I should have added that the Nordost cables will be replacing a set of classic Cardas Cross cables.
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I have the Nordost FREY series 1 array (ICs and shotgunned speaker cables with matched jumpers).
Note: The shotgunned with jumpers array worked better than bi-wires, but let’s set that secondary debate aside herein.
(1) First and foremost, like all cables, the FREY audio performance is system dependent. One size does not fit all.
(2) After a very lengthy 6 month comparative audition head-to-head shootout, at their pricepoint, they bested all contenders and pretenders in MY system (emphasis added on the "MY" qualifier .)
(3) I also have the lesser model NORDOST Purple Flair cables in my "B" system. It is my experience that as you move up their product line , they just get better and better.
The tension arises in the entirely subjective value judgement as to how far up the chain do I go that is in conflict with the drain on your wallet as to where the model selected is "good enough".
There is a litmus test to this observation in the following summary extracted from a Canadian hi-fi magazine reporter. This is a repost of the CANADA HI-FI reporter’s take from the NORDOST cables bake-off exhibit actually performed live at a Toronto audio expo held annually -"TAVES". They stopped at the hierarchy of a progressive higher model bakeoff summit at the Valhallas (....one below the current top ODINS ...) with the inference that a move up the model trendline results in improvement as one keeps going further.
http://canadahifi.com/taves-consumer-el ... rge-de-sa/
".....I had a chance to sit in on a couple demonstrations in the Nordost room, giving my feet a well deserved break. I’m very familiar with the benefits of high quality cables and use a full Nordost Heimdall 2 loom with my reference two-channel setup. That being said, I always find the Nordost demonstrations to be an “ear-opening” experience.
Michael Taylor from Nordost demonstrated the significant sonic benefits of replacing an OEM cable with a Nordost model – in particular a swap of a single USB cable, from OEM to Nordost Blue Heaven ($250/2m), to Heimdall 2 ($500/2m) and,
a swap of a single RCA interconnect, from OEM, to Blue Heaven, to Heimdall 2, to Tyr 2 and finally Valhalla
(Along with convincing the audience in the room that cables DO matter, I’ve now got the bug to upgrade..."
After owning the original Frey SC's for several years I was able to demo the series 2 and I have to say even the Heimdall 2 had a much more liquid/warmer sound especially in the mids over the original Frey's.Although I didn't upgrade my SC's at the time I did upgrade my original Frey IC's to the Tyr 2. Not quite as good as the SC upgrade but a lot cheaper at the time. And as stated before as you go up the ladder the Nordost cables only get better.
NORDOST does have dealer demo cables available (they have a green sleeve).
Your existing CARDAS cables are fine cables themselves, full stop.... you are not considering moving up from Home Depot POS quality level crap. What’s driving the possible change? A brief summary of your system components would help.
My experiences showed that a full FREY cable array (ICs and speaker cables) was the strong leader choice, when compared to an ad-hoc swap-in of just the ICs or the just speaker cables alone.
If you cannot arrange a personal take-them-home overnight audition with the demo cables, or even have an at-the-dealer personal audition, then I would heartily recommend a phone or email consult with a NORDOST dealer that carries both brands for his two cents worth.
FWIW, up here in Toronto, AUDIO EDEN carry both and will give you a fair and even-handed comparative opinion on the respective cables and hopefully answer your questions better.
The main thing you should notice about the Nordost is that they present the music in a very real way ...meaning that horns are not up in your face they are in the back where the drums are and the whole presentation is portrayed evenly without any one thing standing out...very invisible, you will also have instruments and musicians (not just boxes playing music) in your listening room. The Nordost are one of the least colored cables and blows Cardas away in terms of transparency and the ability to get out of the way of your components (which better be good)!
I sold Nordost for over 9 years of time. I owned and sold Valhalla a lot. But in stage depth you always will loose depth when you bring in Nordost.
You need to use Nordost just for a part. A whole Nordost loom will be incomplete.
You need to understand that each brand in cables own their own DNA. This means that the stage and sound differs a lot between brands.
I always called Nordost incomplete. Because it is not the best in stage depth. Beside this you will not create a sharp and intimate individual focus of voices and instruments. I sold it a lot with Kimber interconnects.
During blind shootouts all clients prefered the combo of Nordost and Kimber to a whole Nordost loom. It is very easy to explain why?
Because you add properties so it makes it more complete.
Well after few weeks into the Frey 2 speaker cooking time I think they are great cables. Frankly I don’t know where the bright and thin comments come from. In particular the clarity with unexpected super smoothness will keep these here a very long time. Added two pairs of matching ic’s and hearing my best sound yet with some pretty nice components to include Revel, Bricasti, Agostino and Krell. Very beautiful sound IMO. I think these cables let you hear the quality of your components in a very musical way. FWIW
4425 the new model Nordost are really good, the Tyr are also good, when I heard them connected with the Technics at Axpona this year, I was so impressed, I end up buying Heimdall 2 speaker cable and ic, and the technic speakers, Iam looking to get used Shiva pc, no brightness or thin sound, on tubes they do well, what I like from Nordost stuff is the speed and clarity.if you want to know, how good is your system? This are the cables to try....
I'm very satisfied with the Frey 2 speaker cables in my system and my listening room and setup. It was a big decision, financial and conceptual, to jump from a Red Dawn bi-wire to a Frey 2 shotgun (w jumpers), both 2 meters and banana plugs.
Rest of my system are:
- PrimaLuna Dialogue Two with KT-120 tubes
- Proac Response 1SC on Atlantis stands filled with cat litter
- Rel S/3 SHO subwoofer
- VPI Classic TT, Soundsmith Zephr, SDS controller, Ring, 300 rpm motor
- Manley Chinook phono amp
- Shunyata PS8 and power cords
- SolidSteel rack
- Wadia 121 DAC, 151 for iPad
- Music Fidelity CDT
Listening room is about 15.5 feet wide by 22 feet long, with chair placed at 16 feet mark. Speakers are just under 3 feet from wall.
Before the Frey 2, I'd categorize the sound to be how most would describe Nordost cables, fast, shimmering, wide open, but bottom shy. Depending on listening material and source (vinyl or digital), often times I have to switch the PrimaLuna to triode mode to tame down shrill highs a bit. Doing that means the bass will have even less punch. So it's always a compromise. That is why I got the Rel S/3 btw, to help restore some low end when I'm running in triode mode. Even so, it still feel like a compromise.
After much research online, I decided to stick with Nordost and give the Frey 2 a chance, hoping that it'll balance things out in my system, not lose the speed and openness, but add some strength to the bottom, and hopefully control the highs as well.
Well, after 3 months, I'm happy to say that I've found the perfect balance in my system that I can live with for a long time to come, as long as the components can hold up.
The Frey 2 basically removed the need for me to turn on the Rel sub, for almost all sources and listening volume. The Frey 2 gives abundance of bass through the little Proacs. I can even run the PrimaLuna in Ultralinear mode and the highs are totally acceptable. The overall spectrum of music is so well integrated I can't find any fault or more wishes from it.
Janos Starker's Bach cello suite striking and powerful.
The New Basement Tapes from T Bones sound steely.
Civil Wars' voice and guitar no longer sound like nails on a blackboard.
Norah Jones' Chasing Pirates is full of Impact.
Diana Krall voice is sublime with full weight of the bass lines.
Murray Peraphia's Bach Goldberg variations is no more just background music for work.
Now I'm thinking of selling the Rel S/3 because I don't think I'll miss it.