NORDOST Odin

MJ07.12.2009

Power cables

The truth is actually very simple: there is no other piece of wire like the Nordost Odin. If you have doubts stop questioning it unless you have given a listen to it. Even the Odin is probably not a final solution. According to the Norse mythology Odin was killed in a fight with a monstrous wolf called Fenrir. There is no reason for Nordost to panic as no Fenrir has been apparently born yet. It will appear one day, for sure, but until the wolf comes the Odin will sit on the top.

100% reference

Funkce a forma

90%
Ergonomie
95%
Zvuk
100%
Zpracování

Now, what makes the Odin so different from the Valhalla?

Both use solid core oxygen free copper conductors suspended in a dual micro mono-filament matrix and insulated by FEP. Whereas there is seven wires covered by 70 microns of silver in the Valhalla, the Odin sports only 6 wires with a marginally thicker silver plating (80 microns). Unlike any other Nordost cable the Odin is shielded. Not only the cable as a whole but each individual wire is shielded by special tubes that provide impenetrable barrier against incoming and outcoming high frequency noise in both radial and axial directions and this is certainly something new. Attentive readers of our magazine noted excellent Furutech’s piezo-ceramic FI-50 series connectors that had been praised on the opportunity of the Furutech Powerflux power cord review. In the very same article we said that the Valhalla’s terminations (HiFi Tunning plugs and Wattgate IECs) were nothing special and consequently speculated how much of an improvement one could get if the Valhalla’s conductors could benefit from FI-50 terminations. Well, this dream comes true in the Odin as it carries the Furutech’s piezo-ceramic plugs, replacing gold with rhodium – we can rejoice!

Nízké frekvence

Váha
96
Výbušnost
96
Artikulace
96

This review is scheduled to close the series of power cords tests that we had started several months ago. Therefore I am not going to spend more time on describing power cords mystics - you are welcome to check the full article here. Rather let the Odin feed our system to hear what the $16,000 may sound like...

We started with an impeccably recorded piano in Romance from Mozart’s concertos (W.A.Mozart, Piano Concertos No.20 & No.27, Decca SACD). It is surprising to hear such a brilliant and vivid performance and the amount of recorded details if you consider that the original tapes were made back in 1970.
Through the Odin the recording has the typical ´live´aura – do not expect a pitch black background, rather there is the noise of note sheets being turned, players being restless on their chairs and you can enjoy occassional muted sounds from within the orchestra. The piano and strings guide us into the piece with sensational clarity – radiating warmth of the strings combine with a ringing quality of the piano, letting each transient information be perfectly delineated in time and space and you can trace the sound of trailing off like on a GPS screen. The presentation of the Odin was so fluid, seamless and enticing that we had to force ourselves to stop the SACD and switch to the Valhalla.

Čistota rozlišení

Detail
96
Vzduch
96
Transparentnost
96

ER noticed that through the Valhalla the piano is ´smaller´, the grandness of the instrument is gone and the overall sound of the orchestra is a bit thinner and projected closer to a listener.
BCh put it very simply by saying that the piano through the Odin is a piano and the Valhalla could not compete as far as harmonic definition of the instrument is concerned. I made scratched similar notes in my notepad – the Valhalla appeared to be more ´synthetic´and the harmonic definition and textural resolution were not indeed that complex and naturally vivid as with the Odin.

Well, there were differences to hear but would you pay that extra to get the Odin sound? To continue with rare perfromances, Pictures At An Exhibition were the next piece we played. This recording of Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by René Leibowitz was captured in 1962 (Moussorgsky, Pictures At An Exhibition – The Power of The Orchestra, Analogue Productions) and features near to perfect symphonic sound and a very competent performance. In The Great Gate of Kiev you would be completely blown by horns that are brilliant, extended and dynamically uncompressed and as a result virtually soaring into the sky. The Odins lets you hear the tender stroke of a big kettle (at 1´10 mark) – the skin of the drum is not hit, just touched, and this is what you can hear. Each note is rendered with real timing, shape and placement, the orchestral soundstage is drawn with a precise yet natural spatial organisation and leaves a listener craving for more.

Tonální věrnost

Témbr
96
Dynamika
96
Časování
96

Benny Carter´s I´m Coming Virginia (Benny Carter, Jazz Giant, Contemporary Records) was another excellent recording; one that managed to shed a full light to all the aforementioned observations and let us make final conclusions. First, let the Odin speak:

The track begins with a trumpet. The sound is razor-sharp, clearly defined and with a lot of air and space around it. Despite its spot-light definition the sharpness is surprisingly comfortable – the illusion of a trumpet is so perfect that it invites you to reach out your hand and touch the brass of the instrument. A double-bass possesses a dynamite-like quality with its omnipresent penetrating voice and induces feeling of a system supported by a precise and fast subwoofer. By the time a saxophone entered the stage we already had been in a state of pure indulgence – but when you experience a player taking his breath (4´15) and letting it flow through the sax across the room right to your shirt, it is nothing short of awe. It was so beautiful.

Through the Valhalla the track was rendered flatter. When I look back and read what I reported about the Valhalla a month ago it may seem to you that I´m going mad, however, I swear it is exactly what we heard. With the impression of being flatter there is also a feeling of less effortless spatial organisation and less natural flow of musical notes. The sax is more ´audiophile´through the Valhalla and perhaps more sonically appealing but when you listen carefully the textural magic of the Odin is what a listener would miss in the end. Also the 4´15 breathing-in is more artificial and one-dimensional, at least in my ears. And what others say?

ER: Trumpet is squeaky and its harmonic tonality is absolutely incomparable to the Odin. To me the sound is less brassy, less alive. With the Odin there is a bit more of light and shade in the music, more microdynamical contrast that pulls you in. Isn´t it possible that we have connected something incorrectly? I would say the difference is that of a very good SACD disc and a standard CD.

BCh: The Valhalla a tad more ´careful´. I hear a fatal difference in a way the Odin handles emotions – it is all about goose-bumps, liquid cleanliness and a near-reality experience – for instance the sax materialized in our listening room before and that´s what I miss with the Valhalla. It puzzles me...

JN: A new trouble has arrived with the Odin: the improvements are so essential that it becomes next to impossible to downgrade to anything else without the feeling that you miss something. When I use another wires I always have a niggling that there is something wrong with an audio system.

Prostorovost

Trojrozměrnost
96
Šířka scény
96
Hloubka scény
96

To conclude I will quote one of the listeners:

“The Valhalla is terrific and its sound has only a handful of challengers. Without a warning the Odin arrives and redefines all known charts, everything. It calls for a mindset change.”

Cena v době recenze:125 000,- Kč

Doporučení prodejci

Perfect Sound Group, Praha, tel. +420 722 960 690

Připojené komponenty

  • Sources: EMM Labs TSD1 (transport) and EMM Labs DAC2 (D/A DAC)
  • Amplifiers: Audiomat Opus 2 and Audiomat Festival,
  • Loudspeakers: JMlab Focal Alto Utopia Be, Dynaudio Evidence Master
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Nordost Valhalla, Nordost Odin
  • Power conditioning: IsoTek Titan, Nordost Qb8, Nordost Thor

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