12/9/2016 Correction: The correct pricing for a 0.6m pair of the Tyr 2 XLR is $2,099.99 and $2,509.99 for a meter pair. We misquoted the prices as $1,154.99 and $1,459.99 previously. Our apologies to our readers. -Publisher
$4,799 for a meter pair, the Nordost Tyr 2 speaker cable is the top model in Nordost’s Norse 2 mid-range product line. The Tyr 2 XLR costs $2,509.99 for a meter pair, much less than the company’s $10k+ flagship products which have been well received since the company’s 1992 inauguration. At the time of this writing, Nordost offers two superior lines of cable systems to the Norse 2, namely the Odin/Odin 2 and Valhalla 2. At the other end of the spectrumis is the Leif entry-level line. The subject of this review, the Tyr 2, is but the top product within the Norse 2 range, which is consisted of the Tyr 2, Frey 2 and Heimdall 2.
To put the prices into perspective, Nordost’s top-of-the-line speaker cable, the $29,999.99 per 1m pair Odin 2 Supreme Reference, for instance, is described as having: “26 x 20 AWG silver-plated 99.999999% OFC solid core conductors, 8.0 pF/ft capacitance, 0.125 uH/ft inductance, 98% Speed of Light, high purity class 1.003 extruded Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene (FEP) insulation, mechanically tuned spacing, length and Dual Mono-Filament construction/TSC design.” Each additional half-meter pair costs $3,999.99.
The Nordost Tyr 2 speaker cable features “26 x 22 AWG silver plated (60 microns) 99.99999 OFC solid core conductors, Mono-Filament design, 10.7 pF/ft capacitance and 0.13 uH/ft inductance. Each additional 1 meter pair costs $1,450.
The Tyr 2 interconnect is listed as having 7×24 AWG 60-micron silver plated 99.99999 OFC solid core conductors, shielding with 97% braid, dual mono filament design, 33.0pf/ft capacitance, 0.045uH/ft inductance in either Nordost MoonGlo RCA or Neutrik XLR termination. Again, a 1-meter pair costs $2,509.99 and $420 per additional half meter pair. 5- or 4-in connector option is available for $40 each.
It was fascinating to read the detailed technical description of each cable in the Nordost MSRP Booklet.
For the purpose of this review, the primary system was a more streamlined one than my usual system and of more complimentary value, comprising a MacBook Pro, a newly-launched $3,098 Arche Audio Opus 5 DACT USB DAC including the optional Opus 501 Power Supply and the silver USB link in between, an integrated amplifier in the form of the Wells Audio Majestic solid-state and the Magnepan 3.7i alternating with the Martin Logan 35XT bookshelf speakers.
Hailing from the democratic South Korea, the dandy Arche Audio Opus 5 DACT system features both SE and XLR outputs, takes the USB signal through a high impedance winding, nickel cores, 2:1 stepdown internal transformer and then sends the signal to the 501 linear Power Supply’s 1:1 transformer for further decoupling and refinement. The Wells Audio Majestic solid-state integrated, at $3,599, wields incredible musicality in one of the most cut-throat market segment of low-price high-performance machines. The Martin Logan 35XT at $1,199.96 the pair is no ordinary bookshelf in its ability to project a full soundstage with dense and rich tonality in my 14′ x 30′ x 9′ listening room.
I used the Korg AudioGate software on my laptop to rip CD music and for USB playback. The software was a fully enabled edition being part of a purchase of a Korg MR-2000S DSD recorder I made a few years ago per recommendation by Blue Coast Records president Cookie Marenco. Connection from the MacBook Pro to the Arche Audio USB DAC was via a Light Harmonic Lightspeed USB cable.
Having been relying on the mega-buck MIT Cables Oracle series cable system as my ultimate reference, I was first surprised at the budget Nordost’s powerful bottom-end after an initial 24-hour break-in on the acoustic/electric bass and drums from the CD layer of the Patricia Barber “Un-Mastered” Cafe Blue SACD and the Opus 3 Yamina How Deep Is The Ocean SACD, as imported into the hard drive. The bass notes of instruments were highlighted to such extent that made the ensemble seem more energetic than ever. Barber’s vocalization as rendered by the Nordost Tyr 2 cable system had appreciable ambience and warmth.
The Nordost’s performance continued to improve past the 120-hour break-in to the extent that not only the bottom-end held more definition, the midrange to top-end became opened up and provided more detail as well. Rendition of the choir singing in the FIM K2 HD edition of the audiophile-standard Proprius Cantate Domino CD exhibited rich hall ambience; articulation of individuals in the choir was discernible. Once again, the Tyr 2 carried the cathedral pipe organ in full measure.
At the end of the review period, I replaced the Wells Audio Majestic integrated with a $12,000 Pass Labs integrated and the transformation was eye-opening. Consistently, there was more bottom-end definition, more midrange and top-end details. Dynamic transients were more expeditious and realistic. The Nordost seemed to be a competent design that could fare fairly well in systems above its price point. Retrospectively, I urge readers investing in amplifications at the $12k price point to upgrade their cable system beyond the Tyr 2 and into the Valhalla 2 level. Remember, the sound of any system will only perform to the best of its weakest link. In other words, all sound systems are being held back by its weakest link; and that link is oftentimes the cables.
It is a frequent happenstance when a company adjusts the price of its product under review upwards at the eve of its publishing, especially when the review is a positive one. Nordost, on the other hand, informed me of a price reduction when I was about to publish Fred Crowder’s Nordost Sort Kones Review. I like that.
Copy editor: Laurence A. Borden
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