Nordost – renowned as one of the world’s premier manufacturers of audio interconnect cable solutions for the high-end Audiophile
With their signature, flat cable design and a reputation for producing some of the finest Hi-FI cabling in the world, American manufacturer, Nordost, is a lauded name within Audiophile circles. From their “entry level” Leif cable range, right up to the truly exotic Valhalla and Odin cable range, there’s a cable solution to suit the needs and budget of every, serious, audiophile.
Join us now, won’t you, in a feature-length exploration of The World of Nordost…
Nordost – History and Philosophy
Within the sphere of the consumer electronics Industry, Nordost stands out as one of the true, premium manufacturers of Hi-Fi cables and accessories. Travelling back over 25 years to 1991, Nordost premiered its revolutionary, flat audio cables.
Using conductor technologies and solutions originally developed and engineered for the aerospace industry, Nordost’s unique, flat audio cables put them on the map as a company prepared to use the latest technology to push the boundaries of audio cable design and manufacture.
Since the launch of that original, groundbreaking, flat audio cable, Nordost’s product range has grown to encapsulate a wide range of audio cable solutions, as well as a range of audio accessories such as their “sort” resonance isolation cones and feet.
The Flat Cable Advantage
Why a flat cable? We’ve become used to cable with a circular cross-sectional shape, and indeed, Nordost themselves offer a number of cables with a circular cross-section themselves. What then, are the advantages to using a flat “ribbon-like” audio cable? Nordost claim an array of advantages the enthusiastic audiophile can benefit from when using their signature flat audio cables:
- Elimination of “Strand Interaction” whilst reducing resistance
Reducing the internal resistance of a cable is a goal of all quality cable manufacturers; resistance is an unavoidable, yet detrimental factor in cabling. The higher the resistance, the more energy is required to overcome the parasitic loss of the cable, which can negatively impact upon the sound quality of the cable.
To circumvent this, Nordost increases the size of the number of conductors; however, without careful design, this can lead to a side effect known as “strand interaction” which, claim Nordost, “slows transaction speed and causes a loss of vital information along the way”.
By separating the conductors out into a flat cable design, strand interaction is greatly reduced along with a reduction in cable resistance; a “win-win” situation if you will.
- Mechanical Resonance Optimisation
With a flat speaker cable layout, Nordost claims that it’s easier to optimise the internal resonance of the conductors, thanks to the ability to adjust the spacing of the conductors. Additionally, it’s claimed the flat construction assists in reducing internal microphony and high-frequency resonance.
- Reduction of the “Skin Effect”
The “Skin Effect” is a term used to describe the phenomenon of high-frequency signal propagation, under specific circumstances. In situations of self-inductance, high-frequency signals travel to the surface of the conductor rather than the centre; raising the resistance of the cable at specific frequencies and leading to possible attenuation.
Whilst traditional “bundled” conductors reduce this effect to some degree, the skin effect is still present due to conductors being in contact with each other.
In a flat configuration, the conductors are side by side and, in a Nordost cable, insulated from each other, reducing high-frequency resistance caused by the skin effect.
- Reduction in physical surface contact
Perhaps the most remarkable claim of Nordost is the reduced impact of surface capacitance. So claim Nordost, “Cables are negatively impacted by the electric static stored in floors….when there is interaction [with] the surface that it rests upon, the capacitance of the cables rises. When placed vertically, there is minimal physical surface contact between the floor and the cable itself….“
- Convenience and ease of installation
A flat cable offers practical installation benefits over a circular cross-section cable; flat cabling can be easily placed beneath carpeting or rugs, for example. With that said, Nordost loudspeaker cables look so good, you may wish to show them off!
Nordost Leif is the foundation range upon which to enter the world of Nordost audio cabling, offering high-quality cabling at an affordable price point, for any dedicated Audiophile. The Nordost Leif series represents particularly good value, as it employs methods and technology derived from the development invested in the flagship Valhalla and Odin series. All the cables in the Leif series utilise silver-plated, OFC solid core conductors, which are then individually covered in Nordost’s proprietary FEP insulation process.
