FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What should my first cable purchase be?
We recommend a power cord be your first cable purchase as it is the most important cable in your system. Our Blue Heaven power cord is a good place to start. However, you will find significant improvements as you upgrade to Norse 2 and especially to our Reference Series.
Are Nordost cables directional?
Yes, Nordost cables are directional. This is especially true for single ended (RCA) interconnects as the shield is connected at the source or output end only.
Which way do directional arrows point on Nordost cables?
The directional arrows always point away from the source. For example, from a CD player to an amplifier, the arrows should point towards the preamplifier or power amplifier. On a speaker cable the arrows would always point towards the loudspeaker
How can cables be directional?
When cables are manufactured they do not have any directionality. However, as they break in, they acquire directionality.
Although the cable signal is an alternating current, small impurities in the conductor act as diodes allowing signal flow to be better in one direction over time. This effect is also called quantum tunneling, w hich has been observed in experiments over 25 years ago. Regardless of the purity of the metal used, there are still diode effects in all conductors. In addition, the insulation material will change when it is subjected to an electrical field.
How long do my cables have to break in?
Normally, we recommend at least 168 hours. However, our Reference level cables require at least 336 hours.
What is the best way to break in my cables?
The best way to break in your cables is to have them burned in on the Nordost VIDAR machine by an Authorized Dealer. Most dealers will do this for a small charge and many offer this service when you buy your cables from them. This is another reason to buy your cable from an Authorized Nordost Dealer.
Can I have my cables burned in at the Nordost factory?
No, we don’t offer this service at our factory due to the volume of work and the logistics involved.
What happens during break in?
Considerable changes occur in the cable during the break in process. Any gases that were trapped between the insulation and the conductors during manufacturing are dissipated. Additionally, the insulation material charges up. The diode effects of the conductor will be more pronounced after 168 hours of break in. During this time the cable takes on a direction.
How long does break in last?
If the cable has not been used for more than one month, it will benefit from being broken in on the VIDAR. It is a good idea to bring your cables back to your local dealer every year and have them broken in again.
Why is the VIDAR better for breaking in cables?
The VIDAR is designed to put a very wide band signal of varying amplitude through the cables connected to it. In the normal course of use, cables such as tone arm and analog interconnects never get a high level of signal. This means it can take a long time for them to break in fully. The VIDAR speeds up this process by the combination of frequencies it puts through the cable. The results from the VIDAR will always be better than any other break- in method used.
Cables such as tonearms and analog interconnects are normally never exposed to high signal levels, so it takes an extra long time for them to break in. When a cable is connected to the VIDAR it is subjected to a wide band signal of varying amplitude. The combination of frequencies put through the cable speed up the break in process. Results from the VIDAR will always be better than any other break in method used.
What is the best way to clean and treat my cables?
The best method to clean your cables is to use a damp cloth to clean the outer jacket. Then take a clean cloth or paper towel and spray it with ECO3X and wipe down the outer jacket of the cable. This will prevent the build-up of spurious static charges on the cable, which may affect the sound quality.
Can I use ECO3X to clean my connectors?
No, do not use ECO3X to clean your connectors. It is not a contact cleaner and will leave a residue on the connector.
What do you recommend to clean the connectors on my cables?
We recommend any good quality electrical contact cleaner. Craig Pro Gold and Deoxit are very good.
Are Nordost interconnect cables shielded?
Yes, all Nordost interconnects are shielded.
Why are Nordost digital cables superior in performance?
It is an accepted practice in the cable industry to have an impedance variation as high as 15% and still rate the cable impedance as 75 ohm or 110 ohms. However our digital cables are within 1% tolerance of the correct impedance which is either 75 ohm or 110 ohm AES/EBU. Nordost digital cables all use Micro or Dual Mono-Filament technology to remove timing errors and jitter. The result is superb performance you can hear.
Why do Nordost 75 ohm digital cables come with BNC to RCA adaptors?
The correct termination for true 75 ohm impedance is a BNC connector due to the mechanical spacing of the center conductor relative to the outer insulation. We cannot alter the laws of physics. We have found that keeping the integrity of the 75 ohm cable with a BNC termination and using an RCA adaptor always provides better sonic results. It also means the cable can be used easily as a clocking cable, which typically uses BNC connections for superior performance.
Does Nordost offer factory re-termination services on its cables?
Yes, factory re-termination is available. This is best done through our worldwide network of Authorized Nordost Dealers who can arrange the return of the cables to our factory for re-termination.
