Verum Audio Verum 1: The story of one.

Verum Audio Verum 1: The story of one.
Written by ngoshawk
Published 1 minute ago

Pros – Build.
Gorgeous wood.
AFFORDABLE.
Adjustable system.
Sound with quite good clarity.
Future purchase…

Cons – Adjustment is a bit convoluted.
No case.
Thin cable.
Hello Kitty look when wearing (could be a positive to some…)
Can’t wait for V2…

Verum Audio Verum 1: The story of one. ($349)

Verum 1 website: https://www.verum-audio.com/products
TTVJ site: https://www.ttvjaudio.com/Verum-1-Planar-Headphone-p/ver0000001.htm

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I thank Todd for yet again coming through on a loaner tour for a product. He is a fabulous benefit to the audio community, and the Verum 1 is a very nice unit (not giving too much away yet…).

A Kickstarter project started as a result of one man deciding “he would do that differently,” the Verum 1 is the fruition of that vision. The first product from Verum Audio by Roman from the Ukraine, the Kickstarter funded well from Aug-Sept, 2018. Running independently now, the Verum 1 is sold direct or through TTVJ. The model sent is of Zebrano wood, replete with silver cup covers. And to be honest, look the best from the pictures of the three options. Good choice.

After taking some critiques from owners over the heat content of the pads, Roman designed and now sells perforated, angled lamb’s wool pads for an additional $25. Early reviews point to those being positive. Distribution problems tend to be diminishing as more are sent out. A positive Kickstarter with a (mostly) happy ending.

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Specifications:

  • 82 mm membrane made from 8 um mylar film
  • 116 dB\V or 96 dB\mW sensitivity
  • 520 grams
  • 8 ohms

Gear used/compared (all prices USD unless specified otherwise):

Campfire Audio Cascade ($800)
HiFiMan Ananda ($999)
Mr. Speakers Ether C Flow 1.1 ($1600)
Sendy Aiva ($599)

Thebit Opus #2
Questyle QP2R
MBP/iFi Pro iDSD
XDuoo x10t ii/iFi xDSD

Songs used:

Coldplay-All I Can think About Is You
Coldplay-A Message
Coldplay-White Shadows
Dona Onete-Sonos de Adolescente
Los Lonely Boys- Heaven (en Espanol)
twenty one pilots-Trees
twenty one pilots-Car Radio
twenty one pilots-Heathens
Damian Marley-Everybody Wants To Be Somebody
Damian Marley-So A Child May Follow
Damian Marley-The Struggle Discontinues
Ziggy Marley-Lighthouse
Ziggy Marely-See Dem Fake Leaders
Mark Knopfler-Laughs And Jokes And Drinks And Smokes
Santana w/ Mana- Corazon Espinado

The new twenty one pilots album, Trench
Big Head Todd-Beautiful World
Tedeschi Trucks Band-anything

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Unboxing:

Well…no offense but there isn’t one. The headphones came bubble wrapped along with the cables. That’s it. So, make it a surprise when you order. No case comes with them that I know of, but the unit should fit comfortably into a Mr. Speakers or equivalent case.


Fit-n-Finish:

Other than the Zebrano wood, my first look was at the cup holding metal strap. Sturdy, but looking like an old fogy imitating that Japanese music video of the young lass wearing cat-strapped headphones, thankfully the fit is good, and sound is better than those dime-store catphones. The metal strap is thick and serves to cant-in the headphone giving good pressure upon ones ears. Not overly pressurized, but on the snug side. Not as much as the Campfire Cascade, but snug. And, not quite as comfortable as my Sendy Aiva either. That said, long sessions worked and worked well.

A tensioning bolt mechanism on top serves to allow the two sides to swivel independently, giving good fore/aft swivel and fit. MUCH better than that abhorrent HiFiMan modeling. Free to swing on the horizontal point 360 degrees (without the cable), gives more fit comfort as well. This is a snug comfortable fit, with the pads fitting well over my ears. The overall unit is fairly heavy, but the fit allows one not to feel it like you would expect.

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The Zebrano wood looks stunning. Coupled with the silver face plate, the look is quite elegant, belying the price point. The brushed aluminum face plate does show scratches, but if this was my pair, it would not. I akin this to the handling and shipping from the tour. Quality is good, very good. A mix of industrial and nouveau, the dark wood offsets the silver well, with the black hardware tying all together. A thick pleated black leather headband fits underneath, cradling the cranial matter well. By adjusting the bolted-on knobs up you are dropping moving the headband up, and thus the cups down. Not much movement, but I was comfortable with and without a hat at the same spot. I do wish the cups had a bit more of that gorgeous wood, but the brushed silver is not offensive in the least.

