Belden ICONOCLAST Interconnects and Speaker Cabling

#1146

Galen,

@rower30 and @BobBJC I received the cables yesterday. Due to the snow I did not have but a few hours to run them in before my friends arrived. I went with the 4x4 OFEs XLRs betwee Direct Stream and MX150 and to amps. and SPTPC speker wires first. It was an immediate transformational change.My results so far have been superlatively, excellent, magnificent, wonderful, glorious, marvelous, brilliant, supreme, outstanding, dazzling, remarkable, formidable, choice, sterling, first-class, of the highest order, premier, prime, unsurpassed, unparalleled, unrivaled, unbeatable, peerless, and matchless!

The McIntosh XR290s now have coherency like Roger Russell’s IDS-25 and with better imaging. Yet I still have to try the other coppers on the speakers. My audiofile work friends could not stop remarking how live the system sounds and the real instruments tonality. The bass even woke up. The highs are to die for with the silver so smooth and no brightness and voices so natural and live. It is hard to imagine I might like the other coppers better. They kept talking about hearing the recording venues ambiance, separation of instruments and the previously masked missed notes on classic recordings. My sound stage also widened considerably. My friend was convinced I had been playing the surround speakers in 6.0 the immersion in sound became that remarkable. These cables are a must have with the line arrays and after I audition the others I will be placing an order for nonstandard size and coppers of choice. Definitely better than a component upgrade for me. More remarkable than the Direct Stream senior first listen.

We played every music genre passing the streaming remote between six people selecting symphonies, broadway, jazz, blues, rock and roll, R&B and pop. My wife stated she is looking forward to rediscovering music favorites.

Will the voicing change with shorter cables? Did you measure or notice any frequency response changes with coppers?

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#1147

Hi Vmax,

My guess is that they seem to be working for you. Don’t run them too much as the special powder we put on them doesn’t last forever so you’ll need to buy new cables every few years. If you have a cat, keep it from rubbing on the cables, the hair really takes the coating off. OK, if you believe that than I can certainly get past answering your questions.

The general voicing of the cables remains very consistent UNLESS you run REALLY long cables. Too much capacitance can make amplifier stages go non-linear and even oscillate. Most modern amps can run pretty high cap, but you still want to keep the bulk value as low as you can for that reason. Cables made to go truly long runs (over 35 or so feet) really need to be re-designed for that. Attenuation isn’t the issue with audio cables, but the reactive variables are (when frequencies arrive at the ends). My design decisions were made following my evaluations of exactly that, how to improve the way current is carried at all frequencies in the audio band. The tech papers go through all that. Does it make a difference?

The swept resistance, called Rs, WAS improved…even if it was a lesser evil than coherence. ICONOCLAST are flatter resistance through the audio band than our legacy cable, and this is a superposition of attenuation, skin effect and proximity effect. All three will alter the swept resistance. I have the data on that if it matters to you, let me know. To keep the cables affordable, I did not make every part out of titanium if it were a car. At some point, there is a stiff penalty for performance.

I don’t break-in cables. I put them on and listen to them once the amp is warm (about when the electrostatic panels are charged uniformly). The dielectric is mostly AIR in the Interconnect, and that is what it is. The high currents in speaker cables polarize the dielectric very quickly. Don’t take my word for it, you have the cables…are they really making a difference? Do you hear more of the music and does it sound correct the way it places itself in front of you? Your ear really picks up on that sound-stage and the more open dynamic response. The system seems to keep up with the music far better, the speed of the presentation seems unimpeded. The equipment goes away just that much more.

I enjoy the sound if ICONOCLAST immensely and am glad you are experiencing your music all over again. They are indeed a new experience.

Best,

Galen Gareis

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#1148

After using most of my budget on a new pair of speakers, I decided to purchase some Belden bulk wire, spades, bananas and heat shrink to make my own cables. So happy with them.

#1149

Great news Darrell! Looks like these cables won’t be coming back! From personal experience taking SPTPC cables into friends and customer homes for audition, your experience is a “classic” Iconoclast experience. It seems that the ear-to-ear grin only takes about one minute to find itself once the music starts. And, they do continue to improve. Send me a note with the correct lengths and terminations when you want us to build your final pairs. Enjoy!

#1150

Yes, I uses 1313A and 1694A for years. Legacy cables are a good start to quality assemblies and at extemely good prices. Like most thing, 80% of what`s on the table cost 20% of the total experience. This is great, too, as most can get pretty nice things, all kinds of things, not just stereo. My AMD2600X PC is an example of that 80% rule.

But, for the admittedly far smaller audience that can use better, it is definitly there. The cost to make these types of products is not economical without a true application that can use that final 20%.

Iconoclast built the final 15% lets say, as more is still out there i`m sure, based on measurement. What mattered to me made iconoclast important, and well over what I was happy with before.

