Nordost’s New Leif Series
To celebrate its 20th Anniversary in the cable business, Nordost has just introduced its new Leif Series. The series consists of four levels:
White Lightning ($179.99/1m pair interconnects, $359.99/2m pair speaker cable);
Purple Flare ($249.99/1m pair interconnects, $499.99/2m pair speaker cable);
LS Blue Heaven ($349.99/1m pair interconnects, $699.99/2m pair speaker cable); and
Red Dawn ($499.99/1m pair interconnects, $999.99/2m pair speaker cable).
Of special interest is the change to Nordost’s old standby, the now-discontinued Blue Heaven. “I still remember when we introduced our Blue Heaven cabling 18 years ago,” Lars Christensen (seen here in the photo) recalled at the beginning of the demo in the Venetian. “We thought it was so expensive that we wouldn’t be able to sell it. Now, for much less money, we’ve got Nordost’s new 20th anniversary cable, White Lightning.”
In a system that included Simaudio Moon electronics, all powered by Blue Heaven power cords ($199.99/1M); Raidho C1.0 loudspeakers; and four Nordost Quantum units, Lars demonstrated the entire Leif series of interconnects and speaker cable. The chosen track was a live performance of Diana Krall singing Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You.”
I confess to mixed feelings about Krall’s work, some of which I’ve found too lethargic for comfort. Nonetheless, I was blown away by what I heard. Even with the least expensive cabling, White Lightning, the clarity of her voice made for an emotionally shattering experience. To say that I was riveted is an understatement.
When Lars compared White Lightning with the original Blue Heaven, the strides Nordost has made in cable technology were apparent. White Lightning may be the new bottom-of-the-line, but its ability to transmit the emotional core of music breaks new ground for Nordost in the price/performance category. White Lightning may not convey every detail that’s on the recording, but what it does transmit seems extremely natural and musical. To these ears, its sins are of omission, not commission.
As might be expected, each cable change to a higher level brought with it greater detail, a bigger tonal envelope that transmitted more of the voice and accompaniment, and greater bass extension and control. By the time we reached LS Blue Heaven, which is miles ahead of its forbearer in terms of midrange fullness and bass extension, the complexity of the sound of the piano’s treble strings and the overtone detail were as striking as the depth of Krall’s voice. Red Dawn may be yet another step above, but there was a transparency to LS Blue Heaven that I found especially compelling.