Nelson Brill reviews music to listen to in the New Year

Real music lovers can find the melody in everything. From the park to the concert hall, our friend Nelson Brill is always on the hunt for great sound. In this blog, Nelson reviews a bevy of albums recorded by fantastic artists for you to listen to in the New Year. 


SAMBA TO BLUEGRASS: A BOUNTY OF MUSIC TO START THE NEW YEAR

By Nelson Brill January 17, 2021

“One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain.
So hit me with music, hit me with music now..”
Bob Marley, “Trenchtown Rock”

Here is a new crop of audiophile quality recording recommendations to “hit you with music” – and enter 2021 with renewed spirit and resiliency:

First up is a kinetic CD that transcends borders with its irresistible grooves and soaring melodies. Lagos Pepper Soup [Worldwind Recordings; www.whirlwindrecordings.com], is a new recording from Michael Olatuja, gifted bassist, composer and arranger, who has gathered a stellar cast to deliver his cinematic creation. Olatuja plays both acoustic and electric bass on Lagos Pepper Soup and his bass propels the reveling drama with playful presence, stutter-stepping electricity and soulful plunges (coherent and tactile).

allaboutjazz

The musical landscape that Olatuja and his companions inhabit on Lagos Pepper Soup is a joy to discover. First, there are dancing R. & B. grooves that blend with soulful melodies on such prancing cuts as “Brighter Day” (with singer Laura Mvula leading the Lagos Pepper Soup String Orchestra in an uplift of string colors and vocal passion) and “The Hero’s Journey” where the effervescent violin of Regina Carter, (gilded with the delicate vocals of Thana Alexa), soars to strike a positive vibe. Roistering blues and Afro-pop are also elemental ingredients in Olatuja’s eclectic Lagos Soup where Lionel Loueke’s prickly guitar lines dance amongst the reveling vocals of Angelique Kidjo (on the title cut) and deftly propel the gracious vocals of Dianne Reeves on the leaping “Soki.”

Dianne Reeves -SFJAZZ

Olatuja’s compositions convey release and restoration in striking ways. He blends playful jazz in his beautiful “Home True” where Olatuja’s bass melds with vocalist Becca Steven’s lithe wordplay and Robert Mitchell’s sprite piano. On “Bola’s Song,” the weightless hues of Gregoire Maret’s harmonica blend spritely with flowing strings, bass and resonant percussion. The mighty Joe Lovano welds his glowing tenor saxophone in Olatuja’s “Leye’s Dance”, a rollicking joy ride propelled by Lovano’s cavorting runs and golden holds.

Joe Lovano- npr.org

Olatuja’s uplifting global feast ends on the soulful caress of his composition, “Grace”, with pianist Aaron Parks shimmering in light keyboard banter in the embrace of Terreon Gully’s steady drum grooves, Samir Zarif’s regal sax and Olatuja’s resounding bass in upbeat companionship.

seatgeek.com

Speaking of upbeat companionship, there is nothing more joyful than exploring the original melodies concocted by another fresh voice: jazz pianist Joey Alexander, on one of my favorites of his rich discography, his 2018 recording, Eclipse [Montema Music; www.motema.com]. Eclipse finds Alexander partnered with drummer Eric Harland and bassist Reuben Rogers, a most marvelous partnership.

I last recommended a recording with Harland and Rogers when they appeared in sterling partnership with saxophonist Charles Lloyd and pianist Jason Moran- on the superb and venturesome 2017 live recording, Passin’Thru [Blue Notewww.bluenote.com], particularly glorious in its vinyl edition for its crackling alive presence to these reveling live performances.

Alexander’s Eclipse is another gem that vividly comes alive and allows one to intimately explore all the sparks of dialogue that flow effortlessly between these three consummate musicians in flight.

Joey Alexander -Eric Morgensen photo

Positive vibes abound on Eclipse. Take, for instance, the opening “Bali”, an original tune that positively gallops on Alexander’s melodic swing and his deft sweetness in the craft of his notes throughout his omnivorous range. Alexander’s “Draw Me Nearer” hits a beautiful gospel stride with Rogers’ deep plucks and plunges, Harland’s sparkling brushwork and Alexander’s soft touches that shimmer and sway. Bold saxophonist Joshua Redman joins the band for a soulful turn on Roy Noble’s “The Very Thought of You,” set to a dreamy pace in Redman’s breathy holds and soulful runs nestled in Alexander’s blocks of blues chords.