Trying them is free. The line of good enough will vary for everyone. This is why the market is so much fun, I stopped at a 2600X PC, someone else will not be happy there. For music, I stopped at ICONOCLAST and a good dose of PS Audio gear.

Dont take someone elses good enough for your own. Try things. Ma y on this site felt the READ all that was needed about a new DAC or CD player to KNOW you cant hear better. But you can. Truly better cable is better, but thats the rub, it truly has to be better.

Kerosene may make jets fly, but it won`t put a rocket to the moon. Applications change the requirements and what is used to meet them. Better measured and calculated audio range electricals changed the cables.

How? Visit iconoclastcable.com and we explain it all.

Galen

#1151

The Audio Bacon review is posted on that site.
Super review with nothing but praise for Iconoclast sound and science.

3 Likes
#1152

link for those curious:

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#1153

@siao-jer: Congratulations on being the first to review Iconoclast, to get the story right and to go out on that big, high perilous limb of recommendation. Galen is who he appears to be, an audio hobbyist and a cable professional non pareil.

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#1154

Our sincere appreciation goes out to Siao and Jay at AudioBacon for their willingness to give us a shot and to be the first to formally review Iconoclast products. The review was incredibly complete and was a great read. Their assessment is further testament to just how good these cables are.

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#1155

Day two, maybe 8 hours total of listening to Iconoclast speaker cables, OFE and SPTPC, and early impressions are that with the OFE, it’s sort of more of everything. Not a change in balance or dynamic range; not more treble or mid or bass. But more of everything. Going back and forth to my old cable, it’s like someone is closing the valve on a garden hose. It’s still water coming out, just not as much of it.
I will say that vocals are richer, piano strike is sharper as are strikes of the cymbal and snare.
The SPTPC is going back. I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s just something that I don’t like.
So far, the OFE is a keeper.
Oh–and this question has been asked many times and my impression is that the interconnects made a much bigger difference; previous advice to the contrary notwithstanding.

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#1156

This is EXACTLY why the copper choices are provided, when there is a difference even in IDENTICAL electromagnetic designs, a preference is expected, and you KNOW it is the copper.

If no preference is apparent outside of the DESIGN improvement, why would you not select the cheapest alternative? We provide that, too.

Galen Gareis

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#1157

Which interconnects did you buy?

#1158

Iconoclast Gen2 XLR, OFE. I tried tpc and ofe and went for the ofe.
The improvement over what I was using was immediately obvious.

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#1159

Happy to send cables in a couple of copper variants for you to compare on your system. No risk.

#1160

Thanks for the offer. I’ll take you up on it eventually. Need to fill my piggy bank after buying BHK 300s. I wait to take advantage of trial offers, and such, until I’m closer to having the disposable money put aside. This is a hungry hobby!

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#1161

Thanks for sharing your speaker cable findings.
After extensive listening between OFE and SPTPC
variants, I chose the SPTPC. My reasons
mirror yours in that it is a search for accuracy and livability. On balance I found both to be detailed but
differed in presentation. The OFE darker, relaxed, the SPTPC quicker, dynamic. System synergy is key and with Maggies and “mello” Shunyata ics that was what worked for me. Had my ics been forward in presentation and the speakers had beryllium tweeters, I could be singing a different tune. I am curious which ics you use.

#1162

Oops…I see you have OFE interconnects. I tried them as well and I could see that with SPTPC that this combo could get fatiguing. Very resolving, but
laying bare the deficiencies of many recordings.
Don’t want to go down the rabbit hole on this one.
Proof of the pudding is in extended listening.

#1163

Something I just don’t understand is the increase in soundstage depth. It’s consistently there with the new speaker cables.

#1164

My experience as well. Orchestral music with minimal micing reveals this perspective best.

#1165

You do understand, your brain just isn’t telling you.

When any sound is struke, the harmonic fundamentals that reflect around the environment allow you to localize the sound FIRST, and then identify it SECOND. When the harmonics are lost from the fundamental, or are removed, localization gets impossible and defining WHAT the sound is also near impossible.

A 1 kHz tone is just that UNTIL overtones and harmonics make it an instrument verses a test tone, with no depth at all. The ear brain response is localization first, and thus WHERE the noise is so we know where to run. WHAT the sound is, is secondary to the localization response.

When a big boom is heard, we immediately jump away from it and look towards it, then ask, “what was that?”. Localize then identify.

This is why coherent sounds are so much more relaxing to hear it is what the brain hears every day, all day. The “fidelity” of common every day noise isn’t really wide band at all, but it is extremely coherent (proper harmonic structure and refections). Our senses expect this in a REAL world acoustic environment.

What you are hearing is improved signal coherence, and it is stuffed into the designs all the way through every cable. Everyone hears this improvement, and it is nice. It is a gigantic design pain to do but worth it. It can really mess up L and C if you let it. Physics makes it hard to push what peg down.

Galen Gareis

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