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New Nordost Heindall 2 USB


wdw

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Just a heads up for the Nordost crowd. Nordost have stepped up their game and added a Norse 2 series USB to their suite of cables. The only other USB cable is from their LEIF series, the Blue Heaven.

Love to hear any comments or reviews.

Regards,

WDW

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I received a Heimdall USB on Friday. I no longer have a Blue Heaven handy, but based on what I recall of it, the Heimdall is a big step up.

 

I'm going to allow a signal to flow through it for a more days before making a direct comparison to my Wireworld Platinum Starlight (WWPS). And on Thursday a friend will be bringing over his Lightspeed USB. This clobbered the WWPS last time it was here. I'm getting a sense that the Heimdall might do better.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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Just have one home...drove down to Oregon this weekend to grab one. The dealer, Pearl Audio, Portland, kindly had it burning in for a day or so.

Back into our system, at home, and we can happily attest to greater speed, slam, surprising definition and, on appropriate material (Bryn Terfel on Tannhauser, o! Du Meinwald holer Abendstern) a phenomenal soundstage....when compared to our older Blue Heaven.

Surprising since I suspect (rather know too well from discussions on this site) that the value of higher priced USB digital is the most controversial of any cable in a stereo.

WDW

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phenomenal soundstage....when compared to our older Blue Heaven

 

Exactly. The BH really shrunk the soundstage in width, but more so in depth, relative to my WWPS. That flat presentation was the BH's greatest weakness from my perspective. The size of the soundstage from the Heimdall was a lot closer to what I was accustomed to hearing from the WWPS even when right out of the box. I actually think I may now be getting more depth from the Heimdall.

 

Surprising since I suspect (rather know too well from discussions on this site) that the value of higher priced USB digital is the most controversial of any cable in a stereo.

 

I don't think it's controversial at all amongst those who give USB cables a fair listen in a system that has been properly cabled.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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Exactly. The BH really shrunk the soundstage in width, but more so in depth, relative to my WWPS. That flat presentation was the BH's greatest weakness from my perspective. The size of the soundstage from the Heimdall was a lot closer to what I was accustomed to hearing from the WWPS even when right out of the box. I actually think I may now be getting more depth from the Heimdall.

 

 

 

I don't think it's controversial at all amongst those who give USB cables a fair listen in a system that has been properly cabled.

 

available in mini-USB?

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available in mini-USB?

 

I don't see any mention on Nordost's site of support for mini-USB for either the Blue Heaven or Heimdall. You should check with a dealer.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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My sound stage is just fine, thank you.

 

Of course I was making a relative assessment. When compared to the Wireworld Platinum Starlight and the Heimdall, the Blue Heaven shrinks the soundstage. It's not subtle. But those other cables are much more expensive. For the money, the BH is a fine cable. Glad to hear you are pleased with it.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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Well that was a surprise. The Heimdall was sounding so good that I expected it to come out ahead in a direct comparison to the WWPS, but WWPS won the first round somewhat convincingly. It wasn't too hard to notice that the WWPS was passing along more information.

 

I will let the Heimdall continue to cook and compare them again in a couple days.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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Just a heads up for the Nordost crowd. Nordost have stepped up their game and added a Norse 2 series USB to their suite of cables. The only other USB cable is from their LEIF series, the Blue Heaven.

Love to hear any comments or reviews.

Regards,

WDW

 

Hi wdw,

 

I have one of these in for evaluation and it is burning in as I type this.

Though I've long recognized the importance of good cabling and have used Nordost speaker cables and interconnects for years, I've never experimented with any USB cables before.

 

Frankly, assuming the cable is functioning properly, I can't think of any reason why a different USB cable would make a difference, particularly in my situation, where I'm connecting the external drive housing the music library to the laptop. I'm not sending the digital audio via USB, as my converters connect via Firewire. It is just to send the data files from the drive to the computer. As I said, I can't think of any reason why one decent cable would sound different from another in this situation.

 

That said, I also recognize that there is no prerequisite for me to be able to think of a reason why there would be a sonic difference (or how there could be one) in order for there to in fact be one. And that is a good thing for the simple reason that they do indeed sound quite different.

