I will be testing the NBS Statement to the Nordost Valhalla in the next month or so. I have tested the NBS with the SPM and found the NBS to have better extension, clearity and detail. I believe the NBS would be an excellant match for the AR components in that AR tends to be more revealing than other tube gear. If the system you have tends to be warmer than the AR standard, you may want to look at a silver cables, Audio Truth and Transparent Audio would be good starts. From what I've heard, you may want to wait for my review of the Valhalla, you could write me and I'll be sure to keep you informed. J.D.
Disclosure first = We are a Nordost Reference dealer and numerous other brands, not NBS. I was very reluctant to comment on this question as this could be construed the wrong way. But I felt so strongly that I will try to make this as objective as I can.
First, there is virtually no science behind NBS, it is an ex-car-salesman running the show. That should be enough said right there. So if they do get something right it is purely by happenstance. Needless to say their pricing is ridiculous.
Second, Nordost has the research and technology to back up their claims.
We have compared the various price levels of both cables in our reference systems. A couple of our staff prefer the NBS cables. The majority prefer the Nordost. The Nordost reference level cables are the most neutral sounding cables on the market - bar none! We can detect NO sonic signature and NO "house" sound from them. We see far to many situations where clients are using cables to "tune" their systems and by jumping from one cable manufacturer to another all they are really getting is one "house" sound for another.
In summary, if you want to stop the cable merry-go-round I would encourage you to consider the Nordost reference level cables and you will finally and clearly hear your Audio Research gear as it was designed to be heard and get the very most out of your entire system. Then you may change your gear with clear conscious that you ARE listening to the gear and speakers finally and decide what sound best suits your taste. The Nordost may scare you initially on hook-up. You are finally hearing your actual system, some clients are really frightened by what they hear. Don't panic you can always change gear. We strongly advise to do it one piece at a time - so you keep track of what you are hearing.
Apologies to the group for getting on my soapbox with the length of the message.
I had Nordost SPM XLR interconnects that were used with a Audio Research Ref. 1 preamp to a Plinius SA100 MKIII amp. I tried the NBS Monitor I XLR interconnect and felt that the NBS had a more natural tonal balance, the soundstage was more clearly defined with a finer sense of air around the instruments, they were also more revealing without being bright. The bass sound improved as well. I found the Nordost SPM's a bit more forward with a slight edge to the treble. I also have the NBS Monitor III speaker cables, which I also prefered to the Nordost SPM for many of the same reasons. Needless to say, I now have NBS cables and sold the Nordost. However, that's how they sound on my system, to my ears. You really need to try both and decide what sounds best to you. Remember:"Music is in the ears of the beholder!" Ross
After trying a LOT of very well respected cables in my system, for me it came down to a choice between NBS Monitor 0 and Purist Dominus, and I have mixed-and-matched them depending on component changes. (They work very well together.) I eventually wound up with a Dominus between my preamp (Lamm) and power amps (Classe), and NBS Monitor 0 digital and speaker cables and source-to-preamp connections. The one Nordost interconnect cable I tried (Quattro Fils) left me pretty unimpressed, but I certainly would be willing to try a more recent and higher end Nordost cable sometime. I am particularly unimpressed by dealer claims that this cable manufacturer whose products he happens to sell has "science" to back up his overpriced product, while that one is a used car salesman. This does a disservice to all of us in this subjective, unscientific hobby, who do it because we love music, not science.
Had to respond, no I haven't raced the Nordost directly to the NBS, but have heard the two in a friends system I'm quite familiar with, I have to agree with Rosstaman. The sound had a better flow to it and just sounded more organic (weird description I know),it just sounded more real with the NBS. I would also like to comment that even though Walter Fields takes a beating especially from dealers, he has always been a perfect gentleman to deal with. I don't know his past but he does make some pretty good sounding cables,yes they are hideously priced but what cable isn't anymore? I have also heard some cables from company's that have substantial R&D departments and thier cables don't sound anymore revolutionary than some of the DIY's.
Sdrconsultant: First you say that you will try to be objective and then the first comment is to dismiss NBS because he used to work as a car salesman (perhaps being a car salesman should be included as part of the criminal record!) Did you even know that Mark Levinson didn't even have an engineering degree? ( I think that he didn't even have a college degree) Maybe we should dismiss his Levinson and Cello products also! Some companies hire engineers to do their research, have you considered that?
I must agree with Mgottlieb on his reaction to that seemingly uncalled for comment on the integrity of a well respected cable Mfg by Sdrconsultant. I own both NBS Statement III and Nordost Vahalla's and find them both superb units in my system. Also as Bryceeboy stated I've found Mr Fields of NBS to be the"perfect gentleman" in my dealings with him also, only too willing to stand behind his product.
I would add my displeasure at such a comment and grave distrust of any "Dealer" who deemed to launch a personal attack such as posted above-- shame!
Indeed a disservice to all of us.
Sdrconsultant; I appreciate your disclosure in the opening paragraph, but I must strongly disagree with the philosophy of "Don't panic you can always change your gear".
This is the type of thinking that has led many audiophiles to financial ruin. Under no circumstances should any enthusiast abandon an amplifier or component that is in their system because the "perfect cable", has just made it unlistenable. Since we live in an inperfect audio world,with many dark and bright sounding component personalities, I see nothing wrong with cable augmentation as a beneficial move towards better music........Frank
Thanks to all of you for your most valuable responses. I am now auditioning two Nordost quattro fils between my digital front ends including a SCD-1 for SACD replay. The Nordost ICs work very well at this point, but I when placed a quattro Fil between my ARC VT-100MKII amp and ARC Reference 2 pre-amp, I found the sound very disappointing. It lacked weight was rather anemic compared to my present Tara Decade. I have heard good things about NBS and will try one of their ICs between my pre-amp and amp.
