Dealer Spotlight: Target HiFi

By Bruno de Lorimier

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This month we are focusing our Dealer Spotlight on one of the first Canadian dealers to join the Nordost family: Target HiFi. Founded in 1981, Target HiFi has been the destination for all things music in London, Ontario for nearly four decades. Owner, Bil Robinson, and long-time employee, Al Matheson, got their roots in retail through the record industry, and their passion for music is still a palpable presence in their store today. Target HiFi resides in an impressive 10,000 sq. ft. building (6,000 of which is dedicated retail space), in the center of downtown London, ON. It is the perfect spot for music lovers of all kinds to converge, thanks to its diverse range of product offerings— from table top radios, DJ equipment, bluetooth speakers, Pro Audio, all the way up to esoteric high-end audio. As part of these offerings, Target HiFi boasts Nordost’s cable lines, from Leif to Valhalla 2. Bil has always been a huge believer in cables, saying, “We were a strong supporter of cabling from the earliest days of the emergence of the importance of cables in an audio system, and we were among the initial wave of Canadian Nordost retailers back in the last century.”

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Besides quality audio cabling, Bil is also a firm believer that, in order to be a serious player in the world of hifi, it is important to surround yourself with trained audio professionals. It is for that reason that since 1982, there has always been a graduate of the Music Industry Arts program at Fanshawe College on staff. These students are accomplished musicians in their own right, and undergo “Golden Ears” training, which Bil recognizes as a great asset to his company.arcamma1

Target HiFi has always been a true supporter of the ideology that, when it comes to music, every detail matters, as well as a strong advocate of Nordost products. We thank Bil for his years of great partnership, and encourage everyone in the London area, whether you are an audiophile, a musician, or simply a music lover, to stop in and see what a great establishment Target HiFi is!
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TARGET HIFI

144 Dundas St.

London, ON

N6A 1G1

Phone:  (800) 830-9730

Email:  sales@targethifi.com

www.targethifi.com

 

Adding some “Flare” to your system: The high-powered upgrade everyone can afford!

By Anthony Chiarella

Tired of reading about audiophile upgrades which make noticeable improvements but will set you back a week’s salary…before taxes? Relax! We’ve found a tweak which delivers massive performance dividends for a very small investment.

I first used Nordost’s Purple Flare AC Power Cord to power my video display: an application in which it made a profoundly positive difference. Replacing the stock cable—a cheap affair with molded ends and conductors the thickness of a shoelace—with Purple Flare, I had seen an impressive increase in resolution, color saturation and black level, combined with a lowering of video noise. Still, it took a completely unrelated event before I got around to using these cables in other parts of my system.

Picture 481A few weeks ago, we were preparing a dealer demo of Dynaudio’s Xeo 6 Wireless Loudspeakers. For those of you who don’t know, the Xeo 6s are full-range, biamplified tower speakers that offer massive performance— orders of magnitude better than any other wireless speakers. Coincidentally, these speakers use “Figure-8” AC sockets on their back panels. We had to demonstrate the Xeos for a high end integrator in the Hamptons and, since this was a demanding customer, we needed them to sound as good as possible.

At that time, I only had one Purple Flare AC cord on hand, so I connected it to one of the speakers (the other was powered with the cheapo, stock cord), put the system in Mono and placed the two speakers next to each other. The result: The speaker connected with the Purple Flare had deeper bass, better dynamics and was at once more relaxed and more detailed. It was faster and more transparent and everyone heard the difference. In short, the Purple Flare cord kicked the speaker up a notch. A BIG notch!

Image: Hi-Fi Choice

Image: Hi-Fi Choice

Once I heard how much Purple Flare improved these speakers, I started experimenting, plugging-in these cables wherever I found “Figure 8” AC sockets— powering my Sonos Connect, BluRay Player and most especially my cable boxes, where the cords made a startlingly large improvement in both sound and picture quality. It seems that “Figure 8” cables are quite common in video products and, since there are very few high quality alternatives, consumers are forced to suffer with crummy power cords in otherwise excellent systems. Swapping out these stock cables for Purple Flare offers remarkable upgrades for what are probably the lowest quality cables in most AV systems.

