Nordost at TAVES 2014

The Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show is being held this year at the Sheraton Centre Hotel in Downtown Toronto October 31- November 2, and Nordost is excited to be taking part! Come and see us in rooms 12 and 13 on the main show floor where we will be featuring our flagship Valhalla 2 Reference Cables. Not only will Nordost representatives be performing demonstrations and cable comparisons of power cords, interconnects, USB cables, auxiliary cables and power products, including our new Heimdall 2 USB 2.0, Heimdall 2 and Blue Heaven iKables and QK1s, but we will also be showing the Sort Füt used in an exciting new application: with audio racks!

While visiting the show, be sure to take advantage of an interactive personal audio listening station near the TAVES Art Gallery, featuring the new Heimdall 2 Headphone Cable, and enter for a chance to win a 2 meter Blue Heaven Power Cord!

Questions and Answers

Our product specialists receive questions on a daily basis about Nordost products, their application, and hifi in general.  We thought that we would take a minute to share some of our most recent and frequently asked questions here so that everyone can get the answers they are looking for!

 

I know there are a lot of fake cables on the market, do you have some guidelines for how to identify fakes? 

The only way to make sure that your cables aren’t fake is to purchase from an authorized Nordost dealer. Many Nordost dealers offer trade in programs and may offer second-hand cables for sale.

 

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What are Nordost’s thoughts on bi-wiring speaker cables?  

We at Nordost feel the best way to wire for bi-wire is with two pairs of identical length speaker cables. If you can’t do that, use one speaker cable in a shotgun configuration paired with high quality bi-wire jumpers.

 

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What’s the difference between Qv2 and Qk1, and should Qv2s be replaced by Qk1s or can they be used together?

The Qk1 and Qv2 work wonderfully together and their effects are cumulative.  The Qv2 increases the quality of the AC signal by injecting certain mid and lower harmonic frequencies into the gaps of the AC signal that have been taken away by noise. At the same time it lowers mid-range and bass frequencies, providing a more open, airy soundstage with greater depth and focus.

The Qk1 focuses on the upper mid-range and high frequencies, providing pinpoint precision to the soundstage, with a more natural/organic timbre. Voices and instruments have better clarity and snap and attack in micro and macro details.

 

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Is it better to run dedicated AC lines or to use a power distributor in your listening room?

It would be best to run a single dedicated 20 Amp line to feed your power distribution. Dedicated lines are great, but as soon as you connect your electronics with interconnects they are no longer “dedicated”. The interconnects can form harmful ground loops and our QRT Qb8 stops this from happening.

 

Newport Jazz Festival 2014 Concert Review

Real music lovers can find the melody in everything. From the park to the concert hall, our friend Nelson Brill is always on the hunt for great sound. In this article, Nelson recounts performances from Cecile McLorin Salvant and Aaron Diehl at the 2014 Newport Jazz Festival.

NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL 2014 CONCERT REVIEW #1: EMERGING ARTISTS BOTH WINSOME AND DAZZLING

by Nelson Brill         August 23, 2014

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The 60th Anniversary edition of the Newport Jazz Festival shot out of its blocks on Friday, August 1st with a runner’s glee, firing on all cylinders in the mid-day heat of a beautiful day in Newport, Rhode Island. There was a sense of anticipation at the crack of the start gun, because this was the day set aside for showcasing new and vital artists on that joyous marathon of human endeavor we call Jazz. And, as if the radiant heat of the sun was not enough, vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant took the stage at the Ertegun Fort Stage with her trio and performed a set of such charisma, joy and radiance that there was a feeling that nothing was impossible, nothing unobtainable, in this gathering of friends and music to celebrate Newport Jazz this year.

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Ms. Salvant’s eclectic set began with the original composition and title track from her glorious debut album, Woman Child [Mack Avenue Records, http://mackavenue.com] here given a rendition filled with exuberant scatting and bursts of vocals that traced high arcs and deep, shadowy attacks. “Woman Child” displayed one of Salvant’s most stunning vocal gifts: her ability to be absolutely sure of pitch and phrase (and so light on her feet) that every vocal soar and swoop is effortlessly mercurial and self-assured. Her pitch definition and control reminds one of a bird in flight (thinking here of a Belted Kingfisher, a sleek blue and white bird frequently found hovering over small ponds to catch small fish): starting out on a solid branch (of one pitch and tone); then flitting to many heights and depths inventively and effortlessly (over a creative range of notes and pitches); then returning to the precise branch and height as before, (that same first note and pitch) with complete control and ease.

Appropriate to her “Belle of the Ball” role in her Friday set at Newport, Salvant re-invented Richard Rodger’s snazzy little ditty, “The Step Sister’s Lament” (from the television version ofCinderella), and turned it into a frothy (vocal) dessert filled with buoyant lyrics and sweet, biting sarcasm. Her ability to mine the emotional depths of her chosen songs was also beautifully displayed by Savant’s rendition of the sardonic tune, “Nobody” (taken fromWoman Child and written by Bert Williams, a black comedian and actor in the early 1900’s who was the first to break into the world of white vaudeville) and “What’s The Matter Now”. On both tunes, Salvant sang with deep intonation and feeling. Her deep gospel-inspired vocal plunges contrasted with the biting lyrics of these songs that she delivered in quick, clear diction- like gleaming shards of glass. A final highlight to her set was her inventive take on “What A Little Moonlight Can Do,” a song made famous by Billie Holiday. Salvant unfolded this ballad slowly and deliberately exploring all of its nooks and crannies. At one point, she scatted and cooed with sweet inflections and then held a solid high note for a (seemingly eternal) period of time; all to hit home her charged delivery of this smoldering ballad. She left the stage with the crowd still buzzing about her dazzling vocal presence and the extraordinary beauty and winsome nature of her performance.

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Salvant could not have orchestrated her feats of magic at Newport without the sympathetic partnership of her superb trio, which included her longtime collaborator, Aaron Diehl, on piano; Paul Sikivie on bass and Lawrence Leathers on drums. Throughout the performance, Sikivie slowly unfurled his bass lines with ease and Leathers’ drums were a solid foundation. Leathers’ solo on “Moonlight” matched Salvant’s vocal fervor with his own roving invention that combined soft bass drum rumbles with crisp snare snaps.

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Finally, no review of this performance can overlook pianist Aaron Diehl. He proved again at Newport that he is one of the most brilliant (and dapper!) pianists of his generation. (http://aarondiehl.com)

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Like Salvant, (with her pliable and mercurial vocal instrument), Diehl brings a lyrical suppleness to his piano that is delectable. He possesses an extraordinary light and swinging facility (and a way with subtle exploration of a given melody) that immediately lures one into his creative artistry. For instance, in their set at Newport, Diehl was first the epitome of simplicity in his duet with Salvant on “Nobody”: a simple run here, a lacy twirl in the high register there; all that was needed to create a spare and evocative canvas for Salvant to paint upon. In contrast, on “Moonlight,” Diehl let loose with a furious piano solo taking the bluesy melody for a workout through his creative mill. He combined furious runs in the treble region with open blocks of chords in the bass to romp through this bluesy theme. Most vitally, he never lost sight of the rudimentary melodic roots of the song underpinning his creative flurry.

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Diehl’s new release, The Bespoke Man’s Narrative [Mack Avenue], is its own audiophile gem, busting at its seams with the creative energies of this talented young pianist. In partnership with his trio (themselves all young lions of their craft): vibraphonist Warren Wolf (who was last seen in Boston at last Fall’s Boston Beantown Jazz Festival –http://beantownjazz.org- performing with sax player Mike Tucker in a great full throttled performance); bassist David Wong and drummer Rodney Green, Diehl creates a recording of inspiration and virtuosity. The recording quality is superb, providing an up front perspective and layered, airy soundstage. It allows the listener to explore and appreciate the multitude of gifts Diehl and his band mates bring to these tunes. One of these virtues is a special percussive style of playing that Diehl shares with his trio here. There is a great fit between Wolf’s percussive attack on his vibes and Diehl’s light percussive touch on piano, heard on Milt Jackson’s “The Cylinder” and Diehl’s “Stop and Go.” Wolf splashes on his vibes with showers of quick, pungent sounds while Diehl compliments with a lightness of attack on his piano that swings in bold rhythms and kinetic note choices. Diehl switches gears on Ellington’s “Single Petal of a Rose” and Gershwin’s “Bess, You Is My Woman” to bring out his incandescently beautiful melodic side: slow brewing and light piano touches that draw the listener into Diehl’s supple, lyrical explorations of these melodies (accented by Wong’s radiant touches on bass with deep plucks and bowing). Diehl and his compatriots can also take a classical piece, like Maurice Ravel’s “La Tombeau de Couperin” and turn it into a fairyland adventure filled with light, swirling dance motion and piano and drum solos that take flight with notes sprayed like filigree around a circular, waltzing rhythm. The cohesiveness of this trio unit is uncanny on the Ravel piece, each player listening intently to the other and working in perfect synthesis as the meters shift and the circular dance proceeds to its glorious conclusion.

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Diehl’s sparkling re-invention of the Ravel led to a listen of a new favorite Ravel recording: Ravel’s Bolero recorded in 1979 with the London Symphony orchestra conducted by Andre Previn. This particular recording was issued this year on XRCD by Hi-Q Records [find it at Elusive Disc, http://elusivedisc.com] and mastered at the JVC Mastering Center in Japan by Shizuo Nomiyama and Kazuo Kiuchi. (Kiuchi is also the founder of Reimyo and Combak Corporation [http://combak.net] and his Reimyo KAP-777 solid state amplifier is a new reference here at bostonconcertreviews – review forthcoming). This new XRCD recording ofBolero is a sonic marvel. It delivers a deep, layered and airy soundstage; a riveting portrayal of instrumental colors and textures; and it comes tantalizingly close to capturing the full dynamic capabilities (and dynamic shadings) of an orchestra. Your system will have a field day with this marvelous recording by the JVC XRCD team, who continue their illustrious history of audiophile quality recording production.

