This week in The Listening Post Wellington we had a visit from some esteemed guests: the distributors of Nordost, and from Nordost themselves, their very own Bjorn.
We got to play with Nordost Odin Tone Arm cables, (arguably the world's best tone arm cable), Nordost Odin 2 and Nordost Valahalla balanced cables.
Nordost has a deserved reputation for producing some of the world's finest audio cables, and Bjorn is the Guru who comes to share all things Nordost.
Some people think he is actually Odin in Human form. Seriously though, we had a great time, performing "taste tests" on the Nordost Range of USB Cables, Purple Flare, Blue Heaven, Heimdall 2, Frey. Each one fine, and each a serious upgrade from the standard USB cable, but with definable and exciting differences behind each comparison.
Next, we were on to Nordost Power. Blue Heaven, Red Dawn, and some other comparisons. Cleaner and tighter bass and Mid-range, bigger sound-stage. From a power cable? Strange, but true. Bjorn tells a great bumble bee story here too.
With some great cable demos done, we moved on to Nordost Sort Kone. These come in a range of materials, and the mantra here is that while the different materials come in at widely ranging costs, these costs don't necessarily translate (in the case of the Sort Kones) to improvements in performance. Rather they are reflective of what it costs to work with the different materials. Bjorn explains some of thee subtitles of the different materials, how you would use them. For example, the brass version is often best used under a power supply.
We did a great before and after demo, (under only one component, the Moon 380D DAC) with a definite improvement in bass tautness and sound-stage scale, and largely you could say, there was less muddle to the sound. Bjorn explains that rather than being used to decouple the equipment from the rack, the Sort Kones are designed help to disperse resonance and vibration away from the chassis of the component, and also block vibrations intruding from the rack.
I've heard some skeptics call cable (and cone) upgrades unnecessary, or even over-rated, but here, when you've got some good kit, the benefits are well defined. I too can understand, that while components sitting on Kones is not for everyone, the benefits can be heard. During our banter and our chats I realised, that whilst I didn't always understand all the science, it doesn't mean the gains aren't true. In fact, these upgrades makes much more sense to me than the flat earthers do.
In the photos, Bjorn also doubles as our cable model, although he's strangely reminiscent of Tool Time's Wilson, he never actually shows his face.