Joshua Redman and Reuben Rogers – JarasumJazz

There’s also plenty of bebop glee on Eclipse. One great example is the band’s version of the Coltrane classic, “Moment’s Notice”, in which Rogers glides in quick elastic strides on his elastic bass while Alexander spins the length of his keyboard in swooping pounces. The band digs into Alexander’s “Fourteen” with more up-beat chemistry (highlighted by Redman’s bursting sax) and Alexander’s pulsating “Space” is another gleeful swing fest where each player delights in adding their own twinkling banter.. These romping gems are built from the agile and inventive foundation of Harland at his astonishing drum kit. From the swish of delicate brushes (on the outer rings of his shining cymbals) to his fusillades of shockingly quick, low drum thunder, Harland’s percussive engine is in fine, full throttle form.

NYC Radio

A final highlight from this sterling disc is Alexander’s poignant solo performance of Lennon and McCarthy’s tune, “Blackbird”, a beautiful melody for our times. Alexander turns the indelible melody of “Blackbird” on his keyboard like one would a piece of wood on a lathe, re-casting it and carving his own joyful and insightful moments into Lennon and McCarthy’s inviting vessel. I look forward to auditioning Alexander’s new recording, Warna [Verve Records], where he is joined by another stellar rhythm section, drummer Kendrick Scott and bassist Larry Grenadier, in new trio explorations rooted in Alexander’s open-hearted lyricism and spirited groove.

Ben Rosenblum – photo Greag Drygala

Ben Rosenblum is another young pianist, accordionist and composer with a forward-thinking, lyrical spirit. Rosenblum has created a uniquely joyful and plucky universe on his new recording with his “Nebula Project”, Kites and Strings [One Trick Dog Records; www.benrosenblummusic.com].

Rosenblum’s musical palette is open-eared on this new fascinating recording. His compositions combine the sounds of his sprite and graceful accordion and piano play with a feast of other fresh sounds, including Rafael Rosa’s fuzz ladened electric guitar; Wayne Tucker’s crisp trumpet; Sam Chess’ regal trombone; Jasper Dutz’s frolicking sax and bass clarinet and a sparkling backbone from bassist Marty Jaffe and drummer Ben Zweig – all primed for adventure.

Kites and Strings delivers its fresh colors and playful flow on a recording that has a wide and layered soundstage, natural image dimensionality and an up-front presence where instrumental colors project with crisp outlines and zestful timbres. The opening track, “Cedar Place” is a great example of Rosenblum’s delectable verve. It dances on Rosenblum’s spangled accordion, (breathily delicate in its spins and runs), tumbling in the company of Tucker’s shining trumpet and Dutz’s frisky tenor saxophone.

Dutz’s bass clarinet play in particularly vibrant on a number of Rosenblum’s originals. These include the gorgeous “Halfway To Wonderland” in which Dutz’s bass clarinet dips and flutters next to Rosenblum’s sprite piano runs and deep bluesy chords (reminding of the great Dave Brubeck’s keyboard twinkle) and on Rosenblum’s “Laughing On The Inside” where Dutz’s bass clarinet joins Rosa’s expansive guitar to churn a frolicking Zweig drum solo.

The band also digs its creative toes into inventive, glowing balladry on Kites and Strings. These include Rosenblum’s soft accordion/piano flow on his “Motif From Brahms” and on his lilting version of Leonard Bernstein’s “Somewhere” in which trumpet, bass clarinet and accordion entwine in Bernstein’s sweet melody. Neil Young’s “Philadelphia” is also given fresh treatment: the tune is a sweet, slow swagger (ignited on Sam Chess’ warm trombone dips) where everyone takes a turn to shape Young’s elegiac melody in their fresh rapport.

Diego Urcola – Music Industry

Listening to Wayne Tucker’s clarion and crisp trumpet light up the inventive landscape of Rosenblum’s Kites and Strings inspires a listen to another dynamic trumpeter, Diego Urcola, and his new exciting recording.

On El Duelo [Sunnyside Records], Urcola joins forces with the singular woodwind maestro, Paquito D’Rivera, and the dynamic rhythm section of bassist Hamish Smith and drummer Eric Doob, to deliver a blowing session that is jubilant, bold and soulful.

