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Vermöuth Audio Studio Monitor English ver.

Link do zapowiedzi (en): Vermöuth Audio Studio Monitor

Opinion 1

I am probably not revealing any secret, when I claim that the pro-audio and audiophile circles treat each other with some safe distance, if not to say cold. The one and the other party look at each other’s doings and check those in their own field, but in general you can easily assume, that the representatives of both sides know what they know and are doing everything their own way. Of course there are some exceptions to the rule, like for example Amphion, and the Polish Sveda Audio, or Bryston, companies that do not care about the animosities and manufacture their products for both markets, just giving the customer a choice – if they want the “civilian” or the “professional” product – often offering a rack mount and handles. Yet this kind of “borrowings” and transfers of “foreign cultures” to their own backyard happen from time to time, what can be confirmed by, for example, the presence of the Bowers & Wilkins 800 series speakers in the Abbey Road Studios, or the popularity of the clocks and re-clockers from Mutec in the civilian systems of refined audiophiles. Yet it is hard to be surprised by that, as when we listen to music using devices that were also used during the recording process, this can be called an ideal situation. We can finally have a chance of hearing the same thing, the person responsible for the recording did. And following this trope we were very enthusiastic, when we received the proposition of the Gliwice based 4HiFi to test loudspeakers, that connect both worlds, in a way of speaking, the pro-audio with the civilian Hi-Fi/High End. I am talking about the Indonesian Vermöuth Audio Studio Monitor, a product from the brand, that for most will be associated with audiophile cables. However Hendry Ramli did not sit still in the meantime, and broadened the company portfolio with loudspeakers. And we would like to invite you to a meeting with those.

Already the process of applying the Vermöuth in our system, which you can see in the unboxing session, showed us clearly, that the Bali manufacturer approaches the care of their products with appropriate care, as each of the speakers was packaged in a solid, wooden box and secured with foam profiles and textile covers. The speaker boxes present themselves in a very elegant way. The timeless piano-black finish and skinny looks do the trick. Similarly to the “necked” and slightly concave fronts with the three drivers in a d’Appolito arrangement. And while the loudspeakers can be regarded as exotic, just looking at their provenience, but the choice of drivers is also not so obvious. The ceramic Accuton C173 do not need any special introduction, but the ribbon tweeter placed between them, is absolutely no mainstream. It is a … Serbian driver RAAL 70-20XR AM. Also intriguing is the way the company handled the bass-reflex ports, as rectangular ports were placed on the interior side walls, what sets which loudspeaker is the left and which is the right one. Why this solution? Well, it comes from the planned usage. It turns out, that many times in recording and mastering studios there is not enough space to allow the speakers to be positioned in appropriate distance from the back wall, and the presence of ports on the front does not add to their looks. This results in the need to place those vents on the side panels. On the other hand, the main portion of the back panel is covered by a metal plate with single, proprietary wire terminals, made from rhodium plated telluric copper. Behind the plate there is a large cross-over, which can be ordered in one of the four advancement levels. From the description on the boxes we learned, that the version we received is called “Upgrade 2”. This means we have the capacitors in the treble section in a better spec than the basic ones, but in the next level we would get the legendary Duelund, and in the top version those are covered in resin and placed outside of the chassis, what completely eliminates the influence of vibrations. The cross-over frequency is set to 1.75kHz, so we have here a two-way system with quite sufficient sensitivity of 89dB and a friendly impedance of 8Ohm with a 6.2Ohm minimum. This will not cause panic to users of tube amplifiers, but you should take into account the manufacturer’s recommendation to use amplifiers of 50W or more.
Additionally, taking into account their studio-civilian nature of the VASM (Vermöuth Audio Studio Monitor) they are available in both versions, an active and a passive one. The latter is the one we got for testing. The cabinets are made from MDF and have multiple internal reinforcements, although the cabinet itself is already very sturdy. The front is 50mm thick, the side walls 25mm and the remaining ones, as well as the internal reinforcements 18mm. The speakers have also a separate chamber for the cross-over or amplifier. Interestingly, in the Internet you can find the blueprints for the loudspeaker cabinets, with detailed dimensions, so if you feel confident in your handwork, you can create a safety copy of those quite easily.

