NOVO continues their 3 part review series with the Blue Heaven USB and Speaker Cable

The third installment of NOVO magazine’s three-part cable upgrade series, The Journey to Higher Quality Audio With Nordost Leif Cables: Part 3 or 3 was released this October. Reviewer Suave Kajko is taking his readers through the process of maximizing the performance of their audio systems step by step. While parts 1 and 2 focused on Blue Heaven Interconnects and Power Cords, part 3 sees Suave shift his focus to Blue Heaven USB and Speaker Cables. With a full loom of Blue Heaven cables finally installed in his system, Suave finds a refinement to every discernible improvement he made along the away. However, what may surprise most readers is the difference that the USB cable made, since many up-and-coming audio enthusiast dismiss such digital cable upgrades.

 

“With the Blue Heaven USB cable in place, between my laptop and the DAC, I was rewarded with a further lowered noise floor, which resulted in a wider soundstage, with more precise positioning… both instruments and vocals sounded closer to what you expect to hear in real life, deepening the music listening experience.” – Suave Kajko

 

You can now read all three parts of Suave’s Blue Heaven cable review in the review section of the Nordost website –

The Journey to Higher Quality Audio With Nordost Leif Cables: Part 1 of 3

The Journey to Higher Quality Audio With Nordost Leif Cables: Part 2 of 3

The Journey to Higher Quality Audio With Nordost Leif Cables: Part 3 of 3

Purple Flare— The perfect upgrade for the Bluesound NODE 2i

By James Davies of Absolute Audio

Any review of a product in context of the Bluesound NODE 2i will read like a love letter to the NODE itself! The NODE 2i is brilliantly engineered and executed; designed with audiophile sensibilities but with the features and form factor to appeal to a much larger consumer base, the NODE 2i perfectly bridges the gap between high performance audio and mass appeal.

For my review, I decided to use the NODE 2i “full monty”: I hooked the unit directly up to my power amplifier, using the NODE 2i’s streaming services through its built in DAC chips and digital volume control. I did not want to spoil or flavor the performance, nor did I want to introduce too many variables, which only prove to confuse things. In fact, using the NODE 2i in this manner gave me the chance to directly compare an otherwise bargain priced, single box, source/preamp (the two most critical items within a HiFi system) to my much higher priced, separate components. All cabling within the system was a combination of Purple Flare Interconnects and Speaker Cables, and Blue Heaven Power Cords. All components were connected to a QB8 power distribution bar, used in conjunction with a QKORE1.

The immediate impression the NODE 2i makes on the listener is of a very large scale sound for such an affordable piece. The sound-stage is both wide and tall, though with a relatively shallow sense of physical depth. This is not to say that the NODE 2i is flat sounding — just that its presentation is more on the forward and energetic side of things. At no time did the NODE 2i sound brash or unrefined. Tones and timbres, if not perfectly neutral, certainly never sounded anything other than correct. This is an area where affordable digital HiFi often shows its cards: the sound must be voiced to be appealing, but often ends up sounding grossly colored in some fashion. This is not the case with the NODE 2i — its sonics are otherwise unobtrusive.

After listening to the NODE 2i for several days I then swapped out its factory supplied two prong power cord for the Nordost Purple Flare Power Cord. I have to admit I am somewhat biased in favor of the Purple Flare, as I have firsthand experience with it, used on my AppleTV and Samsung TV. In both cases, the visual image was far more vibrant than when used with the factory power cords. I certainly expected the Purple Flare to bring improvements to the NODE 2i, but I wasn’t entirely sure in what ways.

With Purple Flare plugged in, the NODE 2i retained its overall appealing character. The sound was still energetic— fast and powerful. My “consumer” ears heard a further improvement of the NODE 2i’s overall sound. What was immediately apparent to my “audiophile” ears was that the higher and lower frequencies now had greater delineation. While this type of improvement is hard to quantify, it is important to stress that music in real life has a “continual” sound, where frequencies extend as far as the environment allows, rather than the more abrasive frequency roll off that electronics inevitably perform. While this more continuous presentation now allowed me to listen longer at higher volumes with less fatigue, it also represented a more natural overall sound at all volumes. Large scale and complex music had less confusion with the Purple Flare Power Cord in place.

