If you’ve been an audiophile for, say, at least a week, you’ve no-doubt read many reports from reviewers about their experience of being shocked, gobsmacked, flabbergasted, and rendered utterly speechless by the performance of a product under their review. I promise I’ll try to contain myself.
So let’s just cut to the chase, shall we?
My system sounds better than ever. Period. The Iconoclast SPTPC speaker cables have taken my already high-performance and resolving 2-channel analog set-up to a higher, even more magical realm, full of new, compelling, and very enjoyable surprises.
For decades, high-end cable manufacturers have been telling me that I won’t appreciate the difference until their cable has burned in for a hundred hours or more. I’m fine with that bit of standard audiophile wisdom – but I have to say, even with my long runs of 17 feet of cable per side (due to my listening room’s layout and keeping the tube amps and turntable out of the line of fire) – it took mere seconds to ascertain that what I’m hearing is not just different, but better… way better. The improvement was immediate and not at all subtle.
As soon as I hooked up the cables from the VAC Phi 200 mono blocks to my beloved Thiel CS3.7s and the twin REL subs, the system did its usual vanishing act, but on steroids. With my eyes closed, the noise floor went black and the Thiels disappeared (OK, you’re probably thinking: “Uh, dude – everything disappears when you have your eyes closed!” Well that’s true, smartypants, but this is not that.) On familiar recordings, my now invisible system opened a soundstage in front of me with more depth and dimensionality than I’ve ever experienced – like being third row center at a concert. The sense of air being moved by the presence of the musicians and their instruments went from intriguing to totally astonishing. And the decay… I live for decay (if you’ll pardon the oxymoron.) I can’t get enough of hearing a drummer cast his last strike on a shimmering cymbal that now lingers for what seems like forever, dissolving steadily and coherently until it’s gone and leaving me all smiley and goosebumped.
The ability of these cables to get out of the way of the music is remarkable and actually a bit spooky if you’re not prepared for it. I’m an inner detail junky, and the more I listened to my reference LPs, like the live 2-mic recording of Jazz at the Pawnshop by Swedish label Proprious (my first reference album from 1980) the more addicted I became. On another classic LP from 1957, when Satchmo’s gravelly voice does its big entrance on the track St. James Infirmary, I almost fell off my chair. It was almost too real. Then, I called upon younger ears than mine and relinquished my seat in the sweet spot to my wife. I took out the heavy artillery, playing an original copy of Kenny Burrell’s Midnight Blue. Her keen ears immediately commented about the realism and a stronger sense of being in the room with the musicians.
Those of you who have read my writings know that I’m very emotional about music and have powerful, visceral experiences, especially when having a “Eureka!” moment. Every time I put on an LP that I know well but have not heard since installing the Iconoclast cables, I smile, shout out in joy, squeeze out a tear or two, or shake my head with disbelief mumbling something like “Wow, how is this #@%! possible?”
And hey, if these cables get even better over time, then… yay! But for this audition, the SPTPC cables were cold out of the box, never burned in, with no cable risers, no directionality indicated and yet, let through more glorious music and ambient details than I’ve ever heard. A very satisfying experience indeed.
If you were with us for the SFAS Zoom webinar with Galen (available on our website), you know these cable designs of his are all about the engineering – applying knowledge he has amassed as chief engineer for Belden, one of the world’s biggest supplier of cabling products, for decades. This being his first foray into the crazy world of audiophile products, he really knocked it out of the park. Kudos, Galen… kudos.
I’d like to thank long-time member Albert Dall for turning me on to these gems and introducing me to Galen and Bob. However, nothing any of them could say would have made a darn bit of difference to me until I heard these cables in my system. Albert (and now I) highly recommend auditioning the cables – and luckily, so do the guys at Iconoclast. They know that chances are high you’ll be gobsmacked and flabbergasted as well (sorry, I really need new words.) And if you are, they have offered a generous 15% discount to SFAS members with free 2-day shipping to boot.
If you’re interested in hearing what they can do in your system, there are a few pairs of demo speaker cables as well as RCA and XLR ICs (which I have not yet experienced) circulating through the membership. Contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-860-0940 to see what they have available for you.
I suggest you audition these game-changing wonders as you would a key component upgrade, like an amp, DAC or streamer – they have earned that – and while not cheap, to me they represent the best bargain in audiophile speaker cables I’ve ever come across.
A typical 8-foot pair of SPTPC cables terminated with your choice of locking banana plugs or spades normally cost $2480 and with the SFAS member discount are $2108.
Equipment used for this audition:
Townshend Rock 7 Turntable
Helius Omega Tonearm
Kiseki Purpleheart Cartridge
Merlin 3 motor speed control
Bob’s Devices SUT
High Fidelity Phono cable
VAC Signature 2A with MC Phono stage
VAC Phi 200 Monoblocks
Black Treasure KT 88s and CV181 Vacuum Tubes
High Fidelity Interconnects
Anti-Cables & High Fidelity ICs
PurePower 2000+ AC Regenerator
Salamander S40 Audio Rack