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.