When we look at the white and red flag, or the eagle in the emblem, then we know, tersely speaking, that we are home. But, if we remember anything from primary school, or if we have travelled a bit around the world, or even if we are interested in vexillology, then we should know that similar feelings are shared by … yes, the Indonesians, who live on a large number of their 17,000 islands. True, true! Although the distance of over ten thousand kilometres from Warsaw to Djakarta, so, more than 15 hours, and, in reality even more than 20 hours flying (there are no direct flights), would imply completely different parts of the globe, but for the sake of this story, I will try to show you that Poland and Indonesia do have much more in common than just the colours of their flags and a bird in the emblem. Because from our – audiophile – point of view, for most of the population, Hi-Fi or High-End gear, from Poland or Indonesia, is something exotic. Based on stereotypes, Indonesia is a dream vacation destination – diving into one of the most beautiful coral reefs, Komodo Dragons, dolphins from Lovina Beach or Sekumpul Waterfalls, whereas Poland means Walesa, vodka and Chopin. Maybe this is too simplified, but please believe me, this is the reality! And we should not be angry at anybody about this, nor should we wonder how this could be, we should just roll up our sleeves and start changing it. In Poland, this kind of educational work was started, amongst others, by Łukasz Fikus, who introduced the gear named Lampizator. And the same year, on … Bali, Hendri Ramli created the brand Vermöuth Audio. Is this a coincidence? A pure coincidence? Well, conspiracy theory lovers can go full throttle on this one. However, I would like to let your imagination wander! From my end, I can only add that knowledge of the similar dates surfaced after the test, after all the listening was completed, and while it unwittingly confirms the theory that both countries are similar, I am happy to bring this introduction to a close in a logical way. However, to uphold our tradition, and to maintain some semblance of order, I would like to mention the tested products, namely the RCA and XLR interconnects from the top series Reference, which arrived directly from the Indonesian manufacturer as, at the time of the review, Vermöuth Audio did not have a Polish distributor.
The genesis of Vermöuth Audio also seems strangely familiar as, in the beginning, Hendri Ramli ran an audio shop, and only after some persuasion from his clients did he start to devote himself completely to his current business. So, it’s an identical scenario to the one described by the Canadian guys behind the Luna Cables Rouge USB we tested. But let’s return to Bali. The current offering from Vermöuth Audio covers five, or six (depending on how we divide it), lines of company confectioned and bulk audio cables, three models of stand mount speakers, a minimalistic integrated amplifier, a full palette of proprietary plugs and even anti-vibration feet and a … driver, a true midwoofer. I must confess, this is really quite a lot for a one-man band! It’s also worth mentioning that the price of the basic loudspeaker cables, the Serenade model, starts from $64 for a 1.8 metre set and goes up to $1520 for the Reference XLR we are testing today. So, there should be something in the company catalogue for the beginner as well as for the more mature lover of good sound.
Although, in the case of the Reference, we are still on very acceptable, for audiophile standards, price levels, yet on the way up to them we are very pleasantly surprised by the absolutely thoroughbred High-End products on offer, and the perceived value of the tested cables surpasses anything offered at a similar price by the competition by far. Proprietary, phenomenal carbon plug carcasses, seemingly modest and non-invasive white sheets with additional black braids on them, result in splendid looks. No blatancy, no attempt to catch a potential buyer’s attention – just modest, classy looks.
Making a purely virtual vivisection of the Indonesian cable, we find bundles of conductors inside made from UPOCC copper with differentiated diameters and cross-sections in Teflon isolation, onto which layers of PVC are placed. As an example, there are two wires in the RCA interconnect – one with a 0.405 mm2 cross-section, consisting of one 0.28 mm2 wire, eight 0.165 mm2 strands and twenty 0.10 mm2 strands and the second wire with a rectangular cross-section (0.332 mm2). Additional isolation consists of PE tubes filled with air, which separate the wires. The whole is then wound with PTFE tape, an aluminum-mylar-copper shield, a braid OCC copper shield, PTFE tape and finally a PVC mantle and this is then inserted in the external sheath.
The plugs, made on CNC machines, are somewhat extraordinary. As an example, the XLRs have pins made from tellurium copper covered directly with rhodium, and the locking RCA plugs are made in a similar way. Yes, you are right – this is the same level of quality as the top Furutech or Oyaide, so just basing on the know-how and components alone, I had very high expectations from the listening sessions.
