Belden ICONOCLAST Interconnects and Speaker Cabling


Yes, the OFE is the most different, but not “extreme”.

The cable DESIGN is 99% of what you hear. This is exactly WHY the affordable TPC copper can be used.

Me, personally, do not see ANY good technical reason why lower priced copper is either never offered, or in a less correct R, L and C design.

I use the exact same design so the TRUE merits of the copper is evident, or not, to you. Everyone gets the best DESIGN. The copper can’t hide it’s spots.

As far as connections, just remove as re assemble annually. Cleaners aren’t a problem at all if you have some, but it isn’t necessary as the connection is deeper than the surface, and self cleans when you reassemble the connection.

Spades usually have more contact surface and higher pressure than a banana. It is all about those two things. Simple, really. But, once you pass good enough it is simply bragging rights, I agree. We use top quality spades and banana, so good enough is achieved in the worst termination of you want to look at it that way.

I settled on the $$$ cable designs because they work, or why do this? The speaker cables give a really nice open sound that is really nice. Imaging is far better and precise than cables that don’t try to minimize wire coherence, but THAT is why the costs go up an up. 48 wires is a lot more than 2 in a zip cord.

Then you have to negate reactive elements with all those wires. Good coherence and low reactive variables fight each other. Doing one is easy, doing them all is what you pay more for, and it better be explainable to the customer and that’s what you really deserve to know and understand.

Measured electricals aren’t BS. We test every assembly. Wire coherence is easy, more and smaller wires offer better coherence per wire, but all those wires have to act like one wire, or it is worse than zip cord. 48 signals arriving at different times and with different reactive variables is a train wreck.


Excellent answer, thank you.
A power cable coming???


Hi RonP,

Power cables are a strange beast. Technically they are part of the power supply the way I look at it. A power supply has huge capacitors that STORE energy and RELEASE it into a “short” circuit quickly. That’s what capacitors do, store voltage and release it later as current. If you short the terminal, POW, a big current spike as the voltage tries to collapse. That short circuit is you speakers 4-8 ohm nominal impedance, which is just above a short circuit! The power supply INDUCTANCE has to be low to allow this huge in-rush of current. Capacitors have series resistance which is related to inductance and how well they act “ideal” to a collapsing load.

A good power cord needs very low inductance to deliver instantaneous jolts of current to the power supply to keep the capacitors from discharging. The cords capacitance can be higher, as it stores the power that is released as current when needed. The wall outlet keeps it all charged up. But, high capacitance is relative on a power cord. No power cord is really very high capacitance…and that’s the power supplies job, anyway. So you really want a low inductance “pipe” from the wall.

The other issue is how to get truly low inductance. It isn’t super cheap based on my analysis and designs. The best designs also mitigate RF through magnetic field cancellation that also yield low inductance. RF issues are seldom the power cord. Usually the DEVICE on the power cord is responsible for RF EGRESS out of the device THROUGH the power cord. Should the power cord be held responsible for a bad DEVICE? Argument either way. Those little inductors clamped onto power cords near the plug on the equipment act like OPENS to RF, blocking egress, for instance.

My design electromagnetically cancels RF in or out of the cord based on orientation of the fields, and also is necessary to achieve low inductance. There would be three AWG sizes, and all center on the same electrical values and design. The design won’t be hierarchical from a performance standpoint, just the AWG requirement.

But, these are “made” on paper! I need to get the current analog interconnect project going before we worry about power cords. These would be eventually be sold same as the ICONOCLAST, on measurement, period. You should know what you are getting and why. If there is a better why, get that. This is how it should be, and how products get better. I haven’t converted calculation to physical DESIGN just yet. I may have ISSUES that aren’t easily managed. Stuff happens when you do it verses talk about it.

Yes, I’ve looked at power cords but this isn’t active past initial design stages, so if you see a nice cord…don’t wait for me! We will try to offer better prices on a good design, but good designs are out there if at higher prices.

Galen Gareis


Thanks Galen.


For those experts here who occasionally inform us that cables don’t make a difference and we’re only hearing what we expect to, I sent my speaker cables to the mfr, ZU Audio to change the terminations. For the interim I bought some 30 dollar Crutchfield cables that they think sound darned good, etc.
Wow, talk about dramatic. Flat sound, flat, narrow soundstage, lifeless, no sparkle, timbre, personality. Woof.


It’s all in your head and if not there then where?

I continue to be impressed with the ETPC speaker leads. It will be interesting to see how much increased synergy I realize with the interconnects added.




I wish the speaker cables weren’t so expensive. I’m sure they would be the last I would buy. The interconnects ware very well-priced, but I’m very happy with my (more expensive!) interconnects and don’t need to make a change. I have about four other audio purchases to make ahead of changing speaker cables (I’m using PS Audio xStream Statement and pretty happy with them, but realize they may be my weakest cabling link) and I may be a year or more out from trying Iconoclast speaker cabling . . . .but I’m enjoying reading all the impressions on the forum.


I’ve said it before: I am, therefore I tinker. That said, I’m very happy with my loom of ZU Event MK2 cables but one doesn’t know just how happy until something different is tried.
I might try some Iconoclast cables just to hear the difference.
I will say that I tried my friend’s cables that are 10 times the price and there was a distinct difference in sound but not at all pleasing to my ear(s).


Yes. . . as a musical genius (Thomas “Fats” Waller) repeatedly (as opposed to “once”) said: “One never knows, do one?”



