Belden ICONOCLAST Interconnects and Speaker Cabling

Arenith,

Big signal and welds or small signal and weld? We tend to forget we already have thousands of wave solder welds all over the PC boards. Yep, solder is everywhere to the effect you are looking for in every PC board. Sure, less joints are better to do the same job more because of consistency and standard deviation (machines make this variation tiny) than signal degradation. Many devices bypass tone controls or unused circuit blocks.

If solder was so bad, or much worse than ultra sonic welds with “fragile” small amplitude signals in the signal path we’d probably hear about it!

Waver solder is machine made and consistent. An ultra sonic weld is machine made and can be more consistent over hand solder.

It is the consistency of quality that we are after, not that one is a ton better than the other. Either choice is better than threaded intefaces that get loose that have a signal applied through it.

Best,
Galen

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Hey @iconoclastjeff - just wanted to thank you for building the 1310A QctoQuads for me, and for the great communication / delivery time. As always, it is a pleasure to work with the BJC team.

One of my fellow head-fi.org colleagues on Jason Stoddard’s Schiit Audio board asked me how the Belden QctoQuads compared to their predecessors, a pair of BJC 4s11 Canare Quad bi-wires. Here’s what I wrote:

I have been using Canare 4s11 for the last 15+ years - I bought 250’ quite a while ago. Using that cable and Cardas silver solder, I have built multiple sets of mono- and bi-wire speaker cables. Due to a bout of laziness, I bought a pair of BJC 4s11 bi-wires in August of 2021. That’s when I decided that it’s a lot easier to ping Jeff at BJC and have beautiful things appear on my front porch in three days… :) [and BTW I can’t give those guys enough kudos for customer service].

Comparing my experience with Belden 1310A to the 4s11 is hard, as I’ve never run two parallel lengths of Canare 4s11 per side, as the 1310A is used in the OctoQuads.

I can say these things regarding my most recent cable-swap experiences, which are based on:

  • a set of BJC Canare 4s11 locking banana bi-wires (one cable, 4-conductors total per side) - versus -
  • a set of BJC Belden 1310A locking banana mono-wired OctoQuads (two cables, 8-conductors total per side; 4-per-polarity, with 4-conductor spaded 12" jumpers between the HF & LF terminals of the 804 D3s)…

Versus the Canare 4s11 bi-wires:

  • The Belden OctoQuads sounded quite bright initially, but they mellowed in a couple of hours…
    • …or, maybe my perception did?
    • Dunno, but the low end has ‘matured’ and ‘deepened’ dramatically IMHO now that we’re 15+ hours in
  • Soundstage “depth” has improved, markedly, with the QctoQuads. The system’s overall ‘drive’ seems to be more effortless
    • …not that the Tyrs ever worked hard. But they seems to be “freer” to drive the speakers than ever before
  • Width, not so much change, but there is definitely more apparent “air” around all of the voices/instruments in the presentation
    • this “air” gets more pronounced with good recordings… OMG the stuff that Sara K does is unreal. Her recording engineer is a god.
  • I am hearing sounds and undertones (e.g. that ‘raspy’ thing that happens around 3m53s into “When You Really Love Someone” by Alicia Keys on “Diary”) that I have never, ever heard before on loudspeakers - only with headphones / IEMs
  • …the insane part? I’m wondering how much improvement I could possibly see with a set of Iconoclasts…
    • But I spent a year with the 4s11 bi-wires and loved them
    • So I will keep my money and see what Belden / Galen / BJC do next

I am basically awed to have a system that is so resolving that my 64-year-old ears can hear the differences in a cable change. Just … unreal!!

p.s. aww schiit Alicia’s “Karma” is melting my heart right now at -43.5db on the Benchmark LA4’s screen. Even at this past-midnight volume level… it’s SO well recorded… crazy. Those violins!!! :) :) :)

p.p.s. my sane friends tell me that I need to get a life. :slight_smile:

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Thanks so much! Hope to be able to share this design with more folks!

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If I could, I would avoid PC boards and even have the DAC entirely point-to-point. But that’s to come with wealth, so not just yet - I’ll still stick to idealism about it.

There may not be reports of people “hearing” it, since ultrasonic welding (or laser) has thus far reached only to cables where we’re dealing with a few joints. If we had whole source components or amps with throughout ultrasonic welding, the additive nature would start showing up.
And we do hear reports about perceived SQ differences between types of solder, so… It could only get better with welding.

Tony,

The CABD will stack one atop the other for as many (practicle limits of say three) as you want. So yes, you could put CABD banana on all cables and stack them into one terminal set. The above picture shows this.

The CABD has a “replacement” set of banana holes for the one it uses. The second set plugs into that. True, you need the CABD design for this to be done.

Best,
Galen

Galen any more update on SPTPC series 2? I assume you have heard prototypes versus TPC series 2 running Biwire with SPTPC series 1.

How’s the cable burn in on SPTPC series 2 as well as perceived differences in sound relative to your system and ears?

Do you have a preference on mids and high for series 2?

