Dealer Spotlight: Excel Audio

By Mike Marko

As one enters Excel Audio in beautiful Orange County, California, near Newport Beach, all you see are records – lots of records – all audiophile quality from the best labels. The selection is updated daily with an emphasis on Jazz, Blues, Rock, and Classical all curated by the owner, Mike Rose. It’s like the record stores of yore, but with much better quality! Mike’s regular customers are always leaving with some of the best new pressings in hand. L.P.s have always been very important sources of music for Mr. Rose and his customers (but don’t worry, his selection of digital gear is still second to none). 

Look a little further and notice Southern California’s best selection of turntables and electronics, all chosen for being some of the highest-value products our industry offers at every price level. For example, Excel Audio exclusively uses Nordost cables in sound systems ranging from the simple to the sublime. dCS digital, Clearaudio reference turntables, D’Agostino amplification, and the full line-up of Wilson loudspeakers (including the Chronosonic XVS system with subs) are often on display in their reference listening room. But that’s not all! The new Klipsch Heritage series (and, yes, the Klipschorn) are on display. Line Magnetic and Luxman electronics are fully stocked as well. Nagra, a relative newcomer to Excel, is there too and its performance is impressive. What do all of these reference systems have in common? They are all wired with Nordost’s Supreme Reference, Odin 2 cabling!  

At Excel, all of Nordost’s cables are “burned-in” with the new Vidar 2 cable conditioning system, which guarantees the best results, even when cables are brand new! This level of attention shows you that Excel Audio sweats the details. Mike Rose cares deeply for the final system the customer chooses. 

Stop by Monday through Saturday and say hello to Mike and ask, “What’s new!?” You’re bound to get an earful! 

Excel Audio 

4678 Campus Drive 

Newport Beach California 


(949) 933-1599

Nordost Playlist – February 2023

Nordost products are designed to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. All of us here are passionate about great music, and want to share our passion with you. 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 February.

You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  | SPOTIFY  |  QOBUZ

  1. When You Were Mine–Joy Crookes–Skin
  2. It’s so Peaceful in the Country–Lucy Yeghiazeryan–It’s so Peaceful in the Country 
  3. Tom’s Diner–AnnenMayKantereit, Giant Rocks–Tom’s Diner 
  4. This Year–Emily King–This Year 
  5. Scotch And Soda–The Kingston Trio–The Kingston Trio 
  6. Sixteen Tons–Geoff Castellucci–Sixteen Tons 
  7. Friendship–Pops Staples–Don’t Lose This
  8. Requiem: Pie Jesu–Turtle Creek Chorale, The Women’s Chorus of Dallas–Rutter: Requiem & 5 Anthems 
  9. Eberhard–Lyle Mays–Eberhard 
  10. NOT TiGHT–DOMi and JD BECK, Thundercat–NOT TiGHT

Questions and Answers: Grounding

Recently, the idea and means of artificial grounding has been a hot topic in the audio industry. Effective electrical grounding in a hifi audio system can mean the difference between enjoying your music and falling in love with it. System noise is a complicated and incessant problem, so why not answer some commonly asked questions about grounding? 

Q: What elements in the environment around my system have an effect on its performance. 

A: Interference that impacts the power domain is all around you, constantly bombarding your system. Your AC power lines are contaminated with electrical surges, pulses, and switch-mode hash from home appliances, plug-in chargers, light dimmers, and fluorescent and LED lights. Even the air is polluted by radio frequency interference (RFI) and electromagnetic interference (EMI), levels of which are increasing due to the prevalence of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cellular signals.

Q: What is signal ground and how can it negatively impact my system? 

A: A signal ground is an analog or digital ground that is attached to every signal being transmitted between devices in a system. Since these devices are usually powered separately, it is inevitable that there will be small differences between their potentials, causing small currents to circulate in order to compensate. These currents add to the background noise, obscuring low-level detail in music reproduction. 

Q: What does an “Artificial Ground” do?

A: An artificial ground sinks the impedance of a component lower than the house earth ground, so that high-frequency noise on the signal ground will drain away, leaving a clean reference behind. 

Q: What audible improvements can I expect to hear after addressing grounding issues in my system? 

A:  There are several improvements you can count on by addressing the grounding issues in your system. The image separation will be greatly improved, exposing nuances in dynamics and accent markings that would otherwise have been missed. You’ll also experience a tighter, deeper, and more authoritative bass. However, the most noticeable change will be a dramatic drop in your noise floor which will provide a quieter, ‘darker’ background, resulting in a wider, more lifelike soundstage. 

Q: What is Nordost’s solution to grounding problems? 

A: Nordost’s grounding solutions are QKORE Ground Units. QKORE units are parallel grounding devices which provide an artificial, “clean” earth for hifi audio systems using both an electrical and mechanical approach. The QKORE1, QKORE3, and QKORE6 products combine Nordost’s patented Mono-Filament technology with purpose-built, Low-Voltage Attractor Plates (LVAPs), constructed with a proprietary metal alloy and a passive electronic circuit, in order to draw stray high frequency noise and voltage-generated magnetic fields to a manufactured earth point, leaving a clean reference behind

For more information on grounding and to help you better understand why it is needed, what improvements can be heard in a properly grounded system, and what artificial grounding solutions can offer, download this article: The Importance of Electrical Grounding in Audio Systems