Nordost Technologies Explained

Nordost is a technology-based company. Over the nearly 30 years in which we have been contributing our world-renowned audio cables, power products, and audio enhancers to the hifi industry, we have differentiated ourselves from the noise through our technology.  We are confident that our groundbreaking proprietary technology and unique and precise manufacturing practices are directly responsible for the success of our products. To understand Nordost, and to understand Nordost’s products, you first have to have a clear understanding of the technology that we have developed over the years and use as the defining features of our cable ranges. To clarify those technological capstones, we have put together a brief explanation of some of Nordost’s technologies to help you better navigate our product offerings.


MICRO/DUAL MONO-FILAMENT WRAP

Mono-Filament technology refers to Nordost’s patented process of separating the conductor from its FEP insulation. During production, each conductor is intricately and uniformly wrapped in either a single strand (Micro), or a twisted pair (Dual) of FEP Mono-Filament, before being encased in an extruded layer of high quality FEP. This highly precise process allows every conductor to be surrounded by its own air dielectric. This revolutionary insulation process is directly responsible for the dramatic increase of signal speeds and excellent mechanical damping found in Nordost cables.


FLAT SPEAKER CABLE DESIGN

Due to the intricate extrusion process that Nordost employs, we are the only audio cable manufacturer able to achieve a flat cable geometry in our speaker cables. The flat nature of Nordost’s cables enables the following benefits: an increase in signal transfer speeds, the elimination of strand interaction, the optimization of the mechanical spacing and layout of conductors, a decrease in skin effect, and a reduction of physical surface contact.


MECHANICALLY TUNED LENGTHS

By analyzing the natural resonances of conductors, we have derived a proprietary formula to determine the optimal length of each cable, according to their unique geometry. By ensuring that the conductors are cut to these specific lengths, we maximize the sonic performance of our cables, eliminating timing errors.


HOLO:PLUG® CONNECTORS

These low mass, high end, connectors are designed to seamlessly fit the internal geometry of each individual cable that they house. HOLO:PLUG® connectors are the perfect marriage of electrical and mechanical tuning, allowing Nordost to have complete control of our highest quality interfaces—not only of the cable itself, but from end to end.


TOTAL SIGNAL CONTROL

In utilizing TSC shielding on our Supreme Reference cables, we are able to maintain the integrity of signal transfer while protecting our cables from the electrical pollution produced by RFI and EMI. When paired with our patented HOLO:PLUG® connectors, TSC provides 100% total shield coverage without the rigidity that is associated with other shielded cables.


4 Easy, Free Ways to Address Vibration in Your Sound System

If you have been following this blog, then you already know the remarkably detrimental effects that unwanted vibration can have on your sound system. Smeared imaging, timing errors, and musical distortions are only some of the negative side-effects that hifi enthusiasts live with when they don’t defend their components, loudspeakers, and audio racks from an incessant assault of errant vibrations. Many times, vibration goes unchecked because system owners aren’t willing to invest in the sometimes costly audio accessories designed to address this problem. However, there are a few small, easy adjustments that you can make to your system that will help to greatly reduce the effects of harmful vibrations, without having to spend a cent! 


1. System Placement: 

For aesthetic reasons or special constraints, you may want to hide your audio equipment, or shove it into the corner of a room. However, system placement can play a critical role in the amount of vibration that you are introducing into your system. Avoid placing your audio equipment in corners, behind speakers, or within the same space as household appliances like air conditioners, washing machines, etc. By simply positioning your audio rack in a relatively isolated but open location, you will drastically improve the audible performance of your sound system.


2. Steady Surfaces: 

Obviously, the ideal place to rest your audio equipment would be on an audio rack, purpose-built to minimize vibrations. However, if that is not an option for your listening room or your budget, make sure that whatever surface you choose to hold your components is a sturdy surface that doesn’t shake, rattle, or move in any way. If it has the ability to be leveled, all the better! 


3. Avoid Confined Spaces: 

Resist the urge to neatly tuck your bookshelf speakers inside your actual bookshelves. Avoid placing your speakers or equipment in box-like, confined spaces that could cause resonance or vibrations, like shelving units or cabinets. These confined spaces act like echo-chambers, bouncing vibrations straight back into your speakers and impacting their performance.


4. Leave Space: 

When placing your loudspeakers, make sure that they are minimally two to three feet away from your equipment (preferably resting on their own stands or dedicated surfaces). The sound emanating from you speakers is vibration in itself. When those vibrations hit your components, there is an audible impact. The more space you allow between your speakers and audio components, the more space you are introducing to allow for those vibrations to dissipate into the air, without doing any harm to your equipment. 


