Questions and Answers (June 2024)

Our product specialists receive questions on a daily basis about Nordost products, their applications, and hifi in general.  We decided to take a minute to share some of those questions here so that everyone can get the answers they are looking for!


Q: Do Leif 3 Cables sound good alongside their predecessors? 

A: Nordost’s Leif 3 Cables share the same basic design philosophy as all of our cables, and therefore have a cohesive sonic signature. This ensures Nordost customers that they can use their Leif 3 cables alongside any of Nordost’s previous or current lines of cables and continue to upgrade their cables as needed without drawbacks. 


Q: Are there any sonic differences between the QBASE 15/10amp and a QBASE 20/16amp models? 

A: Yes, because of the difference in construction between the two models, there are slight audible differences. The QBASE 20/16amp version, which uses an IEC C-20 option has both larger traces as well as heavier gauge internal wiring, in order to support higher current. Similar to a power cord, when you use heavier gauge conductors, there will typically be better sonic performance.  


Q: Why do cable companies recommend a minimum power cord length of 2 meters? I have seen this said at Nordost and elsewhere, but I have never understood why. 

A: A huge consideration in cable construction is how the conductor resonates. There are several factors in that equation, but one of them is the conductor length. The resonant properties of materials change, in part, due to the length of the materials. A 2m cable (where the conductors are cut to a 2m length) will resonate in more of a broad-banded fashion and sound a bit smoother than a 1m. 


Q: Because of space constraints on my audio rack, I am thinking about stacking some components. Can I place a QX4 unit on top of a QKORE that is supported by Sort Kones? 

A: Technically you can stack units that are on Sort Kones, as long as the weight of the combined units is under the recommended weight (each Sort Kone can support 100lbs). However, it isn’t recommended. You should try to avoid stacking components on top of one another while using Sort Kones, because it will minimize the effect of the Sort Kones.

How to Best use QRT Audio Enhancers TOGETHER

If you have ever read the literature about Nordost’s QRT Audio Enhancers, you are familiar with their cohesive and cumulative nature. What does that mean? Two things: QRT products all work together to accomplish their desired effect, and the more QRT products used, the better your results will be.

In this blog, we will take a moment to look at how products that make up the QRT family work together, which of Nordost’s Sort System Resonance Control products can enhance your investment in QRT, and some examples of fully optimized hifi systems, using Nordost’s QRT line.


QBASE Mark III

 The QASE Mark III is a passive AC distribution unit that addresses the noise caused by conflicting signal and ground paths in a hifi system. It does this by using Star Earth Topology, a design that provides ground separation and allows stray voltages and eddy currents to be referred to one, central, ground point. In the current QRT line, the only difference between the QB4 and the QB8 (or the QB6 in the UK) is the number of outlets available to each model­: 4 or 8 (or 6). So, when choosing a QBASE Mark III, simply discern the number of components you need to plug into your system, and the amperage needed to run your system, both QBASE Mark III options are available with either a C-14 or C-20 IEC (C-14 IEC = 15/10 amp, C-20 IEC = 20/16 amp), and you are good to go. For more information on the QBASE Mark III, click HERE.

Products to complement and optimize the QBASE Mark III:

QRT Plug-Ins – QSINE, QWAVE, QVIBE, and QKOIL devices improve upon poor-quality AC. More information on each, individual QRT Plug-In can be found HERE.

QKORE – Grounds the primary side of the power supply through artificial, parallel grounding.

QKORE Wire/Premium QKORE Wire – Offer a connection from the binding post on the QBASE to the QKORE Ground Unit.

QLINE – In appropriate situations, this offers a connection from the binding post on the QBASE to an external ground rod or grounding box.

QRT Stand Mount – Adds stability and the ability to introduce resonance control.

Sort Kones – 4 Sort Kones of your choice to drain damaging vibrations from the chassis of the QBASE.


QBASE Reference  

The QBASE Reference, like the QBASE Mark III, is a power distribution unit. However, in addition to providing 10 outlets, the QB10 is a dramatic upgrade including a Dual Primary Earth design, internal solid core Micro Mono-Filament wiring, Pre-QKORE ground design, specifically optimized and modified QPOINT technology, multiple internal QSINE and QWAVE devices, and resonance control Sort support. For more information on the QBASE Reference, click HERE.

