A question for those who've chosen a Valhalla PC..

I've recently compared the Shunyata Anaconda Helix alpha, and the Nordost Valhalla, and I was quite surprised by the large difference in character between the two. Considering that most PC-savvy audiophiles would call either a 'reference-caliber' PC, I wasn't expecting such a dissimilar sonic signature.
Could those of you who have chosen the Valhalla over the Anaconda Helix Alpha (not the VX) give me some feedback on why you prefer the Valhalla, and what components you prefer it on, including any component on which you didn't prefer it over the Anaconda?
Those who prefer the Anaconda are of course welcome to comment as well, but since there seem to be far fewer Valhalla owners currently, I'm looking for input from them the most.
Please try to put your comments in the context of your system, ie. tubes, horns, large speakers, smaller monitors, etc.
I know it's asking alot, but it seems to me that choosing one PC or the other as a basis for my system will lead to very different paths in upgrades/replacements.
Thanks in advance.
May you post your comments on how do you like Valhalla vs Anaconda Helix ?

I have tried the Valhalla in my system and the older Anaconda VX (non Helix) but never heard the new Helix series.
Elberoth2, I was hoping for feedback from others who've made the comparison. At this point, I'm putting aside my preference, and simply need feedback to hear how these two very different cables have been integrated into others' systems.
Hello Tplavas,

I did get a chance to compare a pair of Valhalla power cords vs. one Shunyata Anaconda Helix VX and one Anaconda Helix Alpha. This was on a EMM Dcc2 and CDSD digital front end. We had the two Shunyata P.C's one on the DAC and the other on the transport ( forgot which was where ) and then we listened to both the DAC and transport with the Valhalla's.

The Shunyata was very nice but it imparted this nice pretty sound on all the recordings IMO. The Valhalla was faster with more resolution of detail at all frequencies. The Valhalla changed from recording to recording leading me to believe it was the more neutral and transparent P.C. letting more of the true nature of the recording through. It simply resolved more of the music on the disc. I have to say I did like the Shunyata sound which was round, full, with nice detail and always pleasant , although IMO it definitely had a sound. Which one you or someone else will like more will depend on their taste and the particular system it is put in. But ... there is no denying the Valhalla let through more of the musical detail on all the disc played. Hope this helps and you find what you are looking for.

All the best,
Tplavas, I have in fact tried both Valhalla PC and Anaconda Helix Alpha on the X-01 player, but not during the same sitting. They are both truly great chords. I personally prefer the Helix. The Valhalla is incredibly extended and has no glare what so ever, but it seemed to be somewhat lean in the midrange. In the context of Babybear's system where I heard it, it tended to make the presentation very delicate and 'pure' but slightly two-dymensional compared to the Helix. Having said that, it is purely a matter of preference and of the nature of the whole system. I suspect that on slightly warmer systems the Valhalla would be wonderful.
That's perfect Tplavas, now you have two perfectly valid contrasting opinions. Bottom line is. . . there is no replacement for your own ears.
Hello Tplavas,

I just though it would be helpful for you to know that I did choose to buy 3 Valhalla power cords. Two for my BAT 150se monoblock amps and one for my BAT 51se pre-amp. Oddly enough I haven't bought serious power cords for my EMM Signature DAC6 and CDSD as of yet. My speakers are Avalon Eidolon Diamonds.

Also soon after buying the Valhalla p.c.'s I was fortunate enough to try risk free some Valhalla interconnects and speaker cables speaker cables in my system and also bought them. For me, they were an education and a learning experience in what neutral really means.

