Speaker Cable

The Iconoclast Design

Speaker cable seems simple. But it sits between two active devices: an amplifier which responds to how it is loaded, and a speaker which presents a highly reactive load whose characteristics vary with frequency and state. These conditions call for some obvious, and some less obvious, design objectives. We'll describe the Iconoclast design, and its objectives, below; but for a full treatment of the subject, please read the articles Time and Speaker Cable Design Brief.

Stripped end of Iconoclast speaker cable,
showing weaves of bonded pairs

The Internal Layout

Beneath the plain squared profile of the Iconoclast speaker cable lies a surprisingly complex design. Each polarity leg of an Iconoclast speaker cable is composed of twenty-four 24 AWG conductors. These conductors are twinned into Teflon®-insulated "bonded pairs," akin to those you may be accustomed to seeing in Belden's data cable products. These twelve bonded pairs are then braided in a basket-weave configuration and flattened to a rectangular profile. The two polarity legs are then laid back to back, and a nylon braid (red/black for ETP, blue/black or OFE or SPTPC) and FEP outer sheath complete the cable.

Electricals (typical):

While the full rationale for this design is set out in Galen's papers, a few points bear mentioning here. Keeping resistance low requires keeping wire cross-sectional area large, but simply using large stranded conductors results in relatively high inductance and inconsistent current density relative to frequency. This can be solved, as here, by using a large number of separately insulated conductors, but the effect tends to be a considerable increase in capacitance, which can present problems with amplifier final loading, and an inconsistent presentation of the various wires within a polarity to the opposite polarity, with each wire having its own separate set of reactive variables. The braided configuration here manages to solve these problems -- inductance is significantly reduced with only a modest increase in capacitance, and the individual conductors each stand in the same orientation to the opposite polarity as one another.

Cardas spades
Welded locking bananas

Terminations:

The Iconoclast speaker cable isn't particularly suited to bare-wire termination, as the strands are a bit unruly to manage. Accordingly, we offer a couple of types of termination which will work with the great majority of speaker binding posts.

First, we offer Cardas rhodium-plated spade lugs, in 6.5mm and 9mm sizes. These are soldered to the cable using WBT silver solder. Spades are usually the best termination choice if you have relatively open access to the binding posts to attach them, as they provide a large and tight contact surface.

For tighter post configurations, or for those who simply prefer them, we also offer banana plugs. For banana terminations, we use our own proprietary ultrasonic-welded plugs -- the same plugs and termination method you may have seen on Blue Jeans Cable products. Instead of soldering the wire to the plug body, we apply a combination of pressure and high ultrasonic energy, fusing the wire straight to the banana without any intermediary metal, but without the high heat and consequent damage to insulation which a more conventional heat-based welding process would involve. The resulting weld provides extremely high mechanical strength and low contact resistance, and the plug's locking feature -- enabled by turning the outer collar after the plug has been inserted in the binding post -- ensures tight, mechanically stable engagement with the post.

If you have particular custom requirements -- such as a need to attach to terminal strips, Speakons, or what-have-you, let us know. We try to accommodate custom termination requests whenever possible, usually at no increase in price.

All cables are accompanied by a test report showing final measured values for capacitance, inductance and resistance.

 

Bi-Wired Cables:

We can make Iconoclast speaker cables in certain bi-wired configurations as well. For the amp end, we do not have a suitable banana plug, so the options there are Cardas 6,.5mm and 9mm spades; for the speaker ends, all of our normal options are available.

Conductor Options:

There are three options available for the conductor composition. Note that the difference between these is NOT a difference in design -- nothing about the electromagnetic properties of the design is affected by the choice of conductor. Regardless of the material choice, the internal structure is the same, the manufacturing process is the same, and the termination methods and hardware are the same, with the full benefits of Galen Gareis' design work in each.

The conductor choices for speaker cable are TPC, OFE and SPTPC. TPC is Electrolytic Tough-Pitch Copper, widely used in communications cable of all sorts. OFE is Oxygen-Free Electrolytic Copper (99.99% pure). SPTPC is Silver-Plated Electrolytic Tough Pitch Copper. The outer jacket color is red/black for TPC, blue/black for OFE or SPTPC.

Return Policy:

We accept returns for any reason whatsoever within 30 days of purchase.

To Order:

To see prices and to order, use the tables below.

Iconoclast Speaker Cables: Conventional (non-biwire) Wiring
Length in feetPair or SingleCable Stock
Connectors, End 1:Connectors, End 2:Price
Iconoclast Speaker Cables: Bi-wired
Length in feetPair or SingleCable Stock
Connectors, End 1:Connectors, End 2:Price