Excellent performer with friendly price tag
Along with the Ricable Supreme HDMI cable I reviewed a short while ago, came a speaker cable of the same brand. Like the HDMI cable, this speaker cable has a friendly price tag, and it also performs admirably.
Review sample kindly supplied by manufacturer Ricable.
Retail price 2 x 2m 370 euro
Retail price 2 x 3m 450 euro
Retail price 2 x 4m 520 euro
The Ricable Supreme Speaker Cable is a 100% Italian hand made product utilizing highly pure OCC copper consisting of 0.05mm strands. In spite of a 2x 7mm2 conductor thickness and Teflon insulation, the 20mm tick cable is surprisingly supple, and once laid in position it simply stays put. Connectors are gold plated bananas that can be tightened to stay locked in place.
Most cables need running in to a larger or smaller extent. I have owned cables that needed hundreds of hours to settle in, but I have also used cables that sound good right from the moment they are first used. The Ricable Supreme seems to be of the latter category, sounding excellent right from the start.
To assess the sound, I compared the Ricable Supreme to two other cables I have: the Transparent Reference and the Cardas Quadlink 5C. The former really is admittedly not proper comparison material because of its hefty price tag, but because it is my personal reference and I know it so well, I decided to use it as the starting point to form my opinion.
With the Transparent Reference connected between Rowland model 6 monos and Kharma 3.2FE’s, the sound is rich, smooth and full-bodied, with excellent focus and a very broad, room-filling soundstage. Swapping the Transparent for the Ricable was a step back for sure, and this is expected, but what I didn’t expect was that the Ricable too, sounded rich and smooth and still very nicely full-bodied. And even from very first connection, there wasn’t a hint of agression. A lot of the Transparent’s character was actually retained, with the most apparent losses being a smaller soundstage, lower resolution and less focus. Although this perhaps doesn’t sound like the best advertising material, if one factors in that the Transparent is 16 times as expensive I’d say that this is actually a pretty good achievement.
Now that my reference point was set, I compared the Ricable Supreme with a cable more of the same price category: the Cardas Quadlink 5C. The latter are fine cables, offering very good detail and transparency, with a tight, articulate bass, but they have always sounded somewhat bleak to me, too devoid of colour for my taste.
Comparing the Cardas to the Ricable Supreme only substantiated this assessment. Even if the Cardas has the edge in terms of transparency and bass articulation, overall I find it to sound less musical than the Ricable. The latter just seems to invite the listener to relax and enjoy in a manner that the Cardas doesn’t. Importantly, the Ricable manages to thread a fine line between sounding smooth and forgiving on the one side, and being open and transparent on the other. It’s not one of those cables that seems to work as a magnifying glass to dissect the music, but it also isn’t a “smooth everything over” kind of cable. There’s plenty of transparency and detail, and the cable certainly doesn’t sound thick, compressed or slow. And most important to me: it offers an airy and open treble, without any harshness.
I have heard more OCC cables and although the slowly drawn copper usually means smooth treble and a refined sound, there’s often also a tendency for these cables to sound overly mellow. Not so the Ricable Supreme.
In retrospect, the Ricable Supreme kind of remind me of a set of HiDiamond cables (I forget the model), which also managed to sound smooth and relaxed while maintaining transparency, speed and neutrality.
The Ricable Supreme is finished to a high standard, and performs very well, sounding full-bodied, relaxed and smooth, with just the right balance between relaxed musicality and audiophile traits such as transparency, low level detail and neutrality. This cable might be easy to overlook among the abundance of cable offerings these days, but this one is hand-made in Italy and performs considerably better than I expected based on its price tag.