Nordost Playlist – July 2014

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

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


  1. Retrograde – James Blake – Retrograde
  2. Coplita (feat. Miriam Garcia)—Chancha Via Circuito— Coplita (feat. Miriam Garcia)
  3. Honey Sun—Elbow—The Take Off and Landing of Everything
  4. Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95, “Frome the New World”: II. Largo—London Philharmonic Orchestra, James Loughran—AИtoИíИ Dvorák: From the New World & American
  5. Born Whole—Doe Paoro—Slow to Love
  6. Warwick Avenue—Duffy— Rockferry
  7. Dex—Edit—crying over pros or no reason
  8. Pithecanthropus Erectus—Charles Mingus—The very best of Charles Mingus
  9. Take It Back—Ed Sheeran—X
  10. Coffee—Sylvan Esso—Se

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

Bassist Michael Feinberg and his “Humblebrag” at the Lilypad

Real music lovers can find the melody in everything. From the park to the concert hall, our friend Nelson Brill is always on the hunt for great sound. In this article, Nelson recounts a performance by artist Michael Feinberg at the Lilypad in Inman Square, Cambridge.


by Nelson Brill      May 26, 2014

Birding – a music lover/audiophile pursuit? Yes, indeed. In these early months of spring in Boston, birding is at its best: all sorts of migrations are occurring and you never know what surprise you may encounter around that next hedge. Birding opens the ears and the mind. If you bring a good pair of binoculars to your favorite park, pond or glen in an early morning or late afternoon, you will notice how your ears do not pick up many bird calls at first. Moving slowly and deliberately and keeping your ears focused on every nuance of sound, you will begin to hear things you did not before. After some time, you will be hearing new sounds coming from all directions and be able to pinpoint the call of that young yellow-throated warbler hidden in the thickets under your feet. Sit or stand quietly and the more you listen, the more you will hear and see: catch that rose breasted grosbeak just alighting on that pine branch at about 12 o’clock? See that flash of orange as that Baltimore Oriole streaks towards its hanging nest at 3 o’clock? Your ears are now truly open and your senses bring forth an astonishing new array of visual and sonic treats to behold.


Bringing birding skills to the Lilypad in Inman Square, Cambridge, on May 8, 2014 brought many sonic rewards, especially when listening to the band assembled that evening under the keen eyes and ears of bassist Michael Feinberg. Feinberg has been on the radar for some time, after seeing him perform several years ago at the Beehive Restaurant in the South End, Boston and hearing his superb 2012 recording, The Elvin Jones Project [Sunnyside].


On that recording, Feinberg collaborated with some great talent, including drummer Billy Hart, local sax great George Garzone, trumpeter Tim Hagans and pianist Leo Genovese (also a local Berklee grad) for some funky and deeply meditative explorations. The recording is excellent, with an up-front perspective on all the action and a nicely layered soundstage. Using those birding ears, you can easily pick up every punctuated deep note from Feinberg on his bass pile driving the swing of “Miles Mode” (with a swashbuckling piano solo from Genovese) or the funky bop of “Taurus People” (with Billy Hart ratta-tatting away on his beautiful snare and Garzone’s sax big and full).  There are shifts to deep pools of sounds here too, on Elvin Jones’ “Earth Jones” and “It Is Written”: a slow revolving piece bending and swaying to Alex Wintz’s curling guitar motifs and Hagan’s soft cushioned tones from his horn.

At his Lilypad performance, Feinberg was showcasing a new formation in support of his just-released album, Humblebrag-Live at 800 East [Behip Records] and his tour in support of this new recording (check out Feinberg’s website for all details:


Feinberg’s Humblebrag band is once again chock full of great young musicians just itching to fly from the nest and spread their wings. Joining Feinberg at the Lilypad were pianist Julian Shore, drummer Dana Hawkins, trumpeter Jason Palmer and Godwin Louis on alto sax. This is a band made in hipster heaven! Shore is a superb pianist; he brings meticulous technique and an emotional depth to his piano playing that is fascinating to hear evolve. Hawkins brought his own snare to the Lilypad, and once set up, was on fire. He is a young drummer to watch out for-bringing great nervy urgency and roving meter shifts to his kit. Young Jason Palmer almost stole the show a few years ago at the Newport Jazz Festival when he was spied playing in Jack DeJohnette’s band. The guy has got soul all over his trumpet playing. Palmer can cascade sounds in a gleeful rush or burn slowly – never losing track of his melodic, soulful  grace. Finally, there is that firecracker Godwin Louis on alto sax. Louis brings more funk and glee to the proceedings as he amply demonstrated this evening at the Lilypad: big, brawny sound with volcanic technical skill.