Products to complement and optimize the QBASE Reference:

QRT Plug-Ins­ – While two QSINE and QWAVE devices are already included within the internal design of the QBASE Reference, the modular and cumulative nature of QRT Plug-Ins means that more will always be better.

QKORE – Grounds the primary side of the power supply with an artificial, parallel grounding device.

QKORE Wire/Premium QKORE Wire – Offer a connection from the binding post on the QBASE Reference to the QKORE Ground Unit.

QLINE – In appropriate situations, this offers a connection from the binding post on the QBASE to an external ground rod or grounding box.


QKORE

QKORE parallel grounding devices provide an artificial, “clean” earth for hifi systems by using both an electrical and mechanical approach. By drawing stray high-frequency noise and voltage-generated magnetic fields to a manufactured earth point, the QKORE leaves a clean reference behind. There are models of QKORE that differ in the number of binding posts available: QKORE1 with one binding post that grounds the primary side of the power supply, QKORE3 with three binding posts that ground the secondary side of the power supply, and the QKORE6 with six binding posts which grounds both primary and secondary sides of the power supply. For more information on the QKORE, visit HERE.

Products to complement and optimize the QKORE:

QKORE Wire/Premium QKORE Wire – Provides connection from components in the system to the binding posts on the QKORE Ground Unit.

Sort Kones – 3 or 4 Sort Kones of your choice to drain damaging vibrations from the chassis of the QKORE.


QPOINT

The QPOINT is a resonance synchronizer that manipulates the electromechanical resonances inside audio components within its immediate proximity so that they resonate in unison with each other. For more information on the QPOINT, visit HERE.

Products to complement and optimize the QPOINT:

QSOURCE – Provides stable, clean DC power which feeds the QPOINT so that it can produce the maximum output.

QSOURCE DC Cable/Premium QSOURCE DC Cable – Connects the QPOINT to the QSOURCE Linear Power Supply


QNET

The QNET is a layer-2, five-port Ethernet switch designed and constructed from the ground up to maximize audio performance. Placing a QNET in a digitally driven system dramatically improves the transmission and receival of high-speed audio signals, while achieving extremely low noise operation. For more information on the QNET, visit HERE.

Products to complement and optimize the QNET:

QSOURCE – Provides stable, clean DC power which feeds the QNET so that it can produce the maximum output.

QSOURCE DC Cable/Premium QSOURCE DC Cable – Connects the QNET to the QSOURCE Linear Power Supply

QNET Stand­– Adds stability and the ability to introduce resonance control.

Sort Kones – 3 Sort Kones of your choice to drain damaging vibrations from the chassis of the QNET.


QSOURCE

The QSOURCE is a linear power supply that provides a stable, clean output of DC Power at select voltages. Its unique design removes electrical anomalies and noise artifacts from the line and smooths out DC output. For more information on the QSOURCE, visit HERE.

Products to complement and optimize the QSOURCE:

QSOURCE DC Cable/Premium QSOURCE DC Cable – Connects the QSOURCE to the QPOINT, QNET, and any other DC-run audio component that can receive power from Nordost’s linear power supply.

QRT Stand Mount – Adds stability and the ability to introduce resonance control.

Sort Kones – 4 Sort Kones of your choice to drain damaging vibrations from the chassis of the QSOURCE.


Example System Layouts:



Nordost Stands and Kones give your components the support they deserve!

You’ve done the research. You’ve found the equipment to match the system of your dreams. You’ve put in the hours of thoughtful, room-specific set up. You’ve even invested in the foundation of your system, paying attention to the cables and power products that make you components sing. You are SO CLOSE to perfection you can almost taste [or pointedly, hear] it. What’s missing? Support!  

Nordost Sort Kones are the secret weapon in the battle against damaging vibration. These directly coupled, mechanically tuned resonance control devices effectively wick electrical components of harmful internal vibrations, correcting timing errors and distortions that may be occurring within your devices. Once engaged, Sort Kones provide a “blacker” background to your system, imparting stronger focus, more transparency, and greater dynamic range.  

