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Iconoclast by Belden Series 2 speaker cables Review

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Iconoclast by Belden Series 2 Silver-Plated Tough Pitch Copper speaker cable, with banana termination.

Iconoclast Cables already proved they have a serious design worthy of the finest systems, but Iconoclast’s designer, retired Belden Cable engineer Galen Gareis, has taken his initial work further with the development of the Series 2 SPTPC speaker cables. Most of the design parameters for Series 2 speaker cables remain the same from the extensive testing that led to the Series 1 product, the physical difference between them being the number and size of conductors. Using individually insulated conductors, Series 1 uses 24 wires of 24Ga size for a total 10AWG, while Series 2 uses 48 wires of 28Ga size for a total of 11AWG. The audiophile can further select from either the red jacketed Tough Pitch Copper, or the top-of-the-line SPTPC (Silver-Plated TPC). Note that the blue jacketed OFE (Oxygen Free Electrolytic Copper) is only available in Series 1. I have not used Iconoclast speaker cables with the OFE conductors, or I would discuss them in comparison.

From discussion with Galen, the OFE conductor brings the soundstage forward of the speakers and has less specificity of images. I have accepted his assessment that, since resolution is extremely important to me, I would likely prefer the TPC or SPTPC conductors I have been using. I hasten to add that this distinction is not to be seen as though any Iconoclast speaker cable is lacking high precision. The TPC and SPTPC cables I have reviewed and chosen as my reference for building systems are in toto better at revealing the minutia of the music than others reviewed despite being less expensive. Using the TPC and SPTPC cables, I have been able to make systems using a variety of speakers which exhibit the tonal characteristics I seek. I have a desire for both extreme resolution and rich or full tonality, and I have less system tuning challenges when using Iconoclast Cables than with previous brands despite the use of class D amplification. See the Iconoclast website for extensive technical discussion of the measurements of L, R, C that Galen uses extensively to finalize his designs.

In my experience, conductor material and AWG are the most though not solely important variables influencing the sound of a cable. Over the years, having the opportunity to review cables of similar geometry and in some cases identical construction but different AWG or conductor material, both AWG and conductor material had pervasive influence upon the sound of all cables. In most cases moving from a copper conductor to silver-plated copper brought higher resolution but also brightness, a tonal tipping up of the frequency spectrum in playback. Not so with the Series 2 Iconoclast Speaker Cables. I was surprised at how similar the two series of speaker cables are in terms of tonality. Galen shared that the silver presents with higher resolution, but the copper dictates the tonality. The two characteristics of the Series 2 cables that I noted within the first few moments of use were the leap in information being revealed and how the timbre was not skewed.

The Series 2 cables have changed little aesthetically. The shrink wrap on the terminations sport a larger printed “ICONOCLAST,” which allowed me to grab the right set for efficient swapping to conduct comparisons. The other telltale sign is beneath the transparent sheath at each end of the cable, allowing one to see the looser weave of the larger 24Ga conductors in the Series 1 cable and the tighter weave of the smaller 28Ga conductors in the Series 2 cable. All Iconoclast speaker cables are individual leads, so one channel is comprised of two individual cables; to outfit a stereo L/R requires 4 cables. That is part of the design parameters driven by specifications. Other aspects of these speaker cables are covered in my previous review of Iconoclast products which included the Generation 1 TPC speaker cables (see here).

Something that could use clarification on the Iconoclast website is that there are two colors of Iconoclast speaker cables, Blue and Red. The color pertains to the conductor used, with red indicating TPC (Tough Pitch Copper), and blue indicating either OFE (Oxygen Free Electrolytic Copper) or SPTPC (Silver Plated Tough Pitch Copper).  The Series 1 cables were the first to be developed. Even before I had begun using the Series 2 cables, the Iconoclast Cables were preferred, consistently performing exceptionally well in all systems. That impression has been reinforced through use of the Series 2 cables.

The Series 2 speaker cables were developed to be complimentary to the Series 1. Series 2 is intended for use on the midrange/treble posts of bi-wirable or tri-wirable speakers and the Series 1 is especially recommended for use on the bass posts. Galen is seeking a patent for this complementary pair of purpose-built bi-wire speaker cables. In extensive listening across many systems, almost universally I have preferred the Series 2 cables on the midrange/treble posts (above 300 Hz) and the Series 1 cables on the bass (below 300 Hz), as Iconoclast recommends. Several times I swapped them and, while it was interesting, I usually reverted to their intended placement. Perhaps once or twice regarding idiosyncratic system builds —maybe one system in 15 — I kept the reverse placement because the combination of attributes was slightly preferable. It demonstrates that the cables are designed similarly and have an extremely high degree of complementarity. I envision that in your system the standard placement will rule the day.


A few words about Iconoclast jumper cables

I have a fair bit of experience using shorter custom speaker cables from Iconoclast. As I use a variety of speakers and setups, for the first review I requested sets of shorter 30” speaker cables to be used as jumpers or shorter speaker cables for amp placement next to the speaker’s binding posts. The company graciously fulfilled my request with enough sets to use up to all 8 channels of the pair of Legacy Audio i.V4 Ultra Amplifiers. I requested some sets with banana terminations and others with spade terminations so that, if I wished, I could double them up as I do occasionally with speaker cables. One must be exquisitely careful when doubling any speaker cabling, as a wiring mishap may damage an amplifier or speakers! Such things are “do at your own risk” activities. Having said that, the best systems I build are typically when I have doubled speaker cables or multiplied channels of amplification. The very best systems tend to be ones where I have done both.

