No they are not. They are the most over hyped cable in the Business.
The price is directly porportional to all the full page adds they run.
They do a great marketing job. But thats all they do right.
I have compared Audioquest Opal to Quatro Fil and cant fugure out why anyone would buy Quatro Fil.
Acording to many People , who owned Tara labs, Transparent, Mit, Zen, Kimber, and quite of few others, when
they Try Nordost cables, it was like a flick of a switch, there results are amazing, addicting, just plain fabulous!
Unfortantly, Some Audio stores wont carry or offer to sell it to you because most other cable manfactures give the salespersons, Kickbacks, points, or some type of marketing gimmick, to have sales people push their product. It is a shame for sales people and the stores, who do not offer Nordost products, for these reasons. The shame is that you purchase some high end gear, and you dont get the "best cabling" for your system, because of these type of marketing gimmicks, that benefit the stores and sales people,and sacrafices your satisfaction with your gear. I had one Friend ready to sell all of his levinson gear, he thought the levinson gear sounded terible, Then his friend mention the Valhalla line,he demo'd it, and that was it! The best cable he heard, ended up keeping his system! All, this just because the store did not want to sell him Nordost, because they wanted to sell him the cables that benefited the salesmen. And yes this is a true story...
It should be noted that Chichiuno is a Nordost dealer, so he may obviously be biased in favor of the Nordost line. With that being said, I am a big believer in the Nordost line, and I have no financial interest in Nordost whatsoever. I have been using many of their products over the years. I started with Red Dawn interconnect and speaker cables, then a Quattro-fil/SPM set-up. I have finally reached the ultimate with all Valhalla interconnects and speaker cables. Now, there may be better cables such as Purist Dominus, Kharma, or Siltech G-5, but these make Valhalla look rather inexpensive by comparison, and most people will never get to audition these others, let alone be able to afford them. I can truthfully say that the revelation of Valhalla is beyond belief! This can also have a negative effect as well...if there are deficiencies in your system, these will be made painfully evident to you! Have some grit and digital artifacts from your CD player, oh yeah, you'll be aware of it! Grainy and bright Russian tubes, same deal. Sloppy and uncontrolled bass from your low powered SET tube amp...it will be "in your face". I'm sure that these are the cause of the two most common complaints that I've heard about Valhalla; brightness and lack of bass. Sorry folks, if you want (or need) cables that act as equalizers or sound shapers, then Valhallas are NOT for you! If you want incredible micro-dynamics and pinpoint spacial location with an immensely large sound stage, then Valhalla is yout ticket. The Nordost line in general has very quick transience, so if you have a system that is on the bright side, then Nordost may not work well with your set-up. Natalie, are you really serious about calling Nordost cables over-hyped and overpriced when compared to your Audioquest Opal?!! The marketing and markup of Nordost pale in comparison to Audioquest. Audioquest is footballed to so many dealers, mail-order houses, and car stereo installers, that the competition for retail pricing (discounts) is cut throat. Quality items are usually not marketed in such a fashion. Nordost vs Audioquest marketing; it's like comparing Rolex and Seiko watches! And there a dirty little secret that I noticed when A/B'ing Audioquest Diamond X3 against Red Dawn interconnects. At first, the Diamond had more snap than the Red Dawn. I finally realized the reason after much comparison...the Diamonds have a slight presence bump (2-3 kHz region) that the Red Dawn did not have. This is the equivalent to dumping an extra bit of sugar in your food!!! Pleasant, but not natural! Again, it goes back to my equalization sstaement.
Who knows whether they are the rolls royce of cable. I have used many iterations of Nordost and have been pleased with the results. However, the price of the Vahalla and even SPM may be justified in a very limited 2 channel system. I have recently set up an extensive home theater and I couldn't imagine using this cable at this price. My goal was to create a high audio experience as well. The cost with nordost would have been more than almost all my equipment combined. Can anyone realisticly justify that expense. There are many excellent cables that will provide excellent sound even in side by side comparison at far less cost. I ended up with Sonoran plateaus from Star sound tech. at a high but reasonable price and the result was a rich and satisfying experience.