And how do the VASM sound? I could say, that they are surprisingly close to the top line of the Bali made cables, the Reference. It is very good and natural – in the organic sense, without any artificiality and strain, they combine sensual darkening with high resolution. But this does not mean, that the Vermöuth sound dark, or even withdrawn, not at all, they supply the full package of information without any desire to emphasize on the treble, or upping it to achieve apparent increase of the volume of the reproduced information, while in fact this would boil down to accenting the detail and edges and making listening much less comfortable. And the comfort of listening to the VASM is above average. To better show you this, seemingly minor, difference I will resort to an example from a different realm. If you would imagine a text read by two different lectors – one with a lot of emphasis on the way it is interpreted, and another one, where the text is not obscured by the form, but presented in full, with perfect pronunciation – then the tested speakers will absolutely be in the second camp. But returning to our, audiophile, grounds, a similar sound culture was represented by the Estonian Estelon, a brand, which does currently not have a distributor on the Polish market. But now I need to verify, how this euphonia influences the repertoire and sounds, that are not usually associated with it, so I reached out for the blues-rock disc “Signs” by Jonny Lang, where the electronically processed, almost garage “filthy” guitar and the matte, quite hoarse vocals, that is much closer to the younger Brian Adams in terms of age, than to Tom Waits or Keith Richards, come together in a rough mixture. And you need to add to that the rounded, fat base and quite old-school keyboards supported by drums and percussion, able to give a kick and where the cymbals also are not being spared. This very diverse mixture the Vermöuth are able to place on a nice bass foundation, nicely surprising with downward reach and control, stabilize with very well saturated midrange and allow the golden treble to shine. Is this not a bit too romantic and sweet? Only seemingly, because this is not a mellow goop, but certain, discreet toning of the overly offensive accents in favor of reproducing a coherent whole. And additionally they keep the mentioned roughness, which in this case, is a confirmation of the full picture of the texture of the individual sounds, but without the artificial, forced emphasis on granularity, which does not help anything besides fatiguing the listener.
So the question becomes legitimate, if this sound signature, so close to the Reference cable series can coexist with the company cabling? And here, based on absolutely my personal preferences, I would claim, that as this combination may be appealing for a subset of listeners, especially those who have systems that are overly eager in serving sibilants and approaching the reproduced recordings with an exaggeratedly analytic way, for those with more balanced systems this could become too sweet. This is the reason, that I performed most of my listening with the Korean Hemingway Z-core∑ instead of the Vermöuth Audio Reference Loudspeaker Cable. Because it turned out, that their phenomenal dynamics and the ability of differentiating even the smallest nuances created such a synergetic effect with the Bali loudspeakers, that I decided that searching for other solutions is pointless.
But returning to music, to the more lyrical approach to prog-metal “Resident Human” by Wheel or the classic – “Lateralus” by Tool, it was clearly audible, that the mentioned darkening does not result in losing any details or the ability of having an in-depth insight into the recording, even in the most dense arrangements. And it does not matter if we are talking about densely woven guitar riffs, or the polyrhythmic sounds of the drums and percussion supported by ecstatic bass plucks, the Vermöuth placed the mosaic together with enormous attention, at first allowing the listener to get acquainted with the played music as a whole, and then, when you were getting deeper into the recording, presented the subsequent tastes and nuances. Additionally you did not find any overblown aggression or offensiveness in those, quite neck breaking recordings, which sometimes approached cacophony (at least for listeners not used to those climates). There was as much energy in the reproduced sound as needed to be, but without any need to artificially up the tempo. And what about classical and other civilized genres? It was absolutely not worse, and I can feel it in my bones, that most of the potential buyers may think it was better, as with opera arias (“Antonio Vivaldi” by Cecilia Bartoli) and in micro-ecosystems of chamber ensembles (“Just the Two of Us” by Caecilie Norby and Lars Danielsson) the Studio Monitor could slowly weave their tale, showing the music lovers the tastier parts of the music coming from their drivers.

