What to replace Nordost speaker cable?

I currently use Nordost Red Dawn speaker cables between a Krell 400xi and Focal Micro Utopia Be's. The cables are 2m long and I think sound pretty good in my system. That being said, they are a huge pain to connect and situate in my equipment rack because they are flat ribbon cables. I'm moving soon so now would be the best time to replace them.

I'm looking for recommendations, but I do like the "Nordost" sound or lack of or whatever it's called (no flames please). I've looked at Cardas, Kimber, Audioquest, etc. as they all have a good reputation and I'm not very familiar with other smaller companies. I will say this though. I tried Canare starquad cable and yes, it sounded different. Muted and rolled off highs, compared to the Red Dawn.

Another option might be to just get 3m Red Dawn for a little more slack.

Stealth Hybrid MLT's.
Maybe consider 3m Heimdall's. If you like the 'Nordost' sound the heimdall's a are big step up in my opinion.
Funny you mention the Heimdall's because I'd been looking at those as well. I may just move up. I think if I get 3 meter cables, with more slack, the wiring would be more manageable.

Jmcgrogan2, I'll have a look at Stealth as well.
Even though I have the Frey's I think the Heimdall is the best value in the Nordost lineup. I had to really 'squint' to hear a difference between the Heimdalls and Freys. Where the differences between the blue havens, red dawns and baldurs was quickly heard and didn't have to squint. Short version of a long story for me is over the years I looked at price more and at a later time said what if I spent a little more then would I be looking now?

Tyr's and Vahalla's are too far out of my price range so I never demoed them at all.
If you can find it the Nordost SPM is quite good
Try Morrow's speaker cable..you can start from sp1 and then you move up to sp 6.

You have 60 days to audition the cable.
The more I think about it, the more I would rather stick with Nordost as I don't want to significantly change the sound of my system. I'll have a look at Heimdalls and SPM.

I'm using QuattroFil XLR between the DAC1 and 400xi, so I think my interconnects are solid as well.

IF I can find 3 meter lengths, that should make cable management quite a bit easier.

Thanks for the recommendations.
I have owned Nordost Reddawn mkII speaker cables, Wireworld Atlantis 5 and NBS active IV speaker cables. IMHO the wireworld and Nordost where pretty much the same. Both were ok both maybe had a slight hint at brightness. Then I switched to the NBS active IV cables and it retained all the details, but it to my ears the sound was more open and more natural.

Please remeber that this is in my system and my ears.
I second Nordost SPM speaker cables. I am running 2 sets of biwired SPM 2 feet long. Doubling the SPM speaker cables requires four posts on each amp and four posts on each speaker. Shorter is better to my ears. Two feet long SPM speaker cables requires the amps to be very close to the speakers but sounds great.
Xti16, would you say the difference between the heimdall's and frey's is worth the few extra hundred?

Even with heimdall's, I'm quickly approaching the price of my integrated amp on cables alone.

I'm from the school of thought that there is a bigger difference between speakers than with amplifiers. I'm not saying all amps sound the same, but the difference between them is less significant than with loudspeakers. How speaker cables factor in remains to be seen, but as I mentioned before, the star quad was sonically inferior to the red dawns.

If I save my pennies, I may be able to pick up frey's used.
Hi Gherrera1
Sorry for the late response for I just saw the question. I would say again the Heimdall is probably the best value. Tonality I think they sound the same BUT there is just 1/2 hair more air between the vocals and instruments with the Frey's. I really think I could have lived with the Heimdall's and knowing I saved $1,000 would be nice. I had the opportunity to have a Nordost dealer demo case for 6 weeks. Personally I thought the Blue havens and Red dawns were too bright but good considering the price. The Baldur seemed to tame the brightness. The Heimdall and Frey took it to another level for me. Improving on the mids and high end. I think it is the micro monofiliment technology. 85% of the wire is suspended in air. Seems to bring out more separation/air between the vocals and instruments. With the dual monofiliment 90% of the wire is suspended in air. The Spm is more like a Baldur construction but more toward the Vahalla wires. I never heard those.

Reviews state the Frey is 90% of the Vahalla but I would say the Heimdalls are 88.5% in my opinion. Again you do have to really 'squint' to hear the differences. Since I bought my cables new from a dealer they are getting my 1st year re-burn in from the Vidar. I hope to get them back soon because I am using a demo pair. I'll be real curious to hear any differences. That was 1 reason I bought new is my dealer gives me yearly burn in service.