Thank you, Fatparrot, As I could not mention that in my thread, because audiogon would of not posted my responce. I am also a dealer for 7 other cables manufactures, wich I really dont care for, as I see no overwhelming responce from customers feedback on cables they purchased. I like selling cables that work, cables people enjoy, cables that people say "WOW". Cables that can extract every bit of information your gear is capable of producing. And justifying the expence, it is worth every cent.
I have Blue Heaven and even though they are very detailed and have a high sense of nuance they are not especially musical, being a little bright and thin sounding so I am selling them. There is no doubt in my mind that the higher priced Nordost line is very good, I have read too many good reviews by users and reviewers to think otherwise.
I often question comments like Natalie's ??
Generalistic statments never impress me. Cables that work or do not work are a question of Synergy in your system, having said that, the cost of Nordost are relative, not to price but to performance..
If you have your system optimized but missing that extra touch to put you over the edge due to cables, and Nordost give you that extra 10% hit (or 2%) in better performance, and you have hit Audio Nirvana that you have been longing for, then I say they are worth every penny.
And from what I hear, Nordost do this more often then not !!
Rolls Royce: The Siltech Compass Lake G5 interconnects. The Transparent Opus speaker cables.
You must have a thick wallet to own these. If you want to experience Nordost there are many on the used market.
It's foolish to hype any one manufacturer's cables as the "Rolls Royce" of anything. I use Purist Dominus in my system, which is a very expensive cable, and love it, but that is as much or more a function of the way Dominus interacts with the specific components in my system as anything else. I got to Purist (from Cardas and then NBS) by listening to descriptions of the type of sound their cables tended to produce in a system and, given my taste and the way the system leans, going out to listen to them. Recently, an audition in my system of a single (obscenely expensive!) Kharma Enigma cable suggested I might like that even more. Who knows what else is out there? Nordost might be as good (never tried them in my system, although I did hear Valhallas in a so-so system at a dealer, where they sounded so-so, of course), but THE Rolls Royce? That takes in a whole lot of territory, and none of us has time and money enough to explore it all.
My limited experience with Nordost speaker cables echo the experiences of Philjolet. To make that clear, I've never tried their interconnects.
Their speaker cables came across as being fast and lean sounding but lack liquidity and warmth in the systems that i've tried them in. In my experience, this directly affects "musicality" or "pace" in a negative manner even though the sound is very clean, crisp and detailed. These cables tend to highlight the leading edge of transients, making things sound very "sharp" or "focused". If you've already got a system that is running on the verge of being "etched" or "brittle", these cables would probably put it over the edge.
If one had a slow sounding system that was warm and mushy, installing a set of Nordost's might be the perfect compliment. While this is not meant to be a slag towards tube gear, owners of such gear or say that all tube based systems sound "slow and fat", i find that many tube based systems work very well with Nordost products. The tube "bloom" helps to fill out the noticeably lean mid-bass or "warmth" region that the Nordost seems to be lacking while the Nordost increases the apparent speed of the tubes as frequency climbs. In effect, you have what is known as a "complimentary colouraton".
While we may talk of trying to achieve "neutrality" and NOT using cables as "tone controls", EVERY product that goes into your system has some characteristic that it brings with it. As such, you might was well install products that compliment each other or help you to achieve the results that you are looking for. With that in mind, using components that are HEAVILY "flavoured" will only lower total resolution as far as i'm concerned and make it harder to achieve a good system match in the long run.
