Monday, 2 May 2016

The Black Pearl of Vermouth Audio - Another SEA Audio Pride











This part of the world have their own audio world secrets. Ranging from power amps to power conditioners to speakers to DAC to racks and now, I get to review speaker cables from Bali, Indonesia. Check out the video above to know a little bit more about Vermouth Audio.

After my recent revamp of my hifi system, I wanted to see whether I can squeeze even more from my current hardware. As I am not so much of upgrading hardware nowadays, but I am gamed to try new things to hear some changes in the system. First up is the speaker cable. The Siltech Classic Anniversary 330L have been my reference speaker cable for the past 5 years or so. When I purchased that cable, my system was in a dedicated room where I had a challenge of boomy bass. The Siltech helped to balance things out for me. Now that the system is out in the hall, I find that it is now the opposite. While the bass is warm and punchy, I would not mind if it can dig a bit deeper and also some sweeter mids. Hence, Victor of HiFi Creations suggested to try out Vermouth Audio's Black Pearl speaker cable. And I say, why not?

THE PACKAGING

Vermouth Audio products are built to order. For the Black Pearl, it took just over a week from order to the item arrived at my house. It came in box, complete with certificate and a protection bag. Very professional indeed.

THE BUILT

Both the spades and banana plugs are sturdily terminated to the cables and it is of cold forged tellurium copper rhodium plated. The non woven fabric although very smooth, it has a certain hardness to protect itself from rough abrasion for those whom are less bothered to the terms 'handle with care'. The overall built is top class and have the right stiffness to easily handled for the installation of the back of your amp and speakers.

THE SET UP

Now that I am back to my original set up, its back to a sound reference that I have always been familiar with.

  • Clearaudio Concept TT
  • Musical Fidelity M1 ViNL phono stage
  • Musical Fidelity M6i integrated amp
  • Musical Fidelity M6 DAC
  • Sony BDP750S BD Player (I have opted for this to spin HFPA instead of the usual Musical Fidelity M1 CDT)
  • ProAc Response D18 speakers
THE TRACKS
  • Alfonso Soliano's rendition of Lompat Si Katak Lompat (LP)
  • Alfonso Solianos's rendition of Kejujuran (LP)
  • Diana Krall's rendition of Besame Mucho (HFPA)
THE FIRST IMPRESSION

Straight out of the box, the Black Pearl sounded quite muddled. Bass was a bit rough and the highs and mids a bit flat. I could not figure out what was going on but within an hour or so, it started to open up and the notes started to fall into the appropriate spectrum. Not there just yet.....

THE SESSION

I let the Black Pearl to run in for about 100 hours before I started to do some serious listening. By the time this review was written, the cable has seen about 300 hours of music.

Alfonso Soliano's rendition of Lompat Si Katak Lompat

This track, although its a traditional folklore, the arrangement can really test your system. With the Black Pearl, this track sounded openly airy but still allow a good portion of the bass line to emerge where it matters. The cymbals and wind instruments sounded sufficiently sharp. It also brought up the very detail of the soft hit on the cymbals to create that continuous ringing sound, making the track to sound energized.

Alfonso Soliano's rendition of Kejujuran

On this track, the overall song sounded livelier than usual. The highs was really at the right level in which this track can sometimes reach an ear pinching level. The Black Pearl allows quite a balance between the low end and high end notes; not compromising any details in between. The saxophone sound was so melodic and full of energy flowing through music. At this stage, I am already falling in love with the bass and openness of the Black Pearl.

Krall's Besame Mucho

Now something with vocals. I purposely used a HFPA medium to test this speaker cable. And sure enough, the Black Pearl continues to impress me with such graceful mids, allowing the vocals to roam free in my hall with enough energy and texture. Her vocal sounded deep and it still carries the same traits of detail from previous tracks as well. 

THE CONCLUSION

Suffering from lifeless sound? Need some good low end notes to kick in your system? I believe that the Black Pearl can allow your system to open up more; bringing out the necessities of good bass, luscious mids and sweet highs. For those whom is still curious what your system can do, try this speaker cable out especially if you are looking for that little extra bass. It can do wonders to your listening pleasure. For about half of the price of Siltech, this might be one of the valued pricing I have seen in the cabling section of this hobby.

If anyone interested to audition, please contact Victor Pheh of HiFi Creations for those in Malaysia. For others, you can visit Vermouth Audio at Their Website


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