 

More listening to come.

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

The Soundkeeper | Audio, Music, Recording, Playback

Barry Diament Audio

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Hi wdw,

 

I have one of these in for evaluation and it is burning in as I type this.

Though I've long recognized the importance of good cabling and have used Nordost speaker cables and interconnects for years, I've never experimented with any USB cables before.

 

Frankly, assuming the cable is functioning properly, I can't think of any reason why a different USB cable would make a difference, particularly in my situation, where I'm connecting the external drive housing the music library to the laptop. I'm not sending the digital audio via USB, as my converters connect via Firewire. It is just to send the data files from the drive to the computer. As I said, I can't think of any reason why one decent cable would sound different from another in this situation.

 

That said, I also recognize that there is no prerequisite for me to be able to think of a reason why there would be a sonic difference (or how there could be one) in order for there to in fact be one. And that is a good thing for the simple reason that they do indeed sound quite different.

 

More listening to come.

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

The Soundkeeper | Audio, Music, Recording, Playback

Barry Diament Audio

 

Hello Barry,

In my case the USB is connecting my computer digital out to the USB/SPDIF and then to my DAC. Suspect any possible improvements would be far more audible for this "higher level" signal but am very keen to hear your impressions with the cable used for digital data from your drives.

Regards,

Warren

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Frankly, assuming the cable is functioning properly, I can't think of any reason why a different USB cable would make a difference, particularly in my situation, where I'm connecting the external drive housing the music library to the laptop. I'm not sending the digital audio via USB, as my converters connect via Firewire. It is just to send the data files from the drive to the computer. As I said, I can't think of any reason why one decent cable would sound different from another in this situation.

 

I was of the same mind not too long ago. Hearing the improvement from the Wireworld Platinum Starlight surprised the heck out of me. The biggest surprise was the reduction in noise/haze/grain. I didn't expect this as I was only thinking in terms of zeros and ones.

 

Might these stock USB cables be acting as antennas in some way? Well yes certainly that's the case when it comes to USB 3.0, as documented by Intel here. I would imagine this would be the case as well with USB 2.0.

 

I am not so sure how much this will come to play when it comes to the replacing the USB cable that connects to an external drive. I can't imagine that an audiophile USB cable would as beneficial when used here as it would be when used between computer and DAC. But I could be wrong. I'm eager to hear your impression.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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Well that was a surprise. The Heimdall was sounding so good that I expected it to come out ahead in a direct comparison to the WWPS, but WWPS won the first round somewhat convincingly. It wasn't too hard to notice that the WWPS was passing along more information.

 

I will let the Heimdall continue to cook and compare them again in a couple days.

 

Thanks for the initial report. I read your first post with interest, as I have the WW Plat USB in my system and I'm a big fan of Nordost cables. I haven't tried any of their USBs, so I welcome your impressions.

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Thanks for the initial report. I read your first post with interest, as I have the WW Plat USB in my system and I'm a big fan of Nordost cables. I haven't tried any of their USBs, so I welcome your impressions.

 

Cool - thanks for mentioning that.

 

I think it might help to share a bit more about what I heard last night.

 

One of the songs I used for the comparisons was the first track from Jane Monheit's "Home" album in 96/24 from HDTracks. This is a fantastic recording. What I particularly like about this first track is sound of the ride cymbal. This recording portrays the sound of a ride cymbal in a way that's very convincing. They were able to capture the energy radiating off the cymbal with spatial cues in tact. I cannot think of another recoding that has captured the sound of a ride cymbal in a 3D space so well. This has proven to be a really good test for evaluating interconnect cables. The MITs have so far been the best I've heard at passing along these spatial cues.

 

Last night this cymbal proved itself to be a good test for evaluating USB cables. The Heimdall was unable to pass along all of the spatial cues that the WWPS was able to pass. The cymbal sounded less convincing as the energy pattern had flattened. Decays were shortened as well. It was as if the Heimdall filtering out low level details. As a result, just about everything sounded a little less convincing on this track, including Jane's voice and the plucked strings of the bass.