So far on schedule for the TPC and SPTPC series II cable to be finished at the plant, not to Blue Jeans yet, end of September.

The series II show the calculated changes in the higher frequencies (Vp linearity) and a slightly lower impedance below 1 KHz or so. Both help the cable be more neutral. The higher designed-in capacitance lowers impedance and flattens the Vp.

When you compare the series I or II designs to 1313A (zipcord), those L and C changes are a large part of what you hear.

The application is the same as covered earlier, series I below 500 Hz or so (bi-amp or bi-wire) and series II above 500 Hz. For a single run speaker like MAGICO, series II or parallel series II.

Yes, the cable has been well vetted by beta testers and WHY we can’t offer them for sale until we can meet the demand, which there will be plenty of if you like the series I. The series II were made to be different and they are.

Changes were not made just to be changed, but follow proper calculation and measurement to better mitigate the cable’s non linear properties. Those have been communicated to the group as to why the seies II are being made.

Best,
Galen

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Hey, Galen!
What prices are you expecting for series 2?

I thought I should offer my impressions of the Iconoclast cables that I recently added to my system. My system consists of mostly PS Audio gear including a P12 for power, a BHK 250 amp, BHK preamp, Stellar Phono preamp, Jay’s Audio CDT2-MK 3, VPI Prime turntable and Vandersteen Treo CT speakers.
My cables were all by AntiCable, Including Series III cables biwired for the speaker’s, and Anticable power cables and interconnect’s. I was thinkiing I needed to upgraded my speakers because they didn’t quite do what I was hoping for. I first tried three of the Iconoclast BAV Power cables and that helped quite a bit. I noticed better bass and that was a welcome development. I then ordered three sets of Iconoclast speaker cables on a trial basis. I started with the Series I TPC on the bass and the Series I SPTPC on the higher frequencies. This transformed my speakers. I had micro detail everywhere and a wonderful soundstage. I lived with this set-up for about two weeks and then I substituted the Series II TPC on the high frequencies. At first I wasn’t sure about the change but after about a week of listening, all of my slight misgivings dissapeared. Everything was wonderful and there was no brightness in the treble. After living with this configuration for about another week I went back to the Series I SPTPC and I found there were some things I liked especially in the upper bass but I immediatly felt the Series II TPC were more cohesive from top to bottom without any glare or other issues. I tried some especially difficult recordings and all was well. These cables aren’t inexpensive but they saved me from a new speaker purchase! That seems like good value to me. I always thought cables were important but I had never compared them before. Now I need to upgrade my HDMI cable to my Jay’s disk player. It’s just a Audioquest Cinnamon. I’m sure that will make a difference. After that I will be investigating other Iconoclast interconnect cables and perhaps some additional power cables. I highly recommend trying the Iconoclast cables if your situation is anything like mine.

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I’m not the prices guy! But, we do have a handle on prices and working things to reflect a better value. We still have value in our DNA.

Bob will have the new matrix ready soon enough. True the series II cable is twice the time to terminate and twice longer to make at singles, bobbin wind and braid, but we won’t use that as the basis point.

The series II .PPT is going to be available soon. It covers all the calculations and design proofs as to why I made the cable changes that I did. The changes are justified on the pure engineering and that is what ICONOCLAST is based on. Can better true design make a difference outside of the measurements? We keep pushing that bar as long as it is AFFORDABLE to do so.

Once I get the numbers,what do we hear after true designs have been pushed forward? We have the cables to compare and that are measured for R, L and C as delivered.

Best,
Galen

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Almost daily I am asked for and therefore “asking the boss,” for Series II pricing…

I think that there are 2-components to this. First is getting a handle on demand and the incredible amount of time and labor required to terminate a “single stereo pair” of 24, twisted/bonded pairs per polarity of 28 AWG conductors. The more complex finished product has to deliver a level of performance that will exceed that of cables costing many multiples higher. There will be no peer!!!

Math was never my thing without the calculator but it looks like, 24 bonded/twisted “pairs” per “polarity” X both amplifier and speaker ends… How is “your” patience? 384-individual 28 AWG conductors to prep and terminate in the ultrasonic welder. Please have great appreciation for the effort and focused attention that goes into building a single stereo pair assembly.

Our techs are the best!! We have 2-qualified meticulous individuals who’s “primary” responsibility is building Iconoclast assemblies. Both Andrew and Jeff take incredible pride in making sure every assembly is as good as it can be. Because of the complexity and the number of conductors involved with Series II assemblies, additional QC measures have been implemented to insure that what leaves the building will without question be accepted and recognized as a “world-class” finished speaker cable assembly. We would not have it any other way.

The second component is that for the first time in many years, Belden has presented OEM and distributor accounts with I think “4-price increases” over a relatively short period of time, each offering a last time buy at the current pricing.

Here comes the crystal ball requirement and one that we don’t have years and years of data to access in helping to make projections. We are still, a “small company” in most ways though Iconoclast is a rising star without a marketing budget.

