Review: Nordost "System", QB8, Qx4, Qv2 and Norse 2
Nordost… not much needs to be said about this cultbrand. Launched by affable Joe Reynolds back in 1991 (!), Nordost had become one of, if not the most respected brands of high performance Hi-Fi cables. Recently all cables have been upgraded to Version 2 (V2) status, prompting a delivery of the entire ensemble at casa K for review. Link to full review at Postive-Feedback Online is here, and a German version will be available at my other home away from home, Hifistatement shortly as well. Meanwhile, enjoy a few snippets and all the gorgeous hi-res images. Drool factor 4. A+++
Newsflash: Nordost Valhalla Series 2!
Swiss Nagra embraces your fantasizes of owning audio equipment styled like the cockpit of a Russian MiG fighter jet. Feminine tastes be damned, this stuff is rad. And it sounds great as well, or so was the opinion of everyone who heard the Nagra/Verity room.
Nagra is making a resurgence with a handful of components coming out of the ultra-expensive pro scene. That CD-C transport was the star of the room. The entire CD drive mechanism ejects from the transport and can, I'm told, support hundreds of pounds of pressure (but don't test it). The player also has a solid state line stage built in, as can be seen in the larger pics next page. Price for the Nagra CD-C is expected to be between $10k and $16k. On the very top is the Nagra V professional recorder.
Below, those barefoot-in-a-dark-room-nightmares on the floor are the $19,295 Nagra VPA monoblock amps using 845 tubes for 50 watts of juice. On the bottom of the rack is the $15,995 Nagra MPA solid state amp pumping out 250 watts which was playing when I was there. An integrated version of the MPA with remote is also available for $18, 995. In the middle of the rack is Audion's Quattro double box preamp which was used for most of the show.
All cabling was solid palladium wire by Silversmith. Prices are as follows:
Six foot speaker cables: $9800
Three foot interconnects: $4000
Dixie cup cable elevators: Priceless
Keep reading for some of the coolest photos from the show.
Stealth Audio Carbon Nanofiber Interconnects
You can keep your stinkin' space elevator, all I want for Christmas are Carbon Nanofiber interconnects from Stealth Audio. Forged from solid carbon nanofibers, there is absolutely NO METAL anywhere in this cable. Even the custom RCA plugs and connector jackets are entirely nanoed-up.
Surely to be the talk of 2006, keep reading for more on the Stealth Nanofibers.
Crystal Cable Sleeps Around
Cables get no love. At the recent Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, Crystal Cable tricked out many, many audio systems, becoming the most popular cable used by the loudspeaker and equipment manufacturers in attendance. A pretty big accomplishment one would think is news worthy, right? But, no, like an easy lay, Crystal didn't even get a "thank you" in the morning from the established audio press. Shame on you.
Ever-sensitive, 6Moons spends some deserved cuddle time with Crystal. And being a softy myself, here's a rundown on some of the sickest cables in all of audio. Go to the next page for a link torrent and why Crystal Cable should be on your short list if the thought of auditioning cables makes you physically ill.
Stealth Varidig Sextet Digital Interconnect
Ever verbose "6Moons Srajan" takes a look at Steath Audio's Varidig Sextet interconnect, priced at $2400 and $3000 for one meter of RCA/BNC or AES/EBU respectively. Like everything Srajan writes, this review isn't for the weak of heart so prepare for discussions of MetaCarbon, NanoFiber and amorphous alloys.
"Accordingly, all I'm prepared to say about the Stealth Sextet is that like the Indra, it supports peak resolution while inducing a very relaxed, effortless psychological state."
You'll have to read the whole article to see what that means. Also, here's the beginning of Srajan's love affair with the Stealth Indra Interconnect, widely believed to be the best interconnect in the entire galaxy.
Atlas Cables Electra Interconnects
Stereo Times takes a look at the expensive offerings from Atlas Audio, a British cable company. Reviewer Michael talks about the lack of British cable companies and, now that he mentions it, I'm hard pressed to think of any British cables - the best come from the states or Europe. Does Atlas change the balance? Not really, to be honest, but Michael says they are some damn nice cables if you can come up with the cash - about 1 grand for the XLRs and $315 for the power cables.
Atlas Cable Electra Review [Stereo Times]
Harmonic Technology CyberLight Interconnects
The CyberLights have been getting some wicked reviews for technology that is definitely unique in the industry: lasers and fiber-optics carry the sound rather than copper or silver.
"The CyberLights represent one of the greatest technological breakthroughs in high-performance audio that I have experienced in my audiophile lifetime. Gulp."
The "gulp" is for excessive hyperbole which, as Michael Fremer well knows, is the cancer of in the audio reviewer world. I won't go into the details on how lasers transmit analog sound, but, basically, if you've got $1500 for interconnects, you'd best look at the Harmonic Tech CyberLights. He goes on to say he pities competing audio cable manufactures for having now-defunct technology. Ouch.
Silversmith Palladium Cables
Yes, you read that correctly: palladium cables. Not silver, gold or platinum. Palladium. And they cost $4000 a meter for the interconnects and $9800 for 2 meters of speaker cable. But the real question is if these are God's-own cables and, according to the Positive Feedback review, they are not. They do some things very nice, as they should, but it strikes me better performance could be had elsewhere.
Siltech SQ-110 and LS-188 Classic Cables Review
SoundStage reviews the Siltech SQ-110 Classic Mk 2 Interconnects and LS-188 Classic Mk 2 Speaker Cables and proclaims:
"You can find interconnects and speaker cables that have greater high-frequency brilliance, and there are cables that portray images with slightly more heft and fullness. But the balance of Classic Mk 2 can make such traits sound like aberrations to various degrees."
Meaning, you have to be very careful when matching equipment to these cables (or the other way around). When everything works well, the cables are awesome. Of course, at $2600/meter for the interconnects and $5800 for 2.5 meter pair of speaker cables, they should be damn good.