Having said that and believing that cables can be very system dependent, i've only ever run across one brand of speaker cables that i could find no suitable use for within the confines of ANY system. Those cables were not Nordost. As such, all you can do is try a cable ( Nordost or any other brand ) within the confines of your system and see if you like the results. Sean
As a Volkswagen dealer and a Nordost Valhalla owner I take exception to the analogy I would prefer to think of them more akin to the new Passat W8, reasonably priced given the technology , built with quality in mind not mass marketed,and all the speed and precision that you or your system can handle. Just as their are a few great automobiles out there, their are many fine cables and just as you "test drive" a car before you buy it do the same with cables then and only then can you make an educated decision . I have gone up the ladder with Nordost from the red dawn to the spm and now the valhalla and although I can never say I was displeased with a product each step up gave me an enhancement to what I had previously enjoyed. So just as their is not one car for all people cabling is also very personel and system dependent so grasp the hobby that we enjoy experiment to your hearts content and purchase the ones that suit you best . Ps. just one more car thing if you notice certain used cars hold their value so do good used cables if you use that as a barometer this will give you an idea of where to put your money.
Valhallas are the best I've used.
Calling Nordost the 'Rolls Royce' of cables is too general a term. Nordost makes cables at a lot of different price points. Rolls Royce price points are consiberly less varied.
This being said, the Nordost line starts at the $100/meter Solar Wind. $100 for an interconnect is not too far from mass market entry level Monster cables. Monster might have a few lines a bit less expensive per meter, but not many.
Thus, to continue the car analogy, Nordost may not make Toyota Echo price range cables, but they certainly make affordable Honda Accord cables. They also make Rolls Royce priced cables (Valhala).
One thing I really like about Nordost is that they do not mess around with their product line until they develop a cable that is CLEARLY superior. I find too many cable companyies like playing with their cables way too much. Not to mention that it does not take a brain surgeon to make cable... HOWEVER, it does take high technology and science to produce a cable a cut above all the people who are doing it themselves by hand at home. Nordost uses high technology and science to develop their cables.
Now some folks have compared Nordost to Audioquest... I find this kind of an amusing comparison. If I remember correctly Audioquest OWNS Nordost. For this reason alone, I have heard several pwople boycott Nordost.
Frankly, I was never a Nordost fan until I heard the Quattro Fil. I shot out the Quattro Fil vs. the Acoustiz Zen Silver Reference in my system, and the Nordost triumphed IMHO. Though the victory was by a small margin, the Nordost were more detailed and more precise cables. The AZ were a little more deminsional.
Then I proceeded to compare the AZ Satori speaker cable with the Nordost SPM cable. No comparison folks. Before this trial I thought that speaker cable made the least ammount of difference in a system (in the signal path). The SPM was the biggest improvements I have made in my system in a long time. It was as if a haze was lifted from my soundsystem and music then flowed from my speakers.
Many of my friends have used other less expensive Nordost cables, and many of them love the stuff for the price point they can get it at.
One thing someone who wants to upgrade IC's needs to ask themselves (before they go ount and plunk down serious cash) is will it be an imrpovement in their system? Do their components justify the better IC? or Will their components be able to take advantage of the new cables? These are important questions. It took me a long time to learn, but in audio the GARBAGE IN GARBAGE OUT rule applies in spades. System matching and balance is the key to getting good sound. A $1k sound system should not be using Nordost Valhalla cables. Solar Wind yes... not Quattro Fil either.
Valhalla (especially) and Quattro Fil will expose your ears to your components in your system to such a degree that these cables may make it sound too bright or even harsh. These are your components sounds... upgrade them before you start on reference interconnects and speaker cables.
F.Y.I. I just bought my wife a Passat !
Quatrofil and Valhalla are awesome, friggin supernatural.
That said, if your system is already overly bright these might not be the ones for you.
Oddly, I found that I can be happy with cheaper speaker cables (Analysis Plus Oval 9 work fine in my system) but no interconnects I've tried come close to the Quatrofil. I don't know why. I have had good success with Goertz Silver Sapphire and Harmonic Tech Silway II at a fraction of the cost of Quattrofil but at used prices I prefer the Quattrofil.
it is entirely possible that some who have not liked the quatro fil, found them to be so objectionable because they revealed how truly awful their system actually was...
