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Patrick82
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Truth about Nordost Valhalla power cord

I have owned Valhalla power cord for 2 and half years now. I have cut and sliced everything to pieces and now I know the truth. I have written many megabytes of logs so I will try to sum up everything into a short text.

Noise + Valhalla = Real life

I have found that Valhalla uses AC noise in order to give fake transparency to the sound. It doesn't function without the noise, the noise must be there! It works best when plugged into the wall without any shielding or power conditioning.

AC noise and EMI entering the cable makes it sound edgy and thin. Valhalla makes it sound smooth and thick. When you combine both of them together you get the illusion of transparency and dynamics!

Removing low-level detail

Both the AC noise and Valhalla remove a lot of low-level detail which makes the background appear dead black. The AC noise makes it edgier which gives the illusion of more blackness. The Valhalla hides low-level detail which makes it cleaner, it also transforms the edginess into smooth whiteness.
The end result is more blackness and whiteness than neutral.

Vishnu

The original Valhalla has 7 conductors total. 3 for live and neutral, and 1 for ground. Vishnu has 3 conductors total, 1 for each signal.
I have done a lot of A/B-ing and Vishnu sounded noisier, thinner and faster than Valhalla, the background was noisy and it sounded veiled like something was in front of the music. I didn't know the reason but now I do. Vishnu has more low-level detail than Valhalla because it is thinner and has better noise rejection. When I separated the conductors of Vishnu I got edgier sound, the veil was reduced and it was little closer to Valhalla.

Modding the Valhalla for the most low-level detail

The first time I modded the Valhalla from the original 3 conductors per signal into 2 conductors it sounded very thin, edgy, open, cold and fatiguing. Later I realized it was just more revealing. I found the problem and it was resonance making everything brighter, after I added more vibration isolation everything got too heavy, and then I tried the Valhalla mod again and it worked. I got more speed and low-level detail. After I wrapped the Valhallas in ERS Paper I could move down to 1 conductor per signal. The improvement in low-level detail was crazy.

Later I compared 18awg stock cable + ERS vs 16awg Valhalla + ERS and I got more low-level detail with the stock cable, but it was noisy and fatiguing. The Valhalla sounded very clean just because it removed the noisy low-level detail. Stock cable gives a more neutral signal transfer while all aftermarket cables color the sound. I always preferred stock over Vishnu and PS Audio Statement. Valhalla was the only cable I liked more than stock because it made it sound like real life.

The more I tweaked my system the more low-level detail I got, but the background wasn't black anymore. It didn't make sense. I thought removing AC noise, EMI and vibration would give a blacker background, but it just made it dry, grey and warm with more low-level detail. Changing Toslink into AES/EBU made the same difference. The Toslink has a blacker background because the edginess made the low-level detail less apparent.

Short vs long Valhalla, 1 conductor per signal

I have done this experiment many times using 1 conductor per signal. The longest Valhalla I tried was 6.5 meters, and the shortest was 50cm.

  • The longer the Valhalla is the cleaner, smoother, thinner, flatter, warmer and boomier it sounds like. The toned down mids and added boominess gives the illusion of more oomph in the bottom end, but it's very subtle.
  • The shorter cable gives more dynamics, bass, transparency and low-level detail.

I have found that the best combination is to use the longest Valhallas at the beginning of the chain and end up with the shortest for the amp. I use 2m for CD transport, 1m for DAC, 50cm for amp. I use 1m for power conditioner because 50cm sounded too noisy.

Longer Valhalla for computer transport

My computer is 44.1 kHz with Toslink output. It doesn't have any tweaks anymore, the case is open and there is a lot of EMI all over the place. So it was time for an experiment. First I tried a 1 conductor Valhalla that was 5.5 meters long, I added it after 10+ meters of stock extension strips and stock cable. It confirmed my findings, it removed a lot of low-level detail compared to stock cable. My computer used to sound very harsh and edgy but with the 5.5m Valhalla the sound was smoother and cleaner than ever. I could listen for hours without any fatigue. But it sounded thin and veiled. Everything was too warm with too little bass.

Shorter + fatter Valhalla for computer transport

I wanted to boost up the bass so I built a 5 conductor Valhalla that was 1 meter long. It sounded much heavier and edgier than the 1 conductor 5.5 meter Valhalla. But bass transients were missing, it just sounded boom-boom-boom with stuff missing in between the beats.
There was a bigger reduction in low-level detail from a thicker cable than from a longer cable.

