Nordost's New Top USB Cable

Dennis Bonotto, new International Sales Manager for Nordost, joined the company's Michael Taylor to introduce Nordost's new top USB cable, the Valhalla 2 USB ($3500/1m). The new cable—so new that it's not even listed on the sign behind Dennis—departs from the company's Heimdall 2 and Tyr 2 USB cables by using silver-plated solid-core conductors in a twin-axial configuration, and terminating them with Nordost's proprietary Holo:Plug connectors. Such a design reduces jitter and, thanks to a faster velocity of propagation, also increases bandwidth. In fact, the cables are so fast that Nordost can build them in lengths up to 9m without loss of signal.

Because USB is susceptible to DC noise, Nordost has placed its two shielded power conductors on each edge of the cable, and its two shielded signal conductors in the center. "It's almost like two separate cables," Taylor said. (More than one company's USB cable actually divides the cable in two, while Nordost appears to have opted for a more compact and elegant configuration.) I am told that a USB 3.0 connector option is in the works, with no target date specified.

A brief pre-show listen at home in a hardly ideal set-up—Tidal streamed wirelessly to my computer, and then to the Dynaudio Focus 200 XD powered loudspeakers I reviewed for Stereophile—delivered so much more sparkle and color than the Heimdall 2 USB that it left me eager to give the cable a genuine audition once my show reports are complete and I get back to reviewing downloads and equipment. Hey, there's only so much listening you can do while preparing the house for your New Year's Day party.