Nordost vs. Transparent...which is better?

Is one company much better than the other? Which do you recommend with a McIntosh tube integrated MA2275, Mac SACD player, and Sonus Faber Guareri speakers? thank you
Both lines are overrated and over priced IMO.

There are cables that offer equal or better performance for lower prices. Consider Acoustic Zen, Virtual Dynamics, PAD, Silversmith, Cardas, Alpha Core Goertz, etc. before these lines. You will not be disappointed.
there are numerous price points within both Nordost and Transparent; if you are asking about the very top level of each product.....i am familiar with both. i own 2 sets of Nordost Valhalla interconnect (i use to own 6 sets) and 2 sets of Transparent Opus speaker cables. i have tried both Valhalla speaker cable and Opus interconnect in my system.

i have had at least 20 other brands of cables in my system for comparison since 2000 and prefer my cables to any i have heard. i do prefer Opus interconnects to my Valhalla but i have not yet found the budget to upgrade (although i plan to).

to directly answer your question; at the top of the line i consider Transparent Opus (or it's one step down Reference MM) the very best cables i have heard......but they are truely 'silly expensive'). the Nordost Valhalla is certainly one of the better cables out there. the Valhalla can be too open and energetic for some some consider it 'hot' or 'edgy'. that tells you more about the system it is used in than the Valhalla. i would think in your system which is a bit on the 'mellow' side the Nordost Valhalla would be quite synergistic. the Opus would be on another level beyond that.

to be fair; i have only done a few comparisons in the last couple of years so their are many cables i have not tried.

as always; YMMV.
I just went through a similar comparison - Cremona speakers with a Mark Levinson 432 amp, Classe CP-65 pre. We compared Nordost Baldur and Heimdahl and Transparent Plus, Super and Ultra interconnects and speaker cables. My experience was as Mikelavigne described - the Nordost were open but also thin and "edgy". The Transparent were much richer, with better base, better soundstage and still were very detailed. We ended up with the Transparent Ultra, although the Super were quite acceptable. As always, their is no substitute for demoing with your equipment.

Transparent actually has Guarneri speakers in their listening room. If you go to their website and take the "tour" there is a picture of Jack and Karen Sumner (actually the back of their heads) listening to Guarneri.
Just to be clear...I don't think Mike said the Nordost is "thin and edgy"...I think he said it can expose these qualities in other system components.
I think the Nordost can be excellent in the right can many other cables.
asking which cable is better is like asking which is better, blue or red ?

the answer depends upon the characteristics you value in cable performance and only you can answer this question by comparing them in your own system.
A very logical response from Mrtennis which pretty much sums it all.

There seem to be a consensus everywhere on the brightness of Nordost that it's thin and edgy, and I cannot agree more on Mikelavigne on his comments that they are revealing the system's character than the cable itself. I own the Nordost Frey interconnect and having just recently upgraded from Blue Heaven speaker cable to SPM, I didn't find Nordost to be bright but instead very resolving. And just a note, my speakers are neutral-sounding while electronics are a tad to the warmer side of things which may explain the excellent results I've got with Nordost.
Wow. Mrtennis is on one helluva roll lately. That's two great posts from him that i've read today. Keep up the good work : ) Sean
Glide3 - I completely agree. My experience was that with the Nordost in my system the result was thin and edgy, just as Mike said some people experience. Transparent did not show that charactertic in my sytem. So, for me the Transparent were a better fit than Nordost. I know many people like Nordost - depends on the sytem. Picking cables is all about synergy - that's why trying them in your own system is critical. Since Cremona and Guarnari are related, my experience might be relevent, although not a substitute for in home auditioning, if possible.
People have to learn how to use differant brands. Valhalla can do things no other cables can do. But using it too much it will cauch some problems. You will loose individual focus, depth and involvement in th mid freq. But when you use it for a part in your system you will have more resolution you wil get from any cable you can buy for money. And yes the cheaper Nordost cables are a little thin sometimes. But here the same just use it for only a part. People have to learn to use the properties of different brands. That is the only way to get the max out of your system
I will weigh in with my experiences. I am currently auditioning a pair of Nordost Heimdal IC's on my CDP to amp and I am quite impressed. They don't sound anything like the Blue Heaven's that I previously tried which were somewhat thin and whitish sounding. Amazing sustain and air to the upper end, but not very well balanced.

The Heimdall sounds very very good with my Audio Refinement CDP, and I've tried many cables with it (both power and IC). The bass is simply the best I have heard with it. Very deep and clean with excellent heft and purcussive attack. The midrange is really enjoyable too in that I have the feeling of detail, but it seems to push back and smooth over any graininess or edge to voices or brass that I have experienced with some of my recordings. I find I can really crank it up where I could not before on those CD's.
The highs are sweet with good color, though here not quite as open or extended as the Transparent cables I've tried, and not quite as rich in tonal color (Transparent Music Link 100, Plus and Super). But I've found that many CD's that were bright and hard to listen to with the other cables, sounded very accurate with the Heimdalls but quite listenable.
Other things that I really like about them are excellent dynamics and imaging. My system images well anyway, but the Heimdal's take it to a new level.

