Nordost - a tone control or genuinely transparent

DaveyF

Active Member
Aug 1, 2010
5,735
17
38
La Jolla, Calif USA
#21
I disagree. IME there's a large range in cable performance and it's not entirely subjective. Either the cable smooths out detail or it doesn't, this is clearly audible. Either it has noticeable sound signatures caused by artifacts and distortions to various degrees or they're not audible. These things can make or break a system, and is often the difference between an ordinary flat-sounding system and one that immerses the listener in sound and draws them in. Cables and AC power are the backbone of a system whether you're a "cable person" or not. I'd argue we're all "cable people" as they are required for the system to work and the cables are making a huge difference in what you're hearing whether you want to admit it or not.
+1
I do think that all of the systems that I have heard that are wired up with lamp cord or similar product have a very definite signature...one that is clearly veiled and undefined. Could one wire up ones high end system with lamp cord or similar and save a lot of money...sure. BUT, the results will speak for themselves, imho. I have actually heard a few high end systems so wired, the owners always felt that the sound was very good. Unfortunately, I knew that the system is leaving a lot behind...and could be vastly improved. I'm not saying that all "pricey" a'phile cabling is great, but the vast majority of it is superior...at least to my ears, to lamp cord...or Radio Shack special!
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
3,484
14
38
Utah
#22
+1
I do think that all of the systems that I have heard that are wired up with lamp cord or similar product have a very definite signature...one that is clearly veiled and undefined. Could one wire up ones high end system with lamp cord or similar and save a lot of money...sure. BUT, the results will speak for themselves, imho. I have actually heard a few high end systems so wired, the owners always felt that the sound was very good. Unfortunately, I knew that the system is leaving a lot behind...and could be vastly improved. I'm not saying that all "pricey" a'phile cabling is great, but the vast majority of it is superior...at least to my ears, to lamp cord...or Radio Shack special!
RS Mega Wire isn't lamp cord it's a speaker wire of decent gauge, it's a simple but fine stranded copper conductor. It might omit something but it won't add anything or distort the sound that's why it's a basic Reference so you can evaluate what you gain or lose when making changes. In this context I'm using it as a baseline to assess the mentioned Nordost cable.

david
 

DaveC

[Industry Expert]
Nov 16, 2014
2,213
8
38
#23
Any copper cable, especially IC cable, will smooth out detail and limit resolution to some degree, and will overlay warmth on the presentation in the process. This is more an issue of omission because the warmth is benign in the sense it doesn't cause irritation or fatigue, but it does make the music less engaging. I'd agree that a basic copper cable can serve as an adequate reference as it's pretty obvious when the veil of warmth has been lifted and it's equally obvious when irritating artifacts have been added. This isn't saying it's a reference level cable in the sense it's benchmark for the best, but it's a reasonable place to start for comparisons as basic copper cables are cheap and plentiful.
 
Sep 11, 2016
53
0
6
Istanbul
#24
Any copper cable, especially IC cable, will smooth out detail and limit resolution to some degree, and will overlay warmth on the presentation in the process. This is more an issue of omission because the warmth is benign in the sense it doesn't cause irritation or fatigue, but it does make the music less engaging. I'd agree that a basic copper cable can serve as an adequate reference as it's pretty obvious when the veil of warmth has been lifted and it's equally obvious when irritating artifacts have been added. This isn't saying it's a reference level cable in the sense it's benchmark for the best, but it's a reasonable place to start for comparisons as basic copper cables are cheap and plentiful.
2 great posts in a row! :cool:

Contrary to common logic, the better the system, the more important job cables have.

For example, when you have an ultra revealing top speaker like M-Project and pair it with another top amp and an ultra definition source equipment, cables can make or break your system. There'll be fine line between nirvana and nightmare. That's why the higher you go in hi-end, rewards are bigger as well as disappointments.

You can't just make a mid-fi system unlistenable with swapping cables. But I experienced a +200K USD dream system going from "I want a child from you and live with you until I die" to "I can't take this s**t anymore my head hurts just kill me" just by swapping Power Cables of the entire system.