Can my detachable headphone cables (Heimdall 2) be re-terminated for use with a different type of headphone?
No. Due to the complex construction of this cable and the fact that it is mechanically tuned, it is not possible to have it re-terminated.
Can I have a long length of cable cut down and re-terminated?
No. Unfortunately, since most Nordost cables are mechanically tuned for optimum performance, adjusting the cable length will compromise the performance. In the event that you require shorter cables, we suggest that you visit your local Authorized Nordost Dealer who may be able to accept a trade of your existing product and supply you with the necessary lengths.
What is the purpose of the Nordost Norse & Reference Bi-Wire Jumpers?
These jumpers are designed to replace the metal strips commonly found on bi-wire speakers. They are mechanically tuned and improve sound quality dramatically.
Can I use my Nordost Bi Wire jumpers as banana to spade adapters?
Yes the Bi-Wire jumpers can be used as Z-Plug banana to spade adapters without compromise.
What makes the Nordost Blue Heaven HDMI cable unique?
The Blue Heaven cable is the only HDMI cable that is 100% made in the USA. It is DPL certified for high performance. It is the only HDMI cable that uses Mico Mono-Filament technology and specialized cable geometry to shorten the signal path.
Is the Blue Heaven HDMI cable 1.4 compliant?
Yes, the Blue Heaven is 1.4 compliant out to 10 meters.
What is the longest length HDMI cable Nordost offers?
The longest HDMI cable Nordost currently offers is 10 meters. While our cables will work at longer distances, in order to comply with the strict guidelines of DPL, we do not offer longer lengths.
Are XLR or single ended RCA connections better?
If you are using a properly implemented balanced design from the same manufacturer, then XLR will sound better. However, if you are using balanced equipment from different manufacturers, the results can vary. In some cases the equipment may not be truly balanced. If there is the option, the single RCA will sound best. At the end of the day, it’s system dependent.
What is the best termination on loudspeaker cables?
Across our cable ranges, we typically recommend the Nordost banana Z-plug. We have being using this connector for many years due to its low mass design and beryllium copper construction. On our Valhalla 2 cable we offer a HOLO:PLUG, gold plated, OFC spade connector which is mechanically tuned to offer superior sonic performance
Where are Nordost cables made?
All Nordost cables, resonance control devices, and QRT products are made in Holliston, Massachusetts, USA. Nordost is committed to making all of its products in the USA.
Why should I buy from an Authorized Nordost dealer?
When you buy from an authorized dealer, you can be sure that you’re buying genuine new Nordost cables that have not been altered or modified by a third party. You also have the ability to test cables and get proper advice on setting up your system.
How can I try a Nordost cable in my system?
Most Authorized Nordost dealers have a demo case available so that you can borrow cables and try them in your system.
Why are Nordost speaker cables flat?
Our loudspeaker cables are flat because the extruded FEP method of manufacturing that we employ allows us to precisely space conductors with a very high degree of precision. This precise geometry achieves very low capacitance and inductance – numbers that translate to much better sonic performance.
What is Nordost Micro Mono-Filament technology?
Micro Mono-Filament technology is a proprietary method of manufacturing cables to minimize the influence of the insulation on the conductors. By winding a single, FEP filament in a precise spiral around each conductor, before extruding an outer FEP “sleeve” over the top, Nordost has created a structure combining the best available dielectric material while spacing the insulation away from the core. This minimizes contact and dielectric absorption as well as creates a virtual air environment. The spiral filament also delivers excellent mechanical damping and ensures superb geometrical precision.
What is the difference between single and Dual Mono-Filament technology?
Unlike Micro Mono-Filament which uses one FEP thread, Dual Mono-Filament technology uses two, which are wound around each other and then around the conductor. This introduces an even larger airspace and provides less interaction between the insulation material and the conductor, thus improving performance.
Can I bend the speaker cables around corners?
Yes, because Nordost cables are made with extruded FEP, they can be bent and folded without delaminating or damaging the insulation.
Can I install my loudspeaker cables under rugs or carpets?
Yes, Nordost loudspeaker cables are made with extruded FEP. They are extremely durable and tough and can be run under carpets and rugs.
What minimum cable lengths do Nordost recommend?
The minimum recommended lengths of Nordost cables are as follows:
Power cables – 2 meters
Analog interconnects – 1 meter
Digital interconnects – 1.5 meters
Tonearm cables – 1.25 meters
Loudspeaker cables – 2 meters
What is better: short interconnects or short loudspeaker cables?
