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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.

The 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.

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

Electricals (typical):

  • Capacitance: 45 pF/ft
  • Inductance: .08 µH/ft
  • Resistance: 1.2 Ω/1000 ft

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.

Terminations:

Our standard available terminations are all from Cardas, and are shown here, from left to right: CGMS spades (7mm opening), CGMS 9 spades (9mm opening) and CABD banana plugs. All assembly is done in our Seattle shop, using WBT silver solder, and all cables are accompanied by a test report showing final measured values for capacitance, inductance and resistance.

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.

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.

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 table below.

Iconoclast Speaker Cables:
Length
in feet
Pair or
Single
Cable Stock Connectors Price
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