The NODE 2i has a very present upper midrange, which is why I think it sounds so appealing and energetic. If a product were to couple this with less well represented higher frequency band, the presentation could become uneven and brash. While I alluded before that I would not characterize the NODE 2i as brash sounding per se, with the Purple Flare installed, the sound was certainly even smoother.

The NODE 2i’s bass frequencies are the only area where I could ever be truly critical—certainly not of the performance at the price—rather in terms of absolute resolution. The bass is somewhat compressed, giving the NODE 2i a great sense of punch, but without the dry control and heft of much more expensive digital components. With the Purple Flare in place, bass frequencies too are improved, gaining a degree of that dryness, which better represents natural bass instruments, without loosing the NODE 2i’s characteristic punch.

Things got really interesting after leaving the Purple Flare Power Cord in place for over 24 hours. When I returned to my system to listen further, I was presented with a more “liquid” presentation I’d not yet attributed to the NODE 2i. Frequencies across the range had more weight to them (in the sense that frequencies would sound closer to this in real life). However, where I was now most impressed was with a new found sense of physical depth to recordings through the NODE 2i via the Purple Flare. While still retaining the initial impressions of width and height, the sound of the NODE 2i was now more complete in all plains.

Depth of stereo image is something I normally exclusively attribute to higher end electronics. It is arguable that no one other than the recording engineer has any concrete knowledge of how much depth any one recording should have. The same goes for image specificity, width, height, and overall scale. I did not engineer any of these recordings and I am certainly not an authority on how they should sound 😉 but I’ll take any little improvement that further provides the illusion of a live performance.

What is so impressive about the NODE 2i combined with the Purple Flare Power Cord is how close their combined performance was to much, much more expensive equipment. The NODE 2i is a clearly well engineered component whose full potential can be easily realized with the affordable Purple Flare Power Cord.

Upcoming Dealer Events and Trade Shows (Fall 2018)

Nordost has a busy Fall ahead of us!  We hope to see you at some of these great events.


AUDIO VIDEO THERAPY NORDOST EVENT

Come and join us for a night of demonstrations, comparisons and great music! Audio Video Therapy, in Nashua, NH, is hosting an event Friday, November 9th, from 5:30-9 PM. All are welcome to enjoy the music, food, and refreshments! We hope to see you there, for this fantastic opportunity to hear top rate products perform at their best.

November 9th

5:30pm – 9:00pm

Audio Video Therapy

216 Daniel Webster Hwy

Nashua, NH

(603) 888-9777

john@audiovideotherapy.net

www.avtherapy.net


NORDOST AT THE HI-FI SHOW – LIVE

Nordost is excited to be a part of the Hi-Fi Show – Live, held by Hi-Fi News at the De Vere Beaumont Estate in Windsor, UK on November 10-11th. Visit us in the Morley Suite, where Nordost will be exhibiting alongside Esoteric, in a system using Kef Reference 5 speakers. Throughout the show, Nordost will be demonstrating the effects of our V2 cables, QKORE grounding system, Sort Kones, and ethernet cables. We look forward to seeing you there!

Hi-Fi Show – Live

November 10-11

De Vere Beaumont Estate

The Morley Suite

www.hifinews.co.uk


AUDIO VISION SF — BIG FREE EVENT!

If you are a hifi-lover in the San Francisco area, make sure to clear your calendar on Thursday, November 15th from 7:30-10 PM for a “BIG FREE EVENT!”. Audio Visions SF is hosting a free and fun evening filled with wine, beer, cheese, and hifi. Don’t miss this chance to win some wonderful prizes. This event will be featuring Chord digital and analogue electronics, SME turntables, Raidho loudspeakers, and, of course, Nordost cables and power/grounding systems. To attend this amazing event, please rsvp to info@audiovisionsf.com.

November 15th

“BIG FREE EVENT!”

7:30pm – 10:00pm

Audio Vision SF

1628 California St.

Sn Francisco, CA

RSVP info@audiovisionsf.com

www.audiovisionsf.com


NORDOST AT THE WARSAW AUDIO VIDEO SHOW

Join Nordost at the Audio Video Show, November 16-18th at the Polish National Football Stadium in Warsaw. This will be Nordost’s first event with our new partners in Poland, Audio Center, and we couldn’t be more excited to put on a fantastic show together! Come and see us in room 214 to see a first-rate system, featuring Moon, Audio Vector, and, of course, Nordost cables. Throughout the show we will be showcasing our Heimdall 2 cables, and demonstrating our QKORE grounding system, Sort Kones, power cords, and ethernet cables.