The band played “Duckface” (which appears on the new Humblebrag recording with Terreon Gully on drums and Billy Buss on trumpet) with tumultuous force, all funk and brawn. Like on the recording, Shore took off into a beautiful, interwoven piano solo, with leaps and bounds from sparkling high notes to low blustering bass chords. His unerring touch on the piano was extraordinary. Sparks flew (like the sights of those bright orange orioles in the trees around town) in Palmer and Louis’ takes – full of furious scaling that always led back to the nest of first melodic ideas. As on his latest album, Feinberg here laid into a funky, soulful bass solo. The sound of his bass at the Lilypad was not bad- especially given the intimate confines of this listening room. (The management has now put in some good dampening materials along the walls of the room that have made for some improvement in these areas of bass bloat and drum overpowering sound in this small, inviting space). The Humblebrag recording (recorded live in a small Atlanta studio which Feinberg speaks of with gratitude for its cooperative structure for artists) captures beautifully all of the sass and funk of “Duckface,” with a warm and spacious soundstage and a nice up-front perspective to Louis’ funky sprawls on his alto sax.

The band also stretched out on “The Hard Stuff,” a rough and tumble outing with a big rock rhythm foundation and off-kilter solos bouncing off  Feinberg’s bass backbone. Hawkins brought a huge sound to the proceedings (like a hawk brushing away all crows chasing him into the trees). His furious stick work was rock solid and cataclysmic, always with an ear to bringing the funk and heady bass drum to the fore. Palmer also added a sassy solo with that special way he has on the trumpet with seeking a soulful tone amidst the launch of prickly runs.


This piece reminded of the bright and shining title track that closes Feinberg’s Humblebrag recording. Here is a intriguing original composition from Feinberg that melds together a stream of influences (rock, soul and swing) into an exhilarating confection. The piece fires away with the front line punctuating forth in metallic flare, leading into a curvaceous solo by Louis, all nimble and spry. Gully and Feinberg maintain a heady rock foundation while Buss’s trumpet pushes the envelope with piercing hits and elasticity up and down his instrument. The recording captures this solo with all of its clarity and blaring metallic energy. Shore brings it down to a quiet, contemplative moment with his laconic, resonant touch until the buoyant melody erupts again.

There’s a celebration, a funk and a love in everything that Feinberg composes. He’s a guy to keep a pair of binoculars on. Ample rewards await for those (with ears open!) who scope Feinberg and his bandmates out through the trees.

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

Marc Mickelson Reviews Valhalla 2

Review Banner-  Valhalla 2

You may have seen Dennis Davis’ “First Sounds: Nordost Valhalla 2 — What Nordost’s Valhalla 2 means for the existing Valhalla owner” published in The Audio Beat this past January. The article is Dennis’ firsthand account of upgrading the reference cables in his system from Nordost’s Valhalla to Valhalla 2 and served as a fantastic introduction to V2.

Last month, The Audio Beat published its second look at V2. Marc Mickelson’s review takes a harder look at the Valhalla 2 range and is a great tool to get a better picture of the cable’s construction and what that means in terms of sound.

“[With V2] there is no highlighting, backlighting or soft lighting anywhere– the presentation is too evenhanded for that. Instead, these cables come by the wealth of detail naturally– in more ways than one. It is naturally rendered and integral to the nature of the music signal.” – Marc Mickelson

Mr. Mickelson’s full review is now available on the Nordost website under Reviews.

Read the full article here: Nordost Valhalla 2 Interconnects, Speaker Cables and Power Cords

Picture 1496

Nordost’s New Heimdall 2 Headphone Cable

lg-Heimdall 2-headphone cableThe consumer electronics market is constantly evolving thanks to the development of new technologies as well as the shifting whims of customers. In the past five years the push towards personal audio has been overwhelming. What started out as an offshoot based on convenience, has morphed into an industry that has become a preference for many people. Audiophiles have launched into headfi with a great deal of fervor. These enthusiasts take the same care in customizing their personal audio set-up as they do their listening rooms. As music enthusiasts begin to amass personal audio gear, it is important to remember that whether sound is distributed by speaker or headphone, the fundamentals remain the same—foundation is paramount.