Thanks for the replies. I've moved my smaller speakers into the room to compare the two cables. I've found in the past that my smaller monitors tend to make hearing what's 'really' going on easier. What may sound like a bit of warmth or coolness on my big boys, tends to be more clearly heard as a frequency anomaly on my small speakers. After I've done more listening, I'll try to post my thoughts, and perhaps have more questions.
Thanks again.
I own 2 Valhalla powercables and also between power and Psu of mu Nu-Vista poweramp. I sold also many many Valhalla powercables. It has properties no other cabels can do. Resolution I think it is hard to beat by any cabel. But in de low and mid freq. it can cause some limitations. For example a Purist Audio is so much better in the low freq. It go's a lot deeper than the Valhalla can. And also in the mid freq. it is much more open. I hadvery good results with Valhalla powercables at: cd players, dac's, conditioners, pre-amps. And only a few good results on power amps. When you use to much Valhalla you will loose involvement in the mid freq. and also often in the low freq. I always say to use more different powercables, so you can use more properties.
Hello Tplavas,

I'm looking forward to read your thoughts when you get a chance. Leonx, I can't say that I agree with you 100%. Not to say you are not hearing what you hear, but IMO ... all Valhalla can show just how colored other cables are. I don't find Valhalla at all lean, I think it just exposes all the muck other cables impose on the sound. It's too neutral for its own good. Resolution galore!!!

All the best,
Trcnetmsncom wrote:

Valhalla can show just how colored other cables are. I don't find Valhalla at all lean, I think it just exposes all the muck other cables impose on the sound. It's too neutral for its own good. Resolution galore!!!

After doing a bunch of listening, I'm going to have to say that you've pretty much hit the nail on the head.
I tried the Anaconda Helix Alpha and Valhalla in every possible position in my system, and came away with these impressions:
The Anaconda has better low-bass performance, probably due to it's greater gauge. Other than that, the Valhalla betters it in every respect. I know that seems like a bold statement, so let me elaborate. I have a DSP that allows me to make frequency corrections, and I primarily use it to correct for poor recordings. It does come in handy in evaluating system changes, because I can use it to nearly nullify differences between components and cables. Looking at these corrections often gives a window into what each cable is doing sonically. In this case, the Anaconda required some boosting in the midrange and presence regions to give it a naturalness when listening to vocals, specifically female vocals, which sounded a bit too 'chesty' with the Anaconda. The Anaconda seems to feature a bit of a dip in the middle, which makes it seem more extended upon first listening, but also introduces some excess emphasis in the upper midrange and treble, which can sound a bit like a hint of digititis after extended listening.
The Valhalla, simply put, is neutral from the midbass upwards. I can't help but suspect that it would be perfect if it was slightly heavier in gauge, but that's just speculation on my part. When listening with the Valhalla in the system, I found that I could essentially 'zero-out' my DSP frequency settings on most recordings, even on some I'd previously thought to be a bit hi-fi-ish in production. Along with this neutrality came an organic ease that made recordings less fatiguing. Not rolled-off or smoothed-out, just 'natural'. It seems the brain just accepts what it hears more easily when the fundamentals and harmonics mesh naturally. (That's my take on it at least). What I hadn't expected from the Valhalla, given it's lighter gauge, was an increase in dynamic contrasts in the midrange. When vocalists moved closer to the mic, there was a sometimes startling increase in volume and proximity to the listener within the soundstage. I simply felt as though I was hearing more of what the recording engineer must have heard in the studio. This effect was heard both on high and low current components. Surpisingly, all these sonic effects were more clearly obvious on my small monitors than on my full-range speakers. I had expected the Anaconda to sound better on the bass-shy small speakers, but instead the midrange 'suck-out' of the Anaconda was more obvious when not masked by the thundering bass of the big speakers. With the Valhalla, the small monitors just sounded terrific; like big loudspeakers, minus the low-bass.
Of course, if you have speakers that are bass-shy, and also feature a prominent midrange, you might not like the overall effect of the Valhalla, but I'd blame that on your speakers. As a foundation for a system, I'd say the Valhalla is nearly ideal. I'd also like to add that this is the first time I've ever auditioned a Nordost product that I wanted to keep, so I'm no Nordost fanboy.
The only problem I have is, how do I 'spin' the price of the Valhalla with the wife? :(
I've had the Valhalla power cord as well as the current Shunyatas. I also have the Brahma power cord.
My experience with Nordost in general is akin to Michael Gindi's review in issue 69 of TAS, wherein he was reviewing Jadis electronics.
He posited that some components create transparency by having thin "guppies" (he was into fish at that point, apparently), so it appears that you can see more fish in a space, which others have great big healthy-looking guppies wherein you can see fewer fish but more OF the fish.
The Nordost gear has always seemed a bit washed out in the upper/midbass, from the powercords to the speaker to interconnects -- and I've had them all. They have a type of transparency that, while impressive, does not have all of the "body" of say, the Shunyata gear. The Nordost is like blowing up a balloon so full it looks like it's going to pop -- and then letting half the air out, so you can actually squeeze it with no fear of it exploding. The Shunyata is more akin to the full balloon -- which stays full.
I'd say the Nordost has a really low noise floor, contributing to the "utter purity" of its sound (to paraphrase Anna Russell) but the Shunyata seems more "present" and also has a very low noise floor.
I like them both, but I always return to Shunyata gear.It has stunning microdynamics and has a 'BIG' sound. The Nordost is perhaps more linear, but doesn't "move me" in the same way.
I would remind some of you that Jonathan Valin also pointed out that the Nordost seems slightly washed out in its tonal colors, although he was discussing speaker cable. Nordost's sound, however, is consistent: pure, fast and low in noise (although, say, Transparent cable is obviously quieter than Nordost), but lacking in the fullness of the mid/upper bass, where the Shunyata excels. And the midbass is the foundation of the orchestra, so draw your own conclusions