Now that I have raised the issue of expectations, I think it would be worth mentioning what constitutes the reference point, so please have a look at the recent test of the Siltech Crown Princess & Prince 35th Anniversary, and everything should be clear. Briefly, the circumstances not only made life difficult for the Vermöuth, but even required more from them, asking them to perform at maximum capacity from the very beginning. Of course, we did allow the cables to accommodate and settle-in during the first week, but even taken straight out of their boxes, being only briefly burned-in by the manufacturer, the Indonesian cables jumped to work with joy from the first notes, giving us a clear signal that they are absolutely aware of the severity of the situation.
To begin with, I would like to mention that, as I had the tested cables in both RCA and XLR versions and my system is equipped with both kinds of connectors, I discerned immediately at the beginning of the test that both cables have exactly the same sound, and the differences only come from the fact that the Ayon CD-35 and the Bryston 4B³ sound better with a balanced connection. So this made me decide to make all subsequent changes only to the analog connection, where the Vermöuth RCA was compared with the Tellurium Q Silver Diamond.
Now it’s time to report how the Reference really sounded, and they did sound really enticing at first. We plug them in, we play our beloved music, we start to wonder … why did we not come across the Vermöuth earlier, and when was the last time we came across such a phenomenal price to performance ratio! Switching over from the much more expensive competition does not hurt at all … we do not hear any need for compromise, or trading one aspect at the expense of another. Here everything is in its place and with splendid quality: starting with the ethereal cold wave album “Migawka” by Mela Koteluk, where natural instruments blend very successfully with the electronic shapes woven on a console, while the vocals of the singer freely move around the virtual stage, and ending with another album that utilizes the full extent of the abilities of an orchestra, “Symphonica” by George Michael. Two completely different worlds, two completely different aesthetics; one is quite focussed on the centre of the picture and the other has a typical symphonic swing, large, theatrical spaces, the need to reproduce acoustics, and the physical presence of George Michael on stage, not to mention the audience. Surprisingly, the Vermöuth were easily able to bind in a natural way all of the elements of this musical conundrum together into one coherent whole and, at the same time, they did not block the insight into the piece and the ability to follow individual parts. According to the words of Hendri himself, the Reference was designed in such a way to reproduce what was recorded in the studio with the highest fidelity and to be as neutral as possible. Interestingly enough, nobody at the company thinks that they have exclusivity for the one and only truth, so this neutrality is just a subjective assessment, and, for this reason, they immediately add that for them this means … musicality. And this is most probably the most accurate definition of the top Vermöuth. Because we have the juiciness of the timbres, absolutely unconstrained dynamics built on springy low reaching bass, and an appropriate energy of the midrange, yet without the artificial pumping of the sound by upping the midrange-bass. At the same time, they are more saturated than the Tellurium Q Statement and less “Hollywood” spectacular than the Cardas Clear Reflection XLR. It is similar with the upper part of the reproduced spectrum – an intensive pulsating with life midrange crossing over to an equally spectacular treble. But if anybody thinks that this means problems, then I would like to immediately counter this, problems will only appear if … the system is wrongly configured and has lots of sibilance by itself. In other situations, it will be as I described, the treble will be intensive, bright but refined, crystal clear, and so the rustling Carla Bruni on “Little French Songs” or the screaming Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey on “Lilith” Butcher Babies will sound … natural. Their voices will be reproduced close to the listener, they will materialize in our listening space, and finally, we will experience the feeling of having the artist within arm’s reach.
So, we have here a very original and, at the same time, organic combination of power and refinement. We can say that the Vermöuth Audio Reference interconnects are to audiophile metallurgy as Kopi Luwak is to coffee, music to the taste buds of coffee lovers, both coming from Indonesia by the way (and I’m not referring to the very important aspect of the Asian palm civet, Paradoxurus Hermaphroditus, for its creation), with the difference that they come at a much less prohibitive cost and instead of being softer than other coffee beans, I mean other cables, they are alluringly musical, intensive and at the same time resolving. But as the Vermöuth Audio is so extraordinary in terms of sound and you don’t need to dig deep into your pocket, then maybe it is not the equivalent of Kopi Luwak, but slots into the specialty segment, more like Geisha coffee, coming from the best Panama plantations, with the fruity taste of peach. But this is no time for culinary digressions, and since those days when my consumption of coffee dropped suddenly on doctor’s orders from eight doppio espresso a day to one a week, and thus goodbye to my hypertension, I love this kind of exploration – and the contact with the Vermöuth Audio cables was not only very positive, but as I experienced no adverse side effects, I can enjoy “ear consumption” in a practically unlimited way.