The signal loss on Nordost cables is very low due to the use of extruded FEP insulation and Micro Mono-Filament technology.
Nordost cables can run over longer distances with less signal loss than regular cables. However, when planning a system set up, it is wise to keep lower level signals such as tonearm cables and analog interconnects relatively short. It is better to use longer loudspeaker cables as these typically have much more current and voltage being provided by the power amplifier.
What length of cables do you recommend for tonearm use?
Our standard length is 1.25 meters and the cable can be run up to 3 meters. However, due to the low level of signal, we would not recommend exceeding this length.
What is the best way to bundle extra lengths of cables?
We do not recommend bundling extra lengths of cables tightly. Doing so may change the electrical characteristics of the cable, increasing capacitance and impedance. It is better to coil the cables back and forth in a loose configuration.
What should my first QRT power product purchase be?
We recommend a QB8 QBASE power distribution unit to give your system a proper foundation.
Can I use my THOR distribution with the new QRT products?
Yes, the THOR can be used in conjunction with QX2 and QX4 power purifiers as well as QV2 AC line harmonizers.
Can I use more than one QX2 or QX4 in my system?
Yes, in fact, the more units that are used, the greater the sonic benefits.
What are the sonic differences between the QX2 and the QX4?
Each product has a different focus. The QX2 should be used to focus the soundstage. The QX4 should be used to increase the dynamic range, improve the cross talk and lower the noise floor in the system.
Can I use QRT products with other brands of power distribution?
Yes. However, for best results, we would recommend a full complement of QRT products with Nordost power cords. Since the philosophy of QRT is very different from that of other companies, we cannot guarantee the same sonic results.
Do QRT power products use surge protection?
No, the QRT products do not use surge protection. However, the QBASE Mark II model includes a fuse that acts as short circuit protection.
Do I need to connect the external ground on my QBASE?
No, it is not necessary to connect the external ground to have the QBASE work effectively. However, if it is possible to run a ground wire to an external ground rod, you can lower the noise floor in the system.
My preamp has two or more separate power supplies. How do I connect it to a QBASE?
Please contact Nordost technical support at 1 800 836 2750 or firstname.lastname@example.org for detailed information.
I have more than 8 components in my system. Can I use two QB8 QBASE units?
Yes, you can use two or more QB8 units in your system.
How do I connect two or more QB8 units together?
Connect the first QB8 unit to the wall using the best possible power cord. Then connect the second unit directly into the outlet labeled “Primary Earth”. Once these steps are completed, you can connect the components as you normally would.
Where is the best location to plug in my QV2?
The QV2 should be plugged into any unused outlets in the QBASE power distribution unit or other power strip.
How many QV2 units should I use in my system?
It is best to use the QV2 units in pairs. While adding just one will improve the sound, each pair increment will have greater impact. The more pairs of QV2s in the system, the greater the increase in sound quality. Many users choose to install 6 or 8 pieces in their system, in addition to the QX2 and QX4 units.
Can I put Sort Kones under speakers?
No, the Sort Kones are designed for use under audio and video components only and should not be used under loudspeakers. If you are looking for a resonance control device for your speakers, the Sort Füt is Nordost’s dedicated device, which replaces the standard spikes and stabilizers found on loudspeakers and racks.
What are the different models of Sort Kone?
There are 4 models of Sort Kones: AS aluminum/steel, AC aluminum/ceramic, BC bronze/ceramic and TC titanium/ceramic.
Each of these combinations has different sonic attributes.
Can I mix and match various types of Sort Kones?
Yes you can.
How many Sort Kones should I use under my components?
You should use a minimum of 3 pieces under each component. However, adding additional Sort Kones will give a noticeable improvement. Contact Nordost technical support at 1 800 836 2750 or email@example.com for instructions on Sort Kone placement.
How much weight does the Sort Kone support?
The Sort Kone AS will support 75 lbs or 34kilos per piece. The other Sort Kones will support 100lbs 45.45 kilos per piece.
How much weight does a Sort Füt support?
The Sort Füt will support 200 lbs or 90.90 kilos per piece. This means a loudspeaker or rack with four Sort Füt units can handle a weight of 800 lbs or 363 kilos maximum.
Are there different sized threaded adapters for the Sort Füt?
The Sort Füt is supplied with 6mm, 8mm and ¼ -20 adapters, as these are the most common sizes used. Other sizes are available from your Authorized Nordost Dealers at additional cost. If you are not sure what size threads your loudspeakers use please contact your dealer or check with the manufacturer.