AXPONA 2018: Holm Audio, NAD, Dali, Nordost and the Foundation of Great Sound

The role of silence in the music is more important than most casual listeners understand. Silence eliminates the world around you, allowing the music to stand distinctly from all else. Silence in music is how we mentally keep time, otherwise it’s just unmemorable noise. I think of pauses in the music as auditory bookmarks.

The Story

Nordost’s QRT range of products have been created to tackle and wrangle poor quality AC power, to effectively get it all in line. Think of them as the drill sergeants, tasked to tame and discipline the electricity dancing around all unruly-like in your stereo (or home theater) system. There are various ways that many of the QRT devices control ground flow, RFI, and timing errors that naturally plague all AC powered systems. Much like the components of a Pastrami Reuben the QRT products work work best in harmony and cumulatively to create a “distortion-less condition” of power that is greater than the sum of its electronically-purifying parts. After auditioning at AXPONA, that is a deal I am ready to accept. When everything in the system is working in concert to create lower noise floors, it is proven that the image and focus of the music benefit.

Initially people entering a room at an audio show are hesitant to stay seated when what they feel is voodoo is being peddled. However when attendees quickly hear the differences in a relatively hostile environment like an audio show, no one is surprised that it becomes rather hard to get them to leave. Fear now abated, many settled in for the sometimes lengthy Nordost demo.

AXPONA 2018 Coverage brought to you by Zesto Audio

Holm Audio hosted and presented the room with NAD Master Series electronics and Dali loudspeakers, which isn’t the most esoteric of gear, and yet within the demo of Qkore (models 1,3,6) Ground Units, Qkore Wire, and Valhalla USB, etc. — improvements were vast and impactful.

The Sound

Listening to Edie Brickell & Steve Martin’s “Way Back In The Day” from their album So Familiar we collectively take chances by moving cabling components in and out of the system. Using just the Qk1 AC Enhancer (compared to without), we see an overall bigger and possibly brassier presentation of Steve’s twangy banjo plucking, which now do more than just snap into place, they instead linger and decay in a more realistic fashion.

Going through the same track again, we add in the Qv2 AC Line Harmonizer and in short time Edie’s vocals in the lower mid-range become more audible around the rough textures that before were unaccounted for or lost within the shuffle of tones.

Overall, many of the unexpected benefits I found in the system, were when product units were switched in and out of the path (or parallel). Instrument tone and dynamics had improved beyond the more than clear noise reductions. Resulting in ultimately a more expressive musical rendition. Cue crowd applause.

The System

NAD Master Series Electronics

DALI Rubicon Series Loudspeakers

Nordost Qx Power Purifier (Qx2, Qx4)

Nordost Qv2 AC Line Harmonizer

Nordost Qk1 AC Enhancer

Nordost QBase Mk II AC Distribution (QB8, QB4)

Nordost QKore Ground Units (QKore1, QKore3, QKore6)  

Nordost QKore Wire

Nordost QLine Ground Wire

All system cabling by (you guessed it) Nordost