Belden ICONOCLAST Interconnects and Speaker Cabling

If you haven’t already, you might consider going through some of the articles found at the Iconoclast website. There is quite a bit of ground to cover and it might help you sort out things. I don’t pay much attention to tiny differences in audio performance. If I have to think about whether there is an audible difference or not, I’m just not interested. I’ve found that Galen’s designs do just that (make a clear difference) and certainly worth a try since you can always send them back if they don’t float your boat.

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Yes. I’ve looked thru the articles.
At this point my system has a lot of resolution.
Cables are making more of difference than ever.
Same goes for keeping mechanical contact points clean.


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The connection is it ALL matters and tertiary improvements buffer back to bigger issues that matter more, but they ALL matter and impact each other.

When we improve Vp linearity with C and R, the increase in R also improves the skin effect efficiency (use smaller wires) and current coherence. Better current coherence insures the wire looks more “the same” through the cross section and across frequency. It can’t ever be perfect.

With more smaller wires we also split the current and reduces the proximity effect. This impacts higher current speaker cables and proximity effect deteriorates the improved current coherence as it pulls the current to one side of the wire and this upsets the improvements we are trying to get with skin effect, we need to mitigate that. Again, one thing hits another.

To mitigate the proximity effect means MORE small wires to olower current. This helps to drop the BULK DCR. This improves the amplifer’s damping factor and also puts the signal across the LOAD and less dropped across the cable. Again, we see stuff loop back around to seemingly unrelated areas.

We have to keep balancing the R, L and C as we do all this and keep reactance LOW as we can while achieving all the objectives that we can. No cable can be perfect.

Proper spanning of known attributes is important to make a more linear analog cable. EVERYTHING bounces up and down the chain of inter-related variables. Ignoring what can’t be heard impacts lesser variables people feel can be heard.

If you want truly good analog cables, how does your favorite squeeze address EVERYHING in an inter related and calculated manner? Do they show you how it all works together? How your “extrodinary” attribute moves to the other end of the frequency spectrum?

ICONOCLAST isn’t extrodinary, it is good engineering. Nothing is hypothetical, it is all in the knowns, calculations and measurements. The easy bulk fundamentals are not that easy when you realize HOW they are reached isn’t easy or cheap. Most pay no attention to all this. You get what you pay for.

Again, we sell the reference that doesn’t consider any of this. Compare them. Then you’ll get your answer. It’s free to try.

I have an AB and A capable amplifiers. I flick a switch or two and INSTANTLY it is AB to A mode. Distortion numbers and other variables are too low to account for the difference in the sound. The EXACT same amps but different BIAS. Extrodinary?

Galen Gareis

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Hi Galen,

I think I have an idea of where you are coming from. I spent a lot of years as a S/W Engr (since retired) working on Performance and Scalability of computer systems. My work consisted of 1) find code or hardware or both that wasn’t performing or scaling, 2) measure it, 3) come up with a prioritized list of things to fix, 4) fix the things on the list, 5) Rinse/Repeat. The main thing was to measure or else I’d end up spending 90% of my time fixing something that only gave a small improvement.

There were times I couldn’t measure something and/or had to guess. Usually after a few guesses I got to the heart of the problem.

Given your expertise, I think you are working on the right things - even given they can’t be measured. Is it spending 90% of your time for a small improvement when there are better things to work on? IDK. I doubt it.

Is there a list of things to work on regarding cables? It would be interesting to see.

My current interconnect is Blue Jeans LC-1 and they are 1.5 ft long. Even at that small length, I hear a signature. I had to mod one end into an XLR to go into my AHB2 amp. How does LC-1 compare to Iconoclast interconnect? Does Iconoclast sell RCA to XLR?


The LC-1 is like ICONOCLAST but on a budget to get the most for the least. We use a 25 AWG center wire (all the good that goes with that) and a foamed low cap dielectric (and all the good that goes with that).

This is a routine process and is super fast to set-up and run, time is money. This is an excellent cable for the price paid. It all comes down to cost and measurements. We all want to buy the best performance for a GIVEN price. If ICONOCLAST was all of a sudden the same or less than anything out there, we’d be crazy not to use it.

