What is the most important cable in your set up?

The most important cable in your sound system is the power cord. At the risk of stripping away any magic from your tunes, the music enjoyed from your hi-fi system is little more than AC power, transformed by components to reproduce a melody. The quality of this reproduction is directly determined by the caliber of power cord which is facilitating this transfer of raw Picture 724electricity to the equipment. By simply upgrading the AC cable in your set up, the audible difference is remarkable. Unlike other cables, a power cord does not transmit a signal: It conducts AC power. The success of this cable is gauged by its capacity to deliver a sturdy, instantaneous current as well as its ability to reduce the effects of electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequencies (RF) coming from outside sources. A poorly constructed AC cord will actually attract EMI and RF, or noise, to your current, affectively polluting the raw material feeding your system and raising the source impedance of the AC supply. An optimally built power cord, on the other hand, is designed to be less prone to, and reduce, any EMI and RF influences resulting in a faster rise time in the 50/60 Hz cycle. For the Nordost solution, see our website to learn more about our power cords ranging from our Leif to Supreme Reference ranges.

46 thoughts on “What is the most important cable in your set up?

  1. My Red Dawn Power cords are first on the list. Then Red Dawn speaker cable and Red Dawn interconnect last but not least Blue Heaven digital cable

  2. Hi. My system power cords range from the old Magus to the Vishnu. I have a Torus line conditioner. Do you recommend connecting the better power cords from the wall outlet to the Torus or from the Torus to the equipment? Appreciate your advise. (My system is totally wired with Nordost cabling)

    • Hi Bob, yes we would recommend that the best power cord in your system be the one feeding the power distribution. The power cord from the wall to the Torus is the first form of power conditioning and sets the sonic signature for the system. That being said, we would recommend a Vishnu from the wall outlet to the Torus.

        • Thank you for your comment! I’m glad you enjoyed the read. I have to admit I’m not very tech savy so whenever somethings go right, I probably didn’t have much to do with it but I’m glad it worked out.

  3. I actually think this particular posting , “What is the most important cable
    in your set up? | Nordost Blog”, especially compelling and the
    post was in fact a fantastic read. Thanks for your time-Geoffrey

    • Thank you, Geoffrey! We are very excited about this new blog feature as well. You can look forward to more like posts in the near future!

  4. The Odin power cord is just a very solid master piece !
    Will sure perform the gear to the best itself !
    I am now using this to check all my gear and push them to the limited !
    Of course struggled for 2 weeks to plug in or pull out !!
    As the price of the Odin is the same or more than the price of the mid high end gear, really spent time in checking it out ! But the problem is, the more gear you test, the more you want to keep it !
    So after connected to each item, transport, per amp, etc…have to arrange the cheque! Very difficult decision!

    The only problem now is that I just got one power cord now, have to make more money for more pieces and then the interconnect and …..

    But for the cord I can use forever, which I think, in a long run, the average cost is o.k.

    Gogogo…..

    Enjoy the music…..

  5. I am a re-awakened 60 year old hi-fi and sound enthusiast that has re-discovered music after years of noise (mp3 etc).
    I bought all new equipment this summer. Reasonably high spec. at approximately 15,000 usd. I was quite happy with the sound except for the new turntable (Rega RP 40) which I thought sounded a bit closed in.
    My dealer lent me a couple of Blue Heaven and a Red Dawn power cords…and wow. Fitting the Red Dawn to the pre-amp and the blues to the power amp and the DAC made the vinyl sound just as I had hoped, but the streamed sound over the DAC was a bit edgy but overall everything had a significant lift- Needless to say the dealer then lent me a Heimdal 2 power cord ..and with that on the pre-amp and the red dawn on the amp, the vinyl sounds even better and the lower mid-range and bass comes forward better than with the earlier set-up red dawn and blue heaven set-up. Result: I have now ordered a set of 4 Heimdal power cables and a QB8. I should receive this next week.
    I know that I will “have to” upgrade my speaker cables and maybe something more in relation to the power. My current cables are purple flair. What would you recommend that I should look at next if I want to consider effect versus investment? Qx2? Sort Kone(s) or speaker cable?

    I have all my equipment in a room with a concrete floor ( the basement in my house).
    I do not think that a separate earth is a viable thing at the moment…

    Apologies for the long rant, but I do look forward to your reply.

    • Hello Mr. Anderstrom,

      We’re happy you have found your way to great music! MP3′s just don’t cut it, although they do offer the convenience of taking up less hard drive space. It sounds like you have a pretty awesome system and we’re thrilled that you’ve chosen to try out our power cords to get the most potential from your gear. And thank you for your recent purchase of the Qb8 and Heimdall power cords, you’re going to love what they do for your system!