For this review I built systems with several permutations of cables. With all the systems the essential character of the Iconoclast house sound did not change, except in one respect; systems built with the shorter 30” speaker cables exhibited even more of the advantages of the cable’s design. In any system where I could use the 30” cables versus the standard length 8’ speaker cables, I would use the 30” cables, doubling them if possible. Galen found my doubling of these short speaker cables interesting enough that he experimented with it, making a harness so that these “jumpers” can be held in proper physical orientation to each other so as to perform optimally.

Toward the end of the assessment period, before finalizing this article, I swapped out the Series 1 SPTPC (blue) 30” speaker cables for equivalent Series 2 cables. They were being used with the Legacy Audio i.V4 Ultra Amplifiers powering the PAP Trio15 Coaxial10 Speakers. I was not expecting the degree of change brought by upgrading only half of the cables involved, the other half being the Series 2 TPC (red) 30” cables being used for the concentric driver. The only variable that had changed was the geometry and gauge of the cable. The enhancement was such that the entire speaker seemed reworked, improved. Resolution of the lower end now matched precisely that of the upper end. The speaker seemed tightened in terms of coherence, though I had not thought it was lacking previously. Pieces of music that involve live performances had more jump factor and palpability than when the Series 1 cables were employed. I am quite pleased that swapping this one set of 30” cables brought such a sea change to the system!

Iconoclast identifies any speaker wire larger than 4’ as a speaker cable and any shorter as a jumper. It is not meant to be a matter of debate but, rather, identification for ordering their product. Bob Howard, head of sales, shared with me the following: “The term ‘jumpers’ as we use it is associated with ‘sets’ (4) of individual polarities that have no outer jacket. Jumpers are usually 8” to 13” in length.” Indeed, the original jumpers I used were naked, without the beautiful outer jacket. Iconoclast ideally wants all customers to use their cables with the outer jacket as it is part of the design to ensure the proper physical relationship of the conductors. Thus, as soon as the company was able, the naked 20” jumpers were switched for ones with full construction as short speaker cables.

6 Responses to Iconoclast by Belden Series 2 speaker cables Review

  1. Bill O’Connell says:

    Hi Doug, I highly recommend this album.
    Benjamin Lackner- Last Decade

  2. Stringreen says:

    I have your design interconnect made by Audio Sensibilities….just wondering your thoughts compared to the high priced spread. Thanks

  3. James Pelton says:

    Thank you for this review. I have read their white papers and found myself interested in the product but reviews are until now non-existent. Thanks again.

  4. james francis says:

    Remarkable interconnectors

  5. Stringreen,
    God’s Peace,

    I still use my Schroeder Method of IC Placement quite a bit. I have found that with the Iconoclast interconnects there are times when the double ICs are best, but there are also times when an alternative of a single IC and an associated Y Cable at the amp is best. I cannot predict which will be better in any given system so far. I simply have to build the rig both ways to know.

    Regarding the Audio Sensibility double ICs, I have been finding them to emphasize the treble more than the Iconoclast interconnects. The Audio Sensibility double ICs have excellent detail retrieval as a result, but can be a bit bright on the top end. I have not found that tonal imbalance with the Iconoclast cables whenever I double them in my own homemade Schroeder Method configuration.

    Prior to use of the Iconoclast Cables, the Audio Sensibility was a favorite. However, I now build systems regularly with the Iconoclast Cables. I do at times tune a bit with one alternative power cord in place of a Belden BAV Power Cord or an Iconoclast interconnect, but that is rare nowadays. I usually use the entire suite of Iconoclast Cables and achieve superb results with them regardless of the genre of speakers being used.

    Douglas Schroeder

  6. Douglas Schroeder says:

    Recently, I found what I consider a parallel between the shrewd use of the parameters of physics in mouse trap car racing, and balancing the variables of L (inductance), R (resistance), and C (capacitance) in designing audio cables. To date, the individual who has impressed me as discussing L, R, and C with extensive experience and who has also extensively modeled speaker cables and interconnects to optimize those parameters is Galen Gareis of Iconoclast Cables. I share much more about Galen’s pedigree as an engineer with extensive experience designing cables and Iconoclast Cables in my reviews of their products here at

    To get you started, I have provided the links to the YouTube video about mouse trap car racing, and the “Speaker Cable Design Brief” as an example of the design and technical articles regarding Iconoclast cables found at the “Design Theory” drop down menu on the website.

    Enjoy the video, the articles, and the comparison!

    For readers who wish to enter debate or argument with me about the relevance of mouse trap car racing and high-end audio cable manufacturing, don’t bother. I have no interest in such debates. This is an article for general enjoyment, and I am not trying to prove anything beyond how compromise regarding the design parameters strongly affects results in development of a car or cable.

    Mouse trap cars are play toys for physicists which teach valuable lessons. HiFi cables like Iconoclast are not play toys, but rigorously designed and built products for serious enthusiasts. Used as a set, including power cords, audio cables are a powerful component to enhance the performance of an audio system. I have written about that principle in most, if not all, of my cable reviews at

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