Naturally, Purple Flare Power Cords use many of Nordost’s “Core Technologies” including Micro Mono-Filament dielectrics, hyper-pure OFC, FEP insulation and mechanically tuned conductors— science you can see as well as hear. Since the Purple Flare Power Cord was specifically designed as a two-conductor cable, it is available as a “Figure 8” AC Cable ONLY, which keeps production simple and pricing low. So here’s the best part: in the Grand Scheme of things, seasoning your system with a few Purple Flare cords is—at $160 for a 1 meter cord—a high-end bargain. In my experience, there’s nothing else you can do to your system for so little cash that will make anywhere near this great an improvement in your system’s sound…or image.

Marc Rushton reviews Sort Kones for StereoNET

Review Banner- Sort Kone_blogThe best part of performing a product demonstration is the opportunity to turn a skeptic into a believer, or better yet… an evangelist! That is precisely what happened at the Sydney HiFi Show to StereoNET reviewer, Marc Rushton. Although he had his reservations, Nordost Sort Kones made a strong enough impression on Marc that he was motivated to hear them at home, in his own system. The results were clear:

“Track after track delivered more emotional renditions of familiar music, clearer harmonics in acoustic pieces, and an overall feeling of a system that had just found perfect phase. The width and depth of the soundstage had increased and the ever-telling foot-tapping had started.”

Marc’s Sort Kone review is now available to read on the Nordost website here: Sort Kones —A Sceptic’s Backflip

You can find more great Nordost reviews on our Reviews Page

Upcoming Dealer Events (Fall 2017)

Keep your calendar opened and your eyes peeled for these great upcoming Nordost events!


September 23rd

4pm

JS AUDIO

4919 St Elmo Ave

Bethesda, MD 20814

Contact: Steve, Joe, or Blu

(301) 656-7020

JSAudio@JSAudio.com

www.jsaudio.com


November 2nd

5–9pm

OVERTURE AUDIO

2460 W. Stadium Blvd.

Ann Arbor, MI  48103

Contact: Tom Jankowski

(734) 662-1812

tomj@overture-audio.com

www.overture-audio.com


November 16th

5–9pm

F1 AUDIO

311 E Dundee Rd

Palatine, IL 60074

Contact: Jamie Pauls

(847) 772-3140

jamie@f1audio.com

www.f1audio.com


November 30th

5–9pm

HOLM AUDIO

2050 West 75th Street

Woodridge, IL 60517

Contact: Mike Holm

(630) 663-1298

jkholm@aol.com

www.holmaudio.com


 

Nelson Brill Attends the 2017 Lowell Folk Festival

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 blog, Brill attends the oldest running folk festival in the United States to hear music from “the streets of  Zimbabwe, Morocco and Cuba to the blues alleys of Chicago.”


FOLK MUSIC FLOURISHES AT THE 2017 LOWELL FOLK FESTIVAL AND IN A GLOWING JAZZ PARTNERSHIP

By Nelson Brill

AUGUST, 2017

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The unbounded nature of folk music, with its global reach and its rich stories of love, struggle and glory, continues to astound. The vitality of folk music was heard in all its myriad forms at this year’s 31st edition of the venerable Lowell, MA. Folk Festival (“Festival”) the oldest running folk festival in the United States. This year’s edition, running from July 28-30th, was lit up with music that careened from the streets of  Zimbabwe, Morocco and Cuba to the blues alleys of Chicago.

UnknownArriving at the Festival’s “Dutton Street Pavilion,” C.J. Chenier & The Red Hot Louisiana Band were performing under a huge tent rocking the classic tunes “Caldonia” and “Jambalaya (On The Bayou)” with infectious zydeco sway. Chenier’s accordion churned out flowing chords while his muscular partner on his “Frottoir” (a version of a washboard worn with a shoulder strap – first designed by C.J.’s father, Clifton Chenier, in 1946 Louisiana) provided the intense zing of a backbeat. Chenier sang with a rotund voice (containing ardor and grit) that punctuated the swirling music of his band. The capacity audience danced and swayed to the joyous grooves while Chenier’s accordion swept them along with his swashbuckling accordion.