While making these changes might not address ALL of the damaging vibration impacting your system’s performance, it is a great start! To learn more about different methods of vibration control, read our blog Three Ways to Address Vibration Control, or download our informative guide, The Importance of Vibration Control.


Positive Feedback Reviews Nordost’s QKOIL and QVIBE

As usual, when people find something that works, they can’t help but come back for more! That is exactly what happened with Positive Feedback’s Marshall Nack. After being blown away by both our QKORE and QBASE, Marshall couldn’t wait to see what else our QRT technology had in store. In his most recent review, Marshall dives into the world of the QVIBE and QKOIL. He was initially skeptical when presented with these convenient system tweaks. Could they really provide assistance to both the bass and treble while enhancing overtones and helping the dimensionality and specificity of soundstaging? Marshall found that the QV2 and QK1 not only made good on their promises, but “produced the kind of sound that audiophiles dream about”! 

“There’s no doubt the QV2s give you a generous mid-and-upper-bass assist, and the QK1s round and flesh out the treble range. From the hefty, well-defined low-end into the clear mids and the soft-edged, non-abrasive highs, frequency response and tone are beautifully rendered. The palpable illusion of instruments present is happening in the way the best audio systems do it.” — Marshall Nack, Positive Feedback

You can now read Positive Feedback’s review here:  A Pair of Tweaks from Nordost QVIBE and QKOIL

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


Nordost Playlist – July 2020

Over the past few months, Nordost  has been happy that we can continue to make our time spent at home a little more bearable 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 July.


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


  1. Lazarus—Porcupine Tree—Deadwing
  2. I’m Still Here – From “Pose”—Pose Cast, Patti LuPone—I’m Still Here
  3. Darkest Hour of the Night—Ash—Teenage Wildlife: 25 Years of Ash
  4. No Glory in the West—Orville Peck—No Glory in the West
  5. Everybody’s Gotta Live—Love—Reel to Real
  6. Gymnopédie No. 1—Erik Satie, Philippe Entremont—Erik Satie & Friends
  7. The World of Tomorrow—Komputer—The World of Tomorrow
  8. Don’t Let the Old Man In—Willie Nelson—First Rose of Spring
  9. RADIO—Rammstein—Radio
  10. Djougou Toro—Volta Jazz—Bobo Yéyé: Belle Époque in Upper Volta

Questions and Answers (June 2020)

Our product specialists receive questions on a daily basis about Nordost products, their application, and hifi in general.  We thought that we would take a minute to share some of our most recent and frequently asked questions here so that everyone can get the answers they are looking for!


Q: Can I wire my system with cables from different ranges within the Leif family? 

A: Yes. You can definitely wire your system with a mix of cables from the Leif range. Our cables all have the same design philosophy, so while products improve due to added conductors, gauges, and technologies, they all have the same sonic signature. This allows you to budget your cables accordingly, and upgrade piece by piece when needed. 


Q: What is better: short interconnects or short loudspeaker cables?

A: The signal loss on Nordost cables is very low due to the use of extruded FEP insulation and Mono-Filament technology. Nordost cables can run over longer distances with less signal loss than regular cables. However, when planning a system set up, it is wise to keep lower level signals such as tonearm cables and analog interconnects relatively short.  It is better to use longer loudspeaker cables as these typically have much more current and voltage being provided by the power amplifier.


Q: Why do Nordost 75 Ohm digital cables come with BNC to RCA Adaptors? 

A: The correct termination for true 75 Ohm impedance is a BNC connector, due to the mechanical spacing of the center conductor relative to the outer insulation. We have found that keeping the integrity of the 75 Ohm cable with a BNC termination and using an RCA adaptor always provides better sonic results.  It also means the cable can be used easily as a clocking cable, which typically uses BNC connections for superior performance.


Q: Power cords can’t make a difference after the miles electricity travels in wires to get to my house. 

A: While they are not audio-grade, the cables used to transfer electricity through the grid and to your home, are actually a significant gauge. The “choke point” usually does occur in your home. Not only that, but it is very important to try to minimize the effects of artifacts, EMI, and RFI that are introduced to electricity on its journey to your home and continue to be introduced from your home appliances. 