To bring this matter to an end, this is my warmest recommendation and a small indication for all those who associate High-End with the highest possible sound and build quality and not artificially pumped-up prices. If you have not yet had the pleasure of encountering the specialties of Hendri Ramli, then you should quickly make amends, because I feel in my bones that there will be a lot of noise about them in the not too distant future.
System used in this test:
– CD/DAC: Ayon CD-35 (Preamp + Signature)
– Network player: Lumin U1 Mini
– Digital source selector: Audio Authority 1177
– Turntable: Kuzma Stabi S + Kuzma Stogi + Shelter 201
– Phonostage: Tellurium Q Iridium MM/MC Phono Pre Amp
– Power amplifier: Bryston 4B³
– Loudspeakers: Dynaudio Contour 30
– IC RCA: Tellurium Q Silver Diamond
– IC XLR: LessLoss Anchorwave; Organic Audio; Amare Musica
– Digital IC: Fadel art DigiLitz; Harmonic Technology Cyberlink Copper; Apogee Wyde Eye; Monster Cable Interlink LightSpeed 200
– USB cables: Wireworld Starlight; Goldenote Firenze Silver; Audiomica Laboratory Pebble Consequence USB; Fidata HFU2
– Speaker cables: Signal Projects Hydra
– Power cablese: Furutech FP-3TS762 / FI-28R / FI-E38R; Organic Audio Power + Furutech CF-080 Damping Ring; Acoustic Zen Gargantua II; Furutech Nanoflux Power NCF
– Power distribution board: Furutech e-TP60ER + Furutech FP-3TS762 / Fi-50 NCF(R) /FI-50M NCF(R)
– Wall power socket: Furutech FT-SWS(R)
– Anti-vibration platform: Franc Audio Accessories Wood Block Slim Platform
– Ethernet cables: Neyton CAT7+; Audiomica Laboratory Anort Consequence
– Table: Rogoz Audio 4SM3
Today, it really is a no-brainer that using the Internet properly is one of the more important elements of doing business. Everybody, even the most ignorant, knows that with the internet the whole wide world is just one click away, theoretically. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, this is just a general theory, because it seems to be very easy to find potential customers using the net, but often the expected results don’t materialise, regardless of the time and effort spent. Time passes, nothing happens! Of course, some small steps are noticeable, but you need to wait a long time for the breakthrough. But why do I bring this up? The answer is simple. From the early days of our portal about audio, we have been fighting to become visible in the audiophile world. And now, we are happy to report that we have a loyal group of dedicated readers, and we are starting to make better contact with manufacturers who do not have any distribution in Poland (at least up to the time of this review). So, which brands am I referring to? The first one was VIABLUE, and the next brand is the product currently being tested. What product, I hear you ask? Well, I am happy to announce that we have managed to arrange a test with the Indonesian cable manufacturer Vermöuth Audio and, for the first test, the company sent us two interconnects from the top Reference line, and not just the XLR version but the RCA one too!
According to the data obtained from the manufacturer, the material used, in this case UPOCC copper, was implemented according to the manufacturer’s proprietary specs. We are talking about braided thin wires with different cross-sections and diameters. Those wires were then enclosed in layers of Teflon and then, on the outside, with a very nice looking white sheath with black stripes. But this is just the beginning. Our eyes are drawn to the RCA and XLR plugs, which use carbon fibre in their outer layer. If you are putting the Reference cable behind a rack or audio gear, then I have some good news for you. The cables may not resemble well-cooked spaghetti, but they are not very stiff so they should not pose any application problems, even in the tightest conditions. I will finish this paragraph with one more piece of important information. I am not sure if you will be surprised or not, but being aware of the large market of counterfeit products, the manufacturer supplies the cables with a certificate of authenticity. And finally, after feasting your eyes to the full, each channel cable is placed in a separate linen pouch and then the complete caboodle is packed into cardboard boxes.
