By Lam Seng Fatt
Even an aged pair of ears belonging to an old cynical fellow who scoffed at silly guys who pay tens of thousands of ringgit for short pieces of wire could tell the difference when one power cord – already quite expensive- was substituted with an even more expensive model.
The power cords used for the demo were the Nordost Heimdall – which costs less than RM10k – and the Nordost Valhalla 2 – which costs more than RM30k. The event was the Nordost presentation at the Perfect Hi-Fi showroom in Wisma MPL, Kuala Lumpur, on Saturday, conducted by Nordost International Product Training & Sales Support chief Bjorn Bengtsson.
The audiophiles – mostly Nordost fans and owners – who turned up were divided into two groups for the demo which had Bjorn first substituting the Heimdall with the Valhalla 2 power cord and then removing two pairs each of the Nordost Qv2 AC Line Harmonizers and the Qk1 AC Enhancers to play a song before replugging them into the QB8 power distributor and playing the same song.
One could hear better bass and treble clarity with the Nordost Qv2 AC Line Harmonizers and the Qk1 AC Enhancers plugged in.
Durimg the second session, Bjorn also showed the differences between the first version of Valhalla balanced interconnects and the Mk II with – obviously – the latter sounding superior.
He also took some time to show how Nordost cables can improve sound quality with music streamed from a Pono music player to the Audio Research preamp. He used the lower-range Nordost Blue Heaven iKable and then replaced it with the more expensive Heimdall 2 iKable and the difference was remarkable.
Bjorn said Nordost has a product cycle of seven years and products are tested thoroughly before they are released, unlike some Japanese brands which release new models every few months.
He said he has been asked very often: “Which is the most important cable?” The answer is – the power cord. If the power cord is not well designed, it will not allow the product to perform well.
“Cables are filters, and filters alter the sound. They take away energy and dynamics. At Nordost, we practise a ‘no filter’ philosophy. The better cable is the one that changes the least,” he said.
He added that some people have asked why the power cord being connected to the mains which is connected to miles of wire to the power station can affect sound quality.
“The power cord is not the last two metres, it is the first two metres of cable connected to the grid. People mistakenly think the mains is like water supply – just turn on the shower and the water will be pushed out and flow. No, the power plant is not miles away from your house but right there in your CD player or amplifier. When the power switch is turned on, power is sucked into the component. One should never underestimate the importance of the power cord,” he said.
Later, during a delicious Chinese dinner, Bjorn revealed that he was a history buff too and the topics ranged from the Spanish Armada to Vikings to Thor to Hitler to the possibility of Greece pulling out from the European Union.