A thinner-than-normal cable rounds out the wares. 2.5mm plugs on the headphone lead to a looonngg separation above the splitter. No cinch strap, but I do not mind. Rubberized above, and fabric-wrapped below, the cable ends in a stout plug of the 6.35mm variety, complete with screw-off part changing it to a 3.5mm single end. Instead of the typical plastic protective sleeve, there is a 1” long bendable spring material as strain relief. A nice tough. The cable tangles a bit, but never in the way. Nice work.

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Sound (including initial):

Upon arrival, I immediately hooked them up to my Shanling M5s to check all was OK. It was, and quickly I realized the Verum 1 needed more power. Harder to drive than many headphones I have heard, I could get it to work with DAP’s, but it really needs an amp in that situation. Plus, there is little isolation (it is open after all…) so I could hear the TV intrusion more so than the sound coming out to the outside world. An interesting if annoying twist.

Further thy dwell:

Once I had time for a longer listening session, I began to appreciate the sound. Bass is present enough to make you understand that while this might be a planar, it is there. Not Cascade-like, but respectable. Mellow mids bring forth a warmer-mid of which I like. No stress up top either. All seemed to be good, save the cat ears as supports. One could arguably craft some cat ears like you see at budget stores and put on the supports. I personally would not mind, since the sound is what I am after. Plus, this is not one I would take out and about. Since it isn’t portable, I would not recommend it anyway, so who cares!!

I find the sound intimate and narrower than many I have heard of late. I do not find this bothersome, but it can be claustrophobic to some. This would not bode well for orchestral movements, which almost require cavernous-sized sound stages to appreciate. It isn’t bad mind you, but others have mentioned the narrowness, so I would be remise If I did not. I still like it, and that narrow stage did not bother me. I focus on other aspects, which help me more.

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Layering is pretty decent for a sub-$400 headphone, and planar as well. Not as good as the more expensive models tested below, but again that smooth mellowness shines through. This is not a headphone, which would be used to pump you or your attitude up. No, it is for those mellower times where you have a quiet place in which to listen as well as the appropriate music. Blues, Jazz, Reggae, and others will suffice as they all sounded superb through the Verum 1. I appreciated Artie Shaw through Tidal on the 1’s. I listened to Ziggy and it was good. I liked how Big Head Todd & The Monsters sounded on Boom Boom with John Lee Hooker and of course Crazy Mary. All was well and good, and quite presentable.


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Comparisons:

Verum Audio Verum 1 ($349) v Campfire Audio Cascade ($800):

I’m not sure this is a valid comparison, but I did it anyway. The connection? Both companies approach the audio market with a passion to innovate and provide a top-quality product at an affordable price. Albeit different price-points, but the comparison is valid for that passion. The Cascade is a bass-heavy closed-back headphone of which I am very fond. That thunderous bass can overwhelm for sure, but it draws you in completely. That bass surrounds you and envelopes you. Of course, part of that could be the clamping pressure as well. That is about the only fault I can find.

I find that the Cascade has a bit better clarity as well. Maybe a better description would be separation of layers are more easily picked apart. Not that the Verum is off or bad, but you can definitely tell the price difference here. Plus, the stage is a bit wider on the Cascade. Intimate comes to mind with the Verum, but that isn’t bad. Both have their values, and I appreciate both approaches. Mids on the Cascade are a bit more forward and could become tedious at louder volumes to some. The Verum is definitely the more laid back of the pair.


Verum Audio Verum 1 ($349) v HiFiMan Ananda ($999):

From memory this one will be. The Ananda was my first foray into full-sized headphones from HiFiMan. I will openly admit I do not like the fit. Period. To not have some sort of rotational adjustment along the vertical plane of the gimbel is to me unacceptable. You ruin the evenness of pad pressure, and unless the pads are built for that extra pressure up front, the whole chamber of sound changes (I am not sure and might be openly criticizing something of which I do not know…). Parenthetical aspect aside, I find the Ananda acceptable sound wise, but not something that overly excites me the way the Verum does. When one considers the price, I can definitely accept the Verum, and spend the extra cash on a quite good amp.

The Ananda did have a bit better clarity as well, with a bit lower reach of bass. I count this to the design and history of making planar’s as the deciding factor. Wider of stage as well the Ananda would be more appealing to me at the $500 price point.