All right. So, now you know the history of how the Vermöuth Audio cables appeared in our test room. And you are also now somewhat acquainted with their looks and build. The time has come to write about their sonic abilities. And I assure you, after taking into account their price, they are very interesting, I would even dare to say, that they are phenomenal. Why? In a sense, they combine fire with water. Usually, when we add some juiciness to the music, then the treble suffers. Of course, this gets less and less noticeable when we go up the quality ladder of a given brand, but usually a balance is reached at price levels much above those acceptable for the average Joe. Yet, in the case of the tested Vermöuth Audio, we are dealing with cables which are really not very expensive when compared to the best wires on the market. Interestingly, increasing the sound mass does not make us feel that the music would be losing any breadth. Saturation appears, appropriate to the position of the sound with relevant juiciness on the break of midrange and bass, while the treble is still absolutely exuberant. The presentation gains a general energy of reverberation, losing nothing from the very important lightness of its presentation for each and every musical genre. The whole sound is drenched with sonorous aliquotes – something only the best can do. Every single disc, from seventies heavy rock up to soulful Baroque, had a very airy presentation, which made us listen to the very end. And it did not matter, whether I played recent folk metal from Svansevit Schuttenbach or I listened to the professor of ancient music, Jordi Savall, playing audio through the tested wires from the source to the power amplifier, the music could be described as soothing to my bruised audiophile ego. The instruments played in the low and midrange with appropriate grandeur, but with packets of information being very readable. And everything that happened in the upper range, despite the brightness of the sound, never resulted in burnout. Everything was surprisingly to the point. Am I too positive? No, not at all. Well, for speed lovers, putting on extra weight may cause some slowing down of the speed of signal increase, but please remember, that in the beginning I have good saturation, and even with that, nothing bad happened. The music just got some extra, often expected, noblesse. And that is it.
I would like to be well understood. The tested cables are not the eighth wonder of the world, but they are a surprisingly interesting offering at their price level, a bargain compared with the offered sonic value. But whether it fits in your setup depends on many aspects. Which aspects? It depends. One thing I can tell you for sure. In my case, in a very saturated system, I did not have the smallest problem keeping the sound on a phenomenal dense level, but at the same time freely creating a wide and deep virtual sound stage. This suggests that potential failure is only possible in the case of previously complete ignorance of the saturation level in your system. If you did not pass beyond the “G” point of musicality of your setup, then the Reference series of the Vermöuth Audio cables has a good chance of replacing the other cables you are using today. There is only one barrier. Which one? You need to try them out for yourselves. I have just described their strengths, and you have to confirm this for yourselves.
System used in this test:
Our reference system
– CD: CEC TL 0 3.0 + Reimyo DAP – 999 EX Limited TOKU
– Preamplifier: Robert Koda Takumi K-15
– Power amplifier: Reimyo KAP – 777
– Loudspeakers: Trenner & Friedl “ISIS”
– Speaker Cables: Tellurium Q Silver Diamond, Statement
– IC RCA: Hijri „Million”
– IC XLR: Tellurium Q Silver Diamond
– Digital IC: Harmonix HS 102
– Power cables: Harmonix X-DC 350M2R Improved Version, Furutech NanoFlux NCF Furutech DPS-4 + FI-E50 NCF(R)/ FI-50(R), Hijiri Nagomi
– Table: SOLID BASE VI
– Accessories: Harmonix TU 505EX MK II, Stillpoints ULTRA SS, Stillpoints ULTRA MINI, antivibration platform by SOLID TECH, Harmonix AC Enacom Improved for 100-240V, Harmonix Room Tuning Mini Disk RFA-80i
– Power distribution board: POWER BASE HIGH END
– Acoustic treatments by Artnovion
Drive: SME 30/2
Arm: SME V
Cartridge: MIYAJIMA MADAKE
Phonostage: RCM THERIAA
Manufacturer: Vermöuth Audio
Vermöuth Reference RCA: 850$ /1m pair + 160$ additional 0,25m (pair)
Vermöuth Reference XLR: 1 520$ /1m pair + 275$ additional 0,25m (pair)