Sort Kones are a comprehensive tool — they can be used with virtually all components. However, when developing our own components, Nordost has taken the chance to offer an extra level of customization…

Enter, Nordost’s QRT Stand Mount and QNET Stand. The QRT Stand Mount serves as a crucial foundation for optimizing the performance of the QSOURCE and QBASE, while the QNET Stand serves the same purpose for the QNET. These stands provide a stable, level, isolated platform, custom fitted for Nordost Sort Kones, that is especially needed in high-end systems that rely on cables which are heavy with the weight of technology and sonic potential!  

The QRT Stand Mount and QNET Stand are integral design elements of their QRT counterparts, seamlessly pairing with Sort Kones, and completing Nordost’s vision for optimal performance with a holistic approach to audio support.  

Don’t let your components stand alone any longer!  

How to Upgrade Your Loudspeakers

For most people, loudspeakers are one of the biggest investments they’ll make in their hifi system. When making a purchase of this size, there are many things to consider, not least of which is how they actually sound in your space! When you land on a decision, you are no doubt happy with the performance, but did you know that you can get even more out of your loudspeakers with just two simple upgrades?  


Upgrading your loudspeaker cables is an easy enhancement that makes a huge impact in terms of performance quality. Nordost is renowned for its commitment to the precision and quality build of its audio cables, and its loudspeaker cable design and performance are what put it on the map. 

Nordost’s unique, flat speaker cable design has the following benefits: 

  • Minimized Strand Interaction
  • Optimized Mechanical Resonances 
  • Decreased Skin Effect 
  • Reduction in Physical Surface Contact 

This is the perfect equation to yield a low capacitance, low inductance speaker cable with incredibly fast transmission speeds (aka exactly what your loudspeakers need)! 


Resonance control is another simple, yet impactful upgrade that can be a total game changer for loudspeakers. Internal vibration is an unavoidable byproduct of loudspeakers; Sort Füt is the solution. Nordost’s Sort Füt is a mechanically tuned resonance control device that eliminates the unwanted internal vibrations that loudspeakers generate, by providing a direct path for extraneous energy to escape from speaker chassis.

What audible improvements can you expect using Nordost’s Sort Füt? 

  • Reduction of Intermodulation Distortion 
  • Increase in Tonal and Textural Details 
  • Expanded System Dynamics 

Whether you choose to enhance your loudspeakers with Nordost speaker cables, Sort Füt, or both, you will be investing in a significant upgrade that will truly impact how you interact with your music for the better. Why not get the most out of the speakers you already own and love? 

2023 Blog Round-Up

What better way to start off the new year than by giving the people what they “liked” most throughout the past year, all in one spot! This 2023 blog round-up includes our posts from last year that received the most engagement, whether that be likes, shares, comments, retweets, Instagram reactions, or however you feel like measuring nowadays. Here are your favorite blogs of 2023!  



Questions and Answers: Grounding

Recently, the idea and means of artificial grounding have 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 for so many, so why not answer all of your questions in one place?   



Audio Cable Looms Explained

What is a loom of cables, and why does it matter in the context of a sound system? This blog explores the idea of cable signatures, mixing cable brands, and shows you how to get the most cohesive sound from your hifi equipment. 



Questions and Answers: QSINE and QWAVE

Since their launch in May at the High End in Munich, people have been very curious about our new QRT Plug-Ins. With every new technology and new product there will be questions that need to be answered. We want to make sure that you get all your answers as easily as possible, so we have put some of our most frequently asked and answered questions together here!



Questions and Answers: QBASE Mark III

The QBASE was first released to the audio world in 2009. Almost 15 years and two iterations later, the QBASE is still as sought after as when it was launched. However, over those 15 years, much has been improved. In this blog, we answer your questions about the QBASE Mark III, including how it compares to the QBASE Mark II.



The Perfect Turntable Upgrades

The resurgence of vinyl has taken the audio market by storm. Just like any hifi lover, vinyl junkies are sure to want to make the most out of their purchases. If you’re looking for an easy upgrade to elevate your listening experience switching out your standard tonearm cable and power cord is where to start. This blog lets you know what to expect from those very upgrades.  



QRT Family Explained 

Nordost’s QRT family consists of several impressive audio enhancers. Each of these offerings works as an individually contained solution, with unique objectives for alleviating the poor power quality that impacts audio systems. We understand that sometimes it’s hard to keep all of these QRT products straight, so in this blog, we briefly explain each QRT solution on the market and the distinctive benefits that they bring to a system. 



How to Upgrade your Amplifier

As hifi enthusiasts, we shell out big money to purchase the components that will give us the best possible sound. A lot of deliberation goes into our purchases to determine the right fit for our systems. But did you know that your consideration shouldn’t stop there? In this blog we show you how Nordost products can ensure you maximize the potential of your amplifier. 



Music to Help Set-Up and Understand Your Hifi System

Evaluating your system can be a daunting task. At Nordost, we understand your frustration, and we’re here to help! In this blog, we will take you through several tracks that you can use to help fine-tune your speakers, assess how your components interact, and just see if you are getting the most out of your system.

Music to Help Set-Up and Understand Your HiFi System

Evaluating your system can be a daunting task. When relying solely on your own ears, a lot of questions may circle around your head and cloud your musical judgement: Am I using the right tracks? How do I know how these songs are intended to sound? What is this piece supposed to tell me about my system? 


At Nordost, we understand your frustration, and we’re here to help!  Below, we will take you through a number of tracks that you can use to help fine-tune your speakers, assess how your components interact, and just see if you are getting the most out of your system. This music has been carefully selected to illuminate specific aspects of system performance and will hopefully prove to be an invaluable tool to further aid you during your system set-up, or to just simply enjoy! 


Yanvalloux — Markus Schwartz and Lakou Brooklyn (Frantz Casseus) — Equinox  

The opening bass line of this track acts as the perfect gauge of bass weight, pace, and pitch. It allows you to instantly hear the impact of changes in speaker position, and shows the balance of bass weight against texture, attack, and articulation. If you listen to the opening bars of this track as you shift the speaker forwards, backward, or sideways, you’ll quickly gain an appreciation for the significance of even the tiniest adjustments. As the track builds, the ability to hear both the shape and rhythmic complexities of the rapidly fingered bass is a sure measure of critical mid-bass clarity. 

From the Soundkeeper Recordings album Equinox (SR1002) by Markus Schwartz & Lakou Brooklyn. Production, recording, and mastering by Barry Diament. Copyright Soundkeeper Recordings 2010


Leaves Me Wondering — Eleanor McEvoy — Yola

This is a beautifully recorded and deceptively simple pop song with a minimalist arrangement and a refreshing lack of studio fills. What makes it so revealing of your system’s performance is the relationship between the deep, measured bassline and the clear, focused vocal that drives the song. The key here is the balance between the expressive, emotional immediacy of the voice and the weight and attack in the bass. If the bass is too heavy, it slows the track and trips it as it reaches that upshift; too light and it robs the voice (in fact, the whole song) of presence and impact. Instead, the bassline should be present and bold, but never dominant. It should support the rhythmic shifts and phrasing of the vocal. When you get the immediacy and directness in the voice right, the bass will be just where it should be.  

From the album Yola (Mosco EMCD1) Produced by Eleanor McEvoy and Brian Connor ISRC CODE ISRC-IE-ABB-01-00009 Pub. BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd. (Worldwide except Ireland) E. McEvoy IMRO/MCPS (Ireland) Copyright Blue Dandelion/MOSCO 2001 


Vivaldi – Cello Concerto RV419, 3rd Movement, Allegro — Davide Amadio (Cello), Interpreti Venziani — Vivaldi in Venice 

This small, baroque ensemble is recorded live in the San Vidal Church in Venice. The acoustic is open and very wide, with considerable space on either side of the band, which is placed on a riser, with a dispersive back wall close behind. The result is a clean acoustic, with plenty of air and height, a natural depth perspective that places the harpsichord behind the orchestra, and a real sense of distance between it and the solo cello. However, the real magic in this track lies in the immediacy and energy of the playing, the contrast between the bowed cello and the plucked, pizzicato passages, the range of instrumental colors and textures. Small, but perfectly formed, this is a natural recording that captures the energy, texture, and vibrant harmonics of these acoustic instruments, as well as the verve and precision of the players. The tonal separation of the instruments should be as apparent as their spacing, while the harpsichord should jangle, not grate. 

From the album Vivaldi In Venice (Chasing The Dragon, VALCD008). Recorded and produced by Mike and Francoise Valentine. Copyright Chasing The Dragon 2018 


Cole Porter — Too Darn Hot — Clare Teal with the Syd Lawrence Orchestra — A Tribute To Ella Fitzgerald 

Here we have classic big-band action from the Syd Lawrence Orchestra, supporting Clare Teal in an arrangement of the equally classic Cole Porter number, Too Darn Hot. Double-banked, they let fly with presence, power, and dynamic range to burn. The band plays it straight, beautifully balanced against a vocal that gives just enough of a nod to Ella, without trying to beat her at her own game. Big band is always a stern test of system dynamics and headroom, and this track is a perfect example of that. 

From the album A Tribute To Ella Fitzgerald (Chasing The Dragon, VALCD003). Recorded and produced by Mike and Francoise Valentine. Copyright Chasing The Dragon 2016 


Your Colour — Calypso 

A simply beautiful track captured in a single, unrehearsed take, featuring the fragile vocals and poised playing of the young but outrageously talented Calypso – and yes, that really is her name. The slurred diction (especially on the opening lines), emotive phrasing, and widely spaced piano notes are an acid test of speaker toe-in and rake angle. The voice should be focused and clearly defined in space, even if the words aren’t, while the placement of the piano notes should add to the song, not hold it back. Be prepared to work with both speakers until you get close, at which point tiny angular adjustments of just one speaker will lock the recording in space, giving it an achingly natural sense of pace and flow.

Recorded and produced by Chris Binns/Primary Acoustics – all rights reserved. 


Kote Moun Yo? — Markus Schwartz and Lakou Brooklyn (Trad. Arr, Markus Schwartz & Monvelyno Alexis) — Equinox  

Complex, Haitian-inspired percussion patterns and instruments play against bass, trumpet, and guitar. From the opening conch call to the diverse percussion, the live-looped drum tracks to the sparse guitar and trumpet lines, this is a test of any system’s rhythmic and musical integrity, transparency, and focus. The dense, overlaid drum patterns and upright bass require low-frequency agility and clarity, testing the system’s ability to keep pace with the sharply drawn melodies played on the solo instruments. This track should have an infectious, toe-tapping quality. If it doesn’t, you know there’s something wrong… 

From the Soundkeeper Recordings album Equinox (SR1002) by Markus Schwartz & Lakou Brooklyn. Production, recording, and mastering by Barry Diament. Copyright Soundkeeper Recordings 2010 


If You Had A Heart — Eleanor McEvoy and Damon Butcher — Forgotten Dreams 

Here we have Eleanor McEvoy’s familiar voice once again, but this time exposed in a pared-back recording accompanied by guitar and piano.  This is a deeply emotional song and performance that, on the best systems, should have an almost reach-out-and-touch realism to it – a quality that’s even more apparent on the direct-cut LP. 

Jennifer Kimball / Eleanor McEvoy / Henry Priestman pub. EMI Blackwood, From the album Forgotten Dreams (Chasing The Dragon VALCD006). Recorded and produced by Mike and Francoise Valentine. Copyright Chasing The Dragon 2018 


Georges Bizet — Habanera (from Carmen) — Rosie Middleton (Mezzo Soprano), Debbie Wiseman (Cond.), National Symphony Orchestra — España 

Bizet’s most popular opera, and arguably one of opera’s most popular songs— the Habanera from Carmen will be familiar to all. What this track brings is a full orchestra, captured in the large hall at Air Studios, with a well-developed sense of acoustic space. Add in mezzo-soprano Rosie Middleton, standing in the heart of the orchestra, and you have a verifiable test for sound staging and height differentiation. Middleton’s voice should be clearly placed amidst, but above, the surrounding strings, and in front of the winds.

From the album España (Chasing The Dragon VALCD004). Recorded and produced by Mike and Francoise Valentine. Copyright Chasing The Dragon 2017 


You can find these tracks included in Nordost’s System Solution Set-Up and Tuning Disc Set.

To help you get the absolute most from your system set-up, this set also includes:

  • Essential channel and phase checks.
  • Multiple pink and white noise signals for speaker/room diagnostics.
  • Sophisticated LEDR tests to optimize speaker placement.
  • System maintenance tracks (De-Gauss and Burn-In)
  • Low-frequency tones specially designed and configured to map room modes and aid speaker placement or subwoofer positioning and integration.

Make the Audiophile in Your Life’s Holiday Special with the Perfect Stocking Stuffers from Nordost

The year is coming to a close and the holidays are just around the corner. It’s time to start thinking about the perfect gift for the audiophile in your life. Audio gear can be a challenging thing to buy since the “right” hifi equipment tends to be system dependent, not to mention cost prohibitive. Luckily, Nordost has you covered with a wide selection of high-end stocking stuffers that will enhance ANY audio system. From precision audio enhancers to thoughtful tuning tools, Nordost has curated a collection of products that promises to elevate any listening experience! 


Make this season truly special for your music lover by gifting tools that will unlock the full potential of their audio system. Explore Nordost’s offerings and let the joy of exceptional sound fill the air this holiday season! 


Sort Kones: 

These resonance control devices are a game-changer in any audiophile’s setup. Sort Kones provide a solid foundation for any audio component, enhancing the equipment that you already own! Available in various models to fit any budget, Sort Kones effectively dissipate mechanical energy and internal vibration from your devices, be they amplifiers, DACs, CD transports etc. to ensure a cleaner and more defined soundstage. 


QRT Plug-Ins: 

The QSINE, QWAVE, QVIBE, and QKOIL make up Nordost’s line of modular AC plug-ins, designed to optimize the quality of the power that audio systems run on, by eliminating electrical noise and interference from the line. By plugging one or all of these QRT devices into any open outlet connected to your system, your audiophile will enjoy a quieter background, improved dynamics, and enhanced musical detail. Elevate your loved-one’s listening sessions by gifting them the power of optimized AC. 


System Solution–Set-Up & Tuning Discs:  

Fine tune any preexisting system with proper speaker positioning and tune ups. This comprehensive tool is a must-have for any serious audiophile. From system setup and calibration to tuning and testing, this 2-disc set guides users through every step of the process. With this resource in their arsenal, the music lover in your life will finally be able to experience the full depth and clarity of the system they already have!



Eco 3X: 

This cable cleaner is specially formulated to remove the slow buildup of static charges that can flatten perspectives and inhibit the dynamics of an audio system. Regular use of Eco 3X on audio cables disperses existing static charges as well as inhibits future accumulation from occurring, dramatically increasing transparence and the sense of life in every performance.


How to Upgrade your Amplifier

As hifi enthusiasts, we shell out big money in order to purchase the components that will give us the best possible sound. A lot of deliberation goes into our purchases: design philosophy, technical specifications, build quality, ease of use, cohesion, aesthetics, budget… These pre-purchase considerations are very important in order to determine the right fit for our systems. But did you know that your consideration shouldn’t stop at the purchase?

Nordost provides several tools that ensure you maximize the potential of your new component. These include the audio cables and accessories that create the basis and foundation upon which high-end systems need to be built. 

Let’s say that after doing your due diligence of researching and demoing various options, you’ve purchased an amplifier. You have lived with your amplifier in your system for a few months. You have become familiar with its characteristics and have identified the benefits it brings to your hifi system. Now it’s time to see what that component can really do when you give it the best chance to flex its muscles.  

To maximize your amplifier… consider upgrading the following (all of which can be found at your local Nordost dealer 😉) : 


Power Cord: It is crucial that you run your components with the best AC cables available. Nordost’s power cords are optimally designed and use proprietary technology so that current is not limited, noise is reduced, and amplifier output is cleaner and more dynamic.


Interconnects A thoughtfully designed and meticulously built analog interconnect enhances signal transfer between your audio components with as little loss as possible. Nordost’s precision engineering and top-notch materials preserve the integrity of the audio signal, resulting in improved clarity, detail, and musicality.


Speaker Cables: Nordost’s signature flat cable design eliminates strand interaction, optimizes mechanical resonances, and decreases skin effect, making drastic improvements in system performance. Introducing this upgrade will minimize signal degradation, enhancing the overall coherence of your music.