      Just remember when you install the Qb8 to make sure to plug your preamp into the “Primary Earth” outlet and the rest of your gear into the other remaining outlets. To get the next biggest bang for your money, we would recommend purchasing Sort Fut units for your speakers and rack. After that, we would recommend Bronze Sort Kones for the Qb8, especially if it is located on the floor and not on a shelf of your audio rack. Once these steps are completed, then definitely look into upgrading your interconnects and speaker cables.

      • Thank you very much for your quick response and advise. Very interesting as the Sort Fut (black foot ?) has not been mentioned or discussed really anywhere. It would appear that the Sort Kone (Black wife /cone and widow in scandinavian tongue) is used as the or in place of the Sort Fut over here.
        I will certainly first install the new items and then start to source the Sort Fut and address this with my dealer. Alternately, I will try to pick them up whilst on one of my trips to Houston. Which dealer(s) in Houston centre would you suggest.
        Best regards, Nils

  6. Love your products! I only use Nordost products in My HiFi system. Even in My Raidho speakers!
    And I am aware of,that My Heart of My system,is the distribution of power!
    Currently,I am using Frey 2 powercord to My QB8,and have 4xQV2s there. I have My CD player connected to the QX4,who is below the CD player.
    I have ordered a Isotek Titan and Will replace their 20 Amp powercord With Nordost Red Dawn,4 meters,and connect My QB8 to the Titan,With My Frey 2 powercord.
    Here is a little peek of My system in Norway! Love it!

    http://avforum.no/myhifi/WALL-E

    Kind regards
    Olle Ericsson,Norway

      • I want the best of both worlds and took the Power Conditioner upgrade to a higher level. Now,I am waiting for my new Burmester 948,which will give my system clean power,together with my Quantum QRT products.
        Many thanks for your kind comments!
        You are always welcome in my music apartment!:-)

        Kind regards

        Olle

  7. Hi,

    I am setting up the system practically from the scratch and I am considering Nordost set to be the cables for the system.

    I have been thinking to buy the Blue Heaven LS for the entire cabling set, but after reading the comments from this blog post I started to think whether I should have a slightly different plan. Instead of investing to Blue Heaven LS level of speaker and interconnect cables, would it be better idea to go with White Lightning for speaker and interconnect and to get Sort Cones for amplifier and/or DAC? Or enhancing the power part even further by Red Dawn power cord and/or with QV2? What is your view on this?

    Regards,
    Timo

    • If I were you,I would start with a good power cable and a QB8.The higher level on this cable,the better is it,because it is the main cable to your system! The QB8 distribution block is absolutely essential! After this,your wallet decides what sort of speaker cables and interconnects you should have. But,based on your thoughts,I recommend a 2 m Red Dawn power cord to the QB8 or QB4 block and put the rest on your budget in Blue Heaven or White lightning. The cones and QV2s can you take later. Good luck!

  8. I know that in your excellent “Foundation Theory” piece, it states that it is advisable to have all the power cords the same, suggesting that five $200 cords are better than one $1000 cord and four stock cords. I believe I have also heard somewhere (from a review or a dealer) that at least in one case, a system with an Odin main lead and the remaining leads Blue Heaven out performed an all Valhalla power cord system. This seems to contradict the “Foundation Theory.” Can you clarify?

    Does it make sense to have, say, a Valhalla power cord to the main distribution, Heimdall 2 to the preamp, DAC, etc, and Frey 2 to power amp(s)? Or better to have
    Heimdall 2 to all devices coming off of the main distribution?

    • To answer the first part of your question, a system that has an Odin power cord from the wall to the AC distribution unit with 4 Blue Heaven power cords to the electronics (as you mentioned) actually can sound better on SOME (NOT ALL) systems than a system completely wired with Valhalla. Again I do stress SOME, NOT ALL because some electronics can have a different level of performance based on the power cord that is feeding them and not just the power cord that feeds the whole system. However, this still is not a complete contradiction to the Foundation Theory since all of the cables being used in this scenario are coming from one manufacturer, and therefore share the same core technologies. What comes into play is that the power cord that is feeding the distribution unit is what sets the sonic signature for the whole system and the Odin and Valhalla cables differ sonically.
      To answer your second question, we would definitely recommend using Valhalla from the wall to the distribution unit. As for the other power cords, this will require trying multiple ways of connectivity to try to find out which sounds the best. First try to connect all Heimdall 2 to the electronics. Then you should try connecting Heimdall 2 to the pre-amp, DAC etc. and Frey 2 to power amps. Lastly, you should try connecting Frey 2 to the pre-amp and DAC etc. and Heimdall 2 to the power amps. It may seem like a lot of work, but ultimately it’s about finding the best sound possible for your unique system and along the way you will get a chance to really understand how your system reacts to changes which should actually be a fun process!
      I realize this is a lot of information. Should you have any follow-up questions, don’t hesitate to contact our product specialist at his email: info@nordost.com