Verum Audio Verum 1 ($349) v Mr. Speakers Ether C Flow 1.1 ($1600):

This one is another throw in due to passion. The Ether-C is a passion of closed back headphones as the Verum is the passion of someone who wanted better in a headphone; much the way the Cascade is the passion of Campfire Audio. Therefore, I believe the comparison is again valid.

The Ether-C defines to me what a TOTL closed back should sound like. Clear, layered, sparkle, and exemplary vocals of either gender. Superb is not to be thrown around lightly, but that would most definitely fit. To me these are the finest I have tried this side of the Empyrean. I do not get to listen often enough, and when I do, I wish I had a single malt in hand and a fine Cuban. This is drawing room stuff on the order of a full-fledged home system (to me), and one can easily see the passion that sprouted from the want of raising an already pretty decent Fostex range to TOTL territory. And here again is where I can see and feel the vision of Verum. One man’s passion at sending us his vision, so that we may see the future at hand and wonder what would be next. THAT is the Verum…it gives us a glimpse into a music designer’s mind, much the way a ZMF or Mr. Speakers does. And that isn’t bad in my book.

Listening to Please Don’t Tell Her through the Opus #2 and Ether-C pretty much defines why I love the combination. Clarity, bass which defies what should be there and the sweet melodic voice and guitar. That solo alone is enough to melt. What a combination. The Verum represents itself well, but not as clear. A more mellow sound, one that fits a laid back evening is quite nice as well.

A bit bass- shy for me, I take care in the Ether-C quality of sound, for it is my reference of headphones, which sustains me. And in that vein, all is good. The Verum is an excellent try, and I wonder what will come down the road to either be more affordable (which the Verum 1 is already!) or move upscale.

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Verum Audio Verum 1 ($349) v Sendy Aiva ($599):

The closest of the comparisons, the Sendy was much to do earlier this year as the Verum is now. Both affordable, both from small vendors trying to branch off and make a name, and both overall gorgeous at which to look. I will openly admit the look alone drew me into the Aiva. And through a good listening session, I verified that I did indeed like the sound and found it quite acceptable.

A more veiled sound in the mids hinders what is a pretty awesome package overall in the Sendy. I really fell for this when I first heard it. Call it “new car syndrome.” Once the newness wore off, I started to pick apart what could be better. It is a bit heavy, with clamp pressure of too light variety for me. Bass is “almost there.” Vocals fall behind others in this category, sliding behind the music. Not quite sparkly, but treble of good quality. Good, not great. That said, I find the Aiva laid back in the same manner as the Verum. Wider of stage, but slightly less clear than the Verum; nonetheless the Sendy is a marvel of beauty and sound. If this sound were in a package that cost under $400, this would be a steal. Oh…wait… No, the price is due to the intricate craftmanship and to me worth it overall. I still really like the Aiva and pull it out often for comparative purposes or a listen with that single malt.

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Finale:

You might think that the comparisons listed above were unfair, unjust or plain wrong. Well, that is your right as a reader, but I must disagree. In this day, when a newcomer makes the scene, they are expected to compete with the big boys, whether they like it or not. As such, one is certainly justified in comparing to the big boys. Others have made comparisons to manufacturers of which I have little experience. Therefore, it was my due diligence to fill in the missing blanks. And do so, I hope I did.

Comparing with models above can also give reference to where the new company might go or might aim. And in the case of the Verum 1, they have largely succeeded already. This is a very fine unit, regardless of price. And when one brings price into the equation, quickly vaults the Verum to the top echelon of headphones and certainly planar’s…more accordingly affordable planar’s. To think that this can be had for less than $400usd, you would think yourself crazed. There are other offerings at this price, especially ones I may not have experience; but for my experience, the Verum 1 is most definitely one of the top performing models in the sub-$500 price and definitely the sub-$400 market. Off-hand I cannot think of another, which brings all of what the Verum 1 brings to the fight. Excellent build, top quality sound, affordable price, and that quirky cat-support system make for a thoroughly enjoyable unit. One I will miss and may have to find some Hello Kitty pads to go over the gap, should I purchase a pair. It would be worth it.

Thanks again to Todd from Todd The Vinyl Junkie for a glorious opportunity to try gear. He is top notch, and a stellar representative of the audio world we call a “hobby.” Thank you, Todd! And a thank you to Verum for making such a fine affordable representative of the planar variety. Give it a try, I do not think you will be disappointed.

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Big Head Todd & The Monster’s Please Don’t Tell Her closes my time, and this could mean “don’t tell my wife, that I may have purchased yet another pair of headphones”…

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