NORDOST Valhalla V2

MJ29.11.2019

Interconnects

The sound of the Valhalla V2 is built top-down. The cable has sparkling and superclean highs, understated mids and lean bass. Such tonality projects into the music in many different ways, depending on what is playing. However, the general impression is that of stunning openness, exceptional illumination capabilities, great dynamics and rhythmic drive.

Function and form

86%
Ease of use
91%
Sound
98%
Appearance

The new Valhalla V2 is a sleek piece of design, built around Nordost’s proprietary dual monofilament technology and using copper wires with 85 microns of polished silver plating. Dual Mono-Filament technology uses two FEP/Teflon spirals, which are wound around each other and then around the conductor before it is sealed in Teflon dielectric. This introduces an air gap and provides less interaction between the insulation material and the conductor. There are also two layers of silver shielding for the cable. Nordost replaced (finally) WBT Nextgen connectors with their low mass Holo:Plugs to prevent storing mechanical energy that could find a way back to the system.

Bass management

Weight
91
Slam
91
Articulation
92

Although relatively thin and flexible the V2 is not too easy to use in its XLR version. The cable allows zero axial torsion and if the length of it is short you’ll have to be lucky to have the connector pins in a good position to connect them without twisting them too much. Otherwise you may end up buying an extra length which comes at remarkable expense. With RCAs the problem is non-existent.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
94
Air
94
Transparency
95

The Crazed Women album of Blazing Redheads (Reference Recordings, RR 41CD) has sleeve artwork that is downright terrible, but the sound quality is of high RR’s standard as usual. Schmoozin’ was recorded direct to a two-track tape recorder and it boasts with 16dB dynamic range, and has studio immediacy that places the listener into a control room behind a console. [The booklet reads that to evaluate the sound during mastering process Spectral CD player and amplifiers were used, plus Duntech Sovereign II loudspeakers. Ed.].  The saxophone sound jumped out of my speakers with the Nordost Valhalla V2. It had bloom and wonderful sense of acoustic space around the instruments. The saxes had exceptional bite and the bass guitar, though not digging too deep, had punch and glorious round tone to it. The Valhalla V2 was like a spotlight searching for the tinniest of details and I could not but love the impressive soundstage width that was one of the best you can have from any interconnect. It also highlighted the hiss of the master tape which is always a good indication that a cable (or a piece of equipment) deviates from strict neutrality.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
86
Dynamics
89
Temporal resolution
94

I preferred Valhalla V2 to any cable on synthesizer pieces, like Silence (Delerium, Karma, Nettwerk). Sonic tapestries of Delerium fronted by Sarah McLachlan threw fantastic soundstage filled with the acoustic guitar line, ultra-precisely separated from otherwise synthetic background. Or take Klaus Schulze. La Vie Electronique 5 is a 3-disc collection of banks of pulsing sequencers, all analogue, all captured live-to-tape during Schulze’s concert tours in 70’s. The sound of these ‘vintage’ cuts was refreshing as a breeze through the Valhalla V2 and bubbling synthesizers regained new life with the extra spark that the V2 lent to them. It is pain for a hi-fi enthusiast to see pictures from Schulze’s performances that were recording venues at the same time – the artist surrounded by sequencers and synthesizers like an Airbus pilot, the machines connected by endless lengths of analog cables, looped, haphazardly ordered, who knows if shielded? Yet the sound captured on tape is captivating, pure and dynamic. Just dig it out with the Valhalla V2.

Spatial resolution

Holography
95
Soundstage width
95
Soundstage depth
94

The only weakness of the Valhalla V2 interconnect was actually mentioned in the beginning of this review. The upward tilt of its frequency response signifies outstanding illumination power and laser-like resolution which makes it spatially very accurate, even more so than the original Nordost Odin. The string quartet suited the V2 very well and I had a good time listening to how the V2 conjured up the images of the instruments in the acoustic space. So what’s the downside? The bodies of instruments are not so well reproduced, the V2 favours steel over wood, breathiness over chestiness. I had similar experience with orchestral music where harp, castanets and flutes took over the performance, and when horns joined in the sound cut like a knife. It was quite attractive as previously hardly heard details surfaced with strong presence, but it was always departure from the organic sound of a big orchestra that is about the wholeness, not about showing off.

Price as reviewed:183 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

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

Associated components

  • Sources: Accuphase DP-720, SPL Q2048 Mastering Equalizer, McIntosh MCT500 SACD/CD transport + integrated DAC C2600
  • Amplifiers: TAD-M2500 MkII, McIntosh pre/power C2600/MC611
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Audioquest Redwood, Audioquest Wild, AudioQuest King Cobra, InAkustik Referenz, Ansuz Signalz C2, Ansuz Signalz D2, Tellurium Q Ultra Silver, Tellurium Q Silver Diamond, Vovox Sonorus XL, McIntosh Balanced, Nordost Odin
  • Loudspeakers:  TAD Evolution One E1, Sonus Faber Olympica III, Sonus Faber Olympica Nova III
  • Power conditioninh: Shunyata Research Denali, Nordost Valhalla, Ansuz Mainz C2, Pangea AC-9SEMKII, Roth Audio Orfeo + other prototypes Roth Audio, Synergistic Research Atmosphere Level 2, Synergstic Research Euphoria Level 3, AudioQuest Hurricane

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