE to be less significant but still quite noticeable. Bob Howard was great to deal with. I was waiting for a 20 amp cable to upgrade the AC-12 that is feeding my P20 (another recent upgrade, from a P10, that made a huge improvement). Thanks Baldy for mentioning that a 20 amp connector is available. I will have to reach out to @BobBJC on that one.

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I decided to get 10 ga. cables for everything. That way I can put them on any component in the future.

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Bob, how are black Friday plans coming along? :wink: