RMAF12: Nordost HDMI and the Little Raidho That Did

The big announcement from Nordost this year was their new Blue Heaven HDMI cable ($350/1m). What’s the big deal with HDMI, you say? The answer, my friend, depends on who you ask and what you’re after. Most of us A/V consumers look at HDMI for exactly one thing — video. That is, HDMI is what you hook up to your Blu-Ray disc player so you can see the Hulk grab Loki by the heels and slam him around like a rag doll.

Now, before you get your panties all in a twist about “bits is bits” and “a pure digital connection doesn’t have analog levels of loss” and “this is a crazy waste of money”, go outside, take a breath, and relax. I’m not interested in watching you get in touch with your inner rage monkey. Suffice it to say this: there is disagreement about how digital signals are translated across an analog domain, and that there are some who worry that the purely audio portion of the signal stream, say when used with high-quality/high-resolution source material, might not benefit from a better cable. Which brings me to the only point worth making here — most HDMI cables simply aren’t made to spec, regardless of what the packaging actually says. So, yes, theory aside — the cheap-o cables you might have picked up with your player may well be shit. This one, from Nodost, is not.

The Blue Heaven HDMI has been awarded the coveted DPL Seal Of Approval, meeting the most exacting signal transfer standards out to lengths of five meters – without resorting to the sledgehammer solution of additional inline amplification and the extra noise and distortion that goes with it. Instead, you get a phase coherent, jitter free signal, delivered from your source to both your display and amplifier/decoder.

Here’s the relevant info:

Insulation: • High Performance air-spaced FEP Insulation
Construction: • 19 x 26AWG Micro Mono-Filament construction
Conductors: • Silver plated solid Core 99.9999 OFC conductors
Termination: • Fully shielded and terminated with high quality gold-plated HDMI connectors
Approvals: • DPL certified to 5M length
Origin : • Fully designed, manufactured and hand-terminated in the USA
3D Compatible: • Passes picture perfect 3D signals and enhanced audio

Also of note? The Raidho Acoustics C1.1 loudspeakers on display here. Another example of eye-watering prices tags this 2-way stand-mount at $20k a pair (I believe stands are included), but before you start shaking your head in dismay and disbelief, consider that this may well be the best stand-mount loudspeaker I’ve ever heard. An aluminum baffle that’s nearly an inch thick, a sealed ribbon tweeter and a ceramic mid/bass driver, wrapped in an elegant veneered enclosure, and what you have is an acoustical tool with serious precision. Here paired with electronics from Hegel and an Oppo, the sound was organic, fast, and startlingly life-like. Now brought into the US by Nordost, the Raidho line is something I’d like to hear a lot more of.

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  1. Disagree completely. I have used audioquests old X-3 HDMI cables that offers much more color than the best monster let alone radioshack brand. For shits and giggles I even swapped my stock power cable with my Bybee power cable and that made another huge improvement. Trick is having a excellent TV to see the difference. I am just waiting for the Norse version to buy. Seeing is believing.

  2. I’m sorry, but $350 for a 1 meter HDMI cable is about $330 too much. I’ve heard first hand the difference that a good S/Pdif cable can make, so all digital cables should definitely not be lumped into the same basket. However, I’ve seen no evidence that a $50+ HDMI cable affects picture quality in any way, shape, or form. There are a lot of things related to audio that we don’t really have the ability to measure regardless of how much money you give Audio Precision. We are VERY good at measuring video however. If the brightness was improved by even one foot-lambert, or if the color, temperature, or peak black/white levels were shifted even one iota by a $350 HDMI cable, it would be easily measured. They won’t be.

    The only difference between these cables when it comes to picture is how long they can be before the picture starts to break up or stops working altogether. At 1 meter, there will be zero difference between any of them. Spend $20 on an HDMI cable, and put the rest towards your movie collection. You’ll be glad you did.

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