El Duelo delivers a rich collection of classic and original tunes perfectly suited to focused and sharp improvisations from this tight-knit band. The great dynamic shifts, brazen colors and tactile details on this superb recording allow us to hear deeply into each performer’s technique and playful group magnetism.

nj.com

It’s a special treat to hear every rustling, breathy run of D’Rivera’s clarinet and alto sax. Each instrument in his hands is a vessel of dancing, tumbling wonder. D’Rivera’s clarinet flows with an irresistible dancing pulse on such highlights as Gerry Mulligan’s “I Know, Don’t Know How” (blending with the slow bluesy walk of Smith’s pungent bass) or caresses in slippery plunges and woody leaps (alongside Urcola’s shining trumpet) on the title cut. D’Rivera is clearly inspired by his young compatriots on this special outing as he exchanges musical dialogue with these young lions with consummate ardor, invention and playful charisma.

Urcola’s bold trumpet is a perfect foil for D’Rivera’s inspired presence. Urcola attacks Ornette Coleman’s “Una Muy Bonita” and the Pugliese/Tizol’s classic tune, “La Yumba/Caravan” (arranged by Ethan Iverson), with spirited verve. The recording allows us to hear not only his highest reaches without glare (a rare feat) but also how Urcola loves to punctuate his arching upward climbs with an initial burst of a crisp accentuated note, illuminating his pathway upward.

Argentjazz

In contrast to his crisp trumpet, Urcola’s flugelhorn is a warm embracing vessel, velvety and radiant, on such dusted beauties as Piazzolla’s “Libertango” and Urcola’s original, “Tango Azul”. We can hear deeply into his technique as how he squeezes his lips tight around his flugelhorn’s mouthpiece, (to form a warm, light trill) then relaxes into a slurring, fluttering descent in stately form.

The metallic sear of Urcola’s trumpet, joyful and leaping, is a nice segue to enjoying a batch of sunny new acoustic string recordings, crisp and toe-tapping.

First, there is the balm of bluegrass in the hands of legendary pickers, Doc and Merle Watson, who fire off a bevy of easy-going firecrackers on a new curated recording, Songs Doc Didn’t Sing [FLi Records, www.fliartists.com], which brings to fresh life tunes recorded by the Watsons for Flying Fish Records in the 1980’s.

Doc and Merle Watson – Wikipedia

Songs Doc Didn’t Sing captures the Watsons in crisp, stutter-stepping form joined by a stellar band: fiddlers Mark O’Connor, Sam Bush and Byron Berline; clarinetist Tom Scott; drummer Ron Tutt and bassist Michael Coleman. Songs Doc Didn’t Sing joyfully documents how the Watsons could spin an intriguing tale (of comic shape-shifting urgency or waltzing beauty) in a few bars of music, supremely assured in their telling. For instance, this new collection gifts us with the sly, romping “Sheeps in the Meadow”, “Down Yonder”, “Black Mountain Rag” and “Fisher’s Hornpipe” (where the Watsons are joined in their chivalry by a clacking set of “bones” played by Hank “Bones” Kahn in the far-left of the stage). In these rollicking numbers, the Watsons’ guitar wizardry is transfixing: playful ricochets of fingerpicking glee, crackling string bends and frenzied runs. This barnstorming can also shift from pell-mell sunshine to deep pools of waltzing sway, such as on the gentle “Windy and Warm”; the beauty in the churning depth of “Below Freezing” (with a gorgeous swirl by clarinetist Scott) and the bluesy twang of “John Henry/Worried Blues”. The Watsons can even take an old chestnut like “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” and re-fashion it into a fresh grooving soar. Their sparkling gem, “Talking to Casey” concludes this swanking collection with another sunny pulse, firing away on the Watson’s nylon string hurtles into the slippery uplift of O’Connor’s crisp fiddle.

The Watsons’ merry bluegrass inspires a listen to a final selection for this installation of listening joy: the easy-flowing, splendidly crafted music of virtuoso guitarist, Diego Figueiredo. Figueiredo’s new CD, Compilation, (released on another favorite audiophile label, Arbors Records [www.arborsrecords.com], is beautifully recorded and offers a delectable slice of Figueiredo’s mastery that spans continents and styles with glee.