They are expensive, but I plan to purchase them if I can get them at a good price.
If a cable is good,you can use it through the whole system without problems.
So this means that Nordost is not neutral.
I vote for use of the same brand through your system,this way you'll get the most out of your system.
But some may disagree.
I have Transparent Audio Reference digital RCA cable and Acoustic Revive DSIX digital active RCA cable costing far less then TA, so that I could do direct comparison.
I am going to keep Acoustic Revive which clearly outperform
I too have auditioned both aginst my reference KCAG. The Transparent won and now all my IC's are Transparent Super Balanced. I recently tried a Transparent Ultra vs Kimber Bi-Focal XL vs Synergistic Resolution Ref speaker cable and the Synergistic edged out the rest by a hair. Go figure.
I know I'm chiming in on this thread pretty late, but I was hoping someone could help me out before I go to the trouble of demoing cables in the home. I have Wilson Sophia 2's with Classe Cam400 monoblocks, Classe CDP202 Player, Meridian G02 Preamp, and an LP12. The whole system is with Transparent Ultra Balanced IC's and Ultra Speaker Cable with Reference Power Chords. I've had transparent for awhile and am considering a switch but I haven't been convinced to do so yet. I was thinking of doing valhalla Ic's and speaker cable but am a bit leary of it being "edgy" and bright on my system. any comments are welcomed
Valhallas are not "edgy or bright"; they are simply faster and more accurate than most other cables on the market. What is edgy and bright are the components, not the cable. I would not, however, wire an entire system with Valhallas, or any other cable model for that matter.

Hope this helps.

Hi Sergio, what is it abt Acoustic revive u prefer compared to Transparent audio reference? How much does acoustic digital cost for 1m? May I knw what system ur matching the cable with?Happy listening tq
Hello Neal,

I agree with you almost 100%. From my experience I do hear them as being faster , more accurate, and the most neutral of other cables that I've heard. Where I differ from you is .... I would and did wire my whole system with Valhalla and I don't see myself parting with them anytime soon.

Hi everyone...i know this thread has been inactive for years, but sometimes people read these to learn about diff people's experiences (i certainly do) here goes.

i have Transparent Ref throughout my system except my digital cable...i came across an inexpensive Cardas Neutral Ref and had been using it...until i found the opportunity to compare s/hand Transparent Ref digital cable to s/hand Valhalla digital cable.

My system is Wilson X1/Grand Slamms, CJ ACT 2, Gryphon Antileon and Zanden DAC with blu-ray transport. (i'm waiting for the server/transport wars to settle down before i get reference transport/server).

The Transp Ref was the one i was expecting to buy...and my system "fell asleep" with it in. Better detail, much, much better bass and overall very much the characteric sound of Transp Ref which i have used throughout my system. but the balance of the system tipped over and literally went to sleep.

i was at a loss until the shop manager found a s/hand valhalla. Snap! the system life came back with better detail, etc. Yes the bass on transp is better...but the life of the valhalla came back in my system...that is purely down to synergy imho.

now since i have 3 different sellers of valhalla digital cables, i just need to pick the best cable/price. hope that helps as one person's experience! enjoy the music!
Nordost Valhalla, one of the best cable sonically on the world market cable today.
i bought the valhalla digital cable second-hand and have no regrets. it is an amazing cable that just allows my system to sing. done for now!!
i hate to say that cables make a difference in audio. but i've to admit they do. my system is mcintosh MCD500, preamp C48, amp MC302 and cremona auditor M.

before my use of nordost heimdall 2 power cords to preamp and amp, i use REL 328 sub to complement (for lack of better words) if i feel the need for some additional bass.

the c48 has an equalizer (hopefully the purists dont curse by me saying this); before the heimdalls, i often tweaked it to be with more treble as well.

once the heimdalls are in, i rarely use the sub! the bass and treble feel just right. my listening room is 4m x 4m. and the highs seem to be extended, more detail and even non-audiophile redbook CDs sound great (taylor swift, radiohead, and many others). so i agree that nordost's higher priced cables to be more revealing but "unforgiving" is not a term i would use.

i paid US$ 2,000 for both PCs but am not regretting it.

i am very sure others' experience will differ, but am a happy owner.

i was told that heimdall 2 has 90% of valhalla's performance (whatever that means) but for now i can only afford the former.

