I tested the Belden Iconoclasts and liked them very much but in the end decided to go with Siltech Classic 770i. The Siltechs were a little smoother on the top end without losing detail, silky mids and much more bass, but not boomy or flabby. Overall, both are very good cables, but the Siltechs were very synergistic in my system. Balanced is def better from the PS DS Dac. (as recommended by PS.)
Pointers on balanced cables;
1.0 watch capacitance with star quad. The added wires increase capacitance all being the same. Care must be taken to keep it low.
2.0 Many drivers are sensitive to capacitive loading. The first order roll off of the cable isn’t the issue. That is above 20 Khz by far.
3.0 Star quad have improved noise properties and lower attenuation, but can have higher capacitance.
4.0 If NOISE is not a severe issue, and it usually isn’t, two wire XLR design are a far better value as they can use better dielectrics at a lower price.
5.0 Solid, and smaller, AWG wires are better sounding than larger or stranded wire.
6.0 Outer shields are expensive and are an additional noise supressor, and do nothing if noise isn’t an issue. Ideally balanced XLR dont really need shields, but nothing is perfect so the shield lowers common mode noise, at a price.
7.0 XLR CMRR is dB ratio. 60 dB rejection is the same no matter the external noise magnitude. The rejection is, as an easy example, 10 times smaller than the reference noise. A shield lowers the starting point of that rejection ratio. If there is no noise or near no noise, there is no advantage to a shield. But, it is a fixed ratio, 10x reduction of 10 volts noise or 10x reduction of 100 volts noise, for instance. The CMRR reduction is far higher than 10x, by the way.
8.0 Don’t be fooled by the XLR connector. The pin material and dielectric separating them is what is important INSIDE the XLR, not often times fancy external shell.
Yes, top of the line XLR provide everything you could want, needed or not. Some careful examination can get a pretty good cable if you are aware if what is needed all the time, and what is needed less of the time.
I personally use the Kimber Kable Hero XLR 1 meter in length. I am extremely pleased with the size and specificity of the soundstage image and the neutral frequency balance. They are quite reasonably priced too! I also use Kimber Kable 8TC and 4TC between my amplifier and speakers. This may account for the synergy that makes me love these cables.