Why is the RAL Reference HDMI/i2S cable The Best One Out There

I read the comments about the RAL Reference HDMI cable from a year ago. But there were no detailed and specific comments about why it’s better than all the others mentioned. Could somebody who has this cable write a more complete review assessing its abilities in level of transparency, dynamics, imaging and soundstaging, level of musicality, and anything else you can think of. If you’ve compared it to other cables and find those sounded better, let me know about them and why. Thanks for humoring me!

Let me add an addendum to my earlier question. I didn’t mention the AQ 48 Platinum because it is WAY out of my price range. specifically, this HDMI Cable will be going between an SGC UltraDigital USB to i2s converter to the Audio-gd R7HE MKII DAC—not between a transport and a DAC. If anybody uses similar SGC (Small Green Computer) gear in their system, I’d be particularly interested in your choice of HDMI cable for this application. Thanks!

I don’t have much experience with the sonic qualities of RAL, for reasons previously mentioned.

However, I do think that the Scarcity Principle might be in play. If an item is scarce, the perceived value goes up.

It might, or might not be, anything more than that.

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Interesting idea. Thanks!

I don’t know if it is “the best one out there”. Some time back, it edged out the WW platinum for some of us in clarity and openness. I could see it not being right for all systems/tastes. At that point the WW was the best most of us had found.

I got my RAL used from a Forum member, which is how I was able to get hold of one, while the stories of non-delivery were piling up. It is very handmade and not robust. It is now no longer passing signal. One too many pluggings and unpluggings or bending of the cable. I don’t think I’m going to try to get it repaired, since I’m likely to never see it again. Even if he’s willing to fix it for someone who is not the original owner. I may try opening it up to see if I can do anything with it.

I would recommend going with a more established and reliable brand, unless you can find one used. The WW’s are FAR more robust, and work great both for audio and video. Many seem quite happy with the AQ’s as well.


Thank you. Very enlightening.

I had the Audioquest Diamond I2S (HDMI) it was bested by the RAL HDMI. I used that until I tried the Audioquest Dragon 48. The Dragon is the superior cable. The gap between the Dragon and RAL is bigger than the RAL over the Diamond. The Dragon in my system was equivalent to upgrading to a better DAC or digital source component! It’s ridiculously expensive for a HDMI but it can be had for a discount and at the discounted price it’s a no brainer if you have a need for your source component and DAC.


Addendum to my addendum–I meant to say the AQ Dragon 48 HDMI cable–Not the AQ 48 Platinum. My mistake, my bad. Sorry for the confusion.

AQ Firebird48 is not far behind Dragon48 in performance since I have both, and it is at quite a discount from Dragon.

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Would you mind giving me a more specific description as to how it sounds on its own, and in comparison to the Dragon 48–in your system? Thanks in advance.

I wrote a review awhile back. If you do a search on Dragon vs Firebird you should be able to find my review in the forum.

Your review comparing the AQ Firebird 48 vs the AQ Dragon 48 HDMI cables was extremely informative and thorough. It gave me a sense of the character of both cables. I think the Firebird is much more within my budget and sonic preferences—for now. I can always rob a bank and buy the Dragon 48 later. Just kidding! :wink:

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Just get a hold of Nick Lucini at TMR for a discount on either one! Nick@tmraudio.com

He’s alway taken care of me and everyone I’ve referred to him!

I’ve had or have most of them. Here’s my experience:
The Audioquest Firebird and Dragon, Wireworld Platinum, Harmonic Technology, PS Audio HDMI 10 and HDMI 12 all sound great.
None of them will change your life. Take bombastic language with a large grain of salt and buy what you can afford.
In my opinion, try to find a used PS Audio HDMI 10 or 12 that can be found at low cost and be happy.


That’s good advice. The HDMI AC-12 is the best I’ve heard (have not heard RAL, Wireworld, AQ) and I have those in all places but one, where I have the HDMI AC-10. And they are both excellent video cables, best I’ve “seen” or heard.

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I’m not one to chase the Dragon, literally and figuratively. I have the PS Audio 10, AQ Diamond and Harmonic Technology copper. Can live with all three just fine, but have had the Harmonic Technology in for some time now.

That stuff’ll kill you. Even if the water turns to cherry wine and the silver turns to gold.

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Does anybody have a used PS Audio 12 in good working order that they’d like to sell to me?

Having had both the WWPS7 and the RAL I concur with badbeef’s assessment. The WWPS7 is the one to get. Sad to learn the RAL didn’t last, but not surprised.