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Over at the Festival’s “Boarding House Park” stage, Toronzo Cannon and his quartet delivered a scorch of another variety: searing electric Chicago blues. Cannon utilized a rolling guitar style in which he slid his fingers seamlessly from one fret to another or hit hard a cluster of repeating notes in a circular, rapid-fire pattern.

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His rousing voice accompanied his guitar swagger and his songs of lost love and “bad contracts” – all delivered with gut-thumping heat. The classic Elmore James’ tune, “Look Over Yonder’s Wall [Hand Me Down My Walk’in Cane]”, was a pile-driving romp with the band’s young keyboardist battening down the hatches with his percussive, two-fisted barrelhouse runs.

In contrast to the molten heat from Cannon’s guitar, the guitarist fronting the band Mokoomba, (a band hailing from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe), delivered the lightest of dancing notes and stutter-stepping phrases on his instrument. Mokoomba’s music combined expressive calls and vocals with the resonant pulse of congas and hand-held percussion to create undulating light grooves upon which members of the band surfed with their great high-stepping dance moves.

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Congas (and a variety of other indigenous drums) were also the resonant foundation underlying singer Betsayda Machado’s spirited performance of Cuban and Venezuelan folk music with the band, “La Parranda El Clavo”.

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Machado possessed a radiant voice (with a beautiful mix of expressive full power and tonal delicacy) and she joined with several other singers in performing Spanish songs and Yoruba chants that floated over the many drum calls below (accentuated by the whirling steps of dancers onstage).

At the Festival’s “Saint Anne’s Churchyard” stage, Americana folk and blues were nestled in the bows of the band Shadowgrass, who drove their bluegrass hard and fleet. These four young musicians took the capacity audience by storm with their sparkling banjo soars, acoustic guitar flourishes and a nimble, thumping bass that rode it all to glory.

The Festival would not complete, however, without hearing some of that sweet driving Memphis soul delivered hot and fresh by the Stax Music Academy Alumni Band.

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These young musicians tore up classic hits like “Rock Steady” and “I’ll Take You There” with soaring vocals (from their two powerhouse female vocalists and their male vocalist with a baritone as smooth as honey) propelled by a backing band of churning brass, guitar and drums. As the sun went down, the Stax Alumni Band took the Festival home with their deft vocal harmonies and their horns strutting in sharp, playful majesty.

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The rich veins of Americana folk and blues were also explored in another recent performance by two consummate Boston area musicians who create their own sweet and pungent stew from the griddle of folk roots music, poured creatively into their vessel of jazz improvisation. On July 22nd, vocalist Dominique Eade and pianist Ran Blake (both colleagues and educators at New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Improvisation Department, www.necmusic.edu), took to the welcoming stage of Thelonious Monkfish, (“Monkfish”) and delivered a sparkling recital before a transfixed capacity audience.

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Derek Rubinoff

Monkfish (www.theloniousmonkfish.com) is a delectable restaurant and music venue run by its amicable, music-loving proprietor Jamme Chantler and his musical coordinator, Scott Goulding, himself an accomplished jazz drummer with bands such as the dynamic Yoko Miwa Trio that frequently appears at Monkfish. (Pianist Yoko Miwa and her Trio have a new album out this summer entitled Pathways and it is a stellar outing with great melodic beauty and creative artistry to explore [See www.yokomiwa.com]).

The sound at Monkfish is very good and at the Eade/Blake recital, another NEC alumnus, Jeremy Sarna, manned the sound controls to produce a sound that captured the partnership of Eade and Blake in soaring flight. The sound had excellent tactile detail, a natural balance to piano and voice and offered a clear window to hear every crisp isolated note and thunderous resonant cloud in Blake’s intrepid piano explorations.

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At their Monkfish performance, Eade and Blake celebrated their new duet recording Town and Country [Sunnyside; www.sunnysiderecords.com), an audiophile gem which is particularly noteworthy in its sound quality for its capturing of ambient space: an empty NEC Jordan Hall with all of its splendor of flowing air and deep resonance.

