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Vermouth Audio Black Pearl Speaker Cables - Making a Case for Globalization

01-19-2015 | By Al Chieng | Issue 77

black pearl cables

Globalization has definitely made it easier for people to have a chance to show what they can do. When my "o fearless editor" suggested that I review a new cable coming from Indonesia I was honestly surprised by the country of origin. I could not pass up the opportunity to give it a shot and looked forward to see what they had come up with.

Speaker wire in general is not necessarily the most glamorous of components that make up a system. However, I believe that it is misunderstood in terms of how important it is in producing the music one expects out of a high quality setup. I have used a budget priced cable for a long time that has punched above its weight comparative to the other cables that I have tried throughout the years. It was with this in mind that I decided to introduce a more upscale product in the hopes that a detectable upgrade could be heard.

Enter Vermouth Audio, based in the capital city of Denpasar on the island of Bali, where company owner Hendry Ramli produces various audio cables. I am curious by nature and asked how he got started? His response is not unlike anyone else in the world that is willing to take a risk in a competitive world market. Hendry has a background in mechanical engineering and started dabbling in audio by designing his own pair of speakers. From there he branched out by experimenting on various cables and tweaks of his own design and then selling them to local customers. Vermouth Audio was born out of a dream to design in his own words "affordable, attractive, and great sounding equipment." The top cable that they produce is called the Black Pearl which has some interesting technical aspects such as:

  • 591 strands in total 10AWG UPOCC Conductor per channel

  • Multisize & Multilayer conductor in 2 different group

  • Non woven fabric for extra dampening and protection

  • Air tube spacer & suspension

  • 21 mm High flexible design allowing easy installation

  • Anodized sandblasted aluminum cable stopper

  • Cold Forging Tellurium Copper Rhodium Plated Termination

  • Carbon shell connectors

The cables were packed in a nice but simple presentation box. I appreciated the attention to detail by covering the connectors with an extra bit of un-heated shrink tube so that the connectors are protected during shipping; simply slip them off and you are off to the races. My first impression of build quality was positive to say the least. The attention to detail in terms of construction and aesthetics were definitely being fulfilled when Hendry decided to put this cable into production. Break in commenced immediately with a suggested 100 hour period, but for best results Hendry says 300 hours. Although the cables did have significant heft they were quite flexible and that made it easy to connect to the system. The connectors look to be of the highest quality and are cold forged to the wire. Cold forging means connectors use no solder and thus in theory does not change the molecular structure of the connector or wire being bonded together. In addition, the carbon fibre shell connectors where light and strong, and is supposed to dissipate any unwanted mechanical energy generated by sound waves… as well as looking sharp and sleek.

black pearl cables

I would second the suggestion of increased break in time as the initial hook-up and first listen were less than thrilling. This review took a little more time than usual as the cables really needed a long break in to sound their best. The 150 hour mark really showed a significant difference and when they finally warmed up I was greeted with a number of pleasant surprises. Obviously the results will vary for your setup but what I found most striking compared to my reference cables was greater resolution. By this I mean the overall image of instruments and singers was more defined with less haze. Picturing artists in the recording studio or venue was much easier to do. Playing the song "Sally Mae" from Buddy Guy's album Blues Singer really brought this out as the artist and his band were well defined in the recording studio. The reproduction of an intimate presentation, no doubt as the sound engineer had envisioned during the recording process, was clear and unique. The cable brought out more detail and nuance to songs like "Mercy Now" from Mary Gauthier's album of the same name as it presented her voice with an increased feeling and truth to the lyrics she was singing. The ability of Gauthier to transmit pain and loss in her voice has always connected me to her music and the Black Pearl created an even greater reflection of emotion and inflection. Although these cables increased resolution they did not do it in such a way that the music was rendered as clinical. What I mean by this is that although you could hear the accidental pin drop in the recording studio it did not take away from the intention of the artist. The Black Pearl, although highly resolving, does not break up the music into individual elements, but makes the bigger picture a priority. I also found that the cable reproduced mid and lower bass with much more accuracy. My reference cables could not be described as one bass note wonders, but I definitely heard greater detail.

I really enjoyed the time that I had with these cables and the only real trade-off that I could detect was their rendition of the soundstage. I found, compared to my reference cables, that the Black Pearl had a narrower but deeper presentation of the space as was evident when listening to different recordings. Several classical works I listened to with the cables, whether it was vinyl or digital, revealed less width but more depth; though the height was unchanged between each cable. Although noticeable, I would say that the reduction in width was minimal for the exchange of greater detail and accuracy.

In the end, what do you get for your hard earned money? What you get is a good sounding well-built cable. The Black Pearl speaker cable represents a great effort and definitely worth your consideration. Going back to globalization, I would have to say that Vermouth Audio has definitely made a step in the right direction. I appreciate the competitive nature of the market place where innovation should be rewarded and access given to those willing to take entrepreneurial risks. I asked Hendry what the future holds for his company and like any good business person he is not going to stay still, but continue to expand and offer new products. Expect Vermouth to be on more people's radar as the company continues its audio journey.

Take care. Al Chieng

Black Pearl Speaker Cables
Retail: $915 USD/1.8 m + $95 USD for each additional foot

Hendri Ramli
Jln.Gatot Subroto Tengah No.100X Kav.15
Denpasar - Bali (80231) | Indonesia
[email protected]