 

I will go back to this track again in a few days after the Heimdall cooked a bit more.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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...I cannot think of another recoding that has captured the sound of a ride cymbal in a 3D space so well...

 

Hi kennyb123,

 

OT, but if I do say so myself, this.

Captured in real stereo by the same matched pair of mics that picked up everything else, all "live" in a single take.

(By the way, the mic cables for the session were Nordost Valkyrja, which can be seen in the photos further down the page.)

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

The Soundkeeper | Audio, Music, Recording, Playback

Barry Diament Audio

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OT, but if I do say so myself, this.

Captured in real stereo by the same matched pair of mics that picked up everything else, all "live" in a single take.

 

I will definitely check this out. Thanks for going OT!

 

(By the way, the mic cables for the session were Nordost Valkyrja, which can be seen in the photos further down the page.)

 

Interesting that you mention the Valkyrja, as it was one of the interconnects I put through the cymbal test I mentioned above. Excellent cable.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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I will definitely check this out. Thanks for going OT!

 

 

 

Interesting that you mention the Valkyrja, as it was one of the interconnects I put through the cymbal test I mentioned above. Excellent cable.

 

Thank you kennyb123.

In the fourth track, O Que É Amar, the cymbals come in at around 17 seconds. You can hear the drummer moving around the kit from cymbal to cymbal. If cymbals are one of your tests, this one might help as it has the tonality as well as the spatial cues -- which even come through in the mp3 sample.

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

The Soundkeeper | Audio, Music, Recording, Playback

Barry Diament Audio

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In the fourth track, the cymbals come in at around 17 seconds. You can hear the drummer moving around the kit from cymbal to cymbal. If cymbals are one of your tests, this one might help as it has the tonality as well as the spatial cues -- which even come through in the mp3 sample.

 

I will check it out tonight for sure. It'll be interesting to hear how the different USB cables reproduce this. A friend will be bringing by his Lightspeed USB on Thursday and the track you suggest will have to be one we listen to. I will report back our observations.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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I will check it out tonight for sure. It'll be interesting to hear how the different USB cables reproduce this. A friend will be bringing by his Lightspeed USB on Thursday and the track you suggest will have to be one we listen to. I will report back our observations.

 

This thread is about the Nordost Heimdall 2 USB and not about whether you find the WWPS superior or not. Nevertheless, in your comparisions you have reduced any musical merit to some cymbal decay. This is totally worrisome and exposes the excesses of guys in a room and equipment.

This isn't a sporting event.

My wife and I listened to the Kyrie and discovered, to our joy and amazement, that the flutes, horns and associated winds follow the soprano in totally harmony as only that gifted Mozart can have written. This mystery wasn't so obvious to us until the Heimdall 2.

WDW

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This thread is about the Nordost Heimdall 2 USB and not about whether you find the WWPS superior or not. Nevertheless, in your comparisions you have reduced any musical merit to some cymbal decay.

 

The goal for me to to have my system bring me closer to hearing a live performance in my room. With each step I've taken in that direction, listening has become more enjoyable, more engaging and just more fun.

 

I'm a drummer and what I heard from that cymbal through the WWPS reminded me of the last ride cymbal I owned. That sense vanished with the Blue Heaven and Heimdall as the natural overtones that come from a real cymbal weren't coming through. The cymbal was just one example. I heard the same problem with all voices and instruments on that track, as they all suffered the same fate with the Heimdall. The loss of all that information put a greater distance between me and the music. The music became less enjoyable, less engaging, and less fun.

 

This is totally worrisome and exposes the excesses of guys in a room and equipment.

This isn't a sporting event.

 

It's worrisome that someone would want to take steps to improve their system's ability make instruments sound more like the real thing? Really?