Dealer Spotlight: Sonic Artistry

By Bruno de Lorimier

Hailing from the Greater Toronto Area or “GTA”, the megatropolis just north of the US Border, Sonic Artistry is a boutique high end audio retailer catering to music lovers. With two locations in the GTA, Roncesvalles/High Park in the heart of the city and just north in Aurora, they are an appointment only establishment. The owners, Jonathan Badov and Edgar Balian made it clear to me that their credo of ‘Artistry, Integrity, Music’ is their guiding force in serving their customer base. Ed and Jonathan met in University while studying Mechanical Engineering in the mid 80’s. Their lifelong friendship and business partnership was forged in their love of music and incessant record collecting. They are both avid collectors of British Progressive Rock and Folk music from the late 60’s through the 70’s. They have a deep collection of original pressings and more recent independently produced records. Their one goal— to dig out as much information from those tiny grooves as possible. Don’t get them started on their obsessive record cleaning and archiving process.

Both Ed and Jonathan are practicing professional engineers in Ontario. Their detailed and scientific approach to selecting products and the synergies that exist between them is at the heart of the customer experience. They both believe that products made by companies with deep engineering backgrounds and manufacturing capabilities that exist in solid science and not in the hair shirt arena are typically the ones that sound the best. Finding brands that are at the apex of sonic excellence is key to producing a coherent and visceral listening experience.

Not trying to be all things to all people, they remain resilient in the fact that the only person the hobby needs to make happy is the customer. Nothing else matters. It is their escape and transcendent journey. With many trails blazed to the top of the Sound Reproduction Mountain, they are happy to share with you their own successes and failures along the journey and route to musical harmony. They believe that utilizing the full line of Nordost products in their systems ensures that they can reproduce the best musical experience they can. Teamed with other heralded products such as darTZeel, Stenheim, TechDAS, SAT, Audio Technica, and Minus K. they are focused on the details that count; power, vibration and acoustics.

An individualized customer experience is the way they chose to work with their customers. Without interruptions, the appointment process allows customers to focus on the musical experience. Time is taken to understand what the customer is hearing and their needs. The atmosphere is controlled with a system that is known and set up much like the customers’ own home experience. In-home auditions are the next part of that journey. It is important, with a sizeable investment, to ensure the purchase is what they are looking for, and make sure the customer obtains the audio experience they want to live with.

In Jonathan’s own words “The most fulfilling parts of the experience are the friendships you make over the course of 25 yrs in the business and the exchange of music— learning about new music, new artists, different pressings. Everyone brings something new into the conversation that allows all of us to grow as music lovers, consumers and retailers. We could not have found a better hobby to grow as people, transport us, and make lasting friendships.”

The entire team at Nordost is very proud to count Sonic Artistry as one of our team members.


NOVO Reviews Nordost’s QKOIL and QVIBE

The final installment of NOVO’s 3-Part QRT review is here! Part 3 concentrates on our QVIBE AC Line Harmonizers and QKOIL AC Enhancers. In his most recent article, reviewer George de Sa systematically adds the QV2 and QK1 to his system, focusing on the improvements each one brings to the music. With the QV2, he notices a dramatic distinction in spacial awareness and details, imparting a substantial “lift in the level of realism”. The QK1, on the other hand, focuses on the music’s speed, offering “more clarity, speed and punch to the percussion”. Together, these symbiotic products are the perfect finishing touch to any hifi system: 

“…bringing them together was another experience unto itself. With all four (two Qv2s and two QK1s) plugged into the QBASE, the best of both was achieved. There was greater warmth, yet also greater focus and pace. There was an increased sense of naturalness but also a greater measure of dynamics. And then, there was a significant increase in three-dimensional imaging and separation.” – George de Sa


You can now read all three of George’s QRT pieces here:

NORDOST QRT POWER PRODUCTS REVIEW.  PART 1 OF 3: QX POWER PURIFIERS QX4

NORDOST QRT POWER PRODUCTS REVIEW. PART 2 OF 3: QKORE GROUND UNIT AND QKORE WIRES

NORDOST QRT POWER PRODUCTS REVIEW. PART 3 OF 3: QVIBE QV2 AC LINE HARMONIZER & QKOIL QK1 AC ENHANCER 

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


Nordost Playlist – June 2020

Over the past few months, Nordost  has been happy that we can continue to make our time spent at home a little more bearable 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 June.