And here we come to the essence, namely the very harmful stereotypes, which, let us be frank, come from inability of using the drivers properly, telling us about the ceramic speakers being matte or ribbon tweeters being garish. The Vermöuth are telling us the opposite, as when I compare them to the more “typical” competition, using paper/textile membranes, the Bali made speakers place those in a very difficult spot. This is the reason, that despite utilizing Accuton drivers and the RAAL ribbon, the Vermöuth Audio Studio Monitor can be seen as the incarnation of refined musicality and very satisfying resolution and dynamics, a proposal almost ideal for all of you, who are looking for emotion and pleasure in music, and do not try to split the hair in four.

Marcin Olszewski

Opinion 2

It is well known, that any manufacturer of any kind of audio accessory, when he or she tries to enter the consumer market, has a sound master in his or her head. In theory everybody wants to reproduce the sound of live music, but it is known, that every homo sapiens has a different opinion on the same theme, and secondly, different methods of achieving the same result. But what am I hinting at? Of course to the fact, that some manufacturers offer only one kind of product, while others have more. Most companies tries to satisfy the needs of the consumers with only one range of products, being it cables, speakers or electronics, while others try their skills on many different fronts. And the latter is one we will have a look at today. I am talking about the well-known, at least for our readers, manufacturer from Bali, from whom we tested a wide range of cables, but now, thanks to the Gliwice based distributor 4HiFi, provided us with the stand mount speakers Vermöuth Audio Studio Monitor.

As you can see on our pictures, the tested speakers are designed to be placed on a stand, but compared to some other representatives of that group, they are quite big. This is a result of the manufacturer trying to have them reproduce large sound, devoid from distortion. This is why with the quite narrow fascia, shaped to counteract the detrimental influence of wave diffraction and equipped with three drivers in d’Appolito setting – where the mid-woofers from Accuton are placed around the RAAL ribbon, the speakers are exceptionally high and deep, to allow properly low reaching bass. An interesting touch is the not so typical placement of the bass-reflex ports, as the rectangular ports are placed on the inside wall of the cabinet. The back panel is just equipped with a single pair of wire terminals and carries the logo and model name. Finalizing the paragraph about the technicalities I need to mention, that the tested speakers are a two-way construction, with the declared frequency response from 44Hz to 55kHz at +/- 3dB and sensitivity of 89dB. For transport, the Bali beauties are placed inside cotton bags and packaged in wooden boxes covered with profiled foam.

Moving on to the main topic, the approach to sound according to Vermöuth Audio, the first thing I need to communicate, is the fact, that I need to fully deny the common opinion, that ceramic drivers are aggressive or have washed out timbre. Yes, if someone is not able to apply them properly, the final effect may be the confirmation of the stereotype I recalled earlier. Fortunately the owner of the company had sufficient experience gained from making audio cables, to acknowledge, that good sound is colorful sound, full of unobtrusive shine and emotion. And he was able to achieve this brilliantly. The music never crossed the borderline of good taste in terms of expressiveness, while having nice plasticity, a sound stage extending in all directions, typical for stand mount speakers, and due to proper amount of saturation, it presented a surprisingly palpable spectacle. What is very important in this kind of speakers, despite a solid amount of bass, for the size of them, it was never the leading part of the sound in the spectacle unfolding in my room. Yes, compared to the full-range Gauder, you could hear the effort put into creating appropriate amounts of it, but without signs of losing breath, or pumping. In my perception, the tested speakers touched the right spot of consensus between the minimum required package, and the one that could be generated without deterioration to showing the joy included in the played music. This is not easy even for big speakers, the more praise is due for not falling into the low frequency traps.
To confirm this state of the matter, let me just mention the very difficult, to present properly, disc “Black Market Enlightenment” by Antimatter. This is a well recorded rock madness, which was shown with appropriate swing, breath, energy and drive, just like with my big speakers. Of course here the sound did not go as far down, but for example on the first piece, the Studio Monitor splendidly created the increasing tension, to finally show the energetic finale, well supported by the lower octaves. And it was nice, that even with high volume levels I did not hear any fight for survival. In contrary, to my positive surprise, the sound, despite a significant amount of transmitted information, kept its composure and had appropriate nobleness. It was expressive and appropriately aggressive, but not tiring, something that is not so obvious, when the Accuton drivers are not applied properly.
Another example from a completely opposite pole of well recorded music was the enchanting Cassandra Wilson with “Another Country”. As usual with this artist, it is a very well made recording, what means that the bass is well controlled, but there is plenty of it, the top range is clear, but not flashy and the midrange well saturated, showing the full potential of Cassandra’s vocals. This results in any shortcomings in the control of the lower notes, lack of resolution in the midrange or leaving the treble on its own to condemn the reproduction of this disc. Also here the constructor found a consensus not only in the reproduction of the multi-colored voice of the singer, but also in the sound of instruments, with special attention to different kinds of drums and guitar. Why am I mentioning those? I would like to remind you, that we are dealing here with stand mount speakers, and in such boxes the bass is usually the Achilles heel, for which in this model a solution was found in making the cabinets of significant size. Their volume allows to fight for nice murmurs and multi-colored hits, what without the effect of “pumping” allowed for free reproduction of the package of information about the vibrating membranes of the drums and strong, but well accented and having appropriate essence, acoustic guitar plucks. And if this happens, you should not be surprised, that I am listening to a disc from beginning to the end with a big smile on my face.

