Nordost Teams up with Stenheim, Wadax, VTL, and VPI

For huge sound in a huge room, you needed to look no further than the Schaumburg Renaissance Convention Center's Schaumburg F. Played at full volume, the momentous, quasi-apocalyptic opening of Richard Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra, aka the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey, virtually knocked me back a row. Only the deep bass, which was eaten alive by the room's spongy air walls, suffered. Which means that the deepest organ pedals on the forthcoming superbly recorded 7-CD Strauss set from conductor Andris Nelsons (heard in 24/96) had about the same weight as on the hi-rez digital transfer of Fritz Reiner's famous RCA Living Stereo recording with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Timbres were wonderful on DXD files of Patricia Barber's "Trouble is a Man" from Clique, where VTL's tube smoothness proved a perfect complement to the digital accuracy of the Wadax Atlantic Reference DAC ($145,000). Barber's piano sounded especially lovely and natural. I'm extremely grateful that Stenheim's Jean-Pascal Panchard treated me to a live excerpt from Beethoven's Violin Concerto, recorded by an unidentified soloist and orchestra at Switzerland's Ernen Music Festival, because the violin sounded as heavenly as can be. Many a violinist strives for a lifetime to produce high tones as beautiful and pure as those reproduced by this stellar system.

With Nordost's Odin 2 cable loom and a host of accessories doing the honors, Stenheim's arresting Reference Ultime Two loudspeakers ($153,000/pair), vertically bi-amped by a pair of VTL S-400 Reference Stereo Amplifier Series II ($37,500), joined forces with Wadax's Atlantic Reference DAC, Atlantis Reference Server ($59,000), and Akasa optical system ($17,495). While I did not hear the VPI HW-40 turntable ($20,000) and VTL's TP-6.5 Series II Signature phono stage ($12,500), I greatly enjoyed the company's TL-7.5 Reference Line Preamplifier Series II ($30,000).

Of special interest was Nordost's new QNET network switch ($3199.99) with QSource Linear Power Supply ($2749.99). Functioning half-hidden on the equipment rack (above), this combo is intended to deliver sound superior to that through the ethernet inputs and outputs of a conventional router. Using QSource DC Cables ($299.99/each) and QSource DC Cable Premiums ($339.99/each), the QSource can also power a Roon Nucleus and Nordost's QPoint Resonance Synchronizers ($824.99/each). Look for our forthcoming review.

Glotz's picture

Will you be reviewing the Wadax Dac and streamer anytime?

A lot of intriguing tech in their stable...