Ramses-II speaker cables and
Brilliant top-shelf design!
Munich's High End show is held each May and
it is the best audio show I've attended. It
is the equivalent of our Consumer
Electronics Show but is far more attractive.
Serving as Europe's annual meeting place for
the unveiling of new and exciting high-end
audio products, it's a venue that also
attracts manufacturers from all over the
Kurt Hecker, president of Europe’s High End
Society, and his fellow members, are the
folks responsible for putting this huge
event together each spring. Hecker has a
reputation going back 25 years as a
discriminating ear for fine, high-end
cables. Of all the cables he's represented
over the past quarter-century, Hecker's most
auspicious product to date, in his own
opinion, is the Ramses II cables—here under
Since 2003, whenever I attended the
High End show I’d usually see Hecker at his booth
and, naturally, extend my hand in greeting...and
maybe take a picture. Hecker has always seemed a
serious chap. So much so, in fact, that I think last
year was the first time I actually got him to smile
for my camera. His succinct comment that "My
Ramses-II cables are the best cables I've ever
heard" is something I first heard him say in 2009.
It was only at the 2011 High End Show that I was
given an opportunity to audition them.
Ramses-II speaker cables and
interconnects are designed by engineer
Thomas-Michael Rudolph who lives and works in
Berlin. They are flat and thin like Nordost, but
that's where the similarities end. Rudolph designed
his ribbon geometry specifically to prevent uneven
frequency response. This is accomplished with a
cross-section of super-thin conductors in a side by
side pattern. Teflon was deliberately avoided—Hecker
attributes this as a major contributor to the
cables’ natural sound. Only ‘natural materials’ are
used in the construction of the Ramses-II. The
specifics are, not surprisingly, proprietary.
cables arrived in a small wooden crate—a nice touch.
They are good looking, though I would have preferred
them in black mesh instead of grey. I would also
have preferred spade connectors instead of the
banana connectors they came with [ironically, in
Germany, they come standard in black mesh. The grey
designates the "rest of the world" I assume. Also
the speaker cable's price is the same whether in
spade or banana connectors. The interconnects in XLR
are 20% more expensive]. They appear to be
well-made, and are neither heavy nor stiff, so
swapping them in and out was easy.
The Ramses-II interconnects use
Eichmann Bullet RCA plugs. I've found cables using
the Eichmann plugs to be the most transparent due to
fact they build their connectors with plastic in
attempt to employ the least amount of metal. Aside
from being thinner and having its designer's
initials "t m r" highlighted in lower case over a
“Made in Germany” stamp, the Ramses-II interconnects
are identical in construction to the speaker cables.
Ribbon cables have inherently low
levels of capacitance but may also have lethal doses
of inductance which can cause stability issues with
certain amplifiers. I was relieved to see that my
Behold Gentile had no adverse reactions whatsoever.
Speakers used were the TIDAL Piano Ceras, while
speaker cables were the lower priced Bybee Super
Effect Golden Goddess ($3500). The CD player was the
North Star Model 192 and USB DAC 32 made in Italy.
Glasper is an up and coming jazz pianist. But he's
not your typical contemporary jazz player; he's
experimented with different styles, recording
special effects and, most importantly, performing
with soul singers and rapp artists. Sort of places
himself in a neo-jazz-soul category that I find most
addicting. Female bassist, singer and writer Meshell
Nnegdeocello performs in similar style so it's not
surprising to see her name featured on this,
Glasper's latest project entitled Black Radio.
Of the cuts on Black Radio, I've really
become really fond of the funky and hypnotic tune
Cherish the Day, (that was originally penned by
Sade) and features Lalah Hathaway.
The first thing I noticed was how
clearly and translucently Lalah's husky voice was
presented by the Ramses-II amid a loud background of
synthesizers, heavy drum beats and bass notes. And
the Ramses-II never got in the way of Lalah's
command of emotion. I also got a sense of added
soundstage width and harmonic rightness, as well as
a more natural portrayal of instrumental timbre.
Nothing was exaggerated or extended in the frequency
extremes. Neutrality is a pivotal word in describing
the Ramses-II. Bass was natural, taut and well
focused with a sense of surefootedness that was
Compared with the Bybee Super Effect
speaker cables, the Ramses enhanced the space
between musicians but did not elicit the same level
of dynamic prowess as the Bybees. However, I would
give the Ramses-II the edge in ease and fluidity.
There's no doubt they sound open, free and clear of
any restrictions whatsoever. There is an airiness
and aliveness to the high-frequencies. I am well
aware that many flat, ribbon cables create this
effect. However, I've always been disappointed by
their lack of warmth and body. Not so with the
What I found even more surprising was that the
Ramses-II possess an ever-so-slightly purer feel
between the instruments and notes, and as a result,
they give a more realistic presentation of
tonality—especially when listening to a great
pianist like Robert Glasper.
Taking the show on the road again....
I've had the luxury of having certain
StereoTimes contributors living not too far from me
in Jersey City. One of them is Debra Goidel, who
recently wrote a review on affordable JAS
electronics and MM-3 mini-monitors (here). I visited
and we experimented with the pricey Ramses-II in her
insanely affordable high-end rig. Improvements to
dynamics, tonality, image density and frequency
extension were immediately to be heard. However,
since the Ramses-II cables cost more her entire
system (!), the experiment was not exactly
realistic. But it did demonstrate that after-market
cables can make big improvements even in affordably
priced high-end systems.
Dennis Parham has a much more
sophisticated and expensive rig than Debra,
including Sunny horn loudspeakers ($20k), Laufer
Teknik Memory Player ($12k) and Beyond Frontiers
Tulip hybrid amplifier ($18k). Dennis also uses
Bybee Super Effect speaker cables and considers them
the best he's owned. It took but a few riffs from
trumpeter Sean Jones' Come Sunday, for Dennis to
recognize the same sonic virtues the Ramses-II had
delivered in my downstairs system. The
high-frequency extension presented a more open and
transparent window into the music. The trumpet had a
more brassy resonance and more believable presence.
I was also impressed at how the soundstage improved
in terms of image density and specificity. As I
expected, the bass and dynamics were tuneful but
didn't seem as impactful as with the Bybees. This
might be the result of high-frequencies sounding a
tad more damped with the Bybees.
Both Dennis and I agreed that the
Ramses-II cables bring a sense of musical aliveness
and transparency that Bybee cables do not. And
although the Ramses-II do not possess the bottom end
of the Bybees, Dennis wanted the Ramses-II for his
new reference. I would have to agree with Dennis on
his choice. An improvement in purity is ALWAYS a big
deal if you ask me. Dynamics, on the other hand, are
a hard thing to give up but fortunately there was
enough left in the music to qualify the swap as a
win-win situation (Kurt Hecker was honored to hear
this). Now I understand why Hecker was so full of
praise when he introduced the Ramses-II.
In the end, I don't know what gives
the Ramses-II cables their magical sense of openness
and their natural overtones, but I do know they have
performed beyond my expectations. Priced at $3,500
and $1,400 respectively for speaker cables and
interconnects, they are rather expensive. However,
considering how they surpassed the equally priced
Bybee Super Effect speaker cables in overall
naturalness and transparency, they are a
cost-effective investment. If you're looking for a
cable that possesses a very natural footprint—and is
as musically expressive as they come—then you owe it
to yourself to give the Ramses-II an audition.
Price: Ramses II speaker cables
$3500.00 per eight-foot; Interconnects
meter (RCA). Add 20% for XLR connections.
KURT HECKER marketing
Fuchshohl 78 A
60431 Frankfurt am Main