The Nordost Difference
I am led by the sound of intricate rhythms and interesting textures, and I find myself in the Audio D'Occasion suite, where Radiohead's Amnesiac is ripping into a pair of Thiel CS3.7 floorstanders, sending the speaker's impressive corrugated drivers into a mad dance. I take a seat.
Nordost's Bruno de Lorimier catches me and warns: "I just want you to know we've only had the system going for about ten minutes, in case you're listening critically."
A crushing blow, this is to me, because the album sounds infinitely better than it ever has in my own home.
Bruno then offers a demonstration of the Nordost interconnect family. Associated equipment includes the Simaudio P-7 preamp and Andromeda CD player. Nordost's philosophy, Bruno explains, is that cables are not to be thought of as accessories. Instead, they are very important components, without which, of course, a system could not make music. And, a cable's job is to remove as many filters as possible from the sound, without imparting a sonic signature of its own, thus opening a transparent window onto the recording.
We begin by listening to Roxy Music's "Avalon" through the Nordost Blue Heaven interconnect ($230/1m pair). This is followed by the same track played through the Red Dawn interconnect ($400/1m pair). Next, we switch to Haley Sales, a Canadian singer/songwriter/surfer, and we go from the Red Dawn to the $700/1m pair Heimdall. Finally, we listen to a singer/songwriter named Mika, starting with the Heimdall and ending with the Valhalla ($5000/1m pair).
The change from Blue Heaven to Red Dawn resulted in subtle differences in volume (increased) and transient response (faster). Moving from Red Dawn to Heimdall, I noted a much more obvious change: Bass impact and quality were improved, percussive speed was again increased, and the sound was more immediate overall. Finally, the change from Heimdall to Valhalla was profound: I noted much more air around all of the instruments, Mika's voice was startlingly present, and there was a heartwarming body and truth to the violins that had been previously neglected altogether.
I now, more than ever, believe that cables do make a difference. Great.