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Verum Audio - Exciting high performance DIY planar

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by cskippy, Aug 22, 2018.
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  1. wonderfaller
    Hi, Roman!

    Can't wait to finally have a listen!
    Do you know how to keep track of my order or when can I expect the cans to arrive?.

  2. shanecoughlan
    I have ordered the Verum 1 as a birthday present to myself. This is a treat based on an interest in great sound tempered by an analytical stance and a sprinkling of intent to help a new business find its feet.

    I will be talking about my experience in this forum to help support a certain type of owner and to provide a general record that may be useful to a broader range of people.
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
  3. FullBright1
    Wonderful BD present to yourself.
    You'll love the V1s.
    Best dollar for dollar headphone value currently in production.
    And.......MY BD is also in May...the 27th, just like Vincent Price..... and i bought myself a new Guitar today. (happy BD to me......)
    ( I like to give my gifts early).

    And you are going to give us your insight, once the V1's tell you what to tell us.
    Well that is outstanding news, as this Forum is built on opinion, sustained by opinion, and only functions to create opinions.
    Opinions RULE here.
    Welcome to the opinion machine.
    "to thine on Opinion, be true".

    Last edited: May 12, 2019
    PaganDL, trellus and shanecoughlan like this.
  4. shanecoughlan
    Thank you fb1! I hope that my journey of curiosity might be useful for people similar to me, especially those who are just beginning to dabble in better sound. I will be posting my impressions of the Verum 1 after I get them. Meanwhile, I want to leave a note about what took me to the Verum 1 in the first place. This is a personal prelude that lead to hitting purchase and can safely be skipped if you have no interest in why a relative newbie ended up making a decision.

    The type of owner I am:
    • I like great sound.
    • I value objectivity.
    • I accept my measured biological limits.
    • I do not believe in “Golden Ears.”
    • Meanwhile, I respect that other people may believe other things.
    • In the end, this is about recreational sound.
    • The goal is to have fun.
    My starting point:
    • Analysis shows CD 16 bit 44.1kHz sound is around the upper limit of human hearing fidelity [1]
    • Pushing up the bitrate allows us to include more dynamic range in a recording and that is noticeable to those with good hearing.
    • A modern iPhone and similar equipment provides 24 bit 48kHz audio support.
    • After this point you are looking at diminishing returns. [2]
    • Access to music that sounds great to most people
    • Access to music players that can...play...that music
    • Access to headphones that can reproduce that sound
    My current status:
    • iPhone X
    • HomePod
    • Bose QC35
    • Yamaha YAS 207 (soundbar)
    All of these are excellent. Objective measurements show good sound from everything within our target of 24 bits at 48kHz maximum. Some people, of course, have strong opinions for and against these tools. That’s fine. Each to their own.

    Stuff I also have available at the moment:
    • Original mint Pioneer PL1200 turntable from early 70s with new Nakaoka 71-331 cartridge.
    • Original Yamaha CA-1000 amplifier from early 1970s
    • Sony SS-K10ED speakers
    The above is fun, warm and shows how average people with a pretty good budget listened to music back in the day. It sounds fine but the nuance, detail and clarity is less than my current systems. I gravitate towards my HomePod and Bose headphones for a mixture of their sound and convenience.

    Where we are going next:
    • I would like to get more detail in my music and movies for critical listening
    • So I want as much detail as possible from 20-20,000Hz
    • This lead to a rabbit hole of DACs and headphones [3]
    • And clarity that if you want better sound, you start with the speakers
    • Then you consider what you need to drive the speakers
    • And this eventually lead to Verum 1

    Short version:
    • Objective performance analysis suggests they do very, very well inside their budget range
    • They are 8 ohm and can be happily driven by a smartphone, meaning no external DAC is needed, an additional saving
    • And there is plenty space to mess around with things like balanced headphone cablesand DACs if I ever wanted...for fun
    Long version:

    I found it fascinating that the eventual endpoint of my journey to get a new toy lead me to the Verum 1.