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


  1. Mississippi Goddam-Live At Carnegie Hall, New York, 1964—Nina Simone—In Concert 
  2. ‘Round Midnight-Remastered 2013—Thelonious Monk—‘Round Midnight 
  3. The Weight-Live—Mavis Staples and Company—Mavis Staples I’ll Take You There: An All-Star Concert Celebration 
  4. Lucille—Little Richard—The Very Best of…Little Richard
  5. Greens—Be Steadwell—Queer Love Songs 
  6. Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)—Marvin Gaye—What’s Going On-40th Anniversary 
  7. Where Do We Go—Solange—A Seat at the Table 
  8. The Boss—James Brown, They J.B.’s—Black Caesar 
  9. Time’s A Wastin—Erykah Badu—Mam’s Gun
  10. Easy Living (with Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra)—Billie Holiday, Teddy Wilson—Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday On Columbia (1933-1944) 

The Absolute Sound Reviews Nordost’s Tyr 2 cable range

The Absolute Sound has published another fabulous Nordost review! In this most recent article, Nordost Tyr 2 Interconnect, Speaker, and Power Cables: Transparency, Purity, Texture, Wayne Garcia experiments with a full loom of Tyr 2 cables. No matter the genre of music he listened to, our Try 2 cables succeeded in convincing Wayne that he was listening to the “real thing”, his system vanishing so that he was left enjoying just the music. 

“…transparency, precision, purity, depth, texture, openness, expansiveness…Nordost’s Tyr 2 loom brings all of this and more to the listening experience. Yet as I wrap up these throughs another word now pops to mind …transformative. That is perhaps the ultimate thing I can say about any experience. It takes us to another place, another level of understanding—and, in this case, another level of long-term musical pleasure.” – Wayne Garcia, TAS

 You can now read Wayne’s full review here: Nordost Tyr 2 Interconnect, Speaker, and Power Cables: Transparency, Purity, Texture

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

The Well-Grounded System: An Update


By Mike Marko

Five years ago, that sunny day when I first pounded in that ground rod and attached the Nordost QLINE ground wire to my Nordost QB8 MKII power distribution system was an absolute revelation.  The sonic improvements were unmistakable: in general, there was not only better timing to the system, but, specifically, far better bass definition.  However, a problem was lurking.  By adding an earth ground to the electrical wiring in my house, I actually unbalanced the grounding scheme of the house and the entire neighborhood.  You see, in my neighborhood there is only an earth connection at the pole that supplies power and ground to groups of homes at a time.  After looking up the electrical code (always a good thing, especially before a project like this!) I found that, in my case, adding an earth ground at the house was not a good thing. To complicate things further, ground rods also vary in their conduction to the earth.  Ground moisture and salinization affect this conduction, so performance often varies. But I loved the sonic improvements!!! So: what should I (and you, dear reader) do?

Enter the QKORE.  The QKORE is Nordost’s ground-breaking (pun intended) system for establishing a quiet ground reference for stereo systems – Unlike other grounding options, it does not violate the electrical code and is easy to employ even in high-rise homes.  The QKORE system utilizes Low Voltage Attractor Plates (LVAP) that act as an artificial earth ground to Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) so these nasties are totally attracted to the LVAPs for dissipation.  All without the bother of an actual conductor in the dirt with far more consistent performance!

The QKORE system goes one step further in addressing ground noise, which can be generated after the power supply in any given component.  This noise is insidious.  It masks low level detail, much like a noise masking system in an open-plan office.  The idea of noise masking is to generate enough of a noise pattern – modified white noise – so that, in this analogy, one office-person’s noise doesn’t intrude on the acoustic space of another. It is highly effective too.  The low-level noise distinctly generated by loudspeakers above a suspended ceiling makes it very difficult to hear the person next to you; all the while, the noise, itself, is inaudible.  This also happens in your system when ground “noise” masks the low-level signals one is fighting to hear.  Like the ambience and reverb decay in your favorite music hall or the intimate feeling of a small jazz club or a great studio. 

So, while the primary ground reference can now be established by connecting an LVAP to the incoming AC ground, the QKORE can also now attack the DC noise generated by the components, themselves.  Nordost calls this the secondary ground connection.  It is accomplished by using special QKORE grounding wires that use common audio connections to link the ground after the components’ power supply to its own LVAP.  These audio connection QKORE ground wires only connect to an unused ground connection at unused input or output connectors, like RCA, BNC, XLR, RJ45, etc. 

The QKORE 1 deals with just the primary AC ground noise and connects to your power distribution strip.  The QKORE 3 is solely intended for secondary ground DC noise utilizing audio connectors on the components themselves.  The ever popular QKORE 6 is a combo unit with two LVAPs that do both jobs in one unit.

But, you may ask, “How does all this compare to my original ground rod system?”  Well, let me say unequivocally that the QKORE solution sounds far better and is far more stable, day in and day out.  My system has never sounded consistently better and the low-level resolution and bass performance are out of this world!