Setting everything else aside, there are no special frozen or gaseous processes to the copper, no narratives that have no recognition within the technical language, no sprinkling of wolf urine and no totally arbitrary adjectives that describe our product, our processes or our finished product except one value alone. The science and the math are openly provided, questions openly answered and all of the details and values laid on the table for all to see. The real deal and “manufactured, terminated, finished, tested and shipped” from the USA.

“Try us,” love the sonic improvements to your audio system or return the cables for a full refund where we pay for the return shipping cost. No risk whatsoever?

Tomorrow, I will wake and ask for pricing again. We are only weeks now from being able to deliver game changing speaker cable assemblies!!

Thank you all for your patience! Expect to be very impressed! Understated!

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WHAT???!!! You just lost me as a customer, Bob. Every true audiophile knows wolf pee is the secret treatment for a real audiophile product!

Did I say audiophile?

:rofl:

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…your speakers’ internal cabling to Iconoclast!

Seriously, this is a point that has genuinely been gnawing at me since I bought Iconoclast speaker cables - the bottleneck wire under the hood of my speakers. I’m thinking: am I getting 50% of their capability, 60%? More? What might I be missing?
Gladly, it’s possible to make “poor man’s Iconoclast” internal wire from specific types of Ethernet cable with some braiding work. That’s TPC type.
Would have done but I’ve been poorer than a poor man lately…

Wow, another hill to climb! I know there has been some commentary about the wiring inside speakers, especially on DIY speaker sites. I’m not quite there yet. I’m just gaining enough confidence to evaluate component linking cables. Now that I have Iconoclast speaker cables, and it was a decided improvement, I have enough confidence to tackle other connections one by one starting with my HDMI cable. It will take me some time to tackle my speakers innards but I can appreciate your concern.

Careful inside there! Capacitance wants to see infinity distance between wiresand a perfect dielectric between the wires for no capacitance in theory. Inductance want to be infinitiely close, no loop area, for no inductance in theory. You can’t meet that as one wire would need to be inside and separate from the other one for the first problem! Inductance doesn’t care about the dielectric, so we have that anyway.

Somewhere between those L and C physical extremes you need to know how to make a design to meet your needs and also managr resistance, which forces inequality between meeting L and C without compromises.

Earlier Paul’s post had some real broken comments on how cable’s work and what people were doing to “improve” them. Most all comments made the cable’s electrical far worse.You have to know ALL of the relationships, not just one of the three, or the other two major hitters will hang you.

Best,
Galen

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Hi Galen,

I was experimenting with the sound of running signal cables as well as power cables thru conduit here:

I’ve found so far it doesn’t sound good in my system on cables carrying signal, like your Iconoclast interconnects. It does help with sound on certain power chords, but not all.

YMMV,

Mike

Shouldn’t make a difference with shielded cables like RCA or XLR’s as that what the shields does…negate the external situation from changing the cable electricals. The reference ground is always the same along the cable. For UTP, unshielded cables the ground plane will be changed and can alter electrical as the ground is uneven based on how far the cable surface is to the conduit along the way.

Don’t put UTP cable in conduit unless the shielded noise is worse than the change in cable properties. Shielded cable don’t need ELECTRICAL conduit for EMI / RFI, the shield does that, but can use low permeability conduit for low frequency magnetic interference, or hum. If a magnet sticks to it, it is low permeability material to magnetic flux. B-field stuff ignores electrical shields.

Best,
Galen

Hi,

Thanks for the overview. So, ideally, no extra shielding, and cables can exist in there own E and B fields unencumbered by the environment, or other cables.

It seems that at the back of an amp, things get really crowded (at least on my setup with an AHB2 amp). I found some extra shielding helped on my UTP amp power chord. Also, in a different place entirely, on the low voltage (16) VAC power chord from the DAC power supply to the DAC which doesn’t go to the back of the amp. I guess these cords experience a lot of noise, or I just prefer the sound.

Maybe its time to try your BAV power cord and see if that makes a difference on my amp?

Mike

Mike,

No, cable can live in just their own electric field usually. The magnetic fields are not shielded unless the outer cable shield is a low permeability to magnetic flux…most shields are not magnetic shields. A shield can be magnetic and electric, both, but an electric field shield (not magnetic, or a magnet won’t stick to it) is just the one electric field.

Magnetic fields are current magnified, like a wire wrapped around a metal rod makes an electro magnet. The more current in the wire the stronger the magnetic field. To reduce that kind of field, we need to lower the current. That’s hard to do as the LOAD (a speaker as an example) will largely determine the current. True, the DCR of the wires to the speaker are also in there, but we keep them really small resistively, so the power drops onto the load. The more voltage left for the load, the more power the load has to use.

Since we can’t make current just go away as that would make power transfer impossible, we are left with shielding if necessary. And, magnetic field shields are really awkward to use properly.

Alternatively, we want the ground to be as close to the same DCR as we can get (low) so any wires we add can impact that ideal concept.

Best,
Galen

Galen,

I appreciate your knowledge. I don’t see how it translates into something I can use.

When talking about power cords…should a magnetic shield like flexible galvanized steel conduit be beneficial (or not)?

Thanks, Mike