On another note, I am sorry the Sdrconsultant posted such a derogatory response about NBS. Is this why my "NBS vs Nordost" topic was apparantly deleted by the moderators? I only wished to glean information about about these two products from others who have had experience from these two cable manufactures.
I have NBS cables all around and bought some Nordost cables because of all the people who love them. I tried Quattrofils as interconnects and although they sound great, I felt they weren't quite as natural sounding as my NBS Statements. I have gone back and forth several times to make sure, each time leaving the cables in for at least a week. Although they are more expensive, I prefer the NBS.
NBS Statement: body, fullness; slightly rounded attack with few edge or bite harmonics; a choral, singing "open" quality; warm, powerful, punchy bass without a loss of definition; clear, defined strings and cymbals; slightly highlighted, intelligible voices that do not fatigue; reduced noise floor with a corresponding increase in detailed sonic material without the detail becoming un-musical; distant surrounding room reverberations on recordings reproduced in full dimensions, sometimes with a sense of over-extension and giganticism. These features of the NBS Statement were apparent whether the amplification was SS (Ayre) or SET (Vaic), and whether the speakers were floor-standing (Avalon) or monitor (Arcus Cello, Dynaudio), supporting the theory of an NBS "house brand" sound.
--Nordost Valhalla: less contoured, shallower, but more focused bass; a colder, more metallic midrange; sharp attack with noticeable edge and bite harmonics; despite what appeared to be detailed sonic material, there was a stopped or covered sound (not a veil or distance, but a closedness, a compactness) that led some to say that the Nordost cables were "harmonically substractive" even though this sound contributed to their "muscularity."
slawney: i have no idea what some of your descriptions mean; for example: **a sense of over-extension and giganticism** so, tell us, did you buy either pair? -kelly
Sorry kelly, it is late at night, maybe "asa" can help me out, since he was the previous owner of one of the NBS Statements in my system, and he has always found better words to describe their sound. I mean by "over-extension" something like "spatial over-extension": the NBS Statement gives the illusion that it is overexaggerating the reproducion of space, making venues and applied reverb, even individual instruments and voices expand to a size bigger than they should be perhaps (an effect, by the way, that can be enhanced through the addition of NBS Statement power cables for a while). "Giganticism" just reinforces this remark: the cable, especially when first installed, gives rise to a gigantic, very "up-front" sound image without much depth until it breaks in and lays back a little. A story: there was an audiogoner from Hong Kong, I think, who recently bought a pair of the new, top-of-the-line NBS Omega power cables and immediately was trying to sell one of them on audiogon because (his explanation) two were "too powerful" for his system. This is an effect that I can easily imagine as an owner of 7 NBS Statement power cables.
Thanks, slawney. How you doin? Well, I think slawney doesn't need my help; he describes it perfectly. I especially like the breakin part. NBS Statement, upon first listen without proper settling or breakin, places diffuse halos around images, particularly voice, that are also more apparent because the cable's soundstage "loosens" backwards towards the rear and releases a subtle tension as it settles. "Giganticism" is a good metaphoric term to describe a huge, voluminous soundstage endowed by the Statement. We can not call this lacking in nuetrality because it is still smaller than that we experience in live music. Its the most natural cable in spatial rendition, excepting in the bass where a plumminess can overload some systems on the lowest end frequency. This low "plumminess", in conjuction with the large spatial presentation, leads some people to the "power" observation. Same thing that slawney said, just a different way. Hope it helps. What you need to see, Rlf, is the continual observation of natural-ness from people here.
On Nordost. When you say metallic, I think you are referring to the denuded harmonics from the upper mids on up, and, not commented upon by reviewers, the space which imposes on any system a clear, unnatural, void-like air that places the sound images in greater relative relief (and because humans cognitive abilities are evolutionarily geared towards identifying objects at the expense of space, you are drawn to). Nordost is, in my opinion, unnatural cable for ears who believe that a stripping of space that promotes easier image identifiction is somehow synonymous with the illusion of dimension, both in the image AND in the surrounding space (which is not "surrounding" because in real space, space, or dimension, inter-penetrates objects at infinite angles. But that's a story for another day...)
With NBS, and especially Statement, you fall into the music and it flows through you; with Nordost, you observe the music, even when it hints at the flow.
Now I know everyone needs a stiff drink after that self-indulgent rant! Good luck. Prayers for the fallen.
Help has arrived! "Asa," thank you! If the excellence of a component is the capacity to define it, then your comments on the NBS Statement just made it even more excellent. The image of the "diffuse halos around images, particularly voice" is wonderful. Please, it is already another day, more of your thoughts about "space interpenetrating objects at infinite angles."
I am currently auditioning a full NBS Statement 3 set-up
against my Valhalla's.Previous postings in favour of NBS describe what I hear. The NBS sounds more 'real' and musical.Vocals are rendered with a realism that cant be matched by the Valhalla(an otherwise excellent cable).
However cable selection is very system dependant , although
Nordost in general sounds relatively harmonically threadbare compared to the NBS .
I'll struggle along with my NBS, thanks.
Walter Fields is a true gentleman and provides one of the best customer service in high end audio. Last year, I had to reterminate one end of my NBS Monitor II interconnect cables due to Amplifier change. He quoted me a reasonable price and I got my cables back via Fedex 2 days within one week.
I am also very happy with NBS cables. I upgraded my cables over the years from Audiotruth Diamond/ Sterling to Cardas Golden Cross/Golden Reference and now I have the Monitor I, II, Master III interconnects and Monitor II, III speaker cables. Althought I did not do an A/B comparison between the Nordost and the NBS cables, the NBS cables I have now are superior to the cables I have in the past. The music has a quieter background, the image is sharper, the bass is more solid.