    It was not super surprising to end up at headphones, but a left-field first generation hand built product from Ukraine? With a substantial weight and size? And a strange and conspicuous headband that looks like cat ears? That was super surprising. Doubly so when considering that I spend about 30% of my time on the road and therefore normally seek something portable.

    So why Verum 1?

    It almost was not. The MDR-1A, HD660S and HD800S were top on my list of consideration. Three very different headphones at three very different price points. I kept coming back to the HD660S due to a mix of how they sounded and their price point. It was this 350~500 USD space that I began to see as my target area for investment in my hobby. Then I spread my wings in this price range and started to really look around to make sure I did not miss anything interesting.

    At this point Verum 1 attracted me for two reasons:
    • I have been curious about the ability of open planar headphones to drive plenty of detail without becoming too brittle
    • The creator is a fan of speakers, tuned these headphones to provide a speaker-like performance, and that is ideal for my small apartment.
    I simply did not expect to find something in this price range offering these features. Indeed, I had shuffled this concept off to “perhaps later when I buy a HD800S”, albeit with some reservations about how brittle the HD800S sounds to me. It was so surprising that I was willing to forgo portability, normally a hard line for me.

    Hitting purchase did I expect an HD800S killer? No. I expect something that is probably comparable to the HD600 series in audio fidelity with a little more range in the bass. Reviews appear to bear this out. That is pretty exciting, especially given it undercuts the HD660S by about 100 USD in Japan. Even more exciting is the backstory. These headphones are being built using an open process by an enthusiast with some new ideas. It is a gamble but it is also strangely fitting after a lot of wandering around.

    And will the truth (for me) show that the Verum 1 is a great solution? Will it make my music sound better? Will I turn on these headphones instead of my HomePod? Will I pick up these headphones when I watch Netflix on my tablet? In preference to my Yamaha YAS 207 when watching a movie on TV? That’s what I will find out in six weeks.

    So...we know what we want. We have placed an order. We await the next steps! Updates to follow.

    Footnotes below. Meanwhile, if someone who is new to all this stumbles into this thread, questions like “why these starting points?” can be answered by spending time around http://archimago.blogspot.com/ and https://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html and similar locations. You can check out objective analysis of items like the QC35 at sites like rtings.com.


    [1] Actually 16 bit 20kHz ...but we want double the hz to allow perfect reproduction inside our hearing range of 20-20,000hz because math.

    [2] This is not to say you are wrong to want a higher fidelity recording. If the original master was 24 bits at 96 kHz and you love the album...then why not? It certainly won’t make the music sound worse. I plan to buy a high fidelity copy of Nirvana Nevermind because...well, I just like the album and it will make me happy.

    [3] And amusing articles on high fidelity HDMI and network cables. Wow.
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
    trellus, Currawong and CoFire like this.
  5. allaces305
    Welcome to the Verum One Head-Fi thread...I look forward to your opinion on the Verum's...I saw the hostility over on that other forum and they treated you rather rough in my opinion... Well anyways I don't think you'll find that type of treatment here... Welcome to Head-Fi.
    CoFire and shanecoughlan like this.
  6. yavormoskov
    I received my Zebrano Verums with silver grills today. As I write this, I listen to the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra - Canon D by Johann Pachelbel. This piece is very good at measuring how well the headphones can deal with complex classical music. So far - brilliant. Please do yourself a favor and throw away the included 6.35 mm (1/4 inch) adapter. It makes the music 10 times worse. Everything changed when I switched to the Furutech rhodium plated adapter. Much better now.
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
    shanecoughlan likes this.
  7. shanecoughlan
    I am very interested in tracking your experience with the headphones. Partly this is for my own curiosity and partly because each thing we write now helps flesh out the rather sparse information and reviews available for the Verum 1.
    Just one quick question at the moment: is the stock dual 2.5mm to 3.5mm cable (apart from the 6.35mm adopter) working fine? I expect the answer is yes.

