NOVO’s Phil Gold Reviews Valhalla 2

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It is always great to start the year with an outstanding product review, and that is exactly what we are doing! Philip Gold of NOVO (previously Canada Hifi) had nothing but good things to say about our Reference range of cables in his review “Nordost Valhalla 2 Cables Reivew- Their Place in our Hobby”

“These cables bring out the music more than any others in my experience. They do this by offering the flattest and most extended frequency response, the highest level of detail, the greatest accuracy of the instrumental and vocal tone and full responsiveness to transients and sustained harmonics.”

To read the rest of this article on Valhalla 2 Cables, head to the review section on the Nordost website or just CLICK HERE!

Dealer Spotlight: HiFi Innovationen

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In northwest Germany, surrounded by beautiful green meadows, parks and valleys, you will find the city of Kassel, equidistant from major cities such as Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Leipzig, and Hannover. Kassel’s relaxing environment is the perfect setting to enjoy good music, and at HiFi Innovationen, owner Klaus Kirchhof goes out of his way to make your listening experience in these idyllic surroundings unforgettable.

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Each year, HiFi Innovationen hosts several events where customers can listen to new releases from different manufacturers and setups at every level. This spring, Nordost was invited to participate in two separate demonstrations and was greeted by a full attendance throughout the whole weekend.

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First, we put the emphasis on power—starting with the power cords. We showed attendees that feeding electronics with good power cords can make a great difference. In fact, these often overlooked components are fundamental in making your system play at its best! We also used our QV2 and QK1 harmonizers and enhancers in order to demonstrate how to minimize the electrical noise that sneaks into our setups through the power supply. However, electrical noise isn’t the only thing affecting the sound quality of your system negatively. Mechanical noise can also seriously degrade musical reproduction, which Nordost remedies with Sort Kones and Sort Füt. During the demonstrations at HiFi Innovationen, we showed that even the power distribution block is subject to noise that feeds into the signal chain.

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Finally, we featured our new, Supreme Reference Range, Odin 2. During our demonstration of this revolutionary cable, HiFi Innovationen customers had the rare opportunity to hear A-B comparisons between the original Odin and Odin 2 cables, including power cords, loudspeaker cables, and digital/analog interconnects. By the end of our presentation it was clear to all in attendance how Odin 2 has improved technology, construction and fidelity, lifting our reference bar to new heights.

Next time you’re in Germany, make sure you visit Klaus to audition Nordost cables for yourself.

 

HIFI INNOVATIONEN

Dipl.-Ing. K. Kirchhof
Weserstraße 11
34317 Kassel -
Habichtswald-Ehlen
Phone 05606.6155
Fax 05606.6156
Mobil 0172.5644588 

Nordost is headed to The Indulgence Show in London!

indulgence_show_logoJoin Nordost for an exciting, new hifi audio show in London. The Indulgence Show will be held at the Novotel Hotel and Conference Center in Hammersmith, London this October 14-16. Attendees will find Nordost on the second floor in room D11-Medoc, where Nordost sales representatives and product trainers will be conducting product demonstrations and cable comparisons throughout the weekend. For more information about the Indulgence Show and to purchase tickets, please visit www.indulgenceshow.com.

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Nordost Playlist – August 2016

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 August.

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  1. Southern Girl—Erykah Badu, Rahzel— Southern Girl
  2. The First Time Ever I saw Your Face—Roberta Flack—First Take
  3. Mr Magic (Through The Smoke)—Amy Winehouse—Frank
  4. Baby, I’m Yours—Barbara Lewis—Baby, I’m Yours
  5. Water Fountain—Tune-Yards—Nikki Nack
  6. Nightclub Jitters—The Replacements—Pleased To Meet Me
  7. Touch of Grey—The War On Drugs—Day of the Dead
  8. Cello Sonata in D Minor, L. 135: II. Serenade—Claude Debussy, Wieland Kuijken, Piet Kuijken
  9. Road Runner—Bo Diddley—Roadrunner The Chess Masters: 1959-1960
  10. I Scare Myself – 2009 Remastered Version—Thomas Dolby—The Flat Earth [Collector’s Edition]

 

Marc Mickelson reviews the Heimdall 2 4K UHD Cable

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HD technology has gone through several revision changes, modifying specifications and undergoing upgrades both in electronics and the transmission line itself. In response to these changes, Nordost came out with two Ultra High Definition cables last year, both in our Heimdall 2 and Valhalla 2 ranges. Our American-made UHD cables more than quadruple the bandwidth of typical HD cables, allowing viewers to appreciate 4K feature sets, including increased frame rates and Deep Color.

Marc Mickelson, of The Audio Beat, was able to speak to the differences our Heimdall 2 UHD Cables make in his recent article, Hi-Fi Video: Nordost’s Heimdall 2 4K UHD Cable:

“We’re all experts on what does and does not look real, so when you see reproduction that’s closer to real, you know it, even without having to wonder. The Heimdall 2 provided that sense of knowing.”

You can now read Marc’s full article in the review section of the Nordost website.

Questions and Answers (May 2016)

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!


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Q.  I see in reading your FAQ and other info “mechanically tuned” keeps getting mentioned but I never really saw where it is defined or explained.  Can you please explain?  Do you have a more detailed write up to explain?  Also explain why being mechanically tuned somehow negates making a shorter cable from a longer one?

A:  The phrase “mechanically tuned” means a few different things. In some cases when we talk about it in our literature, we are referring to our connectors. Some of the connectors we use are mechanically tuned to match the mass of the conductors we make. However, typically “mechanically tuned” refers to the actual length of the cables we make.  We mechanically tune the lengths of the Norse 2, Reference, and Supreme Reference cables we build.  When building a low capacitance cable, where conductors don’t touch each other, you can actually change the characteristics of the resonant peak by altering the conductor’s length…think guitar string. So if we build a 2m speaker cable we find a length (based on the mass and material used) that sounds better and cut it to that length.  All products that are mechanically tuned are technically a bit longer than we say. We use tuned lengths in most products up to 4m.  After 4m, the electrical properties override the mechanical ones so it isn’t necessary.  So if you have a 5m cable, it is exactly 5m. If you want that 5m cable cut down to make two 2.5m cables from it, it is impossible to do that and maintain Nordost’s mechanically tuned lengths, because the shorter cables that you want to make should be longer than the 2.5m lengths being asked for.


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Q:  Will my QB8 benefit from TC Sort Kones under it? Or are the Sort Kones only for electronics (amp, pre amp etc)

A:  The QB8 will absolutely benefit from having Sort Kones underneath it, because it drains the QBASE of the vibrations being generated from the electrical currents running through it. Even using the AC version will result in an audible improvement.


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Q: Is it better to use a QK1 or QV2 in an open wall socket?

A: Either the QK1 or QV2 can be used in an open wall socket.  However, I would advise you to consider the following: if you are using a power conditioner in your system, it is not ideal to plug a QK1 or QV2 into the wall socket.  They are more effective when plugged into the power conditioner itself or another socket further down the line.

QV2s make a more audible change because the frequencies that they impact are easier to hear. Also I feel like it is worth mentioning that QV2s work better in increments of two, whereas QK1s work in any quantity.  One QV2 works just fine, but the incremental improvement more than doubles when using two.

The Nordost Difference

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THE NORDOST DIFFERENCE

In a high-end audio system every element is critical. As people who have a great appreciation for the music we love, and hobbyists who strive to achieve the most realistic sound possible in the comfort of our own listening rooms, we spend hours searching, listening, and comparing different components in order to achieve the performance level that we are looking for. As cable manufacturers, we understand that wiring is not the first component that most people take into consideration when they are looking to upgrade their sound system. In fact, at times it is even a battle for cables to be considered a component, and instead they are often pushed into the category of “accessory”. Cables, however, are an extension of the equipment they are connected to and the effect that they have on the performance of the device they are connected to should not be minimized. But by ignoring cabling and passing it off as an afterthought or accessory, you are limiting the potential that your system is capable of. After all, a system is only as good as its weakest link.

Nordost has a very unique philosophy when it comes to cable design. As a rule, we believe that cables cannot add to the fragile signals that they carry. Instead, we have designed 4 ranges, each causing less impact and signal-loss than the range that came before it, which in turn produces progressive sonic improvements. From the entry level cables (Leif) through the top of our Supreme Reference Range (Odin 2), these improvements are achieved by various means: the number and gauge size of the conductors, proprietary technology such as the use of Mono-Filament, purpose made conductors, and mechanically tuned lengths. All of these elements not only result in measurable improvements (as shown in New Approaches to Audio Measurement), but the differences are also audibly demonstrable.

Over the past 25 years we have built the reputation of our products by conducting live cable demonstrations at Hi-Fi Shows around the world. These demonstrations are great fun because we can actually show people that just changing a power cord, interconnect or loudspeaker cable can make real improvements to the musical performance experienced. The demo format we use, and have used since the beginning, is a simple A/B comparison. We simply start using a stock or entry level cable, play a small sample of music (not too long of a sample so as to mitigate listening fatigue) and then play the same piece again, at the same volume, using an improved cable. It is amazing how dramatic the results can be when you use such simple and concise comparison methods. Upon hearing our demos, listeners usually report hearing an increase in both fine details and soundstage, due to the very low capacitance of our cables. With certain cables (specifically our power cords) the music may even be perceived as being louder… however, this is not the case. What people are actually hearing is a lowering of the background noise floor, which can produce the same effect as an increase in volume.

Of course, it is not our aim to tell you what you should hear. Nordost has always insisted that the end user should hear these differences for themselves. We encourage everyone to visit their local Nordost dealers for their own demos, attend one of our live product demonstrations at an audio show near you, or even better, take our cables home and try them on your own system!

In order to appreciate the Nordost difference you have to hear the Nordost difference.

Nordost President Joe Reynolds— An Interview with HiFi+ Magazine

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Over the past 25 years, Joe Reynolds has built Nordost into one of the most prominent audio cable companies in the hi-fi industry.  This past month HiFi+ Magazine featured Mr. Reynolds in their Guide to Cables.  For more insight into the president of Nordost, please enjoy the following interview:  JOE REYNOLDS OF NORDOST

Dealer Spotlight: The Audio Exchange

By Steve Greene

It’s often amazing how history can seem to run in circles, often repeating itself.  Our audio industry is not immune to such phenomena!  For example, in the early 1970’s, solid state devices rapidly replaced the vacuum tube in all things electronic including TV’s, audio amplifiers, pre-amps, tuners and receivers.  However, starting around the mid to late 1990’s vacuum tube equipped amps and pre-amps began a renaissance. Today, there are literally dozens of successful manufacturers specializing in this “old” technology!   In the past 3 or 4 years, the vinyl record has also experienced a huge rebirth with its growth rapidly outpacing the number of available pressing plants!  Also encouragingly, this growth has been fueled by not just us audiophiles, but younger folks are also embracing the ability to enjoy a great sounding analog medium that simultaneously allows you to admire cover art and informative liner notes in a large, easy to read twelve by twelve inch size!

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Many hifi dealers incorporate vinyl in their show rooms, but one of Nordost’s most treasured and supportive dealers in the mid-Atlantic is uniquely steeped in this medium. Richmond, Virginia’s only true quality brick and mortar Hi Fi store, the Audio Exchange, was born back in 1978 as an enclosed showroom within a popular vinyl record store.  The record store was located on Grace Street, nestled amongst Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) multiple classroom buildings in Richmond’s famous Fan District.  The owner of this new store within a store, Rob Moore, foresaw the beginnings of the decline of the locally owned chain record store business during the recession of the late 1970’s.  So, partially due to his personal passion for quality audio (Rob personally owned Audio Research tube gear and Magnapan loudspeakers) and a desire to start a new business to supplant the soon to fail record store, opening a boutique audio store seemed a good idea.  Initial product offerings included Luxman, KEF and Sumiko but it didn’t take Rob long to decide that they must expand into additional electronic lines like AR, Onkyo and Infinity in order to attract more budget minded customers.

 

After the close of the record store on Grace Street, the Audio Exchange moved into its own retail space in the west end of Richmond at Dumbarton Place, around late 1979.  The beginning of the 1980’s saw the initial growth of custom installation for the Audio Exchange.   A move to even bigger quarters in the mid-1980’s on Richmond’s busy Broad Street also saw this new custom installation/home theater craze go from being an adjunct to their audio sales to almost replacing their conventional 2-channel audio sales when that category of business began to dwindle.  Custom integration and home theater boomed during this period.  But, true to their roots, the Audio Exchange maintained a nice selection of audio gear on display, despite the reduced sales for that segment of their business.  Around 1993 or so, the Audio Exchange moved a bit further up the street purchasing their current location, on Broad Street.  This allowed for multiple and expanded sound rooms, a great sounding home theater room, and room to grow to accommodate their fledging integration business.

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Business was good, and the Audio Exchange helped fill thousands of homes with quality audio and video gear. Much of their success was due to their expert and engaging sales staff. One special member of the Audio Exchange team was Jeff Greentree who joined the store at the beginning as the lead retail salesperson and, over the ensuing years, built an enviable reputation as a knowledgeable, loveable and creative salesman known widely throughout central Virginia.  I personally recall two friends entering the Grace Street store one day.  They were looking for headphones to use in their part time evening DJ gigs, earning extra spending money while attending VCU.  Jeff offered up the reasonably priced and well reviewed Sennheiser HD414’s as being well suited for their purposes.  He touted their great sound and comfortable, light weight.  My two friends expressed some skepticism over the ruggedness of the mostly plastic constructed headphones, whereupon Jeff promptly threw the headphones up against the wall, turned around and said “what do you think, sturdy enough for you?”  My friends were both highly amused and impressed with Jeff’s sales tactic and promptly bought a pair of the headphones.  Jeff would become the highly successful retail face of the Audio Exchange for over 30 years, retiring just two years ago!