  • The longer the Valhalla is the more of its own coloration it adds to the sound, it removes low-level detail to make it cleaner and smoother.
  • A thicker Valhalla adds more body to the sound, but removes more low-level detail than a much longer cable. The reduction of low-level detail from the thicker cable doesn't make it smoother like the longer cable does, it just stays edgy.

When you are using a shorter and thicker Valhalla you get edgier and heavier sound with the illusion of transparency and dynamics. My computer now has more transparency than my modded CD transport that costs 20 times more, I don't mind the sacrifice in low-level detail when it sounds like real life.

In a proper audio system the Valhalla power cord just veils the sound. Valhalla works best with cheap and crappy gear infected with noise. People say it's insane to use a 10 times more expensive power cord than the component it is plugged into, but it's not insane, it's very smart. $3000 Valhalla power cord with $300 computer is the way to go!

bobedaone
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Re: Truth about Nordost Valhalla power cord

Patrick, you never fail to frighten me a little bit.

I'm sure Nordost loves you, though!

Jan Vigne
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Re: Truth about Nordost Valhalla power cord

So does his razor blade retailer.

Buddha
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Re: Truth about Nordost Valhalla power cord

Patrick.

I enjoy your posts immensely. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

You are going places in audio that I have never even thought to go! You are a trailblazer, for sure. People may argue about whether they'd want to follow your trail, but I hope you continue to let us know what you hear!

Thanks again.

Buddha
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Re: Truth about Nordost Valhalla power cord

Patrick!

Not to reply to my own post, but you should experiment with some wholesale products and either describe DIY procedures for audiophiles, or market a product.

I'd love to hear what you could accomplish with some of those "Home Depot" or "Walmart" wire/cord offerings in terms of optimal configuration!

Patrick82
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Statement vs Valhalla for Premier Power Plant

I plugged my system into 10+ meters of 20 years old stock extension strips and it still sounded good because one meter of Valhalla power cord makes a bigger difference to the sound.

I compared these power cords between the extension strips and Premier Power Plant:

PS Audio xStream Statement 6awg (1.5meter)
Valhalla 5x16awg (1meter)
Valhalla 1x16awg (1meter)

With the Statement I heard crazy heavy bass and blacker sound. The low-level details sounded very different but the transients weren't as fast and thin. The dark muddiness was fatiguing after half an hour. There was no air.

With the 5 conductor Valhalla it sounded little heavier than Statement but it sounded very weird, there was no blackness at all. I was hearing heavy, smooth, open and weak sound. The low-level details were covered up. I couldn't hear the individual transients. There was too little whiteness in the sound, the Statement had more whiteness. It sounded like having earmuffs on.

With the 1 conductor Valhalla I heard extra bass transients and more detailed highs. There was more whiteness and blackness. I could hear deeper into the recording. Transients were super fast.

The single conductor is far more revealing than multiple conductors. Fat Valhalla power cord is made for components without any power conditioning at all. It works great for computer because it has lot of jitter and whiteness.

This test confirmed 3 years of A/B-ing, I heard the same things every time with 1 vs 2 conductors. They were subtle back then but now with 1 vs 5 conductors the difference is HUGE. Valhalla power cord adds a veil on top of the music which makes it appear open, airy and smooth. If there is excessive brightness in the system it will give the illusion of more resolution. If there is no brightness then the fatter Valhalla will just veil the sound and make it sound a little heavier. There is no blackness from Valhalla power cord even when using ERS Paper shielding, it just sounds smoother than neutral and that's why it's so good when not using a power conditioner.

The Statement power cord sounds very good every time I first listen to it, but after half an hour I want to remove it. The same is true with the fat Valhalla because the low-level details are veiled badly.

The difference between copper vs silver plated copper is huge. The Statement veils the low-level details in darkness/muddiness while the Valhalla veils the sound in openness/smoothness. They are equally good in their own way, it's just the flavor that is so different.

With a 18awg stock cable I get the most low-level detail, but the edginess/whiteness/harshness is too fatiguing. I like the 1 conductor Valhalla the best because it sounds very smooth, a similar result comes from upsampling or Magix levitation feet except they increase the low-level detail instead of reduce it. Valhalla powercord is only a band-aid for brightness.