Warsaw Audio Video Show

November 16-18

Polish National Football Stadium

Room 214

www.audioshow.pl


JS AUDIO NORDOST EVENT

JS Audio is putting on another fabulous event at their showroom in Bethesda, MD. Come and join us on Saturday, December 1st to enjoy a world-class system, featuring Wilson Audio, dCS, and Nordost. You don’t want to miss out on this opportunity to learn what our transformative products have to offer your home audio system. A Nordost representative and product specialist will be on hand, performing demonstrations and answering questions.

December 1st

JS Audio

4919 St. Elmo Avenue

Bethesda, MD

(301) 656-7020

js@jsaudio.com

www.jsaudio.com


NORDOST AT CES

Nordost is happy to be attending CES in Las Vegas January 8-11th. Nordost is teaming up with VTL this year on floor 20, room 210 at the Venetian, to put on a show-stopping system. Take advantage of this great opportunity to hear, firsthand, what our transformative products have to offer your home audio system. We hope to see you there!

CES

January 8-11

The Venetian

Room 29-210

www.ces.tech


 

Nordost Playlist – November 2018

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 November.


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


  1. Rang Tang Ring Toon—Mountain Man—Magic Ship
  2. Try a Little Tenderness—Dee Dee Bridgewater—Memphis…Yes, I’m Ready
  3. Right Now—Dirty Projectors—Lamp Lit Prose
  4. A Pirate Looks At Forty—Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, Tim Reynolds—Jack Johnson & Friends: Best of Kokua Festival, A Benefit For The Kokua Hawaii Foundation
  5. Trampled Underfoot—Vanessa Fernandez—When the Levee Breaks
  6. Yip Roc Heresy—Slim Gaillard And His Orchestra—Laughing In Rhythm: The Best Of The Verve Years
  7.  Love Is For Me—The Meters—Rejuvenation
  8. Alien (Hold On to Your Dreams)—Gil Scott-Heron—Nothing New
  9. Over Everything—Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile—Lotta Sea Lice
  10. Freelance—Toro y Moi—Freelance

 

Nordost is headed to the New York Audio Show

Nordost is thrilled to be exhibiting at the New York Audio Show with our friends and partners, Magico and AVM. The New York Audio Show will be held at the Park Lane Hotel, November 9th – 11th. Be sure to visit us in suite 701 to hear a world class sound system featuring Nordost’s extensive range of products. We hope that everyone in the area will be able to visit us to hear, firsthand, what our transformative products have to offer your home audio system.

New York Audio Show
November 9th–11th
Park Lane Hotel
New York, NY
www.chestergroup.org/newyorkaudioshow/2018

ToneAudio Reviews the White Lightning Speaker Cable

Nordost is often pigeon-holed as a company that exclusively offers reference-level products, but that is not the case. Nordost offers a complete range of products that does include cables that are designed for the highest end systems conceivable, but we also offer cables that are perfectly paired with even the most modest of hifi systems. That is why we are especially excited when we get reviews of our introductory products, so that people can see how transformative our most elemental cables can be! In his latest review, Jeff Dorgay of ToneAudio took a look at our White Lightning Speaker Cable. The jump in clarity that he experienced leads him to recommend this introductory cable to any audiophile who is looking for a modestly priced upgrade to their system.

“The result with the White Lightning cables was dramatically better than anything else I’ve used that is comparably priced and could live happily ever after with these cable in that system.”

You can now see Jeff’s full review here: White Lightning Speaker Cable by Nordost

You can find this review and more great Nordost reviews on our Reviews Page.

Toronto Audiofest Recap

The first ever Toronto Audiofest was the perfect kick-off of what is sure to be a institution in the Canadian audio community. It was great to see so many new faces coming out to enjoy music together on some outstanding systems. Thank you to our amazing Canadian retailers who represented Nordost and our products so well, producing some stellar sound. We were especially pleased to be working with our Toronto-based dealer, Executive Stereo, who supplied us with stand-out gear for the event.