    The Verum 1 appears to be using a NewFantasia Dual 2.5mm to 3.5mm or NEOMUSICIA Dual 2.5mm to 3.5mm - both appear to be from the same original manufacturer in China. Note for potential future readers: you can find both here on Amazon:

    For those who want to dig further into the Chinese supply of cables you have plenty of options here:

    For those who are new to all this and wondering why cables are important here is my personal take:

    For the most part cables are made by a handful of original equipment manufacturers and are then branded by various consumer companies. Some original equipment manufacturers are based in the USA, some in Australia, some in Europe, but the majority are in China. These days it is hard to get a bad cable but not impossible. You know the cheap headphones airlines often distribute? Here is an example of the price-point of these devices - 20 cents - including two speakers, cable, moldings and so on:https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32924299427.html?spm=2114.search0104.3.1.4bec5645XauMw2&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_7_10065_10068_319_10059_10884_317_10887_10696_321_322_10084_453_10083_454_10103_10618_10307_537_536,searchweb201603_52,ppcSwitch_0&algo_expid=2c134d50-ef1f-4ddc-b129-a3b0a7e28cc3-3&algo_pvid=2c134d50-ef1f-4ddc-b129-a3b0a7e28cc3&transAbTest=ae803_5
    At this price range you are really looking at the cheapest possible way to make everything and compromises abound.

    OK, pulling our price ranges a little higher, when you pay 2~6 USD you are starting to get reasonable stuff. Here is an example from a reputable Chinese brand:

    Around here and upwards the cables will work. They will take a signal and deliver a signal. The signal will almost certainly show minimal distortion or loss from beginning to end. There is some pretty heated debate in Audiophile circles about this but if you follow the measurements you tend to end up with something like this:

    For this reason I have no concerns about the Verum 1 appearing to use the NewFantasia Dual 2.5mm to 3.5mm or NEOMUSICIA Dual 2.5mm to 3.5mm cable, unless the OEM behind the cable has an issue with part X or Y. The comment from @yavormoskov is very useful because it suggests - at least in his experience - there was a noticeable difference in the included 6.35 mm (1/4 inch) adapter versus what else he had to hand. Without hard measurements other people's millage may vary...but it certainly provides a nice hint if you get a pair of these headphones, use the 6.35mm adaptor, and are disappointed in what you hear.

    Edit - Adding Proviso:

    I should add that "other people's millage may vary" is important. There can be quite a few different things happening even if one 6.35 mm (1/4 inch) adapter versus another provides noticeably different results. There could be a tiny manufacturing flaw in a single adaptor that prevents a smooth contact. There could be a wear and tear flaw in the headphone socket that the 6.35 mm (1/4 inch) adapter fits into which - again because of tiny manufacturing differences - does not appear with a different 6.35 mm (1/4 inch) adapter. These tiny flaws are *less* likely to occur with more expensive parts if those parts are manufactured to higher tolerances. This is hard to know, because some stuff labeled cheap and some stuff labeled expensive can be from the same manufacturing line using the same materials at a Chinese OEM, and a lot depends on how honest the end-point consumer companies are.

    Two examples:

    I have a Yamaha CA-1000 amplifier from 1973. It has a 6.35 mm (1/4 inch) socket for headphones. If I get a bad connection my first thoughts will be "OK, it could be the 6.35 mm (1/4 inch) adaptor, it could be the audio cable, or it could be because the headphone socket is getting worn out." I will check each in turn. I would veer towards the first two in my tests because the Yamaha is extremely well-built and in excellent condition. The parts are substantial.

    On the flip side, and I am sure somewhat amusingly for those of a strict audiophile persuasion, my go-to 6.35 mm (1/4 inch) adaptor is one that came with a 60 USD pair of headphones eight years ago. It is clearly not an expensive part. However, I have never found another adaptor to give either better or worse results within my personal tolerances. The manufacturer is unknown, but when JVC sourced this part, they clearly had quality control in place.