 

If you would like to read more reviews like this one, visit Nelson’s blog at www.bostonconcertreviews.com.

 

Pictures from Nordost Nation!

Nordost is lucky to have such incredibly loyal and enthusiastic customers! One great way that our fans let us know that they are happy with the work that we do is by sending us pictures of their Nordost products in action. Here are a few photos that have been shared with us recently. Feel free to send us pictures of Nordost in your system so that we can continue to share them with the whole Nordost family!

The Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society August Meeting: The Audio Salon, Santa Monica

A variety of Nordost products at work at The Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society August Meeting: The Audio Salon, Santa Monica

Heimdall 2 Power Cord, Frey 2 Power Cord, QK1, QV2, QB8, and Sort Kones at The Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society August Meeting: The Audio Salon, Santa Monica

InEarSpace: "Inside of my headphone travel case. On the left are my Sennheiser HD800 with the plusSound Exo Copper for Astell&Kern MQS Portable System AK240 connected and the stock cable underneath and on the right is the ZMF Headphones V2 with its stock cable and a Nordost Cables Heidmall2 for HD800 beneath it!"

“Inside of my headphone travel case. On the left are my Sennheiser HD800 with the plusSound Exo Copper for Astell&Kern MQS Portable System AK240 connected and the stock cable underneath and on the right is the ZMF Headphones V2 with its stock cable and a Nordost Cables Heidmall2 for HD800 beneath it!” – InEarSpace

InEarSpace: "Check out the Nordost Cables Frey 2 really working my system!"

“Check out the Nordost Cables Frey 2 really working my system!” – InEarSpace

Av Excellence: "Red Dawn and Blue Heaven with Martin Logan"

“Red Dawn and Blue Heaven with Martin Logan” – Av Excellence

Av Excellence:  "Arcam rBlink and Red Dawn"

“Arcam rBlink and Red Dawn” – Av Excellence

Woo Audio: "#WA6 and MrSpeakers #MadDogHeadphones is a great starter system for anyone new to tubes or to headphone listening."

“#WA6 and MrSpeakers #MadDogHeadphones is a great starter system for anyone new to tubes or to headphone listening.” – Woo Audio

The Heimdall 2 Headphone Cable hooked up to SENNHEISER HD 800 headphones at the California Audio Show

System outfitted with Valhalla 2 and QRT at the California Audio Show

The Heimdall 2 iKable being put to use in a car!

The Heimdall 2 iKable being put to use in a car!

 

Not just your average hi-fi dealer!

ed stone records

By Michael Taylor

We’re all in this for the music right?  We sit back in our chairs and get immersed into what the artist is trying to convey to us.  We try to pick out the nuances that truly makes music….music.  Some people are better at it than others, because they helped create those nuances.  Nordost is lucky to know one of those people that did exactly that!  Our awesome partner up in Toronto at Executive Stereo, Ed Stone, was a Recording Engineer on many popular albums that we all know way too well!  Take a peek at a display he has in his store that showcases just some of the albums he worked on.  Triumph, Red Rider, Rod Stewart, and Black Sabbath to name just a few.  We think it’s safe to say Ed knows music insanely well!

Nordost Playlist -September 2014

Nordost is lucky to have a wonderful team of representatives and product trainers who travel around the world educating and demonstrating the effects of Nordost’s products. As part of these demonstrations, it is our job to find an interesting and diverse selection of music to showcase our cables, power devices, sort system and accessories. Whether at shows, visiting our dealers and distributors or even in our own listening room in our headquarters in Holliston, we are constantly getting asked what music we are playing (or if our audience is not so bold to ask, we can see their Shazams working overtime). So we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share our favorite songs of the moment. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your taste, but one thing is for sure …it’s all great music.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this September.

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  1. Mother & Father—Broods— Mother & Father
  2. Folsom Prison Blues—Johnny Cash—Folsom Prison
  3. Remember How I Broke Your Heart—Priscilla Allan—This Is Where We Are
  4. Chan Chan —Buena Vista Social Club—Buena Vista Social Club
  5. I Wanna Be Your Lover—Prince— Prince
  6. Vivaldi: Concerto for Violin and Strings in G minor, Op.8, No.2, R.315 “L’estate”-3. Presto (Tempo impetuoso d’estate) —Alan Loveday, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Sir Neville Marriner —Vivaldi: The Four Seasons etc
  7. Riptide—Vance Joy—Dream Your Life Away
  8. You Bring Out The Savage In Me—Cecile McLorin Salvant—WomanChild
  9. Hunger Of The Pine—Alt-J—Hunger Of The Pine
  10. Fever—Jeanie Bryson—Some Cats Know: Songs Of Peggy Lee

If you have a song that you want to share, feel free to leave it here in the comment section. We are always looking for some new suggestions!