Hartford Courant

Figueiredo’s pliant guitar is a fresh voice, full of nimble delights and soulful charm. His solo acoustic version of Chick Corea’s “Spain” is a dazzling invention with feisty string bends and crisp strums. His “Samba In New York” is another burbling feast of string snapping pizzicatos (always in the service of melody), blended with the colors of Gabriel Grossi’s spidery harmonica glow. The weightless sparks of Edu Miranda’s mandolin join Figueiredo’s acoustic guitar on a twinkling “Xodozinho” and “Tico-Tico No Fuba” and “Paschoa” bring dancing bursts of Brazilian sway and funk where Eduardo Machado’s bass and Fernando Rast’s crackling wood rims ignite around Figueiredo’s boundless string inventions. In contrast to this toe-tapping frolics, Figueiredo’s version of “Linda Flor” is a molten creation as Figueiredo’s solo electric guitar radiates with sumptuous deep colors and unkempt beauty. Compilation concludes with the shimmering bloom of Figueiredo’s “Picote,” where Figueiredo and his partners explore a flowing lyrical groove that illuminates both the joyful peppery bite and the soulful wanderlust of Figueiredo’s music – sustaining our spirits for another day.


You can read more of Nelson’s concert reviews at www.bostonconcertreviews.com.


Dealer Spotlight: Absolute Audio/Video – Calgary, Alberta, Canada

By Bruno de Lorimier

I am very pleased to introduce you to one of Nordost’s top North American Dealers: Absolute Audio/Video

After realizing that there was a lack of quality stereo shops in Calgary, the founder Ross Sisson, who’s an avid music lover, opened the original store back in 2005. They now operate out of a newer, larger, and more sophisticated location.

The first store, which was slightly more modest than the newer more luxurious shop, was situated just a block down the same road in the Bowness Area in Calgary.  Ross, who’s a very handy guy, actually built all of the original showrooms pretty much by himself and did an amazing job.  It didn’t take long for local clients to start pouring in and be amazed by the line-up of quality brands and products on display.  What impressed clients even more was Ross’s technical expertise and, furthermore, his diverse musical knowledge.  I have always believed that the main reason Ross and Absolute AV are so successful is because of his contagious passion for music.  I have come to meet many of his patrons over the years and if there is one thing they all have in common, it’s their love of music and trust for Ross’s recommendations and advice. 

With his lifelong knowledge of music and what good sound is, Ross helps others by providing knowledgeable information on topics like room acoustical improvements and electrical upgrades for audio and video improvements. His advice scans many topics from whole house audio and video to lighting and security.

Ross was raised on good music that he was introduced to by his mom and his older brothers. Ever since he was a kid, strong audio and musical versatility was extremely important to him. He’s an LP and CD collector who spends much of his time finding rare gems in record shops around Canada.

In 2015, Ross spotted a nicer and larger location just down the road, which he envisioned as the perfect space to turn into his dream store.  In May of 2016, his dream came true and the new shop was inaugurated.  Clients and suppliers alike were delighted with the new store’s look and functionality.  In my humble opinion, the new location is truly one of the nicest stores in Canada. 

Here are some of the brands you can currently find at Absolute AV: Nordost, Bowers & Wilkins, ATC loudspeakers, Monitor Audio, Odeon Audio, Vivid Audio, Bryston, Muraudio, Neat Acoustics, Transrotor, Acoustic Solid, Oracle Audio, MOFI, NAD, VPI Industries, Dynavector, HANA, Nagoaka, Kiseki, Grado, Sorane, Jadis, MOON by Simaudio, Ayre, Rotel, Atoll, Rogue Fezz, Zesto, Dan D’Agostino, Merging Technologies, Lumin, Antipodes Audio, Roon Labs, Lindemann, etc …  What a line-up!  It’s also worth mentioning that Absolute AV was the very first Supreme Reference Dealer in Canada in 2007.

The other thing Absolute AV is really good at is organizing very popular and sought-after special events, many of which are held off-premises in glamorous settings like art galleries and famous restaurants.  Attended and hosted by famous people as well as industry specialists, these events have surely contributed to building a strong and loyal customer base which consistently continues to grow.

Then, in 2008, came along James Davies who is now the Sales Manager and Product Specialist at the shop.  James is a contemporary and avant-garde Jazz music lover of the late ’60s and early ’70s, as well as lots of other music spanning across generations. 

“For as long as I can remember, I have listened to music: from the calming effect of listening to The Moody Blues’ “Night in White Satin”, as a child, on the radio, to rhythmic complexity of electronic beat gurus Autechre and Avant-garde Jazz pioneers The Art Ensemble of Chicago – I crave music. I consume music. I believe, if there is one secret to the success of any one Hi-Fi dealer, it’s in their ability to help customers explore and consume music. And, existentially, where do we expect the music industry to be tomorrow if we aren’t supporting our favourite artists of today?

