Review: Heartland Cables ICs and Speaker Cables
Oct 19, 2003 at 12:16 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 6


Headphoneus Supremus
Apr 29, 2003
If you are looking for affordable ICs and speaker cables, look no further than Dan Kaps' fine products at!

I bought a pair of 1 meter ICs made of Belden 89259 with Eichmann Bullet Plugs from Dan, and a 6 foot pair of speaker cables. The speaker cables were made from Canare 4S11 Star-Quad, which I had terminated with Vampire Wire bannanas and SS9 spades. Both are sturdy, teflon insulated, manufactured to a high degree of quality, and -- simply put -- beautiful in their simplicity. No fancy ferrite blocks like the Radioshack Fusions, no colorful plugs like Monster's.

The ICs cost $50, and while there is much disagreement over "bullet plugs", that is the only option Dan offers with Belden 89259. His other ICs have the option of Canare RCAP connectors. Aside from the difficulty of plugging and unplugging the bullet plugs, I have no complaints, and without 89259 terminated some other way I have no way of comparing bullets to others. So I will focus on the ICs themselves as compared to other low-cost ICs by Monster and RadioShack.

Overall, the Heartland ICs had a slightly more neutral appearance than the Radio Shack Fusion ICs I was using before. And the sound was drastically more neutral than a pair of Monster Interlink Reference ICs I borrowed from a friend for this review. With the Fusions, the title track of Cantus' new "Deep River" sounds superb (see my upcoming review in the Music forum). But the Heartland ICs had just enough of a transparent edge that -- for the first time in my life -- my AKG K-501 headphones made me feel like I was sitting right in the same room with the singers. It gave me goosebumps, for real!

One of my biggest complaints with the Monster ICs is that good rock 'n roll like the "Who's Next" album sounded "pop-ish." That is, the Monsters colored the sound in both the low end and the high end, which made Pete Townshend's guitar shrill and unbearable on my already-bright Grado SR-325s. Drums were also muddy and artificial-sounding with both the Monster and Fusion ICs.

Not so with the Heartland ICs. The guitar became bearable while still being lively and fast; the drums crisp and -- once again -- as realistic as I've ever heard before.

Now to the speaker cables. Previously, I had been using some home-made Cat-5 twisted pair braided cable that until now were the best I came by with my low budget. For $75, I had a 6' foot pair custom made (since my speakers have 3-way binding posts, not 5 -- I needed spades on one end, bannanas on the other). Once again, bravo to Dan at Heartland! Bass tightened up, and music such as Bruckner's 4th Symphony sounds more crisp and in phase than it did with the Cat-5 cables.

I would say there is no better value than Heartland Cables out there when it comes to affordable cables and ICs -- and it may be that Dan's cables are even competitive against many uber-expensive cables out there. I plan to purchase more in the future. To further explore his products or order online, visit today!


Associated Equipment: NAD L-40 CD Receiver; Rega Ear w/ PS2; AKG K-501; Grado SR-325; Acoustic Energy Aegis 1; paving block/EPDM speaker decouplers.

Tracks: "Deep River" on Cantus "Deep River", recorded by John Atkinson of Stereophile (Cantus). "Bargain" on The Who "Who's Next" (MCA). Bruckner 4th Symphony (Naxos).
Oct 19, 2003 at 2:18 AM Post #2 of 6
I have not heard the cables so I cannot say anything on the sound, but the material used is high class so it is reasonable to assume that it also sound good. Seems like a good recipe for a good, cheap IC.
The Bullet plugs are among the best plugs and the Belden wire is made of the same materials that are used in expensive cables. This is what Jon Risch says (I don't think the Bullet plug was available when he wrote this):
"As for a line level interconnect, I recommend Belden #89259
as my first choice. It is of a coaxial construction, with bare copper braid and shield coverage of 95%, an insulator of foamed Teflon around a 22 Ga. stranded bare copper wire, and an outer jacket of black tint solid Teflon. Capacitance is a low 17.3 pF/ft, which is almost half the capacitance of common interconnect cables.
It is superior sonically to many of the expensive/high-end cables
sold for hundreds of dollars, and can be terminated with your choice of RCA plug, anything from the nickel plated Switchcraft RCA to the Cardas/Kimber/Tiffany RCA's. It is good enough to be worth using the finest plugs. "
Oct 19, 2003 at 6:04 AM Post #3 of 6
I've also bought a set of the Heartland bullet/89259 RCA cables. Can't really tell much about the sound as I am awaiting a good source (sold my ART DI/O), but they seem pretty good. Very difficult to plug in though (especially into a computer sound card!).

A lot better than the freebie cable I was using before (which picked up interference like crazy).
Oct 19, 2003 at 5:46 PM Post #4 of 6

Originally posted by chych
Very difficult to plug in though (especially into a computer sound card!).

Yeah, if I were you I wouldn't plug them in to a sound card source. RCA jacks are usually just soldered on to the sound board instead of being on a separate plate as with most hi-end components. I could easily imagine bullets snapping the jacks right off of a sound card.


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