Nordost’s room highlighted our QKORE Ground Units and Valhalla 2 Cables:


Atoll Distribution used our Blue Heaven Cables in both of their systems:


Audio Excellence ran their reference system with our Valhalla 2 cables, and a second system with our Norse 2 and Leif cables:    


Audio Eden used Odin 2 and Valhalla 2 cables:

Dennis Davis Reviews Nordost Sponsored Jazz Quintet at RMAF

By Dennis Davis, The Audio Beat

Let’s face it—most people who attend hi-fi shows don’t make the trek there to attend live concerts.  Musical performances at shows are usually limited to solo performers who have recorded on niche audiophile labels where the biggest selling point is often the label and its recording process.  Performers who have contracts with Universal, Sony, Blue Note or ECM are not in the habit of performing for a bunch of tired audiophiles, who pay nothing at the door and show up for the concert if they feel like it.

In that context, when I learned that Nordost was presenting a concert of jazz musicians from the Newvelle record label, I was excited.  When I saw the list of performers, my jaw dropped.  On trumpet was Dave Douglas.  I’ve attended many Dave Douglas concerts over the last twenty plus years, dating back to his days with John Zorn, and own many CDs he’s recorded as a leader.  Elan Mehler, co-founder of Newvelle Records, played piano at this session and his style has become familiar to me over the label’s three seasons of uniformly great releases.  I knew little of New York based acoustic bass player Simón Willson, except for his contribution to Newvelle’s Piano Noir LP.  However, I got together with the band the evening before the concert, and couldn’t take my eyes off Simón, whose energy was infectious.  John Gunther, composer and multi-instrumentalist (saxophones, clarinet and flute) has recorded extensively as part of New York’s “downtown” jazz scene.  As associate professor at University of Colorado Boulder, and director of their jazz studies program, he was the group’s local performer for the concert, and had warmed up the ensemble the day before at a campus workshop. Singer Dominique Eade recorded twice with Ran Blake, and I loved her well-received 2017 CD, Town and Country.  In addition to a long career as an instructor at New England Conservatory, she has an extensive catalog of recordings.

For those new to this record label, Newvelle issues a new record every other month, sold as a yearly subscription.  Each LP is a work of art—the clear vinyl LP is packaged in a beautiful foldout cover, embellished with commissioned artwork and prose, and is supported by extensive information on the label’s website (www.newvelle-records.com). I’ve heard every record released over the last three years and Newvelle’s consistency of high quality is unequaled in today’s music industry.  Watch out Blue Note and ECM!

The concert was held at the Denver Tech Center Hilton Garden Inn, in a large high ceiling room where I had attended other events.  I recalled fairly poor sound at those non-musical events that had involved a PA system.  Fortunately, Nordost arranged for a professional sound engineer to set up the room and sound system.  He brought in a very high quality sound system and mixing board and the results were spectacular, turning a pig’s ear room into a very good sounding hall.  The stage itself was a little small for the group, and had an effect on my ability to capture good pictures, but the players adjusted well to the somewhat cramped space.

Nordost has installed its professional cabling at the New York recording studio where Newvelle Records records all its sessions, Eastside Sound.  Beginning with Newvelle’s fourth season, all recordings will be made through Nordost cables.  I’ve reviewed the first three seasons for various publications, and look forward to comparing the sound of the new studio recordings. In the meantime, Newvelle’s artists are getting the additional exposure from the Nordost involvement.

The concert featured never before heard compositions from Dave Douglas, as well as material from Newvelle’s LP “Piano Noir”, and material from its third season.  In Elan Mehler’s words, the band, “is dancing between some basic intersections of style and genre—jazz and folk music, poetry and improvisation, prose and composition.”  They opened with a composition from American folk music singer/songwriter Jean Ritchie, an Appalachian song “West Virginia Mine Disaster” recorded by Dominique Eade on her most recent CD Town And Country (Sunnyside).  Next up was “Bear It To Heart” from the “Piano Noir” LP, that featured Elan Mehler and Simón Willson from this group.  The group then launched into a Douglas composition taken from a Jack Kerouac haiku, “Arms folded to the Moon”. I confess that until the middle of the concert I hadn’t recognized vocalist Dominique Eade, but by this third song of the concert, it hit me.  Her resemblance to vocalist Jeanne Lee on The Newest Sound Around (RCA LPM-2500 with pianist Ran Blake) was immediately obvious. I slapped my head over my short memory.  I own two of her CDs and am a big fan. That third song mesmerized me.  The composition, Eade’s singing, and the bands’ excellent ensemble playing had me laying down my pad and pen for the rest of the concert.  True, my hands were engaged in taking photographs, but I was captivated.