Their Monkfish recital roved from every corner of this recording’s expansive folk and blues territory. The concert opened with William Schumann’s “Pretty Fly and Lullaby,” with Eade perched on the most gentle of free-flowing high notes and runs, (with some creative bird call-like sounds whispered into her mix). “Winter in Madrid” was another garland of high fleeting vocal gifts from Eade: her voice here resembled a young tern learning to fly at an ocean’s edge. Her voice dove, swerved and dipped to express the beauty and depth of her songs with creative and unpredictable zest. Blake’s piano was like the partnering wind to her wings: his spontaneous bellows of chord colors, pedal holds or prickly jumping notes always sent Eade flying in a new vocal direction or swoop.

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The rich folk, gospel and blues songs from their Town and Country recording sometimes rang out with thunder in Blake’s prodigious keyboard crashes or, at other times, were drenched in the lightness (like nourishing, falling rain) from Eade’s slippery bebop scat. “Moon River” glowed with Eade’s voice lustrous and strong (tethered to Blake’s bluesy chords). “Elijah Rock” also glowed with gospel fervor on Eade’s sassy and brazen vocals that concluded with her retreating from her microphone to echo the phrase “Lord, Lord” in cascading light calls. On Dylan’s “Its Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”, Eade turned her voice into a talking, penetrating slipstream of words that rang with condemnation, sarcasm and knife-sharp edges as Blake responded with arresting stop and start keyboard quips that rang out like shotgun blasts.

The music on Town and Country seeps into every emotional crevice of Americana roots music: it can be prickly; it can be warmly inviting or it can be blistering in its condemnation of human suffering. Johnny Cash’s “Give My Love To Rose” (a moving ballad on the human cost of imprisonment) and “The Easter Tree” (an old English protest song against racist violence with the stark imagery of a lynching at its core) lurched on Blake’s spare piano notes and Eade’s pouncing vocals. (Eade concluded “Easter Tree” by holding the last word- “Stone” – for several seconds to deliver a wallop of vocal power and intensity). “Memphis,” Blake’s short instrumental composition for Martin Luther King, shuddered with thunderous clouds of ominous chords contrasted with the lightest of piano touches- as if to portent the spark of new possibilities.

In contrast to these penetrating numbers, Eade and Blake also performed a light and glittering “Moonlight In Vermont” (a highlight of gentle sway and lilting creativity) and Eade performed a riveting scat solo piece in which she played an imaginary wind instrument (with her fingers outstretched before her) concocting percussive sounds up and down her nimble register.

The recital came to a close on the meditative theme of a beautiful spoken word/singing tribute to another Americana folk hero: the sage activist Henry David Thoreau (whose bicentennial is being celebrated this year). In this unfurling poetic moment, spoken text and vocals curled around Blake’s floating clouds of soft velvety piano colors until they disappeared in a final wisp of Eade’s fragile held soar.

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


 

Dealer Spotlight: Third Dimension

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www.zurdrittendimension.de

Munich is one of those places that seems to make it on everyone’s “Top Destinations” list, and audio enthusiasts are no exemption. During the week of the High-End Show every Spring, audio rivals asparagus in popularity, and with everyone flocking to the MOC, it’s sometimes easy to overlook what is actually one of the best – and permanent – shows in town: 3. Dimension on Heimeranstrasse.

Sporting Nordost’s entire range of products, including the Odin 2, 3. Dimension has several demo rooms of different sizes in which you’re sure to be treated to excellent sound, as well as serious barista-level coffee from their own machine.

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Last time Nordost visited 3. Dimension we performed several demonstrations of our Supreme Reference range, as well as the QRT line. We talked about all the evolution that took place between the original Odin and the Odin 2 and played countless songs of all genres to illustrate the improvements. Odin 2′s musicality is something else!

As for the QRT range, we showed how our QV2, QK1 and QB8 dramatically lower electrical background noise. We also demonstrated how both Sort Kones and Sort Lifts eradicate the   internal and external vibrations that find their way into our setups, clearly smearing the sound and holding back the system’s.

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Next time you’re in Munich, make sure to stop by 3. Dimension. Ask Stefan Trog and his staff for a Nordost demo with coffee, and enjoy what is probably Munich’s – and one of Germany’s – finest audio shops.