My love of jazz was triggered by my father. There was always music playing when I was growing up.
I don’t remember how old I was when I learned that his name was Fats Waller, not Fat Swaller which was what I heard when my father said his name. It was funny to me then and it still is.


Interesting. My Dad had a hand in my love of jazz, but he hadn’t heard Fats Waller somehow, or didn’t remember doing so. As he used to love to sing for us “Do your ears hang low?” as kids, I thought about 20 years ago he might like the song “Your Feet’s Too Big” by Fats Waller and played if for him. He loved it! And this led to him wanting to hear more and I got him more . . and eventually I gave him my “Complete Fats Waller & Rhythm” set of cds on King Jazz Records when I upgraded to the JSP sets. We listen to Fats together often!


Ethan is one of my heroes. He is indeed very smart, talented and MUCH smarter than myself. I love some of his observations on sound and audio, but not all of them. My answer to this is, “I don’t know.” He makes very compelling arguments but they are akin to me describing the relationships between blood solubility coefficients, fresh gas flow and cardiac output.

  • I could make a case for reaching minimal alveolar concentration, in a given time interval, by manipulating each variable that may not play out under strict observational study. MAC is absolutely a flawed concept as an endpoint, but I am a clinician, not a scientist. I am right and they are absolutely wrong, even though they would argue otherwise, and MAC is still used for research to this day. It’s true. But trust me, you would not like being awake enough to move when the surgeon drops the scalpel, if only 1/2 of the time. Blah Blah Blah… -

My point? Ethan’s arguments are over my head. He could talk all day and I wouldn’t be sure of what he was saying. Sounds good, though. What I do “know,” is that when someone speaks in such absolute terms they could very well be wrong. Just something that I have noticed over the years. Good scientists, IMO, admit that there is much mystery in the world and that it is surely not magic and will eventually be understood. Sir Isaac Newton said just that and, much of Newtonian physics has been set aside for new theories or at least couched in less certain terms. He should talk to Galen, really. Come up with a way to demonstrate the validity of the argument in the context of listener perception.

The Null Tester looks pretty cool but how does it hold up in the real world? Shouldn’t it be tested independently against human subjects before it is marketed as a legitimate product for this purpose? It cannot detect objective univariate differences in cables (they do measure differently) and the presumption is that people cannot either, albeit subjectively. Maybe true. Is it true in all cases? At what capacitance change can it detect a difference? At what multivariate levels can it detect a difference? What phase angles are significant (detectable) to the human ear/brain system? Just asking questions here.

I did a blind test this morning and went three for three in identifying a USB cable that I liked. The guy switching the cables didn’t talk to me and I did not look at him. It might have gone on like that for ten more rounds in perfect fashion or… I could be wrong. Three worked for me.


Boy I wish he was right about this– I’d love to use Home Depot Zip cord, Staples USB cables and stock power cables. Unfortunately they all sound terrible. Either his system(s) does not have the resolving power to reveal the differences or he can’t hear them. Either way it doesn’t really matter. He’s a good guy and has some nice acoustic treatments.


Yeah, funny thing is that this morning I finally heard a USB cable that I preferred to the cheapo Belkin Gold which has been my favorite for years. I picked the Belkin the same way by doing blind tests in the past.


I have no doubt that the human ear/brain can pick out distortion in any environment, probably beyond the noise threshold of all but multi-million dollar test equipment, testing for things we don’t know today to test for. In the 70s, I spent an enormous amount of money (for me) trying to make the cymbal sounds on a Brubeck album sound right on my system. Never got it. Going to try again on the system I’m building (will use the same Brubeck album). But in another case, on a warm summer day in the 60s, I’m riding my bike and enjoying the sounds of nature and hear an almost inaudible dry rattle below me and know there’s a rattlesnake down there closer than I ever want to be to one ever again. Maybe we’re programmed to hear things that are not quite right as a part of our evolutionary survival mechanisms. Whatever the reason, I’m sure it will be well known and understood in 50 years and since I don’t think I’ll make it to 120 years old, I’ll never know the real reason.


Testing only the wire seems wrong. The effect of the wire on the transmitter and the receiver is much harder to test and probably is never tested except between equipment of the same manufacturer. The test matrix is simply too large. Think of a four dimensional matrix with 10 different speakers from different manufacturers, 10 different power amps from different manufacturers, 10 different cable manufactures, and lengths of cable between 6 feet and 16 feet. By my count that’s 10,000 test combinations. No one has the resources to test all of that.


Curiosity only, do you know if the cymbals actually do sound correct on the Brubeck album you are using as a reference?

Evolutionary biologists tell us that we are indeed hard-wired to be very sensitive to certain sounds and sensations. Our lizard brain is remarkable.


Here’s a little ditty, the “Magic Eye” images. Sorry, I know that some of you can’t see the embedded images in these but they produce a rough, three dimensional image of something that is not immediately apparent.
There is only one image and the physical properties of the picture can be measured, analyzed and perhaps even the identity of the image sussed out by an algorithm of some sort. Here’s the rub - only the observer perceives the hidden image. Think about that one. All the info for a three dimensional object is right there but only a human can fully appreciate its nature. I am assuming that we do not have measurement devices that are sentient, yet. The amount of sensorineurial processing that goes on after the reflected light hits the retina is of overwhelming complexity. I am not implying that this image is a direct analog of the “sound” of cables. What I am hinting at is that we perceive things that are not readily measured yet are in plain sight. Pun intended. Sorry, I just crashed a mountain bike and got a concussion so I’m allowed one bad one!:stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: