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.

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.

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.

 

HiFi Choice Reviews the Heimdall 2 Headphone Cable

We are pleased to share that our Heimdall 2 Heaphone Cable was recently named a HiFi Choice Recommended Product!  Neville Roberts gave the Heimdall 2 Headphone Cable a five-star rating, raving about its ability to raise levels of clarity and realism in music. Auditioning this cable with a pair of Sennheiser HD 800 S Headphones, Neville described the improvements for his Hifi Choice readers:

 

“I can hear more instruments playing and the sheer reality of the performance is spectacular; the imaging is noticeably improved and each individual player is more clearly identified. What is particularly interesting is that when I revert back to the Sennheiser cable, the sound from each instrument seems to be more blurred and overlaps into the sound from adjacent instruments.”

 

You can now read Neville’s full review here: Nordost Heimdall 2 Headphone Cable


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


 

NOVO Reviews Blue Heaven Analog Interconnects

Last month, NOVO magazine picked up where it left off in its cable upgrade journey with Blue Heaven Analog Interconnects. Reviewer Suave Kajko is taking his readers through the process of maximizing the performance of their audio systems step by step. In part one of his three-part series, Suave focused on power cords. Now, with the focus shifting to interconnects, he is noticing even more improvements to his system:

“The background became slightly blacker, which in turn allowed the vocals and instruments to offer a better presence…it was as if a faint fog had dissipated from in front of the music system, allowing a cleaner, more transparent sound to immerse.”–Suave Kajko

You can now read Suave’s Blue Heaven Analog Interconnect review here:  The Journey to Higher Quality Audio With Nordost Leif Cables: Part 2 of 3

And, if you missed part 1 of his Blue Heaven review series, which focused on Power Cords, you can read that here: The Journey to Higher Quality Audio With Nordost Leif Cables: Part 1 of 3


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


 

Soundstage! Australia reviews the QKORE

This month yet another fabulous review of the QKORE was released. In his article, Peter Katsoolis of SoundSage! Australia, describes contaminated AC power as tainted blood, which can spread from component to component, wreaking havoc on the performance and sound of your system. The cure, as Peter found, was QKORE.

“What the QKORE1 then does by giving a musical blood transfusion to each and every audio component, and to so clearly and audibly ‘AC lift’ the performance of my entire system, is genuinely astounding.”

You can now read Peter’s QKORE review in its entirety here: Nordost QKORE1 Ground Unit

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

The Absolute Sound reviews Nordost Sort Systems

Review Banner- Sort_wide

In this month’s issue of The Absolute Sound, Kirk Midtskog had some great things to say about our Sort System— Nordost’s range of resonance control devices. After hearing the entire line of Sort products integrated into his sound system, he noticed some clear improvements: “Clean, coherent, calm. The background noise was, indeed, reduced all around. Musicians’ positions in space and the overall sonic envelope were fleshed out very well.” In his article, Nordost’s Sort Isolation System—A Trio of Options, Midtskog gives a detailed description of each of our resonance control solutions. Here are a few snippets from his article to see how each of our products fared:

Sort Kone

“All three [Sort Kones] reduced haze between images and throughout the larger soundscape. They helped contribute to a more organized and less splashy presentation… As a result, images were more focused and the whole listening experience became more relaxed and involving.”

Sort Füt

“The Sort Füt helped ratchet up my system’s performance across the board without any apparent downsides.”

Sort Lift

” …Sort Lift reduced background noise and enhanced upper-frequency information… [it] also notably increased liveliness, transient crispness, and overall musicality and resolution.”

Kirk’s review is now available to read here: Nordost’s Sort Isolation System—A Trio of Options

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

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The Absolute Sound reviews the Nordost QKORE

Review Banner-QKORE_wide_1

In this month’s issue of The Absolute Sound, you will find yet another stellar review of our QKORE Ground Units. In his article, Nordost QKORE Grounding System: Silence is Golden, Jacob Heilbrunn is absolutely taken with our product, calling the QKORE “the most potent power product” that he has ever experienced. His enthusiasm is further captured in the closing paragraph of his review:

 “…the elegance, the poignancy, the fragility of a musical line is what conveys the emotion at the heart of music. This is what the Nordost QKORE does so well. I can’t help thinking that to achieve the most from any high-end stereo Nordost QKORE is an essential product to consider”

Jacob’s QKORE review is now available to read here: Nordost QKORE Grounding System: Silence is Golden

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

QKORE three versions_style

NOVO Reviews the Blue Heaven Power Cord

Review Banner- BH power_wide

This month, NOVO released the first part of a 3-part series, The Journey to Higher Quality Audio With Nordost Leif Cables, looking at the improvements in sound quality that result from upgrading audio cables step-by-step! Using Nordost’s Blue Heaven cables, Suave Kajko aims to show readers how to get the most out of their system for a relatively small investment. In the first installment, Suave focuses on Power Cords:

“With the Nordost Blue Heaven power cord connected to the amplifier, I was immediately rewarded with a lower noise floor and an improved sonic experience…The soundstage also expanded a little in both width and depth. This painted a sonic landscape where the instruments and vocals were further apart from each other, closer to how you would hear them in real life.”

Suave’s review is now available to read here: The Journey to Higher Quality Audio With Nordost Leif Cables

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