3. DIMENSION

Heimeranstr. 68

80339 Munich

Phone 089.54034323

www.zurdrittendimension.de

 

Nordost Playlist – September 2017

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. Personal Jesus – Remastered Version—Depeche Mode—The Best Of Depeche Mode Volume 1
  2. Cocaine Cool – Extended Vol2—Laid Back—Cosyland
  3. Coffee—Grace—FMA
  4. Lover—Tree Theater, Emily C. Browning—Lover
  5. Nalésonko—Ballaké Sissoko—At Peace
  6. Portraits of Langston: V. Jazz Band in a Parisian Cabaret—Langston Hughes, Valerie Coleman, McGill/McHale Trio—Portraits: Work for Flute, Clarinet & Piano
  7. Gold – Nikitch Remix—Andreya Triana, Nikitch—Gold
  8. Heart’s On Fire—Passenger—Whispers (Deluxe)
  9. Stranger—Paul Simon, Nico Segal—Stranger
  10. Appointments—Julien Baker—Appointments

We’ll be updating our “Nordost Monthly Playlist” on Spotify every month, and you can visit our profile to find all our selections in one place!


 

Nordost will be at TAVES – Consumer Electronics Show

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Come and join Nordost at TAVES this year, October 13-15th at the Toronto Congress Center in Toronto, Ontario. Throughout the show, TAVES attendees will have the opportunity to stop in and see Nordost’s informative cable comparisons and product demonstrations, presented by Nordost sales representatives. This year is the perfect occasion to experience the impact Nordost’s new QKORE Ground Unit has on a world class sound system. The QKORE is the most effective, comprehensive grounding solution in the industry. It provides an artificial, “clean” earth using both electrical and mechanical approaches to eliminate stray high frequency noise and voltage-generated magnetic fields from your sound system, leaving a clean reference behind. Stop by “Berton 4″, where we have partnered with our dealer, Audio by Mark Jones, to hear the Nordost difference!

Questions and Answers (August 2017)

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!


Q: I live in a small apartment, so managing my audio cables is always an issue. I have read that Nordost warns against coiling speaker cables and power cords, as well as avoiding contact both from other cables and walls. That can be difficult when you’re working with my space constraints! Can you offer any advice for me to keep my cabling tidy while avoiding interference and sound degradation?

A: If your speaker cables are longer than what you need, we suggest running them in a serpentine pattern so that they rest on their edge (minimizing surface contact). Placing them like this will ensure that you don’t coil them, and that they resonate freely.  If you use our Sort Lifts, this will improve their resonating properties, and decrease their contact with the floor even more. Power cables are a bit trickier, but you should still avoid coiling them.  Also, make sure that if they are near the speaker cables they cross the speaker cable at a 90 degree angle, so that they don’t run parallel to each other.

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 Q: How much time is required to break in a power cord?

A: Power cords have the fastest burn in time of any cable, thanks to the amount of current flowing through them. Typically, they are good to go within 48-72 hours of continual use. When breaking in any other Nordost cable, we recommend 168 hours for our Leif and Norse 2 ranges, and 336 hours for our Reference cables. Although, it’s best to go to your local authorized Nordost dealer and ask about the ability to burn them in on our VIDAR machine (however, this service is not available for power cords).
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Q: What is the difference between the QV2 and QK1?

A: These two product address different frequencies.  The QK1 adds harmonics at high frequencies, and is a mechanical device. The QV2 adds harmonics at midrange and upper bass frequencies, and is an electronic device. For more information about these products please visit the QRT section of our website.

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Q: I am looking to buy a power cord, but I don’t know what length to get: 1 or 2 meters. Do cables at different lengths sound different?

A: The jump from a 1 meter to a 2 meter cable is the most noticeable jump when comparing any length.  While a 1 meter power cord won’t sound bad by any stretch of the imagination, the 2 meter cable will sound smoother, since the resonance is being spread out over a longer length.

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The Hong Kong High-End Audio Visual Show 2017 – Recap

The Hong Kong High-End Audio Visual Show is always a highlight of our year.  It was a pleasure working with Radar Audio, our outstanding distributor both in Hong Kong, as well as mainland China, to set up a world-class system with the help of Magico, dCS, and Constellation Audio.  Together, we put on a a full weekend of amazing demonstrations for show attendees and press.  If you couldn’t make it to this impressive event, here are some of our favorite pictures from the show:

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Thank you to the Radar team, for all your help, from everyone at Nordost!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA