Rocky Mountain Audio Fest

Sunday October 12th, 2007

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All pictures in this report are freely copyable and distributable.

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We sat in on the Nordost* demo of their new ODIN cable. The second time I brought my camera (duh).

Sonically, this system was, and was likely intended to be, a 'typical' show system. The soundstage was blotchy, a hardness in the upper midrange, some sibilance, etc.

But that is not why we were here.

We were here to hear the new ODIN cable that Nordost announced early this summer.

Lars was kind enough to swap in and out Valhalla interconnects for ODIN interconnects a few times.

Uh Oh.

And ODIN interconnects are $16K / meter.

Oh poop.

OK, we expected increased clarity. We've experienced this with the Jorma Design 'Prime'  and it is very, very nice to add to a system.

We got increased clarity. And increased separation. And much larger soundstage size (width and height). And, to me, the most unexpected result: increased dynamics.

It was like going from ceramic drivers to horns.

Well, maybe not quite that big a change, but along the same lines, if you think about it, and very significant. I mean, you did not have to think 'did I hear this or that' difference - it was more, for me, a challenge to try and determine what hadn't changed.

Nordost cable, from our point of view, has several attributes that make it an attractive cable. Evenness top-to-bottom: frequencies, dynamics, harmonics (but with a slight dip in the midrange in their less-expensive cables). Consistency from component to component and system to system. Clarity, speed, durability.

Now we can add 'best-in-class' in front of those descriptions. The class now being the best (and most expensive) cables in the world. At least, this is what the demo strongly suggested.

We were certainly convinced enough so that we will be getting a few ODIN interconnects and speaker cables in here at Audio Federation, as a Nordost ODIN Supreme Reference Dealer, and we'll try them out on our somewhat more, shall we say, appreciative, show system, among other systems here. It'll be a blast! and we'll be posting impressions and reviews up on the blog for those who are also interested...


Let's see, some of the regular stuff during them demo will undoubtedly be covered elsewhere. But our take:

*   They cautioned against just throwing cables around, specifically just letting them drop to the floor, as a sign of disrespect. Certainly, as a sort of karmic event, or in front of customers, one would have to agree, right?

But my real take on that is that every time I drop an end of a cable, and sometimes, without 3 hands, it is almost impossible not to, whether it is an audio cable, TV cable, computer monitor cable, or whatever, I invariably, INVARIABLY, hear a loud *clang* or *clunk* as the end of the cable swerves to hit something nowhere near where I was dropping it. Then one is sorely tempted to lose more karma by cussing in the presence of  the spousal unit and whoever else might be observing this - what may seem to them - slapstick comedy. Then one has to investigate to see, if only from sheer curiosity, just what was clanging or clunking like that and boy, I always look at the situation, kind of just glancing around at things - trying not to see it at the same time I am trying to see it - hoping it isn't anything that can be scratched or dented or ... worse... broken.

So, yeah, we try to lay down cables very gently with an eye on those connectors that like to strike out like snakes at things.

* There are rumors (we haven't tested it ourselves, yet) that some longer lengths of cables sound better than shorter lengths.

I know what you all are thinking - a cable manufacturer's dream come true. But, the rest of us can also relax a little about trying to put everything really close together in order to improve the sound - because, at least with Nordost cable, we can now separate components from each other a little more using the longer lengths of cable - which is good because the patristic effects of power supplies on neighboring electronics is probably largely unpredictable, at least by mere humans without super-computers - but in any event its not likely to be so great  for the sound.

And then there is the added complexity that odd lengths are better than even ones, measured in meters, and how some really odd lengths might be the best of any of them.... which to me brought to mind the Golden Ratio (1.61803399) and what Nordost should do, in their spare time, is find the exact length, to the millimeter, that is a local maximum in performance at around, say, less than 3 meters, then assign this to be the Golden Length, then we can all get 1/2, 1/3. 1, 1.5, 2 etc. times this Golden Length (or use the Golden Ratio to order up a length of 1/1.618 * the Golden Length, or 1.618 * the Golden Length if you want something longer), and forget about meters. I mean, a meter is 'the length of the path traveled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1/299 792 458 of a second'. I mean how relevant is that to Audio? We need our own length!

OK, it is getting to be a long day.





We include the Nordost guide to the galaxy - as a quick and easy reference. All companies should have one of these - whether they make speakers, amps, cables, whatever. It would make life SO much easier.





The EBEN loudspeaker.





ODIN speaker cable connecting to the EBEN. Lars, the demonstrator extraordinaire, was BLASTING techno. Now, I love techno, but at this point I am hiding behind the speaker :-)





The demo room's equipment. Burmester CD player, BAT VK-32SE preamp and BAT power amp, Nordost THOR power distributor.





Nordost ODIN cables and Valhalla power cords.





It's all about the F-L-O-W (of those little electrons). You can almost see them zooming through the cables in this picture. Well, *I* can almost see them.





Neli holding the ODIN interconnect.





The Valhalla interconnect side-by-side the ODIN interconnect. The camera is focused somewhere in between the two... oh well. The other photos are worse, believe it or not.





ODIN speaker cables and interconnects as they arrive from the stork.





A close up of the speaker cable. We took a lot of close-ups of the interconnect at CEDIA - so if you want to see the molecules in those cables, see our CEDIA report.





The ODIN interconnect. Looks kind of suspended in air... but really, it can't fly. At least no one told us....





The ODIN speaker cable... from the side.





The Nordost ODIN speaker cable... from up close.










I like the Vivid speakers, very few cabinet problems, but this system was kind of blotchy, dynamic-wise and muddy. And it was really loud, sometimes, very loud, sometimes, and just plain loud, during my stay, thankfully.





The equipment rack of the new Luxman components.





Luxman integrated amplifier.





Luxman CD player.










The rear of the Vivid loudspeaker. Interesting design, isn't it?










Audio Unlimited is a local dealer in Denver.



































Audio Unlimited is a local dealer in Denver.

























GamuT, in a big room with new big speakers. But, didn;t get to hear the speakers. As you can see, everybody is facing left, where the smaller system is.





Their new big speaker. Darkiish wood. Steve seemed to like the look. Me? I don't know. Looks like the painted the drivers to look like wood veneer.










The smaller GamuT system. For some reason, I paid no attention to the sound. It is such a large room, not sure what one could learn about small speaker in a big room - seems like they would sound different in something on the order of a regular room.










Linn, Linn, Linn. I really do not like this sound. Very clipped, free of harmonic color, aggressive midrange, very Circuit Citiy-ish (but with better bass). Can you tell I didn't like it? Heard this line of theirs in Montreal - same thing. In my opinion something you do NOT want to use for video, which already has these same problems.






Copyright Audio Federation, Inc.. All rights reserved.
All pictures in this report are freely copyable and distributable.

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