The Heimdall 2 Headphone Cable consists of 32 AWG 7/40 conductors which have been individually insulated and twisted using Litz construction. Litz construction increases the pliability, as well as eliminates triboelectric noise within the cable and improves upon mechanical damping. In order to accommodate the added durability demanded from headphone cables, Nordost has included an Aramid fiber strength member to the construction of this cable. Integrating Aramid fibers into the cable design not only ensures its mechanical integrity, transferring the strain away from the cable’s conductors and to the fibers themselves, but the resonating properties of aramid fibers also enhance sound quality.

To take things to the next level, the Heimdall 2 Headphone Cable employs Nordost’s proprietary Micro Mono-Filament technology with extruded FEP insulation around the conductors, as well as mechanically tuned lengths, which reduce internal microphony and high-frequency impedance resonance. As a result, the Heimdall 2 Headphone Cable acts as the ideal conduit to transfer an amazingly realistic reproduction of sound from your system to your hifi headphones.

lg-Heimdall 2-headphone cable-group

The Heimdall 2 Headphone Cable is available with a variety of termination options that are compatible with all major players in the headphone market.  (Click HERE for a list of available terminations and their corresponding headphones.) Each cable is 2M and is terminated with a 4 pin balanced XLR male connector on the source end and also includes two adapters which are comprised of identical construction and technology as the headphone cable itself, and have also been cut to specific, mechanically tuned lengths. Both adaptors are terminated with a 4 pin balanced XLR female connector on one end and either a 3.5mm stereo mini or a 1/4in stereo phono on the opposite end.

Personal audio has revolutionized the world of hifi and allowed audiophiles to appreciate music in a whole new way. The advances made by leading headphone manufacturers as well manufacturers of amps, DACs and music players have made it possible to make hifi portable—so why disparage those gains with substandard headphone cables? Nordost’s Heimdall 2 Headphone Cable now enables you to enjoy the hi-fidelity sound quality that you have been craving from the personal audio market.

Headphone Cable_LR

What every audiophile should know: 3 Steps to Great Sound

If you have followed the Nordost blog, seen a Nordost ad or are familiar with any of our other written materials, this phrase (or a similar iteration of this phrase) should ring a bell: Discover the full potential of your sound system.  But what does that really mean?

Many times people will buy expensive components and loudspeakers, and then upgrade those same components and loudspeakers, all without truly experiencing the full effects of their purchases. There are 3 major factors needed to achieve the intended performance levels of your hifi equipment.  Unfortunately, until these 3 areas are addressed you will never reach your systems full potential, nor will you be able to accurately identify what needs to be improved.



1)      AC Power

The AC current that comes into your wall makes a huge impact on the performance of a hifi system. This is the energy that feeds each of your components and has a big hand in the integrity of the music produced. Although trying to control the quality of current that has been running through miles of wire before reaching your listening room may seem fruitless, there are a number of elements you can control to “clean up” your AC line and give your devices the chance to run properly.




 2)      System Supports

For years, the popular train of thought was that components and loudspeakers had to be “isolated” from the damaging effects of the outside world. However, this just doesn’t hold true. All devices that either pass or create energy vibrate. Unnecessary vibration is detrimental to sound quality. Therefore it would stand to reason that in order to achieve better sound, one must dispel this extraneous energy.

Supports that provide a mechanical ground path for energy dispersion are a must. Supports are useful for virtually every element in your sound system: components, loudspeakers, power conditioners, distribution blocks and even cables. Remember, the larger the component, the more power involved; the more power involved, the bigger the problem.



3)      Cabling

People spend a lot of time and resources finding and buying the best components for their systems. But all of the work that those devices do can be lost in even the smallest runs of substandard cabling. Cables are a necessary evil in the hifi world. Without them there would be no sound, but it is impossible to find a cable that adds to the quality of music passed through it.  Even the best cable manufacturers have to try to do the least amount of damage possible to the delicate signals their products transfer from one device to another. When they succeed, the difference is staggering.