 

As we all now, hard times eventually came. As the economy began to sour, new home construction died in 2008, taking the home theater business along with it. Those were the beginnings of dark days for so many audio dealers in this country. As the home theater boom ended they (hopefully) began transitioning back to their initial business models. Fortunately for the Audio Exchange, Rob knew his roots well and is happy to credit two prominent things that helped start their turnaround in mid-2010.

 

Long a skeptic of audio cables making a difference worth spending additional dollars on, Rob received a phone call.  I called him to ask if I could bring in one of Nordost’s renowned demonstrators and our VP of North American Sales, Michael Taylor, to perform a demo of Nordost products.  As Rob likes to recount, he dreaded the idea of such a request, but being a good friend and business associate of mine the past 30 some odd years, relented and confirmed the appointment.  Soon, the demo day arrived!  Rob thought it would be brief.  However, after about 30 minutes of initial demos, predominantly revolving around power cord demos, Rob stopped us.  He said he was astonished. He clearly heard all the improvements as we switched cables in a progressive fashion.  He also said he had spent the last 10 minutes looking for the sleight of hand that surely must be taking place since the improvements were so clearly audible.  But, he soon realized there were no tricks and the improvements he was hearing were real.  He said over 30 years of his preconceived notions towards cables had been vanquished and to please continue with the demo!  Rob ordered a Leif Series demo case from Nordost that day and they have rapidly gone on to become one of our most successful dealers on the East Coast!  He and his lead salesman, the gregarious, knowledgeable and talented super salesman Donny Simmons, Jeff’s very capable successor, have eagerly contacted many of their past customers.  They ask them to either come in for a Nordost demo or, drop by on a Friday to take a particular cable home for audition over the weekend.  This has been very successful for the Audio Exchange and they have made many past customers new and very happy customers once again!  Donny does a phenomenal job ensuring his customers become familiar with the benefits of Nordost cabling and QRT power products.  He likes to plant the Nordost “seed” when selling a client a new audio system.  He maximizes his customer’s budget when picking out components and speakers and then tells them that in a few months, once they are familiar with the sound of their new system, he will call them.  The call is an invite to try a few select Nordost cables in their system because now that they are familiar with the sound of their system, they will be able to fully appreciate just how much the Nordost products will take that performance to the next level!

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The second important change that began to grow beginning around 2010 was the resurgence in vinyl record sales.  Slowly but surely turntable sales began to once again increase.  In the past three years that initial growth has surged, bringing the Audio Exchange even closer to their initial roots.  That is, back when they were located within a record store, surrounded by the software they used in which to demo systems.  Discerning audiophiles are rediscovering vinyl, dusting off their record collections, and once again prowling the numerous used (and new) record stores that have popped up in Richmond over the past few years.  The younger newcomers to vinyl are realizing there is something better than the ubiquitous USB turntables and are discovering better ‘tables from Pro-Ject, Music Hall, Michell, Thorens and McIntosh amongst others at the Audio Exchange.  High end turntables are selling well and frequently, which is creating a thirst for better components and speakers.  The Audio Exchange has greatly expanded its mix of turntables on offer and has also added additional high end audio lines.  Audio Research is one of the newcomers, a line of tube gear beloved by Rob back in the 1970’s!  Sonus faber, B&W, McIntosh, PrimaLuna, Anthem, Paradigm, Klipsch, Clearaudio, Ortofon, Sumiko, Denon and others round out the Audio Exchange lineup of fine products on display.  The Audio Exchange is a wonderful destination for music lovers to see, hear and touch quality audio gear!  While there may not be plans to add a record department to the Audio Exchange, it sure is nice to see 2- channel audio and The Audio Exchange thriving again in Richmond, especially when all the people who make up the Audio Exchange are such quality people who love making their customers happy!   Hey, and guess what?  Custom integration is picking up steam again as new home construction picks up.   So, please make sure you drop by the Audio Exchange when you are in Richmond and say hello to Rob, Donny, Dave, Steve, Sundae and the rest of the talented crew that make the Audio Exchange a fantastic place to audition and buy audio gear!  Great demo facilities, awesome audio gear and a talented, dedicated group of folks who love what they do define the Audio Exchange!

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Nordost Playlist – October 2015

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 October.

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  1. What you don’t do—Lianne La Havas—Blood
  2. Devil’s Whisper—Raury—Devil’s Whisper
  3. All I want—Joni Michell—Blue
  4. Zannat—Hectir Zazou, Swara, In The House Of Mirrors
  5. Joe’s Cult—Sean Rowe—The Salesman and the Shark
  6. Hell—Destroyer—Poison Season
  7. Only A Woman’s Heart—Eleanor McEvoy—Alone
  8. I Was Wrong—Keb’ Mo’—Slow Down
  9. You’ll never know—Rosemary Clooney—16 Most Requested Songs
  10. Should Have Known Better—Sufjan Stevens—Carrie & Lowell