First world problems...:D
 

FrantzM

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,469
0
0
#25
I disagree. IME there's a large range in cable performance and it's not entirely subjective. Either the cable smooths out detail or it doesn't, this is clearly audible. Either it has noticeable sound signatures caused by artifacts and distortions to various degrees or they're not audible. These things can make or break a system, and is often the difference between an ordinary flat-sounding system and one that immerses the listener in sound and draws them in. Cables and AC power are the backbone of a system whether you're a "cable person" or not. I'd argue we're all "cable people" as they are required for the system to work and the cables are making a huge difference in what you're hearing whether you want to admit it or not.
It is Dave, in the absence of a clear metrics opinions are what we rely on. What may be "flat-sounding" system could well be the holy-grail for another person. The notion of "immersion" is not a metric. It is what a specific person feels about a given system at a given moment. Another person confronted with the same system may feel entirely uninvolved.
THis helps explain the various differences in systems here or elsewhere. I doubt you would find 2 people here with the exact same system down to cables. It simply ain't so.
Now as for cables as backbones that is , again ... an opinion.

In that sense Nordost is not better or worse in the absolute. it depends on the individual. What Nordost (or other cables) is perceived to do within a system is a highly subjective observation.
 

DaveC

[Industry Expert]
Nov 16, 2014
2,213
8
38
#26
It is Dave, in the absence of a clear metrics opinions are what we rely on. What may be "flat-sounding" system could well be the holy-grail for another person. The notion of "immersion" is not a metric. It is what a specific person feels about a given system at a given moment. Another person confronted with the same system may feel entirely uninvolved.
THis helps explain the various differences in systems here or elsewhere. I doubt you would find 2 people here with the exact same system down to cables. It simply ain't so.
Now as for cables as backbones that is , again ... an opinion.

In that sense Nordost is not better or worse in the absolute. it depends on the individual. What Nordost (or other cables) is perceived to do within a system is a highly subjective observation.
I pointed out ways that there are some objective metrics and you ignore that and point out everything else, lol... I'm not going to debate the fact that the end result from ANY piece of audio gear is largely subjective, of course that's true. In the case of resolution, this isn't hard to test and is objective... the presence of some kinds of distortion or artifacts is objective as well, it's either there or not. Listening for resolution and the presence or lack of artifacts/distortion alone can get you pretty far. So, cable X can easily be said to be better or worse than cable Y. And you'll find a large majority of people will come to the same conclusions or describe the sound in the same way. Of course there are outliers, but there will be with amps or any other components too.

I disagree about subjective interpretation of a "flat" vs "immersive" sound though, this is something that in my testing is universally appreciated. It's one factor everyone seems to agree on, it's mentioned the most out of any other performance criteria and is a major part of people's subjective preferences. Providing an "immersive" listening experience is one of the major design goals of my speaker. I feel this quality relates to preference more than any other factor. But... achieving it does depend on good interconnect cables. Put in commodity copper cables and you'll severely handicap the system and the presentation will change dramatically.
 

audioguy

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
2,731
6
38
Near Atlanta, GA but not too near!
#27
In that sense Nordost is not better or worse in the absolute. it depends on the individual. What Nordost (or other cables) is perceived to do within a system is a highly subjective observation.
While I agree with this 100%, I don't think you will get much agreement from most WBFers!!
 

DaveC

[Industry Expert]
Nov 16, 2014
2,213
8
38
#28
2 great posts in a row! :cool:

Contrary to common logic, the better the system, the more important job cables have.

For example, when you have an ultra revealing top speaker like M-Project and pair it with another top amp and an ultra definition source equipment, cables can make or break your system. There'll be fine line between nirvana and nightmare. That's why the higher you go in hi-end, rewards are bigger as well as disappointments.