The Leif series is then sub-divided into a number of sub-ranges, offering a selection of analogue, digital and power connection solutions, with varying levels of construction enhancement.
Leif Series White Lightning
The White Lightning range of Leif interconnects represents the “first rung on the ladder” of Nordost cable quality. Embracing the core construction philosophy of Nordost cabling, with no frills, White Lightning interconnects represent an ideal choice for the budget focussed Audiophile.
White Lightning analogue interconnects can be ordered with balanced or unbalanced connections, and utilise high-quality connectors for a lifetime of service. The White Lightning speaker cable, offers the enthusiast an entry level solution to obtaining Nordost’s signature flat speaker cabling, with all of the inherent benefits.
Leif Series Purple Flare
Representing the next step up in quality and design, from the white lightning series, Purple flare introduces Nordost’s patented Micro Mono-Filament technology for enhanced signal transfer speed and accuracy. Comprising of power, analogue interconnects, speaker and USB2.0 interconnects, Purple Flare is a great value interconnect solution.
Leif Series Blue Heaven
Nordost Leif Blue Heaven interconnects represent a “sweet spot” solution for quality minded audiophiles looking for a high-quality, affordable connection solution. Nordost’s Blue Heaven range covers a huge range of connection solutions, including niche, bespoke options.
As well as the conventional interconnects one would expect, Nordost Blue Heaven interconnects offer solutions for tonearm, and headphone upgrades, as well network and data connections. Nordost Blue Heaven is a highly versatile cable range, with something for every Audiophile.
Leif Series Red Dawn
Nordost Red Dawn represents the “top tier” of the Leif series. Offering power, analogue interconnects and speaker solutions; Red Dawn features silver-plated, solid core conductors and FEP extrusion, as well as patented Micro Mono-Filament technology.
Nordost Norse 2 Series
Nordost Norse 2 Series represents Nordost’s mid-high end interconnect solution; building upon the key construction technologies featured in the Leif series, and adding additional advancements and constructional benefits in line with a more expensive, aspirational series of cabling.
Norse 2 series cabling makes extensive use of Nordost’s proprietary Mono-Filament technology; this creates a virtual air dielectric by winding an FEP filament in a precise spiral around each individual conductor. Each conductor is then encased in an outer FEP “sleeve”. This is claimed to reduce dielectric absorption and enhances mechanical damping.
The Norse 2 range is the first to employ asymmetrical grounding across the board, which, thanks to improved grounding technology, assists in lowering the noise floor. Additionally, Nordost employs a mechanically tuned construction to reduce internal microphony and high-frequency impedance resonance.
Nordost Heimdall 2 cables represent the first tier in the mid-range, Norse 2 family. Economies are created by using the same core design as the Leif series, coupled to the more advanced, Dual Mono-Filament technology, mechanically tuned length, and specially designed, proprietary MoonGlo connectors.
One of the most comprehensive series in Nordost’s cable range, the Heimdall 2 series offers solutions for power, speaker, interconnect, digital connections, personal audio cables, tonearm cables and more. If you can’t find the interconnect you’re looking for here, you may find you’re trying to wire up a Saturn V rocket, rather than a Hi-Fi system!
Frey 2 & Tyr 2
Nordost Frey 2 and Tyr 2 represent the last step before jumping into the extremely exotic Odin and Valhalla series of interconnects. Utilising “trickle down” technologies from Nordost’s flagship range of products, Frey2 & Tyr 2 offer truly high-end performance and a mid-range price point.
Nordost Odin & Valhalla
The Nordost Odin & Valhalla interconnects are truly some of the world’s most exotic interconnect cables. Using Nordost’s finest, most cutting-edge research and construction methods, coupled with Nordost’s own “Holo Plug” connectors, Odin and Valhalla offer a truly transparent window into the original recording.
For those looking for the finest interconnects money can buy, Nordost’s Odin & Valhalla speaker cables must surely represent the choice of the elite. It really doesn’t get much better than this!