Review: Nordost Red Dawn Interconnect

Category: Cables

I have never been a big believer in high priced cables and had often thought it was just hype. After all, how could those pricey cables make enough difference to justify their cost?

Some of those expensive interconnects I have tried over the years made slight differences in the sound. Some improved the detail slightly, some made the sound bright, and others added more bass, but none of them were worth the $200. to $500. price for such tiny improvements. Was there really a interconnect made that could improve every aspect of the sound and still be affordable?

I was talking to Anthony Padilla of Aberdeen Components one day about different interconnects and he suggested I try a pair of Red Dawns from Nordost. Three days later the Red Dawns arrived and I was ready to give them a try. Now Anthony had already burned the interconnects in, so I could give them a listen without the need to wast weeks before making a decision.

After the first song finished on the Fourplay Heartfelt CD, I knew the Red Dawns were here to stay. The music seemed faster, more detailed, and full. I thought I was listening to a different version of this CD. Instruments I never before heard jumped out of my speakers. The separation of those instruments was astounding. I then played Spyro Gyra
and could not believe what I was hearing, congas off in the distance, trumpets crisp and clear, saxophones smooth and sexy, and keyboards that actually sounded lifelike. These cables revealed every nuance in the music that was simply not achieved by all of the other cables I have tried period.

If you want to hear a huge improvement in your system and have never tried Red Dawn interconnect cables by Nordost, your need to try these interconnects. They made this non believer change his mind and dish out the cash.

John Freeman

Associated gear
McCormack HT-5 Amp
McCormack MAP-1 Preamp
Rega Jupiter CD Player
Denon 3800 DVD Player
Monitor Audio Gold Series Speakers
Velodyne GHS-10 Sub
M&K SS-150 Tripole Surround Speakers
Monster Cable M1.4s Biwire Spaeker Cable
Harmonic Tech Fantasy AC 10 Power Cables
Exact Power EP-15

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I've used this fast and exciting RD XLR on my EC EMC-1 MkII to Aleph P, then long asymmetrical XLRS to the Aleph 2 monos, finally using rev II to my Parsifal Encores. GREAT performance, yet still could not get rid of its slight "clickiness" on transients. An ex-dealer warned me that RD is clear, fast, and all that, but NOT perfectly neutral up top...exaggerating transients. There ya go. So eventually I found SPM cables and some XLRS for the CDP and voila...the treble transients are perfectly natural, and the larger gauge DOES result in a fuller balance. I also used the Harm Tech Pro-Silways you have, and found them remarkably similar to the RD. The Truthlink I still use on my tuner to quench those top octave FM birdies a bit.... Nice warmer balance.
For most folks who ask my advice I recommend Blue Heaven as it's half the price of RD, and although it's not quite as resolving, and is equally lean-balanced (unlike the SPM), it doesn't portray small drums or top octave string transients in a metallic way like RD can.
FYI I bought the SPM 1m XLR for $350 (sold the RD for $225), and the 8' cables for $1000 (!), selling the RD for $750. Very cost-effective upgrade indeed. All along I was blaming the Redbook 16bit limitations!
The Nordost on the eichmann bullet takes it to a totally different level. The top end has less grit or soes not sound pinched than the stock connector that the co uses. The midrange has a lushness ,fullness, that i did not experience with the stock connectors. A cable that will contend most top $$ cables out there.

And use only Old wonder solder as the Jap Tube DIY'ers do.
I used the Red Dawn interconnects & cables on home demo
in my system and at 1st I was very impressed by the clean , detailed sound but after a few days I found that what I 1st thought was clean & detailed was becoming more like bleached & slightly strident . I loved the ' 21st century ' look of these cables but found in the end that the sound was just a little to clinical for my taste in my system . I want to stress that by clinical I do not mean the same as accurate .
I also tried some Cardas cable and curiously found it overly rich and ' honeyed ' in its presentation , especially after the Nordost . Finally I tried some of the top of the range Harmonic Tech interconnects in my system ,
the H T's have stayed for the last 2 years , I couldn't be happier .
While I have no experience with the Red Dawn IC's, I recently placed the speaker
cables into my system and I think they are a great cable.
One night myself and several other 'philes 'AB'ed the RD v11's vs Blue Heaven and everyone thought that the BH's were far brighter than the RD's. The RD's were also 'AB'ed against Cardas Golden Reference. again the group preferred the RD's; overall we felt the the RD's were able to unravel more detail and were a lot faster sounding. The Cardas was as one listener commented " fat and slow" compared to the RD v11's.
I wander if the RD IC's and the speaker cables as a combo are too much of a good thing. The IC's that we used that night were Highwire 700's, Cardas
Golden Ref and Hex Golden 5c's, Van den Hul d-102Mk3's and Harmonic Tech IC's.
I have used Red Dawns for a couple months now, 1 1meter and 1 .6meter all brought from fellow agoners. I tried them with tubes components and not as good as other i/c. In solid state it seems to be better. In tubes they appear with less body and feel slower. In SS they are faster and have more punch. I guess they like ss better than tubes.
I've had Red Dawn 1-meters for several years now. They are nothing special IMO and have been gradually demoted to my least important source, a rarely-used MSB Link DAC which is what I use to hook the TV into the stereo.
I can't recommend Red Dawns. In my experience, AudioQuest and Audio Magic make more useful cables. I can't speak for the more expensive Nordosts, which I've never heard.
Oops, I have to retract. The Nordosts I have are called "Blue Heaven" not "Red Dawn". Sorry for the confusion.
Would factory terminated Nordost Red Dawn Interconnects be good from a phono preamp to preamp? I was thinking about connecting a Hagerman Bugle phono preamp to my Accuphase C200 preamp with the Red Dawn ICs. Thanks
Just been using RD connecting my two Herb Reitchert 300 mono to my Altec 19 using JP80phono with Red Dawn to Berman 76 pre amp with XLO and to tell my impression my soundstage just became deep and wide with lot of detail just on the merge.I do believe if your system is very bright to begin with do not make it jump to the other side.My imppression of RD speaker cables is favorable, but individualize accordingly.
Just been using RD connecting my two Herb Reitchert 300 mono to my Altec 19 using JP80phono with Red Dawn to Berman 76 pre amp with XLO and to tell my impression my soundstage just became deep and wide with lot of detail just on the merge.I do believe if your system is very bright to beging with do not make it jump to the other side.My imppression is favorable speaker cables but individualize accordingly.