Nordost rooms are usually a lot of fun and a great listen at audio shows. Especially when showing off their latest power management systems and resonance mitigating devices. Here at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019, we got a full serving of Nordost made cables, ground units, resonance synchronizers, tonearm cables, and a turntable completely wired with Nordost cables. Along with a bevy of components all proudly made in the USA.
First let’s talk about the rack of electronics. Starting with the VTL TP-6.5 Series II Signature Phonostage, VTL TL-7.5 Series III Reference Linestage Preamplifier, and VTL Siegfried Series Monoblock Amplifier. All of these offerings represent reference class offerings from VTL.
The TP-6.5 II Phonostage is designed to complement and match the TL- 7.5 II. This phono stage employs hybrid JFET/tube circuitry for quiet operation, multiple low-noise cascaded regulators and shielded power supplies for dynamics, accurate 4-corner passive RIAA equalization and 68dB of gain from the balanced outputs, all in a single chassis unit. All of the required user settings are offered via the front panel as well as by remote control.
The TL-7.5 II Preamplifier for instance is single chassis architecture, a fully balanced differential design, a hybrid circuit that combines tubes in the gain stage for voltage linearity, with a FET buffer for greater current capacity.
The Siegfried Amplifiers have been the go-to beast amplifiers since their 2003 release, and since updated have refined all features and architecture. The revisions include a shorter, faster and fully balanced negative feedback loop, with zero global negative feedback. Power and stability are signature VTL through and through.
At the source end, VPI’s HW-40 Direct Drive Turntable with 12-inch arm (with Lyra Etna Cartridge). Of note is that the HW-40 is internally wired with Nordost cables from the factory, and wired into this system specifically with Valhalla 2 Tonearm cable.This direct-drive turntable represents a reference class offering in the arena of all turntables period, not just those relegated to an unfair and unjust category as “one of those direct-drive” turntables.
Of course, a full loom of Nordost Odin 2 cabling throughout the system. Along with passively installed Nordost QKORE Ground Units. Actively, it’s the new Nordost QPOINT Resonance Synchronizer, and QSOURCE Linear Power Supply.
Both the QPOINT and QSOURCE were launched in Munich earlier this year, and have been making the audio show rounds ever since. First let’s talk about the QPOINT, which is not an electromechanical elimination device, but rather a device that synchronizes electromechanical resonances, in efforts to eliminate noise as a result of mistimed resonances. The QPOINT is an active device, which means it’s outputting something, and that something is a subtle electrical field that works to harness and unify all of the electromechanical resonances within a certain distance. Sounds like fun to me, but I’m going to keep my iPhone away from it.
The Nordost QSOURCE is a linear power supply that inputs AC power and outputs DC power in a clean and stable way for audio applications specifically. One of the leading features of this device is low-noise. Incredible to offer that as a feature. Internally the QSOURCE uses a QRT module to further refine its DC output. The QSOURCE works either as a stand-alone unit or with other pieces of a Nordost power management system.
How’s it all sound? Well, kind of like it looks. Ultra-high-end and American. Yes, to my ears there are some sonic attributes that you find more popularly with American made equipment. British gear sounds British, and German stuff sounds like it came from N.A.S.A..
The YG and VTL sound is perfectly imperfect, with tone and color that lend themselves to the high resolution offered by the components. In essence, it’s a lot to hear. Resolution and detail are delivered up in spades, while the tonal color weaves its way around and in with neutrality depending on the instrument. The sum of the equation is pure high-end fun.
by Eric Franklin Shook