Iconoclast cables

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msimanyi

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Is anyone using these in their system?

I've been reading about them on the PS Audio forum which, oddly enough, seems to be the preferred discussion forum for the people behind the company. Frankly, I love their business model, but I'm also a huge fan of Blue Jeans Cable who they've partnered with for termination and distribution.

Here's one of the discussion threads, probably the primary one: Belden ICONOCLAST Interconnects and Speaker Cabling

I have a couple sets of their speaker cables at my house for auditioning - the TPC and SPTPC - and frankly I am *floored* by their initial impact.
 

andrew.hendler

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I have done a lot of research on the Iconoclast cables, but haven't tried them in my system. Their approach is definitely very interesting - and I'm tempted to ask for a loaner.

What kind of effect do you hear from the TPC and SPTPC you've auditioned? I believe that Galen, the Belden engineer behind Iconoclast cables, has ESLs - so I'd imagine they go quite well with ML.
 

andrew.hendler

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Realize this is a bit of an old thread, in retrospect - but curious if OP settled on Iconoclast
 

msimanyi

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I did. I using their XLR series 2 interconnects in my main and office systems, as well as their series 2 speakers cables in the main system.

They loan for testing, and I suggest demoing them for yourself.

What is your system and which cables are you considering?
 

msimanyi

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On the speaker cable matter, I tested the Series 1 TPC and SPTPC. They're both great value at their price points, but I strongly preferred the SPTPC in my system.

I'll go off on a tangent for a moment. Listen to someone talking - a real person, not a recording - in your listening room. Note how the sound of their voice has a certain clarity and immediacy. I started paying attention to this when I started experimenting with power cables, which led to testing speaker cables and interconnects. My brother was living at my place due to WFH, and listening carefully to his voice (and others) I realized there is almost what I'll call an "edge" to the voice at the start of a word, as well as a lot of micro dynamics in the voice and room. It's not edgy, it's not bright, it's just their voice and lots of detail. I hadn't noticed this before I started paying careful attention.

I also hadn't heard that level of clarity in my system, but when I started the cable testing I found it.

Between the TPC and SPTPC, the latter has much more of the natural voice's energy and detail. It has better separation and depth. It was, in my opinion, well worth the higher price. At the time I was testing those, Iconoclast announced the Series 2 speaker cable. It was only available in TPC, and based on testing comments from others I decided to just go with that.

It was another level up again, though probably not as significant as the TPC vs SPTPC in the Series 1 cables. My system at the time was using my Aerius speakers, which I had bought new around 1995 if I recall correctly. Those were ML's "entry level" model and had numerous favorable reviews at the time. With those, the Series 2 had the greatest benefit in the midrange and above. The air, articulation and separation are tremendous.

Since then I've replaced the Aerius with 15As. I can't say how the different cable designs and materials might affect the system, but if I were testing today I would test both the Series 1 and Series 2 SPTPC speaker cables. I think the 2 is better at natural detail, separation and air, but the 1 might have a slightly better overall balance. I believe Galen uses the 1 for his lower frequencies and the 2 for the rest.

One last thought. I have a variety of power cables in my system, both from Shunyata and a gentleman named Duncan who is producing "Whisper" power cables. In the latter case, I have a single Elite with the Furutech NCF connectors, and I favor that one over the Shunyata Sigma NR v2 cables in my system.

What I found interesting in the power cable testing is they *increased* clarity, air and separation while *decreasing* fatigue and digital harshness in my office system. Those two effects seem contrary to me, and my main system didn't have any of that "fatigue" factor, but it still benefitted hugely from better power cables.

The Iconoclast speaker cables and interconnects magnified that effect for me, in my systems. (I'm using their speaker cables only in my main system.) I think they're well worth the effort to audition.
 

andrew.hendler

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Thank you! My setup is Lumin U1 > Chord Dave/Hugo M Scaler > Pass Int 60 > ML 13As.

I am in the midst of trying out a variety of speaker cables, which is why I was particularly interested in your topic. For interconnects between the Dave and Pass, I need a 20-25 ft run of balanced XLR, because it is servicing both my headphone setup and speakers. As a result, I have been using Belden 1800f interconnects, because of their low capacitance for longer runs - and because most audiophile brands are cost prohibitive at that length. I actually exchanged a couple e-mails with Galen, and he suggested the BAV for that run. They are essentially the entry level interconnect in the Iconoclast line, are more flexible than the other Iconoclast cable - so may be worth upgrading to at least that for the longer run.

For speaker cables, I am currently comparing Moon Audio's Black Dragon which is OCC copper, vs Mogami 3103 OFC Copper. I have another thread on it, but I like both for different reasons: The Mogami is dead neutral, while the Black Dragon has a touch of warmth. I was slightly concerned I wouldn't like the Iconoclast cable because I've tried the Belden 5T00 10 awg speaker cable, and didn't like it - and it uses the same tough pitch copper that the lower range Iconoclast use - unless you opt for the OCC which is megabucks. The Iconoclast guys say that the design is way more important than the conductor - so I may need to test for myself; your tangent around voices is well appreciated because it tells me that the Iconoclast gets the midrange right, which is IMO, the most important thing as it's where most of the music lies. Not to mention if it produces human voices the best, it should do best with vocals.

I may need to try for myself. I need a fairly moderate speaker cable run (15 feet), as I can't place the amp between the speakers. To save money, I could buy one short cable and one long cable - but I am somewhat wary of running speaker cables of differing lengths - but maybe it's just fine to do so. Either way, I would need at least one 14-15 foot wire to demo, and not sure if they have that for loan. Anyway, your note convinces me to give it a try if they do - I have heard nothing but good things about their cables, and I can always appreciate over engineered products. There can be a debate whether more expensive cables audibly improve sound, but you can't debate whether the Iconoclast cables have better specs - they do.

Thanks again for your response.
 

msimanyi

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I was using Blue Jeans Cables Belden speaker wire before the iconoclast, and it sounds completely different.

This is a long shot, but are you in Southern California? My speaker cables are broken in and 15’ long…

They prefer to build 10’ trial cables, but they may be willing to do 15’ if you talk with them.
 

andrew.hendler

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Thanks! Unfortunately on the other side of the country in NY. I’ll give them a call and see if they can do anything for me.
 

ttocs

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I'll go off on a tangent for a moment. Listen to someone talking - a real person, not a recording - in your listening room. Note how the sound of their voice has a certain clarity and immediacy.
This is a great suggestion!

I never thought about this until reading your post. Record someone speaking in the room, then play that audio back and compare. Could be very interesting to hear.

This reminds me of a failed experiment by Bob Carver using a pair of scissors. I say "failed" because even when using more than 20 amplifiers they could not reproduce the instantaneous peak dynamics of a scissor snip without distortion. Seems like such a simple sound, but apparently it's not.
 

msimanyi

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There’s a surprising amount of energy in even just the spoken voice. I can understand why the scissor snip was so difficult!

Edited to add: I think the dynamics and ease of those dynamics is what stands out most to me in their (Iconoclast's) products.

Edited again: new tangent. This isn't necessarily just cable related, but has anyone noticed how you can instantly identify a live violin or cello, even in a very large room?

I was entering a large building a few months ago. I think the entry was open to the first three floors, and the room itself was probably 75' x 100'. A violinist and cellist were playing on the second floor landing about 20' up and on the left, and it was instantly obvious the music was live. What makes it so easy to discern that, and why can't we reproduce that more accurately?
 
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