Interconnect

It is also interesting that the Valhalla interconnect is the opposite, it adds whiteness to the sound which is a band-aid for veiled sound. However, it removes the deepest layer of low-level detail like the power cord does. The Valhalla power cord and interconnect work great together, the end result is very clean, smooth and open sound with the illusion of real life.

Fat valhalla is still good

I'm still using the 5 conductor Valhalla for my computer and it's a great match. It has more blackness, whiteness and heaviness than neutral. But it sacrifices low-level detail and soundstage. My 30 times more expensive transport has extra bass transients and deeper soundstage, but it sounds boring. Jittery computer with fat Valhalla power cord sounds more amazing.

Patrick82
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Statement vs Valhalla for computer

For the Premier Power Plant the Statement power cord was better than the 5 conductor Valhalla because it had more blackness and whiteness. Shielding before the power conditioner didn't seem to matter.

Now it's time to compare with the computer transport which is unshielded and has no power conditioning. The Valhalla doesn't have shielding so it's infected with noise from radio towers plus the computer itself. The Statement has 4 shields and cleans the AC noise that runs through it.

First I listened to Statement power cord for a couple hours, then I switched to the 5 conductor Valhalla. I was surprised that the differences were much bigger than for the Premier Power Plant.

Valhalla sounded stronger, heavier, faster and more open. The transients were faster, sharper and whiter. The extra whiteness gives more transparency and emphasized detail. It's more fatiguing but it sounds way better. Statement sounded too warm, closed in and muddy in comparison.

The fat Valhalla power cord appears to be a perfect match for computers. The whiteness sound signature doesn't come from the Valhalla, it comes from RFI/EMI entering the cable, but it isn't fatiguing because Valhalla veils the brightness while making it heavier.

1 Valhalla conductor makes it smoother
Multiple conductors makes it heavier
RFI/EMI makes it whiter/edgier/sharper
_______
End result = Real life.

CECE
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Re: Statement vs Valhalla for computer

Mf and other story tellers are jealous..........you are indeed the Master of reviews. Fill the pages, and after reading, I say.....huh? Print it. Great stuff, it really could go into print, and watch how many people AGREE. Please review some isolation products, and wall outlets!!!! You should also go into politics, your knack for words, whilst saying nothing is incredible. When blacker black is really more whiter, with no grey. And don't forget power conditioers, especially teh ones from physco babble labs.

Benonymous
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Re: Statement vs Valhalla for computer

What about the non-hifi mains cable in your house Pat? Does it contribute anything to the 'sound'. BTW mate, I hope you dont have an electrical fire at your place. If the insurance company spots that rats nest they'll refuse your claim.

bobedaone
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Re: Statement vs Valhalla for computer

Last I heard, this individual was planning on rewiring his house a la Nordost. No, seriously.

rvance
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Re: Statement vs Valhalla for computer

Patrick82- Love your work ethic. More (clean, conditoned, or not) power to you!

Buddha
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Re: Statement vs Valhalla for computer

I would put Patrick's system near the top of my "members whose gear you'd like to hear" list.

I do hope he comes back by.

mert
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Re: Statement vs Valhalla for computer

Patrick,

You are not alone. I am also using audio powercords for my pc. Lastly, I applied a Vandenhul Mainstream Hybrid to my game Pc.( Thermaltake kandalf all aliminum case and powersuply, Asus commando board, MSI Gforce 8800 GTX O.E.,İntel Core Duo 1.8-2.7ghz with zerotherm fan, Western Digital Raptor twin 10.000rpm 150gb harddisk, O.C.Z ddr2-800mhz spec.Ope.ram , thermaltake cooling system with 6 fans)
IMO, instead of using for audio side, you must use valhalla for oveclocking and gaming issues? Please share your findings.

Greetings

Patrick82
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Re: Statement vs Valhalla for computer

I have recently shortened my Valhallas on the audio side and I got a huge improvement. But it sounded too grainy, heavy and fatiguing. But then I tried longer Valhalla for the computer and it fixed the problem. Now I get the same cleanliness but with more dynamics! Valhalla on the computer transport is amazing!

I haven't tried overclocking with the Valhalla. I tried 3DMark once and got the same score as stock cable.

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