let's enjoy the music!
Give Transparent a try.
Not sure if the OP still uses Guarneri's, but IMHO one of the very best cables for these speakers is Nordost. The cables are lightning fast and the speakers respond beautifully to them.
I use Frey's and also Red Dawn 11's; both are superb and a BIG improvement over the Cardas that I used to use.
Hey Davey,

have you tried Odin on your Gs? Just curious.
Hi LLoyd, I haven't had the pleasure of trying Odin's with my G's. I would be a little afraid that if I did and they were amazing ( which I'm pretty sure they would be), I'd have to get a 2nd mortgage and the WAF would be at an all time low, LOL.
Hah! Very sensible! Still...if you ever to hear...let us know! I do think it would be amazing. ;)
Its been 10 years that Nordost Valhalla is out there. Really wondering why i still hear and read rave reviews by owners. Been looking for s/h Valhalla for me to buy and there hasnt been that many sellers, either on ebay or here at a'gon

Anyway, to cure the curiosity i finally got a pair of valhalla ic and valhalla power cord and connect 'em to my mcintosh mcd500. Wow such smooth operators these boys. Detailed, no fatigue over extended period of listening. Open mid range, and powerful bass. Pinpoint imaging and positioning of instruments. Diana Krall is singing in front if me! Pianist next to her, drums and cymbals behind her. I hook up heimdall version 2 power cords to my pre and amp.

This hobby is sooo much fun
Visited the Nordost booth at the recent TAVES (Toronto A/V show) and spoke with Mike from the company. Great sales pitch without being too "over-the-top". Made a few very interesting points about the product which made sense to me. My question to those of you who have Nordost cables is what should I be focusing on first: Power, Interconnects, or Speaker cables? I am currently using Acoustic Zen cables throughout my system. I do like the sound I currently have but I am toying with this idea that I can make it sound even better. Oh, almost forgot, I am using Joseph Audio as my speakers and Prima Luna as my amplifier. My CD player is probably going to change but at the moment I am using a Rotel.
Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
Purist is Great Dude!!
Hi Adg.

Glad to see you happy with the Valhalla. This stuff is addictive so be careful now! ... Enjoy!!!

The Nordost philosophy starts at the outlet and suggests that the power cord from the wall to your conditioner (if used), is the most important. The source PC is second then pre and amp. Interconnects flow from the source to the pre and then amp. Speaker cables should be chosen last.

I feel that the best bang for the buck usually comes from buying just above the middle of the companies offerings and that a true demonstration of their cables can only be achieved with a complete "loom" from that manufacturer. To do so otherwise introduces too many variables and it is impossible to really know what the cables are doing to your system. You either buy into their philosophy or not.

Their website gives specific reasons why this makes sense in reducing timing errors and sound anomalies. In short, following one design will allow everything to work as a synergistic whole without competeing with various design, engineering and material choices from several different brands. It makes absolute sense, but it is not practiced by many among us. Would you mix parts from a Mercedes, Toyota, Ford, Subaru, Firestone, Goodyear?
Hi Adg,
Its ziggy (Frank) Glad your really enjoying the Valhalla IC in your system. Couldn't agree more but did not know you purchased Valhalla PC. As you know I have all Brahma PC's. Do you think the PC had a lot to do with your system sounding sooooo good. Hi musicallyinclined. Just my 2 cents. I also used Acoustic Zen throughout my system and after reading all the hype with Nordost,
I took the plunge and sold off all the AZ and went with a complete loom of Nordost. The Nordost IS a big leap from AZ. AZ are still great cables, but the Nordost are in another league. With my Pass equip. Adg's description are right on the money. What I'm using is ALL brahma PC's, ! Valhalla IC between source and preamp, Frey between pre and amp, and Frey bi-wire SP cables.
You can get a good deal on new ones or better yet buy used.(broken-in already)
Thanks Tom! Now I need to make up my mind on which "level" to try for my system and find a store near me that sells the products (though that shouldn't be too hard!).
I will let you know what I get and what my results are like in the near future.
Thanks once again!
Frank my man. Life is wonderful lately in Indonesia that i have Valhallas. One of em is from you :-)

I am also lucky that i have good friends here who pointed me to the matching (as you can am avoiding the use of "right") cables to my mcintosh.

Enjoy the music!
Synergy seems the key factor from my point of view. In my system I recently tested Try2 vs Transparent reference speaker cables. The Transparent have better bass with more emphasis on tone and sustain. The Tyr2 have better highs and highlight the leading edge. If I did not have 2 JL-113 the Transparent win out as the Nordost seems a little light in bass. With the subs I prefer Nordost as the air and highs from Nordost cables along with bass from subs gives the better sound overall. I had a previous system with Opus MM2 speaker cables and in that system nothing i tested came close to the midrange magic the Opus gave. Regrettably it seems the best advice is to trial cables in your own system. PS I ordered the Try cables.