Resonance control (aka Sort Kones!): Due to their very nature, amplifiers generate a tremendous amount of internal vibrations, which are incredibly damaging to their audible performance. Nordost’s Sort Kones are a game-changer. These remarkable mechanical diodes drain all vibrations from your device to outstanding sonic effect.


Questions & Answers: QBASE Mark III

The QBASE was first released to the audio world in 2009. Almost 15 years and two iterations later, the QBASE is still as sought after as when it was launched. However, over those 15 years, much has been improved. The QBASE Mark III made its debut at AXPONA this past spring, and a new version brings new questions. We decided to address some of the most asked questions we have been receiving here, so you can find your answers in one place! 


Q: What’s the difference between the QBASE Mark II and Mark III?

A: Both the QBASE Mark II and Mark III are passive, distribution blocks that use Star Earth topology to address the conflicting flows of signal and ground paths which create noise. However, there have been several upgrades and changes to the QBASE Mark III which have had a massive impact on its audible performance, which are as follows: 

  • Newly designed, dual PC-board 
  • Increased separation of all ground connections from the line and neutral traces
  • Minimized interference/crosstalk between live/neutral and ground currents 
  • Enhanced trace sizes to maximize current flow 
  • Revised resistance sink to add protection and effectively damp eddy currents

Q: Do certain components benefit from being plugged into specific outlets on the QBASE Mark III? 

A: Like with the QBASE Mark II, all outlets on the QBASE Mark III are identical, except for the outlet labeled Primary Earth. To get the best results from any QBASE, you should plug whichever component has the most connections to it into the Primary Earth outlet. In many systems, this is either the preamp or the integrated amp. However, in digitally run systems, you should plug whichever device your volume is featured on into primary earth. 



Q: What sonic improvements can you expect from the QBASE Mark III? 

A: The QBASE Mark III offers a big step up in performance over the QBASE Mark II. Some sonic improvements you can expect are: 

  • A much quieter background
  • Improved instrument and vocal separation
  • Improved 3D imaging 
  • Longer decays and extension 
  • A pronounced sense of effortlessness and calm
  • More power behind the sound 

Q: Can you still use the QRT Stand Mount with the QBASE Mark III? 

A: Yes, the QBASE Mark III is still compatible with the QRT Stand Mount, which not only helps with the stability of the product (especially when it’s being used with heavier, reference-level audio cables), but also allows for easy support with Sort Kones. Using the QBASE with Sort Kones essentially wicks it of all internal vibrations, making a massive audible improvement. 


Questions and Answers: QSINE and QWAVE

With the launch of our QSINE and QWAVE products at the High End show in Munich, there has been a lot of excitement, but also (and understandably so) some questions. We thought that the best thing to do was to answer some of the questions we have been hearing in one place so that we can all be a bit more informed about the newest Nordost QRT Plug-Ins.


Q: What are “QRT Plug-Ins”?

A: The term “QRT Plug-In” may be new, but our plug-in products have been a part of Nordost’s offerings for years, starting with the QVIBE (QV2), continuing with the QKOIL (QK1), and now including the new QSINE and QWAVE. While each product within our range of QRT Plug-Ins offers unique solutions, they are all modular, complimentary AC products that improve upon the poor-quality AC that negatively affects the audio/video performance of two-channel and home entertainment systems.


Q: What are the audible effects of the QSINE?

A: The audible effects of the QSINE are as follows:
• Reduced background noise
• Increased resolution, detail, and pacing
• Improved soundstage (especially depth)
• Addresses all frequencies


Q: What are the audible effects of the QWAVE?

A: The audible effects of the QWAVE are as follows:
• Lowered noise floor
• Increased imagery and dimensionality
• Improved timing and rhythm
• Focuses on upper bass and midrange


Q: Can you use the QSINE and QWAVE alongside the QKOIL and QVIBE?

A: The QSINE and QWAVE were designed to work with and complement the QKOIL and QVIBE. While they can be used individually, you are encouraged to pair the QSINE and QWAVE with each other or, for optimal use, combine them with the QKOIL and QVIBE.

For more information about the QSINE and QWAVE please visit their product page on the Nordost website, or read our product announcement blog: Introducing the QSINE and QWAVE