Nordost Heimdall 2 Tonearm Cable Review
Since our review of the Nordost Leif Blue Heaven tonearm cable back in June, we have been listening to the Heimdall 2 to figure out what the extra cash buys you.
Norse 2 Heimdall 2
The Blue Heaven is impressive and, although £330 is not impulse-buy territory for many, the Heimdall 2 from the Norse 2 range, starting at £610, will undoubtedly send many running to the forums posting angry and/or laughing emojis.
That said, we are here to listen to the components and accessories sent to us and then let you know our thoughts. So, we'll start with this one - Any cable will degrade the signal, but the better ones deteriorate that signal less than the others.
Now, whether-or-not you think that cables are worth spending money on, well that's your decision as is the choice between a Poundland digital watch or a £121k Panerai Luminor Tourbillon - they both merely tell the time, right?
Nordost Norse 2
The Norse 2 range is a step above the Leif line from which the Blue Heaven belongs.
Nordost describes Norse 2 as being their High-Performance range. Here you will find the Frey 2 and Tyr 2 lines with the Heimdall 2 being the entry-point.
Like Leif cables, the Norse 2 family uses silver-plated, OFC solid-core conductors, extruded FEP insulation and a mechanically tuned construction. However, Nordost says that “Norse 2 employs even further technological advances, unlocking the full potential a HiFi audio system has to offer.”
Nordost's proprietary Dual Mono-Filament construction creates a virtual air dielectric around those silver-plated OFC solid-core conductors.
With effective shielding, dual grounding and a full range of termination options in both single-ended and balanced configurations, the Heimdall 2 Tonearm Cable enables you to specify the topology and promises to liberate the musical performance locked in the grooves of your LP collection. Well, we'll see about that later.
However, what can agree on, is that the cable's position, right at the start of the signal chain, and the fragile nature of the signals it carries make it doubly critical and will deliver a double performance benefit when you get it right.
To keep things as fair as possible between the two Nordost cables the kit remained the same - although we did upgrade from the YBA IA3A integrated amplifier to the Passion during the review but did give the Heimdall a fair crack of the whip with the IA3A before swapping it out.
Our first impression was that there appeared to be more guts to the low-end of the Marten Duke 2. It was the kind of difference that you'd get from getting your speakers in the optimal position after being happy with them before - it's just better.
However, the more we put them against each other, the Heimdall 2 also revealed a smoother, more natural upper register too.
Instrumentation was well defined and upon returning to Radiohead's remastered OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997 2017 both Meeting in the Aisle and Paranoid Android enjoyed further improved dynamics. Nordost's renowned speed and timing were very much present. However, we have heard tell of some Nordost cable sounding 'thin' - that is certainly not the case here. Are our ears broken or have things improved? Well, we'd like to think that our ears are working fine, thank you.
All Around the World or The Myth of Fingerprints from Paul Simon's Graceland LP had that 'band in the room' vibe as Simon and Los Lobos grooved through the track. The drums and bass had a tangible quality that had us feeling that we could grab a conga from Ralph MacDonald and join in. However, it was the track Homeless that underpinned our thoughts regarding the tonal purity that the Heimdall 2 brings to the party. The Ladysmith Black Mambazo singers' vocals were rich, clear and natural. When Paul joins in with the question and answer section, you can hear precisely where he is stood in relation with the group. Captivating.
In our system, there was another audible improvement. Was it just 'different'? No. There was definitely a sense of 'more' from the Heimdall. The lower frequencies were more abundant, the upper ones cleaner and the soundstage had more depth and width.
Was there a world of difference between the Blue Heaven and the Heimdall? We are confident that an upgraded cart and/or phono stage would have improved things by a higher degree (as well as costing much more money). Still, there was a noticeable and enjoyable improvement between the two cables.
We have really enjoyed our time with the Heimdall 2 to the point of delaying this review so that we could hold on to it for longer before its return. Last week, it was demanded back, so here is the review. Unfortunately, it wasn't until we returned the cables did we notice that we seem to have accidentally deleted all but a couple of the photos we took of them - hence the lack of snaps in this review. Sorry.
Our job here isn't to convince you of anything but, should you be in the market for a cable in this price range, we can recommend you add the Nordost Heimdall 2 to your audition list.
For more information, head on over to Nordost.
- Insulation: Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene (FEP)
- Construction: Mechanically tuned lay, length and Dual Mono-filament design
- Conductors: 4 x 24 AWG
- Material: Silver-plated 99.99999% solid core OFC
- Capacitance 25.0pF/ft
- Inductance: 0.06μH/ft
- Overall Shield Coverage: 97%
- Velocity of Propagation: 85%
- Termination: Nordost MoonGlo Straight or 90° low-mass 5pin Din, gold-plated RCA or XLR
StereoNET UK’s Editor, bass player, and resident rock star! Jay’s passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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