Nordost’s Engaging Comparisons
Nordost’s Lars Christensen has become an industry legend of sorts for the enthusiasm with which he launches into cable comparison after cable comparison. At RMAF, he notched his demos up several steps, inviting people to hear the effects that cabling, power distribution, and resonance control products from Nordost and other companies can have on system sound.
“The bottom line is, despite the science involved, if you can’t hear it, it matters not,” Nordost’s West Coast distributor Michael Marko told me outside the demo room.
The power cable comparison, performed on a Simaudio Moon CD player connected to a Hegel preamp and monoblocks and Raidho’s X Monitor ($20,000/pair with stands), began with a stock power cable, and shifted to Nordost’s Blue Heaven ($299/2m), the show debut of Red Dawn ($499/2m), Heimdall ($799/2m), Frey ($1899/2m), Valhalla ($2999/2m), and Odin ($16,000/2.5m). Similarly, the interconnect comparison went from generic “cheapie” through maybe a dozen Nordost lines, starting with White Lightning ($179/1m pair) and ending with Odin ($16,000/1m pair).
The resonance control comparison, which covered Nordost’s four models of Sort Konesfrom AS (aluminum tip with steel ball, $65 each) to TC (titanium tip with ceramic ball, $350 each)addressed supports under both the CD player and the power strip on the floor. I recall my own amazement when, years ago, a dealer brought over an early model of Shunyata’s Hydra for me to hear, and how different it sounded when, after listening to it placed directly on the floor, we elevated it on some half decent equipment supports. I often have to remind myself, each time I plug my laptop into my reference system, to stick supports under it, because they greatly improve the sound.
The final comparison, which called into play a NAD DAC with HDMI input, pitted Nordost’s new Blue Heaven HDMI cable ($350/1m) against a stock HDMI cable ($5/1m), Audioquest’s Carbon HDMI ($169/1m) and Diamond HDMI ($1095/1m), and Monster 1 HDMI cable (approx. $40). Need I say that Nordost would not have performed such a comparison in public had it not been sure that its HDMI cable, the only one of the batch, I am told, manufactured entirely in the USA, would come out on top?