I think some of the character you're attributing to the Valhalla power cords can be blamed not on the cords themselves, but on the sonic character of other components in the chain, such as AC outlets, power conditioners and IEC sockets. I've heard the 'whitening' of sound with power cords, and it usually can be ameliorated by upgrading/eliminating power conditioning, and using high-grade, cryo-treated AC outlets and IEC sockets. Many high-end manufacturers 'cheese out' on their IEC sockets, and replacing them with audio grade sockets really seems to reduce/eliminate this whitening of the sound, as well as eliminates a coloration in the midrange that tends to mask upper-bass detail. I'll speculate that the Valhalla power cord reveals the aforementioned AC shortcoming, while the Shunyata offsets them due to its' sonic signature.
Just another system matching issue I guess...
could be, but I'm inclined to think otherwise. I've heard the Nordost in several systems that vary dramatically, and the effect is rather obvious. One component that would not 'whiten' the sound is the JVC XL-Z1010 CD player. Its' sound is anything but 'white.' With the Nordost plugged into it, the noise floor is lower, but leaner, which, as I recall, is a function of the midbass, a frequency where the Nordost is, I would say, DEFINITELY a bit on the lightweight side. In this frequency, the Nordost compensates by being very 'fast' and defined, but I doubt it's an effect of the conditioners, since in several of the systems I placed it in, there were no line conditioners. As for the outlets, I use PS Audio, FIM and the FIM super outlets, and the effect is still there. Add to that the fact that a cello is MOSTLY upper bass/lower midrange, but it does not sound thin in real life. I've heard it performed in drawing rooms, where I'm no more than 10 feet away, and the sound is quite familiar. The Nordost absolutely portrays the dynamics, but planes off some of the richness of the color (of course, it COULD be the recording, but when it does this to the majority of recordings, one must, by nature, suspect the component that shows its' 'colors' by what it does as much as what it does NOT do. And the Nordost does lightne the upper/midbass. This has been noted in many of its previous incarnations. Just read the reviews of the Quattro Fils, SPMs, etc., especially in TAS. It's pretty plainly laid out.
I think the Nordost is by far the most transparent interconnect, but as pointed out, that transparency comes at a price (after all, nothing is perfect) and the price is a lightweight sound. I am not the first to notice this. Stereophile pointed this out in its review several years ago; it's a pretty obvious trait.
As for Shunyata adding a sonic signature, ALL components do that. Every last one in existence. If, say, an audio component did not color the sound in some way, it would be perfect, and that simply does not exist in anything made by man.
...and, 2 years later, who weighs in on the Nordost, but HP, who only NOW realizes that the Nordost is "somewhat threadbare." Hence the Odins. I would guess this does settle the uncertainty of whether or not Nordost "whitens" the sound for those of us not quite sure if it was the Nordost or our system....