August
2020

Country of Origin

Bali

Reference USB & speaker cables

Reviewers: Marja & Henk
Financial interests: click here
Sources: PS Audio PWT; Dr. Feickert Blackbird MKII/DFA 1o5/Zu DL-103;
DAC: Mytek Brooklyn; Mytek Brooklyn Bridge; T+A DAC8 [loaner]; TotalDAC D1 Direct [loaner] Streaming sources: Devialet AIR; La Rosita Beta; Qobuz Desktop, Tidal Desktop; Sound Galleries SGM 2015 [loaner] Preamp/integrated/power: Audio Note Meishu with WE 300B (or AVVT, JJ, KR Audio 300B output tubes); dual Devialet D-Premier; PTP Audio Blok 20; Hypex Ncore 1200 based monoblocks; Trafomatic Kaivalya; Trafomatic Reference One; Trafomatic Reference Phono One; Music First Passive Magnetic
Speakers: Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Omega; Arcadian Audio Pnoe; Podium Sound One; WLM Sub 12; Sounddeco Alpha F3; dual Zu Submisson MKI; Soltanus Virtuoso ESL
Cables: complete loom of ASI LiveLine cables; full loom of Crystal Cable cables; full loom of Nanotec Golden Strada; Audiomica Pearl Consequence interconnect; Audiomica Pebble Consequence USB; Audiocadabra Ultimus3 Plus Dual-Headed Solid-Silver
Power line conditioning: PS Audio Powerplant Premier; PS Audio Humbuster III; IsoTek Evo 3 Syncro; AudioMica Allbit Consequence
Equipment racks: Solid Tech and ASI amplifier and TT shelf
Indispensable accessories: Furutech DeMag; ClearAudio Double Matrix; Franc Audio Ceramic Disc Classic; Shakti Stones; Kemp polarity checker; Akiko Audio Corelli,Costello and Phono Booster; Pink Faun LAN Isolator; Farad external power supply
Online Music purveyors: qobuz.comtidal.combandcamp.comamazon.co.uk
Room treatment: Acoustic System International resonators, sugar cubes, diffusers
Room size: ca. 14.50 x 7.50m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls, wooden flooring upstairs, ca 7 x 5m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls and concrete floor downstairs
Review component retail: $2'485/1.8m/pr, add $300/0.3m/pr extra, banana-to-spade jumpers €580/pr; $400 A/B-type USB, add €60/0.35m extra

Publisher's intro.

Cowboys and aliens.
In just three terse words, one movie title said and had it all. Without the vital 'of Mars', John Carter had it all too but didn't say so. Is that why a €250 million Disney adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' other hero flopped? Unlike Tarzan, 2012's movie-going public apparently hadn't heard of this character from his pulp fiction rein of the early 1900s. They had no idea to expect a hybrid Western/SciFi set on Mars during the time of the American Civil War. They didn't anticipate swords, boots, four-armed green resistance fighters, big white hairy apes and dragonfly sky ships.

With Vermöuth the hifi tale, adding 'of Bali' to the title would do little to manage expectations any better; even though Denpasar on this garden island is where Hendry Ramli plies his trade. Yet what does that really tell us? Unless we're bigoted about where our hifi kit is from, the world's our oyster. But there's more. A big part of Hendry's export portfolio is cable. Those wires are assembled from pre-fabricated spools sourced to his very own specs from Taiwan's Neotech. His custom-branded Vermöuth socketry is made by a Taiwanese high-end connector manufacturer. Hence top-shelf ingredients and elite handiwork. One-man prices from an Indonesian isle are lower than equivalent goods from the mainlands. How much more could we say to doll up today's cable title?

There are OCC copper conductors, PTFT/mylar insulators, air tubes to maintain geometry, PVC jackets, shiny connectors. Let's go all out. Let's call our movie Vermöuth reference cables of Bali. The audience is still in the dark. What to anticipate once the film starts rolling? One studio's hit is another's flop. If you're Crystal Cable, you have Dreamline, Absolute Dream, Ultimate Dream and—to go to Mars—Future Dream. As the words get more fantastic, buyers wonder. Is such a plot believable? Is the action just hare-brained special effects? Did the studio waste money on flashy CG but lost the story? And who ever heard of this lead actor?

To answer such questions and clearly manage expectations, there's the formal review, informal owner's feedback and forum community. Cables in particular are like cop shows. Everybody does them. Why should we care about another? Let's find out for Hendry Ramli's newest USB and speaker cables. They join analog RCA/XLR cables and a power cord in his Reference range. That means they're dressed in white with crisscrossing black threads.

It means they're the best he knows how to make.

It means spades and bananas now of his own design using annealed rhodium plating over tellurium copper to enable hydraulically crimped terminations. Those and the carbon shells of his connectors he has fabricated in Taiwan. The USB plugs proper are from a standard supplier. The copper conductors are again from proven cable OEM giant Wanlung/Neotech.

What one can say just looking is that today's target audience appreciates cosmetics and girth. These cables are dressed to look their high-end price and their fancy connectors with gleaming carbon-fiber barrels ring the bling thing loud. And now the adverts have rolled. It's time for the feature movie. Now the real directors take over, Marja & Henk in Holland. They shall report on the actual sound. That, after all, is the real story.

Break out the popcorn?

… to be continued…