Publisher Profile

Iconoclast by Belden Series 2 speaker cables Review

By: |

Iconoclast by Belden Series 1 Oxygen Free Electrolytic Copper speaker cables, in spade termination.

Though the following does not apply to Iconoclast, as all the positive and negative legs of speaker products are individual, it may be helpful to those with typical cables having integrated L/R legs. As there are some applications where the +/- connections of such jumpers for the L/R channels must reach across most of the back of the amplifier, I normally seek jumpers no less than 2’ long and with a spread of the positive and negative leads no less than 8-10”. Even with those criteria there are times when such short cables barely can be spread wide enough to reach the proper set of posts.

The problem seems to occur most often when an amplifier has been switched from Stereo mode to Mono mode. I have worked with amps that when switched to Mono mode require the speaker cables be connected to the outermost pairs of output posts spanning nearly the entire length of the amp! I encourage that if you are ordering any set of jumpers or short speaker cables, make sure they will stretch far enough and wide enough for all of them to easily connect. The same is true when using RCA or XLR Y-cables. One set of Audioquest XLR Y-cables that I use have leads that are so short, I must pull them apart to their limit and wrestle them into place to reach the outermost inputs on the i.V4 Ultra Amps, which are made robustly. I use the outermost amp channels so that the long and stiffly sheathed spades can approach the amp from its sides as opposed to manhandling them into a tighter space in between sets of output posts. These cables are not recommended for tight spaces where a high degree of bend is needed at the spade, for instance in cabinets where the speaker cables must be contorted in various directions as they leave the binding posts.

When considering Iconoclast speaker cables, consider it a requirement that the amp’s and speaker’s binding posts are unobstructed for connecting the cables. Even placing several of these speaker cables among a busy backside of an amp can be problematic. I found that I could not easily tuck the firmly sheathed ends of the spades between other sets of posts on the multi-channel amp. This may not be an issue with most users of stereo amps that are out in the open, but it would be a potential impediment to those who are interested in using several sets of Iconoclast speaker cables with a muti-channel amplifier. Iconoclast may wish to take a look at that aspect of the cable to see if a softer sheath might be possible. Given that specs trump all when it comes to Iconoclast design, I wouldn’t hold my breath for that development.

Having said all that, one could simply avoid all such concerns by opting for the banana connections. To my ear they are slightly less precise, but I would be hard pressed to identify either connection in a blind test. I have no compunction about using either in most of my rigs but must admit that when I set up the remarkable Aspen Acoustics Grand Aspen speakers driven by eight channels of Legacy i.V4 Ultra Amplifiers, namely 2 units with four channels, the most channels available in that design, I took pains to test the location of every banana and spade cable being used for each set of speaker posts. It made a noticeable difference, and I felt the time spent working through the permutations was worth it.

Iconoclast warns that none of its products are to be bent severely: “At all costs we do not want the customer to exceed the required 8-9” bend radius and to kink the cables when trying to make the connection.” I have, however, found that due to the stiffness of the speaker cable’s outer jacket placing the L/R spades or bananas can be unforgiving without some degree of sharper bending of the woven wires just ahead of the heat shrink collar. I try to use more gentle bends when adjusting their length at the component versus a severe bend. Even though I build a lot of rigs and reshape such cables with regularity, I have not had any intermittent operation, nor breakage of any Iconoclast cable.

When I attempted to connect two pairs of speaker cables to a single pair of output posts of the Exogal Ion PowerDAC, the plastic collar on the output posts prevented the large spades. I need the larger size to fit the large posts of the Legacy Audio Whisper Speaker of the Iconoclast cables to be fully inserted. Customers have a choice of two sizes; see the website. I punted by inserting only one leg of the spade and gently clamping down on it with the nut of the binding post. Such a maneuver can cause damage to spade terminations if one is too aggressive or if the spade is poorly made or made of a soft metal such as pure copper. With sensibility the trick will work. It allowed me to make the connection with the spades and double up the speaker cables with a second set using banana connectors. I tighten such connections by hand with just enough force to keep the spade from wiggling. As there is potential to damage a plastic enshrouded binding post, unless the post is entirely metal, I hand tighten connections. Even with such procedures, I have had two plastic collars of binding posts come off of speaker posts. That was not a catastrophic event because the metal posts underneath were unaffected. Plastic is used a great deal for posts now, but I wish the industry would stop being cheap about it and revert to all metal posts, or overbuilt plastic ones. I do understand the danger of metal posts being a potential electrical short hazard.


The setups used for assessment

It had been a while since I worked with the nifty Exogal Comet DAC and Ion PowerDAC. In a tragic turn of events, the company did not survive the Covid-induced supply chain disruption. Company CEO Jeff Haagenstad shared a painful YouTube video farewell to the community, explaining that, literally, one part needed to build a newly designed component was unavailable for more than one year. The company’s creditors were unwilling to extend the loan and the company was liquidated. While the components have been devalued as a result, the Comet and Ion are surprisingly capable components. When set up with the right speakers (especially higher efficiency) they can produce sound belying their original sub-$4K price. I have kept working with them and am pleased that I did not have a knee jerk reaction and sell them. In short, the four banks of DAC processing and the true digital amp with voltage volume control can yield better performance than several systems with preamp/DAC/amp combos in the $10K-$15K range. The Comet outputs the signal from the RCA even when the Exonet output (Exogal’s connection to the Ion) is selected on the Comet’s display, which means I can use the exquisite Perlisten D212s Subwoofers with speakers run with the Exogal set! The combination of integrated DAC/preamp/amp is very tight, super-clean, and while it is my preferred option to run the subs along with the mains, I muted them for listening impressions of the Iconoclast Cables discussed here in order to better hear what the main speakers were doing.

I also have been in nostalgia mode lately. Not having used a turntable for 30 years, I occasionally get the vinyl itch. I had acquired the mint condition Realistic LAB 400 turntable and associated vintage cartridge/stylus that was forgotten in my in-laws’ garage. Using the associated vintage Realistic receiver with phono input, I spun some of my records I borrowed back from my sister who had taken possession of them long ago. It was like seeing an old friend to pick through those well-kept albums and play them — I didn’t even mind a few ticks and pops.

Adding to the fun, I retrieved from my office the mint Nakamichi CR-1A cassette deck and brought in from the garage the cassette holder with about three dozen of the instrumental mix tapes I had lovingly recorded moons ago. It was great to hear once again lost instrumental music that I liked. I used the Shazam app to identify them, then pulled them up on Tidal to play later through Roon. I know what will happen. Even though digital will continue to be my primary source, I will keep the deck and table in my room for when I feel like playing a tape or one of my albums. I am not seeking to pursue SOTA analog because it is a bit like swimming in quicksand. Just attempting to build a vinyl collection is an expensive proposition today. I am keeping the vinyl rig cheap. I never thought I would buy a Schiit component, but today I placed an order for a Mani MM/MC phono stage. Never say never…

Why not include the neglected Musical Fidelity M1CDT transport? That is what I finally sent through to the digital inputs of the Comet DAC. I was mighty impressed with the richness and fullness of the transport and CD playback! Initially I played demo music through the Wharfedale Opus 2-M2 monitors. The comparisons that informed the above discussion of the differences between Series 1 and Series 2 speaker cables when single wiring were done with this setup.

Here, then, are my impressions of the Series 2 TPC (red) and Series 2 SPTPC (blue) speaker cables used together.

The system in use was:

Musical Fidelity M1CDT Transport

Schroeder Method (see my discussion in Audio Blast about this) XLR Iconoclast Ultra-Pure Ohno XLR Cables (2, with Audio Sensibility Y Cables) acting as AES/EBU connection

Exogal Comet DAC (active DAC also serving as preamp function) with PLUS Power Supply

Exogal Ion PowerDAC

Iconoclast Series 2 SPTPC Speaker Cables

Wharfedale Opus 2-M2 Monitor Speaker single wired


PureAudioProject Trio15 10” Coaxial Speaker bi-wired

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Popups Powered By :