    Anyway, cables are usually fine unless visibly broken. Almost always fine.
    Well-made cables will be less likely to have flaws if the OEM>consumer company chain is being well-behaved. A 10 USD cable can be just as well-made as a 500 USD cable.
    Always keep an open mind and a positive mindset.
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
    omniweltall likes this.
  8. kintsaki
  9. kintsaki
    May I ask you,
    what would it take to make me thing that the stock 1/4" that comes with Verum is no good?
    Is it possible that the stock connector is good enough to make you think the Verum trumps everything you ever heard and then by replacing it to make you hear a tone of information you were not hearing with the stock connector?
  10. shanecoughlan
    I do not understand the question. Perhaps you could rephrase.
    From my review of materials it looks like the stock cables and connectors should be fine. However, there can always be occasional defects, and it is worth following the experience of @yavormoskov to see if the issue is replicated.
  11. kintsaki
    My question is how do you replicate the issue.
    In other words if you really like the phones and then by using another device with a mini
    input and less powerful you hear more details but at a lower volume is it the adapter or the device?
  12. shanecoughlan
    As with all testing, it would require testing like for like. If all other variables remain static and the switching of a 6.35mm adaptor provided measurably different results, there is likely something to explore about the 6.35mm adaptor. Comparing a 6.35mm connector on one device with a 3.5mm connector on a different device introduces too many variables to allow effective analysis. I have no comment on really liking or not really liking sound in various use cases.

    Back to the core point, let’s see what experiences unfold over time with the Verum 1 component choices.
  13. FullBright1
    These are very fine headphones.
    Such an excellent value for the money.

    PaganDL and shanecoughlan like this.
  14. joe Administrator
    I've removed some off-topic posts. Let's stay on-topic.
    yavormoskov likes this.
  15. yavormoskov
    Alright guys. Some pictures of the Verums plus the case for them. I really like the sound of the headphones coming from the Mojo. For some reason the Burson Fun is a total overkill for these headphones. I barely turn the volume knob on the amp and is already too loud and there is something about the sound that is very annoying. I know, I know I can't describe all that I hear in more technical terms....let't just go with annoying. At the same time every other headphone I have, starting with Audio-Technica MSR7 to Audeze Sine or Sennheiser 660s is driven perfectly, without any weird frequency change, by the Burson Fun amp with Topping D50. My sensitive IEMs are driven perfectly by the Fun but not the Verums. There is no gain switch on the Burson and I guess the output impedance is too much for the Verums. Bad combo for sure.
    I borrowed my neighbor's JDS labs Atom for 1 hour and connected the same Topping D50 dac and entered the gates of paradise. On low gain everything was sparkly, tight, engaging and very enjoyable experience. With the Mojo is a little different. The sound is still great but the top end was a little bit too polite for my taste, very little. But the bass quantity and quality was even better than the JDS/Topping combo. I am thinking now I have to save money for a different amp. Probably will reduce the morning donuts to save money for a new amp that can drive them better. Either The JDS labs Atom or Rupert Neve RNHP. I wonder how will sound with the Khadas tone board but no money right now :)
    You can see on the pictures I found a case for the Verums. Dust proof and waterproof. The smaller size was perfect but it was not deep enough and could not close the lid so had to size up. It is a little big but will do the trick.
    I am greatly displeased with the cable. Don't get me wrong, it sounds fine, nothing wrongs with the sound (except for the cheap 1/4 inch adapter but I solved it with Furutech adapter). But the quality of the cable screams cheap from miles. As soon as I can with replace it (God bless credit cards).
    Enjoy the photos.
    IMG_20190515_011540.jpg IMG_20190515_011615.jpg IMG_20190515_011708.jpg IMG_20190515_011756.jpg IMG_20190515_011800.jpg IMG_20190515_011818.jpg
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
    trellus, cskippy, CoFire and 4 others like this.
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