These are just my opinions and to give you my system it is Meridian G08 cdp with a Bryston B100 int amp and Dynaudio C1 speakers w/Rel B3 sub. Interconnects and power cords are Fusion Audio.

Hope it helps and good luck whatever you decide.
I'd recommend the Mundorf Silver/Gold wire(1.5mm dia.).

I find they possess an inner natural warmth combined with extreme resolution, neutrality, and calmness. There's a firmness or tightness to the sound, while at the same time being very relaxed, open, and liquid-like. Quite true to the nature of live acoustic music, in my ears.
Hi Gherreral,

If you like Nordost I highly encourage you to try the Clear Day double shotgun cables. I use them in my system along with NOrdost Valkyrja speaker cables and ICs. The Clear Day have better mid to low end response than the Valkyrja, which have better HF extension than the Clear Days, but not by much at all. I believe they are one of the biggest bargains around. Money back guarantee if you don't like them so trying them has no risk.
STELTH DREAM WONDERFUL!!Great stage clarity timber bass!!
Hi Gherreral,

If it were me I would just move as far as I could up the Nordost chain. After 2 and a half years I'm still amazed what inserting Valhalla's into my system did. Enjoy your search.


Thanks for the recommendations. I think that at the moment, a move up the Nordost line would be best.

I'm in the middle of a move, going to be about a month before I set my system up again.

Heimdall or Frey is what I have in mind.
Tom, have you heard the Odin yet? Now you too can go farther up the Nordost chain.

Ebm, I recommended the Stealth Hybrid MLT because I was under the impression that the OP was working within a budget, otherwise I would also have recommended the Dream. Though it does seem like I was right, and he is working with budget restrictions, like 99.99% of us.
Hi John,

I'm laughing!!! Seriously though, John at this stage of my life I don't see the Odin in my future so I wouldn't dare take a listen to it in my system. Hey, we got to meet in person one of these days. Maybe the next time Earl comes up my way?. Or when I get down to his place?

All the best,
I'm glad to see that you took my comment the right way Tom. Yeah, I'd love to meet up one of these days too. I'd also like to get me a nice man-cave like Earl has........but these kids today....they just won't leave home!!!!!
BTW, what speakers are you running with these days? I'm still running my Verity Audio Parsifal Encore's circa 2005. I've been playing with cables/cords, but not many hardware changes in the last couple of years. I won't be buying the Stealth Dream speaker cables anytime soon either. ;)

Sorry for hijacking the thread Gherrera1...please continue.

If you can, try to audition the Organic Audio cables by Argento. I really doubt there is any real competition well above their price range. I compared the interconnect with the Nordost Valhalla and it sounded much better in my ears...
Definitely try the Morrow cables...
Stelth Dream the best!!
Finally ended up ordering a set of Heimdall speaker cables. Not in my system yet, but I did upgrade a pair of Black Knight RCA's and Quattro Fil XLR's with Heimdall RCA's and XLR's.

The Black Knight cables were used from a phono pre to the Krell and moving up to Heimdall, the increase in detail, bass, and focus was tremendous! The XLR's, not so much since the Quattro Fils are pretty good.

Can't wait until I swap out the speaker cables.
I've been through the cable merry go round for years. I have owned or tried many, many, high end cables.

Anyway, I have found that the most important feature of a speaker cable is the actual wire conductor. All the fancy dressings and grounding schemes just add more hype and cost.

So what am I using now???
Well, I now have made biwire cables made out of pure solid soft 5N silver wire. One lead is 14 ga and the other is 18 ga. Both are threaded through high quality large diameter teflon tubing. All together with WBT silver spades at the Amp end they cost me about $1000 bucks to make.

Some think that silver cables are bright sounding , but these are not. I believe that the soft silver is what makes the difference. The bass is deep and clearly defined. The midrange is beautiful and the treble is clear. All of that with also a large soundstage. The break in time was minimal probably because of the limited dialectic.

Speaker cables are pretty basic to make and I've got to say these cables are waayyy better than anything I have used in the past and I have had some very pricey cables.
Hi Ozzy, your speaker cable construction is very similar to Nordost. They use silver plated conductors in teflon.