Before getting into the Hi-Fi industry (and probably the main reason I ended up in this industry), I sort of flew where the wind took me. I don’t have a background in any one thing. I’ve been in manufacturing and construction, and am a trained painter and illustrator (and I look forward to pursuing this again if I ever get to retire!). The parallel between painting and music is a fascinating one for me, as colour theory and musical harmony are really one and the same. The same is true of the technologies used to record and produce modern music. If you understand the behavior of one frequency band, the rest starts to make a lot of sense. Much of all art is simply problem solving…we just use different techniques and methodology.”

James’s primary tasks are searching for reliable brands and creating bonds with people in the community. James loves products and brands that don’t make excuses for themselves and that have an interest in not only modern relevance but progressive techniques and ideas as well, which is why he likes Nordost so much. 

“I don’t think there’s a terribly sophisticated reason for our success with Nordost. In the beginning, before my time with Absolute, I believe we chose to represent Nordost not because of its marketability or brand cache, but because of its performance and the company that stands behind the product. In my time with Absolute, I have never experienced a company more dedicated to training its dealers and willing to disclose as much of the technical aspects of their products. As you can imagine, a cable brand with no technical background is easy to label as nothing more than snake oil. So the knowledge base that Nordost brings to the table is really paramount in our success.

Secondly, Absolute AV made the investment. We do not wait around for customers to inquire about and order products on a whim; we demonstrate them in all of our systems, keep a generous amount in stock for quick turnaround, and take the time to recommend the correct Nordost cable systems to meet our customers’ needs and budgets.

Absolute AV is a performance oriented retailer. That’s not to say our focus is purely on esoteric high end. Rather, we do our best to present Hi-Fi equipment as more than an appliance simply meant as a means to an end. Working with Nordost products helps to remove some of the mysticism surrounding high end audio by being firmly rooted in science and engineering; Nordost products take the guesswork out of Hi-Fi, allowing for predictable and repeatable results.”

The entire staff at Nordost is extremely proud to count Absolute AV as part of our team, and I am personally honored to count Ross and James as personal friends of mine.

Long live Absolute AV!


ABSOLUTE AUDIO

6303 Bowness Rd NW #100
Calgary, AB T3B 0E4
Email: info@absoluteaudio.ca
Phone: (403) 202-7302


Where to find Nordost – New in 2021!

For 30 years, Nordost has been sharing transformative, high-end audio products with music lovers. In that time, we have expanded our reach throughout North America and to over 80 countries, worldwide. Today, Nordost is recognized within the hifi community as the premier manufacturer of hifi audio cables and accessories in the consumer electronics industry. However, this glowing reputation, notoriety, and global reach was not achieved alone. There is no question that the longevity and respect that we have enjoyed within this industry has been made possible, in part, by the strong partnerships that we have cultivated over the years with an exemplary group of dedicated distributors and dealers.

Now, at the beginning of 2021, we want to take the time to thank all of our partners around the world, for all that they have done for us, and for introducing Nordost products into a countless number of hifi systems over the years. We would also like to officially welcome all of the retailers that have joined the Nordost team throughout 2020. We are so happy that you have chosen to represent our brand, and we look forward to an exciting future together.

Here is our newest group of dedicated Nordost dealers and distributors:


Audio Jaya

Indonesia

www.audiojaya.com/en/


Innovaciones Acusticas

Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru

www.innovacionesacusticas.com


Audiofi Source Inc.   

Vancouver, BC Canada 

www.audiofi.ca


Massif Audio Design

Waterloo, ON Canada 

www.massifaudiodesign.com


Seattle HiFi

Redmond, WA USA

www.seattlehifi.com


Cloud M.I.S.

Brunswick, ME USA

www.cloudmis.net


Bravas OKC 

Oklahoma City, OK USA 

www.audiodimensions.net


Origin HiFi

Austin, TX USA

www.originhifi.com


For a complete list of Nordost Dealers and Distributors see the WHERE TO BUY section of the Nordost website.


Hi-Fi Choice Reviews Nordost’s Blue Heaven Power Cord

We are extremely excited to start the New Year off right by sharing a 5 Star review with you! Hi-Fi Choice’s Neville Roberts was so “immediately aware” of the improvements that our Blue Heaven Power Cord made to his system that we were awarded the honor of being among the ranks of Hi-Fi Choice’s Recommended Products. While the Blue Heaven Power Cord may be in Nordost’s entry-level series of products, it is anything but a minor upgrade. 

