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· Elite Shackster , HTS Moderator Emeritus
2,216 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Like my review of the RAM Custom Series Speaker Cable (here), I was asked to review a product that I make on site for my installer job. It is nice to see suppliers take an interest in pro-grade cables and connectors. In RAM Electronics' case, they also offer them up at competitive prices.

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The Custom Series Stereo Cable starts with the Belden 1505F coax wire, a slightly smaller and more flexible version of the Belden 1694A, one of the best and most commonly used cables in the live broadcast industry. It has great shielding, low loss over even long distances, and is very flexible. Pro studios and broadcast trailers would not use it if it did not perform well. The bottom line is that it is a no-nonsense high-performance wire -- devoid of snake oil and marketing hype.

Terminating the cable is my favorite line of RCA connectors, the Canare RCAP-C4F. Once again, RAM uses a staple product of the broadcast industry and for the right reason. They are solid, crimp both signal and shield all 360 degrees around, make a very tight connection, look great, and most importantly -- carry the 75 Ohm impedance all they way through the connector. Now the effects of this on consumer grade equipment are debatable. In a typical home theater system, a run of longer than 12 feet is rare, and care can be taken to keep power cords and speaker wires away from the signal wires. In the pro world, 50 foot runs are common, with speaker wires and power lines running right alongside -- a nasty environment that also does not forgive signal degradation. So pro wires use shielded cable and connectors that maintain the 75 Ohm impedance of the cable all the way through to the next piece of gear. This prevents impedance mismatches, internally reflected signals, and other bad things that result from a poor connection. In my opinion, this puts these connectors way above the typical soldered twisted pair that is common for consumer grade connectors. Again the merits of this on such short runs are debatable, but for similar price points, why not get what the pros use?

As far as aesthetics are concerned, these cables do not disappoint. I've mentioned in prior reviews that I'm a sucker for Techflex braiding on cables. RAM combines the two channels into a single braided line, which makes the pair look cleaner and aids in the wire management problem we all deal with. Plus they added red and white strain relief boots to label the channels -- nice and functional. The cable is blue, so the whole thing has a nice Red, White, and Blue motif going, which is the best color scheme in the world (as I'm sure France and Russia would agree).

But enough about construction and looks, how does it sound? In one word: transparent. Swapping my personal cables for these and even a much more expensive pair of Monster cables that I still have from a decade ago showed no discernible change. Sorry if you were expecting one of those reviews where the author talks about endless superlatives and odd, almost non-sequitur descriptions of the glorious difference the new cable made. No, in my opinion, the best compliment you can pay a cable is that it was like it was not even there. When you think about it, the only thing a cable can really do is harm the signal in the form of losses and noise. If the cable minimizes these, it is doing its job well and deserves praise. These cables from RAM do just that.

So in summary, these are nice looking, functional cables available at a decent value. They are nearly identical to the ones I make for myself and my customers and I can definitely recommend them.

What: Custom Series Stereo Cable DCDF
Where: RAM Electronics
Link: http://www.ramelectronics.net/audio...custom-series-stereo-cable-dcdf/prodDCDF.html
Cost: ~$34 (3 ft. pair)

Test Equipment:
Marantz SR-18 (pre/pro)
Outlaw Audio 750 amplifier
Magnepan MG10.1 speakers
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