At Nordost, we try our best to give our customers the knowledge they need to optimize their audio systems and get them performing at their best. One way that we do that is by providing you all with a series of helpful guides ranging from loudspeaker and turntable set-up, to the importance of grounding and vibration control, all available for download on our website. The most recent of these valuable articles deals with digital cables.
Digital audio cables are arguably the most controversial component in hifi. As hifi audio cable manufacturers, when it comes to our digital cables, we are constantly asked two questions: “How do digital cables make a difference in a hifi system if all they do is send ones and zeros?” And, “How does the design of a digital cable help in the signal transfer?”. This informative download breaks down the answers to both of these questions, explains the technical challenges of digital audio data transmission, and lets you know what you should listen for when evaluating the merits of a digital audio cable so that you can upgrade with confidence.
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: Can you use the new QRT Stand Mount with older versions of the QBASE?
A: The QRT Stand Mount was designed to fit the QSOURCE as well as all Mark II versions of the QBASE. Older versions of the QBASE AC Distribution Unit will not fit the QRT Stand Mount.
Q: What purpose do the detachable ground whips that come with Nordost’s Tonearm Cable + serve?
A: All ranges that include a Tonearm Cable +, from Blue Heaven to Odin 2, come with two detachable ground whips. These ground whips can be used to ground the shielding of the cables as an additional ground loop prevention when needed. In order to determine if you need to use the Detachable Ground Wires, follow these steps:
First, play some music without any of the Detachable Ground Wires attached and see how it sounds.
Then, try inserting one of the Detachable Ground Wires to your cable on the end closest to the turntable. Connect the spade of the Detachable Ground Wire to the ground post on your turntable.
Next, if you have a ground option on the phono-stage end, disconnect the Detachable Ground Wire from the turntable end of the tonearm cable, and insert it into the phono-stage end instead. Connect the spade of the Detachable Ground Wire to the phono-stage ground, and listen again.
Finally, if applicable, insert both Detachable Ground Wires to the two ends of your cable, connect them to ground on the turntable and the phono-stage, and listen one last time.
Q: Is the Valhalla 2 Ethernet cable shielded?
A: Yes the V2 Ethernet cable is constructed using individually shielded conductors, arranged in twisted pairs, which are then wrapped in braided, silver-plated copper shielding, before being encased within a high-density polymer insulation. This fully shielded cable construction virtually eliminates the crosstalk and electromagnetic interference (EMI) that has always afflicted previous network cables.
Q: When I’m auditioning Nordost’s QPOINT Resonance Synchronizer, what should I be listening for?
A: When auditioning the QPOINT, listen for the following improvements:
Greater musical organization, focus, and coherence
A controlled sense of dynamic freedom and force to the sound
Nordost’s new QRT Stand Mount is the perfect accessory for our QBASE Mark II AC Distribution Unit and QSOURCE Linear Power Supply, offering several stable new ways to place your QRT products for both sonic improvements as well as convenience! With the QRT Stand Mount, you will be able to easily support your device with Sort Kones (draining it of vibration with greater stability than ever before), mount it to the wall, or simply lift it, providing extra stability. The Stand Mount was designed with your ease in mind, and can be integrated into any system that already uses our QBASE Mark II or QSOURCE.
When “grounding” an audio system, the first thing that audiophiles do is make sure that their AC receptacles are in order. This is a great first step! It is vitally important that the AC line and load wires on all receptacles being used in your hifi system are correctly phased and properly grounded.
However, if you really want to address earth ground, the most practical and worthwhile upgrade is to install a dedicated circuit for your audio system. This step should be followed by installing a separate, external ground path to an external ground rod. Each of these solutions provides a path out for unwanted, “spurious” currents that circulate through the circuit and add noise to the system. Unfortunately, these measures ONLY address earth ground, and don’t do a thing to address signal ground.
Signal ground becomes a problem whenever currents are generated during transmissions between devices in a system as a result of the small differences of potentials in those components. In order to rectify the background noise and loss of low-level details caused by contaminants on the signal ground, you need to elicit the help of an artificial ground. An artificial ground is a sink of impedance lower than the house earth ground, so that high-frequency noise on the signal ground will drain away, leaving a clean reference behind.
Signal ground can be addressed two ways. The first option is to use an extremely low-impedance cable to connect the signal ground access point on the termination to the ground pin of an unused wall socket. However, the second option is far more versatile – a passive grounding box. Nordost’s answers to artificial ground are their QKORE Ground Units, a series of parallel grounding devices which can either separately provide an artificial “clean” earth for the primary side of the power supply (earth ground) with the QKORE1, and the secondary side (signal ground) with the QKORE3, or can address both the signal and earth ground together with the QKORE6!
Nordost is happy that we can continue to make our time spent at home a little more enjoyable with the gift of great music. Our products aim to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. Like you, we here at Nordost are music lovers. Each one of us has our own style… we listen to a wide variety of artists and genres but, in a way, we appreciate them all. We thought that we would share a few of the songs on our own personal playlists with you each month. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your tastes, but we hope that there is something here for everyone.
Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this May.