  9. Pingback: Introducing the Tyr 2 Power Cord | Nordost Blog

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    Do you’ve any? Kindly let me know in order that I may just subscribe.
    Thanks.

  12. Hi.
    I’m looking to move to Heimdall 2 throughout my system. My question is with regard to the mains. I have had a dedicated supply fitted for my hifi. But I only have a double socket to feed into. I have CD player, it’s power supply, pre amp and power amp to consider. Would you advise two components per plug, if so will the supplied accommodate or should i buy a couple of Furutech plugs or go for a mains block? Regards

    • The best investment you could make would be a QBASE. A dedicated power line, which you already have, with a QBASE controlling ground flow would be the perfect solution.

  13. I was introduced to Nordost by my audio dealer. Although a past enthusiast had not done much for 20 years. In retrospect since my knowledge was limited in the cable area all I can say I’m grateful for what my dealer did and happened. On the equipment side I had ideas and knowledge but just went with his recommendations on the cables. Now that I know much more in person, my dealer and reading reviews on line I’m very happy with how this all came together.

    My whole experience started about 5 years ago with Shiva power cords, Frey XLR and speaker cables (the pricing on the cables even at this level was an eye opener at the time- little did I know how inexpensive these really were with later purchases :).

    A year ago this past summer I did a major upgrade in my music room – speakers first after agonizing on what to do which of course lead to amps and cable upgrades. This upgrade on the Nordost side was significant – QX2, QX4, the updated QB8, Frey 2 speakers cables and 5 sets of QV2′s and QK1′s and sometime later an upgrade to Tyr 2 XLR- All made a huge difference. By this time my selection of power and interconnects were Frey 2, the one Tyr 2 XLR, Blue Heaven and Red Dawn.

    At Axpona this past April I ended up purchasing a music server and DAC (got tired of swapping discs – two tracks here three there kind of thing and wanted a playlist of all favorite tracks one after another – by the way this was a great decision for those that are on the fence). At the show in talking to Nordost at their booth it was suggested to try an Odin from the QX4 to the QB8 and leave the Frey 2 from the wall to the QX4. I kind of gulped once I saw the price but gave it a go. That was an eye opener to say the least! I also reconfigured my audio rack to support all components on Kones (Mono amps, DAC, Music server, QB8, QX4 and QX2) mostly BC however the DAC is on TC Kones. Also upgraded my Amps to F2 and added H2 power for the music server and DAC and V2 digital XLR from music server to DAC. Also moved the subs up from Blue heaven to Red Dawn. That was also a very nice improvement.

    Since the recent move by Nordost to go with Odin 2 there were some opportunities for me to purchase some Odin as others moved up to O2′s at a price that is still a lot but much more reachable for me. So ended up with Odin speaker cables and XLR’s. What can I say another nice improvement.

    In a conversation with my dealer and your rep over lunch a few weeks back he dropped the hint that he updated his whole system to V2′s and was very pleased with the results. Well guess what…. I’m in the process of doing just that. About a month ago got my first V2 to replace the Frey 2 from the wall to the QX4 so now with the Odin from the QX4 to the QB8 my trunk is probably about as good as my wallet will ever handle. Again another nice improvement. Also at the same time I upgraded my two subs from the Base line flat green cable to Frey 2 interconnects. Today I will be picking up some more V2′s to upgrade my amps from F2′s. I’m going to do a complete tear down and use your Eco also for the first time. Will use the displaced F2′s for the DAC for a brief time

    My next and final move will be to replace the two F2′s going to my DAC (QB8 to QX2 then to DAC) with 2 more V2′s and update the QX2 to a QX4. Then I think I”m done and happy. With my more recent moves to V2′s I could of easily upgraded my amps for less money however in thinking about it I wanted the base of the system as strong as I could afford so even though I don’t have any plans to replace any hardware now it will most likely happen at some point down the road. When I do I can feel confident that my base for the system is sound – no pun intended.

