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Elite Shackster , HTS Moderator Emeritus
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Discussion Starter #1
It's not often I get asked to review a product I usually make myself. But when I got the opportunity to review RAM Electronics' new HS speaker cable, I jumped at the chance. The cable is exactly what I use for many of my custom install speaker wires (Canare 4s11) and the ends are locking banana plugs, which I use almost exclusively. The connector design is similar to the WBT and GLS Audio offerings, but the concept is the same: a threaded barrel pushes a rod into a four prong split at the end of the connector. This forces the prongs open, making a very tight connection. If you have ever tried wiring up one of those 5.1 wall plates you know that the wire sockets are very close together and it always looks like a short is possible. My biggest fear is that one will work loose and fall across other connectors -- then you hope the protection circuit in the amp/receiver is good!

customHS4s11.jpg

Not with these. Once tightened, they have almost zero chance of working loose. They are so tight, you would be more likely to pull your speaker over than disconnect. In addition to the safety factor, the tight connection also means lower resistance. True that any good connection will have low resistance, but these guarantee a good connection and plenty of contact area. I've seen spring-style banana plugs go loose and then disconnect intermittently (not falling out, but a little wiggle room, which is enough to cause problems). Again, not with this product. It is a very solid connector.

As for the wire, Canare boasts that the quad star alignment helps with noise rejection/insertion and overall makes for better transmission. The magnetic fields cancel each other so as not to pollute nearby wires with interference. Canare specializes in broadcast and performance cabling (read: professional), so their claims are less snake oil and more physics. Granted there's always a bit of marketing in those brochures, but they offer up actual numbers to back up their claims (http://www.canare.com/index.cfm?objectid=ED7479EC-3048-7098-AF06286428706042). A slightly pricey, but no-nonsense wire.

So how does it all come together? As expected, RAM Electronics did not disappoint. They started with quality parts and the result was equally impressive. The cable is flexible, has a solid connection, and looks good -- if you like the gray, minimalist look, which I do.

Finally, how does it sound? Like the cable isn't even there; which, in my book, is the greatest compliment you can ever give a wire. It sounded better than my MIT Terminator 4's, which have their share of snake oil in them (but I already had them before I learned all that, so why throw them away). The RAM cable had a bit more low end pop and bit more detail on the high end. Admittedly, this can be a placebo, but in this case I don't believe so. The RAM wire has twice as many of the same size conductor (for lower resistance), better connectors (again lower resistance), and bypasses the "voodoo box" on the MIT cables -- the subject of another article altogether. My Magnepans are very power hungry, so a better connection and lower resistance could very well be audible. Again, possibly a placebo, but at worst these were transparent -- and isn't that what you want from a speaker wire?

So in summary:
The good: Quality wire and solid connectors. Transparent sound.
The bad: A bit pricey, but worth it if you want the solid connection.

I can definitely recommend these -- and they are staying in my system.

What: 4s11 Custom HS Speaker Cable
Where: RAM Electronics
Link: http://www.ramelectronics.net/audio-video/audio-cables/speaker-cables/custom-series-hs-speaker-cable/prodHS.html
Cost: ~$120 (12 ft. pair)

Test Equipment:
Marantz SR-18 (pre/pro)
Outlaw Audio 750 amplifier
Magnepan MG10.1 speakers
2x15" Linkwitz Dipole subwoofer (Dayton HPSA-1000 amplifier)
 
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