On the RCA to XLR, an XLR isn’t a good RCA cable because it has higher loop DCR and capacitance (PIN 1 signal ground and PIN 2 signal hot used). Keeping the cheater XLR short keeps that mitigated. ALWAYS use RCA if you can and your equipment offers it. In a pinch, keep the XLR portion short.

We can make cheater cords for you on request, yes.

XLR are very good when we leverage the CMRR properties and RCA are very good when we leverage the pristine signal balance. RCA is perfect by default because it balances signal to NOTHING but the ground. XLR has to balance two channels and two “equal” and opposite legs that exhibit what is called CUB, Capacitance UnBalance. Both XLR wire channels can’t ever be exactly the same. Over a long run or through noise that XLR CUB deficiency is worth it compared to noise.

Good comments on making things better. Often times, take inductance as an example, to make something better that is the “standard” fair we can find that looking at a related tertiary element(s) is the answer we were looking for if BOTH properties are improved. Considering every facet of lowering inductance allows a lower value to be reached and also improve other variables. We can use 24 or 48 wires per polarity and not end up with a big mess in the end.

This is where it gets hard. The MATH say JUST the “answer” but not how to arrive at that answer. Here we need to figure out a DESIGN that gets close to it. This is why ICONOCLAST looks so different than other cable. The “answers” aren’t all the remarkable on a bulk R, L and C level. We want low final numbers. There is a lot of hidden extra improvements to get there, though.

We can compare more optimised cable to more conventional affairs and see what the fuss is about. If we can’t properly even make optimised cable, how do we really do that?

Galen Gareis


I know this thread is specifically for the Iconoclast interconnects and speaker cables, but I don’t see another thread covering the Iconoclast / BAV power cables.

Is there any guidance on which power cable size is most appropriate for various components? To this layperson, it makes sense that for power amps, one would want the 10AWG cable. But for a preamp, is there a reason to go smaller, or is the largest gauge cable best in that use case?

Thanks in advance for any comments.

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Probably best to start a new topic under “Cables”. Trust me, you will get more then your share of opinions. :wink:


Well, this is specifically for BAV / Iconoclast power cables… or at least that’s what I intended.


The most basic way is WATTS in the cord or I squared R losses. That’s what heats a power cord up.
This is easy to do with a calculated VOLTAGE drop across the cord based on the devices current draw.
Try to keep the cord voltage losses at 1% or so is no problem with short cords.

If you have 1 amp in a cord as an example, with a 10 AWG (~10,000 CMA) and if you want the exact same “loss” in the cord with a 0.5 amp in the cord then a 13 AWG (~5000 CMA) cord would be used.

This also applied to the ground plane differential or the resistance added by the cord. With less current, a smaller voltage is dropped across the cord;
Cord Voltage Loss = current * resistance.
Again if we have half the current we can use a cord with half the CMA and have the same voltage dropped across the cord. That’s the basics. The next question is how MUCH voltage loss do we accept? The easy answer is none.

I use 10 AWG for power amps as they draw a lot of current. For DACS and PREAMPS look at the power requirements. Try to keep the cord voltage losses at 1% or so is pretty easy with such SHORT power cords. You’ll be hard pressed to exceed the requirements listed below for voltage drop on short cords but you can calculate the loss knowing the current times the cord’s DCR.

I use the following and are way overkill for cord losses well under 1%.
120V * .01 = 1.2 volts dropped max for the cords length;
14 AWG for my T.Table.
12 AWG for preamp and DAC.
10 AWG for the power amps.

BAV 19105 10 AWG DCR = ~ 1.0 OHM/1000 feet.
BAV 19106 12 AWG DCR = ~ 1.5 OHM/1000 feet.
BAV 19107 14 AWG DCR = ~ 2.5 OHM/1000 feet.
The resistance is there and back, so take 2 time the cords length DCR.



Hey Bob, any updates on the Rel cable? You’ve piqued my interest for sure. Considering that Both Rel’s and AQ’s cable upgrades are both above $400, the thought of upgrading the stock cable on my $600 T/5i seemed just a little fiscally irresponsible… I’d also shamelessly offer my services as a beta tester :joy::joy:. Appreciate any updates when you have a moment. My best!