    Talking about the base of a system. I did a grounding of the QB8 early on to a earth ground and a Entreq box. This was before Nordost had their grounding wire. That update which was for about $100 (8′ ground rod and 100′ 10 gage ground wire less the Entreq box) was well worth the cost. Because of my location in a basement it took some time to route the wire to hide it and then find a way to the outside.

    So maybe you are wondering what did I do with all the Nordost stuff that was displaced like 3 H2 power, 3 F2 power, QB8, QX2, Frey XLR, Tyr 2 XLR and Frey 2 speakers cables – well with my music room upgrade I moved the music room speakers and subs to the media room and then filled in a center channel and surround speakers. Most of the left overs have a place when I upgrade by this time next year all the electronics in the media room. The Blue heaven, Red dawn, Shiva power and Frey speaker cables will be gifted to my son who is in the process of starting his new system. It will be interesting to watch his progression in to the future.

    Sorry in advance for the long post.

    • Thank you for sharing the evolution of your system. We are glad to hear that you are happy with all of the improvements that you have made throughout the years! As you have indicated in your post, Nordost cables truly are the foundation a sound system needs, and they are an investment in great sound. An investment that I’m sure your lucky son will be very happy that you made too!

  14. Hello, my most important cable is Heimdall 2 power cord on my cdp.
    Then all Blue even LS2 power cords on 2 final mono ampli, and pre.
    For the power cable I’m using Blue Even LS2 idem for the interconnect.
    I have an Visnu power cord but I tried on my pre, but I wasn’t satisfied how sound it.
    I should consider an update because I ‘ve bought a pair of Totem Wind speakers and I afraid that power cable is not up to the WIND…
    I think to pass at Heimdall power cable is it correct?

  15. I am a new person in audio. I read and see your blog ís useful for me to understand the importance of power cables. I just bought a wireless system Dynaudio Focus XD 600. What type of Norfost power cable would you recommend as the dealer in Hanoi advise me to select QB 4+ 02 option of cable: Heimdall 2 or blue heaven. But they can not say clearly gains and loss for each option so I still can not make final decision yet.
    Hope to receive your advise soon as I am exited to hear our first and new high end music system this week end
    thanks and regards

    • The answer is easy, always go with the best you can afford.

      The construction difference between the Blue Heaven and the Heimdall 2 is dramatic. They both use 16 gauge conductors however the Heimdall has solid conductors whereas the Blue Heaven is a stranded copper bundle design. They both add more weight or body than a standard power cord but the Heimdall will remove the high frequency harshness that occurs when you use a stranded design. When that harshness is removed you get more detail in the soundstage especially in upper frequencies.

  16. I changed out my amplifier a few years ago to a Naim SuperUniti (streamer and integrated amp) from my earlier set up of a marantz receiver and a meridian 507 CD player. All connected to B&w speakers (CDM7NT) with Nordost good flatline speaker cables that my dealer (innovative audio video in NYC) suggested back in 2001.

    Naim doesn’t recommend any power conditioners or after market power cables so I have a Naim certified power strip from cablepro with the power cables that came with it and the naim superuniti.

    Why do you think that is? My sound sounds thin and I need to improve it.

    • Several manufacturers suggest not using power conditioners because of two reasons. One, the amplifier already does what power conditioner does so its redundant. Two, many of them in fact restrict current flow because of the processing they do which causes the amplifier to work harder. Then there is the compression that occurs with many of them….

      As far as power cords goes I don’t know many companies that tell you to be happy with a stock power cord. Naim is probably the one exception and they suggest to only use their cords, speaker cables included. Not sure why.

      It’s hard to determine why your system sounds “thin” unless everything is known. Room size, speaker placement, AC quality, etc.

      One thing to try is plug the system directly into the wall to see if the power strip is causing any issues. The second thing to look at would be your speaker placement, try moving the speakers backwards towards the rear wall as well as a bit further apart.

  17. I am using Frey2 from the wall to my QB8 and Heimdall2 from the QB8 to my components, all of my signal cables are Tyr2 and it sounds great, Thanks for the fantastic sound!!!

    • We are so glad that you are enjoying our products and the improvements that they are bringing to your system! Enjoy the music !