And most of the reviews I have read parallel what you hear. Well designed silver/teflon cables do not sound bright at all.

Moving from Canare star quad to Nordost Red Dawn cables, I heard a bit more bass and overall clarity. I'm hoping a move up the line will add even more clarity and maybe a touch more bass since Heimdall's have more conductors than Red Dawn.
New Heimdall cables arrived in the mail today. First impressions are mostly positive. Highs are quite a bit more refined than the Red Dawns. Image focus and soundstage is solid. Not that it wasn't good before, it's just that much better with these cables. These cables seem to really balance the entire frequency range, as odd as that sounds. I think that's what reviewers mean by Nordost being "neutral."

The one thing that's worse than the Red Dawns is the bass, or lack of. They sound relatively thin, but then again, I only have about 30 minutes on them. I do recall the Red Dawns took a few hours to fully break in and I'm hoping the bass improves with break in. The bass guitar and kick drum are there, they just don't have the same impact as they did with the Red Dawn cables. The Heimdall's are also 4m long vs 2m. Not sure if that's contributing though.
You're on the right track...you need break-in time. Actually, I like Blue Heaven rather than Red Dawn, which I find rather anemic down below....
What will be interesting is after you have a couple of hundred hrs on the heimdalls to put the red dawns back in and then give us your impression.
Gherreal - According to Nordost 4m (or multiples) lengths are the most ideal. Not sure if that is for their profit but when in the Norse series and up the meters are actually longer. I just happen to need 4m myself.

Since my original post I did trade in my Bryston for an Octave tube integrated and my C1's for C1 signatures. Huge difference!! Still have the Frey SC and IC's.
Xti16, the 4m length is what made me jump on them. I was waiting and waiting until a 4m Heimdall in shotgun with bananas came up for sale.

I actually thought about putting the Red Dawns in real quick, but from what I've been hearing, these are staying regardless. There's more resolution and top to bottom balance has improved as well. The bass is starting to fill in as I get more hours on them. Besides, it's a pain to get behind the rack to switch out cables!

How do you like your new integrated? Next upgrade for me will probably be my amplifier. Current integrated is a Krell 400xi.
I liked my blue heaven so much I first bought red dawn, and then frey thinking I'd like them better - I didn't and have sold those again and the BH revision II bi-wire remains (going on 4 years now) and I am happy with these...if you can, you should try them, maybe you'll like them as much as I do. I've also tried a few others (highly regarded) - but none has stayed...
Gherreral - I had a Bryston B100sst and thought it was quite good. It wasn't until my local dealer brought to my home an Octave V70SE for me to demo. Even before the tubes warmed up the Octave just destroyed the Bryston in every way. Since then I have been tube rolling to get even better sound from it. Better sound stage and imaging. I can't say enough good things about it.

I used to have a rack that made swapping anything but cd's a royal pain. I now have a pARTicular Full suspension rack. Really cool looking with great isolation. Due to its design it does wobble if bumped but it's supposed to. I will admit this rack isn't for everyone but it works just perfect for me. Swapping components is a breeze now.

Have you thought of adding a sub? I have a Rel B3 and it really adds to overall presentation of sound. Not just deeper bass notes. Another major upgrade for the sub was to replace the stock Rel cable with a custom (Rel spec) Nordost Baseline cable. I heard attack and decay I never knew existed.
Go4Vinyl, are you serious? You liked them that much? I never auditioned the BH, but maybe I should have! These Heimdall cables have transformed my system into something special. I'm not sure the BH would have the same effect though.

Xti16, funny you mention tubes and a sub. I've thought about both, just haven't upgraded. I really like the the Nagra VPA mono blocks, but 50 watts per side may not be enough. The Krell puts out 200 a side and sometimes I use every last watt is seems like.

A sub would fill in the very lowest notes I suppose. The Focal's do ok, but there isn't any deep bass. I'll have to look into Rel. I've heard good things about their subs.
As far as power (at least with my 85db dyns) they need current. My Octave is 70w @4ohm where my Bryston was 180w @4ohm. The Octave has a world more control than the Bryston. For Solid State the Naim XS @60W is also much better than the Bryston. Watts can be deceiving.

As far as a sub - when set up properly it will add to the mid range and sound stage. Oh and it does add that last octave or 2 on the low end when it's there. Not all music goes that low.