I hope that I showed you clearly enough, that in this case we deal with a complete denial of the stereotype about lack of musicality of loudspeakers using drivers with ceramic diaphragms. Vermöuth Audio Studio Monitor showed, that well recorded, and aggressive rock, can sound without hurting your ears, and female vocals can enchant in the style of the best soft membranes. Is this really possible? Of course. Everything bases on knowledge, which you can acquire through years of experience – in this case during construction of audio cables, knowledge that translated into very well sounding stand mount speakers. Are those speakers an offer for everyone? Let me put it this way. If you are limited with the size of your listening room, or just like this kind of sound, that physically eliminates the speakers from your room, then those speakers should be on top of your potential listening list. I do not see another option.

Jacek Pazio

System used in this test:
– transport: CEC TL 0 3.0
– streamer: Melco N1A/2EX + switch Silent Angel Bonn N8
– DAC: dCS Vivaldi DAC 2.0
– Master clock: Mutec REF 10 SE-120
– reclocker: Mutec MC-3+USB
– Shunyata Research Omega Clock
– Shunyata Sigma V2 NR
– Preamplifier: Gryphon Audio Pandora
– Power amplifier: Gryphon Audio APEX Stereo
– Loudspeakers: Gauder Akustik Berlina RC-11 Black Edition
– Speaker Cables: Synergistic Research Galileo SX SC
IC RCA: Hijiri Million „Kiwami”, Vermouth Audio Reference
IC XLR: Tellurium Q Silver Diamond, Hijiri Milion „Kiwami”, Siltech Classic Legend 880i
Digital IC: Hijiri HDG-X Milion
Power cables: Hijiri Takumi Maestro, Furutech Project-V1, Furutech NanoFlux NCF, Furutech DPS-4.1 + FI-E50 NCF(R)/ FI-50(R), Hijiri Nagomi, Vermouth Audio Reference Power Cord, Acrolink 8N-PC8100 Performante
– 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
Analog stage:
Drive: Clearaudio Concept
Cartridge: Essence MC
Step-up: Thrax Trajan
Phonostage: Sensor 2 mk II

Polish distributor: 4HiFi
Manufacturer: Vermöuth Audio
Price: 45 900 PLN

Technical details
Sensitivity:: 89dB @ 1W/1m/1 KHz
Impedance: 8Ω (nominal), 6.2Ω (minimum @140Hz)
Freq Resp: 44Hz-50KHz +/-3dB
Crossover frequency: 1.75KHz
– Tweeter: RAAL 70-20XR AM
– Midwoofer: 2 x ceramic Accuton C173 6.5″
Min Power Requirement: 50W
Dimension (W x D x H): 206 x 512 x 600 mm
Shipping weight: 78 kg/pair

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