Interconnect cables are a very different problem from speaker cable. Instead of a high-current, low impedance circuit driving a highly reactive load, interconnects face a low-current, high impedance circuit driving an almost purely resistive load. Iconoclast RCA cables come in two varieties -- a first-generation design with a single bare solid copper center conductor, and a second-generation design which, in place of the single conductor, uses a star quad of four bare smaller wires, held apart by a spline. The dielectric, in either case, is mostly air: the wires are uninsulated, and are kept centered by a spiral glass-and-Teflon thread which suspends them inside a Teflon tube.
This inner air-tube construction is shown here, in both versions. Both have an outer FEP jacket and double bare copper braid shielding, around an FEP tube. Within that tube, a spirally wrapped thread of glass and Teflon centers the conductor. In the original design -- on top -- there is just a single solid copper conductor. In the second-generation "1x4" design, there are four smaller solid copper conductors, arranged in a tiny star quad; this design produces a lower inductance due to field cancellation between the four conductors. For details on the design considerations that led to this construction, see the RCA and XLR cable design brief, and the supplemental paper on the four-conductor design, linked on our "Story of Iconoclast" page.
One core objective of the interconnect design -- as is set out in the RCA/XLR Design Brief -- was to keep the electromagnetic properties of the balanced and the unbalanced cables as similar as possible. This has been done, in the Iconoclast line, by using the same design principles in the RCA as in the XLR -- the XLR star-quad design is very like four copies of the RCA design, held in place by a cloverleaf-style spline and run together in one outer shield and jacket. The concept, simply, is that there is no reason that the XLR or the RCA should have audible characteristics distinct from the other; they should, rather, be consistent and faithful to the same design principles.
We terminate this cable -- either version -- with Cardas SRCA connectors, using WBT silver solder. All assembly is done in our Seattle shop, and every assembly is accompanied by a test report showing the final measured values of capacitance, inductance and resistance.
There are three options available for the center conductor material. Because the center conductor material choice does not substantially affect the electromagnetic properties of the assembly, these three options affect material choice ONLY -- whether you go with TPC, OFE or OCC, the design is the same, and the manufacture and termination methods and quality are the same, so that any audible difference between these is purely accountable to the conductor material.
Our three conductor-metal choices for RCA and XLR cable are TPC, OFE and OCC. TPC is Electrolytic Tough-Pitch Copper (99.9% pure), widely used in communications cable of all sorts. OFE is Oxygen-Free Electrolytic Copper (99.99% pure); OCC is Ohno Continuous Cast copper (99.99998% pure). The outer jacket color of the TPC cable is red; the OFE, violet; and the OCC, green.
Just as the Iconoclast Generation 1 XLR design is available in a higher-flex version, so is the RCA -- this cable is jacketed in black PVC and terminated with Canare RCA plugs, for a more economical and more flexible RCA cable. This makes a great lower-cost alternative as well as being a good choice where high flexibility is required.
All of our cables are returnable for a refund within 30 days of purchase, for any reason.
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