You can't just make a mid-fi system unlistenable with swapping cables. But I experienced a +200K USD dream system going from "I want a child from you and live with you until I die" to "I can't take this s**t anymore my head hurts just kill me" just by swapping Power Cables of the entire system.

First world problems...:D

Thanks! I definitely agree the better the system gets the more critical cables can be.

I recently experienced that with one power cable. Won't say the name but it used huge quantities of ~24g solid-core silver-plated copper and teflon wire in twisted pairs. Before testing this cable I was thinking that power cables must be converging in performance as the 3 I carry... Furutech S55N, DPS-4 and my own UPOCC copper litz cable, are pretty similar overall. This one was totally different and basically ruined my system when used with my preamp. Interestingly enough, the same type of wire but in stranded 12g makes for a pretty normal sounding power cable. In this case I've never heard any cable make as much difference as this one, and it was a power cable! I was shocked TBH...
 

awsmone

Active Member
Apr 7, 2014
1,083
8
38
Canberra Australia
#29
Thanks! I definitely agree the better the system gets the more critical cables can be.

I recently experienced that with one power cable. Won't say the name but it used huge quantities of ~24g solid-core silver-plated copper and teflon wire in twisted pairs. Before testing this cable I was thinking that power cables must be converging in performance as the 3 I carry... Furutech S55N, DPS-4 and my own UPOCC copper litz cable, are pretty similar overall. This one was totally different and basically ruined my system when used with my preamp. Interestingly enough, the same type of wire but in stranded 12g makes for a pretty normal sounding power cable. In this case I've never heard any cable make as much difference as this one, and it was a power cable! I was shocked TBH...
I wish cables and pc didn't make a difference.... I really do... life would be simpler

I do agree with the original post to some degree, that once you know a cable well, you can pick pretty often the influence it will have in a system, I have quite a lot of different cables, and also make my own, and have come to appreciate qualities that a cable of a particular brand or type can make, I find these changes consistent in the main

I have also experienced how some pc can have a major effect at times, either great with one component and unlistenable in another, very interesting, bit different from ics that generally keep their character, generalisation I know

I would also agree that getting: Resolution and timbrally accuracy together is a hard ask, and seems to only come together as you go upmarket, but would love to find something just as good for a tenth the price, I really would.

I have the benefit of an active system, and note how much you have to change the set up, when you put a different interconnect in, it's very illuminating

But, it has also taught me, you sometimes have to work with a cable to get the best out of it, a recent experience with two long run interconnects only reinforced this to me, as the two cables were distinctly different from each other in frequency response , and on changing roles, and resetting the system, I managed to get even better performance than I had previously, with the same two cables used differently
 

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
2,359
28
48
Switzerland
#30
David, your reply is interesting indeed. Mainly that there are so many different ways people can express their feelings about the sound that they hear. Your description of the Nordost cabling is so far away from my experience; that its almost as if we are hearing two completely different types of sound! Listening to Radio Shack 16 gauge cable is so far away from what I hear when i listen to Nordost cabling that I am at a loss for words! When you derided the Heimdall cables as hifi, I never suspected that you were comparing them to Radio Shack cabling.
You use the word 'richness' in your description, what does that refer to in music....to your understanding.
The experiences of many here that adding a Nordost cable exaggerated the highs and lightened the overall balance (I had a Valhalla interconnect in my system) was highly audible and repeatable...even in single blind tests.
 

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
2,359
28
48
Switzerland
#31
I wish cables and pc didn't make a difference.... I really do... life would be simpler

I do agree with the original post to some degree, that once you know a cable well, you can pick pretty often the influence it will have in a system, I have quite a lot of different cables, and also make my own, and have come to appreciate qualities that a cable of a particular brand or type can make, I find these changes consistent in the main

I have also experienced how some pc can have a major effect at times, either great with one component and unlistenable in another, very interesting, bit different from ics that generally keep their character, generalisation I know

I would also agree that getting: Resolution and timbrally accuracy together is a hard ask, and seems to only come together as you go upmarket, but would love to find something just as good for a tenth the price, I really would.

