The Merkur by Vikabel Akustik
Review by: Paolo Tellano
Source/choice of tips/cables:
Fiio X7ii (Fidelizer mod, AM3)
JVC Spiral Dots
Introduction on the maker/page description
“Bespoke HiFi Audio
Handmade Desktop & Portable Amplifiers, Cables, and Interconnects”
I don’t have much of an idea if the maker is a group or just a one-man team, but Jayvi Vilar reached out to me and asked if I can do a review on his cable. He also said that he would probably let us review his other cable called “Neptun”. I guess that’s something to look forward to as well.
Again, I was not paid by Jayvi or anyone who is affiliated with him. It’s been a habit now that I don’t receive complete packaged products from DIYers. So the past couple of reviews, and probably the upcoming ones as well, won’t have a packaging section.
It’s average overall. It’s comfortable because it’s a sleeved copper cable. Texture isn’t irritating to the skin. But sleeved cables tend to be a bit flimsy near the pin areas within the proximity of the drivers. So yeah, they loosen up from time to time. Probably ear guides or memory materials will do the trick next time.
I see some areas of the sleeve of the cable to be prone to slight ripping. Other than that, it’s sleek and tough. It’s something I wouldn’t mind using during commutes. The L-plug looks sturdy as well. My favorite feature of the Murker’s build is the strain relief. It’s quite long. Perfect for people like me who don’t take care of their stuff properly. These could take a beating.
Fun, bodied, and in-your-face, that’s what the Merkur sounds like. I know a couple of people aren’t a believer of cable-rolling. Some say it’s more evident in higher end gears. However, I’ve tried budget copper cables and cheap SPC cables. I need to be honest and admit that I hear differences.
The Merkur helps the sub bass extends a tad bit deeper. Nothing too much though. The most noticeable, however, is the mid bass department. It literally adds mid bass quantity and weight. It’s not muddy at all though because it also has a quick bass decay. It’s just bodied and fun.
This is where the trade-off comes. The Murker is indeed fun but the cables sacrifice some resolution and micro detail in the mids. What’s great about it is that it maintains great clarity but resolution is affected. Simply put, great macro detailing but below average micro detailing. If you find the vocals in your driver too shouty or sibilant, these cables can help you out because they make the mids more lush and bodied. While they are indeed weighty, the mids are presented in a forward manner. So yes, this indeed sounds fun. It isn’t for critical listening though.
It tames the trebles a bit. If you want a less aggressive treble, the Merkur will take care of you. It doesn’t mess with the details that much though. Cymbals are presented less aggressively but the detailing is still there.
Soundstage and imaging
The Merkur will make the soundstage narrower. This is noticeable right from the get-go. It doesn’t make things congested though, but that will still depend on your drivers. If they have a good stage, then it won’t be an issue. On the other hand, the imaging is still spot on if your drivers do this well.
M3 Customs cable
This is my current favorite cable. It’s relatively cheap (P2000) but it delivers sonic-wise giving quite a neutral response. Comparing it to The Merkur, the M3 Customs doesn’t boost the bass too much. It has adequate extension, non-punchy mid bass, clear mids, and a slightly extended treble. It’s like the polar opposite of the Merkur if you ask me. It’s tuned to be more of a neutral cable. Paired with the DM6, it just sounds gorgeous. Just a touch of body in the mids and a slight treble boost. The Merkur is more warm and fun. More bodied and forward mids. The M3 Customs cables are far superior in staging.
SPC cable from Bright Joves
My beater cable, the SPC cable from Bright Joves is leaning more to a bright presentation. Also, it has an airy stage. Bass is unaltered/neutral. It’s also priced at P2000. The only downside to these cables is that it may make your mids sound a bit thin. The Merkur has better sub bass extension and mid bass quantity. Also, it has more bodied mids and the treble is less prone to sibilance. Staging goes to the SPC cable.
Penon 8-core copper cable
This is the comparison that kind of makes sense. They both aim to make the sound more bodied, it’s just that the Merkur does it right. The Penon cable does give more mid bass quantity and a slight extra extension in the sub bass but they muddy up the presentation a bit. The Merkur doesn’t do that. It doesn’t muddy up the mids. As a matter of fact, the Merkur will give you forward and snappy mids. Staging goes to the Merkur as well. Clarity is far superior with the Merkur.
The Merkur is a very fun cable to use. People who love their bass, specifically the mid bass, will find these entertaining, to say the least. I love my sound neutral to bright, but I need to admit that I have these plugged on when I listen to pop or hip-hop. The mids are engaging as well. On the flip side, if you like your details in the mids these might be a no-go for you. These will affect the micro details, whether that be vocals or instruments. Imaging and separation are great but the soundstage is narrower with these. Preference will control if you’d like these. But I will not retract my statement, these are entertaining despite the compromise on the details. So it sacrifices a bit of micro details but you get great macro details, forward mids, and an authoritative mid bass.