  18. Thanks for your heimdall 2 products, i think it is good for me, the sound state is good and clear. My all from power cord to speaker cable is all heimdall 2.
    but, i need to know:
    1. why the most important cable is the line from wall to socket? in reality it is true but i dont know why. Just 2 m cable can be good like that.
    2. can the cable reduce the emi and RF so is it like a filter or just the RF cant go to 2m cable?
    thanks
    hieunt

    • I’m glad that you are happy with your Heimdall 2 cables! To answer your questions, the most important power cable in your set up is the one that feeds your distribution bar because that it influences everything that is plugged into it. That way you are making improvements from the very start of the chain. The only way to reduce EMI and RF would be to shield the cable. You can also minimize the effects by increasing the cable speed, which is one of the benefits of Micro Mono-Filament technology. The faster the signal travels, the less it is influenced by other factors, including electrical properties.

      I hope that this answer proved helpful. In the future, or going forward, please feel free to email your questions to info@nordost.com.

  19. Salve ! Il mio impianto è : Pre stereo Exposure 3010 S2 , finali mono Exposure 3010 S2, casse Totem Model 1 Signature, meccanica CD Cambridge CXC, DAC/ network player Cambridge Azur 851 N. I cavi dei diffusori sono PURPLE FLARE, quelli di alimentazione sono tutti BLUE HEAVEN, quelli di interconnessione sono tutti BLUE HEAVEN ! Quali cavi sono i più importanti da cambiare per primi ? Grazie, saluti !

  20. Hi, I am really happy with my existing Nordost cables but due to a change in my setup I am in the market for a longer power cable from the wall to my QB8. Is there any sonic difference between a 3 meter or 4 meter Heimdall 2 power cable?

    • Yes, but it is more subtle at that point. On mechanically tuned products the longer you go (up to 4m) the overall sound gets smoother. You are spreading resonances out over a longer length. However, it’s a lot more noticeable on the other end like going from a 1m to a 2m. There the difference is much greater as you go with a longer run.

  21. Hi!
    I own and have tested a lot of you products since I ran into Hi-Fi and the Nordost mark some years ago. I find your pieces of advice here helpful. Today, I use Heimdall 2 PC’s from IsoTek Sigmas to Burmester 101 amplifier and my two players B001 and Primare BD30. Valhalla XLR between the 001 and 101 and Heimdall 2 XLR from Primare. Frey bi-wire cables to B25 speakers. Thinking of replacing Heimdall 2 PC (1 meter) to my amplifier with a Brahma PC (2 meters) Will it give a warmer and fuller sound? Will the 2 meter Brahma sound better than a similar 1 meter cord? It also has got upgraded Fururech plugs. How big is the step from Brahma to Frey 2 PC? I use an IsoTek burn-in CD to speed up breaking in the equipment, guess it also helps the PC’s? Looking forward to your answer! :)

    Kind regards
    Kristian, Norway

    • Hello Kristian, I want to make sure I answer every part of your question, so I have broken it up into 5 parts:

      1) Will replacing the Heimdall 2 PC (1 meter) to your amplifier with a Brahma PC (2 meters) give a warmer and fuller sound?
      Yes, because Brahma (now Frey2) is a 5 conductor power cable versus the 3 conductor Heimdall, it has a substantially fuller sound than Heimdall. More weight.

      2) Will the 2 meter Brahma sound better than a similar 1 meter cord?
      Yes, a 2m power Brahma or Frey 2 would sound warmer and smoother than the exact same power cord in a 1m length.

      3) Furutech plugs.
      It doesn’t mean it will be better, there is a reason we match the power cord to the connector and we didn’t use that with Brahma.

      4) How big is the step from Brahma to Frey 2 PC?
      It’s audible. We changed the winding technique when we developed Frey 2 and the conductor is much less spiraled than Brahma.

      5) I use an IsoTek burn-in CD to speed up breaking in the equipment, guess it also helps the PC’s?
      Yes but not much, power cords burn in far faster than other cables and typically within 48 hours or so.

      I hope that you found this helpful! If you have any further questions please direct them to info@nordost.com

  22. I’m downsizing my system, more like simplifying it, and need some power cord advise.

    Currently, I have two Frey 2, 2M, power cords and two Brahma, 2M, power cords. My system consists of one preamp and two monoblock amplifiers. (My phono preamp is battery powered, no cord necessary.)

    My question is this: should I use one Frey from the wall to the distribution center and the two Brahma to the amps; leaving the second Frey to the preamp? Or the other way around; one Brahma to the distribution center and the two Frey to the amps; second Brahma to the preamp? (I also have a spare 1M Frey 2 power cord.)

    The preamp and amps all use SMPS; monoblocks are class D.

    • I would suggest using your Brahma power cords to connect both of your amps, and one of your Frey2 power cords to connect your preamp. You should then use your other Frey2 with the power distribution.

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