Belden ICONOCLAST Interconnects and Speaker Cabling


#1126

A pair of 4 feet (1,2m) 4x4 OFE XLR are on the way to Germany to connect my Directstream and pre.
If they meet the high expectations I’ll need to save for the long run (30 feet, ETPC) that’s still in front of my active speakers.
Nerve-wracking… :wink:
To note: not only the direct responses from Gelen but also the buying / service experience with BJC was outstanding. Chapeau!


#1127

@BobBJC

I am currently running a 15 foot speaker cable through a 4” PVC conduit. As I plan on getting monoblocks, I will be needing a 15 foot Iconclast XLR instead. The problem is, I will need to run a power cord from the monoblock back to the dedicated line and the P20. It seems to me that running a power cord through the conduit with the XLR cable is a really bad idea.

The question is, how far does the power cord need to be away from the XLR (they are, of course, running in parallel)?


#1128

fdreed,

Here is the beauty of XLR, they cancel low frequency magnetic issues. The BRAID is for RFI / EMI only. You should not have an issue with XLR, but yes, place spacers between the cables is a good idea as nothing is “perfectly” balanced. You could set-up the cables as is (no spacers rings) and see if the circuit balance eliminates any hum (mine are routed 4" way from all my 110 volt supply and no problems).

The ICONOCLAST have very good plus and minus channel balance of 1.5% or less, which is very good.

56.65+56.65*(x) = 56.89, X= 0.423%

TYPICAL VALUES

**Capacitance @ 1 kHz


#1129

Galen,

I connected with Bob he set me up with all three coppers and some Gen 2 XLRs. I am looking forward to a listening party with my work colleagues twherewe will narrow down the final choice for my System. Am hoping to get my XR290s triple columns coherency on par with what I heard with Roger Russell’s IDS-25.

http://www.roger-russell.com/columns/columns.htm

Have you had any other users of Line Array speakers try the Iconoclast?

If not I will supply my impressions.

Thanks


#1130

Vmax,

No, I haven’t heard them! Please tell us more about your experiences.

I use a CLX Martin Logan line source panel speaker with stereo BF212 subs. I also have DynAudio C4 signatures. I enjoy the midrange coherency and texture of the CLX. Many like the C4`s bass power and smooth sound that they do so well for their price. Imagine is good on both sets but the CLX play far more musical nuances that some aren’t worried about, or would notice us missing until you use a speaker that plays it.

I’m a soundstage and image detail type of guy, so the CLX work best for me. I don’t play too much rowdy music, but the CLX do OK with it, where the C4`s inhale it.

Best,

Galen


#1131

The CLX looks like it’s a good image and soundstage speaker. I am drawn to those features and cylindrical projection from line sources. I own 3 versions of Roger Russell’s line sources the XR290s, XRT20 and XR19. The IDS-25 is interesting since it uses a line of 3.5 inch drivers for full range 20 to 20K Hz and and equalizer on lower and uppers for flat response. The IDS is for Imaging Detail and Spaciousness. They can’t hit the the SPLs of the XR290 but regardless sound unique in depth and width of sound field and very pin point images. Thus hoping to close the gap with the Iconoclast and preserve SPL using the XR290. The issue with having crossovers on XR290 might not get me all the way there but hope the Iconoclast narrows the gap and further improves what I heard auditioing IDS-25s.

The last review is best describes experiences I too noticed. The system I heard of IDS-25 had Cardas wires.

http://www.ids25.com/reviews.htm#4/2/04%20by%20R.%20A.

I will report back my experiences and the others impressions of the Iconoclast in my system with my XR290s.


#1132

I am currently evaluating different Iconoclast coppers as well. Though good results have been noted
out of the box, they do settle in after a few days like many cables. Ride ‘em, before you review ‘em.


#1133

Vmax,

Roger makes some very good points on wire on his web site…I suggest reading those pages.

1.0 Keep the DCR low enough to not allow the speakers response to follow the load of the cable.

The wire should be “invisible” to the speaker load so as to not see a voltage drop across it.

2.0 Keep capacitance low so as to not cause amplifiers to overshoot or even oscillate (not so good amps).

The BULK value is what matters not the per foot value…so longer leads technically need to pay attention to this aspect and even be redesigned to suit.

3.0 Don’t chase low inductance if capacitance goes too high doing it.

Extra special designs are needed to keep L and C low at the same time.

4.0 Copper is less a concern than we think it is, as all modern copper is pretty good.

We offer a method to DIRECTLY compare copper materials.

There are things MISSING in the Roger’s paper that can truly be improved with calculation and DESIGN that include current coherence and Rs, series resistance with frequency.

CURRENT COHERENCE

What does ICONOCLAST do? The design aims to optimize the design of cables through the audio band for R, Rs, L and C as well as current coherence (better match the current at all frequencies to nearer the same through the conductor cross section). This is done with CMA area management. But, adding more wires can really negatively impact points 1-3 above.

SWEPT RESISTANCE

DCR is an easy point to measure, but it changes as soon as the signal is modulated. Ideally the resistance would be the same at all frequencies, and we all know it isn’t. Rs, or swept series resistance, is kept lower than, say 1313A, so better make sure point number one above is never a problem at ALL frequencies. This can be reliably measured. Again, it takes a change in the design to lower swept resistance through the audio band.

The two new points makes adhering to points 1-3 above very difficult unless strict attention is paid to keeping ALL the variables “better”. Belden sells better true electrical and calculation through the range of frequencies cable is used for. We have several grades of coaxial cable, too, and many will argue some are “too good”. What was once too good is the new middle cable, though!

Does the engineering optimization make a true difference in your system? At some point everyone has a “good enough” line on cost and or measurement. But, there is no such limit line when you try to make zero R, Rs, L and C cables with perfect current uniformity. ICONOCLAST is just that exercise, how good CAN we make it? Does it cost too much or can you hear it was NOT the objective, but does it truly MEASURE and calculate BETTER? All Belden cables are judged on measurement and calculation to an ideal, audio cable are no different. If it isn’t really better it can’t sound better.

Once we have an honest DESIGN that does exactly that, reach better audio range electrical, the final test is to allow true open ended applications of any sort. The objective is to see where the bar can go with better cable, and to do that with a TRUE new level of idealized performance, not a sales or marketing gimmick. ICONOCLAST is devoid of any attributes that aren’t directly put in place to optimize, R,Rs, L and C as well as current coherence.

The silver plates speaker cable conductor is the only unmeasurable aspect of these cables. It is a wonder to solder to, but the silver can ONLY change the very highest frequencies that are ALL harmonics. Near everyone demanded it be available so it is. As the line carries the SAME copper in solid bare form, and the same C-series TPC copper, comparisons can be done to see if it is suitable to pay for the silver.

So have some fun with the cables. These are indeed batter than anything we have ever sold, the question is does it matter? Cost is secondary to the experiment, but is important. A better cable that is wildly expensive stops the objective at the proof stage, and never allows it’s use. ICONOCLAST was intended to be sold if actual use improved the majority of systems. Sure, we have some who use the better cable, “just to be sure”, but many more hear a direct benefit as well. There is no argument that these all measure and calculate better through the audio band than all legacy products.

Why not really make better products if we can? Tar paper dielectrics aren’t used anymore so why stick with older designs? Cable gets a bad report for improving…but it is mostly when THEY DON’T that is the problem.

Galen Gareis


#1134

@Vmax: I am a big fan of line source speakers and listen to a pair of RD75 planar magnetic driver based speakers run without crossovers to be as phase coherent as possible. There is a notch filter, however, which is a necessary evil with this driver. I’ve heard Galen’s system and the CLXs are brutal speakers to deal with. If there is the slightest link in the chain that is out of whack the CLX will punish you with the results and they deserve at least a little bit of the credit in the development of Galen’s cabling. A pair of honest and critical partners. I am anxious to hear your observations, too. I am a big fan of the sense of space offered by a recording, when it exists. Sometimes even the contrived studio sounds of simulated space can be intriguing if not over done. With good phase coherence comes the reward of the more delicate spatial aspects of well recorded sound. I spent an evening just lost in the music at my friend’s house. He is a Beta tester for Iconoclast and we’ve had many great evenings there swapping cables in an out. Out is always someone else’s brand, YMMV.


#1135

Thanks for that input. I will hook em up and let them cook with some streaming voltages. I have enough binding post three sets each on the speakers and amps to let all three cook at once. Let’s just hope that is not the way they sound best. Three sets of coppers over three autoformer imedance coupling. If so this will get expensive… I currently run two sets of twelve gauge cables different coppers to get a sound that is not too bright or too dark. I have heard two sets of cables to different speakers in parallel can give a reactive issue should not be an issue. Before I found The XR290s I ran the XRT20 with the XR19 speaker inverted with a vertical and curved horizontal array of tweeters and two parallel sets of cables off the four ohm taps. Now talk about an expansive spooky soundstage. It was tough to beat and gave you a great symphony hall experience but clearly not as refined as the XR290.


#1136

Be careful with parallel cables. Check with the amplifier manufacturer to see if the design will be negatively impacted with capacitance that is above the design parameters. Some amps are fine, others are likely to oscillate.

Parallel design circuits are not new. This technology has been used for over 100 years. I’ve used, and been aware of it for 35 years.

But, it is a design from the beginning and not done AFTER the single run circuit is designed. Significant changes have to be made to use the circuit and it is NOT useful for high impedance load circuits, but better lowers cable impedance into lower impedance loads.

You CAN parallel circuits that are DESIGNED to be in parallel. Taking any old cable and using them in parallel isn’t the best “design”, it really isn’t one.

This goes for very long runs, too. Capacitance goes up with length, and can exceed amplifier parameters that keep oscillations at bay. Cable can be designed to mitigate high capacitance over long lengths.

Cables can indeed be made properly, and with understanding of how they work in application. Listening to an amp oscillating isn’t a better cable at all, it is distortion

Galen


#1137

@wglenn what selections of music really let the iconoclast show its stuff for coherency when beta testing the iconoclast? Your mention of the CLX being finicky is giving me hope that XR290 will improve its coherency. Knowing Roger used a benign acoustic chamber as well as a reverberant room to voice the XR290, I am sure he did the necessary evils that help keep signal true to the music. The number of inductors, resisistors and capacitors in the crossover is bound to still add some signal issues to overcome. I attached the crossover schematic.

The interesting thing I found is the cabinet layout with angled columns helped address time alignment by placing centers of the driver close in distance at the listening triangles center apex. This was before most other companies started canting tweeters and mids with cabinet design to address time alignment. The good thing is dividing frequency range over separate cones will address issues of frequencies distorting others based on a single cone trying to do all jobs. The reason there is no perfect point source speaker either


#1138

@rower30 Thanks for suggesting a reread of Roger Russell’s thoughts on wire and copper. I always relearn or gain a new perspective reviewing his site. I am sure he would embrace your sound engineering research on cables. Roger’s description of hearing and how his line arrays take in account why comb filtering is not perceptible to most humans in his designs. I am sure there’s folks that may hear different but we are all on a distribution in our abilities.

When I stacked line arrays XRT20 and XR19 and used parallel runs I was using an MC2500 amp built and used for commercial and home usage from shaker tables to PA systems in buildings, ships and for Naval sonar in subs. The McIntosh amps with protections and powerguard to compare signal distortion never hinted at oscillating. Not so when tried on some of my Yamaha residential amps. The yamaha pro amp I had did better though ran warm. I agree I am not optimal now with parallel wires and thus I am pursuing your designs after reading your research. Being an engineer myself I appreciate when there is an explanation relating back to physics as why something works better. Not to say there are tweaks that are not explained but can still work.


#1139

Well, live recordings, without getting too specific. Just find your own way but be warned, once you enter the Iconoclast matrix there is no going back. :sunglasses:


#1140

Those type adventures in audio is what I appreciate. I am a slow adopter and research the good and bad things I hear and have been lucky enough to find ome transformational surprises within audio. I often find a good live recording that can make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck and smile the best. I remember first getting in audio and thinking live recordings lack luster. It was the equipment not the source more times than not, now, I have found better and more capable stuff. I used to be a fan of artificiak electronic spatial feed back. Now detest it and pursue equipment and sources that do it without the artificial tricks that to me now sound distorted.


#1141

Hi Vmax,

To really hear the RANGE of your materials playback, the wider the perceived variation in source quality, the better the system. Sure, the bad will be farther from the good…but that’s what good systems are really supposed to do. I use a CD with MANY random songs, or use a random stream from my system to the DAC, and listen for an hour or more. Using one specific source, for me, doesn’t allow a perspective to be reached. I life was ALWAYS nice, it wouldn’t stay nice as you would lose perspective. You think you won’t, but you do. Ever eat a food in such quantity that you now hate it? Happens with music, too. I want to love all my music all the time so I change it around.

Use a LARGE range of material and you will start to hear your system’s abilities outside of the source material. I know that seems counter intuitive but it is necessary to gain that perspective. You don’t want to judge the source material so much as use it to judge your system.

If a stereo was just the source material it would be a WHOLE lot easier!

Best,
Galen


#1142

Yes I agree. I constantly search out new to me sources , artists and songs and puruse forums on music and give other artists or genres a try. My system easily reveals compressed sources or over engineered sources and too closely miked instruments. Sometimes you can get too much of a good thing in music. My wife constantly asking me why the eclectic mix, like last night. I told her I do it to see if the system is giving back a natural sound over a wide range of material and doing its job. It is geting to the point that almost every song even if it is the well weathered one, gives up a detail either instrument, toe tap, sheet music page turn, voice echo, or voices not heard. So I am thoroughly enjoying listening to that level.


#1143

Just a heads ups for those waiting Iconoclast cables. If you haven’t seen the weather, Seattle is experiencing what almost never happens…they are in the death grip of winter snow storms, seemingly one after the other. The first snow was 10+ inches and as I just checked the radar, it continuous to look nasty! A large number of the BJC team have not been able to get in including Andrew, the lead Iconoclast tech. Fed Ex is not picking up again today. Please be patient with us. Spring is coming…


#1144

Is this a teaser for the last Game of Thrones season “spring is coming” !!


#1145

ha! I’ll never tell.