Our most recent meeting: 

September: Nordost

In our September meeting, Mike Marko from Nordost joined us to demonstrate the variety of cables in the Nordost lineup, among some of their other products.

Nordost specializes in speaker cables, interconnects, and power cables made entirely in the USA from the finest materials available using manufacturing techniques to which few companies have access.

Mike began the listening tests by asserting that, even when the rest of a system's cables are superb, a single power cable on a single low current device such as a DAC can have an audible difference. We listened to a standard black power cord, then a power cord from Nordost's Blue Heaven line, next a power cord from their Frey 2 line, and ending with the power cord from their Valhalla 2 reference line.

Next, we listened to the difference a USB cable can make, running from a computer source to a DAC. We listened to the lower Blue Heaven USB cable, and also the mid-range Heimdall 2 USB cable.

Following the cable tests, we listened to music selections with and without Nordost's feet under equipment. Nordost purports that all vibration in a system is bad, and even devices with no moving parts can create subtle vibrations if current is passed through them. Using traditional spikes for speakers and gear transmits vibrations in both directions, while isolating equipment with foam or rubber feet keeps vibrations from being transmitted in either direction. Nordost offers multiple levels of "mechanically tuned resonance control devices" that, through clever mechanical design, allow vibrations to pass in one direction only: out through the feet and not back in.

We tested first the preamp with and without feet, and then the power strip with and without feet.

The general consensus from the vocal members of the club was that the Nordost products made an audible improvement that wasn't particularly subtle. Color us skeptics, but many of us wanted to dismiss these products and their fabulous price tags. Yet we weren't able to that. Several members mentioned that while there shouldn't be a reason for these cables to sound different from an electrical engineering perspective, they do sound different, and that difference is a marked improvement.

Mike put together a great show-and-tell, and Nordost's products made for a fascinating first meeting for our season. We hope to see them back, and we hope to have presentations with other companies that can as clearly demonstrate audible improvements throughout their product lines.

At this meeting, we also welcomed our new Audio Society president, Oliver Masciarotte.

We had an even fifty of our regular members in attendance for our fall kickoff meeting to our 2014-2015 season. We look forward to seeing all of you again soon.