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I’ve had LC-1 cables as good shielded cables at a great price. My longtime favorite has been Kimber PBJ. It’s a little more open sounding. After the BAV rca cables came out I tried a pair. Within a few seconds I knew I was going to replace all of my interconnects with BAV cables. They sound slightly more transparent than the PBJ but the real difference was dynamics. Everything just sounded snappier and more impactful. Everything in the music sounded more separated. Going back to LC-1 was like throwing a blanket over the speakers. Someday I will try the real Iconoclast cables.


You really have real ICONOCLAST DESIGN, but made for severe flexibility as some need this kind of cable. But, it is a terrific stopping point for the value it brings and that’s why BAV exists. Better designs and yet they still hold the value.

I agree that these are underrated gems, both the XLR and RCA.



This sums it up nicely!

Thank you Galen!

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Send me an email with what REL configuration you have and I will provide a quote for the cabling. Exceptional hand made quality! You can thank Jeff at our plant for this new BAV product.

Belden 1310A is 4-conductor Star-Quad design that is a new addition to our BAV product line. This cable can be custom configured to exacting lengths and mix of both hi-level or interconnects for stacked REL sub applications.

Shown below are both REL “hi-level” and interconnects for stacks. A significant improvement over the OEM and other aftermarket offerings. Both performance and cost savings will make you smile from ear to ear.


I’m sure that either Galen or I have already posted his comments on 1310A but they are worth repeating here.

"Star quad work well for sub cables, or low frequency in general, for a great price. Why?

-) low frequencies have VERY a deep skin effect penetration. This means we can use stranded or larger AWG sizes and not worry about Vp linearity as it is pretty flat across 500 and below frequencies.
-) Using a star quad lowers inductance with field cancellation AND wire proximity effects, both. This gets a better inductance value than an equivalent AWG zip cord or twisted pair design.
-) We can SPLIT the 10 AWG aggregate CMA area into four equal CMA area wires to make the star quad arrangement. Cross wire each “pair” to double up the CMA wire area.
-) capacitance will go up in a star quad (more parallel plate area with four wires), but it isn’t going to be high enough to make modern amplifiers unstable. Capacitance does lower the first order filter model roll off frequency, but it is still WAY high in the MHz region so that isn’t the problem.

The problem is the amplifiers ability to drive a reactive load (speaker + cable, both). If the reactance is too high, use of flat type ribbon cable that are long capacitors (3,000 pF/foot!) on electrostatic speakers are a no, no, we can make an amplifier oscillate at high frequencies and cause clipping in the audio band and that is the problem.

All the above is why a good sub cable can use a star quad. Not just ours, but any star quad design all things being the same is better electrical properties. This is why the new 1310A design is a nice cable for subs. Low inductance is best for high current leads and the lower we go in frequencies the more current we use. The price is right, too, for extreme low frequency applications.

SUMMARY - star quad is the best way to get low inductance with high CMA area and reasonably low capacitance with a good dielectric and subs take advantage of all the benefits.



For the VIDEOPHILES in our family, you might want to look at the BJC site at the new Series 4 - UHD, HDMI cables. From the site…

“Our highest-speed certification cable is now our Series-4 UHD HDMI cable, available in 1-meter, 2-meter and 3-meter lengths. This cable is manufactured for us in Indonesia by Elka International, a manufacturing partner with whom we have worked for over a decade on a variety of HDMI cable products including our Series-FE and 1E cables, below. It bears the full UHS certification and carries the holographic certification label which can be scanned for spec verification. This will support any signal type, all the way through the current maximum bandwidth of 48.0 Gpbs (alternatively stated as 12 Gbps/pair).”

Like all BJC products, great performance (Certified) and a great value. I was shocked at the pricing.I just ordered 2 and will let you know what I think after they arrive.


Hi Rob-c,

That’s interesting. I follow why LC-1 might seem like a blanket. At least if you attribute its problem to shielding. It seems like the low capacitance and shorter runs help mitigate some of this effect.

