Nordost Heimdall 2 Loudspeaker Cable Review

Posted on 23rd October, 2023

Nordost Heimdall 2 Loudspeaker Cable Review

Mark Gusew is very impressed by this distinctively designed, premium-priced pair of speaker cables…

Nordost

Heimdall 2 Loudspeaker Cables

£2,395 (2m pair)

Heimdall 2 Loudspeaker Cable Review

The Nordost brand is famous for its distinctive flat, ribbon-like cables. Every model from the Leif through to the Odin Gold is made this way, and at first glance, all of them look much the same. Of course, the difference is in the materials used and their unique properties, so cost and sound quality differ accordingly. Today we are looking at the Heimdall 2 speaker cable, which is the entry-level model from the Norse 2 family.

Some may wonder if the flat profile is just a marketing gimmick, but this is not the case, as there are considered reasons for the layout. Since 1992, Nordost has championed this design, believing that bunched conductors cause strand interaction – allowing information to jump from one conductor to the other. This, it is argued, slows the transmission speed, adds capacitance and introduces losses. A flat profile minimises those effects, allowing the cable to sound better as a result, according to the manufacturer.

Heimdall 2 Loudspeaker Cable Review

As the cables have a clear jacket, you can see that each conductor – which is silver plated 99.99999% solid core oxygen-free copper in this case – is helically wrapped with careful spacing along the length. A red thread or filament is then encased within extruded flat ribbon Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene (FEP) insulation. This technique is said to create a virtual air dielectric between each conductor, thus providing an electrically and mechanically stable suspension system that minimises resonance.

The Heimdall 2 sports eighteen separate 22 AWG solid core conductors that are carefully arranged into a flat ribbon. Nordost says that it is “the only audio cable manufacturer with the ability to achieve this unique cable design… due to the intricate extrusion process employed during fabrication.” The company also suggests that the design “results in a far superior performance level than that of the commonly seen round variety”, no less.

Heimdall 2 Loudspeaker Cable Review

I gave my pair of review cables around two hundred hours of running on my second system before doing any serious listening. Nordost often recommends that a single speaker cable is used for connecting loudspeakers with dual binding posts and to use a bi-wire jumper. I was supplied a set of Norse 2 jumpers to use, so that's how I reviewed them.

THE LISTENING

From the moment that I swapped my existing speaker cables and started listening to the Heimdall 2, it was obvious that I was hearing a product that performs exceptionally well. It is highly resolving, very neutral and open, with a huge soundstage that allows music to flow unhindered.

Cables cannot sound highly resolving unless they're also inherently quiet or free from internal distortions. The piano is a hugely revealing instrument with which to assess cables, so I cued up Alice Sara Ott playing Beethoven's Piano Sonata No.14 in C Sharp Minor. Particularly during the final two minutes, I could clearly hear the differences in the attack of the notes according to the pressure exerted on the keyboard, the sustain and the beautiful reverb within the room.

Heimdall 2 Loudspeaker Cable Review

With the Nordost cables in situ, there was a conspicuous lack of noise, and I loved how the notes played delicately between left and right channels as the sound filled the room. Due to the cable's proficiency in conveying dynamics, piano sounded very natural and the performance flowed beautifully. Every note's attack transient was razor-sharp, and during the track's finale, it was thrilling to hear the piano's soundboard becoming excited by the heavier, deeper tones. Lesser performing cables truncate notes artificially, but not these. The kick drum and bass tones in Just Cause by Billie Eilish also showed the purity of these cables, this recording appearing less artificial than I have heard in the past.

THE VERDICT

Nordost has been refining the technology and materials used in its speaker cables for decades, and, in my view, the Heimdall 2 shows this provenance. Although not cheap, it's easily better sounding than all the other speaker cables I have to hand, including my reference loom, which costs considerably more. Naturally, it's important to match these cables to a suitably revealing system so that their overall resolution and transparency can be fully appreciated. The better the system, the nicer the cables sound, which is why these would be lost in – say – a £2,000 system, where the cost of the cables is almost that of the system. Despite this not being the company's flagship product, it gives an awful lot of performance for its price – so is well worth an audition.

Visit Nordost for more information

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    Mark Gusew's avatar

    Mark Gusew

    Starting his first audio consultancy business in the early 80’s whilst also working professionally in the electronics industry, Mark now manages a boutique audio manufacturer.

    Posted in:Hi-Fi Accessories Cables
    Tags: nordost 

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