Bob bundus you have it backwards.
I had JPS Superconductor + Audioquest Opal Wireworld Gold Eclipse III Coincident CST Nordsot Quattro Fil in my humble system. The Wireworld Gold Eclipse was the winner but it was just so little better than the Coincident that for 1/5th the cost the Coincident was a no Brainer. Everyone chose the Nordost Quattro Fil Last of the bunch.The JPS was very good also as was the Opal. The Quattro was not up to snuff.
Goes to show you that Nordsot is the best marketers in the BIZ. In ttodays world is is not the best product that wins Its the product that is best marketed. Nordost is the BOSE of the cable bussines. They with clever marketing have people convinced that $ equate to better sound. A total mis representation.
When I got back in this crazy hobby 4 years ago i thought that way.
Then I would go listen to big buck systems and leave feeling empty.
The I would go listen to a 5K system and my feet would start tapping. I was confused at first.
How could this be. Well it was a reality. Big bucks did not allways mean great sound.
Then as time went on i realized there is a big group of people out there that are into bragging on how much they spend.
And the Nordost of the world to relieve these people of the money they need to spend so they can brag.
Have had more than a few of these types come over listen to my humble system and go home wondering why there 20 30 50 75 K systems dont sound as musical as mine.
Simple I put things toghther based on how they sounded.
They just figured more money more money better sound. Wrong.
The Stereophile review found them a bit lean in the midrange as I recall. May have been their system, though.
Steve, which Nordost cable did they review and in what issue ? I don't remember seeing that specific one. I'd like to read it and compare notes with whomever wrote the article. Sean
No not as good,as the last MIT cable I tried.
Sean - They reviewed the Valhalla IC's and Interconnects. I will look up the issue when I get back to Portland and let you know.
Frankly I have never liked any Nordost cables until the Valhalla. On hearing them I converted and thought I would have them for many years. They are all gone now replaced by Omega Mikros LCX 7s, Siltech G5 Compass Lake and Golden Ridge, and HMS Grande Finale. Find yourself some used Valhalla. It will be better than anything you have ever heard.
I would not call any audiophile cables the "Rolls Royce" of cables, not even the line of cables I do represent and although some of my customers have felt these cables to be superior to the Valhalla.
In some systems, the cables I sell will be the top of the line, in others you will find the Valhalla, or maybe the Siltech G5 doing a better job.
I always try to teach my customers two things:
Look at the price/performance ratio and regardless of what brand of cables you look into:
Audition, audition, audition. Do not totally rely on what any dealer says, put the cables you might want to buy to test in your system. Listen to your system with the new cables in your listen room, compare the cables, do a little cable shoot-out and only then decide.
Nordost sounds good in a wide variety of systems, so saying that its all relative and that only "in your system" answers are valid, is itself inaccurate.
Nordost tends to make a strong effect on the listener immediately - mostly because mechanical artifacts are so reduced significantly across the spectrum. This lends transients with a quickness and highs that are clean and extended without seeming threadbare. Many people who favor accurate cables love Nordost as a revelation because it is clean without emascalating the harmonics that their system already presents.
With that said, accurate systems, and the people drawn to them, do not seem to value harmonic complexity and spatial realism to the same degeee as others. It is with this group of people that Nordost generally falls down with, eventually.
Why say "eventually"? Because the things that Nordost does not do are generally subtractive in nature and address the deepest harmonic fabric and the nature of surrounding space, and these qualities are not generally discerned except upon extended listening, i.e. detail and accuracy are most easily heard from the state you are in when you first sit down to listen (call it identifying listening) and spatial/harmonic nuance is discerned most readily when you drift into the music and stop identifying (call it receptive listening).