This was a performance far above those typically found hi-fi shows.  I searched my memory for comparisons and the only hi-fi show concert I could recall was at a show in New York well over a decade ago, featuring saxophone great Joe Lovano. But merely comparing it to hi-fi show concerts is selling it short.  I attend concerts (most frequently in the San Francisco Bay area) on a regular basis and jazz concerts at least a few times monthly.  This concert was among my favorites of this year, and one I will not soon forget. It sent me home to listen to my Newvelle Records LPs and Dave Douglas and Dominique Eade CDs.  What more can you ask for from a great concert?

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2018 Recap

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest was a resounding success. There was a lot going on with Nordost at RMAF this year, so hopefully you were able to enjoy all of it. Nordost installed a world-class system in the Humboldt Peak room, including gear from dCS, CH-Precision, and VPI, loudspeakers from YG Acoustics, and of course a full loom of Nordost’s Supreme Reference, Odin 2 Cables.

Humboldt Peak was also the site of our turntable master-classes— a real treat for RMAF attendees— hosted by editor of The Audio Beat, Roy Gregory.

Over at CANJAM, Nordost joined forces with Woo Audio to give show-goers the opportunity to perform headphone cable demonstrations for themselves!

Finally, Nordost arranged a special concert for Rocky Mountain Audio Fest— a debut performance of a jazz quintet, featuring acclaimed trumpeter, Dave Douglas. Nordost was elated to provide the cabling for, and sponsor, two amazing performances where attendees and industry friends could enjoy never-before heard compositions by Dave Douglas, as well as songs available in Newvelle Records’ LP “Piano Noir”.

Nordost truly had something for everyone this RMAF. If you missed it, here are some photos from these events and more!


The world-class system in Nordost’s room:

The YG Acoustics Sonja 2.2 speakers in the Nordost room were bi-amped with Odin 2 Speaker Cable!

The VPI Avenger (with Odin 2 cabling):

A lot of good looking cables at work!

The Audio Beat’s Roy Gregory preparing for a master-class:

Odin 2 won the Rocky Mountain International HiFi Press Award for best Signal Cable!

Dave Douglas and his quintet put on an incredible show!

The Nordost and Woo Audio table at CANJAM:

We demonstrated our new Frey 2 USB C Cable with Woo Audio’s prototype, solid-state headphone amplifier/DAC— the WA11 Passport!

Two identical rigs were set up to compare our Blue Heaven and Heimdall 2 cables:

More than just USB and headphone cables go into creating a top flight headphone rig!

In Raidho’s room, our Valhalla 2 cables were used to wire the system:

Gershman Acoustics’ room also used Valhalla 2 cables, along with some of our other offerings:

Nola’s system was equipped with Odin!

 

 

Headphone.Guru reviews the SuperFlatline Loudspeaker Cable

Nordost is happy to share a great review of our SuperFlatline Speaker Cable. SuperFlatline was one of the first cables to put Nordost on the map. This cable became known throughout the hifi industry as one of the most respected high end speaker cables, offering a performance that was virtually unmatched at its price point.  Today, more than 20 years later, its reputation remains the same. In his review for Headphone.guru, Gary Barker was very impressed by the SuperFlatline speaker cables:

“Nordost Leifstyle SuperFlatline cable hits all the check marks: Speed, Clarity, Musicality, Current Capacity, Dynamic Range, Depth and Width of Sound Stage, Image Focus and Neutral Tonal Balance, and therefore deserves a definite recommendation.”

You can now read Gary’s full review here:  Nordost Leifstyle SuperFlatline Loudspeaker Cable.

You can find this review and more great Nordost reviews on our Reviews Page.