Nordost Blue Heaven RCA Interconnect Cable Review
Neville Roberts samples this affordable phono lead from an illustrious cable company…
Blue Heaven RCA Interconnect Cable
£370 (1 Meter Pair)
Blue Heaven is a member of Nordost's Special Application range, which covers RCA, tonearm, S/PDIF, Ethernet, USB, headphone and subwoofer cables. This analogue RCA interconnect cable is the third tier of Nordost's Leif family of cables, which uses technology derived from the company's more expensive Valhalla and Odin ranges, and is priced at £370/ for a 1-metre stereo pair.
All Leif cables are constructed using silver-plated OFC solid-core conductors, which have undergone the company's proprietary FEP extrusion process. The aim of this is to reduce the dielectric properties of the cables and thus increase signal speeds to improve signal transfer accuracy, the company says. Dielectric effects are further reduced by mechanically tuning the conductors through the adjustment of their dimensions and spacing.
The Blue Heaven analogue RCA interconnect cable is clearly a well-made product and comes fitted with gold-plated RCA connectors at each end. The cable, resplendent in its translucent blue sheath, is quite flexible and presents no difficulties in connection to my equipment. It is also directional, indicated by arrows printed on the heat shrink at one end of the cable.
Joe Reynolds of Nordost was one of the first people to advocate the theory of a coherent cable loom. Therefore, in reviewing this analogue interconnect, Blue Heaven power cords were also used to power my 300B PSE valve monoblocks and Blue Heaven speaker cables connected my IMF 200 transmission line loudspeakers to the monoblocks. The Blue Heaven interconnects were used to connect the valve preamp to the monoblocks.
Right from the outset, this interconnect treats the listener with a very well balanced sound that is musical, engaging and beautifully detailed. Of particular note is the crystal-clear top end, which is a testament to the silver-plating on the OFC conductors. This was illustrated by a recording of Jacques Loussier, and his jazz version of J S Bach's Siciliano in G Minor played on the piano, double bass and drums. The perfectly positioned hi-hats, correctly situated behind the piano near the end of the piece, sparkled with clarity. I was pulled into the performance by all the detail and the effortless rendition of Loussier's precise playing. All this demonstrated how well the Blue Heaven interconnect conveyed all the innate spatial information contained in the recording.
The low-end performance of the Nordost RCA cable is also top-notch. Listening to some techno-jazz music in the shape of Equipe 68 from the double LP Before We Forget by Azymuth, and the bass was powerful and punchy. The drums and hi-hats were crisp, tight and wonderfully engaging, with the great energy of this performance being splendidly conveyed. As with the Loussier recording, the focus of the hi-hats was particularly well-defined.
This interconnect is also highly adept at reproducing a wide and full soundstage. A recording of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra came over as full and luscious, with a wide and open recorded acoustic and very clear top end. Imaging specifically showed that the Blue Heaven was equally comfortable with solo instruments as it was with full orchestras. Playing a romantic piece by Anthony Mawer entitled Poem Once Remembered performed on an acoustic guitar and a flute, the mournful opening section with the unaccompanied guitar flowed gracefully into the flute section, which then took over the melody. The bass string work on the guitar brought the whole piece together beautifully, demonstrating the innate musicality of this interconnect.
It proved impressive with vocals too. With a double album of Lyn Stanley and her Jazz Mavericks entitled Live at Studio A, her sultry jazz style when she sings Blue Moon was not only smooth and effortless but also impressively detailed. The performance actually sounded scarily realistic in my listening room, with a soundstage that extended beyond the width of my loudspeakers. It was also blessed with excellent stage depth, and the focus on the individual instruments was superb.
The Blue Heaven certainly lives up to its manufacturer's claims of offering accurate signal transfer at a relatively affordable price. Certainly, the improvement garnered over only slightly less expensive interconnects I've heard was quite something – with especially impressive detail and sound staging. Value-wise it punches well above its weight, so it is well worth auditioning.
A Chartered Scientist, Chartered Engineer, Chartered Physicist and a Fellow of the British Institution of Engineering and Technology, Neville has worked as a Director of the British National Health Service, for the Ministry of Defence and in private industry. He’s a lifelong audio enthusiast and regular contributor to British hi-fi magazines, with a passion for valves and vinyl.
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