“The overall performance is clear and refined with a very low noise floor. The Blue Heaven is certainly a very good value-for-money, high-quality power cable option.” – Neville Roberts 


You can read Hi-Fi Choice’s review in its entirety here: Nordost Blue Heaven Power Cord

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


Nordost Playlist – January 2021

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 January.


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


  1. Treat People With Kindness—Harry Styles—Fine Line
  2. Words—Barry Gibb, Dolly Parton—Greenfields  
  3. Courage to Change—Sia—Hey Boy
  4. Fantino—Sébastien Tellier—Sessions
  5. Baby—Ariel Pink, Dâm-Funk—Mature Themes
  6. Lullaby for String Quartet—George Gershwin, Alexander String Quartet—Gershwin & Kern
  7. The King of Rock ‘N’ Roll—Prefab Sprout—From Langley Park To Memphis
  8. evermore (feat. Bon Iver)—Taylor Swift, Bon Iver—evermore
  9. uuu—Field Medic—Songs from the Sunroom
  10. It’s Coming It’s Real—Swans—leaving meaning.

Most Popular Blogs of 2020

When we were thinking of a nice way to end the year, we thought… why not give the people what they “liked” most?! This 2020 blog round-up includes the posts that we have published throughout the year which received the most engagement. Whether it be likes, shares, comments, retweets, Instagram reactions, or however you feel like measuring now-a-days, here are the blogs that you engaged with, most all in one place! 


5 Ways To Improve Your Sound System For Your Time At Home

This year, everyone had to spend a bit more time than usual in their homes. One of the ways music-lovers passed the time was by listening to their home sound systems. To make that listening experience more enjoyable, we shared five easy practices and/or products that improve the quality of your sound system for little to no cost! 


Sonic Properties of Nordost Technologies

This blog is a helpful tool when you are looking to upgrade your audio cables. As you go from one range of Nordost cables to the next, there are several technological aspects that change in terms of cable construction. This guide will prompt you to pay attention to certain sonic properties in your music, to hear what each technological benefit brings to your sound system.  


Two Sides to Vibration

By now, most people understand that unwanted vibration is damaging to a hifi system. However, “vibration” is a catch-all term. There are actually two completely different types of vibration that you need to worry about. This blog explains the difference between these two variations and what causes them. 


Nordost Technologies Explained

One of the major factors that sets Nordost apart from the rest of the audio cables out there is the revolutionary technology that makes up our cable designs. However, sometimes just listing that technology doesn’t help customers understand what that technology is, or what it does! This blog provides brief explanations of some of these technologies to help you better navigate our product offerings. 


Nordost 2020 Awards

We almost didn’t include this post into this list because it seemed like a brag… but it was by far one of our most popular posts of the year! It’s hard to keep up with all of the hifi reviews and articles in the many different blogs, websites, and magazines out there. So if you are a Nordost fan, or just want to see what people are saying about our products, this blog provides you with a list of the various awards we have been granted throughout 2020, as well as links, so that you can read each review attributed to the award in full!

Nordost Sort System: How to Get Your System’s Vibration Under Control.

Along with poor grounding, unwanted vibration may be one of the most ubiquitous problems in hifi. Damaging vibrations, no matter the source, have the ability to alter sound causing distortion, disrupted imagery, and even timing issues to the music you’re trying to enjoy. Not only is vibration a ubiquitous problem in hifi, but it’s pervasive throughout the system– affecting your components, loudspeakers, audio racks, and even cables. Luckily, ridding your system of unwanted vibration can be easy.

Nordost has not only introduced one anti-vibration product, but an entire Sort System made up of three products that are uniquely specialized to combat vibration, depending on the element of the system they are addressing. Unlike other anti-vibration products on the market, which define themselves as either isolation/de-coupling or coupling devices, Nordost’s Sort System takes a different, more comprehensive approach: resonance control. (For a deeper look at the difference between isolation, coupling, and resonance control, check out our blog: Three Ways to Address Vibration Control). The following will help you better understand each of Nordost’s Sort devices and show you how they fit into your system to help you rid unwanted vibration. 