These three often overlooked aspects of hifi make up what Nordost likes to call the “foundation of great sound”. For more information, including tips on improving your AC supply, equipment supports, and of course cabling, refer to Nordost’s “Foundation Theory: Beginners Guide to Building a Better System” here:

Pictures from Nordost Nation!

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


Valhalla 2 — in Munich, Germany
Perfect Sense



“I got a real lift in the sound when I bought 2 pair of Purple Flare and Bi-amp’ed my speakers with those.” – Birger Olovsson


“My first nordost power cable 🙂 Primare and Nordost is a really good match
🙂 Realy makes my amp come alive” – Andreas Jönsson‎


“My Valhalla 2 speaker cables finally arrive at my doorstep;Awesome performance! Sound so free and easy right from the start.” – Paris Ng Kwok Chyuan‎


“Ended up buying one more 🙂 Looking forward to try it tomorrow 🙂 ” – Andreas Jönsson‎


“Nordost demonstrerade precis som förra året sina produkter tillsammans med Jeff Rowland. Nytt för i år är “Sort Füt” – ett lustigt namn på en avancerad fot för resonanshantering av dina favorithögtalare – här tillsammans med Audio Physic.” – Perfect Sense


Tyr 2 at Munich
Barnsly Sound Org.


“Seems to be in jewelry! Only the best at Munich High End 2014” – Da Pieve Hi-Fi Srl‎


“New demo! Now in our Reference System” – Da Pieve Hi-Fi Srl‎


“You know we wouldn’t come to T.H.E Show Newport without the new Nordost Cables Heimdall 2 cable for our Audeze cans!”


“This shot means a great deal to me…
Joe Reynolds from Nordost Cables has been a good friend of mine since 1996 – when I worked at The Absolute Sound and thru my time at Atlantic Records! ” – Michael Mercer


Nordost’s new iKables: LS Blue Heaven and Heimdall 2

bh ikable blogHE2 ikable blog


In today’s society it is of the utmost importance that our technology be completely mobile. Along with the rest of the tech industry, music has also been “mobilized”. However, many audiophiles are unwilling to sacrifice quality for the convenience that portable audio provides. But with the launch of Nordost’s new iKables, there are no more concessions—the LS Blue Heaven and Heimdall 2 iKables finally make it possible to enjoy hifi quality sound from all of your portable audio devices.

At their core, both the LS Blue Heaven and Heimdall 2 iKables are constructed from 4 silver plated solid-core 24 AWG OFC conductors and employ Nordost’s innovative precision FEP extrusion technology. This process greatly reduces the dielectric properties in the cables in order to increase signal speed and accuracy in signal transfer. This on its own makes a significant improvement upon the standard interconnects used with portable audio devices.

However, the Heimdall 2 version takes it a step forward. The Heimdall 2 iKable uses Nordost’s proprietary Dual Mono-Filament technology, suspending the conductors in a virtual air-dielectric which decreases the resistance and signal loss even further than what is possible with the Blue Heaven. Additionally, the Heimdall 2 iKable utilizes mechanically tuned lengths which are proven to reduce internal microphony and high frequency impedance resonance.

ikable uses icons-01

Nordost iKables are the perfect solution for today’s modern hifi enthusiast. They are made specifically for auxiliary inputs in aftermarket radios, car and home audio stereos, and are compatible with all portable audio devices. With the LS Blue Heaven and Heimdall 2 iKables you will never have to suffer through substandard sound again, regardless of your location.

LS Blue Heaven iKable     Heimdall 2 iKable


Nordost Playlist – June 2014

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

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



1.  Salvator mundi — Thomas Tallis, Stile Antico — The Phoenix Rising

2.  Numb — Gary Clark Jr. — Blak and Blu

3.  Back Home Again In Indiana — Oscar Peterson, Zenph Studios — Oscar Peterson: Unmistakable – Zenph Re-performance

4.  Lemonade — CocoRosie — Grey Oceans

5.  Caprices, Op. 20, No. 2 and 7 — Lee Ritenour’s 6 String Theory, Shon Boublil — 6 String Theory

6.  I Don’t Believe In Destiny — Anne Bisson — Tales from the Treetops

7.  This Is Not America — David Bowie, Pat Metheny — Falcon & The Snowman – Soundtrack

8.  Smashed Birds — Soley — We Sink

9.  The Suburbs — Mr Little Jeans — Pocketknife

10.  Hallelujah – Remastered — k.d. lang — Recollection