 

My goal in sharing the information about the cymbal was to offer an example that would provide insight to others wondering how these two USB cables compare. The goal of a cable is to pass information faithfully. And in this case, I provided a specific example that supported my assertion that the WWPS does a better job of this than the Heimdall. I did this in an effort to try to help others. And I get disparaged for it? I won't be back.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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I think it might be more than a bit harsh to suggest that anyone has "reduced" anything simply because they offered an *example* of something they listened for in a comparison. No one said anything about listening to cymbals or their decay to the exclusion of everything else. Just as no one said anything about listening to wind instruments following the soprano to the exclusion of everything else. Is it so surprising (or "worrisome") that a drummer might listen to components of a drum kit when evaluating audio gear?

 

As one who is evaluating the same cable right now, I want to hear from *everyone* who is actually listening to it right now. If there are rules here about exactly how each of us must listen and exactly what each of us must listen for and exactly what we are allowed to compare this with, perhaps I'm in the wrong thread too.

 

The initial post said "Love to hear any comments or reviews." So would I.

kennyb123, I hope you stay because *I* want to know what you hear. We may hear it the same or we may hear it differently but I'd still like to know what your take is.

 

By the way, as far as the ride cymbal, for two to sound the same, wouldn't they have to be the same type (thickness, etc.)? I've heard cymbals with very widely varying sounds, as I'm sure have you. Also, changing the microphone (or mic technique) can change the sound at least as much as changing to a different cymbal. Just something to consider in the comparisons. I think the "better" cable will not necessarily make the ride cymbal on the recording sound like your own ride cymbal -- it will make it sound like what that particular microphone (and whatever was done to its signal) did to that particular cymbal in the recording. Of course, a good recording of your own cymbal would be an idea test vehicle.

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

The Soundkeeper | Audio, Music, Recording, Playback

Barry Diament Audio

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The initial post said "Love to hear any comments or reviews." So would I.

kennyb123, I hope you stay because *I* want to know what you hear. We may hear it the same or we may hear it differently but I'd still like to know what your take is.

 

You've just encouraged me to stick with it. Thanks for jumping in.

 

By the way, as far as the ride cymbal, for two to sound the same, wouldn't they have to be the same type (thickness, etc.)?

 

I'm pretty sure it's not the same kind of ride cymbal I owned, as they differed tonally (mine was an A Custom ride - I'm guessing the cymbal in the recording might have been a K Zildjian due to the richer, more colorful tone). What made me think of my ride cymbal was just the way the energy flowed out from it in a 3D space. I recalled my ride cymbal filling the air in a similar way. Nothing particularly special about my ride cymbal other than the fact that it was in the same room with me. And hearing that recording provided a similar sense that I was in the room with that ride cymbal.

 

I've heard cymbals with very widely varying sounds, as I'm sure have you. Also, changing the microphone (or mic technique) can change the sound at least as much as changing to a different cymbal. Just something to consider in the comparisons. I think the "better" cable will not necessarily make the ride cymbal on the recording sound like your own ride cymbal -- it will make it sound like what that particular microphone (and whatever was done to its signal) did to that particular cymbal in the recording.

 

Great points. There are many recordings that don't share enough information about the cymbals to tell you what brand or model might be in use. There are rare occasions though when certain additional cues come across that offer some additional insight.

 

I will check out the recording you suggested tonight. It's been a busy week and I haven't yet had the chance to get to it.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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OT, but if I do say so myself, this.

Captured in real stereo by the same matched pair of mics that picked up everything else, all "live" in a single take.

 

I just ordered this. Great sound from the MP3 sample, so I'm very much looking forward to hearing this in 24/192. Thanks for the recommendation.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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I just ordered this. Great sound from the MP3 sample, so I'm very much looking forward to hearing this in 24/192. Thanks for the recommendation.

 

Hi kennyb123,

 

Thank you. I'd been wanting to record a jazz quartet this way for a long time. I did a few years ago with another band but wasn't happy with the performances. These guys just came in and nailed it.

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

The Soundkeeper | Audio, Music, Recording, Playback

Barry Diament Audio

 

P.S. I just heard that my converters will soon be eligible for a modification that will take advantage of a whole new take on using USB between a computer and DAC. That will take my evaluations of the Heimdall 2 to the next level -- but the mod is still a few months away. Meanwhile, more listening with the cable between the hard drive (housing the music library) and the computer.

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