Sort Kone

The Sort Kone is designed to address vibration occurring within components. It is built using a unique three-part construction, which creates a mechanical diode. When pressure is applied to the Kone, a one-way path is established through which the internal vibration produced by moving parts in the chassis of electronics can escape. When you place Sort Kones under audio components (a minimum of three Sort Kones per unit is required) music becomes more focused, there is an increase in depth and transparency in system performance, and the dynamic range is broadened. Nordost Sort Kones are available in three levels of performance (aluminium, bronze, and titanium) to fit a wide range of system and budgetary needs.


Sort Füt:

The Sort Füt is a mechanically tuned resonance control device designed to address the vibration generated both within loudspeakers and through audio racks. It is purpose-built to enhance the performance of your hi-fi system and improve upon standard spikes and stabilizers. The Sort Füt’s proprietary four-part construction eliminates unwanted vibrations by providing a direct ground path out, allowing extraneous energy to escape either the loudspeaker or audio rack it is attached to, while simultaneously preventing external vibrations from traveling back through the device. The result: a reduction of intermodulation distortion, a proliferation of musical information, and an increase of tonal and textural details that will allow your system to achieve the dynamic range it is capable of.



Sort Lift

The Sort Lift is designed to minimize the points of contact that cables make with the ground and reduce boundary effects, without negatively affecting the resonant properties of the cables themselves. Each Lift is composed of two integral components: the base and the springs. The base inhibits any transference of electrical charge from the floor to the cable and eliminates static build-up on the dielectric itself. The springs use flexible, titanium alloy spring-wire, which makes up both the support wings and tension wire supports. Both elements of this floating spring system are coated in FEP, mirroring the design of Nordost cables and making the supports an extension of the cable jacket, eliminating any electrical interference, while allowing the cables to maintain their natural resonance properties.


To learn more about our Sort System or to arrange a demonstration, contact your local Nordost retailer
For more information about vibration control, including how to identify different types of resonances, their sources, and how to manage those harmful vibrations, so that you can enjoy your sound system to its full potential, download our guide, The Importance of Vibration Control, today.

The Absolute Sound Reviews Nordost’s QPOINT and QSOURCE

Since their release at High End Munich in 2019, Nordost’s QPOINT Resonance Synchronizer and QSOURCE Linear Power Supply have been generating constant buzz within the hifi industry. Just recently, The Absolute Sound featured this revolutionary combination of products in a review to further explore the unbelievable impact that they have on two-channel systems, which, as author Jacob Heilbrunn even describes in the title of his article, is “Strange but True”.  In the end, both separately and as a pair, Jacob concluded that there is no question about it, the QPOINT and QSOURCE provide “valuable sonic benefits in a high-end system”. Here is a glimpse of what he had to say about both products:

QPOINT: “With the introduction of the QPOINTS, the orchestra really snapped into place. It was like a photo that went from blurry to sharp in the blink of an eye. It was a sheer pleasure to hear the interplay between the harpsichord and orchestra…What a revelation!”

QSOURCE: “The QSOURCE [powering the Roon]…offered a substantial improvement in image density, resolution, and hall ambience.” 


You can now read The Absolute Sound’s QPOINT/QSOURCE review in its entirety here: Nordost QRT QPOINT and QRT QSOURCE Resonance Synchronizer: Strange but True

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


Nordost 2020 Awards

As this hectic year starts to wind down, it’s a good time to reflect on the high points that we have enjoyed. Luckily, Nordost has had SEVERAL this year: 13 to be exact! That’s the number of awards that Nordost has won for our outstanding products in 2020 alone! 

As a company, Nordost strives to provide hifi enthusiasts with the means to bring life into an audio system in order to truly enjoy music as it was intended. We take a lot of pride in the audio cables, power products, and audio enhancers that we produce, so we are always honored to be recognized by reviewers, industry leaders, and prominent publications for our work. We thought that you might like to celebrate with us!


An Audiophilia Star Component 2020: Frey 2

“The Frey 2’s performance and general neutral and happy nature never disappointed. And they were wonderful in all sorts of repertoire from grandiloquent to introspective.” – Anthony Kershaw, Audiophilia


Hi-fi+ Editor’s Choice 2020: Odin 2

“Odin 2 takes your system to new levels of performance you might not have thought possible: in this respect, it’s like listening to great old recordings played back on top-notch new equipment – you end up asking yourself, “did they know how good this is when they made it?” Odin 2 does that to both music and the equipment upon which that music is played.” – Alan Sircom, Hi-Fi+