I have the benefit of an active system, and note how much you have to change the set up, when you put a different interconnect in, it's very illuminating

But, it has also taught me, you sometimes have to work with a cable to get the best out of it, a recent experience with two long run interconnects only reinforced this to me, as the two cables were distinctly different from each other in frequency response , and on changing roles, and resetting the system, I managed to get even better performance than I had previously, with the same two cables used differently
Try Goertz silver interconnects...you won't have to chose between resolution and timbral accuracy...it has you covered and you can add soundstaging and superb bass the that equation...for much less than the competition...
 

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
2,359
28
48
Switzerland
#32
Thanks! I definitely agree the better the system gets the more critical cables can be.

I recently experienced that with one power cable. Won't say the name but it used huge quantities of ~24g solid-core silver-plated copper and teflon wire in twisted pairs. Before testing this cable I was thinking that power cables must be converging in performance as the 3 I carry... Furutech S55N, DPS-4 and my own UPOCC copper litz cable, are pretty similar overall. This one was totally different and basically ruined my system when used with my preamp. Interestingly enough, the same type of wire but in stranded 12g makes for a pretty normal sounding power cable. In this case I've never heard any cable make as much difference as this one, and it was a power cable! I was shocked TBH...
We have been experiencing rather large gains with NBS power cables, despite my own bias that they MUST be ridiculously overpriced they seem to do quite a bit to quiet the background and enhance dynamics (or rather do less to detract dynamics). A friend of mine dumped all his passive filters and his power regenerator after putting all NBS power cords on his system. Isotek cables were significantly "noisier" for lack of a better term and the PS Audio power cords were distressingly bad (I suspect a plain black computer cable is significantly better but we didn't try. I have also had good success with Vovox power cords, which are solid core (I thik the NBS are as well...they are super stiff). I want to try Wireworld's "filtering" power cords as they seem to be constructed to reject RFI/EMI in a similar manner as the NBS power cords but for a fraction of the money.
 

DaveC

[Industry Expert]
Nov 16, 2014
2,213
8
38
#33
We have been experiencing rather large gains with NBS power cables, despite my own bias that they MUST be ridiculously overpriced they seem to do quite a bit to quiet the background and enhance dynamics (or rather do less to detract dynamics). A friend of mine dumped all his passive filters and his power regenerator after putting all NBS power cords on his system. Isotek cables were significantly "noisier" for lack of a better term and the PS Audio power cords were distressingly bad (I suspect a plain black computer cable is significantly better but we didn't try. I have also had good success with Vovox power cords, which are solid core (I thik the NBS are as well...they are super stiff). I want to try Wireworld's "filtering" power cords as they seem to be constructed to reject RFI/EMI in a similar manner as the NBS power cords but for a fraction of the money.
A PC with a built-in filter makes sense sometimes but it's not really a PC anymore, it's a filter with a hard-wired cord attached. A heavy-gauge solid-core wire has no place in any cable. There's 100% chance of the conductors cracking over time and the sound getting progressively worse until it fails entirely. You have to be careful because there are a lot of cables out there that are not durable enough and not protected from corrosion... these cables will degrade over time and possibly fail entirely. I've seen one brand of cable (I re-terminated a couple of them so am very familiar) that has a basic design where flexing the cable is bound to break it... you can't put two metal ribbons bound side-by-side with the ends fixed in place and not expect it to break! And this was a $3k cable! I've also seen a cable co use a solid-gold wire in a way where it always breaks over time. IDK... I'm a ME who has specialized in manufacturing so this kind of thing really bothers me.

Anyways, if you haven't tried a Furutech DPS-4 with FI-50 NCF plugs you should... they're not inexpensive ($450 USD/m for the bulk cable) but will beat most anything regardless of price. IF a filter for the individual component works the Furutech in-line filters are also world-class. For AC power products I don't think anyone can touch Furutech right now, and chances are you'll be able to pass these cables on to your children rather than have them go defective quickly.
 

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