By WL Low
They say good things come to those who wait. Sometimes they just come out of nowhere! I have never heard about Vermouth Audio prior to this, but an e-mail arrived one fine day from Hendry (the owner of Vermouth Audio) requesting if we”d review his cables. It was a long shot, but in the end, we’d agree on the grounds of giving our neighbours(you see, Vermouth Audio is from Indonesia!) a chance, if the products are good enough. Hendry certainly thought so, and wasted no time, because within a few weeks, the cables arrived to my door step. Hendry had sent me two of his latest products, Red Velvet 2013 speaker cables, complete with matching jumpers and a pair of Black Pearl MKII RCA terminated interconnects(LS Loo will be writing about it).
Upon opening the packaging, I marvelled at the beautiful industrial grade build quality, which inspires a feel amd look of confidence. The Red Velvet had a bright red mesh jacket and are terminated with Vermouth Audio’s custom made cold forging Tellurium copper rhodium plated spades and banana plugs at both ends(at my request, spades or amplifier side, and banana at speaker end). Here are just a few salient points in the making of the Red Velvet.
– 9AWG Hybrid Multi size UPOCC Conductor with unique geometry
– Cold Forging Termination Rhodium Plated Tellurium Banana Plug
– Air Tube to make spacing between the conductors to eliminate cross talk
and absorbing internal vibration
– Noise Rejection Paper Warp & Soft Stranded Cotton to protect cable from
– Very Flexible 19mm diameter Cable Jacket
|Cold Forging Termination Rhodium Plated Tellurium spade.|
Okay, so the cable feels and looks great, but how does it sound most of all? The first track played upon installing the speaker cables in to my system had me convinced that the Red Velvet is about the most transparent, as the best cable I’ve heard(including those that allowed me to hear god”s words!), which is a high a compliment as I can give to any audio component. Each and every musical note appears out of a back ground that”s not even black, it’s so very, very silent that back grounds are virtually non-existent.
It’s a surreal experience, and I think one should experience for one self to really “get” what I am trying to say here. I played Jenifer Warnes The Well CD, track 6, titled And So It Goes, one of my long term reference track, which I heard more grand piano harmonics, timbre and textures, more foot pedal work and more recording back ground “air”. Ms Warnes voice conveys a sense of vulnerability, and sadness. There’s plenty of other recording detail fleshed out by the Vermouth Audio Red Velvet.
|Cold Forging Termination Rhodium Plated Tellurium banana plugs.|
I would call the Red Velvet a strictly tonally neutral cable, with highly analytical capabilities. There’s a sense of directness to the sound, versus the laid backness of some other cables. If you crave for immediacy in musical presentation, the Red Velvet offers them in spades! The highs are truly spot lighted and highly extended, with no sense of harshness or brightness. Instead, its highs are relatively smooth, but will not lack attack, or bite when playing rock style drum kit cymbals and high hats. Its mid range is just as smooth, but will portray vocal textures and timbre with relative ease. I only wished for a hint of warmness in the mids, so that when playing the violin instrument on classical pieces, the lushness of mass strings can be more discernible, but that’s just my preference. You may like or want some other properties, or would just be happy with the Red Velvet as it is.
Like all of the latest batch of cable designs, the bass is all about balls, guts and glory. It dives deep, hard and fast, which forms and energetic foundation for the music to build on. Bass is never bloated, slow or one notey. It always manages to convey note to note transfer of double bass, and contra bass clearly and cleanly, with no notes over hanging longer than required. It does not mean that the Red Velvet’s bass is lean either, as the volume and body is certainly there for all to appreciate.
|The industrial strenght termination.|
Sound stage and imaging is relatively accomplished, tough not exactly in the same league as the best cables out there. I said that only because I heard “that cable” where god spoke to me. In comparison, the Red Velvet portrays a rather wide sound stage, but with slightly hammed in stage depth perception, as if there”s not as much elbow room between musicians within the sound stage. On the flip side, imaging is densely filled up, with just the right amount of out lining, which is not too hard nor soft for my liking.
Just for comparison’s sake, I did find my resident Siltech 25th Anniversary 330L speaker cable to offers more character with refined highs, in an exquisite manner. Having said that, the Sitech cost more than a few times the price of the Red Velvet, so some thing’s gotta give. Regardless that the Red Velvet may not be perfect (but then which hifi equipment is?), but I’ve decided to keep the review samples as my long term reference, not just at the budget or mid fi sector only, as I feel in fact, the Red Velvet can take on the best cables in the market today, and can probably held it’s own. It does most things right, and few things very well, with no audio performance short comings that I could hear.
|Vermouth Audio Black Pearl MKII interconnects, available in RCA termination only. Not the subject of this review.|
Vermouth Audio has no distributor here in Malaysia, so they conduct business via their web site, just Google search Vermouth Audio, and you’ll probably find them on Facebook too, which offers lots of insight in to Hendry’s daily business and product activities. The Red Velvet retails for RM$1,700.00 for a 1.8M pair, excluding shipping and local import duties. I think the Red Velvet is one of those hidden gems in high end audio that offers truly superb sound quality for the asking value. It just boils down to how it will fit in to one’s system synergy and sonic preferences.
|Jenifer Warnes, The Well is a long time reference of mine.|
For those with mid end systems, I would suspect the Red Velvet is a great companion with lots of room to grow with long term up grades. For those with very high end audio system, the Red Velvet will be a boon for someone looking for the right combination of neutral, energetic and direct sound, versus that of an over ripe, laid back and relaxed sonic combo. The choice of course, is yours to make.
For more info, kindly visit www.vermouthaudio.com
Vermouth Audio is sold by Hifi Creations, contact Victor at 012-2962799