Hi-Fi+ 2020 AWARD WINNER: Valhalla 2 Tonearm Cable +

“The V2+ tonearm cable follows the house V2 sound of exceptional transparency and stunning transient playback, without ever falling to the temptation of over-sharing the treble content. The midband and top are deliciously open and see- through, seamless and nearly organic in naturalness, while bass is disarmingly honest and musical in its flow. This is a staggeringly insightful wiring upgrade to hear what’s hiding in the groove.” – Andrew Harrison, Hi-Fi+


Hi-Fi Choice Recommended: Heimdall 2 Tonearm Cable +

“The instrument focus and clarity are both excellent and the soundstage is expansive…the bass is powerful and punchy and the drums and hi-hats are crisp, tight and engaging. The great energy is splendidly conveyed and the instrument focus of the hi-hats is particularly well defined.” – Neville Roberts, Hi-Fi Choice


Hi-Fi Choice Recommended: Blue Heaven Power Cord

“The overall performance is clear and refined with a very low noise floor. The Blue Heaven is certainly a very good value-for-money, high-quality power cable option.” – Neville Roberts, Hi-Fi Choice


HIGH FIDELITY REFERENCE AWARD: QKORE

“…connecting all elements in our system to the artificial ground is equivalent to replacing any of its elements with a superior one. But – and here it starts to be interesting – we get more of everything that we already have in the system, not something completely new.” – Wojciech Pacula, High Fidelity


Positive Feedback Writers’ Choice Award 2020: QKORE

“In advance of installing the QKORE Ground Units, I had imagined what such a product might accomplish. Those daydreams were prophetic—the only surprise was how significant it turned out to be…it did more to improve my sound than any alternative I can think of at that price.” – Marshall Nack, Positive Feedback


2020 The Absolute Sound Editors’ Choice Awards: Purple Flare

“…Purple Flare really shines in the midband with a slightly forward, driving energy that imparts a dynamic liveliness to all genres of music.” – Neil Gader, The Absolute Sound


2020 The Absolute Sound Editors’ Choice Awards: Heimdall 2 USB 2.0

“I experienced, in my own system, what others have been pointing out: USB cable can greatly impact sonic performance. The Blue Heaven USB cable was quite good, but I was impressed by how much more detail, texture, body, and spatial information came through with the Heimdall 2 USB cable in place. It all added up to a more life-like and enjoyable musical experience all around.” – Kirk Midtskog, The Absolute Sound


2020 The Absolute Sound Editors’ Choice Awards: Frey 2

“Frey 2… has rebalanced the scales, taking the transient and micro-dynamic elements of the past and integrating them with richer mids and a brawnier, meatier bottom end that gives orchestral music more discernible, atmosphere and weight. In a word, there’s more fidelity to the live event.” – Neil Gader, The Absolute Sound


2020 The Absolute Sound Editors’ Choice Awards: Valhalla 2 

“…the outcome of using the Valhalla 2 is truly prodigious. Everything instantly improved as a result of using this dynamically unconstrained cable. It was easy to detect that the Valhalla lowered the noise floor, and that the bass notes became more defined and stygian…the bennies were evident across the sonic spectrum, in ways both large and small.” – Jacob Heilbrunn, The Absolute Sound


2020 The Absolute Sound Editors’ Choice Awards: Odin 2

“With the Odin 2, the notes seem to leap out of the loudspeakers with the tiniest, low-level details excavated with remarkable fidelity…the Odin 2 played a vital role in bringing their magnificent performance to life.” – Jacob Heilbrunn, The Absolute Sound


2020 The Absolute Sound Editors’ Choice Awards: QKORE

 “…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 Heilbrunn, The Absolute Sound


Nordost Playlist – December 2020

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 December.


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


  1. I Can’t Stand the Rain—Ann Peebles—I Can’t Stand the Rain
  2. Nessun Dolore—Lucio Battisti—Una donna per amico
  3. Only The Strong—Laura Marling—Song For Our Daughter
  4. Under Lime—Elvis Costello—Look Now
  5. Comptine d’un autre été: L’après midi—Jeroen van Veen—Tiersen: “Pour Amélie” Piano Music
  6. Her Love—Alex Ebert—I vs I
  7. Creole Moon—Dr. John—Creole Moon
  8. Pink Pony Club—Chappell Roan—Pink Pony Club
  9. I See A Darkness—ROSALÍA—Los Ángeles
  10. Love Like A Sunset Part 1—Phoenix—Wolfgang Amadeus Phoneix