But, i’m not sure my shielding explanation is valid though since you prefer the BAV cables over the PBJ. I know the PBJ are unshielded and the BAV are shielded. I would think you would prefer the PBJ over the BAV if the problem was due to shielding. Anyway, thanks for the feedback. Makes me think.

Maybe Galen has a better explanation. Thanks

The LC-1, BAV and ICONOCLAST RCA are heavily shielded. RCA designs need a good low DCR shield as the way they work adds a resistance between devices, and too high a DCR shield can cause the ground current to increase and make NOISE. The more DCR differential the higher the noise floor on unbalanced lines.

The shield does TWO things; one it lower ground differential and two, attenuates the RF through the shield with a low transfer impedance. You need low DCR to work at low frequencies and high optical coverage to block RF capacitive coupling at high frequencies. A double braid provides BOTH ends requirements.

The resistance of the shield is frequency based. RF can use a foil+drain as the system looks like a low impedance at RF. Analog frequencies needs low DCR more than transfer impedance which is a RF impedance measure.

We won’t recommend cheater balanced cable (PIN 2 and PIN 1) or poorly shielded RCA for unbalanced applications for the best results. Shorter cables can mitigate the DCR shield issue but they also raise the capacitance with no benefit.

What people hear on the BAV and ICONOCLAST is the dielectric is “air” over plastic and with air closest to the signal wire. EM waves aren’t magic and have to travel through the dielectrics which is air then a plastic tube wall to reach the shield. This is why the same 25 AWG conductor size BAV and ICONOCLAST RCA are smaller in diameter and higher impedance to boot, the dielectric is more efficient.

Even more amazing, BAV and ICONOCLAST are 100 OHMs and LC-1 is 100 OHM and could be even SMALLER if we were making 75-ohm RF based designs, but we aren’t. The LC-1, BAV and ICONOCLAST RCA are optimized for low capacitance (higher RF impedance). The LC-1 isn’t an analog and DIGITAL hybrid like a 75-ohms 1694A is for AES/EBU and S/PDIF digital and analog, all three.

We split the digital and analog function to optimize designs so use 1694A which is optimized for digital and LC-1, BAV or ICONOCLAST that are optimized for analog.

The series II RCA is using 4x30 AWG and this changes the cable to be ~75-ohm at RF but again, the four separate 30 AWG are analog biased to raise the loop signal DCR to that of a 30 AWG per each conductor wire loop instead of a 25 AWG. This lowers the open-short series II RCA impedance at the low end and flattens the Vp higher up at the same time.

Ideally we want the voltage to see ONLY the load resistor. To do that we LOWER the cable open-short impedance so less voltage is lost on the cable. The circuit is a voltage divider property.

The cable voltage loss isn’t as big a problem on IC cable as speaker cables, but it is still an optimization to be managed as best we can. Raising the sereis II RCA capacitance slightly to 17.5 pF/foot with 4x30 AWG helps out.

The four 30 AWG provide more capacitive plate area and this is how the capacitance goes up. The inductance goes the other way, DOWN, as we add field cancellation in the star quad four wire conductor. We drop from 0.15 uH/foot on the series I to about 0.12 uH/foot on the series II. No physics properties are broken in the design exchange.

Smaller 4x30 AWG also mitigates skin effects and Vp linearity and to a far lesser degree current driven proximity effects. We don’t have any current in IC cable in theory if the load impedance is infinitely high enough.



I didn’t mean to infer that the shielding was the factor holding back the LC-1. I just mentioned it as opposed to the unshielded PBJ. Clearly, to me, the shielding doesn’t hold back the BAV. I mean if you haven’t heard BAV the LC-1 is a good cable. But the BAV was noticeably different. Whether you like it is up to you. I happen to like it a lot.

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Got it Rob. Thanks

We won’t recommend cheater balanced cable (PIN 2 and PIN 1)

Hi Galen,

On LC-1, its just a piece of coax. No separate shield.
When I modified my LC-1 to make it go RCA to XLR, I had to cheat.

On BAV and Iconoclast is there actually a shield that is separate from hot and gnd?
So no cheating when going from RCA to XLR?

Thanks, Mike

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