Nordost tends to favor source points of sound over the space that surrounds them. This is not a cooky-cutter effect where space is a void (early digital's problem, among others)as with many early analytic IC's, but a relegation of space in relation to the source. Secondly, Nordost is more concerned with the energy of the leading edge transient than the depth of harmonic development in the core or decay of a note. The harmonic nature and the spatial nature, in tandem, of Nordost lead to a subtle disconnect between space and source that is not percieved except on systems that strive towards these qualities and over the long haul.
Its a good workhorse cable for the vast amount of systems out there, but does have its limits in, what I believe, are important areas. It are these areas of the deepest harmonic fabric and spatial continuity - and their intra-relationship as sound move through space - that are the most elusive at the highest levels, and what so-called state-of-the-art systems strive for as the last nuance that re-creates "reality" and allows one to fall into the Music.
I would submit that Nordost is a good cable, maybe a very good cable in many systems, but still reductive of a set of subtle, interrelated qualities that become progressively important as one goes on.
People, this is off topic but Rolls-Royce is spelled with a hyphen. Just one of my pet peeves. A minor one, but one neverless.
That's "neverTHEless". Just one of my pet peeves.
I had never seen neverless before. It must be regional. Now I am fixen to get on with my work.
I have tried the Valhalla's in my system.These cable are analytical not musical.They have none of the harmonic richness or structure of live music.I do believe the Valhalla is a decent cable, but far from the best and way overpriced.During the time I owned the Valhalla's, I changed many components in my system.The sound was always dry and analytical.To call them neutral,you would be lying to yourself as well as others.I think more audiophiles need to go to live performances.Live un-amplified music should be your reference, not you dealers or buddies system.If more people would use live music as a reference, more of you would realize all the marketing hype that goes on.I did finally settle on a cable, Acoustic Zen MkII Silver ref.I found this cable to have allot of the same qualities as the nordost that I liked,but the silver ref preserved the harmonic structure of the music as well.The Silver Ref is not hyper detailed like the Valhalla, instead it is true to the recording.I found the Silver Ref MkII to be an extremely musical cable, as well as having all the benefits of an
analytical cable.This in my mind would equate to NEUTRAL.
Deshapiro, Sorry about that. Brain moving faster than my fingers on the keyboard.
Do what I do. Type with only two fingers :).
Tekunda- Excellent post! couldn't have said it better myself, nice job.
Your recent post was most insightful. You so succintly stated what these cables do and not that I could almost imagine the effect they would have in my system. Very well stated.
Sean - Here are some exerpts from the Stereophile Nov 2001 review:
"It was immediately apparent that the Valhalla (IC's)had a slight but distinct tonal signature." and "the slight lack of warmth and weight, combined with the air and treble extension, did give the Valhallas a distinct character".
They were short of calling them the very best, instead calling them "some of the very best". They did call them sensational.
Since when did anything in Stereopile, bought and paid for reviews have any relevence.
Asa: Your post summed up my thoughts and experiences with Nordost to a "t". Thank you for putting my thoughts / feelings into print.
Tubegroover: Drop me an email when you get a chance.
Audioengr: Thanks for posting the comments from Stereophile. There findings also tend to support my previous comments i.e. that i found the Nordost's to be fast, lean and detailed but lacking in warmth and body. They are somewhat bright, almost to the point of being etched or glaring, but not quite. I do have to say that even with the tonal balance that they offered within one of my systems, i did not have any problems with sibilance. Nor did i have the sense of "liquidity", "musicality", "pace" or "air" and harmonic structure that i've gotten with other cables and that is what i missed the most. In some ways, i wish i could combine the copper Goertz with the Nordost's. The Nordost's have the speed that i like but the Goertz have almost all of the other attributes that i like. Maybe i need to try some Goertz AG series speaker cables. Then again, i think i know what you would suggest for me : ) Sean
Take a look at this ad
. I don't think that this person planned on buying a "Rolls Royce" and then selling it at a 45% loss some 40 days later. System incompatability or not, that is a quick and hard lesson to learn. Sean